Did you know you can’t feed Chihuahuas with food meant for larger dogs? Did you know that those foods will have adverse effects down the line?
That’s why this guide will help you find the best food for your Chihuahua.
Like other tiny dogs, Chihuahuas have small jaws, and those small jaws can have problems chewing larger kibbles meant for big dogs. That’s why their food comes packed in tiny kibbles that shouldn’t pose a problem for their miniature mouths.
And the differences don’t end there. Smaller breeds have smaller stomachs, as well as higher caloric requirements. That means, their food needs to be packed with energy more than food meant for larger dogs.
This guide should help you understand the differences, and help you see why a special product for your Chihuahua may be necessary.
Also check out our selection of best rated dog food.
Our 7 Picks of Chihuahuas Food Reviewed
Royal Canin – Best Overall
Our top choice of the best food for your Chihuahua is this Royal Canin formula based on chicken and corn. As it is made specifically for them, it comes in extra small kibbles, and it is nutritionally balanced for their small stomachs and fast metabolisms.
Since it is meant for adults, it contains about 26% protein, mostly from chicken, and providing enough to maintain their muscles and health. It is further balanced with enough fiber to ensure proper digestibility and the absorption of all the useful nutrients.
It is also enriched in omega fatty acids, mostly coming from vegetable oil, all to ensure your pet’s coat and skin remain healthy. At the same time, natural sources of vitamins and minerals are further strengthened by supplements, all to provide everything your pooch needs to lead a fulfilling life.
As it is perfectly balanced for adult Chihuahuas, this formula provides all the nutrients they need to remain healthy while protecting them from potentially harmful ingredients. That’s why it has our recommendation.
Eukanuba – Great for Digestion
If your Chihuahua has sensitive digestion, this Eukanuba formula could be the answer. It is loaded with specialized easily-digestible fiber, mostly coming from beet pulp and further enriched with prebiotics, which should protect the more sensitive dogs.
Using chicken as the primary protein source, it should provide enough to maintain the strength of your adult pooch. And, since it uses corn and rice as sources of carbohydrates, it should provide all the energy your pup needs to fuel his daily adventures.
It is also full of chondroitin and glucosamine, which should help protect your pet’s load-bearing joints, ensuring they retain their mobility with every advancing year. The formula also contains natural sources of vitamins and minerals, which should provide all your pet needs to remain healthy and strong.
Bearing in mind this formula is balanced for adult Chihuahuas, it provides an appropriate blend of nutrients, with enough protein to maintain their adult bodies, enough energy to feed their speedy metabolisms, and enough nutrients to protect their immunity, as well as skin and coat.
Taste of the Wild – Best for Strong Muscles
For the owners of active Chihuahuas, we recommend this Taste of the Wild formula. It contains higher amounts of protein, and it should ensure your pet’s muscles remain healthy and lean throughout his daily activities.
As it sources its protein primarily from venison and lamb, your pooch should get all the high-quality protein he needs. And, since it uses peas and chickpeas as sources of carbs, your dog should get enough energy to provide his daily needs.
Using fruits and veggies such as tomatoes, blueberries, and raspberries as sources of vitamins and minerals, you can be sure all your dog’s nutritional requirements are met with this formula. And, since those ingredients are also rich in antioxidants, your dog can remain healthy and youthful for a little longer.
To make sure it’s safe for sensitive dogs, this formula is free of grain, wheat, corn, or soy, as well as other fillers or artificial ingredients, colors, flavors, or preservatives.
All this makes this recipe perfectly balanced for adult Chihuahuas, providing them with high-quality protein and carbohydrates, while also feeding them all the useful nutrients they need. And, at the same time, it avoids straining their digestion with potentially harmful ingredients.
Wellness CORE – Ideal for Everyday Feeding
As this is another formula rich in protein, at about 36%, it should provide all the nutrients your Chihuahua needs to maintain the strength and health of his muscles. And, as the protein is sourced from turkey and chicken, you can be sure the ingredients will provide everything your pet requires.
Using peas and potatoes as sources of carbs, your dog will get all the energy he needs to remain active throughout his day. To protect his skin and coat, this formula includes omega fatty acids sourced from salmon oil.
Making sure dogs with sensitive stomachs can enjoy this recipe, it avoids grain, corn, wheat, or soy, as well as any artificial ingredients. And, to further enhance digestibility, it comes loaded with probiotics, as well as prebiotic fiber, all to ensure all the nutrients are properly absorbed, and the digestion isn’t needlessly strained.
This formula should provide all your adult Chihuahua needs to remain healthy and strong and to make sure his fast metabolism has all the nutrients it need.
