Best Dog Food For Chihuahua : Top Puppy, Adult & Senior Recommendations for 2019

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They may not eat much, but they do have some specific requirements to keep them healthy and active. Chihuahuas can easily live to be 15 years old, with some living far longer, so it’s vital that you give them the best chance at life with quality, nutrient dense food.

Your tiniest companion has a lot of personality. Chihuahuas are known for their bravado, small stature and pretty much define the term “purse dog.” They’re a national symbol for Mexico and is one of the oldest breeds of dog in the New World.

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We’ve got our favorite foods for a Chihuahua that can get you started. Let’s take a look at what it takes to keep your tiniest best friend happy and healthy for a (potentially long) lifetime.

Why Quality Food Matters for Your Chihuahua Dog

Chihuahuas only weigh about six pounds or fewer, so you don’t have a lot of space for packing in proper nutrition. Foods with a lot of empty calories waste that valuable space. Instead, those tiny meals need to be packed with enough nutrition to give energy all day long and enough protein to keep muscles in top shape.
Chihuahuas can be allergy prone, so avoiding common fillers such as corn or soy can be vital to your dog’s nutrition. Foods should also fit your chihuahua’s mouth. Some budget dog foods have large kibble that’s hard to chew because of the types of ingredients, making it difficult for your dog to get the nutrition it needs.

5 Top Chihuahua Foods : Quick Look

3 Common Chihuahua Health Issues Food Can Help With

Being a tiny breed is hard work. There are a few standard things to worry about with Chihuahuas that are common to all dogs, but three conditions need special attention to prevent shaving years off your Chihuahua’s quality of life.

Weight

Even a few ounces can be difficult for a chihuahua to handle. They have small skeletons so rigorously controlling calories, and portion sizes help keep them lean, preventing a multitude of vet visits later on. Densely nutritious food provides Chihuahuas with everything they need for proper health without tacking on extra calories.

Knee Issues

Tiny breeds often have trouble with a condition called a Luxating Patella. The knee cap can very easily slip out of place, especially if your Chihuahua is carrying extra weight or playing way too rough. Foods that support the cushioning in the knees may help alleviate the discomfort from this condition, but you should always watch for signs and keep your veterinarian in the loop.

Eye Issues

Their eyes are one of their most beloved features, but they can be prone to eye infections and disorders. Supplements that help maintain the health of eyes and prevent allergic reactions which can worsen the condition of the eye could help your chihuahua with these issues even into the golden years.

What to Look For in a Quality Dog Food for Chihuahuas

Protein from whole sources is a must because your Chihuahua is going to have a tiny amount of food per day. You don’t have a lot of space to play around with empty calories, so complete proteins are a must. Combine these with complex carbohydrates that won’t spike blood sugar and plenty of fiber to maintain weight and digestive health.

Whole fruits and veggies provide plenty of nutrients and antioxidants to support the immune system and other systems such as the eyes and skin. Essential fatty acids help with brain health and to keep the skin soft and healthy. Glucosamine and chondroitin help the joints maintain lubrication and could help prevent lingering discomfort if your dog experiences issues with its knees.

Ingredients to Avoid in Your Chihuahua’s Dog Food

Some bargain foods use things like corn and soy to bring down the overall price of the food, but these are common food allergens. They offer no nutritional value and tend to help dogs pack on pounds unnecessarily. They shouldn’t be found anywhere in the ingredients list.

By-product meals are terrible sources of protein and can also cause allergic reactions. Other offenders include artificial flavors, which also encourage your dog to overeat, and artificial colors which are to make foods look appetizing for humans, not for dogs.

One other potential issue recently uncovered is a possible link between potatoes, peas, and legumes and a condition known as Canine Dilated Cardiomyopathy, or an enlarged heart. We aren’t sure of the exact length yet, but until we understand more, we recommend talking to your vet about the issue and keeping those ingredients out of the top three positions.

Food Brands To Avoid

Some well-known brands are actually terrible dietary choices in disguise. They use all of the red flag ingredients we listed above and provide only a cheap source of nutrition and nothing more.

Alpo – Part of Purina, this mostly wet food uses artificial ingredients, corn, and soy in the few dry options, and plenty of by-product meals. It’s also been recalled more times than we can count.

Kibbles N Bits – It’s cheap and recognizable, but that’s about the only thing. It uses artificial flavors and colors, corn, soy, and by-product meals to produce inexpensive but empty foods.

Ol Roy – A Walmart option, its large size and tiny price tag attract followers, but the corn, soy, and artificial flavors are a huge no-no. Do your chihuahua a favor and stay away from this one.

Chihuahua Feeding Chart

It’s hard to visualize just how little Chihuahua’s need to eat, so, unfortunately, many of them are way overfed leading to obesity. Your vet is your best resource for feeding schedules and portions, but here’s a general idea.

