Feeding a Chihuahua isn’t something you’d expect to think about intently. Shouldn’t it be as straightforward as leaving some food out for breakfast and dinner? That’s actually the farthest from the truth!
Understanding your Chihuahua puppy and its needs takes careful thought. The Chihuahua is a toy-sized breed of dog. So it should come as no surprise that they have unique dietary needs.
Chihuahuas are tiny canines with a lot of energy. It’s important to keep them on a regimen of their basic nutritional requirements so they can grow to just the right size. Luckily, this guide is here to help you do that.
Chihuahua Feeding Chart by Age: How Much to Feed Your Chihuahua?
You can’t expect a dog as small as a Chihuahua to eat as much as other breeds. Chihuahua meals are considerably smaller to fit their tiny tummies. It’s suggested that Chihuahuas eat just ½ to 1 and ⅓ cups of food a day. With such a tiny serving, it needs to be packed with the right nutrients.
Chihuahua puppies need more nourishment from puppy food to help their bodies grow. Adults only need a stable diet, while senior dogs need vastly different nutrients to suit their slowing bodies.
This section is a general guide you can follow to meet the right daily requirement for your Chihuahua’s age. Plan accordingly and adjust based on your specific pet’s needs.
It’s good to consult a vet as well for more expert advice on preventing common Chihuahua puppy problems related to feeding, such as hypoglycemia, diabetes, and obesity.
Chihuahua Puppy Feeding Chart (2 to 12 months)
Chihuahua puppies can slowly be introduced to solid food softened in fresh water as early as four weeks. Chihuahuas at this age are already in the process of weaning from their mother’s milk.
Chihuahua puppies are typically completely weaned by two months and need to be ready for solid foods by then.
From two to twelve months, Chihuahuas enter their puppyhood and will experience several milestones in development.
Remember, a Chihuahua puppy eats so little but needs a lot of nutrients to gain weight.
It’s important to select high-calorie dog foods packed high with protein and fats. Having the proper intake can assure you that they will grow up to be healthy adults.
To familiarize yourself with the food requirement of a Chihuahua at this life stage, you can refer to the feeding chart below:
|Age||Daily Food Quantity|
|2 – 3 months||0.25 – 0.5||105 – 140||30 – 35%||8%|
|4 – 5 months||0.5 – 1||200 – 220||30 – 35%||8%|
|6 – 9 months||0.5 – 1.33||225 – 250||30 – 35%||8%|
|10 – 12 months||0.5 – 1.33||250 – 300||30 – 35%||8%|
This chart is a general recommendation to help guide your Chihuahua to its proper size. Keep in mind that these ranges assume that you’re giving manufactured food and not homemade or raw food to your dog.
Adjust accordingly based on your pup’s activity level and individual needs. Not all puppies are the same, and some may need more attention than others.
Adult Chihuahua Feeding Chart (1 to 8 years)
At age one, Chihuahuas are already considered adult dogs. At this age, your pup would have already reached its ideal body weight of 4 to 6 pounds.
These high-energy canines, by now, will only require enough food to maintain their level of energy.
An adult Chihuahua can slowly transition to foods with lesser protein content than puppies or senior Chihuahuas — it’s still best to opt for high-quality food with high-quality macronutrient sources.
Giving them a well-balanced diet can prevent obesity in your Chihuahua, which is a very serious condition common in this small breed, often resulting from an improper diet and consuming inappropriate nutrients.
The feeding chart illustrates your Chihuahua’s ideal daily food consumption:
|Age||Daily Food Quantity|
|1 – 8 years||0.5 – 1.33||200 – 240||25 – 30%||5%|
You can use this chart as a general guideline to help your Chihuahua maintain a balanced diet. As a rule of thumb, adult Chihuahuas require about 35 to 40 calories of food per pound of body weight per day.
Keeping these in mind can prevent your Chihuahua from becoming underweight or overweight, leading to a myriad of health issues.
Senior Chihuahua Feeding Chart (9 years and above)
Dogs tend to become sedentary as they reach seniority. This means they’ll need fewer calories, but they need a healthy diet with high protein to maintain their muscles.
They’ll also need some vitamins to boost their immune system and aid in their digestion.
Seniority usually comes with a host of problems. Dogs become prone to medical, dental, orthopedic, and skin issues. Feeding them high-quality foods can mitigate these to keep your pup happy and healthy.
While they can be fine eating adult dog food, scouting for dog food with low calorie, high protein food with a decent amount of healthy fat (like fish oil) can greatly benefit your senior Chihuahua’s overall well-being.