Blue Buffalo Wilderness – Best for Dogs with Allergies
This Blue Buffalo Wilderness should be ideal for dogs with food-related allergies since it is based on sources of protein such as beef, venison, and bison. It provides higher amounts of high-quality protein, as well as other useful nutrients, all sourced from the various meat sources.
To ensure easy digestibility, it includes pumpkin, an ingredient which is known to reduce upset stomachs, as well as aiding with the proper absorption of useful components. It also avoids grain as a source of carbohydrates, choosing instead peas as its primary source, which should further reduce the strain on your dog’s digestion.
And, it also doesn’t include other potentially harmful ingredients such as soy, wheat, or corn, nor does it contain any artificial ingredients such as preservatives, colors, or flavors. That should make it safer for sensitive dogs.
It does include natural sources of omega fatty acids, primarily sourced from fish and flaxseed, as well as fruits and vegetables to provide all the vitamins, minerals, and fiber your dog needs from a balanced daily diet.
That is why this formula should be ideal for Chihuahuas with sensitive digestions: it provides all the nutrients they need to remain healthy and strong while avoiding common allergens.
Castor & Pollux Organix – With Prebiotics
The probiotics and prebiotic fiber included in this Castor & Pollux formula should help maintain the health of your Chihuahua’s digestive system. That should, along with other ingredients, make this formula easily digestible and nutrient-rich.
Since it uses chicken for its primary source of protein, your pooch should get everything he needs, and since it sources its carbs from sweet potatoes, chickpeas, and peas, he should get enough energy for his daily needs, all without the unnecessary strain some grain-based formulas may provide.
To further round this recipe out, it uses coconut oil, raspberries, and flaxseed as sources of vitamins, minerals, fiber, as well as antioxidants and omega fatty acids, all of which your dog needs to remain healthy and strong.
It is also free of artificial preservatives, colors, or flavors, making it safe for sensitive dogs. Alongside that, it doesn’t contain any fillers, corn, wheat, or soy.
Built using organic ingredients, this formula should provide everything your Chihuahua needs without damaging his metabolism with harmful components.
Instinct by Nature's Variety – Best for Joint Health
As Chihuahuas are prone to problems with their joints, particularly when they get older, they may require a specialized formula to help alleviate the problem. This formula produced by Instinct by Nature’s Variety is just such a product.
It includes chondroitin and glucosamine, two ingredients known for their beneficial effects on canine joints, as well as calcium and phosphorus to ensure the strength and integrity of their bones and teeth, which can be another problem Chihuahuas face.
Chicken provides the protein, as well as other useful nutrients, vitamins, and minerals, while chickpeas provide the carbs. That should ensure your dog is getting the needed nutrients from wholesome sources which shouldn’t damage or strain his digestion.
And, to further ensure it is safe for sensitive dogs, it doesn’t contain any soy, wheat, or corn, as well as any by-products. It only uses natural colors and flavors.
This should all ensure this formula is suitable for adult Chihuahuas who may develop difficulties with their joints. It is also appropriate for the owners who want to ensure their beloved pet never encounters such problems.
Common Health Issues in Chihuahua Breeds
Even though most Chihuahuas will live their life without encountering any medical issues, as a breed, they are more prone to certain conditions than other dogs. This guide should help you understand what possible disease your Chihuahua may develop, and what can be done about it.
This is one of the most common ailments that can affect Chihuahuas, as well as other tiny breeds. What it means is that their blood sugar levels suddenly drop, leading to lethargic and disoriented behavior. Usually, it’s not life-threatening, but if not caught in time, it can have serious long-term consequences.
Normally, it is treated by increasing the number of meals in a day, up to 3 or 4. Treats between meals can also help, as well as foods rich in whole grains, as those provide higher-quality fiber, and they ensure the sugar is absorbed more slowly.
If your beloved pet has this condition we highly recommend getting one of the top rated dog food for diabetic canines.
Like other toy breeds, Chihuahuas can also develop dental problems, as their jaws can be too small for all the teeth they have. In fact, Chihuahuas are the breed most prone to problematic teeth. Mostly, that means that you will have to pay extra attention to the condition of their teeth.
These problems are usually treated with treats or chews to help remove the plaque, but you will most likely need to brush their teeth regularly to avoid complications. And, if you notice more serious symptoms such as bad breath, swollen gums, or bleeding, you should consult your vet immediately.
Allergies to pollen, dust, or mold will most likely manifest themselves as itchy skin in Chihuahuas. The most affected areas are usually around the folds of their skin, belly, or feet, so if you notice your pet is scratching more than usual, or maybe licking his paws, he may be allergic to something in the environment.
They can also be allergic to specific ingredients in their food, in which case, you should consult your vet to learn the appropriate steps to finding out what your pet may be sensitive to. Usually, that process includes a temporary elimination diet, after which you will start looking for a formula that doesn’t cause a reaction.
