Being the parent of a senior chihuahua is a special experience. Whether your dog was a member of your family from the beginning of his life or adopted later in life. Senior chihuahuas are both MIGNON and fragile.
There are a lot of questions that chihuahua owners may ask when their dogs become seniors, such as whether we should change our habits towards our chihuahua. when exactly does a chihuahua become a senior? what types of changes we should expect?
In this section, we will cover:
- Why senior chihuahuas need special care
- At what age does a chihuahua become a senior?
- Common health problems old chihuahuas can face
- Prevention tips
At what age does a chihuahua become a senior?
The answer to this question will vary depending on who you speak to. Normally, chihuahuas become seniors between the age of 7 and 10. What makes the difference?
The size of the breed is what makes the difference, there are 5 sizes: toy, Small, medium, large, and giant. In addition, the life span of the chihuahua is a part of the answer to the question of when the chihuahua becomes a senior.
Toy size has a very long life expectancy so for this reason, he is going to become a senior around the age of 10. With a range of between the ages of 9 and 12 years old.
Sometimes your veterinarian will tell you when your dog has indeed transitioned from adult to senior. If only the vet has taken care of your chihuahua for many years.
What you have to keep in mind is whether or not your vet has officially started or whether or not your dog is running around. At the age o 10-year-old mark, you must be ready for some changes.
Why senior chihuahuas are special?
Due to their small size, their body is an easy prone to injuries and accidents. As chihuahuas get older they may encounter special changes unique to their small body. Their little bones become more fragile with age, for this reason, owners must be very cautious when handling them. In addition, chihuahuas may face some health issues that are related to their unusual genetics.
Common health issues and changes with senior chihuahua
Vision issue with senior chihuahuas often comes on slowly. Therefore, owners don’t notice that something is wrong until the issue is in its severe stages. It is common for a senior chihuahua dog to have some trouble with vision. While some problems can be corrected, like issues of wear and tear. Other age-related issues are retinal degeneration and cataracts.
In some cases, some chihuahuas may experience a clouding of the eye lens. This issue can begin early at the age of 7 and become worse as the dog ages. Often, owners won’t notice it until the age of 10 or 11 years old. This age-related issue is referred to as nuclear sclerosis and for some chihuahuas, it will develop into a cataract.
If you find that your chihuahua is suffering from any clouding, the dog should be examined by a veterinary ophthalmologist who will keep an eye on things. Surgery can correct this issue, if it does become severe and moderately to severely affects the ability to see.
There are other possible issues that a chihuahua can face when he becomes a senior such as retinal disease and glaucoma. Additionally, a worsening of vision is a change that has no solid treatment that you should expect. for example, your dog may not be able to see as far.
When your chihuahua is having trouble seeing, you should keep the layout of the house the same, Keep floor clutter to a minimum.in addition, you have to keep in mind that for chihuahuas with vision issues, exposure to a new environment or situation may cause stress.
If your senior dog doesn’t suffer from any medical issue that would limit his or her activity, keep his daily walks for good health and longevity.
Do keep in mind that your senior chihuahua dog will need 2 shorter walks per day as opposed to what may have been 1 long daily walk, and he or she needs to walk at a slower pace as he ages and may not be as nimble, but keeping up with outside activity is a must for the body and good for the mind.
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Most of the chihuahuas at the age of 8,9, and 10 years old will not show any signs of incontinence, however, it is common in older seniors of 11 years and up. This condition can be caused by the weakening of the bladder and/or bowel muscles. Some changes must take place as the dog ages.
Here are some tips that can help:
- Bring your chihuahua outside more often.
- you should give your chihuahua the last evening meal at an earlier time if he or she has problems late or in the middle of the night.
- give your dog more time for bowel movements.
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Playfulness and behavioral changes
As the chihuahua ages, he will certainly not have the active playfulness of puppies. Seniors chihuahuas as you will notice will have a tendency to want to rest and relax away from the noise. so it’s very important that the dog must have its own spot.
The corner of the room is the preferred place for some senior chihuahua dogs, where they can still feel like part of the family but also where they can relax.
