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Question by MEL
Submitted on 1/13/2004
Related FAQ: rec.pets.dogs: Chihuahuas Breed-FAQ
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Answer by chimama
Submitted on 1/13/2004
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I suspect what you are describing is more like a Wheezing as if she can't catch her breath.  Chihuahuas are prone to this since they have tiny little trachea's.

Congratulations and thank you for taking her to the vet, your vet should always be your first stop when concerns arise as to the health of your animals.  You obviously care a great deal for your chi, she will return that care 100fold and then some.

One thing you can do is when she starts doing this, gently pick her up and cover her nostrils with your fingers.  This is NOT cruel, it will force her to breathe through her mouth which will open her trachea again.  You can also gently pick her up and stroke the front of her throat while speaking to her in a calm voice.

If neither of these things work, or it keeps happening, your vet can take an x-ray of her throat which will show a compromised trachea, especially if done during an episode.

If she does this more when she is excited, you will have to work with her to help her tolerate the things that cause excitement in a chihuahua, such as the departure or return of her beloved human and/or the possibility of being given attention, treats, etc.

Leash training will be essential.  All dogs should wear a collar and tags, even if they live in the house.  If she cannot be trained to walk on a loose leash, or a collar seems to aggravate her wheezing, than she should wear a harness instead with the tags attached.  Petco and Petsmart both carry harnesses in small sizes to fit a 5 pound dog, they can be adapted down to a smaller dog by removing a section of the straps if you need to.  The harness should fit snugly but not tightly.

Whether collar or harness, check often that the collar is not too tight, you should be able to get your index finger between her neck and the collar.  I use a brand of collar that is elasticized, which suits both my girls well.  The younger one though is very good at backing out of her collar when on leash, so she has a harness that she wears only when on-leash.  Petco and Petsmart also carry these elastic collars.  

This is a good time for me to insert my usual recommendation that she be spayed and they you invest in the book Chihuahuas for Dummies, which is the best book I have on the care and maintenance of these adorable creatures.


Answer by kristin
Submitted on 3/28/2004
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most chis do "gag" I have 5 and they all have their moments.


Answer by Toronto Chi owner
Submitted on 5/3/2004
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I had my Chihuahau for 2 months constantly gaging and wheezing, I had him going to the vet almost every 2 weeks.  He had kennel cough due to buying him from a pet store, and was put on antibiotic's.  But be very careful with these small precious breeds, as getting kennel cough, it also gave him the beginnings of pneumonia.  They are fantastic little companions, but very small and can get sick in the beginning.  Just watch, and keep informed by your vet.


Answer by sonia
Submitted on 5/25/2004
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Answer by Christina
Submitted on 9/11/2004
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I actually have a 5 month old long hair chihuahua and he was wheezing at an earlier age. Of course not knowing what it was, we took him to the vet and the vet said to just give him about 1/2 inch of robitussin one time a day everyday until you don't hear the coughing anymore. We done that and he is fine, no more coughing. You can ask the vet if you can do that with your chihuahua. It worked for mine. Good luck!!


Answer by petloverof5
Submitted on 9/12/2004
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Chihuahuas have very fragile tracheas. It's very important to use a harness when walking them. That'll help keep their trachea in good condition. I sell harnesses small enough for Chihuahuas on my website. www.petcollarsandmore.com/harnesses.htm


Answer by Flybaby28
Submitted on 10/30/2004
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(Sorry - I know this is not an answer but I don't see a submission spot for questions so here goes.)My chihuahua suffered the most intense wheezing, snorting, hacking coughing, and apparently choking fit last night. I have been reading up and it seems that these fits are common when the dogs get excited or are playing to hard. However, my dog was asleep in his kennel, when my boyfriend moved the kennel out of the room my dog started with the attack. Should I be worried that this occured when the dog was not running around? My boyfriend suggested that maybe the dog got excited when he was moved thinking he was going to get to play. Does this seem possible?


Answer by gucci101
Submitted on 3/3/2005
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i want a Chihuahua but my dad said NO because they are expensive i want to know how much they are and if they are easy to look after


Answer by Brandi
Submitted on 4/20/2005
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My chihuahua keeps doing the same whizzing as yall are describing.  I took him to the vet and he told us that it was a disease and that he was going to die.  But when my chi does wheeze he usually vomits with it also.  What do I need to do?


Answer by Angela
Submitted on 5/7/2005
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I have a question and am in desparate need of help!  I have a seven week old female chihuahua that is currently in the hospital with pneumonia . . . I am told the next twelve hours are critical and need to make a decision on euthenising her . . .she's my baby, and I want her to have a chance to live . . .I don't want to give up hope but don't want her to suffer.  I really need some quick advice.  Please help


Answer by Brandilee
Submitted on 6/5/2005
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My puppy too coughed and gagged constantly. The first vet I took her to said that she had a weak trachea, later I took her to a different vet and learned that it was infact kennel cough. Many puppies from pet stores do have it and an inexperienced vet may miss it. I think because a weak trachea is so common in toy dogs that the vet will assume automatically that's the problem...Just be on the look out.


