Healthy Food for Chihuahuas

It’s important to feed your Chihuahua healthy food.  Many of the “off-the-shelf” dog foods are packed with ingredients that are not good for your pet.  Make it a habit to read the list of ingredients – the items are listed in order of how much of that item is contained within the food.  I look for dog foods where meat and vegetables are high on the list.  I always stay away from dog foods that contain “meat by-products”.  This just doesn’t sound like it would be good for my dogs.

There are definitely some ingredients that you should stay away from period.  They include things like food dyes, filler products – like corn and lower-quality grains.  Others include corn and wheat gluten, sugar, corn syrup and animal fat.  Preservatives is another one to stay away from.

You want to watch out for how many calories you’re feeding your Chihuahua.  Older, less active dogs will obviously need to consume few calories than a typical, younger Chihuahua.  Extremely active Chihuahuas may need to consume a slightly higher number of calories.  I’ve noticed that our boy Ike, who is extremely active and love to run, run, run all the time in the yard, has lost some weight recently.  In fact, when we were in Ohio visiting my daughter recently, her former father-in-law stopped by to visit, and we had Ike with us.  He made the comment that Ike had lost weight since the last time he had seen him.  I talked to my husband and we agreed that we need to give Ike a larger portion of the dry food we feed the dogs in the morning and a larger portion of the wet food they get for dinner.  So we’ve been increasing his intake and hopefully his weight will even out.

Active Chihuahuas burn a LOT of energy.  They are little balls of fire and love to play and run.  It’s amazing, but little dogs burn calories at almost three times the rate of a big dog.  That’s quite a few calories!  So make sure you research the number of calories that your Chihuahua should be consuming and adjust their food intake appropriately.  A guideline would be about 165 calories per day for an older, less active Chihuahua.  An adult Chihuahua who is more active should probably consume between 200 and 250.  A general rule is to take their weight and multiply it by 40-50 calories and that should be a good rule of thumb.

With regards to ingredients – you should be looking for lean meats as a first ingredient in dog foods for your Chihuahua.  Meats like chicken and fish are items you

chicken breast

want to see first on the list of ingredients.  Chihuahuas are also disposed to a condition called hypoglycemia – or low blood sugar.  This can be potentially life threatening.  Food sources that combat this condition are complex carbohydrates – so look for ingredients like sweet potatoes or brown rice.  Corn should be avoided.  Fats are needed as well, which will help your Chihuahua maintain a healthy coat.  Also make sure to include some fruits and vegetables to round out their diet.

Set a schedule for feeding times, too.  Younger Chi’s like puppies (until they are a year old) should be fed three times a day.  After they turn a year, twice a day, once in the morning and once in the evening is sufficient.  These are the times I feed our four rescues and they do fine with this schedule.  Of course, every time I say “let’s get our breakfast!” they run and jump and get so excited you’d think they hadn’t eaten for days!

brown rice

Love your Chihuahuas!

2 Comments

  1. I only recently came to appreciate Chihuahuas, when I finally met one with a pleasant personality. They can be lovely dogs.
    We have always had golden retrievers. Our dogs have all lived well past the average life expectancy. I attribute that in large measure to food.

    I feed them the best I can find. In addition to what you’ve mentioned, we expect our dog’s food to have a wide variety of vegetables and some fruit. Fat should come exclusively from animal sources, no vegetable oil. Mixed tocopherols are the preferred preservative, as that is simply vitamin E. We also believe there is some benefit to dogs from probiotics.

    In general, I find that great nutrition reduces health problems to the point where only preventative health care is needed for most if not all of the dog’s lifespan.

    I wonder if some of these nutritional extras large dogs benefit from will help Chihuahuas. What do you think?

    • Elizabeth, I bet Chihuahuas would definitely benefit from the nutritional extras you mentioned. I’ll definitely do some research on them. I am always looking for new ways and products that will help keeping my dogs healthy. I love that Chihuahuas have a long life span compared to some breeds. You’re fortunate that your Goldens have lived past the average life expectancy. Bigger dogs do typically have shorter life spans than small dogs. I have a good friend whom I shared a house with for a while who had a Golden. Her name was Goldie, naturally! She was such a sweet dog. I had Tigger, my second dog at the time. We lived in an area where coyotes were present, so every time Tigger had to go outside, Goldie had to accompany him for protection. She was a good dog. Unfortunately, at only seven years old, we found that she had cancer – and it had spread throughout her body. The only humane thing to do for her was to let her go. It was so sad and so difficult. We lost her much too soon.
      Thanks for your comment and check back in the future for more posts and articles!
      Julie

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