best food to feed a chihuahua

Chihuahuas are small, sassy dogs with huge personalities. These lap dogs are known to be excellent companions who will protect their owner at all costs. Chihuahuas are fearlessly loyal yet stubborn, and they can live to be upwards of 16 years old! While Chihuahuas have a long life span, a healthy, long life begins with proper diet.


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This clever, charming breed needs a moderate amount of exercise to maintain an ideal weight. Chihuahuas can easily become overweight because they are so small, and they enjoy spending time on your lap. How active your Chihuahua is will determine what sort of diet you feed them.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll share feeding guidelines for your Chihuahua, as well as our favorite small breed dog foods. Chihuahuas are prone to specific health concerns, and we’ll address those in this article. We also discuss what type of food will help your Chi thrive no matter what life stage they are in. Whether you have a new Chihuahua puppy or a pal in their golden years, we’ll help you pick out the best food to meet their lifestyle needs.

General Nutritional Requirements for Chihuahuas

Although dogs generally have similar nutritional requirements, some specific needs can be different from breed to breed. Since Chihuahuas are the tiniest dog breed, they will typically thrive on a diet created for small breed dogs. Chihuahuas have a pretty average activity level, so you want to keep them on a diet that contains a moderate amount of fat and protein. More active dogs require food that is higher in fat since they will burn more calories through their exercise.

Being that Chihuahuas are so little, they are prone to obesity. When given the wrong type of diet, Chihuahuas can easily become overweight. It’s imperative that Chihuahua parents keep their pup on a protein-rich diet, which consists of about 40% meat. You will also want to avoid feeding your Chi a food that contains ingredients such as corn syrup, additives, gluten and specific types of animal fat.

Let’s look more closely at appropriate diets for Chihuahuas at all life stages.

  • Puppy Diet: Chihuahuas are fragile due to their tiny stature, especially as puppies. It’s important to start your baby Chi on a diet that will help their bones and body grow to their full potential. A puppy formula food would be a great place to start, as a food made for puppies will contain essential nutrients and vitamins for growth. Dog food with a higher percentage of fat and protein will be appropriate for Chihuahua puppies. It’s best to feed your puppy 2-3 times daily, and the amount of food you offer will be determined by which food you choose.
  • Adult Diet: Once your Chihuahua is fully grown, you can reduce their feeding time to 2 times a day. You will also want food with slightly less fat and protein to prevent obesity. Adult Chihuahua should always be on a diet with a moderate amount of fat to avoid unhealthy weight gain, especially if your pup is low energy. It’s easy for Chihuahua to gain weight, but more difficult for them to lose it.
  • Senior Diet: Senior Chihuahuas should still be fed twice a day, but they will need a diet with leaner meats and a moderate fat percentage. It’s likely that your older Chihuahua has slowed down, so it’s best to keep them on a diet that won’t cause them to easily gain weight. Senior small breed diets are available and a great option for mature Chihuahuas.

Different Types of Foods to Feed a Chihuahua

As you probably already know, there are several different dog food types that you can choose for your Chihuahua. They include:

  • Dry: Dry food (also known as kibble) is a reliable, trustworthy food choice for Chihuahuas. Munching on kibble will perpetuate good dental hygiene, which is important for Chis, as they are prone to dental issues.
  • Wet: Wet food is typically canned or comes in a container of sorts. While it’s probably not the best option for your dog’s daily feeding, it can be a nice treat or meal topper.
  • Semi-Moist: Semi-moist dog food contains about 60% water. It would also be appropriate as a tasty treat every once in a while, or food topper. Be careful though – as semi-moist food generally contains more salt and/or sugar than other foods.
  • Raw: Some pet parents prefer to feed their pups a raw diet. Homemade raw diets can be dangerous and insufficient if not made with the correct amount of ingredients, including supplements for vitamins and minerals. However, Chihuahua parents can purchase ready-made raw food, which is a great option for time constraint and to ensure your pup is being fed correctly.
  • Home-cooked: There are several freshly made dog food delivery options on the market today. While home-cooked style dog foods are the most expensive, they are also the most premium. Chihuahuas will thrive on fresh delivery dog food, but it’s important they also eat kibble for proper dental health.