Answer by christhrift78@hotmail.com
Submitted on 7/2/2005
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Hi - Thanks to Chimama for the original response.  I've always gotten 'yeah that is going to happen' from the vet but never a short term fix for it such as the nostril obstruction that was mentioned.  

Chihuahuas do have small trachea's which can collapse when they become excited, startled, or prompted to bark/become vocal/breath excessively.

Remember that the Chi's nostrils aren't two simple open holes at the end of their snout.  They're combined with folds that would probably have them looking at you like your a moron if you just cover the end of the snout.  It's necessary to close the folds and the nostrils at the same time.  Almost as if you're trying to prevent salt from coming out of the rounded top of a salt shaker.  Remember to allow the movement in the lower jaw, and they will figure out what to do on their own.

my baby is pictured here.



P.S.   That's no ordinary dog you have there.  Chi's seem more like humans than any other animal I've ever seen.  They're great and will really change your life.  Be sure to return the favor and make their life great as well.


Answer by kcdude
Submitted on 10/13/2005
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Hi Sonia,
Apperently it is just a natural thing for a chihuahua to start wheezing for basically no reason at all. I have a chihuahua and when he starts wheezing I did the same thing as you (blow in his mouth) this always works. At first I was nervous but now I am used to it and am not worried because he is very healthy. How often does your little friend wheez? My dog seems to only do it when he is not feeling well or about once a month. Anyway I just want you to not worry, I read about this alot I am sure your chihuahua is just fine!


Answer by Christina
Submitted on 10/26/2005
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I also have a 1 year old Chihuahua and she does wheeze as well but it is only when she gets excited. I am working on helping her with that.


Answer by chihuahuamom
Submitted on 10/28/2005
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My Chihuahuas  (I have 5) - all had a terrible problem with collars/choking. I tried nylon harnesses from Petsmart. They rubbed my dog's hair and skin badly. I also had a really hard time putting them on the dogs. It took me a while to find a German manufacturer who produces very soft, tiny leather harnesses. They are cut differently than the Petsmart harnesses and they fit really well. The leather is very soft. The company has an online store at www.dogcollars.net.


Answer by sam
Submitted on 11/20/2005
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Our 5 yr old female chihuahua has these episodes more than ever... WE usually pick her up and rub her throat.. it seems to calm her down.  


Answer by champer
Submitted on 1/16/2006
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My Chihuahua also gags and chokes. My vet gave him a steroid shot that fixed him right up. This lasted about two months. This was a one time fix and they will not give him another. Now he is on 12.5 mg of benadryl twice daily because they say he has allergies. This helps a little but I do not feel that it is proper to keep him on benadryl forever. I do not agree with the vet and I think they have no idea what the problem is. This seems to be a common problem with Chihuahuas. Why canít anyone figure out whatís going on. The one thing that I found that helps during an attack was to hold up there back legs.


Answer by samson's mom
Submitted on 1/28/2006
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my chi does the same thing. It almost sounds like a honking sound. It happens due to their small trachea. I will usually pick him up and blow small amounts of air in his face to make him breath in through his nose. It happens alot when he gets excited or is dreaming in his sleep.


Answer by Trish
Submitted on 2/8/2006
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My Chi also gags, especially when she eats, and I really freaked out.  I brought her to the vet immediately but the vet said its nothing wrong, perhaps its throat infection and gave me antibiotics.  I told him its a collapsed trachea, but he seemed ignorant about the situation.


Answer by Recow
Submitted on 7/7/2006
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Phew! I'm glad it was not only Humper. I was very worried and thought he was going to die!He also makes weird snorting noises and wheezes when he gets strong emotions, for example when he's busy humping my sister's doberman, or when he growls at my grandma's chihua Daisy.


Answer by Ichihuahua
Submitted on 9/27/2006
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We just got a new chihuahua from a pet store and he has kennel cough.  He is done the antibiotics and still has choking episodes, quite a bit it really worries me, he seems like he cant get much air.  My vet never mentioned that chihuahua's do this.  Reading this site helps calm me down a little.


Answer by Toughchic
Submitted on 11/25/2006
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My 3 year old chi wheezes very often.  This is because small dogs are closer to the ground where dust particles are mostly found. To prevent this, you should sweep around your house often, making sure your house is as clean as possible.  They really don't just all of a sudden stop, it is a habit small dogs have adapted to.  To get your chi to stop faster, try to keep its mouth open.  This will help it start to breath its mouth and open up its trachea.


Answer by 3 chis
Submitted on 3/12/2007
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What I think your describing is a bronchial spasm. It is completely harmless and almost like a reverse sneeze. It is an involuntary collapse of the dogs trachea and is common in small dogs.


Answer by Robert
Submitted on 3/27/2007
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I think a lady should be tied up and gag tight.


Answer by looloo
Submitted on 5/31/2007
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who cares?


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