Diet & Nutrition Guide: Chihuahuas
Chihuahua Feeding Recommendations
The Chihuahua is an absolutely adorable toy breed. With a tiny body coupled with a huge personality, it is no wonder that many fall in love at first sight with this breed!
However, with their short stature comes some special dietary needs. Therefore, their diet needs to be spot on to ensure they develop correctly and live their best life.
But what is the best food for a Chihuahua?
In this detailed and extensive guide, we are going to show you what to feed a Chihuahua, how much to give daily and how often, along with the common dietary issues this breed experiences. We’ll also answer some frequently asked questions at the end of the article!
Feel free to use the list below to skip to a specific section if you’re looking for something in particular.
What is the Best Dog Food for Chihuahua Puppies?
If your Chihuahua is a puppy, then it is doubly important that their dietary needs are being met.
Puppies need plenty of calories and protein, much more than a mature dog. Therefore, they need a diet that is specifically formulated to help them grow and develop correctly.
It’s also key that the food they receive is of the highest quality, as the Chihuahua is particularly sensitive to low-quality food. Cheap, processed food is usually the cause of many diet-related issues.
A bad diet can lead to a whole host of problems, including obesity, allergies, and nutritional deficiencies. When this occurs during puppyhood, it can severely hamper their growth and development.
Chihuahua puppies also have a very fast metabolism, requiring several small meals throughout the day to keep their blood-sugar levels stable. Food that isn’t nutritious enough can lead to the puppy not getting as much energy as it needs, increasing the risk of hypoglycemia.
So, now that we know what food is bad for a Chihuahua pup, what is the best dog food for a Chihuahua puppy?
The ideal food will be nutritionally balanced for their age without any artificial ingredients or fillers. Instead, it should contain fresh, human-grade ingredients packed with all the nutrition they need to grow healthily.
And, of course, as the Chihuahua can be quite the picky eater, it needs to be super tasty!
Below is a list of some fantastic fresh foods that make for the best puppy food for a Chihuahua; be sure to give them a go (cut into small bites, of course)!
Chicken & Broccoli
Beef & Carrots
Turkey & Brown Rice
Lamb & Sweet Potatoes
How Much Should You Feed a Chihuahua?
You could be giving your Chihuahua the healthiest food in the world; yet if you feed them too much, they will gain weight.
Obesity is a real issue for the Chihuahua, with many dog owners accidentally overfeeding them. They may mistake the chubbiness of their poor pup as a cute characteristic, rather than the symptom of a problem.
Just weighing over 20% over the ideal weight is considered obese, while 10-20% is thought to be overweight. So if your Chihuahua is up an extra pound, it may not sound like much, but it is a real problem!
A poor diet filled with artificial additives and preservatives will also contribute to weight gain. By replacing those with high-quality, nutrient-dense ingredients, your Chihuahua will naturally need to eat less food each day.
To see if your Chihuahua is overweight, examine their abdomen. It should tuck in towards their body, but if your Chihuahua is looking more like a sausage, then you have a problem!
You should also be able to feel their spine, hips, and ribs. Finally, you should be able to identify their waist when looking at them from above.
Many Chihuahuas will happily overeat if given the chance. Therefore, we recommend you schedule and control your Chihuahua’s food portions.
The table below can serve as a general guideline to their feeding amounts throughout their lifespan. Take a look!
For a more specific ideal weight range for a growing puppy, see the weight chart here!
How Often Should You Feed a Chihuahua?
As Chihuahuas are such a small breed, they don’t have the energy reserves of their bigger brethren. Therefore, they can be at risk of low blood sugar if they don’t eat often enough.
Because of this, we recommend you feed an adult Chihuahua three times a day; breakfast, lunch, and dinner!
Some snacks in-between can also be helpful to keep their energy up between meals.
Keep in mind that puppies under 3 months will require up to 4-6 separate meals per day, due to their high metabolism. At 3-6 months you can lower this to 3-4 meals per day, then onwards from there you can keep them at 3 meals per day.
Below you can find a mini-guide on feeding your Chihuahua throughout the day!
Morning: It’s best to feed your Chihuahua at the same time each morning; you could schedule this around the time you get up for work or other early responsibilities. Make sure that someone gets up at this time on weekends too!
Mid-day: When it comes to lunch, many family members may be out of the house at work or school. However, this meal cannot be missed! To ensure that the Chihuahua is fed properly, fill a treat dispenser with their meal and schedule it to dispense during the lunch hour.