  • Puppies: Puppies under three months or two pounds are often free fed to make sure they keep up their calorie and protein counts. Leave food out all day and change out as needed. When puppies reach the weight goal of two pounds, switch to scheduled meals (three to four).
  • Adults: Chihuahuas burn energy quickly so scheduled meals (two to three) are a good idea. Generally, they eat from 1/2 to 1 and 1/3 cup PER DAY depending on the food or around 40 calories per pound of body weight.
  • Seniors: Senior dogs will receive roughly the same amount of food, but your vet may adjust portions based on activity levels and weight gain. This is a critical time to talk to your vet and watch for signs of weight gain or lethargy.

Best Dog Food for Chihuahuas

As a toy breed, your Chihuahua will need special care with dry foods because of a small mouth and teeth. Larger or even standard sized kibble could be too tricky for your Chihuahua to handle. Also, carefully check the feeding recommendations on the back of your dog food bag for exact amounts, and calorie counts since this can vary from food to food.

Best Overall – Instinct by Nature’s Variety Raw Boost Small Breed Grain-Free Recipe with Real Chicken

Instinct by Nature's Variety Raw Boost Small Breed Grain-Free Recipe with Real ChickenInstinct by Nature’s Variety uses bits of real freeze dried raw meat to both entice your Chihuahua to eat and build healthy muscle with quality proteins. It also features whole fruits and veggies for vitamin and antioxidant support, plus essential fatty acids to support skin and soft tissue health.

First Five Ingredients:

  1. Chicken
  2. Chicken Meal (source of Glucosamine and Chondroitin Sulfate)
  3. Chickpeas
  4. Turkey Meal
  5. Tapioca

About The Company

Instinct by Nature’s Variety strives to provide nutrition as close to the canine ancestral diet as possible, giving your Chihuahua dense nutrition packed full of things to help with living life to the fullest. The company tests all recipes in test kitchens before release, ensuring quality and high standards.

What Customers Like:

  • freeze dried bits encourage picky Chihuahuas
  • joint support
  • whole proteins

Common Complaints

  • the bag could need periodic shaking to redistribute raw bits
  • some Chihuahuas pick around the kibble anyway

Best Value – Natural Balance L.I.D. Limited Ingredient Diets Chicken & Sweet Potato Formula Small Breed Bites Grain-Free

Natural Balance L.I.D. Limited Ingredient Diets Chicken & Sweet Potato Formula Small Breed Bites Grain-Free

Natural Balance’s limited ingredient formula is both a value option and suitable for sensitive tummies. Chihuahuas can be prone to allergies, so this formula uses a single protein source and limited ingredients to alleviate those reactions. It’s also grain free and has a kibble size designed to clean teeth without affecting biting.

First Five Ingredients:

  1. Chicken
  2. Chicken Meal
  3. Dried Sweet Potato
  4. Dried Peas
  5. Dried Garbanzo Beans

About The Company

Natural Balance uses limited ingredient formulas to accommodate sensitive tummies. All ingredients are premium and provide balanced, dense nutrition to support your Chihuahua’s health from adulthood to the senior years.

What Customers Like:

  • alleviates allergic reactions
  • supports skin and coat health
  • great kibble size for Chihuahuas

Common Complaints:

  • Some Chihuahuas don’t like the taste
  • only comes in tiny bags

Best Super Premium – NomNomNow Tasty Turkey Fare

NomNomNow Tasty Turkey Fare

Tasty Turkey Fare is a balance between feeding a messy raw food diet and the standard kibble. It arrives at your door fully cooked using human grade ingredients. The recipe has just six ingredients total and uses the whole turkey for a complete protein source. Fruits and veggies support digesting and immune health while fatty acids take care of skin and coat.

First Five Ingredients:

  1. turkey
  2. brown rice
  3. carrots
  4. spinach
  5. eggs
  6. NomNomNow nutrient blend

About The Company

NomNomNow was started by a veterinarian who wanted to make it easier for pet owners to give their pets premium nutrition. All foods are cooked and prepared in the company’s kitchens and shipped out ready to serve or refrigerate for storage.

What Customers Like:

  • human grade ingredients
  • dense nutrition for picky pups
  • easy to serve

Common Complaints

  • delivery schedules aren’t always convenient
  • requires refrigeration or freezing

Best Chihuahua Puppy Food

Chihuahua puppies are often free fed until they’re at least two pounds, but that doesn’t mean you can skimp on nutrition. They also could have a lot of issues with kibble or dry foods if you don’t choose a formula made specifically for small breed dogs, so be mindful of this.

