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Chihuahua is a small dog breed with both long and shorthaired varieties. The tiny size of Chihuahua makes them fantastic apartment dogs, which is why I currently own a lovely Chihuahua. 😊
I fed my Chihuahua with many different dog food brands in the past, searching for a suitable one for humans and dogs. We had finally agreed that the ORIJEN Dry Dog Food For Small Breeds (Grain Free) is the best of all.
When my Chihuahua grew from a puppy to an adult, I researched online and sought the local veterinarian’s advice to know what is most important for my Chihuahua’s health.
There are too many options available in the market. It can be a daunting task for owners to decide the best dog food for Chihuahuas, just as how I had tried out multiple brands before settling on a particular brand. Therefore, I am here to offer my help and experience.
The ORIJEN brand uses quality ingredients packed with lots of nutrients to maintain and support your Chihuahua’s health through its diet. The small breed formula also ensures that the kibbles are small enough for your Chihuahua to chew and digest easily.
However, different Chihuahuas may have their unique requirements. Let’s discuss different types of foods for Chihuahuas so you can find the best fit for your pup.
Our Best Dog Food For Chihuahuas
- Best dog food for Chihuahuas overall: ORIJEN Dry Dog Food For Small Breeds (Grain Free)
- Best dog food for Chihuahua’s puppies: ORIJEN Puppy Dog Food (Grain Free)
- Best dog food for Chihuahua’s seniors: ORIJEN Senior Dry Dog Food (Grain Free)
- Best raw dog food for Chihuahuas: Instinct Freeze Dried Raw Meals (Grain Free)
- Best limited ingredient dog food for Chihuahuas: The Honest Kitchen Limited Ingredient Dog Food (Grain Free)
- Key feature: Protein-rich, grain-free dog food with health support for small breeds
- First 5 ingredients: Deboned turkey, Deboned chicken, Quail, Eggs, and Whole blue whiting
- Caloric content: 3940 kcal/kg
- Guaranteed analysis: Min 38% protein, Min 18% fats, Max 4% fiber
- Best for: Adult Chihuahuas
ORIJEN dry dog food is made from real, fresh meat with complementary vegetables and fruits. These kibbles are loaded with good nutrients without including any grains or questionable additions.
The kibbles contain 38% protein, considered high but suitable for active small breeds like Chihuahuas. The fat and caloric content is also on the higher end at 18% and 3940 kcal/kg, respectively, but Chihuahuas can thrive with it due to their high activity levels.
Both our Chihuahua and other dog owners have reported that their pups thrive on this brand of dog food. Also, this is one of the few brands with no recalls, so we feel safe feeding these kibbles to our lovely pups.
The ORIJEN brand can be very pricy for some owners, but we still chose to feed this to our Chihuahua because we believe quality always comes with a price.
- Key feature: Protein-rich, grain-free dog food with its contents tailored for puppies
- First 5 ingredients: Deboned chicken, Deboned turkey, Flounder, Whole eggs, and Whole atlantic mackerel
- Caloric content: 3940 kcal/kg
- Guaranteed analysis: Min 38% protein, Min 20% fats, Max 6% fiber
- Best for: Chihuahua puppies
ORIJEN makes it to this list again because its quality is superb. Had we chanced upon this brand when our Chihuahua was a puppy, we would have fed her this brand of puppy food.
Apart from some ingredient differences, the most visual difference between the ORIJEN puppy food and the ORIJEN dog food for small breeds is the higher fats content (20% vs. 18%). This slight change is to the advantage of puppies as they are still growing and need the additional fats for nutrients.
Owners are happy that their puppies are being fed the best ingredients with minimal fillers. Their puppies are also pleased with the taste and showed better overall health after consuming this brand of puppy food.
Pricing is still an issue for some owners. Also, the kibble size might be a bit big for small breed puppies to chew and digest. A way to solve this issue is to soak the kibble in water before feeding it to your puppy so that the kibbles will break more easily.
- Key feature: Protein-rich, grain-free dog food specially tailored for seniors
- First 5 ingredients: Deboned chicken, Deboned turkey, Atlantic ﬂounder, Cage-free eggs, and Whole Atlantic mackerel
- Caloric content: 3630 kcal/kg
- Guaranteed analysis: Min 38% protein, Min 15% fats, Max 8% fiber
- Best for: Senior Chihuahuas
ORIJEN makes it to the list once again, and this is also the dog food that I am feeding my senior Chihuahua currently, as we were very happy with the adult formula.
The caloric content is slightly lesser as senior dogs are usually less active. There is also a reduction in fats content (15% vs. 18%) because senior dogs are more prone to obesity due to their lack of activity. Also, the high fiber content (8% vs. 4%) helps dogs to poop better.
Owners like us are delighted with the quality of ORIJEN dog food, and some owners reported seeing a slower decline or even a slight increase in several health areas, such as fur growing back on bald patches.
