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Best Dog Food For Chihuahuas: Powering Your Pint-Sized Pup!

Few dogs pack as much personality into a 5-pound-package as Chihuahuas do! While these loaded balls of fury don’t need a great quantity of food, they certainly require a high-quality food, to fuel their inner engines.

Keep your little bundle of bounce healthy and happy by feeding him the best food you can find. He’ll thank you, and you’ll feel better knowing that you’re feeding him a nutritious, well-balanced diet, chock full of the things a spunky little Chihuahua needs!

best food for chihuahuas

Chihuahua Health Problems and Their Dietary Implications

Chihuahuas, as explained by the AKC, are “generally a healthy breed,” and, like many other small breeds, they live very long lives, often exceeding 15 years or more.

While this is great news for owners, it presents a unique challenge: Because Chihuahuas live long lives, they are more susceptible to lifestyle-related health problems. Conditions like arthritis, diabetes and obesity often take many years to manifest, so breeds with shorter lifespans rarely suffer from them.

Several other health problems Chihuahuas face are congenital, but while these shouldn’t influence your dietary decisions, it is still important to provide your Chihuahua with a high-quality food, tailored specifically for treating those conditions that you may be able to delay or prevent.

Some of the most common health problems Chihuahuas experience include:

  • Chihuahuas often battle with skin- and coat-related conditions. Several of these conditions are hereditary, but many others – most notably food allergies – are strongly influenced by your dog’s diet. Look for foods with novel protein sources and no common allergens (corn, soy, milk, beef, poultry and wheat, among others).
  • Your Chihuahua is more likely to develop joint problems than most other small dogs are. While many such conditions, such as luxating patella (a dislocated knee cap), are hereditary; you may be able to prevent or reduce the severity of other joint-related conditions, such as arthritis, by selecting foods with chondroitin or glucosamine.
  • best-dog-food-for-chihuahuasSome Chihuahuas suffer from a heart condition called patent ductus arteriosus – a condition in which a heart defect prevents blood from reaching the lungs as efficiently as it should. However, this is a congenital defect that doesn’t have any dietary implications; afflicted dogs require surgery.
  • Chihuahuas often suffer from dental disease. Fortunately, dental disease can often be prevented by brushing your dog’s teeth regularly and giving him teeth-cleaning treats. However, you should also feed him kibble, rather than wet or semi-moist dog foods, as it will help scrape his teeth clean with each meal.
  • Chihuahuas are also susceptible to a variety of eye disorders, including glaucoma, corneal dystrophy and lens luxation. However, these conditions are not likely to be associated with your dog’s diet.
  • Hypoglycemia frequently afflicts Chihuahuas, so many breeders advise pet parents to feed Chihuahuas small, frequent meals (3 to 4 times per day), or on an ad libitum basis (meaning that you keep a dish of food available at all times).

Characteristics of Good Chihuahua Dog Foods

Good Chihuahua foods have a number of common characteristics – be sure to select foods that meet the following criteria:

  • Opt for foods produced in the United States, Canada, New Zealand, Australia or Western Europe. Because Chihuahuas are tiny little things, they have a very small margin for error when it comes to toxic ingredients. Accordingly, it’s really important to offer your Chihuahua the highest-quality food available, manufactured in a country with strict quality control standards.
  • Select smaller kibble for your pint-sized pup. Your Chihuahua may have strong jaws and sharp teeth, but he’s less likely to choke on or struggle with small sized kibble.
  • Opt for foods that list a meat as the first ingredient. Despite his tiny size, your Chihuahua retains most of the biological adaptations of his wolf ancestors – this means that while he’ll readily eat fruits, vegetables, and grains, what he really wants a meat-based diet!
  • Select food without artificial flavors, colors and other non-essential additives. While artificial flavors and colors may not be dangerous, they may trigger food allergies, and they provide no value to your pup. Leave these types of ingredients where they belong – in sugary breakfast cereals.
  • Avoid foods containing un-identified “mystery meats.” Meat meals and meat byproducts are not necessarily bad ingredients in dog foods (even if they seem a little gross to dog owners), but you should only accept the presence of those that are properly labelled. There is a big difference between chicken meal, for example, and “meat meal.”
  • Look for foods with added fatty acids. Because Chihuahuas are susceptible to food allergies and a number of skin conditions, it is wise to select foods rich in Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids, as they are thought to promote a healthy coat.

