Updated: October 17th, 2022
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Warm personality, playful, great companions, sassy! Great things have been said about chihuahuas, and I don’t dispute them. This breed is a charmer and I bet you want her to stay that way or be even better than that, something you could easily achieve with the best dog food for chihuahuas.
Overview of the Best Dog Foods For Chihuahuas
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Like most breeds, this one has special nutritional needs. For example, you’ll want to feed her a small kibble diet due to her pint-sized mouth. Or foods rich in lean meats, complex carbs, veggies, and fruits so as to maintain her wellbeing.
Not every diet can do that. Of course, there are some that claim to meet those needs, but before you make a snap decision, there’s a lot more you’ll want to know – what to avoid, what to feed her, her age, the size of the kibble, and so on.
Luckily for you, I have rounded up a few options bearing all those factors in mind. You may want to check them out as they are not what you’d expect to find on your ordinary list. Have a look:
What Is The Best Dog Food For Chihuahuas? – Reviews
1. Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Small Breed Dry Dog Food – Best Overall
The idea behind Blue Buffalo pet foods is to love and feed your pet like they are family. And thanks to this principle, the company has been able to create excellent foods for both cats and dogs, like the Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Small Breed Dry Dog Food. In addition to being packed with nutrients, it so delicious your Chihuahua will find it irresistible.
- Uses lean deboned chicken as top ingredients
- Contains brown rice
- Uses chicken and menhaden fish meal for enhanced protein content
- Has a blend of nutrients
- Available as small kibble
- No artificial ingredients
Two key ingredients worth mentioning in this recipe are pomegranate and kelp, both of which provide additional antioxidants and nutrients. There is also brown rice, a whole grain that burns slowly, keeping her fuller for longer.
The inclusion of egg together with the deboned chicken ensures the quality of the protein your dog receives is high. In addition, it is fortified with probiotics to promote good gut health in your doggy.
- Fruits used to provide a lot of immunity-boosting antioxidants
- Contains glucosamine to promote excellent joint health
- No wheat, corn, or soy products
- Uses real meat as the primary source of protein
- Contains omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids for healthy skin and a shiny coat
- Has chicken fat preserved with mixed tocopherols
- The smaller bag might not be a cost-effective option
One special thing about this formula is that it has been created with small breed dogs in mind. It caters to their special needs. Also, it doesn’t contain unnecessary fats and carbohydrates that are known to increase weight. Overall, it is an excellent choice for Chihuahua food, making it the best overall on this list.
2. Royal Canin Chihuahua Puppy Dry Dog Food – Runner Up
You can feed this food to your pup during weaning and continue with it until she is eight months old without compromising on her health. The tiny kibble makes it easy to eat, especially when dealing with finicky eaters still reliant on mother’s milk.
- Breed-specific diet
- Available as tiny-sized kibble
- Contains chicken by-product meal and brewers rice
- Wheat gluten present
Just like most users, I appreciate that the mini kibble helps in a major way when it comes to maintaining healthy teeth and jaws in her pint-sized mouth.
Another thing I also cherish in this diet is the combination of vitamins and minerals that result in a fortified immune system and a healthy and strong body. Specifically, vitamin E helps her skin stay healthy and mitigates skin related allergic reactions.
What’s more, the meal also has calibrated fiber that ensures her poop smells less foul compared to when you feed her other dog foods.
- Mini kibble that protects the dog’s jaw
- Contains a healthy dose of vitamins and minerals
- It is an excellent option for picky eaters
- 28% protein content guarantees healthy muscle mass
- It contains chicken byproducts and wheat gluten, making it less friendly to allergic pups
Despite being a potential allergen, chicken appeals to dogs and by using chicken fat in the formula, the recipe is packed with appealing flavor. Also, it’s great for promoting dental health and the overall well being of your Chihuahua.
3. Hill’s Science Diet Puppy Small Paws Dry Dog Food – Best Value For Money
Hill’s Science Diet has the backing of in-depth research and the expertise of veterinarians to help them create excellent dog food formulas for small breed dogs. In the case of this formula, everything from the ingredients to the facility where the food is manufactured undergoes high-quality assurance standards from the company to ensure it lives up to its promises.
