Chihuahuas belong to the toy group which has a special nutritional requirement. Smart and sassy, Chihuahuas are energetic dogs. This also means that they need the right source of energy to keep up their activities. Here, I reviewed the best dog food for Chihuahua so you can feed your doggo right.
Sure, pet stores have rows of dog food products. Still, not all of them are golden. With that, I spent days researching and talking with pet owners to come up with this roundup.
MY TOP PICK: Royal Canin Breed Health Nutrition for Adult Chihuahua
Product Name: Royal Canin Breed Health Nutrition for Adult Chihuahua
Product Description: When it comes to breed-specific dog food, I always stick with Royal Canin’s exclusive formula. Their Adult Chihuahua dog food is made for purebred doggos that are at least 8 months old. Like all breed-specific formulas of Royal Canin, this product has specially designed kibble that Chihuahuas will find easy to chew. Its main ingredient is chicken which provides highly digestible protein. Each serving of this dog food contains 26% of protein, 14% fat, 3.6% fiber, and 10% moisture. My dog gobbled it down right away, thanks to the delicious smell. So far, this is the only dog food that my Chihuahua approves.
Vitamins and Minerals
This food also contains excellent fiber content to help Chihuahuas digest their food easily. Aside from that, Royal Canin has rich Omega- fatty acids, DHA, EPA, and biotin content to support coat, nail, and skin health. It will also help the brain development of your pooch.
Among its ingredients include oat groats, brewers rice, brown rice, chicken fat, dried plain beet pulp, and fish oil. There’s also a blend of vitamins B, C, and D. To keep your Chihuahua’s weight in check, this dog food contains L-Carnitine.
However, I was actually surprised that the first ingredient for this Royal Canin food is corn. My Chihuahua never had any issues with this dog food, though. Even my cats would try to sneak into the dog dish. To be sure, don’t feed this to your pooch if he has a bad case of allergies.
If you have a teacup, you can mush this dog food with water to make it easy to eat.
✔️Packed with EPA and DHA
✔️Excellent smell and taste
✔️Contains Omega fatty acids
✔️Helps anal gland and tummy issues
Eukanuba Chihuahua Adult Dog Food
Another breed-specific dog food that I recommend is Eukanuba’s Chihuahua Adult Dog Food. Unlike Royal Canin, this one has a smaller portion of corn content. Its main ingredient is chicken, which is a good source of complete protein and healthy fats. Just take note that this is ideal for dogs that are at least 1 year old.
I’ve been giving Eukanuba dog food to my dogs. One thing that I love the most is their 3D DentaDefense system that helps reduce tartar buildup in just 28 days. This dog food also has a special fiber system from beet pulp.
Eukanuba always packs their dog food with prebiotics and antioxidants for a stronger immune system. Aside from that, Chihuahuas will benefit from the L-Carnitine that will increase fat burns.
Aside from chicken, this dog food also contains glucosamine and chondroitin for the joints. There’s also chicken fat, fish meal, egg, flax meal, and fish oil for a dose of nutrients.
Vitamin-wise, this dog food is complete with Vitamins A, B, C, and D as well as Beta-carotene.
I also talked to a kennel owner once and he only gives Eukanuba kibbles to his Chihuahuas. He said that it gave the pooches healthy coats.
The kibble size is just right plus it’s really crispy. If you’re worried that your dog will have a very firm stool, I suggest that you mush it on a cup of water or add a teaspoon of flax oil.
But one advice, though. Eukanuba formulas tend to vary over time. This one has better ingredients than other versions. Always read the label to be sure.
Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula for Small Breeds
Blue Buffalo is a unique formula. Aside from the nutrient dense kibble, it also has what the brand calls LifeSource Bits. It’s a cold-formed bit packed with vital minerals, essential vitamins, and antioxidants. It’s like pills of vitamins added to your Chihuahua’s food.
The LifeSource bits are formulated by veterinarians and animal nutritionists. It’s said to have a healthy oxidative balance and precise nutrients that small breeds need.
The main meal is made from real lamb that contains an excellent protein profile. This is paired with wholesome vegetables like brown rice, peas, carrots, blueberries, flaxseed, sweet potatoes, and cranberries.
If you’re skeptic about corn or by-products, Blue Buffalo is the best choice. It’s free from wheat, soy, corn, meat by-products, and artificial flavors.
This best dog food for Chihuahua contains chelated minerals that are easier to absorb than typical ones. It also has Vitamins A, B, C, and E. Live cultures are also added for holistic nutrition.
Some dog owners might notice the presence of garlic on the ingredients list. It’s only a very small amount, though, and some vets say that such controlled portions are beneficial for dogs.
For Chihuahuas with a bad case of diarrhea, Blue Buffalo can help. Still, each Chihuahua is unique to each other. For serious conditions, a veterinarian is the best person to ask for advice.
The only thing I noticed is the light chemical scent when I sniff the bag. I guess it’s from the combination of vitamins in the LifeSource Bits. Anyway, the pet owners I’ve talked with said their pooches never had any problem with it.
