How Big Is A Chihuahua Heart?

It is always said that the best things come in small packages.

Well, this is definitely true in the case of a chihuahua. So, if you want to know more about chihuahuas, start by knowing about their heart.

So, How Big is A Chihuahua’s Heart? Well, this is exactly what we are going to talk about today!

In this article, we will cover:

  • What is the size of a chihuahua’s heart?
  • Where is a chihuahua’s heart?
  • What is a chihuahua’s heart rate?
  • And a lot more…
how big is a chihuahua heart

How Big Is A Chihuahua Heart?

A chihuahua’s heart size varies depending on the dog’s size. The heart of a chihuahua ranges from the size of a grape to the size of a walnut. To know the exact size of a chihuahua heart, Vertebral Heart Score is the method. It measures the distance between the heart, backbones, and rib bones to determine the size of a chihuahua’s heart.

Did you know that the animal with the largest heart-to-body-mass ratio is the dog? The heart-to-body-mass ratio of a dog is 0.8 percent. 

Comparing this with other animals, most of the animals like elephants, mice, and even humans have a heart-to-body-mass ratio of just 0.6 percent. On the other hand, cats’ heart-to-body-mass ratio is somewhat near 0.35 percent. 

Wolf, a dog’s ancestors also have a larger percentage as compared to other animals on the planet. Clearly, the dogs are the undoubted rulers in the heart-to-body-mass ratio!

Now you can imagine what could be the size of a chihuahua’s heart? Since they are the smallest breed on the planet, their heart size can be as small as a grape or walnut. 

But how do you know the exact size of their heart? This is where the Vertebral Heart Size (VHS) comes into picture.

Vertebral Heart Size (Sometimes called a score), is an X-ray technique that helps veterinarians to tell the size of your chihuahua’s heart. It helps to figure out whether the size of your chihuahua’s heart is too big or too small. 

Further, this information on your dog’s heart size can help to prevent congestive heart failure, a common problem in adult chihuahuas. So, if your vet advises your dog for a VHS, try to get it done so that the health issues of your chihuahua do not complicate.

Also Read: How Big Is A Chihuahua Brain? 

Where Is A Chihuahua’s Heart?

For all dogs, including chihuahua, the heart is located on the left side of the chest. There is a simple trick to finding its location. 

Just lay your dog on the right side, and bend their front leg in a way that the elbow touches the chest. That’s it, the point where the elbow touches the chest is where the heart is located.

This technique is very helpful if you want to perform CPR on dogs to save their life.

What Is A Chihuahua’s Heart Rate & How To Measure It? 

How Big Is A Chihuahua’s Heart?

The smaller the dog, the higher their normal heart rate. Since a chihuahua is very tiny as compared to other breeds, it’s normal heart rate can go between 120-160 beats per minute.   

So, if your pet has a heart rate above this range, contact your veterinarian immediately. In order to know your dog’s condition, it is important to know how to measure their heart rate at home correctly. It is very simple. 

Just place your hand on the insides of its front leg or hind leg, you will feel a femoral artery pulsing. Take a stopwatch and count the beats for 15 seconds and then multiply it by four to get the beats per minute for your chihuahua.

Chihuahua Vs Human Heart – A Comparison 

If you compare a human heart with a Chihuahua’s heart, you will find both similarities and differences. While both the hearts are located on the left side of the chest and have more or less the same functioning, there are two notable differences:

1. Heart Rate

In terms of heart rate, an average chihuahua’s heart beats 100-160 beats per minute, whereas a human heart beat ranges from 60-100 beats per minute. 

2. Heart Disease 

While coronary artery disease is the most important concern in human beings, this does not affect chihuahuas much. On the other hand, chihuahuas develop diseases that lead to congestive heart failure. 

5 Symptoms Of Heart Disease In Chihuahuas

As a parent of chihuahuas, it is vital to know the symptoms of heart diseases in them. You must be wondering Why?

According to the study conducted by The VetCompassTM Programme, the most common grouped-precision cause of death in chihuahuas was heart disease, i.e. 18.8% (15 out of 80) chihuahuas died from some heart disease.

So, to avoid major repercussions, look for the following symptoms in your chihuahua. If they experience one or more such symptoms, take them to the veterinarian as soon as possible. 

1. Persistent Cough

If the heart isn’t working efficiently, the fluid can build up in the lungs of chihuahuas. This can lead to coughing.

Another reason for it could be heart enlargement. In this case, the enlarged heart puts pressure on the airways causing cough. 

 So, if you see your chihuahua coughing badly for a few days, take it to the vet and get it treated.

2. Fatigue

Chihuahuas with heart ailments tend to be tired easily. They sleep more and are disinterested in doing anything.

If you notice your chihuahua getting tired easily when you take him out for a walk or exercise, this could be a trigger for you to get the chihuahua to the vet.

3. Fainting

In the case of dogs, including chihuahua, brain functioning is severely affected due to heart diseases. It is because the brain does not get an adequate oxygen supply. 

This leads to fainting and collapse. So, if you notice that your dog fainted after exercising or coughing, do not take it lightly. 

4. Breathing Difficulties

So, a chihuahua with heart disease will have trouble breathing normally. You will know this if your chihuahua is breathing rapidly when it is lying down. Also, it might stretch its legs and neck when standing up.

So, if you notice them using force while breathing, consult your veterinarian immediately. 