Chihuahuas, in general, also tend to be selective in their senior years. They may become even more sensitive to food choices. So choose wisely!
You can refer to the table below for a guide in feeding a senior Chihuahua:
|Age||Daily Food Quantity|
|9 years and above||0.5 – 1||200||30 – 35%||8%|
In selecting good food, you can always check the label to see if a certain type or brand is perfect for your Chihuahua’s diet.
Since these figures, especially the serving size, are generalizations by dog food companies, they are not appropriate for all dog breeds.
As we discussed, factors such as age and activity level affect the amount of food that’s ideal for your Chihuahua.
Other important factors to note are body weight and the gender of your Chihuahua. Females tend to be lighter than male Chihuahuas, so they need fewer calories except when pregnant!
As a rule, it’s recommended to feed a Chihuahua pup 50 calories per pound; Chihuahua adults are good with 40 calories per pound, and seniors are fine with 35 to 40 calories per pound.
Regularly consult with your vet as well to see if your Chihuahua may have any dietary restrictions you need to know about. Your vet may also advise if your pup ever needs supplementation if they have any nutritional deficiencies.
READ NEXT: Male vs. Female Chihuahua: Which Is Better?
Chihuahua Feeding Frequency: How Often Should You Feed Your Chihuahua?
How often you feed your Chihuahua depends on its age and activity level. Puppies typically need four to six meals a day, but it’s also fine to freely feed them throughout the day. Adults to senior dogs, on the other hand, require three to four feedings per day with snacks.
Chihuahuas are a small breed, but they’re bursting with energy! With a high energy level, this breed also has a rapid metabolism.
Their bodies can burn calories fast, so they need to be fueled constantly. Now you just have to know how much food they should take. Below is a breakdown of how often your Chihuahua eats based on their age:
|0 – 3 months||Four to six times a day, or free feeding|
|4 – 6 months||Gradually move to three to four times a day, with snacks in-between meals|
|7 – 12 months||Three to four times a day, with frequent snacks in-between meals|
|1 year and above||Three to four times a day, with small snacks throughout the day|
Puppies need to consume more in a day to grow up healthy. Hence, they are fed more frequently, albeit with small meals.
For Chihuahua adults and seniors, 3 to 4 small meals per day with small snacks in-between is the most ideal feeding frequency. This way, they are guaranteed a constant energy supply throughout the day.
These recommendations are common for toy breeds such as the Chihuahua. A small frequent feeding schedule also has its perks! It helps keep their calories and weight in check; it also prevents bloat.
Optimal Feeding Times for Chihuahuas
A consistent feeding schedule will also be beneficial to you and your Chi pup; it can also encourage good behavior.
You can easily set the alarm to remind you, while your pup can wait in anticipation as you fill their food bowl. Below is a table showing a sample schedule you can follow for your Chihuahua:
|Age||Optimal Feeding Times|
|0 – 6 months||7:00 am, 9:00 am, 11:00 am, 1:00 pm, 3:00 pm, 5:00 pm, 7:00 pm|
Small snacks given throughout the day
|7 – 12 months||7:00 am, 11:00 am, 3:00 pm, 7:00 pm|
Small snacks given throughout the day
|1 – 8 years||7:00 am, 11:00 am, 3:00 pm, 7:00 pm|
Small snacks given in-between meals
|9 years and above||7:00 am, 11:00 am, 3:00 pm, 7:00 pm|
Small snacks given in-between meals
Chihuahuas being fed 3 to 4 times a day can match your meal schedule. It’s as simple as preparing breakfast, lunch, and an evening meal to get your pooch set.
Don’t forget to leave a few pellets of kibble throughout the day for those frequent snacks we mentioned.
A word of caution, make sure you don’t feed your Chihuahua puppy too late at night to avoid indigestion. So be smart, set alarms if you have to, and get your dog’s meals ready for the day.
A consistent feeding plan is especially important for adult Chihuahuas since they have the highest tendency to develop obesity.
Distributing the right amount of food throughout the day can prevent excessive eating and control caloric intake.
Best Dog Food for Chihuahuas
Chihuahuas are notoriously picky eaters, and it can be quite challenging to find a type of food that they will surely enjoy.
For starters, this section features a rundown of the best food you can potentially put in your Chihuahua’s bowl.
Owners can opt to feed their Chihuahuas commercial dry or wet dog food or choose to make homemade chow.
Either way, it’s important to remember the guidelines we set earlier to ensure you are selecting the best food possible for your pup.