Wellness Core Natural Small Breed Dog Food
Looking or a grain-free choice, the Wellness Core Small Breed Dog Food is recommendable. It’s made from real and premium turkey and chicken that provides the right balance of protein and calories. Also, it doesn’t have corn, soy, wheat, meat by-products, and artificial colors.
Wellness Core also has glucosamine and chondroitin to support the joints of small breeds. Packed with Omega fatty acids and flaxseed oil, it’s also formulated to improve the coat and skin health of small dogs.
Each serving of this dog food contains 36% of crude protein, 15% of crude fat, 5% of fiber, and 10% of moisture. It also has probiotics, essential minerals, vitamins, and high-quality source of carbohydrates.
Overall, this formula supports gum, teeth, immune system, and digestive health. Just remember that this dog food is made for small breeds that are at least 1 year old. Older dogs can also do well on this food.
Some of its other ingredients include dried ground potatoes, chicken fat, peas, salmon oil, broccoli, carrots, parsley, kale, and sweet potatoes.
I can say that when it comes to formula, Wellness Core has one of the best to offer. Of course, not all dogs can thrive in a single dog food but it’s surely an excellent blend for most healthy canines.
My only gripe is that the bag I got isn’t resealable. Aside from that minor issue, this dog food seems pretty good.
By the way, I’ve talked to some pet owners and they said that their finicky dogs don’t find this food appealing. A drop of fish oil should fix the issue.
Hill’s Science Diet Dry Dog Food for Small Breeds
Like Royal Canin, Hill’s Science has a good reputation when it comes to the formula of their dog food. Their small breed formula is rich in prebiotic fiber that supports the microbiome of small canines. This will help improve the digestive health of dogs.
As for palatability, this dog food has chicken as the #1 ingredient. It’s followed by brewers rice, chicken meal, pearled barley, yellow peas, whole grain, egg, sorghum, and dried beet pulp. Just take note that this dog food contains soybean oil which may trigger allergies to some Chihuahuas.
The kibble size of this food is small which is perfect for adult Chihuahuas. Each bit is packed with Omega fatty acids, Vitamin E, and ascorbic acid.
Each serving of this Hill’s Science dog food contains 21% of protein, 12% of fat, 4% of fiber, and 10% of moisture. Unlike the previous formula for small breeds, this one has more chicken.
The highly digestible ingredients allow better absorption of nutrients. It also produces firmer stool, better coat health, and support against skin irritations.
I also like that the 4-pound bag is very affordable. It lets you test the dog food first just in case you have a finicky eater. Also, the seller accommodates returns in case your dog isn’t happy with it.
If you have a Chihuahua with explosive farts, this formula can soothe the flatulence. Also, since the protein content is lower than other dog food, this is ideal for dogs with kidney problems. Some pet owners said that their dogs eat better after transitioning them to this Hill’s formula.
A breakdown: Nutritional Requirements of Chihuahuas
Chihuahuas have different nutritional needs than other breeds. Due to the health problems they are susceptible to, it’s important to pay attention to the meals you’re serving. Here’s a short breakdown of food components you should look for:
Chihuahuas have small stomachs yet they burn calories faster due to their active nature. Also, they can’t eat a lot in one sitting. This is why it’s important to pack their food with complete protein.
Depending on your dog’s allergy history, you can opt for venison, lamb, chicken, turkey, and beef. The addition of fish is also ideal for a dose of Omega fatty acids. Just take note that many Chihuahuas tend to have allergies toward chicken.
The dog food can have plant-based protein which is also a source of fiber. If you’re not sure of the protein level your dog needs, feel free to consult a vet or a pet nutritionist.
Fats are the second most important component of a dog’s food. It’s responsible for the coat, skin, and nail health. Fats are also rich in calories which give Chihuahuas a dose of energy.
Still, fats should be fed in the right amount and from the right source. Unless your dog is overweight, it’s not necessary to look for low-fat dog food.
Some of the best sources of fat for dogs include chicken fat, fatty chicken, and fish oils.
Carbs are essential sources of energy among dogs. However, too much of it can lead to obesity, something that Chihuahuas are prone to.
Always opt for complex carbohydrates since these are broken down slower than simple carbs. With this, complex carbs supply Chihuahuas with energy for a long time while preventing hypoglycemia.
Sources of complex carbs include quinoa, sweet potatoes, barley, brown rice, brewers rice, and whole grains. Meanwhile, avoid simple carbs like corn, soy, wheat, and sugars.
*Vitamins and minerals
Like most dogs, Chihuahuas need multivitamins to stay healthy. The right amount of Vitamin A will prevent vision problems but too much may result in bone deformities and bleeding.
Also, you should look for the right balance of Vitamin B. It keeps your Chihuahua safe from lethargy, hair loss, fatigue, and skin problems. Although extra doses can be excreted urine, there are rare cases when overdose resulted in nerve damage.