Senior chihuahua dogs are known to take more frequent naps. The senior dogs should have to sleep in areas that must be close to their owners-maybe adding one in the corner of the living room where a tired older dog can have a rest but still be close to his human friends.
Older dogs as you may notice have a lower tolerance for young children. Too much noise and too much touching may be the cause of stress. As the leader of the pack, you have to explain to the children the needs and limits of a senior chihuahua dog.
Senior chihuahuas can get diabetes, as it is possible that they can experience low blood sugar because at an advanced age the pancreas isn’t working as it used to. Having too much insulin or too little glucose(sugar) in the bloodstream is the cause of diabetes. In addition, the signs of this health issue are: not eating, eating too much, shivering/trembling, restlessness, tiredness, weakness, seizures, and disorientation.
Swelling of the brain
Called also compensatory or obstructive hydrocephalus. This issue is though, however, when diagnosed in time, it can often be treated with some medical treatments. This health issue happens when an excess of spinal fluid leads to dilation in the spinal cord and/or brain. There are a lot of symptoms of this condition including tiredness, hyperactivity, seizures, accidents in the house, and back arching. If your senior chihuahua shows any of these signs, you should take her to the vet.
Changes that should take place with the veterinarian
We will cover the physical and behavioral changes that occur from the age of 10 until the chihuahua has reached the end of his life span.
When your chihuahua is developing health issues, it is not because of his or her age it’s a question of cautionary medicine in order to catch issues early, by this way we have the chance for quick treatment and excellent recovery.
As your chihuahua ages, plenty of changes are going to be occurring from the age of 10 on. So it’s very important that your dog have a wellness checkup at least once a year and preferably 2 times a year.
Testing and examination will look for early signs of :
Testicular cancer (for male chihuahua dogs that have not been neutered)
Uterus cancer (for female chihuahua dogs that have not been spayed)
As you can notice from the list above. Senior chihuahua dogs also can face many health issues that humans can develop at an older age. Some dogs may never have any of these issues, but many will, for this reason, wellness checks are very important.
Prevention and Maintenance
Senior Dental care
The owner must start the dental cleaning of their pets at the age of 8 weeks old. This good habit will set the foundation for a healthy adult set.
Dental care is very important for senior chihuahua dogs. As an owner try to avoid the mindset of”well he’s older now, it doesn’t matter as much”
Older dogs are more easily prone to infection and tooth issues than ever.
Do keep in mind that when a senior chihuahua dog loses teeth. This situation will lead to difficulty eating, and it is so sad.
Food and supplement changes for senior chihuahua dog
The timing to change to the senior commercial food will vary depending on the dog.
Ask your veterinarian when you must take this decision. Because he will give you timing based on some factors such as your dog’s health, weight, size, and activity level. For some chihuahuas, the changeover will start at the age of 8. For others, it will take place at 9,10, or even 11 years old.
Giving Food to senior chihuahuas must respect some rules. For example, it must have lower fat content and a bit higher fiber, and the level of protein must be the same. But it depends on medical issues to change your chihuahua’s diet.
When your chihuahua is 12 years and on, he may have trouble eating dry kibble. So, home-cooked food or a combination of wet food and kibble can help. Try to make some changes that will keep your chihuahua eating his daily recommended meals.
Timing-Its recommended for a senior chihuahua to eat 2 meals or 3 depending on the chihuahua’s stomach and digestive system.
When a chihuahua is approaching his senior years, glucosamine and chondroitin supplements can make a huge difference. It helps to prevent joint issues.
Regular r check-up
You should keep in mind that you have to take your chihuahua to the vet twice a year. The vet should check your dog’s eyes, heart, head, spring, and knees at every consultation. Early diagnosis can help treat Many Health issues with success.
Chihuahuas are loving pets, courageous and loyal and it is hard for us watching them age so much faster than we humans. While we cannot stop this process, there certainly are steps we can follow to keep our senior chihuahuas as safe and in good shape as possible. Finally, it is our responsibility to take care of each period of our dog’s life.
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