Don’t Skimp on Your Chihuahua’s Food: Economies of Scale

Before moving on to the best foods for Chihuahuas, it is important to recognize an important factor in your decision-making process: Dog food is a significant investment for any pet parent, but there is a big difference between the needs of a 120-pound Cane Corso and your 5-pound pint-sized pooch.

best-chihuahua-dog-food

If you are purchasing dog food by the metric ton, every additional penny you spend per pound increases the total cost enormously; but if you are buying 10-pounds of food at a time, it isn’t a huge deal to spend another dollar-per-pound, to get the best food possible.

Essentially, since your little dog eats less food, you can (hopefully) afford to spend a bit extra on the high-quality stuff, compared to the owners of giant breeds that goes through bags of food on a weekly basis.

Just think of it this way: Spending 20% more on a $10 bag of dog food is hardly worthy of discussion (it would be just $2 more); but spending 20% more on an $100 bag of dog food ($20 more) is enough of a difference to give many dog owner’s pause.

How Much Should I Feed My Chihuahua?

The average adult Chihuahua needs somewhere around 200 Calories per day. Given that most dog foods have 300, 400 or 500 Calories per cup, you can tell that you will be feeding your beloved pup in fraction-of-a-cup-sized quantities. This means that you’ll probably want to opt for 5- and 10-pound bags of food, rather than 50-pound bags.

Since you don’t need to dish out huge bucks on giant bags of food, we suggest that you take advantage of your pup’s modest caloric needs, and splurge a little on his food. It won’t cost that much more to do so, and he’ll certainly appreciate your efforts.

How Often Should I Feed My Chihuahua?

We discussed this briefly above, but it’s worth mentioning again here – most breeders suggest owners feed Chihuahuas smaller, more frequent meals (around 3-4 times per day), or even on an ad libitum basis, which simply means always keeping a dish of food out for your pooch.

This unorthodox eating regiment is due to Chihuahuas’ susceptibility to canine hypoglycemia. We certainly don’t want you pup’s blood sugar to crash! If a more frequent eating arrangement isn’t possible, consult your vet about the possibility of canine medication or other supplements.

The 5 Best Foods for Chihuahuas

Some of the best foods for Chihuahuas are listed below. Any of these options should provide your pup with a nutritious and tasty treat at meal times.

1. Royal Canin Chihuahua Adult Dog Food

ROYAL CANIN BREED HEALTH NUTRITION Chihuahua Adult dry dog food, 10-Pound

Royal Canin Chihuahua Adult Dog Food is a breed-specific formulation, designed to keep your little rascal healthy and happy.

Price: $$$$$

Features:

  • Small kibble sized, custom-designed to suit your Chihuahua
  • Highly digestible proteins and carbohydrates improve your dog’s digestive function
  • Enriched with biotin, Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids to help promote a healthy coat
  • Aromatic and tasty blend to tempt your Chihuahua’s finicky taste buds

