How To Take Care Of A Senior Chihuahua?

How To Take Care Of A Senior Chihuahua

Bonding with an elderly animal is among life’s most gratifying experiences. Whether you’ve had your Chihuahua since she was a tiny puppy or you rescued her later in life, aged Chihuahuas are both charming and vulnerable. If you’re confused about How To Take Care Of A Senior Chihuahua; the DOs and DON’Ts, read this.

In this article we will learn about:

  • Top 12 ways to take care of a senior chihuahua
  • 10 signs of aging in Chihuahuas

How To Take Care Of A Senior Chihuahua? 

When a Chihuahua reaches old age, a lot happens to them. They are more susceptible to certain illnesses and disorders. That said, make an appointment with your veterinarian. At least twice a year is ideal. Give your dog the nourishment he or she requires. Change their eating habits. Change their exercise routines.

Top 12 Ways To Take Care of A Senior Chihuahua

How To Take Care Of A Senior Chihuahua

1. Picking them up rather than letting them jump and climb

Senior Chihuahuas will find it difficult to climb stairs or perhaps even jump onto the couch. Provide steps or ramps to make things easier for them. You can use these to assist them in getting around the home to their favorite areas.

Chis as it is, live in a world made for comparatively large people. Making it easier for them to locomote would aid their weak joints and muscles causing them to be more durable.

2. Switch to a soft dog food

Your chi’s teeth may grow more delicate as he gets older, making chewing food more hard and even painful for him. Shifting to soft foods will help him eat with less pain in his mouth.

CESAR Soft Wet Dog Food Classic Loaf in Sauce Poultry Variety Pack, (24) 3.5 oz. Easy Peel Trays with Real Chicken, Turkey or Duck

If your chi has trouble chewing or their teeth are too fragile for crunchy, hard dog food, then soft chew works wonders. 

3. Freshening sprays/treats can be used to get rid of bad breath

Senior chis may develop bacteria due to aging gums and canines. Brushing their teeth, although mandatory, might be tedious. On such occasions, freshening sprays are highly useful.

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If proper care is not taken, the tooth infection can cause an extremely unpleasant odor as suggested by Dr. Laurie Coger, DVM.

Bad odors could also be caused by skin issues. Inflammation, allergies, and hormonal changes often result in breaking down of skin which causes your chi to smell bad.

Hence, oral health care is essential for a senior Chihuahua, if you don’t want your dear pet to smell bad.

4. Provide a Senior-Dog friendly diet 

Giving your elderly Chihuahua the best diet available could assist her to live a longer and healthier life. Senior formulations also contain more fiber to aid a lethargic digestive system, as well as additional nutrients such as omegas, glucosamine, and chondroitin. 

If your Chihuahua likes his meal and is doing well on it, don’t change anything. If your Chihuahua’s body weight is stable, you’re already giving him senior supplements, and you’re satisfied that the chow is of high quality, a modification may not be necessary, says Dr. Christina Fernandez, DVM

Senior Chis who suffer from constipation can benefit from adding bite-sized chunks of apples (no center, no pits, no skin) or pumpkin (actual pumpkin, not the pumpkin pie filling) to their meals or as munchies.

5. Make them exercise regularly

How To Take Care Of A Senior Chihuahua

One thing you’ll notice about your senior Chihuahua is that they gradually decelerate. They are taking longer to get out of bed these days. They are moving at a slower pace than before. Most importantly, they get weary quickly.

However, this does not imply that owners should refrain from exercising. Take a look at this video of a cute little Chihuahua doing yoga.

They need to be supple and robust, on the contrary. This is done to increase their mobility and keep them from accumulating weight.

Your elderly Chihuahua’s activity should be tailored to their specific health needs. If they’re in good health, you can slowly increase their exercise.

You can, for example, take them on a stroll up to two times per day. Ascertain that your pace is appropriate for them. If your senior goes for walks on a regular basis, lengthen a session by 5 to 10 minutes.

6. Don’t taunt them when they’re irritated 

With behavioral changes, come psychological changes which cause changes in their moods and emotions. Your senior Chihuahua may get highly irritant and moody whenever you try to touch them or pet them. It is best to leave them unbothered in such cases.

Adjust your tone while talking to them that way you’ll neither taunt nor annoy them. Moving your chi’s bowl while they’re eating, barking back at them are all forms of teasing. It is best to refrain from such acts.

7. Check their temperatures at regular intervals

Chihuahuas despise the cold, and rightly so. Even if a Chihuahua is obese, its body has very little mass. They also have a thin and scant coat. When the weather cools down, your little Chihuahua pal may get very uncomfortable. 