- Uses chicken meal and pork meal as top ingredients
- Includes barley
- Available as small kibble
- Contains brown rice
- No artificial ingredients
Proof that the formula takes into consideration the health and nutritional concerns of small dogs and toy breeds is in the fact that it features DHA (Docosahexaenoic acid) from fish oil to support the development of healthy brains and eyesight in Chihuahuas.
Also, all the ingredients used are naturally occurring. What’s more, the meal comes packed with an excellent cocktail of nutrients, including vitamins and antioxidants.
In addition to providing your Chihuahua with essential nutrients like copper and selenium, barley is also a great source of fiber for your doggy. Also, it is easily digestible and absorbed by the body once it is ingested.
Brown rice, on the other hand, is an excellent carbohydrate that ensures your little furry friend doesn’t feel hungry again so soon after eating.
- Utilizes all-natural ingredients thus it’s healthy and nutritious
- Packed with antioxidants to promote a healthy immune system
- Has no artificial preservatives, colors, or flavors, making it a great option for dogs with stomach and skin sensitivities
- Lacks real meat for protein
Even though this food utilizes all-natural ingredients, it would be great to see more animal protein in the formula. Having said that, the flavor is delicious and generally, this is a healthy balanced Chihuahua food that offers great value for your money.
4. Nutro Wholesome Essentials Puppy Farm-Raised Chicken, Brown Rice & Sweet Potato Recipe Dry Dog Food – Best Dog Food For Chihuahua Puppy
Sweet potato is always a great ingredient to have in your dog food. This Nutro dog food not only features sweet potato but also has farm-raised chicken and brown rice guaranteeing your baby a delicious, nutritious meal in her bowl every time.
- Contains chicken as the main ingredient
- Uses brown rice and sweet potatoes for starch
- Available as small kibble
- No artificial ingredients
Besides reducing tartar and plaque in your Chihuahua’s teeth naturally, the small kibble also protects her mouth and jaws because of the mini size.
Another unique thing about this formula is that it prioritizes healthy lean animal protein which is essential for muscle building in your pooch. Don’t forget that the chicken is farm-raised, meaning it has more flavor and better lean meat.
Sweet potato has become a popular source of carbohydrates because it is a slow-burning carb that keeps her fuller for longer. It also provides fiber and the brown rice is also another slow-burning carbohydrate with lots of fiber. The beta carotene in the sweet potato also helps with her eyesight and healthy skin.
- Contains boneless chicken for great flavor and essential protein
- Excellent proportions of fat, carbohydrates, and protein to sustain high energy Chihuahuas
- Has phosphorus and calcium to promote healthy bones
- No artificial preservatives, colors, or flavors are used
- It is a relatively expensive option compared to other foods in the same category
Who wouldn’t want for their dog a recipe responsibly formulated with the help of vets and the company’s experts? I don’t know about you, but I’d definitely want that formula. I also love that the company can trace their ingredients back to their specific suppliers, a fact that gives Chihuahua owners the confidence to feed the recipe to their babies.
5. Wellness CORE Grain-Free Dry Dog Food – Best For Active Dogs
Wellness CORE Grain-Free Dry Dog Food is made to specifically meet the needs of active small dogs. Not only does it contain healthy protein and nutritional supplements but it also is a grain-free recipe. This is essential especially if your pet is allergic to grains.
- Uses deboned turkey as the first ingredient
- Contains both turkey and chicken meal for enhanced protein levels
- Available as small kibble
- Grain-free recipe
If your pup loves to run around and is playful, she needs a carbohydrate that burns slowly. Peas are a great source of carbohydrates because they contain naturally occurring starch and fiber and they are complex carbohydrates as well. They also contain coumestrol which has anti-cancer properties.
Wellness CORE Grain-Free Dry Dog Food is a nutrient-dense recipe that also contains probiotics and fatty acids for overall nutritional balance, not to mention the protein from deboned turkey. It is lean for excellent muscle building and also contains glucosamine and chondroitin which promote healthy joints.
- Contains no grains, making it ideal for dogs with allergic reactions to grains
- Has high-quality ingredients from salmon, turkey, fresh fruits and vegetables
- Supports healthy joints as well as healthy skin
- Comes in small kibble that is easy for Chihuahuas to chew
- Has mixed tocopherols to work as preservatives
- Another source of carbohydrates is potatoes which can cause weight gain in dogs that exercise moderately
This is not a food for a low energy Chihuahua. As such, it may not be a good fit with senior dogs or dogs recovering from an injury. However, it is an excellent choice for energetic pups and adults.