Ingredients

Corn, chicken by-product meal, brewers rice, wheat gluten, oat groats, brown rice, chicken fat, natural flavors, dried plain beet pulp, fish oil, vegetable oil, calcium carbonate, potassium chloride, sodium silico aluminate, DL methionine, fructooligosaccharides, sodium tripolyphosphate, salt, taurine, vitamins [DL-alpha tocopherol acetate (source of vitamin E), inositol, niacin supplement, L-ascorbyl-2-polyphosphate (source of vitamin C), D-calcium pantothenate, biotin, pyridoxine hydrochloride (vitamin B6), riboflavin supplement, thiamine mononitrate (vitamin B1), vitamin A acetate, folic acid, vitamin B12 supplement, vitamin D3 supplement], choline chloride, L-lysine, L-tyrosine, marigold extract (Tagetes erecta L.), L-carnitine, glucosamine hydrochloride, trace minerals [zinc proteinate, zinc oxide, ferrous sulfate, manganese proteinate, manganous oxide, copper sulfate, calcium iodate, sodium selenite, copper proteinate], tea, chondroitin sulfate, rosemary extract, preserved with mixed tocopherols and citric acid.

PROS:

Royal Canin Chihuahua food is a premium dog food, produced right in the USA. It is the perfect food for owners looking to spare no expense and provide their dog with one of the highest-quality foods available.

CONS:

As always, premium foods brandish premium price tags, so this isn’t the best food for budget-minded Chihuahua owners.

2. Eukanuba Chihuahua Adult Dog Food

EUKANUBA Breed Specific Adult Chihuahua Dog Food 3 Pounds

Eukanuba Chihuahua Adult Dog Food is another great breed-specific diet, formulated with your Chihuahua’s unique needs in mind.

Price: $$

Features:

  • Includes the 3D DENTADEFENSE System, which will help keep your Chihuahua’s teeth clean
  • Rich in anti-oxidants to help support immune function
  • Contains L-carnitine to help your pup burn fat and stay svelt
  • Contains beet pulp as a source of fiber

Ingredients

Chicken, Chicken By-Product Meal (Natural source of Chondroitin Sulfate and Glucosamine), Corn Meal, Ground Whole Grain Sorghum, Brewers Rice, Chicken Fat (preserved with mixed Tocopherols, a source of Vitamin E), Dried Beet Pulp, Chicken Flavor, Ground Whole Grain Barley, Fish Meal, Dried Egg Product, Fish Oil (preserved with mixed Tocopherols, a source of Vitamin E), Potassium Chloride, Salt, Sodium Hexametaphosphate, Fructooligosaccharides, Flax Meal, Minerals (Ferrous Sulfate, Zinc Oxide, Manganese Sulfate, Copper Sulfate, Manganous Oxide, Potassium Iodide, Cobalt Carbonate), Calcium Carbonate, Dried Chicken Cartilage (Natural source of Chondroitin Sulfate and Glucosamine), DL-Methionine, Choline Chloride, Vitamins (Ascorbic Acid, Vitamin A Acetate, Calcium Pantothenate, Biotin, Thiamine Mononitrate (source of vitamin B1), Vitamin B12 Supplement, Niacin, Riboflavin Supplement (source of vitamin B2), Inositol, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (source of vitamin B6), Vitamin D3 Supplement, Folic Acid), Brewers Dried Yeast, Vitamin E Supplement, L-Carnitine, Beta-Carotene, Rosemary Extract

PROS:

Eukanuba Chihuahua food is very affordable for a food manufactured in the USA, making it a great option for Chihuahua owners on a budget.

CONS:

Because chicken and corn are the primary ingredients in EUKANUBA Chihuahua food, it is a poor choice for dogs with food allergies (unless you know they are allergic to other things – not chicken or corn).

3. Wellness CORE Natural Grain Free Dry Dog Food

Wellness CORE Natural Grain Free Dry Dog Food, Small Breed, 12-Pound Bag

Wellness CORE Grain Free Dog Food is a reasonably priced, premium ingredient dog food, available in a special small-breed recipe.

