Best Dog Food for Chihuahua - Comparison and Reviews
Chihuahuas, named for a state in Mexico, are tiny, precious toy breed dogs that make great companions. These small pups come in long-haired and short-haired purebred varieties and can be quite possessive and feisty. These qualities may not make them the ideal family pet but do make them excellent companions or alarm dogs.
Small as they are, Chihuahuas have high nutritional demands and need dog food tailored to their needs. They also suffer specific ailments that need care and nutritional support, including epilepsy, Legg-Perthes disease, floating kneecap, and heart disease.
To help you find the best dog food for your Chihuahua, we’ve rounded up the market’s top options and focused on breed-specific food for this dog to prevent ailments later in life.
Best Dog Foods for Chihuahua 2019 - Reviews
1. Purina Pro Plan Small & Toy Breed Adult Dry Dog Food
- Protein: 29%
- Fat: 17%
- Fiber: 3%
- Calorie Content: 489kcal/cup
Purina Pro Plan Small Breed Dry Dog Food has real chicken as the main ingredient making it very rich in protein and other nutrients. It is fortified with live probiotics to support digestive and immune health and has a high nutrient density to cater to the higher metabolic rates found in small dogs.
Pro Plan Savor has the ideal protein-to-fat ratio to ensure that your pup maintains a healthy weight. This dog food recipe is blended with rice that promotes healthy digestion and features omega-6 fatty acids that keep your dog’s skin and coat healthy.
The kibble size is small enough to ensure a natural chewing action in Chihuahuas. This food is ideal for any small adult dog weighing in at under 20 pounds.
- Contains real animal protein as its main ingredient
- Includes rice, which promotes healthy digestion
- Affordably priced
- Shredded small bites add flavor and add substance to the dog food kibble
- Contains the allergens wheat and corn, to which some dogs react
- Some dogs experience diarrhea and vomiting on consuming this dog food
2. Eukanuba Breed Specific Adult Dog Food for Chihuahua
- Protein: 28%
- Fat: 18%
- Fiber: 4%
- Calorie Content: 397kcal/cup
Eukanuba Breed Specific Adult Chihuahua Dog Food features a unique formulation called 3D Denta-defense. It is proven to reduce the tartar build up on your dog’s teeth and gums within 28 days.
It comes in small-sized kibble great for your tiny Chi to chew naturally without stress. This dog food also has a high protein and fiber content, and a low to moderate fat content that delivers the ultimate nutrition to your pet.
It also offers a specialized fiber system, made from natural beet pulp and prebiotics. These components promote nutrient absorption and healthy digestion in your dog. Eukanuba has also taken the pains to add antioxidants to this dog food formula to build and support an active, healthy immune system.
Additionally, L-carnitine helps to burn fat naturally, and chondroitin maintains your dog’s bones and joints.
- Contains a formulation that helps reduce tartar build-up on gums and teeth
- Incorporated fiber system to promote healthy digestion and up nutrient absorption
- L-carnitine amino acid helps your dog to burn fat and maintain a healthy weight
- High protein content at 28%, helps keeps your dog’s muscle lean and healthy
- Great kibble size for a small dog
- Contains corn and chicken by-product, two undesirables in dog food
3. Purina Pro Plan Dry Puppy Food – Toy Breed Formula
- Protein: 31%
- Fat: 20%
- Fiber: 3%
- Calorie Content: 523kcal/cup
Purina Pro Plan Dry Puppy Food is high in calories and developed for toy breed puppies that will weight around 10 pounds at maturity. These dogs need lots of energy to grow and play, and this dog food delivers just the right nutrition to ensure that.
It is high in protein with real chicken as its main ingredient. Protein is perfect for active small dogs, and the small size kibble comes in the ideal size for your Chi.
Purina Pro Plan is rich in DHA fatty acids from fish oils to support your puppy’s brain and eye development. It also contains lots of antioxidants for an enhanced immune system function.
Additionally, calcium and phosphorus help in the development of your puppy’s bones and teeth.
- Great size kibble for a small, growing puppy
- High caloric and protein content, ideal for small toy breeds
- Easily digestible—produces small stools in your puppy, which will not stress them out as they poop
- An excellent formula for building and maintaining a shiny coat
- Helps to maintain a healthy weight growth in your puppy
- Suitable for dogs with sensitive stomachs
- Has been known to induce diarrhea and vomiting in some dogs
- The formula is not corn-free, which may cause bad breath and allergies in some dogs
4. Iams Proactive Health Food for Chihuahua Puppy
Calorie Content: 465kcal/cup
Iams is a well-known name in dog nutrition. This Proactive Heath Puppy Food has all the nutrient content to meet the demanding energy and nutritional needs of your puppy.
