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Chihuahua Age


In this section we are going to discuss all elements relative to Chihuahua dog age and growth. Here we will go over:
  • The average age a puppy is obtained including reasons to wait longer 
  • Milestones to expect along the way, from newborn to adolescent to adult and finally senior 
  • Chihuahua to Human Age Equivalency 
  • The details of average life span
  • How Chihuahuas can age differently 
  • Things that you can do at home to help your Chihuahua live as long as possible 
In the United States, most states have laws in regard to the age that a pup can be bought. For many, it is not legal to sell a puppy until the age of 8 weeks old. 
Tiny Tim Capone at 18 weeks old 
Some states have additional guidelines, such as Kansas and Missouri that additionally state that not only must the 2 month mark be reached, the pup must also be fully weaned from the dam (mother).

There are a couple of states in the US such as Virginia and Wisconsin that dictate the puppy be no younger than 7 full weeks old.

As you can imagine, the main reason for this law is to protect the dog. Much of this is in regard to physical health, although being pulled away from dam and litter-mates at too young of an age is emotionally taxing as well.

Sometimes, a puppy will be a bit older before going to his new home. 
There may be an instance when a breeder feels that a Chihuahua has not grown as expected and being a bit undersized, will want to wait an additional week to allow the puppy to gain a bit more weight.

When a pup is transported long distance to a new home, usually via airplane, some breeders will want the Chihuahua to be 9 or even 10 weeks old so that the dog will be better able to handle the physical and emotional stress that can develop during delivery. 

Chihuahua Age Milestones

So many things will be happening as your Chihuahua ages. Some phases will fly by and others will seem to drag on forever, making you wonder if your dog is to forever remain in a trying time.

Let’s look at the important elements that will happen at various ages during your Chihuahua’s life:

1 Day Old Newborn – It’s hard to imagine unless you see it for yourself, however newborn pups are born with eye lids closed. People also speak of ears being closed and what this really means is that hearing is not developed. 

In addition, there are not yet any teeth at all…even “puppy teeth” will need to descend. At this delicate age, the puppy is completely dependent on the dam. If the dam were to reject him or her, the owner must take over all care, including tube or bottle feeding.

10 Days Old – Most puppies will have doubled their weight (from when they were first weighed right after birth). Even at this very young age, some Chihuahuas will need to have their nails trimmed. Sleep and nursing take up 95% of the pup's life. 
3 Weeks Old – From Week 1 to the end of Week 3, many changes are occurring! Eyes are open now, hearing is almost at full capacity and the pup is learning to walk. Many of us do not think about how a dog learns to walk… 

However, just like human babies, it is a learning process. They are wobbly at first, but most find their footing within a week and will soon be running! At the end of 3 weeks, a Chihuahua is no longer considered to be a newborn.

4-7 Weeks – This is the weaning stage– very slowly and gradually solid foods will be introduced. By the end of Week 7, a Chihuahua will usually be completely on a solid diet. 
Chihuahua puppy with eyes closed
Weeks 5 to 8 – This is a time of rapid growth and rapid learning. It is known as the transitional puppy stage. Chihuahua puppies, at this age, are trying to process the world around them. 

New scents, sights and noises bring out the explorer! It is common for a dog to mouth everything in order to figure out, “What is this?”, so it is very important to proof the home to make it safe.

It is suggested to go over all flooring every day, looking for small objects that may have been inadvertently dropped. This means everything from a piece of paper to a key and so forth.

8 Weeks Old – Most certainly the most important time in a Chihuahua’s life. It is at this age that he or she will be going to their new home.

While this is a very exciting time for a new owner, it can be a very overwhelming time for a little pup. It is very important to try to make this transition as smooth as possible.  On the breeder's/seller’s end, the following should have been done:
  • De-worming
  • All shots up-to-date
  • Full health check
  • Dewclaws removed
  • All paperwork in order (Purchase & Sale, Health Guarantee)
  • 2 days’ worth of food and blanket or other cloth element with the dam’s scent given to new owner
On the buyer’s end, the following should have been done:
  • Puppy-proofed the home
  • Purchased a one month supply of whatever food the breeder/owner has been feeding to the Chihuahua pup (even if a change is desired, it must be gradual)
  • Have honey on hand (in case of hypoglycemia)
  • Have chew toys, a properly sized quality canine bed, leash, collar (or harness – recommended), food and water bowls (plastic is NOT recommended, it can cause staining, ceramic or stainless steel is best)
  • Have a veterinarian chosen (preferably one who has experience with the Chihuahua breed)
3 Months to 4 Months Old – This will be the most intense time of the teething phase. Don’t worry, it will be over soon! Be sure to have plenty of chew toys. Also, keep ice cubes in your freezer at all times…

If your Chihuahua is having extreme discomfort, offer one for him or her to play with on a linoleum or tile floor, the cold will ease the gums and the sliding “toy” will be a good distraction.

4 Months to 8 Months – This is the Puppy Independence stage. During this time, with you will notice rapid growth physically; your dog’s mind will be expanding as well! 