Price: $$$

Features:

  • Grain free recipe contains no soy, wheat, corn or artificial flavors, preservatives or colors
  • Made exclusively from all-natural ingredients
  • Manufactured in the USA
  • Fortified with anti-oxidants and Omega fatty acids

Ingredients

Deboned Turkey, Turkey Meal, Chicken Meal, Potatoes, Peas, Dried Ground Potatoes, Chicken Fat (preserved with Mixed Tocopherols), Tomato Pomace, Natural Chicken Flavor, Ground Flaxseed, Salmon Oil, Yucca Schidigera Extract, Choline Chloride, Spinach, Vitamin E Supplement, Broccoli, Carrots, Parsley, Apples, Blueberries, Kale, Sweet Potatoes, Taurine, Spearmint, Mixed Tocopherols added to preserve freshness, Zinc Proteinate, Zinc Sulfate, Glucosamine Hydrochloride, Chondroitin Sulfate, Calcium Carbonate, Niacin, Ferrous Sulfate, Iron Proteinate, Beta-Carotene, Vitamin A Supplement, Copper Sulfate, Thiamine Mononitrate, Copper Proteinate, Manganese Proteinate, Manganese Sulfate, d-Calcium Pantothenate, Sodium Selenite, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Riboflavin, Chicory Root Extract, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Biotin, Calcium Iodate, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Folic Acid, Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C), Dried Lactobacillus plantarum Fermentation Product, Dried Enterococcus faecium Fermentation Product, Dried Lactobacillus casei Fermentation Product, Dried Lactobacillus acidophilus Fermentation Product, Rosemary Extract, Green Tea Extract, Spearmint Extract.

PROS:

Wellness CORE Natural Small Breed Dog Food is a good option for Chihuahua owners that want a grain-free, all-natural diet at a reasonable price. Additionally, its small kibble size and caloric density are designed specifically for small breeds.

CONS:

Some dogs appear to find the food unpalatable, but most owners report that their dog loves the food.

4. Blue Buffalo Wilderness Small Breed Dog Food

Blue Buffalo Wilderness Rocky Mountain Recipe High Protein Grain Free, Natural Adult Small Breed Dry Dog Food, Red Meat 10-lb

Blue Buffalo Rocky Mountain Small Breed Dog Food is a premium, grain-free dog food designed explicitly for small breeds.

Price: $$$$

Features:

  • Small-breed blend is made with extra protein and carbohydrates to keep your pint-sized pooch full
  • Made in the USA
  • Fortified with Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids
  • Made with pro-biotics to enhance digestive health

Ingredients

Deboned Beef, Chicken Meal (source of Glucosamine), Tapioca Starch, Turkey Meal, Peas, Chicken Fat (preserved with Mixed Tocopherols), Potatoes, Pea Protein, Flaxseed (source of Omega 3 and 6 Fatty Acids), Tomato Pomace (source of Lycopene), Natural Flavor, Deboned Bison, Deboned Lamb, Deboned Venison, Alfalfa Meal, Potassium Chloride, Choline Chloride, Potato Starch, Calcium Carbonate, Salt, Caramel, DL-Methionine, Mixed Tocopherols (a natural preservative), Sweet Potatoes, Carrots, Vitamin E Supplement, Ferrous Sulfate, Iron Amino Acid Chelate, Zinc Amino Acid Chelate, Zinc Sulfate, Yucca Schidigera Extract, Oil of Rosemary, L-Lysine, Parsley, Kelp, Blueberries, Cranberries, Apples, Spinach, Blackberries, Pomegranate, Pumpkin, Barley Grass, Turmeric, L-Ascorbyl-2-Polyphosphate (source of Vitamin C), Copper Sulfate, Copper Amino Acid Chelate, Nicotinic Acid (Vitamin B3), Taurine, Calcium Pantothenate (Vitamin B5), Biotin (Vitamin B7), Manganese Sulfate, Vitamin A Supplement, Manganese Amino Acid Chelate, L-Carnitine, Thiamine Mononitrate (Vitamin B1), Riboflavin (Vitamin B2), Vitamin D3 Supplement, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (Vitamin B6), Beta Carotene, Dried Yeast, Dried Enterococcus faecium fermentation product, Dried Lactobacillus acidophilus fermentation product, Dried Aspergillus niger fermentation extract, Dried Trichoderma longibrachiatum fermentation extract, Dried Bacillus subtilis fermentation extract, Folic Acid (Vitamin B9), Calcium Iodate, Sodium Selenite.