A balanced diet is certainly achievable for your pup. It only boils down to your personal choice of what you want to put in your pet’s food bowl. The list below shows the best dog food options you can provide for your Chihuahua’s diet:
- Dry Food: Dry food or kibble is generally recommended for young and adult Chihuahuas. Aside from nourishment, dry kibble also tends to help dental health by lowering plaque collection in their teeth. There are different kinds of dry food, including those infused with healthy chicken fat, salmon oil, and other nutritious ingredients.
- Wet Food: Commercial wet dog food is only recommended for senior Chihuahuas who may already be suffering from dental issues. Wet food is usually 75% water, but the premium sources of their protein are excellent sources of protein for pets.
- Home-Cooked Diet: Homemade Chihuahua food grants you the freedom to experiment with ingredients to fit your dog’s specific needs. It’s important to keep in mind, though, to have a trusted source of meat and produce to ensure that you are using healthy ingredients for your Chihuahua pup.
Check out the video below for a homemade dog food specifically designed for Chihuahuas with ingredients such as chicken, brown rice, carrots, corn, and peas:
It will take some experimentation to see what pet food best fits your pooch. After all, they are picky! But that can be alleviated with a little variety.
Watch out for signs of allergies and blacklist foods that you think your dog might be sensitive to.
The best person you can consult for your pup’s proper nutrition is a veterinarian or a licensed canine nutritionist. So don’t hesitate to consult and find the best meal for your pup.
Foods to Avoid Feeding Your Chihuahua
As we mentioned, Chihuahuas are notoriously picky eaters. In addition, they also have very sensitive tummies.
Now that we know what’s best for our Chi pups, let’s dive into what foods are toxic for your precious pooch.
Pooches have varying reactions to certain types of foods. While other dogs may exhibit an allergic reaction, some food items can prove to be lethal to our canine companions.
The following foods should be on every dog owner’s no-feed list so best try to keep these out of your Chihuahua’s reach:
- Xylitol: Xylitol is an artificial sweetener often used to flavor candies and pastries. In small doses, the additive can be lethal to your pet. So best to leave any sweets out of your dog’s reach.
- Chocolate: The presence of caffeine and theobromine in this common snack food can cause palpitations, seizures, and death when ingested. Since Chihuahuas are small, even a small dose can be fatal.
- Grapes: Grape seeds tend to have harmful chemicals such as cyanide which is toxic to both humans and pups when ingested.
- Garlic and Onion: These two are fairly common ingredients in the kitchen. Garlic and onions contain thiosulfates and N-propyl disulfide which are toxic to animals. They’re used frequently in foods we eat which is more reason for us to be mindful of what table scraps we leave for our pets.
- Artificial Additives: Artificial additives like artificial coloring and flavorings have no nutritional value to our Chihuahuas and are hard to digest. Ingested in large amounts, they can cause digestive problems, harming our beloved dog.
- Dairy Products: Though dogs can consume dairy, it’s best taken in small amounts. Dairy may be nutritious, but pups tend to struggle to digest it in large amounts, causing diarrhea, allergies, and digestive issues.
There are a myriad of other foods that may be dangerous to your pooch that you may not know.
It’s best to consult with your veterinarian to get the full scoop and save your pup from expensive hospital bills simply because of bad food intake.
It’s already pricey to own a Chihuahua; you don’t need a surprise medical expense to pile on to that list. So arm yourself with the right information and protect your dog from potential poisons!
How to Transition Your Chihuahua to New Food
It’s expected that your Chihuahua’s food will change throughout its lifespan. Reasons vary from new nutritional requirements, developing food allergies, or a prescribed diet by your veterinarian.
In any case, dog owners need to know how to transition their pups from their old food to other food. Abrupt changes to their diet can cause digestive issues and a loss of appetite.
It’s therefore important to do things correctly right off the bat for your pup’s health. Slow is the way to go when switching to other food. This way, your Chihuahua’s digestive system adjusts to the new food.
The American Kennel Club (AKC) suggests a 5 to 7-day transition by adding 25% increments of new Chihuahua food to your pet’s bowl while tapering off old food by 25% increments as well until only the new food remains.
For your reference, you will find the typical regimen for food transition as recommended by the AKC in the table below:
|Day||New Food||Old Food|
It’s highly recommended to seek the professional advice of a veterinarian before switching between dog foods. It also pays to be familiar with your dog’s food sensitivities, so you can make the right choice for your pup.