Best Dry – Merrick Lil’ Plates Grain-Free Real Chicken & Sweet Potato Puppy

Merrick Lil' Plates Grain-Free Real Chicken & Sweet Potato Puppy

Merrick’s grain free formula is specially designed for tiny mouths and uses a whole chicken for complete protein combined with sweet potato for all-day energy. It helps your puppy grow well without empty calories and provides plenty of DHA for brain development and vitamins for immune and digestive support.

First Five Ingredients:

  1. Deboned Chicken
  2. Chicken Meal
  3. Potatoes
  4. Peas
  5. Sweet Potatoes

About The Company

Merrick provides premium nutrition for all life stages of dogs and all breed sizes. Their recipes are densely nutritious and designed to give the dogs a diet much like their ancestors would have received in the wild.

What Customers Like:

  • small kibble size
  • whole chicken protein
  • DHA for brain development

Common Complaints:

  • some puppies may not like the taste
  • uses potatoes and peas

Best Wet – Nulo Freestyle Turkey & Lentils Recipe Grain-Free Small Breed & Puppy Canned Dog Food

Nulo’s canned food is a great way to introduce whole foods to your puppy while their little mouths develop. It uses turkey for a complete protein source and lentils for all-day energy. Essential fatty acids support coat health and brain development while plenty of fiber and moisture help maintain digestion.

First Five Ingredients:

  1. Turkey
  2. Turkey Broth
  3. Turkey Liver
  4. Lentils
  5. Dicalcium Phosphate

About The Company

Nulo uses only premium ingredients for holistic nutrition designed to support your toy breed puppy’s development. Smaller can sizes are more comfortable to serve and packed full of everything your puppy needs for long term health.

What Customers Like:

  • small can sizes
  • most puppies love the taste
  • excellent protein levels

Common Complaints

  • strong smell
  • still may require cold storage for uneaten portions

Best Dog Food for Senior Chihuahuas

Best Overall – Now Fresh Grain-Free Small Breed Senior Weight Management Recipe Dry Dog Food

Now Fresh Grain-Free Small Breed Senior Weight Management Recipe Dry Dog Food

Now Fresh uses a grain free recipe to help your small breed pup maintain a healthy weight even with reduced activity levels. Whole proteins encourage muscle tone while glucosamine and chondroitin support joints and hips. It also has vitamin and antioxidant support plus fiber for proper digestion and further weight control.

First Five Ingredients:

  1. De-Boned Turkey
  2. Whole Dried Egg
  3. Potatoes
  4. Potato Flour
  5. Peas

About The Company

Now Fresh uses only premium ingredients in portions suitable for small dogs to fulfill their unique nutritional requirements. Seniors receive full support for aging joints, bones, and muscles as well as supplements for mental acuity.

What Customers Like

  • formulated especially for small breed dogs
  • healthy weight formula
  • antioxidant and digestion support

Common Complaints

  • Picky seniors may not eat it
  • feeding recommendations may need tweaking

Best Value – Nutro Ultra Senior Chunks in Gravy Canned Dog Food

Nutro’s formula is excellent for seniors with tooth issues that prevent them from consuming a kibble. It still contains all the right ingredients to support your Chihuahua’s aging body and mind with whole proteins, essential fatty acids, and complex carbohydrates for energy all day. It also promotes healthy digestion with plenty of fiber and moisture.

First Five Ingredients:

  1. Chicken Broth
  2. Chicken (source of glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate)
  3. Chicken Liver
  4. Potato Starch
  5. Wheat Gluten

About The Company

Nutro is dedicated to helping your senior dog age with grace. The formulas use premium ingredients with whole proteins and supplements to support things like aging joints and skin. Their wet foods are perfect for a tiny breed senior who can’t quite manage even the smallest kibble but still needs plenty of nutrition to keep up energy levels and muscle tone.

What Customers Like:

  • satisfies picky seniors
  • joint support supplements
  • good fiber and moisture for digestion

Common Complaints:

  • cans are regular sized, so you’ll need to store leftovers
  • strong smell

Final Thoughts

Chihuahuas pack a ton of personality into a tiny package, so it’s vital you support their health with densely nutritious foods. Your Chihuahua may live 15 years or more so building a system of health and wellbeing from day one is critical to all those years being quality ones. Look for foods with proper protein and carbohydrate balance because you don’t have a lot of room to get those amounts in. Empty calories only waste the little food you can feed your tiny breed dog.

Chihuahuas can be sensitive, both in taste and digestion, so whole ingredients with no fillers get top billing with all our foods. Corn and soy are red flags, as are artificial flavors which can encourage your Chihuahua to overeat. They can be picky little dogs, and one good thing about tiny breeds is that you can switch to more expensive cooked food diets without feeling the effects in your wallet the way you would with a large breed.

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