The Best Dog Foods For Chihuahuas

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We all know the world’s favorite small breed dog, the Chihuahua. It’s a hyperactive little mutt that seems to be as sweet and calm as possible for a dog until you go to pet one! If you’re the proud owner of a Chihuahua, then you might want to consider some specific branded kibble or dry foods for them that are going to work best at keeping their weight under control, while providing them enough nutritional value to get through the day.

As Chihuahua’s have a lot of energy and are often running about the house and the yard, you’re going to want to go all out on the highest quality dog food possible. Your Chihuahua needs plenty of carbs, fatty acids but also a relatively grain-free mix of food. You don’t want to be giving them an upset stomach, but you also don’t want to be feeding them too little, or they’ll be lethargic and not able to keep a healthy weight. 

For such a small dog, Chihuahua’s really are complicated when it comes to figuring out their nutritional needs and requirements, so we’ve created the guide for you below! Take a look, and you’ll learn all about high protein foods, complex carbohydrates, and how best to avoid health issues as a Chihuahua owner.

Recommended Chihuahua Recommend Pet Food –

Wellness CORE Natural – Grain Free Dry Dog Food

One of the leading dog food brands for the Chihuahua is from Wellness CORE thanks to their removal of all grains and other foods that aren’t too good for dogs. The kibble blend is designed around ensuring your small, overly active dog has plenty of protein, carbs, and fats to maintain their activity level, which is fantastic for keeping on top of any health problems. 

The blend is also corn-free, soy-free and is entirely free of all artificial flavonoids and colors, so you’ll have nothing to worry about when it comes to keeping your pup as healthy as can be. 

Blue Buffalo Life Protection – Dry Adult Dog Food

Another top quality food for small breed puppies, as well as adult Chihuahuas, is the Blue Buffalo blend that contains all of our ideal carb, fat and protein levels, along with plenty of antioxidants and vitamins and minerals that are ideal at assisting with joint health and dental health. The blend also contains oats and brown rice, the ideal carb combination to ensure your dog’s high activity levels are maintained. 

Why One-size-fits-all Doesn’t Work With Chihuahuas

To start off our guide, we’ll take a look at why dog needs change depending on the breed and why it’s not a good idea to choose one dog food brand or dog food type for all of your pets if they’re a different breed. 

As you would expect, a German Sheppard, for example, is going to have massively different nutritional requirements when compared to your Chihuahua. The Chihuahua is likely far more active and jittery throughout the day, and with its small tummy, it will need plenty of carbs to keep it going, though German Sheppards will need a range of different quality foods that include natural grain and more. The kibble size is also going to be significantly more substantial when compared to the size of the kibble that your Chihuahua eats. 

To conclude, your Chihuahua will need a high carb diet with kibble that is tiny and very hard as you’ll notice that Chihuahua’s are prone to dental issues if not provided with a hard kibble to clean their teeth. They’re also prone to other health problems such as heart issues and high blood sugar, which we will touch upon below. 

Choosing Chihuahua Portion Sizes

If you’re new to owning a Chihuahua or have a Chihuahua puppy, then you’ll find that their portion sizes are incredibly deceptive. For such a small dog, they eat a tonne if they’re not given high-calorie kibble or snack foods. You’ll want to make sure you Chihuahua food is breed specific and calorie dense, so they’re not forced to regularly snack on low-carb kibble all day long for energy. 

The best food portion sizes for your Chihuahua is going to be 40 calories per pound of their body weight, which equates typically to 400 calories a day for an adult Chihuahua. They’re small, but with such a high activity level, they need a lot to eat!

We suggest that you make food readily available for your dog as you’ll notice that they really do eat a tonne, so a kibble tray filled with Chihuahua dog food is going to be your best bet. These dogs aren’t known to stuff their faces with food, so you can be sure that they’re not going to sit and eat all of the food in one sitting and beg for more in a few minutes. 

What Should Be in Chihuahua Food

Taking a look into the fine print on the kibble is essential for a Chihuahua. You need to be sure that a puppy Chihuahua, adult Chihuahua, and senior Chihuahua is getting the correct nutrients, so checking protein, fat, and carbs is essential. 

For Chihuahuas, their protein should be a massive 30% of their intake, with fat and carbs coming in a close second at 20% and 15%. This is down to the fact that Chihuahuas tend to eat a tonne, and their dietary requirements call for something to sustain their energy levels but also make sure their sensitive stomachs aren’t irritated too much. 