Common Chihuahua Health Issues to Consider

Chihuahuas are susceptible to certain health issues due to their size. Some common health concerns to consider are:

  • Poor dental hygiene
  • Obesity
  • Intervertebral Disc Disease (IVDD)
  • Vision and eye problems
  • Heart problems
  • Patellar luxation
  • Idiopathic epilepsy
  • Tracheal collapse

A majority of these potential health issues can be avoided by way of proper diet and exercise. Obesity can lead to another slew of problems, so keeping your Chihuahua at an ideal weight is incredibly important. As pet parents, it’s our responsibility to feed our dogs an appropriate diet that will keep them healthy and thriving.

Many dog foods are formulated with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants which specifically target vision and joint health. Dry dog food is going to be best for your Chihuahua’s dental health, as it helps reduce tartar while cleaning the teeth. If your Chihuahua already has a health concern to take into consideration, you’ll want to pick out food for them based on those needs.

Can Chihuahuas Eat Human Food?

It’s important to stray away from giving your Chihuahua table scraps, especially if they are high in salt, sugar or fat. However, there are a plethora of healthy fruits and vegetables that would make a delicious treat for your tiny canine pal. These include:

  • Peas
  • Carrots
  • Broccoli
  • Kale
  • Blueberries
  • Apples
  • Sweet potato
  • Pumpkin
  • Watermelon
  • Spinach

You can use any of the above fruits and veggies as treats for your Chihuahua, or you can cut them up and add them to your Chihuahua’s meals each day. Fruits and vegetables contain a wide variety of vitamins and minerals which are great for your Chihuahua’s digestion and immune system. But not all foods that are healthy for humans are healthy for dogs. Be sure to never give your dog grapes or raisins, and double check if a food is safe for your Chi before offering them a piece.

Overall Best Chihuahua Food

Wellness CORE Grain-Free Small Breed Turkey & Chicken Recipe

Key Benefits:

  • Omega fatty acids promote healthy skin and coat
  • Small kibble pieces for tiny Chihuahua mouths
  • Great for Chihuahuas with higher energy levels
  • Contains glucosamine and chondroitin for hip and joint support

Wellness CORE small breed dog food is formulated for active, tiny pups. This premium dog food is packed with protein and a proprietary blend of nutritional supplements and botanicals. The grain-free recipe is protein-based, which is best for any Chihuahua’s diet. If your pup is allergic to grains, Wellness CORE is a healthy food that your Chihuahua will thrive on.

This dog food contains several helpful ingredients that will help your Chihuahua maintain a healthy, active lifestyle. Glucosamine and chondroitin support hips and joints, while omega fatty acids from salmon oil promote skin and coat health. The formula is also blended with a variety of probiotics and antioxidants. Wellness CORE offers a complete and balanced diet for Chihuahuas, and we highly recommend giving it a try!

Pros:

  • Premium, high-quality kibble
  • Contains a blend of helpful ingredients, vitamins, and essential nutrients
  • Supports healthy hips, joints, skin, and coat
  • Small kibble pieces are appropriate for Chihuahuas

Cons:

  • If you have a lazy, or low energy Chihuahua, this food may cause them to gain unnecessary weight.

Purina Pro Plan Savor Adult Shredded Blend Small Breed Chicken & Rice Formula

Key Benefits:

  • #1 ingredient is real chicken
  • Formulated with rice to promote healthy digestion
  • Optimal protein-to-fat ratio for Chihuahuas of any activity level
  • Contains a blend of fatty acids for a radiating coat

Most Affordable Chihuahua Food – Purina Pro Plan has a variety of small breed dog foods that are suitable for Chihuahuas. We like the shredded blend because it contains small bite kibble pieces and shredded bits for a more exciting mealtime experience. Pro Plan is extremely affordable and quality. This formula is made with real chicken as the #1 ingredient to deliver a balanced and nutritional diet.

Purina Pro Plan Savor small breed formula is appropriate for Chihuahuas of any activity level. The protein-to-fat ratio is balanced to ensure that your pup maintains a healthy weight. This dog food recipe is blended with rice to promote healthy digestion, as well as a variety of omega-6 fatty acids to keep your Chi’s skin and coat healthy. Your Chihuahua will thrive on Purina Pro Plan small breed dog food, no matter their current age or life stage.