The normal temperature for a Chihuahua is 101.0 to 102.5°F (38.3 to 39.2°C), according to Dr. Malcolm Weir, DVM, MSc, MPH. Her body’s power to manage temperature deteriorates as she gets older. As a result, even though humans think it’s hot enough, senior Chihuahuas might feel rather cold. 

Make sure your elderly Chihuahua is kept inside, has lots of blankets and knitwear, and has exposure to heat.

8. Provide Supplements like Omega 3 and 6 Fatty Acids

How To Take Care Of A Senior Chihuahua

Senior Chihuahuas suffer from a variety of age-related ailments. As a result, you’ll need all the assistance you can get. You may provide your dog the nutrients he or she requires by using supplements.

With aging, your Chi will be at risk of chronic diseases like arthritis, chronic kidney disease, heart disease, and so on. 

As per the AKC, providing food rich in omega 3 fatty acids and omega 6 fatty acids can help in maintaining your dog’s health. Fish oil is rich in these fatty acids. 

Dr. Joanna Pendergrass, DVM ascertains that fish oil provides the following benefits:

  • Healthy heart, joints, hair, and immunity.
  • It also aids in the reduction of pain and irritation. 
  • Increased cognition
  • Their skin and fur are kept healthy and lustrous by taking an omega 3 supplement.

9. Supplements like Glucosamine

Giving your older dog supplements to aid with irritation, functional mobility, joint padding, and discomfort may help her manage better with skeletal issues if she develops them. 

Glucosamine helps to relieve the discomfort of osteoarthritis. Your elderly Chihuahua will benefit greatly from this Glucosamine dose. Glucosamine aids the growth of cartilage near joints, says Dr. Sarah Wooten, DVM.

Chondroitin sulfate – helps to keep cartilage from deteriorating, says Dr. Jennifer Coates, DVM. This, along with Glucosamine will prove to be helpful for your aging Chihuahua.

When your dog reaches the age of six, you should start giving him glucosamine and chondroitin. These vitamins will aid in the prevention of future joint problems.

Multifunctional Supplements for Dogs - Glucosamine Chondroitin for Joint Support with Probiotics for Gut & Immune Health – Omega Fish Oil with Antioxidants and Vitamins for Skin & Heart Health

10. Make regular appointments with the vet

It’s critical to take your Chihuahua to the vet on a regular basis, perhaps twice a year. At each visit, the veterinarian should examine her heart, eye, skull, knees, backbone, and other organs. 

Many typical Chihuahua ailments can be treated if caught early. The goal is to discover problems early on so that the outcome is as good as possible. Each veterinarian has his or her own inclinations, but most choose to start these twice-yearly examinations at the age of eight.

11. Let them sleep peacefully

In a 24-hour cycle, adult Chihuahuas sleep about 12 to 14 hours (nighttime and naps). There will be a progressive increase in the requirement for more sleep as age progresses. 

While a dog’s natural synthesis of melatonin (which regulates sleeping habits) declines as he gets older, there is a need for additional sleep. 

According to Dr. Rossman, senior dogs can sleep for around 14 to 15 hours per day. Many senior dogs also tend to sleep for 18 to 20 hours.

Younger dogs enjoy being in the middle of things and can sleep through almost anything. Senior dogs, on the other hand, prefer peace and quiet. According to Dr. Heidi Lobprise, DVM, DAVDC, making a comfortable bed for your chi, would ensure more napping time.

Also Read: Best dog bed for chihuahua

12. Last but not the least, Be Patient

How To Take Care Of A Senior Chihuahua

Chihuahuas have a lengthy life expectancy. A Chihuahua can live up to 16 years. Around the age of ten, they would become seniors. This implies you’ll be spending a lot of time with a senior dog. Always remember to be patient with your dog. 

So be calm the next time your Chi has a minor mishap before getting the pee pad. Be tolerant if they can’t complete a workout regimen. One of the things they’ll need out of you as they become older is patience.

What Are The Signs of Aging in Chihuahua?

1. Weak muscles, bones, and joints

With such little ligaments, tissues, and bones, having a flawless skeleton would be challenging. Chihuahuas have a tendency to break bones. 

Patellar luxation, according to PetMD, is a joint problem comparable to a slipping knee cap wherein the knee joint does not align appropriately with the tendon, is another possibility.  Molera, a disorder in which a hole forms in the dog’s head, is another bone issue that certain Chihuahuas have.

Take your dog to the vet for an examination if she is limping, refusing to go for walks, or has an oddly shaped head.

Also Read: Should You Walk Your Chihuahua With Patellar Luxation? 

