The Best Dog Foods for Chihuahuas

By Michael Brent

Chihuahuas are the smallest breed of dog, and their nutritional requirements are substantially different from those of other dog breeds, in terms of what they eat and how they eat. As a result, the owner of a chihuahua needs to determine which of the many available types of dog food is best for his pet.

Nutrients

A chihuahua requires dense, high-calorie food to accommodate its active metabolism, and the chihuahua's short digestive tract means food must also be easy to digest. A chihuahua's diet should be high in protein, and its food shouldn't contain non-nutritious fillers, such as cheap grains, found in many commercial dog foods. As a result, some chihuahua owners eschew store-bought food, opting instead for homemade dog food or the bones and raw food (BARF) diet.

Frequency

Chihuahuas often are difficult to feed because of their small stomach capacity, making it difficult for them to eat a large quantity of food in one sitting. The small amount of food they are able to eat provide enough energy to last 4 to 5 hours, meaning a chihuahua needs to eat several times daily to avoid hypoglycemia. If a chihuahua is on a diet of raw meat, it's important that you ensure the type of meat stays consistent, as switching from lamb one day to beef the next may result in digestive difficulties.

Puppy Food

Store-bought dog food, while not universally recommended, is an option, especially if it is rich in protein. The most important factor to consider with commercial pet food is that the kibble isn't too large for the dog's tiny mouth. Large-bite dry food is difficult for a chihuahua to chew, and the dog may not eat enough to satisfy its nutritional needs. One way to avoid this is to feed your chihuahua small-bite kibble designed for small breeds.

Homemade Food

If raw food or store-bought food aren't viable choices, the healthiest option is to create your own homemade chihuahua food. Grill or roast lean beef, pork, turkey, chicken or lamb, drain off the fat and chop it up into portions small enough for the dog to eat. To ensure your chihuahua is meeting its nutritional needs, supplement the meat with a little bit of brown rice along with sweet vegetables such as carrots or yams.