So much is learned during this time. Training is in full force, both for house training and for commands. Your Chihuahua will be learning the names, voices and faces of various friends and family…He or she will be learning their daily schedule and will be testing you to see what they can or cannot get away with!
Chihuahua puppy hiding under bed
Importantly, socialization should be taking place. Bring your Chihuahua to as many places as you can, offering him or her an opportunity to meet and greet “strangers” and other dogs. Go for plenty of walks (keeping them short enough not to over exercise your Chihuahua) and use this time to teach your Chihuahua how to heel.

Know that curiosity will be very high during this time. Keep a close eye on your dog. Allow time to investigate smells, textures and sights…However, have clear boundaries about what is and what is not allowed.

8 Months to 1 Year – Your Chihuahua, at this age, is now becoming an adolescent. A Chi will calm down a bit after this age. While still playful, a bit of the more serious adult personality is peeking through. With good training, by this age undesired behaviors have been corrected and the dog is fully housebroken. A Chi is almost done growing at this point.
1 Year Old – By this age, the silliness of puppy-hood is just about done, however since most Chihuahuas have such amazing personalities, you will see that your dog has a good sense of humor and a charming personality that will stay for life. The Chihuahua is now considered an adult. 

Growth is most rapid and noticeable during the first year. It can be quite a roller coaster ride… Sometimes you will see a clear difference in just a week…other times, it will slow down with seemingly no change, only to be followed by a quick growth spurt.
By the end of Year 1, growth is done for most. Many Chihuahua dogs will not grow taller after the age of 1 year to 1.5 years, however they will still slowly fill out in width (chest area will be most noticeable). Weight increases will be negligible. If your Chihuahua gains any considerable amount after the 1 year mark, you will want to discuss this with your veterinarian to rule out any possible health concerns. He or she is now just about fully grown.

8 - 10 Years Old – At this age, a Chihuahua is considered to be a senior. He or she may not seem like a senior; however some things will need to change and you may start to notice some signs of aging. 

Your Chihuahua may not want to go for walks as often, and that is okay. What you will want to do is to break up the exercise time. For example, instead of going for one 30 minute walk per day, break this up into two 15 minute walks.

Now is the time to transition to senior formula food and supplements. If you home cook, only the vitamin and supplement should be switched to a senior formula. 

Many Chihuahuas develop joint pain and muscle discomfort by this age and obtaining an orthopedic canine bed can be beneficial for the dog. Veterinarian visits will now be more frequent, usually twice per year, since geriatric screenings will now be done.

Chihuahua to Human Age Equivalency

Long ago, the aging of dogs was quickly summed up by saying that they aged 7 years for every 1 human year. That was a wild estimation. Today, we have the ability to understand the aging process in a much more detailed way.

Toy dogs will mature faster than large breed dogs. However, they generally have a longer life span.

For example, a Shepherd is considered a puppy until the age of 2. However, life span for a Shepherd is 9 to 13 years. A Chihuahua is only a puppy until the age of 1, but his life span is 14 to 18 years.

Now, since the Chi is the smallest of all toy breeds, he will mature in the following way:

Let’s look at this chart:

Age of Chihuahua              Human Equivalent
          6 months                                  5
          1                                             15
          5                                             35
         10                                            52
         15                                            70

Helping Your Chihuahua Stay Healthy No Matter the Age

While general guidelines tell us that a Chi will live, on average, 14 to 18 years there are many elements that will have an effect on exactly how long each dog will live.

There are steps that you can take to help your dog live as long as possible:

Regular vet visits – This cannot be overstated enough. So many health issues, caught in time, can be treated. Heart failure is the leading cause of death with this breed.

In up to 75% of all cases, it is specifically the issue of deterioration of the heart value. This CAN be treated! When caught early enough, for many Chihuahuas, medication can control the problem and prolong life span.

Dental Care - It is a shame that so many owners underestimate the essential need for proper dental care. 

Without regular cleanings (daily care at home and once-a-year professional cleanings) infection can set it. It can then travel throughout the body. Dental care not only cuts down on heart problems, it also saves your dog from suffering tooth loss (which affects ability to eat and receive enough nutrition).

Limit Exposure to 2nd Hand Smoke – It causes death in humans and it causes death in canines. If anyone in your family smokes or if guests to your home smoke, have them do so outside (or in a designed indoor area such as a garage).
adult Chihuahua dog on harness
Food, Fitness, Fun - These 3 elements work together to create a happy, healthy dog. Feed your Chihuahua a healthy balanced diet, spend time with your dog to play, walk, and run around…and have fun! 

Have you ever seen what looked like an old, aged dog out on a front porch, alone and just lying there? Take that same dog, but give him a family that takes him for walks, plays with him at the beach and takes time to have fun and he will look and feel so much younger!

You will have the pleasure of watching your Chihuahua grow and mature for many years. It is your responsibility to offer the best of care throughout each of the phases in his or her life. Make each year special, provide all of the necessary elements needed to maintain good health and most of all offering unending love.

When you truly love a dog you will take him to the vet if he shows signs of illness, you will feed him healthy foods, you will make sure he has comfort, you will keep him safe….you will allow him to live a long, happy life.
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