Pros:

  • Cost-effective yet quality dog food
  • #1 ingredient is chicken
  • Balanced with ingredients to promote overall digestion and skin & coat health
  • Shredded small bites add substance and flavor to mealtime

Cons:

  • Does contain wheat and corn, which some dogs may be sensitive to

Holistic Select Small & Mini Breed Puppy Health Anchovy, Sardine & Chicken Meals Recipe

Key Benefits:

  • Pre & probiotic stimulate the growth of healthy gut bacteria
  • Blended with live yogurt cultures for digestive health
  • No byproducts, wheat or wheat gluten
  • Made with natural fiber to promote regularity

Best Puppy Food for a Chihuahua – This grain-free dog food formula from Holistic Select is our top pick for Chihuahua puppies. It’s balanced with high amounts of fat and protein to nourish your puppy’s growth and development. Brown rice, oatmeal and quinoa provide your Chi with energy for playtime and exercise. Holistic Select small breed puppy food contains super foods such as blueberries which provide natural support of cellular health.

Holistic Select Chihuahua food contains DHA for proper development of your Chihuahua’s brain and eyes. Natural fiber helps regulate your Chihuahua for appropriate daily elimination. While this dog food is more expensive than others, it’s formulated with high-quality, natural ingredients to ensure your puppy will grow and develop in the healthiest way possible.

Pros:

  • Formulated for optimal digestive health
  • Blended with ingredients to support energy for play and growth
  • Made with antioxidant-rich superfoods
  • Contains active probiotics and healthy fiber

Cons:

  • This is fairly expensive puppy food, but it is premium quality.

NomNomNow Fresh Food Delivery

Key Benefits:

  • Custom meals for your dog
  • Monthly home delivery
  • Meals are prepared fresh
  • Each package of food is already specifically portioned for your dog

Best Dog Food for a Chihuahua with Allergies – NomNomNow is a homemade dog food delivery service. Each batch of NomNomNow is specifically created for your dog based on their age, weight and activity level. All you have to do is fill out an online profile about your dog, and NomNomNow will create special food for them. Each box of NomNomNow that you receive will contain perfectly portioned meals for your dog so you don’t have to worry about measuring food. NomNomNow is automatically delivered on a monthly basis, so all you have to do is answer the door and stock up the fridge!

NomNomNow is great for dogs with allergies because you can have the food formulated for such. Homemade food tends to be best for pups with sensitivities because it’s made without any fillers or additives. During the ordering process, simply note your dog’s allergies so appropriate food can be made for your Chihuahua.

Pros:

  • Each batch of food is made specifically for your dog
  • Extremely high-quality, premium food
  • Delivered straight to your door
  • Already portioned out for mealtime
  • Made with the highest quality ingredients

Cons:

  • NomNomNow is expensive but worth the cost for sensitive dogs.

Merrick Lil’ Plates Grain-Free Real Chicken & Sweet Potato Senior Dry Dog Food

Key Benefits:

  • Formulated with chicken, fruits, and vegetables
  • No gluten, artificial preservatives or flavors
  • Fewer calories to help senior Chihuahuas maintain a healthy weight
  • Pre & probiotic fiber aids digestion

Best Senior Chihuahua Food – It can be more difficult for senior Chihuahuas to maintain an optimal weight due to their decreased energy and activity levels. Merrick Lil’ Plates senior small breed dog food is formulated with fewer calories to ensure your older pup doesn’t become obese. It also contains L-carnitine to support healthy metabolism.

Merrick Lil’ Plates dog food is made with deboned chicken as the first ingredient. A delicious blend of fruits and vegetables creates a balanced, nutritious for your aging pup to enjoy. Glucosamine and chondroitin will assist in keeping your Chihuahua’s bone and joints feeling great through their golden years.

Pros:

  • Doesn’t contain any artificial colors, flavors or preservatives
  • Fewer calories so your aging Chihuahua can maintain a healthy weight
  • Blended with nutritious fruits and vegetables
  • Formulated with glucosamine and chondroitin for healthy hips and joints
  • Made in Merrick’s Texas facility with locally sourced ingredients

Cons:

  • This dog food is a tad pricey, but it comes highly recommended by fellow Chihuahua parents.

