If your Chihuahua is overweight and drooling, you're dealing with two distinct problems. Drooling, depending on the cause, is a potential emergency -- seek your vet's input immediately. The vet's also the person to see for advice on ways for your dog to lose weight. A Chi becomes overweight because he eats too much and doesn't exercise enough; the situation doesn't occur overnight.
The obesity epidemic in America affects more than people. Overweight pets face many of the same health risk as fat humans. The American Kennel Club breed standard for the Chihuahua states that adult Chis should weigh no more than 6 pounds -- many healthy Chis weigh less. Just one or two extra pounds can mean a little dog is carrying a serious percentage of excess weight. If your Chi weighs 9 pounds, he's 50 percent over the weight standard for the largest specimens of this breed.
While your Chi has most likely gained weight because of too much food and too little exercise, there's always the possibility that an underlying condition is responsible for the weight gain. If your Chi is otherwise healthy, your vet can recommend a suitable food and feeding schedule for your dog. She'll certainly suggest a high-quality food -- Chis shouldn't eat any junk. Unlike larger dogs, Chis require several small feedings throughout the day, rather than one or two larger meals. If fed infrequently, Chis can develop hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar. That, in turn, can lead to seizures. One sign of seizures is excessive salivation.
Seizures and Drooling
If your Chi is experiencing excess drooling, a mild seizure could be the culprit. He might exhibit other, subtle symptoms, such a slight facial twitch or a spacey look. More severe symptoms include falling over, limb paddling, involuntary urination or defecation, teeth gnashing and loss of consciousness. Take your pet to the vet immediately for treatment. Since seizures might last less than a minute, try to have the presence of mind to record the scene with your phone so you can show the vet. Hypoglycemia isn't the only cause of seizures in Chis. Head trauma, liver disease and exposure to toxins can also cause seizing. The majority of seizures are idiopathic, meaning a definite cause is never established.
Dental Issues and Drooling
Tiny canines like the Chi have the adult dog's entire complement of 42 teeth stuffed into their little mouths. It's not unusual for Chis to start loosing permanent teeth, even at a young age. Signs of dental disease in Chis include drooling, bad breath, appetite loss, dropping food, mouth bleeding, and reluctance to have the mouth touched. If you can look in your Chi's mouth and see loose or discolored teeth, dental disease is likely affecting your pet. It's possible your Chi will require extraction of some teeth to improve his dental condition.
- Purina Pro Club: Oral Disease Considered Common Problem in Chihuahuas
- Vetstreet: What You Need to Know About Chihuahua Health
- Gladstone Animal Clinic: What Is Considered Overweight?
- American Kennel Club: Get to Know the Chihuahua
- Veterinary Partner: Chihuahua Facts and Fictions
- VCA Animal Hospitals: Seizures - General for Dogs
- PetPlace.com: Seizure Disorders in Dogs
Jane Meggitt has been a writer for more than 20 years. In addition to reporting for a major newspaper chain, she has been published in "Horse News," "Suburban Classic," "Hoof Beats," "Equine Journal" and other publications. She has a Bachelor of Arts in English from New York University and an Associate of Arts from the American Academy of Dramatics Arts, New York City.