Even though joint problems are more common among large breeds, Chihuahuas are also more likely to develop certain ailments, most frequently patellar luxation. That means that your dog’s kneecap is in an awkward position, usually as a result of either a congenital condition or a trauma.
The problem usually manifests itself early, while your pup is still growing. In most cases, the condition should clear up on its own, and food rich in glucosamine and chondroitin can help in that regard. In the more serious instances, your pup may need surgery to correct the issue.
Chihuahuas can also inherit or develop problems with their eyes. The most common among them are cataracts, affecting mostly older pooches. They can usually be treated surgically if they start negatively affecting your dog’s life.
Another common ailment is glaucoma, an increase in pressure inside the eyeball. It is treated as a medical emergency as it can lead to blindness.
Patent Ductus Arteriosus
This is a congenital heart problem predominantly affecting smaller breeds, including Chihuahuas. It is a condition in which the shunt leading from the pulmonary artery to the aorta doesn’t close when the puppy is born, leading to further complications and, possibly, cardiac failure and death.
Unfortunately, it can only be treated surgically. The chances that the operation will succeed and your dog will lead a successful life, however, are very high.
You can prevent complications by feeding your dog with high quality dog food for congestive heart failure.
Chihuahua Feeding Guide
As Chihuahuas are the smallest dog breed, do they have special dietary needs? What do they eat? What should their diet look like? How many times a day should they eat?
This section should cover these questions and give you an idea of how to best feed your tiny canine companion.
Diet & Nutritional Requirements
Chihuahuas are the smallest breed of dogs, and as such, their food requires some specific adjustment. The kibble must be small enough that their tiny jaws can chew, and the nutrients must come in different ratios than food meant for larger breeds.
Like all small and tiny breeds, they require about 40 calories per pound. That means that a 10-pound adult Chihuahua will need about 400 calories divided in 2 to 3 meals. That amount can vary by age and activity levels, so you should watch your pet’s weight and adjust the amount of food if you notice changes.
As Chihuahuas are prone to gaining weight, most of their energy should come from fat, which should make about 20 to 30% in their food. As for protein, their tiny bodies and fast metabolisms require a higher amount. Normally, a formula that contains about 30% protein should cover all their needs.
Follow our guide for feeding your small breed puppy with top rated dog food.
Ingredients to Look For & Avoid
When selecting the right food for your Chihuahua, you should pay attention to several aspects. You should note the sources of protein, fat, and carbohydrates, and when possible, choose the formula containing natural sources of these nutrients.
That means that you should choose food containing whole meat, usually labeled like ‘Chicken,’ ‘Beef,’ ‘Turkey,’ or something similar. Meat meals are also acceptable, especially as secondary sources.
Unidentified sources such as ‘Meat,’ ‘Meat Meal,’ or ‘Meat By-Product’ should be avoided, as they normally signify lower quality sources. You should also be careful about plant-based protein sources such as ‘Pea Protein,’ or similar, as dogs have a harder time digesting those than those coming from meat.
Fat follows the same principles, even though flaxseed or sunflower oil can be a quality alternative and good sources of needful omega fatty acids alongside the energy.
Lastly, as far as carbs are concerned, if your pooch doesn’t have digestive problems, he should have no trouble digesting sources based on wheat or corn. Higher quality sources can include whole grains such as flaxseed, oat, or barley, or other vegetables such as rice, peas, potatoes, or sweet potatoes.
As Chihuahuas are tiny dogs, their stomachs are small as well. That, in turn, means that they can’t eat as much as their larger cousins, and will need to have several smaller meals spread out throughout the day.
Normally, puppies should be fed 4-6 times a day, which should be reduced to 2-3 times when they reach adulthood.
As for how much to feed them, that varies by the formula. Most dog food recipes contain about 300-400 calories in a cup, and since most Chihuahuas need 400 calories per day, they will only need a fraction of a cup. Mostly, that will be somewhere between a third and a half for adults, and even less for puppies.
This kind of feeding regime will also reduce the chances of hypoglycemia, as well as further complications such as diabetes or heart issues.
As we’ve shown, Chihuahuas have several dietary needs that aren’t covered in food meant for larger breeds. And as they live longer than their bigger cousins, they may face more consequences of improper feeding.
That’s why we recommend the Royal Canin formula built specifically for Chihuahuas. That recipe should cover all their needs while not introducing any potentially harmful ingredients, and it should be safe for most Chihuahuas.
If, however, your pup doesn’t like it, he might like something from our list of alternatives. He’s bound to find something he enjoys among our selection.
Whichever product you end up using, your Chihuahua will be grateful. He will get all the nutrients he needs to lead a long and fulfilling life.