5. Changed Behavior

Dogs cannot communicate directly with their parents. That is why when something is wrong with their health, they communicate via signs.

If you see your chihuahua not eating properly or isolating itself from the family, these are signs of its changed behavior. You should not take it casually and observe their response carefully for a few days.

What Are The Common Heart Problems In Chihuahuas? 

How Big Is A Chihuahua’s Heart?

As we have said that heart disease is a most common cause of mortality among chihuahuas, let us take a look at some specific heart ailments among chihuahuas:

1. Patent Ductus Arteriosus (PDA)

According to Dr. Malcolm Weir and Dr. Cheryl Yuill, DVM, PDA is a heart defect where the ductus arteriosus fails to close at the time of birth. Generally, as the baby chihuahua takes its first breath, the ductus arteriosus closes.

If this does not happen, it results in overflowing of blood in the lungs which strain the heart and causes fluid build-up in the lungs.

The common symptoms of PDA include breathing difficulties, heart murmur, stunted growth, and fatigue. It may also cause the puppy to be underweight.

To treat this problem, the cardiovascular surgeon may recommend some surgery depending on the nature of the issue.

2. Mitral Valve Degeneration

Just like humans, chihuahuas also have four chambers in the heart. But, as the dog’s age, the mitral valve separating the left atrium and left ventricle becomes weaker. This causes a backward flow of blood.

As this takes place, the chihuahuas can have enlarged hearts, ultimately increasing the risk of congestive heart failure. 

The vet will assess the situation and tell you the necessary course of treatment for your chihuahua.

Also Read: 12 Common Health Problems in Chihuahuas + What To Do About Them

5 Causes Of Heart Problems In Chihuahuas 

The PetMD lists chihuahuas as one of the 10 longest living dog breeds as they can live upto 18 years. However, there are some heart problems that are commonly seen in chihuahuas as mentioned above. 

Here is the list of causes that can lead to heart problems in your canine friend chihuahua:

1. Congenital

Congenital Diseases are the problems present in dogs since birth. This can occur as a result of genetic defects, poor nutrition from mother, and infections. It can also be a combination of various factors that result in congenital diseases.

Hence, a few chihuahuas are born with some heart problems like the Patent Ductus Arteriosus, pulmonic stenosis, aortic stenosis, and Ventricular Septal Defects. 

All these diseases require medical intervention and can only be treated by your veterinarian.

2. Obesity 

Dr. Natalie Stilwell, DVM says that canine obesity is associated with major health issues like heart diseases. The dogs who are overfed or do lack of exercise are tend to be obese.

If you have a pure-bred chihuahua, s/he should not weigh more than 6 pounds. So, if your chihuahua is weighing more than that, it is definitely overweight.

In order to control their intake, follow a proper diet plan as suggested by your veterinarian and take your dog for walks.

Also Read: How Much Exercise Do Chihuahuas Need? 

3. Heartbeat Abnormalities

Another logical reason for heart problems in chihuahuas is abnormalities in their heart beat. If you count the heartbeats of your chihuahua, sometimes you might notice they are too fast or too slow.

In addition, some chihuahuas have irregular heartbeats; they skip some beats. All of this is an indication that something is not right with your furry friend.

4. Tumors

Although most tumors are easily treatable and benign, there can be some that are life-threatening. Some heart tumors in dogs can lead to blood flow obstruction or congestive heart failure.

While there aren’t any specific symptoms for this, you can take your dog to the vet if you notice any of these signs-Vomiting, coughing, fatigue, fainting, and neurological symptoms.

5. Heartworms 

Once heartworms enter the affected chihuahua, it stays there for a long time causing heart failure, lung failure, and damage to other organs of the pet’s body. 

In the initial days, the pet shows no symptoms at all. As the worm grows inside your pet’s body, the symptoms might come to light. These include swollen belly, fatigue, loss of appetite, reluctance to exercise, and others.

3 Tips To Keep Chihuahua’s Heart Healthy

How Big Is A Chihuahua’s Heart?

However, there are things you can do to prevent heart diseases in your chihuahua. So, here are three easy and everyday tips that you must follow if you want your chihuahua to live a long and happy life!

1. Dental Health

While many people might think about how dental health can prevent heart diseases, there is a valid reason for it. The tartar build-up on chihuahua’s teeth can lead to the creation of harmful bacteria.

Then, this bacteria can easily enter the bloodstream and cause heart ailments. Therefore, using a good-quality toothbrush, toothpaste, and dental chews is important for the long term. 

The Vet's Best Dog Toothbrush and Enzymatic Toothpaste Set and the Greenies Dental Treats are our recommendations for your pet!

2. Diet Control

One of the major reasons for heart problems is obesity. And one of the main reasons for obesity is overfed chihuahuas. So, to tackle this problem, make sure you give chihuahuas three meals a day at proper time intervals. 

In addition to this, refrain from giving too many treats to your chihuahuas as they are not good for their health. 

Also, keep checking their weight from time to time and consult a vet in case of weight gain.

3. Regular Exercise

Just like human beings, chihuahuas can also stay healthy if they exercise a little bit on a daily basis. 

This has to start when chihuahuas are puppies. Once the vaccination is done, you can take them for walks.

As they grow, the time for these walks can be increased as per the advice of your vet. 

Also Read: How To Care for Chihuahua – 2022 Guide (With Tips & Products!) 

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