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How to Help Your Chihuahua Live 18 Years

2010 May 10
brown and tan chihuahua with a gray muzzle and bright eyes looks peaceful and happy
Stately old chihuahua with tan face and grey around his neck ruff

Is there a treat involved in this office visit?

We Want Our Chihuahuas to Live Forever!

Chihuahuas are not only lap dogs and purse ninjas, they are confidantes and best friends. We want them to stick around a long time.

Chihuahuas Live Longer Than Big Dogs

Usually, a small dog like a Chihuahua will have an expected lifespan of 12-14 years. The oldest Chihuahua Doc Truli has treated was 20 years old when he passed away from heart disease.

2 Best Things to do to Extend Your Chihuahua’s Life

You can do two specific things to help your Chihuahua live a long, healthy life:

You want to keep your chihuahua thin and brush the teeth once a day to extend that lifespan to 14-18 years!

Keep Your Chihuahua Thin!

Brush Your Chihuahua’s Teeth Every Day!

Keep Your Chihuahua Thin

If your Chi stays on the thin side, research shows he or she will live two to four years longer than expected and old age diseases like arthritis will wait two to four years before they become an issue.

How to Judge If Your Chihuahua is the Right Weight

You can’t go by breed charts or breed standards in books.

You want to look at and feel for three things:

First: RIBS

Place your open hands on either side of your chi’s chest at the same time. Can you feel ribs? If no, your chi is fat. If yes, but you cannot see them during a bath, that’s a good weight. If you can feel and see ribs, your chi is probably too skinny.

Second: PEANUT

Look at the “peanut view” of your chihuahua. Look down at your chihuahua’s back. Does your chi’s waist go in just in front of the hips? Like an hour-glass shape? Then your chi will live longer. If there is no waistline, your chi is fat.


Look at your chihuahua from the side. Does the tummy tuck up under the hips? It should. If the belly just looks straight across, or bulges out and down, your chihuahua will not live as long as he or she should.

“Each extra pound of fat is one mile (2.2 km) of extra blood vessels for the heart to pump blood through,” says Doc Truli.

Brush Chihuahua Teeth Daily

Daily tooth brushing adds 2-4 years of healthy life to the chihuahua expected lifespan!

Chihuahuas are one of the top ten breeds predisposed to periodontal disease. To prevent progressive periodontal disease, every day, at the same time, brush those choppers!

See How to Get Your Chihuahua to Behave

Here’s a link to a fabulous training video showing a chihuahua learning to relax for nail trimming. It works just as well for tooth brushing, or other maintenance.

Read Secrets and Tips: How to Brush Your Chihuahua’s Teeth

Check out VirtuaVet’s How to Brush Your Dog’s Teeth for specific instructions.

Of you’re already behind on the toothbrushing (Chihuahua is over 6 months old), be sure there is not already dental calculus and tartar before you begin brushing. Your chihuahua may experience pain if there is dental disease and you brush. That pain would cause a bad memory.

Warning: If your little Chihuahua already has tartar, or you are unsure, see your veterinarian for help and a deep dental cleaning under careful chihuahua anesthesia.

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