6. Taste of the Wild Appalachian Valley Small Breed Grain-Free Dry Dog Food – Best Dog Food For Chihuahua WIth Allergies
When you talk of quality dog food, Taste of the Wild brand is always part of the conversation and with good reason. This formula, for instance, uses novelty meat that will effortlessly appeal to your Chihuahua’s taste buds and introduce her to new flavors.
- Uses lean venison as the main ingredient
- Has lamb and duck for enhanced protein levels
- Rich in probiotics and prebiotics
- No artificial ingredients
One special thing you will quickly notice about this diet is that the kibble is not mini, but it is sized appropriately to ensure good oral health for your doggy. They fit right in her small mouth and even help destabilize the plaque and tartar lodged in her teeth.
Expect to also meet a healthy dose of fiber from vegetables and fruits in the recipe instead of grains. And that’s not all. Your doggy is also guaranteed a lot of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants from this dog food.
Venison is deer meat and this formula introduces this novelty meat to offer an option to Chihuahuas with allergic reactions to common meats. This meat is leaner but to temper the new flavor, the formula also contains lamb and duck for a more familiar taste.
- Contains both prebiotics and probiotics for excellent gut health
- It is a grain-free formula, making it ideal for dogs with sensitive stomachs
- No artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives
- Contains lean protein for muscle building
- The venison flavor is not palatable for some doggies
If you are looking for a formula that offers your doggy a new taste adventure, this is an excellent option. Not only are the ingredients high quality, but they are also well formulated in the recipe for good overall health. I also love that their ingredients are sustainably and responsibly sourced.
7. Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Small Breed Puppy Dry Dog Food -Best For Growing Puppies
A recipe with oatmeal is not common in the dog food industry. But does mean that it is not tasty? Not at all! In fact, going by the reviews this food has received, this is no doubt a winning formula.
- Uses deboned chicken
- Has chicken meal to reinforce protein levels
- Barley and oatmeal present
- Chelated minerals
- No artificial ingredients
Deboned chicken serves as the primary meat ingredient. Besides being a protein source that helps to build muscle, it is full of that natural flavor that Chihuahuas relish.
That aside, this food will provide your Chihuahua puppy with the essential ingredients needed to grow healthy and strong into adulthood. Examples include calcium and phosphorous, both of which promote healthy bones.
- The formula contains DRA and DHA for excellent eye and brain development
- Has chelated minerals to promote her immune system
- It provides omega-3 and -6 fatty acids that contribute to a healthy coat and skin
- It contains no artificial colors, preservatives, or flavors, making it a healthier option for sensitive pups
- The smallest bag doesn’t offer value for money
Blue Buffalo remains a leader in the development of dog food and even with puppy food, the company does not disappoint. This recipe gives your pup the chance to grow up healthy and strong.
8. Merrick Grain-Free Grammy’s Pot Pie Recipe Canned Dog Food – Best Wet Dog Food For Chihuahua
Canned foods are delicious, mimicking the texture of ancestral diets of dogs. This canned food from Merrick looks delicious right from the can, but you know that is not how I will review this formula. There’s more underneath it.
- Uses deboned chicken
- Utilizes red-skinned potatoes and peas for carbs
- Uses red apples, chicken broth, and dried egg product
Admittedly, the constitution of this food makes it seem messy, but the flavor really appeals to the taste buds of your dog as most pet owners admit.
You can top up on kibble or have your little friend eat it as a meal. For parents who are concerned about the buildup of plaque and tartar in their doggy’s mouth, I recommend investing in a dental chew toy instead of denying your baby this sumptuous meal.
On top of all that, the formula contains a savory broth to give it flavor. The wetness of the food makes it easy to eat and the ingredients cater to sensitive stomachs.
And the overall meal is just well-balanced and nutritious, meeting the dietary needs of a Chihuahua. Perhaps the most important thing with this food is that it offers your dog the feel of her ancestral meal.