Being properly guided with your Chihuahua’s food intake is crucial for your pooch to live a long and healthy life free of health concerns. So it’s always better to be safe than sorry when it comes to our pooch’s diet.
Feeding an Overweight Chihuahua
Chihuahuas are extremely notorious for becoming obese. An adult Chihuahua with a healthy weight is around 4 to 6 pounds. Anything above that is considered overweight for this small breed.
Often, owners forget how little the capacity of a Chi pup is, so they get carried away and overfeed their pets resulting in obesity.
This pooch has a very specific diet that owners need to be aware of for the sake of their pet’s health.
Being overweight poses several health problems for our canines. It increases their risk of diabetes and heart disease. Obesity can also negatively affect bone structure and your pet’s overall posture.
It’s fairly easy to identify an obese Chihuahua. These canines typically have very slender bodies with their abdomens tucking towards their bodies.
If you notice your Chihuahua looks like a sausage instead, then that pooch is undoubtedly obese.
If your Chihuahua suffers from obesity, seek the advice of a veterinarian so they can guide you accordingly and suggest a special diet for your pet for them to attain a healthy weight.
Following a strict diet also means food is controlled. That means treats and table scraps are definitely off their diet!
But if you want to give some snacks, stick to all-natural sources of carbs and fiber such as apples, bananas, and carrots. Sweet potato is also okay, but white potatoes should be avoided.
What you will want for your Chihuahua is strict adherence to a proper diet and good exercise. Just because Chihuahuas are considered toy dogs doesn’t mean they don’t need exercise.
Chihuahuas are active dogs, so get your pooch moving and burn some excess weight!
For more details, you can also check out our comprehensive guide on slimming down an obese Chihuahua.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why Is My Chihuahua Not Eating?
Many factors might affect your Chi’s appetite. Among the common causes of a loss of appetite include stress, adverse reactions to low-quality food, medications, ingesting unwanted materials, or a change in environment.
Dental issues may also cause them to eat less food, so it’s important to invest time in your pup’s oral health. Some owners recommend feeding Chihuahuas dry pet food to clean the gaps between their teeth.
If your Chihuahua puppy still refuses to eat after several days, it’s critical to seek the help of a veterinarian immediately.
Do Chihuahuas Eat a Lot?
Chihuahuas tend to be picky, but this doesn’t mean they don’t eat a lot. It still depends on the individual dog.
Their tiny bodies can only hold a small amount of food. But since they have a pretty fast metabolism, they can burn it off rather quickly, and they may get hungry again. This is especially true for a growing puppy.
Can Chihuahuas Eat Bones?
Bones are a decent source of nutrients for Chihuahuas. They can also aid in their dental health by cleaning off the gunk in their teeth.
Just be reminded that only raw bones are okay for canine consumption — never cooked!
Cooked bones pose a danger to our pets, especially to such small dogs, since they tend to be brittle. If your pet accidentally ingests a sharp piece of cooked bone, it can puncture its esophagus and digestive tract.
Meanwhile, raw food, especially bones, are soft enough to chew, eat and digest. A rule of thumb with small breeds is to offer them bones larger than their mouths to prevent accidental swallowing, leading to choking.
Can Chihuahuas Be Vegetarians?
It’s a very controversial topic, but dogs are, in fact, omnivorous. Which means they can eat both meat and veggies. So yes, owners can try giving their Chihuahua a vegetarian diet. Just be wary and make sure they eat enough.
Vegetarian diets can result in your Chihuahua puppy not getting the nutrients it needs. Hence, it’s important to pay attention to sources of protein, fiber, and complex carbohydrates.
They may be able to get some of these from foods like beans, tofu, and sweet potatoes.
It is also a good idea to throw in a salmon meal or chicken breast from time to time if you don’t plan on turning your dog into a full-blown vegetarian.
Before considering a vegetarian diet for your pup, it’s important to seek the advice of a veterinarian. Doing so will ensure that your pup still gets the nutrition it needs.
It’s very common for new pet owners to ask, “How much should I feed my Chihuahua?” since the diet of this breed can be a bit complicated.
There are countless options for dog food, be it kibble, wet food, or homemade food, but what matters is that you secure your Chihuahua’s daily needs. So know the right kind of food, the correct amount, and when to feed your pooch.
Just remember that not all pups are created equal, and your Chihuahua puppy has its own needs based on its size, age, and activity level. And that’s all there is to it!
Do you have any homemade recipes for your Chihuahua? Or do you know other Chihuahua feeding tips and tricks? Let us know in the comments below.