Chi puppies especially need high-calorie content food to grow well, with high protein and fiber levels, and moderate fat content. Real chicken is its main ingredient for the development of lean muscle. Veggies provide much-needed fiber for easy digestion, and wholegrain contains carbs for exceptional energy levels in your dog.
This formulation also contains omega-3 DHA that supports brain function. Additionally, Iams has included 22 essential nutrients that are found in mother’s milk for continued healthy growth and immune system capabilities.
5. Royal Canin Breed Health Nutrition Chihuahua Dry Dog Food
- Protein: 24%
- Fat: 14%
- Fiber: 3.3%
- Calorie Content: 326kcal/cup
Royal Canin has developed this dry dog food specifically for Chihuahuas. This extra-small pure breed needs lots of energy from puppyhood to adulthood, and this dog food formula delivers.
This dog food suits older dogs, perfectly catering to their aging hearts and teeth, as well as the sensitive digestive tract. It contains taurine, EPA, and DHA that help these tiny dogs thrive, and has an extra-small kibble that chews quickly.
Royal Canin also features all the necessary nutrients and antioxidants that support the heart function and immune system function of your aging Chihuahua. It is high in protein and fiber, making it easily digestible.
- Small kibble that can be easily hydrated with water for an easier chew
- Highly digestible formula perfect for the sensitive stomach of older Chis
- Veterinarian recommended dog food for the ultimate health of your senior Chihuahua
- Some dog owners find the smell off-putting
- Some dogs experience hair loss on eating this food
How to Choose the Best Dog Food for Chihuahuas
Chihuahuas have unique calorie needs that require special attention. These small dogs may fool you into thinking that they don’t need much food, but they do have high energy needs that must be met. The average adult Chihuahua needs approximately 40 calories per pound of body weight, so an average adult Chi weighing in at 7 pounds would need about 280 calories per day.
Look for a dog food high in protein, moderate in fats, and low in carbohydrates. The AAFCO does a great job of giving dog food profile guidelines to prevent you from overfeeding or undernourishing your dog.
Besides these general guidelines, look for the following specifics when buying dog food for your tiny furry friend.
Things to Consider When Buying Food for Your Chihuahua
Related: Best Small Breed Dog Food
Nutritional Needs of Chihuahuas
Chihuahuas are so small you may be tempted to feed them puppy food, but that won’t do! These dogs are highly active and therefore have high energy demands. They need about 200 to 400 calories per day (depending on weight) to sustain them, but keep an eye on your individual dog’s needs.
Look for high protein dog foods with at least 30% protein content. Protein goes toward maintaining the muscle health of your dog and preventing muscle deterioration. Look for dog foods with real animal protein. Real chicken, lamb, or beef are excellent protein sources, and quality dog foods list this ingredient first to indicate it as the main ingredient.
There are no set requirements for carb content in dog food, but make sure that the carbs included are healthy and beneficial. Carbs act as sources of energy, which reserve protein and fat for other useful bodily functions.
Look for healthy carbs like brown rice, root veg, fruit, and seeds that will give your dog the energy they need as well as ease digestion.
Chihuahuas are prone to weight gain but still need fat in their diet to remain healthy. Fat provides energy, as well as supports brain function and coat health. Fatty acids also make for a heart-healthy dog and prevent heart disease, which tends to affect these small dogs.
Look for a dog food that has at least 20 to 25% fat.
Vitamins and Minerals
Chis need a variety of vitamins and minerals to keep their immune system, brain function, eyes, and skin and fur in good condition. Glucosamine and chondroitin support the joints and bones, Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids help your dog’s heart and brain, and make for healthy skin and coat.
Antioxidants work to keep your dog’s immune system stable, and probiotics aid in digestion.
Fiber must be included in your dog’s food to prevent constipation. Excellent sources of fiber include fruits and root veggies, as well as healthy whole grains like rice and barley.
Life Stage of Your Chihuahua Dog
Chihuahua puppies need lots of protein and carbohydrates to keep them growing and full of energy. Protein is crucial for muscle development, and carbohydrates provide much-needed energy. Complex carbohydrates are especially crucial as they prevent hypoglycemia, a condition that tends to afflict this particular dog breed.
Related: Best Puppy Foods
Adult Chihuahuas need a high protein, moderate fat, and low carb diet. Protein maintains their muscle and bone health, while fats support brain function, heart health, and skin and coat health.