Evening: In the evening, ensure you feed your Chihuahua before bed. Remember, don’t be tempted to give them any table scraps from your own dinner, no matter how much they beg!
Snacking: Some healthy snacks throughout the day can be useful in keeping their sugar levels stable, especially if they have been running about a lot! Our brand new treats do the job nicely and are perfect for supplementing a healthy and balanced diet.
Diet-Related Health Issues in Chihuahuas
Chihuahuas have very sensitive stomachs and a poor diet can cause a rapid onset of health problems.
While obesity is a major concern, a poor diet can also cause joint and back issues (due to extra weight), heart and lung disease, and a reduction in immune strength.
Diabetes is another major concern, since the Chihuahua already struggles to regulate its blood sugar due to their high metabolism and small size.
Finally, a dog on a poor diet simply experiences a lower quality of life. Diet-related health problems often affect the ability of the dog to run, play, and well, be a dog! This is why a good diet is key to having a dog who will live happily and well into old age.
To spot whether your Chihuahua’s current diet is causing problems, look out for some tell-tale signs. These can include lethargy, recurring allergy symptoms with an unknown source, and a dull and flaky coat.
It’s a bit gross, but the consistency of their stool can be a great indicator of potential problems too. If their poop is as hard as a rock, or more like diarrhea, it can be worth taking a look at their diet as a possible cause.
Below, we’ve listed some common conditions and situations a Chihuahua may face, along with the appropriate diet alterations that should be considered.
If your Chihuahua is looking a bit on the stockier side, it’s time to identify problems within their diet and make the proper changes.
We would recommend that the Chihuahua be placed on a fresh food diet if they aren’t already, as this ensures that they are receiving high-quality ingredients bursting with nutrition.
Remember to portion their food correctly throughout the day and never give table scraps.
Finally, make sure they are receiving a daily walk and some play each day. Be careful not to overexert them; start small and raise the intensity of the exercise as their energy levels increase.
Some Chihuahuas can be notoriously picky when it comes to their food, which can be quite frustrating when you’ve just bought a whole bunch of it!
However, if you’re feeding your Chihuahua food that is simply not desirable or that tasty, they probably will lose motivation to eat it.
This can be exacerbated if you give your Chihuahua too many tasty treats throughout the day. Your Chihuahua simply finds those tastier, so they would rather wait for treat time!
Therefore, it’s important that you try to limit the amount of tasty treats you offer and attempt to make their regular meal time just as desirable, while remaining healthy of course!
If your Chihuahua suffers from heart disease, their diet may need to be altered.
There are several nutrients and minerals that hold a key role in maintaining cardiac health and preventing their condition from getting worse. These are:
Omega 3 Fatty Acids
Due to this, we would recommend that you work with your veterinarian or a qualified canine nutritionist to find out whether any dietary changes or nutritional supplements are necessary.
As Chihuahuas are at a particular risk for hypoglycemia, we’d recommend you acquaint yourself with the first signs of the condition.
A wobbly gait, lethargy or restlessness, muscle twitching, and seizures can all be warning signs that your poor pup is experiencing low blood sugar.
If you notice these symptoms in your Chihuahua out of the blue, try to feed them a meal if they are able to eat. Keep an eye on them and see if this resolves the situation.
In the case that your pup is unconscious, rub a tablespoon of corn syrup or honey on their gums. If this wakes them up, try to feed them then get them to your vet for a check-up.
If they do not come around, take them to the vet immediately.
To avoid this situation from ever occurring, ensure you are feeding them three times a day at regular intervals, with healthy treats in-between to supplement their diet.
So, What is the Best Diet for Chihuahuas?
With all that, we can break down the ideal diet for the Chihuahua.
Firstly, Chihuahua dog food should be fresh and made with human-grade ingredients. Their diet needs to be completely nutritionally balanced for their age and weight.
This ideal food then needs to be portioned correctly and given within three meals a day that has been appropriately spaced out. An adult Chihuahua should eat between 4-10oz a day, depending on their ideal body weight.
Finally, it should be positively drool-worthy!
What is the ideal weight for a Chihuahua? – The ideal weight for your Chihuahua depends on various factors such as their age, height, and pre-existing health conditions. Ultimately your vet will be able to tell you a more specific range.
How can I help my Chihuahua lose weight? – Helping your Chihuahua lose weight requires a combination of dietary changes and ensuring they are receiving enough exercise.
How much exercise does my Chihuahua need? – The Chihuahua can be a little ball of energy! Therefore, they should take at least one decent walk a day, along with some fun play sessions.