4 More Top Rated Chihuahua Food Recommendations

Taste of the Wild Appalachian Valley Small Breed Grain-Free Dry Dog Food

Taste of the Wild provides your small canine companion with a balanced diet made with novel proteins such as venison. This grain-free kibble comes in small bits so your Chihuahua won’t have any problems munching away during meal time. Taste of the Wild is made with a blend of healthy antioxidants and vitamins to support your Chi’s overall health and wellness. This premium dog food is made from trusted and sustainable sources without grain, corn, wheat or fillers, so it would be a great choice for pups with sensitive stomachs.

Nature’s Recipe Small Bites Chicken Meal & Rice Recipe Dry Dog Food

If you’re looking for cost-effective dry dog food for your Chihuahua, this formula from Nature’s Recipe will meet all of your pup’s dietary needs. Real chicken is the first ingredient to help support healthy muscle development. Rice assists in digestion, and it’s a lean source of carbohydrates for your Chihuahua’s playful energy. This budget-friendly dog food is a great option for Chis with sensitive tummies, as it doesn’t contain any corn, wheat or artificial flavors.

Instinct by Nature’s Variety Frozen Raw Bites Small Breed Grain-Free Real Beef Recipe

If you’re interested in trying a packaged raw diet for your Chihuahua, we highly suggest considering Instinct by Nature’s Variety. This frozen raw food is made in the USA with natural beef, non-GMO vegetables, fruits, and other wholesome ingredients. It contains 85% protein, meaning that this food will be best for active Chihuahuas. The small bites are minimally processed and never cooked. Your energetic Chihuahua will love this raw dog food from Instinct, and you’ll love the convenience of it!

Nutro Wholesome Essentials Small Breed Adult Farm Raised Chicken Dog Food

Nutro Wholesome Essentials small breed dog food is made in the USA and packed full with a blend of real chicken, omega-6 fatty acids and zinc. This wholesome blend of ingredients will help develop and support healthy muscles and a shiny coat. Small kibble pieces natural clean teeth and reduces tartar, which is an important factor for a Chihuahua’s overall well-being. Nutro doesn’t contain any byproducts, wheat, soy protein or corn.

Our Chihuahua Puppy Feed Guide & FAQ

Chihuahuas should generally eat a meal two times a day, or three if they are less than one year old. Eating multiple meals a day helps with energy levels, and it aids in the digestive process. It’s generally good practice to feed your Chihuahua once in the morning, then again in the evening.

Your Chihuahua should eat out of a small bowl, preferably made from ceramic or stainless steel. Be sure to clean and disinfect your dog’s dishes at least once a week to prevent the growth of bacteria. If your Chihuahua is using a dirty dish to eat and drink out of, they are susceptible to health issues like canine acne.

Always store your Chihuahua’s food as necessary, whether it requires the freezer, fridge or a dry, dark storage space. Keep your pup’s food sealed so it doesn’t lose any nutritional value or attract pests.

  • How much food should I feed my Chihuahua? – Chihuahuas only eat about a ½-1 cup of food per day. The specific amount that you feed your Chi will depend on their age, weight and activity level. You also want to feed your pup based on the recommendations and measurement guidelines on the dog food packaging.
  • When do I switch my Chihuahua puppy to adult food? – Chihuahuas take a little longer to mature than other breeds. You can switch them to an adult diet from a puppy formula when they are about one year old. It’s important to keep your Chihuahua on puppy food when they are young to help ensure proper bone and muscle development.
  • Should I feed my Chihuahua a grain-free diet? – Grain-free diets are best for Chihuahuas with sensitive stomachs or other food allergies. If you think your Chi is struggling with digestion or processing the current food you’re feeding them, you may consider switching to a grain-free diet.
  • Should I feed my Chihuahua a wet or dry diet? – Dry dog food is generally best for Chihuahuas because the small kibble bites clean teeth and promote exceptional dental health. It’s absolutely okay to supplement your Chihuahua’s diet with some wet or semi-moist food every once in a while to switch it up and add excitement to mealtime.

Conclusion

Before choosing a food for your Chihuahua, consider their age, weight, dietary sensitivities and other specific needs that they may have. If you still aren’t sure which food to feed your canine companion, consult your veterinarian. We’re sure that all of the brands we recommended will have highly nutritious and delicious food options for your beloved Chihuahua.

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