Chihuahua Health Risks
By Michael J. Warren

Although Chihuahuas are usually healthy, they do have special health considerations, both as puppies and as adults. For puppies, starting at birth through age sixteen weeks, you should be aware of some potential health issues.

Chihuahuas, among other small breeds, often develop "reverse sneezing," which can be caused by excitement, soft palate problems, dust and pollen, cold air, or a collapsed trachea. Your Chihuahua may sound like it is gasping or huffing for air, honking like a goose, or wheezing.

Another Chihuahua health risk is hypoglycemia, as Chihuahuas have a very small fat reserve around the liver. This problem can happen at any age, although small, young Chihuahua puppies have a higher potential for developing hypoglycemia.

Chihuahuas (just like people) need essential fatty acids, which are good fats like Omega 3 and Omega 6 that help build cell membranes in the body. Without them, the body's chemical structure will not function as well. Omega 6 is one fatty acid that cannot be made by your Chihuahua's body. Therefore, you should ensure your Chihuahua is getting Omega 6 in its diet for optimal health.

To determine if your Chihuahua has a deficiency in fatty acids, check its skin to see if it is flaky and if the coat is dull, greasy, or has a course texture. If you notice these things, you can be relatively certain your Chihuahua is not getting enough essential fatty acids.

Other Chihuahua health problems you may notice that may be attributed to a lack of or reduction in essential fatty acids:

- Arthritis or arthritis-like conditions
- Behavioral disturbances
- Disrupted healing process
- Dry nose
- Eczema-like skin eruptions
- Foul odor coming from the coat
- Fragility
- Heart and circulatory problems
- Hindered growth
- Impaired learning abilities or vision
- Kidney or liver degeneration
- Lethargy or lack of energy
- Male sterility
- Miscarriage
- Regular hair loss
- Vulnerability to infection
- Weakness

Don't forget that Chihuahuas have a tendency of becoming obese. To maintain proper Chihuahua care, keep your dog on a healthy food, decrease treats, take your dog for a walk, and provide regular weigh-ins to ensure correct weight is being maintained. Obesity is a major cause of coronary heart disease and if your Chihuahua is allowed to live with excess weight, its health or lifespan could be dramatically reduced!

With its immune system not yet fully developed, problems such as worms, parvovirus, myocarditis, or coccidian can spread through contaminated feces. Without being vaccinated, your puppy has a greater risk of getting sick. Puppies love to sniff around the ground and can easily get into something they should avoid.

For more detailed information about Chihuahua health and general Chihuahua care, please see "The Ultimate Chihuahua Care Handbook," an invaluable resource for both new and current Chihuahua owners.


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