- Contains savory broth to make it even more delicious
- Recipe is grain-free catering to dogs with sensitive stomachs
- Contains a healthy dose of fruits and vegetables that provide vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants
- The ingredients are sourced from local, trusted suppliers and farmers
- Like all canned food it does not have a long shelf life, making it an expensive option
Merrick understands that all quality dog foods feature excellent quality lean protein. This particular recipe features not just high-quality proteins but also whole foods processed straight from their facility’s kitchen in Hereford. You will love that the food is not only delicious but made in facilities that meet the highest safety standards.
Why Your Chihuahua Needs A Specific Diet
Many brands have developed breed-specific foods to address very precise health needs of different dog breeds. It is, thus, understandable to see doggy parents invest in food that is tailor-made specifically for their pups.
Chihuahuas are known for their longevity and can reach the ripe old age of 16 years and over. But to reach that age, a Chihuahua also needs to be on a healthy diet that focuses on addressing her special nutritional and health concerns.
You may not know this but Chihuahuas are actually the smallest dog breed in the world. They are genetically small in stature. You can learn more facts about this breed in the video below:
Meanwhile, here are four main reasons why you should feed your Chihuahua a specific diet:
Obesity is a huge concern for Chihuahuas because they are so energetic you can be tempted to constantly give treats on top of mealtimes resulting in weight gain. These doggies do not need too much food to sustain them despite their high energy disposition.
Instead, focus on meeting her nutritional needs. Get foods that keep her fuller for longer and remember to feed her healthily and frequently.
Chihuahuas tend to suffer from low blood sugar levels. To mitigate this health concern, feed her a food that has healthy, slow-burning carbohydrates. Such complex carbohydrates provide consistent sugar levels in between meals, unlike simple carbs that cause a rise and dip in sugar levels. Also, make sure she eats frequently throughout the day.
Hypoglycemia is fatal in Chihuahuas and is characterized by seizures, shaking, weakness, confusion, as well as fainting spells. When your baby starts to show signs of hypoglycemia, give her honey or jam orally. Next, take her to the vet for additional care.
Chihuahuas are toy dogs so everything on them is miniature, including the size of their mouths. As a result, they suffer from teeth overcrowding which causes a build-up of tartar and plaque. She will easily develop gingivitis if you do not maintain proper oral health.
Feeding her dry kibble that can help clean her teeth may be better than wet food. Dental chew toys are also essential. But most importantly, avoid treats with high sugar content or rich in starch.
Obesity can make this condition worse so make sure your Chihuahua is on a balanced diet that doesn’t contribute to unnecessary weight gain. Also, make sure her diet contains nutrients like glucosamine that help strengthen her tracheal cartilage.
How Much To Feed Chihuahuas
Adult Chihuahuas can really burn through calories because they are very active. Ensure they get an average of 320 calories daily to enable them to enjoy their active lifestyle. Growing pups also fall in this category.
A moderately active Chihuahua weighing about five pounds should consume 200 calories to keep up her strength and enable her to be involved in normal activity. The older a Chihuahua gets, the fewer calories she should consume. Roughly 167 calories should be enough to sustain her daily activities.
It is important to keep in mind that these little fellas can burn more calories proportionally than a large breed dog. So, do not underfeed them because of their small size. And to ensure this doesn’t happen, a meal schedule is crucial.
First, begin by determining the weight of your baby and how old she is.
Under 3 Months Old
These are puppies that are still reliant on their mother for milk so let them nurse at will. They can feed three to four times a day until they are six months old. When they hit that age, begin to introduce them to puppy dog food and reduce their milk intake gradually as they near the six-month mark.
6 Months To 1 Year
They should be off milk by now and eating proper food. The meals should be fed three times daily.
After 1 Year
She is able to survive on two meals a day with healthy snacks in between, but I highly recommend feeding her three times a day. This guarantees her sugar levels stay up, preventing her from developing hypoglycemia.
It is crucial to ensure that her meal times remain constant. This is because lateness means her sugar levels dip and this can send her into a deficiency in sugar levels in her body. Timing it right gives her the much-needed balance in digesting her food on time to leave her hungry enough for the next meal.
Ingredients For The Best Dog Food For A Chihuahua
The type of ingredients in the dog food you choose for your doggie will determine her overall health and life span. Here are must-have ingredients necessary in the best dog food for a Chihuahua.