Meanwhile, Vitamin C is necessary for a strong immune system. Lack of vitamin C can lead to poor teeth, swollen joints, and slow healing among dogs.
Other important vitamins include Vitamins D, E, and K.
Small breed dogs will benefit from antioxidants. Since Chis are known for long lifespans, antioxidants will keep them safe from free radicals and the threat of diseases.
Some of the dog food ingredients that are rich in antioxidants include blueberries, carrots, tea, parsley, and spinach. Dark leafy greens are always packed with antioxidants.
When and how much to feed
Chihuahuas should be fed three times a day in small portions. The goal is to spread a day’s food allotment in small meals to avoid gas. If you’re not at home for the mid-day meal, take note that leaving a large serving isn’t a good idea.
Unlike humans, Chihuahuas can’t portion control on their own. Also, food will become stale and contaminated.
Another reason why you need to spread a Chihuahua’s meal is their susceptibility to hypoglycemia or what’s known as “crash”. Since they can only eat a small amount of food at a time, they can easily run out of energy.
As for the number of calories a Chi needs, it depends on the dog’s level of activity and physical condition.
Puppy Chis need an average of 55 calories per day for each pound of their body weight. So if you have a 3-pound dog, it would be equal to 165 calories a day.
When it comes to adult Chihuahuas, the rule of thumb is 40 calories per pound of their body weight. So for a 5-pound Chi, it would be 200 calories a day.
Lastly, senior pups would need 30 to 35 calories per pound of body weight.
Take note that these calorie requirements are just general approximations. Very active Chis would need more calories while senior dogs that are less active would need less. Always achieve this balance to prevent undernutrition or obesity.
Common health problems of Chihuahuas
You should know that Chis also suffer from several health issues related to their diet. Here are some of the most common conditions:
Even as a small breed, the most common diet-related condition among Chihuahuas is obesity. Haphazard feeding and lack of physical activity are just some of the culprits.
If you already have an overweight dog, reducing their calorie intake and boosting their physical activity are the easiest ways to fix the problem. Still, a vet should overrule underlying conditions that could be causing excessive fat storage.
Chis are notorious for having bad shoulders. In fact, around 20% of the Chihuahua population is affected by an osteoarthritis condition.
With this, they need food that contains glucosamine and chondroitin. Also, prevent your dog from becoming overweight. The extra weight will put pressure on their small joints which may speed up the development of arthritic conditions.
Chihuahuas are also susceptible to heart conditions like mitral valve disease and ductus arteriosus. These two conditions are genetic and there’s nothing an owner can do to stop its occurrence. Controlling the weight of your dog and giving it enough exercise will reduce the risk.
Like what I mentioned earlier, small breed dogs are prone to hypoglycemia. Since they can only ingest small amounts, they can easily run out of energy. Some of the symptoms include shaking, lethargy, and seizures in rare cases.
With this, practice frequent feeding in small amounts to augment the energy level of your dog. If you can’t feed a whole meal, you can use treats. During emergency situations, sugar water and honey can be used to revive their energy.
Small dogs like Chis have small teeth. This is why they aren’t supposed to munch bones. It’s best to give your dog small kibble with dental-cleaning properties like what Eukanuba offers.
Aside from that, regular brushing is a must. Poor dental care can lead to infections along the way. Also, small teeth may get stuck in the wrong place. In this case, you need the help of a veterinarian.
*Urinary tract infection
Is your Chihuahua having accidents even after successful housebreaking? Frequent urination or the lack of it could be a sign of urinary tract infection.
If your dog always has the urgency to pee, it might be a sign of UTI. Seek the help of a veterinarian so your dog will get the proper treatment.
Also, choose food with the right balance of salts and protein to reduce the load of the kidney.
Some food items to avoid
Some human food items can be toxic to dogs, especially with Chihuahuas. Here are some of the food items you should never give your pooch:
*Lots of onions
*Grapes and raisins
*Apple cores and seeds
*Food with caffeine
*Leaves and parts of the tomato plant, eggplant, avocado plan. etc.
*Food with xylitol
Wait, my Chihuahua is a picky eater!
Of all the dog breeds I’ve owned before, Chihuahuas are the pickiest eaters. However, if your dog suddenly lost its appetite, it could be a sign of an underlying condition.
If your Chihuahua is just picky, you may need to wait for some time. Some dogs just don’t want to rush into their meals. Also, you may need to experiment with food products to find one that your dog will love.
Also, some perceive Chihuahuas to have a small appetite due to the amount they eat. Still, you have to remember that these dogs also have small tummies. It’s normal for them not to eat a lot in one sitting.
If possible, look for a dog food that’s stinky and flavor, the kind that your dog wouldn’t resist. If all else fails, consult a veterinarian for some advice.
The best dog food for Chihuahua should have a formula that matches their health needs. Still, you have to watch out for some diet problems that may come along the way. For picky eaters, you may need to try a few products before finding one that appeals to the dog’s palate. Whatever happens, you have veterinarians and dog nutritionists at your disposal.