Common causes of seizures in the Chihuahua dog breed

Common causes of seizures in the Chihuahua dog breed

Health & Safety

The Chihuahua is the very smallest dog breed in the world, and these delicate and finely-boned little dogs require special accommodations to be made for their diminutive size in order to provide them with a good quality of life and keep them safe from harm.

This manifests in many different facets of day to day life with a Chihuahua and owners usually get used to the special care requirements of Chihuahuas naturally and quickly, such as walking slowly enough for the dog to keep up, choosing playmates carefully to avoid accidental harm to the dog, and providing the right balance of food and exercise.

However, the Chihuahua’s small size also means that there are other implications for their health and care too, and less margin for error when things go wrong. For instance, the vast majority of dog owners know that chocolate is toxic to dogs; but if a large dog ate a single square of chocolate, they are highly unlikely to come to any harm. A tiny dog like a Chihuahua, on the other hand, eating the same amount of chocolate might become quite ill, as their bodies are so much smaller and less able to process it.

There are a number of hereditary Chihuahua health problems too that owners should be aware of, and some of these can result in the development of seizures in dogs that exhibit them.

Seeing any dog undergoing a seizure is naturally very frightening, but when it comes to a very small dog, this is even more likely to be the case. Whilst most Chihuahuas are healthy dogs, their small size and certain breed-specific health issues can cause seizures to occur, and in this article we will share some of the most common causes of seizures in the Chihuahua.

If your Chihuahua undergoes a seizure for the first time or if you have any other concerns about their health, your first port of call should of course be your vet. However, by having a good basic understanding of the most common causes of seizures in Chihuahuas, you will have a head start on monitoring and assessing the issue, and getting prompt help.

Read on to learn more about the most common causes of seizures in the Chihuahua dog breed.

Canine epilepsy

Epilepsy is one of the better known hereditary health conditions that can be found within the Chihuahua breed, and this is perhaps the most common cause of seizures within dogs of the breed too. Epilepsy is a type of seizure disorder that may result in very obvious grand mal seizures, or more subtle and easy to miss petit mal seizures, which usually pass within just a few seconds and often simply look as if the dog has zoned out for a short while.

Epilepsy in dogs cannot be cured, but it can usually be managed effectively with the appropriate medications, which your vet will prescribe once they reach a diagnosis and begin to advise you on your dog’s future care.


Hypoglycaemia means low blood sugar, and this is what sometimes causes us to feel weak or shaky if we don’t eat at the usual time our bodies expect us to. Hypoglycaemia is another health condition that is found more commonly within dogs of the Chihuahua breed than most others, and this pertains to the dog’s small size.

Because the Chihuahua is so small, their blood/sugar balance is much more delicate and with less margin for error than it is in larger dogs, and more prone to falling out of whack. Chihuahuas need to be fed little and often in order to maintain a healthy blood/sugar balance, and being late with a meal or providing the wrong quantity of food can all affect the levels of glucose in their blood.

Hypoglycaemia can result in hypoglycaemic seizures, although these don’t tend to happen unless the dog’s blood/sugar balance is very off kilter. Again, talk to your vet if you have any concerns or if you need advice on the best way to feed your Chihuahua.


Hydrocephalus or fluid on the brain occurs more commonly in the Chihuahua than most other breeds, and is often associated with the large, dome-shaped skulls that they have. Hydrocephalus places pressure on the dog’s brain and can lead to seizures and a range of other symptoms, and the condition can be life-threatening for your dog if it is not promptly treated if it does place undue pressure on their brain and nerves.

Generally, hydrocephalus in the Chihuahua will be diagnosed while the dog is still young, and it doesn’t always cause problems like seizures – but problems can develop later on in life, and so this is always something that is worth bearing in mind.


Finally, poisoning or toxicity of many different types can result in seizures in dogs, and this is not exclusive to dogs of the Chihuahua breed. However, as we alluded to earlier on, the amount of any poison or toxic substance required to cause harm to a dog depends in part on the dog’s size, so if your Chihuahua eats something they shouldn’t eat or is otherwise exposed to a toxin, they are likely to become sicker than a larger dog would.

Poisoning with many different toxins can result in seizures, and such symptoms usually develop quickly and are often quite acute. Contact your vet as a matter of urgency if you think your dog has been poisoned or eaten something toxic, even if they appear to be perfectly fine at the time.



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