Protein Portions

As Chihuahuas burn energy so fast, they’re going to eat like pigs, and there’s no way around it, so don’t worry too much if your handbag puppy is eating like a full-grown Great Dane! We suggest that you make a protein-rich food at home, or purchase a high-protein kibble blend that is at least 30% protein or your little Chihuahua will be coming back to the food bowl again and again!

If you can’t find a quality protein blend, we suggest that you add your own foods into the mix. Try to add chicken meal or deboned chicken into the kibble and see how they take to it. Chihuahuas are picky eaters however, so it might be a little challenging to get them to take to the food right away. Keep adding it for a week or two and see if they finally accept chicken, lamb or other food as their new protein source.

Carbohydrate Portions

On to carbs now, and there’s no universal guideline for how many carbs should find their way into your Chihuahua’s diet, though just make sure there are plenty! What we suggest you do is add in your own added carbs to the dry food mix. You don’t want your puppy to be eating too many bad carbs either, so sweet potatoes, brown rice, and high-quality flaxseeds are essential. 

To add, if you’re putting some great healthy carbs into your Chihuahua’s food, you’ll also be giving them plenty of omega fatty acids and antioxidants which are fantastic for stomach health and longevity. Stray from artificial flavors and preservatives in your Chihuahua’s carbs, and you’ll be on track to creating the most ideal adult dog food!

Fat Portions

Don’t be afraid of adding plenty of healthy fats to your Chihuahua’s food either. Whether it be fish oil, chicken fats, or even beef fats, you’re good to add these into the dry dog food. The Chihuahua’s high energy levels again require you to add plenty of fats to the mix, so take a look at your specific dog’s needs and activity level and adjust the portions accordingly. 

One thing to keep a note of is that Chihuahua’s can become a little fat or show signs of gaining some chub, though they’ll drop that quite quickly if you reduce their intake, though energy levels will also drop, so it’s best to continue the higher fat content. The higher fat content is also crucial to brain function, healthy skin, and digestive system health.

Other Nutrient Essentials

Moving on from fats, carbs, and protein, there are also essential nutrients such as prebiotics and probiotics, amino acids, omega-3s, and glucosamine. These nutrients are often included in puppy food and most wet meals, though kibble should also have it included too. Royal Canin, Blue Buffalo and Hill’s Science Diet foods will all include the most essential nutrients, so it won’t be too hard for you to keep your excited little pup well-nourished. 

What To Avoid in Chihuahua Foods

To ensure you really are getting the best dog food for your Chihuahua, there are a few minor ingredients that should rarely find their way into your pup’s stomach. What we call ‘filler foods’ and by-products are foods that companies often stuff into kibble and virtually all pet food to save money where they can. 

The top foods to avoid are wheat, soy, corn, and other grains. Most kibble and packet pet foods tout grain-free recipes, so it’s easy to spot, so be sure to include these in your next grocery shop. These filler foods have essentially no nutritional value whatsoever, and can even irritate your pet’s tummy, so there’s no need to have them in your pet food. 

More obvious things to avoid are your typical artificial flavors, preservatives and artificial colors as these aren’t only bad for your dog’s health, but they can also trick your Chihuahua into liking food or thinking that they’re getting a lot of nutrients from it. These additives are essentially making bland, nutrient-less food taste great and driving your pooch to crave it, even though it’s bad for them. 

Lastly, if food isn’t fit for human consumption, such as meat by-products, it also shouldn’t find its way into your Chihuahua’s dinner. Keep an eye out for strange disclosures such as ‘meat imitation’ or ‘meat substitute’ on toy breed food packaging, and you’ll know to avoid it entirely. 

Health Issues Amplified by Poor Food

Sadly, Chihuahua’s genetics force the toy breed to suffer from an array of health issues that can sometimes be amplified by poor food choices. Not only do Chihuahua’s suffer from dental problems, but their high energy and high food intake leave many of them on the cusp of developing diabetes and heart problems. 

We’ve outlined a few common health issues that Chihuahua’s suffer from below, and what the best foods can do for you in getting these issues under control. 

Dental Issues and Small Teeth

Being a small breed means that, of course, Chihuahua’s have teeny teeth! This isn’t too much of an issue on the surface, though, with such small teeth, they tend to break quite easily. We suggest that you almost never provide wet food for your Chihuahua and only stick to ultra-hard kibble that works to clean your pup’s teeth as they eat it. This way their teeth remain clean and healthy and aren’t weakened by plaque or tarter and waiting to break. 