Omega-6 fatty acids relieve any skin irritations and antioxidants such as vitamin E and C help to stimulate the immune system. Additionally, fructooligosaccharides encourage the growth of good intestinal bacteria, which aid in digestion.
Vitamins and minerals such as glucosamine and chondroitin support joint health, while Vitamins A, D, K, and C work towards keeping the eyes, bones, blood, and immune system healthy.
Senior Chihuahuas need lots of protein and fat. Protein keeps their muscles healthy, and fats help to support their heart function.
Pay particular attention to the protein as senior dogs over the age of eight, as they need 50% more protein than younger adults. Joint health is also crucial as these little guys tend to suffer from dislocating kneecap and arthritis.
Related: Best Dog Food for Senior Dogs
Chihuahua Health Conditions and Special Dietary Needs
Bone and Joint Health
Bone and joint health are so important for this small breed, and nutrition can help prevent ailments such as floating kneecap, arthritis, and Legg-Perthes disease. Make sure your dog’s food contains sufficient amounts of glucosamine and chondroitin, as well as Vitamin D. Both are crucial to bone and joint health.
Healthy Skin and Coat
Vitamin E, also known as linoleic acid and omega fatty acids, are essential to the health of your Chis coat. Without these supplements in their diet, your dog may shed, and also have a coarse, gritty coat that looks unhealthy.
These fatty acids are also crucial in supporting cognitive function and mental acuity.
As the most sensitive dog breed in the world, these dogs need special diets to make sure their digestive tracts are not irritated. Look for grain-free dog foods as much as possible and incorporate probiotics and fructooligosaccharides to encourage the growth of healthy bacteria.
Fiber, in the form of wholegrain, fruit, and veg, are also crucial to the digestive process and the health of your dog’s digestive tract.
Most food allergies in Chihuahuas manifest between the ages of 6 to 24 months. Common food allergens include yeast, rice, corn, soy, egg, and rabbit.
Additionally, avoid any dog foods with BHA, BHT, ethoxyquin, TBHQ, MSG, artificial dyes, and trans-fats. These additives, preservatives, and fillers can trigger allergies in your pet. Finally, do not under any circumstances, give your dog foods like coffee, chocolate, grapes, raisins, gum, and unbaked dough. These foods are harmful to your dog and could even kill them.
Chihuahua can become overweight very quickly. Watch the fat and carb content of your dog’s food to avoid experiencing this problem. As much as these dogs don’t need much exercise, make sure to feed your dog fat and carb-controlled foods, and take regular short walks with your dog to keep their weight balanced.
Related: Best Weight Loss Dog Food
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
How Much Should I Feed My Chihuahua Puppy?
Chihuahua puppies need all the help they can get as newborns. Pups that have been weaned and are less than 12 months old need around 50 calories per pound of body weight.
Any dietary changes should be introduced carefully and slowly as this dog breed is one of the most sensitive breeds out there. Puppies under three months should be fed 4 to 6 times a day, while those over three months can feed 3 to 4 times a day.
Reduce your dog’s meals to 2 to 3 times a day from 6-12 months of age.
How Much Should I Feed an Adult Chihuahua Dog?
Adult Chis need about 35 to 40 calories per pound of body weight.
Dogs that range in weight from 4 to 10 pounds will eat ½ to 1 1/3 cups per day, spread over 2 to 3 times a day. Regular meals throughout set feeding times will help prevent gas and bloating in your small dog.
Be mindful that these recommendations are approximate and will depend on your dog’s activity level. Diet requirements also depend on the size, health conditions, age, and even weather as dogs tend to eat more in the winter. Typical Chihuahuas need a maximum of 400 calories a day, and very few Chis will consume over 2 cups of food per day.
When Should Chihuahuas Switch from Puppy Food to Dog Food?
Small breeds, of which Chihuahuas are a part, tend to mature at 9-12 months. Typically, your Chi will weigh about 5 pounds at maturity. It’s a good idea to switch from puppy food to adult dog food at this stage to meet the exact nutritional needs of your dog.
What Foods Should You Avoid Giving a Chihuahua?
Avoid giving your small dog sugarless gum, chocolate, vanilla, grapes, juice, or unbaked bread and cookie dough. These food items can cause a myriad of problems for your dog. Some like chocolate, which contains theobromine, can kill your dog.
When getting your dog food, try to avoid foods that contain wheat, soy, or corn, as these ingredients can trigger allergies. Also, keep away from dog foods that use artificial flavor enhancers, animal by-products, and filler ingredients such as cellulose, oat hulls, and peanut hulls.