As the world’s most popular breed of lap dog, chihuahua’s are a special little breed of dog. From children’s movies to fast food commercials, chihuahua’s have most definitely made a name for themselves around the world.
For as small as these dogs are, their life expectancy and the factors that influence it may come as a surprise to some. Being aware of a chihuahua’s life expectancy is important for those who already own a chihuahua to know, as well as anyone who is considering adopting one.
How Long Can a Chihuahua Live?
There is no accurate way to determine exactly how long any particular chihuahua is destined to live, but we do have a good average age range that we can go by. We can also rely on the fact that smaller dogs tend to live longer lives in general. From chihuahuas to terriers, smaller breeds tend to have longer life expectancies compared to their larger counterparts.
A generous average tells us that chihuahuas are known to live from 14-20 years. This average is based on the chihuahua living a relatively healthy life and not facing too many of factors that can have a negative effect on a chihuahua’s life expectancy.
The World’s Oldest Chihuahua
On record, the oldest chihuahua known to have existed lived a long happy life to the ripe old age of 20 years old, almost to 21. Megabyte, the name of this record-setting chihuahua died on New Year's Day in 2014. He was 20 years and 265 days old.
What Factors Affect a Chihuahua’s Life Expectancy?
There are several factors that greatly influence how long a chihuahua will be present in your life. You might notice that many of these factors are similar to what might impact how long a human will live, making them rather easy to remember.
A dog’s genes can tell you a lot about how long they might live or how healthy they are going to be in the long run. That is if you are so lucky to meet the parents or adopt from someone who knows about the chihuahua’s parents.
Diet and Nutrition
A chihuahua is only going to be as healthy as the food they eat. For instance, as much as most pet owners want to share their “people food” with their little buddies, it’s probably one of the worst things you can do for your chihuahua’s diet. People food is just as the name implies; it’s meant for people.
A chihuahua needs to be given a balanced diet of high-quality pet food that is well balanced nutritionally and does not contain preservatives or fillers of any sort. A chihuahua’s diet is directly linked to how long they live due to how significantly it impacts their overall health.
A good diet provides well-rounded nutrient intake and helps them to maintain a healthy weight. A plump little chihuahua might sound adorable, but these little dogs can have some serious negative impacts on their health if they are carrying around any excess weight.
Weight Gain or Loss
Just like with humans, if chihuahuas gain and hold onto a few extra pounds, they are more susceptible to developing health problems. Typically these health problems include diabetes and cardiovascular diseases, both of which can lead to a shortened lifespan.
The average chihuahua weight ranges from 3-6 pounds. This means that even the slightest weight gain or loss can be significant for these tiny dogs. Yes, being underweight is also detrimental to the health and lifespan of a chihuahua.
Being underweight often points to a chihuahua being undernourished, which can lead to a weakened immune system Meaning, a chihuahua who is underweight is at just as high of a risk for a shortened life span as an overweight chihuahua is.
Small dog breeds such as chihuahuas are at very high risk for dental issues throughout their lives. If these problems are not prevented or handled as they appear, these small dogs can suffer some serious consequences to their health.
If your chihuahua develops diseases such as gingivitis due to poor dental hygiene, bacteria can then get into their bloodstream and travel through their body. Typically, this bacteria ends up in their heart or kidneys, inflicting even further damage and shortening their life span.
Chihuahuas are one of the luckier small breeds of dogs who have the ability to spend up to two loving and happy decades with us. Their life span is very much dependent upon several factors, some of which are in our control as their owners. Others, on the other hand, are just part of their nature. Such as their genetics or predisposition to certain diseases that can have a negative impact on their ability to live those full two decades.