Lean meat from chicken, fish, bison, and venison are excellent choices. Meats such as this should be the first ingredient. Also, look for meat meal which is concentrated with even more protein than the real meat chunks.
However, avoid foods that have vague labels when it concerns their protein sources. For example, if a label says meat products but doesn’t mention the actual source, that is a red flag. Such meat may be sourced from euthanized animals.
Finally, look out for foods that use unnamed meat by-products instead of real meat. By-products have no protein and could actually be harmful to the health of your baby. They include intestines, hoofs, bird feet, and for some unscrupulous companies, even feathers.
These slow-burning carbohydrates can be found in sweet potatoes and chickpeas as well. Most dog food companies are avoiding using grains because when broken down they become simple sugars that burn up very fast. They cause dips in the energy levels of your baby. Avoid foods that contain corn, soy, and wheat.
On the other hand, whole grains like brown rice can work because they are also slow-burning complex carbohydrates.
Fruits And Veggies
These are essential for providing your dog with crucial nutrients like vitamins and antioxidants that promote her overall health. Plus, they provide the fiber that gives her excellent gut health.
Naturally occurring fat, like animal fats or fats from flaxseed or fish oil, are essential for her excellent coat and skin health. A healthy coat on a Chihuahua brings out the beauty of the breed even more.
What Food To Avoid And Why
Mostly, these are common allergens in food that can cause the health of your little canine friend to deteriorate. They include:
Not only are these empty of protein; they are among the number one cause of allergic reactions in dogs.
Artificial preservatives increase the shelf life of the food but they can cause an allergic reaction in your baby. Look out for ethoxyquin, butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT) and butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA) which are banned in countries like Australia and under investigation by the FDA in the United States.
Natural preservatives have the words ascorbate or tocopherol attached to them like natural chicken fat with alpha-tocopherol.
These primarily target the doggy’s sense of smell and are used to encourage your baby to eat more than she should.
One of the ingredients in dark chocolate is theobromine. This ingredient is poisonous to dogs and will cause vomiting, seizures, and acute diarrhea. Even treats that have chocolate coating can be just as dangerous so steer clear of them.
Garlic And Onions
Have you ever noticed that you do not see onions or garlic in dog food? That is because these foods can cause anemia in dogs.
Grapes, Cherries, And Raisins
As tasty as these fruits are and considering the number of oxidants contained in each, one would be tempted to feed them to a Chihuahua. Unfortunately, they can be toxic to dogs and even cause kidney failure.
Bread and pizza contain yeast which is broken down to alcohol in a dog’s stomach. Alcohol is toxic and can result in alcohol poisoning in dogs.
What To Consider When Choosing The Best Chihuahua Food
To answer the question of what kind of dog food is best for chihuahuas, here are a few factors that will help you narrow it down to one:
Size Of The Kibble
Remember that your Chihuahua has small features, including a small mouth. Do not make it difficult for her to eat by giving her large chunks of food. Make sure the food is broken up into small bits to help her easily chew and digest.
Additional Fatty Acids
To combat the common issue of skin problems in Chihuahuas, make sure the food contains additional fatty acids, like omega-3 and omega-6. Not only do they keep the skin healthy, they also give the coat a lustrous shine.
Place Of Manufacture
Chihuahuas are a delicate breed and you cannot afford to feed them food from just anywhere. The best-formulated food comes from countries that have invested adequate research into the needs of the breed. These are mostly western countries that follow rigorous laws set up to protect the interest of pets and animals.
Age Of The Doggy
All stages of life require different nutritional needs so make sure that you buy the correct diet appropriate for your baby’s needs. If you have any questions, your local vet can be an excellent resource about what to feed her at different times in life.
Chihuahuas are beautiful miniature dogs that have a lovely disposition and with the right care, they will live a long, happy life bringing you joy all the way. Pick any of the foods in this review and see your baby thrive and stay healthy. She deserves it and so do you.
For a start, I would recommend Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Small Breed Dry Dog Food for the reason that it is highly nutritious, tasty, and made to meet just about every nutritional need of small breed dogs. But should this option fail to meet your pup’s needs, the rest will perform just as great in ensuring your dog stays healthy and happy.