Like the puppy dog food, the kibbles can be slightly too hard and big for senior Chihuahuas to chew. Therefore, when I serve my Chihuahua these kibbles, I will soak them in water for a few seconds, sometimes even breaking the pieces up with my hand before feeding them to my pup.
- Key feature: Freeze-dried raw food with multiple fruits and vegetables included
- First 5 ingredients: Dependent on flavor
- Caloric content: 4831 kcal/kg
- Guaranteed analysis: Min 36% protein, Min 29-34% fats, Max 4-5% fiber
- Best for: Very active Chihuahuas puppies or adults
This dog food is perfect for owners who prefer raw diets for their Chihuahuas but do not have the time nor expertise to create a blend for themselves. Not only does the kibbles contain freeze-dried meat, it also includes fruits and vegetables that supplement other essential nutrients to your dog.
Instinct freeze-dried meals have higher caloric content and fats. They are more suitable for Chihuahua puppies and adults who are very active all day long.
These kibbles are used by owners in multiple ways depending on their dogs’ needs: some use them as a complete meal, others use them to enhance flavor and nutrition, and even some use them as treats. Owners also reported that picky eaters have no issue wolfing them down.
Again, many owners voiced their concerns about the price, believing that it costs too much than what it offers. However, this is a matter of personal opinion – how much are you willing to invest in quality dog food for your pup?
- Key feature: Human-grade dog food with limited ingredients in multiple flavors
- First 5 ingredients: Varies depending on the flavor
- Caloric content: Ranges from 3870 kcal/kg to 4550 kcal/kg
- Guaranteed analysis: Min 24% protein, Min 7.2% fats, Max 8% fiber
- Best for: Chihuahuas with sensitive stomachs
The Honest Kitchen provides human-grade dog food with limited ingredients, making it ideal for Chihuahuas with sensitive stomachs or food allergies.
The protein, fats, and caloric content will vary depending on which flavor you purchase and what your Chihuahua likes. In general, their nutrition range is in the average to the high-average range, so you need not fret too much about your Chihuahua not getting enough nutrients for a specific flavor.
Most owners feedbacked that their dogs with allergies and other health issues thrived on this limited ingredient diet.
A few owners reported that this brand of food had caused allergies to happen in their dogs. Therefore, please ensure that your Chihuahua is allergic to NONE of the listed ingredients before purchase.
Your Chihuahua’s Nutritional Needs
Chihuahuas are high-energy level dogs that are constantly active and burning calories. Therefore, their diet should reflect their needs for them to live a healthy and happy life.
The information listed here is meant to be used as a guide for reference. If you have any doubts or confusion, always consult a veterinarian. They will be able to assess your dog’s needs based on its age and current condition to provide a better answer for you.
Protein plays several roles in the dog’s body, such as building and repairing muscles and tissues. It also plays a role in creating body chemicals like hormones and enzymes.
While it is possible to have your Chihuahua survive on any food with 18% or more crude proteins, the recommended amount is 25% or higher.
Healthy fats also play an essential part in supporting the overall health of Chihuahua. Chihuahuas will need about 5.5% crude fats in their diet, although more is acceptable for highly active Chihuahuas.
Some of the important fatty acids include the Omega-3, which plays a vital role in the heart development of your Chihuahua, and Omega-6, which is responsible for proper cell function, reproduction, skin, coat health, etc.
Chihuahuas have a fast metabolism and burn more calories than other larger breeds. They can’t take too much food at a time as they have a small stomach. Therefore, they will need regular consumption to maintain their blood sugar levels to prevent hypoglycemia.
Grains are the primary source of carbohydrates. But if your Chihuahua is allergic to grains, you can always select grain-free options.
In this article, all the dog foods that we had suggested are grain-free.
Common Health Issues In Chihuahuas
Chihuahuas are cute, adorable, and energetic always when they are healthy and happy. Therefore, when you see them looking down or dull, you should be on alert.
Listed below are some of the health issues a Chihuahua can have.
Luxating Patella is a disease that can appear in Chihuahuas over four months old. This dislocation causes limping when your dog walks, so it will start to hold up its legs when walking.
Some of the common reasons for a dog to develop luxating patella includes consuming poor-quality food and obesity. While luxating patella can be cured through surgery, it will cost a hefty sum.
When Chihuahuas get more calories than they should and can burn through, it will lead to obesity. One of the most common reasons for obesity is overfeeding.
The maximum weight of a typical Chihuahua is 6 pounds. By keeping your Chihuahua well-nourished with high-quality food, you can significantly reduce the chances of your dog being obese. Ample exercise such as daily walks around the neighborhood will help to keep its weight in check too.
Hypoglycemia means low blood sugar, which is especially common for small breeds like Chihuahuas. You can easily notice the symptoms of hypoglycemia – your dog will start walking or standing wobbly, show signs of dizziness, and have glassy eyes.