It may also be a good idea to brush your Chihuahua’s teeth later in life to make sure that they’re as clean as possible. You don’t want to be dealing with tooth decay and other immune system issues that come from your puppy having poor dental hygiene. 

Obesity or Weight Management Problems

Another common issue for Chihuahua’s is that most owners find their pets becoming unmotivated to exercise. When paired with an unrelenting appetite, this lack of exercise can quickly spiral into causing your Chihuahua to become obese or fat. 

We suggest that if you do have a Chihuahua who has become a little less drawn to exercise that you make a few changes to their diet. Cut back a little on the portion sizes and also increase the fiber of their food so that they stay full for longer, while also eating less. It’s the easiest way to take care of Chihuahua weight problems. 

Flakey or Dry Skin

As mentioned above there are food types such as fats and amino acids that help to keep your dog’s skin under control and moisturized, though some dog breeds will always have a little trouble keeping their skin from flaking or becoming too dry or itchy. We suggest that in these cases you continue to alter and adjust their diet to focus more heavily around fats. This way you’ll be upping amino acid intake and omega-3’s in the dog’s diet which could majorly help them in dealing with flakey skin. 

A good point to make here is that adding something as simple as tuna or fish oil to your Chihuahua’s kibble could make a world of difference. They’re small dogs and digest food rather quickly, so within a few hours, or a day or two you could notice that their entire flakey skin problem has simply evaporated. 

Joint Problems

One final issue that is common in small dogs like Chihuahua’s is joint issues. This thankfully is easy to deal with inside the diet. You must focus on adding a tonne of chondroitin into their diet, which is a compound found in most kibble foods. It helps to maintain joint and bone health, which is fantastic to give to older dogs. 

We recommend that you begin to add chondroitin into your dog’s diet after they’ve hit adulthood as prevention is far better than treatment when it comes to joint pain and joint problems in small dogs. 

Time of Day to Feed

A quick point we’d like to touch on is when to feed your Chihuahua. Unlike almost all other dogs, a Chihuahua will need to be fed three times a day. Adults have such small tummies that they need to be fed in small increments that are split up throughout the day. Their high activity level will mean that they burn off each meal in about 2 to 3 hours, so feeding them in the morning, at lunchtime and in the late evening is ideal. 

Choosing the Best Dog Food for Chihuahuas

Now that we’ve outlined all of the top points when it comes to Chihuahuas and their diet, we can let you know all of our favorite dog foods! These are all dry kibble meals, though we do suggest as outlined above that you implement some veggies and a few snacks and additions of your own to these mixes – such as sweet potatoes, blueberries and more. 

Wellness CORE Natural – Grain Free Dry Dog Food

One of the leading dog food brands for the Chihuahua is from Wellness CORE thanks to their removal of all grains and other foods that aren’t too good for dogs. The kibble blend is designed around ensuring your small, overly active dog has plenty of protein, carbs, and fats to maintain their activity level, which is fantastic for keeping on top of any health problems. 

The blend is also corn-free, soy-free and is entirely free of all artificial flavonoids and colors, so you’ll have nothing to worry about when it comes to keeping your pup as healthy as can be. 

Blue Buffalo Life Protection – Dry Adult Dog Food

Another top quality food for small breed puppies, as well as adult Chihuahuas, is the Blue Buffalo blend that contains all of our ideal carb, fat and protein levels, along with plenty of antioxidants and vitamins and minerals that are ideal at assisting with joint health and dental health. The blend also contains oats and brown rice, the ideal carb combination to ensure your dog’s high activity levels are maintained. 

One downside to the blend is that the protein is chicken-based which can sometimes cause mild stomach irritation in dogs. 

Honorable Mentions

Although we stand by both Blue Buffalo and Wellness CORE as the top two foods for your little Chihuahua, you could also opt for the Merrick Lil’ Plates Small Breed and the Nutro Ultra variant. However, both of these blends are wet foods which takes them off our top list due to the fact that they’re more likely to cause the dental issues we highlighted above. 

And there you have it! All you need to know about ensuring your Chihuahua is well-fed and has all of the ideal nutrients they need to support their hyperactive lifestyle without worrying about weight gain or any other major health problems!

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By Dejan