2. Losing Teeth

Dogs as early as three years old might develop dental problems. In this situation, prevention is the best cure: have your Chihuahua’s teeth examined yearly, and twice a year if they’re older. 

Clean your Chihuahua’s mouth from the beginning. It will keep you from having to deal with dental issues in the future. To maintain their white teeth strong and tidy, give them oral toys and snacks. Neglecting their teeth can lead to renal, liver, and heart disorders.

Your Chi will be unable to eat properly if they have dental issues. This could result in weight loss. According to NCBI, brushing your dog on a regular basis can be daunting, which is why most owners don’t do it.

Also Read: Best toothbrush for chihuahua

3. Bad Breath

Your Chihuahua will be more susceptible to tooth and gum diseases as he ages. 

If you are not maintaining proper dental hygiene for your Chi, plaque buildup will cause extremely bad breath. In such cases, your Chi is more prone to suffer from gum diseases.

Too much plaque and sediment will allow the bacteria to grow in new places. This not only irritates the dog’s gums, but also increases the risk of cavities, inflammation, tissue deterioration, tooth loss, and pus production. 

It goes without saying that this results in really terrible breath in your Chi.

4. Low immunity

Managing your dog’s immune response requires a nutrient-rich diet. Antioxidants, in particular, are important for your pet’s health. These are nutrients found in foods that fight free radicals and prevent cellular damage. Antioxidants can be found in a variety of foods, including berries, fruits, and veggies.

5. Allergies and Dry skin

This breed is already vulnerable to delicate skin, but as they get older, it becomes increasingly worse. Furthermore, as a dog matures, the epidermis (the top layer of the skin) thins, making the skin more delicate and susceptible to dryness, lesions, swelling, inflammation, rashes, and stinging, says Dr. Hanie Elfenbein, DVM.

The paws and nose can become very dry, which is unpleasant and can result in flaking or splitting.

6. Very irritable and Bite-y

How To Take Care Of A Senior Chihuahua

Many times, arthritis or any other form of physical distress indicates aging in Chihuahua. The painful physical changes will most definitely lead your Chihuahua to have high anxiety levels, in turn making him grumpy and irritable in nature.

As your Chihuahua will age, he will have changes in the levels of physical activities too, and he may also feel some pain while doing the physical movement. This can cause him confusion and bewilderment.

Also Read: Why are chihuahuas so aggressive

7. Eye-related issues

Keratoconjunctivitis sicca is one of the most prevalent eye diseases that Chihuahuas suffer from (KCS). Your dog’s eyes can become excessively dry and swollen if her tear films cease working properly. Blinking more than usual, discharge, enlargement of the eyes, and an irritated third eyelid are all symptoms of this condition in Chihuahuas.

Cataracts are another common problem faced by senior dogs. Cataracts are often ignored as normal aging issues but they can prove to be very harmful to vision. Dr. Jennifer Coates, DVM suggests that a standard eye exam is a must.

8. Low blood sugar

Your Chihuahua can suffer from a fluctuating blood sugar level, and have low blood sugar as she ages. Your dear Chi can suffer from hypoglycemia (low levels of sugar in the blood). This is mainly due to the improper functioning of the pancreas in an aging Chihuahua.

PetMD suggests that if you find any of these symptoms in your dog: 

  • low/high appetite, 
  • shivering/trembling, 
  • blurred vision
  • restlessness, 
  • fatigue, 
  • weakness, 
  • seizure, 

it is vital that you take him to the doctor.

9. Hearing issues

Senior chihuahuas could have some hearing impairment in one or both ears, which can be difficult to fix because dogs rely heavily on this sense. When you contact or raise your dog, watch for evidence such as not answering when called and/or appearing scared. 

Other conditions, such as excessive wax accumulation or a foreign material in the ear, can resemble age-related hearing damage.

Although age-related hearing impairment cannot be repaired, there are things suggested by Kayla Fratt, a certified dog trainer you may take to assist your senior in dealing with it.

  • Before entering a room, turn on the light switches.
  • Softly stroke your senior’s back after gently putting your hand in front of his nose.
  • Instead of compliments, give physical praise (petting).
  • Begin to use hand signals to communicate common commands.

10. Bowel Issues

Incontinence, or the loss of urinary or bowel regulation, is most frequent in chis aged 11 and up. In many situations, it is a natural symptom of aging; nevertheless, various health conditions, such as a urinary infection, bladder infection, or hip problems, can cause this.

  • Consult a veterinarian for a diagnosis.
  • Make it a habit to take your Chihuahua to the allocated toilet location on a regular basis.
  • Give your bowel movements more time.
  • If an older dog has trouble sleeping late at night or in the middle of the night, serve the last evening meal sooner.

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