In the worst cases, you might see some of these symptoms: seizures, drooling, and mouth-frothing. In such cases, you should take them to a veterinarian immediately.
Tooth and Gum Disease
Due to Chihuahuas’ naturally small mouths, owners need to take care of their dental health. If you don’t take good care of their teeth, tartar and plaque may build up in their mouths. It will help if you take them to the vet for a dental check-up regularly to keep them away from this disease.
Feeding your Chihuahua with dry kibbles can help to reduce tartar and plaque build-up. Purchasing a dental chew such as the C.E.T. VEGGIEDENT Tartar Control Chews and providing them to your Chihuahua can also help maintain teeth and gum health.
Tracheal collapse is another concern in Chihuahuas that can be fatal for your dog’s breathing. The trachea connects the lungs from the mouth to the nose and allows your Chihuahua to breathe. If it collapses, it means the airway is blocked, and the air is not entering your dog’s lungs.
Some apparent symptoms are breathing trouble and bad coughing sounds – bring your Chihuahua to the local veterinarian immediately if you see such signs.
Things To Look Out For When Buying Chihuahua Dog Food
There are many things to consider when you want to pick the best dog food for Chihuahuas.
Some of the crucial factors include ingredient contents and kibble size.
Meat should be the main source of proteins for your Chihuahua, and the first ingredient in any dog food you purchase should be meat.
Suppose your Chihuahua doesn’t have any sensitive stomach or food allergies issues. In that case, you can choose a food with multiple types of meat to ensure that your Chihuahua gets a variety of beneficial proteins for its health. Some types of meat you should look out for include lamb, chicken, beef, and salmon.
Avoid animal by-products as they may be of low quality and unspecified meat content. Also, avoid meat meals as much as you can as they can include previously diseased animals, although the rendering process would kill any bacteria, viruses, and parasites. 
It would be best if you choose a smaller kibble size so that your Chihuahua can chew them without straining its jaws.
Alternatively, if you are happy with the quality of a larger-sized kibble like us with the ORIJEN formulas, you can try soaking the kibbles and breaking them into smaller pieces before feeding them to your dog.
Vitamins, Minerals, and Antioxidants
Your Chihuahua will need nutrients to support their overall development and growth over the years, so food containing these nutrients will benefit your dog.
We will list some of the common nutrients that your Chihuahua will need here. If you need the specifics for your dog, you will have to consult a veterinarian.
Vitamin C provides benefits for the Chihuahua immune system and energy level. Dogs naturally produce them using their liver, but there can be a deficiency. You may need to give these to your Chihuahua to reduce inflammation and boost cognitive function.
Vitamin D, calcium, and phosphorus are necessary for bone development, especially for solid and healthy teeth.
Vitamin E is responsible for metabolizing fat and keeps the coat shiny. It also supports the immune system and can be found in green vegetables and meat.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) About Feeding Chihuahuas
There are some common questions that Chihuahua owners like us had asked before; hence, we are sharing the answers Chihuahua owners out there to reference.
If you have a question not listed here, you can always contact us, and we will give you a reply.
When should I switch from puppy to adult food?
Chihuahuas are only considered fully grown adults after 12 months.
You can start transiting from puppy to adult food after your Chihuahua has hit the 1-year-old mark.
When is a Chihuahua considered a senior?
Chihuahuas have a longer overall life span than most other breeds, and they can live up to 14-20 years old.
Therefore, Chihuahuas are considered seniors when they are about 10 years old. They will also start to have various health issues at this age, and a quality diet can lower the risks of such problems.
How many meals should my Chihuahua have per day?
Feed them as and when they feel hungry for really young puppies as their growth and dietary needs are different.
Older puppies around 6 months old can be fed on a regular schedule of 4 times a day.
For adults and senior Chihuahuas, three meals a day is the best option to reduce the chances of hypoglycemia.
How much should I feed my Chihuahua?
Different brands of dog food will have various suggested serving sizes for dogs.
We recommend giving according to the suggested serving size listed on the food packaging at the start. You can modify the served portions from there based on your observation and understanding of your Chihuahua.
Do remember that most suggested serving size is the amount per day, not per meal. If you are serving multiple meals a day (which you should), you should divide the amount by the number of servings you intend to feed your Chihuahua.
Remember, Chihuahuas are very tiny breeds and do not eat a lot of food. What they need is high-quality food, not high quantity.
Chihuahuas are small, active dogs that need small-sized food with high protein and caloric content.
We strongly believe that the ORIJEN Dry Dog Food For Small Breeds (Grain Free) is the best option for adult Chihuahuas. It contains high-quality ingredients and many good nutrients that can support your Chihuahua’s overall health.
Nevertheless, every Chihuahua is unique. Do evaluate your Chihuahua’s needs before selecting dog food for it, and always consult a veterinarian’s opinion when you are in doubt.