Are high energy little dogs and my favorite of two breeds, the other being Great Danes. I've cared for both and over the past decades, often at the same time, talk about opposite of extremes it was always a blast! Unlike my Danes, Chihuahuas, with a super fast metabolism burn an incredible amount of energy so as you'd imagine, feeding these little dogs is unlike feeding mid size and large breeds.
I can speak from experience that Chihuahuas are a ball of energy. Regardless of activity and even at rest, a Chihuahua's turbo metabolism means their body is using up calories at nearly triple the rate of a mid size dog. That shaking a Chihuahua is famous for proves as a perfect example.
People new to Chihuahuas, or those not familiar with the breed are often unaware that feeding Chihuahuas requires a high calorie, high protein diet. It's often the case that folks inadvertently end up underfeeding their Chi dog. Not in the sense of frequency of meals and quantity of food, but by feeding Chihuahuas a diet that is nutritionally inappropriate.
Conversely, and if you've ever seen an obese Chihuahua, it is probably over fed with a carbo loaded poor quality food that cannot be converted into energy. This is why the best food for Chihuahuas is of high quality, high calorie and high protein fed in numerous small meals throughout the day. Your task will be to tweak the feeding schedule and amounts by watching your Chi to maintain healthy body weight and steady energy.
Feeding Chihuahua puppies three or four small meals per day is a good rule of thumb.
In addition to calories, Chihuahuas require a diet with moderate protein levels. For adult Chihuahuas protein levels of 25 to 30% should be right on par and when feeding Chihuahua puppies, 30% to 35% protein will help those tiny muscles grow.
TIP: A typical Chihuahua about 4 or 5 pounds will require about 225 calories per day to maintain health, energy and weight. Check out our Feeding Dry Dog Food section and great kibble suggestions for feeding Chihuahuas. Alternatively, Raw Feeding is awesome for Chihuahuas and helps prevent dental issues this breed is notorious for!
Some Chihuahuas can be very finicky and picky when it comes to dog food. Others may be sensitive to certain ingredients and protein sources. And some, just nudge away food for whatever reason. One of the challenges you'll face with feeding Chihuahuas is finding a food your Chi likes that is nutritionally appropriate and agrees with their digestive system.
Choosing you Chihuahua's Food
When sourcing a dog food for your Chihuahua there are a few key points to consider that can really make or break the formula.
- Look for a Kibble Dog Food with a real meat source as the first ingredient and try to avoid byproducts. The first ingredient is the major source of protein and the more quality meat the better.
- Real meats like fish, chicken, beef, lamb, venison and bison are examples yet I've seen brands including more exotic meats such as Kangaroo, Duck and Rabbit, all good!
- Organ meats are also great additions to read on an ingredients panel. Raw Feeders like to include organ meet as part of a raw diet yet you may be hard pressed to find them in a bag of kibble. If you do, great!
- Foods containing quality carbohydrates such as sweet potatoes or brown rice are OK for Chihuahuas but grain free kibble is even better. For some excellent choices visit our Recommended Dog Food Brands section.
- Quality fatty acids like Omega 3 & Omega 6 will assist with skin and coat health, as well as, support physiological body function, cell membrane structure and cell function.
- Small kibble size is also important for such a tiny dog.
Dietary Health Concerns & Additional Tips
Chihuahuas, like many other small breed dogs, are prone to dental issues. Feeding Chihuahuas a quality dry kibble food and brushing their teeth a few times a week will help here. Raw fed dogs have a "leg up" and should have fewer dental issues. This holds true for Chihuahuas but dental problems seem to be linked to the breed so avoid feeding canned or soft foods if at all possible.
While not a substitute for dental brushing and cleanings, the texture of dry kibble or raw meaty bones will help prevent the build up of tartar which can lead to gum disease.
Don't miss our Kibble Section if you're looking for Chihuahua dog food and our Feeding Small Breeds hub for tips on nutrition for other small dog breeds.
As mentioned, Chihuahuas are prone to hypoglycemia, as well as, diabetes. To help assure blood sugar issues do not hamper your little friend, feeding Chihuahuas a quality food as outlined above is really important. In addition, it's important to feed small portions of food multiple times per day. Following these feeding guidelines will assure your Chihuahua maintains healthy weight and receives the energy source needed to fuel their fast-paced metabolism.
Additional Chihuahua Feeding Info
All the best to you and your Chihuahua! For help choosing kibble dog food for your Chihuahua plus more info about raw feeding, visit our Homepage for quick banner access to the major sections of our website!