PROS:

Made with premium meats, fruits and vegetables, Blue Buffalo Small Breed Dog Food is a great option for puppy parents that demand high-quality ingredients, and don’t mind paying for them.

CONS:

Like most other foods, there are scattered reports of dogs turning their nose up at this food. However, the vast majority of owners have found their dogs love the recipe.

5. CANIDAE Grain Free PURE Dry Dog Food

CANIDAE Grain Free Pure Fields Small Breed Adult Dog Dry Formula with Fresh Chicken, 4 lbs

CANIDAE Grain Free Dog Food is limited ingredient diet, designed for small breeds that may suffer from food allergies.

Price: $$$$

Features:

  • Fresh chicken is the first listed ingredient
  • Limited ingredient diet contains no grains or soy
  • Small kibble size makes the food easy for your Chihuahua to handle

Ingredients

Chicken, menhaden fish meal, peas, lentils, potatoes, dried whole egg, chicken fat, sun cured alfalfa, flaxseed, natural flavor, minerals (iron proteinate, zinc proteinate, copper proteinate, ferrous sulfate, zinc sulfate, copper sulfate, potassium iodide, manganese proteinate, manganous oxide, manganese sulfate, sodium selenite), vitamins (vitamin E supplement, thiamine mononitrate, ascorbic acid, vitamin A supplement, biotin, niacin, calcium pantothenate, pyridoxine hydrochloride, vitamin B12 supplement, riboflavin, vitamin D3 supplement, folic acid), salt, choline chloride, dried enterococcus faecium fermentation product, dried Lactobacillus acidophilus fermentation product, dried Lactobacillus casei fermentation product, dried lactobacillus plantarum fermentation product, dried Trichoderma longibrachiatum fermentation extract, mixed tocopherols (a source of vitamin E)

PROS:

CANIDAE Grain-Free PURE Dog Food is an ideal choice for parents of Chihuahuas with food allergies, or simply those looking for a high-quality food, chock full of premium ingredients.

CONS:

Because of the high fiber content of the food, some dogs become gassy and produce more waste after switching to CANIDAE PURE dog food. However, with time, this usually passes.

What Can You Do About Picky Chihuahuas?

Some Chihuahuas become quite picky over time, and it is occasionally challenging to find a food that tempts their taste buds. All of the previously recommended foods are largely regarded as tasty, but Chihuahuas are individuals, who exhibit wildly varying preferences.

There’s little you can do to ensure your dog will like a given food before simply trying it out and seeing how he reacts. But, there are a few things you can do to help make even the blandest foods more appealing:

  • Lightly moisten your pup’s food with a little water and then pop the dish in the microwave for a few seconds to warm it up. Be careful not to get the food too hot, which could burn your little Chihuahua’s mouth and throat, so test the temperature with your finger before offering it to your dog.
  • Fat tastes good (shocking, I know), so add a tiny bit of shredded cheese or olive oil to your dog’s food. Don’t go overboard, as excessive amounts of dairy can cause digestive upset and oil is packed with calories – we’re talking about a teaspoon or so in either case.

***

Any of these foods would make a great staple for your charismatic little Chihuahua – just be sure that you take any special needs he may have into account before making your selection.

We’d love to know what our readers are feeding their Chihuahuas! Have you found an exceptional food that we missed on our list? Have you had any unfortunate experiences with these or other brands? Let us know in the comment section below.

Last update on 2018-10-23 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

About the Author Ben Team

Ben is a proud dog owner and lifelong environmental educator who writes about animals, outdoor recreation, science, and environmental issues. He lives with his beautiful wife and spoiled-rotten Rottweiler JB in Atlanta, Georgia. Read more by Ben at FootstepsInTheForest.com.

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