Everyone has a different opinion on what is best to feed a Chihuahua, but we can all agree that nutrition is extremely important for your Chihuahua. There is less margin for error when it comes to your Chi and their small stomach, rapid loss of heat and high energy and metabolism. A Chihuahua’s diet throughout her life will have a huge impact on her health including dental disease and other illnesses. Basic nutrition components for your Chihuahua include water, protein, fat, carbohydrates, minerals, and vitamins.
Water is essential for hydration, promotion of normal bodily functions, to move nutrients throughout the Chi’s body and to remove waste.
Protein is essential for all Chihuahua life stages, serves as building blocks for the body and helps repair bones, muscles, tissues and produces enzymes and antibodies. Common sources are beef, chicken, lamb, fish, dairy and eggs.
Fat is required for energy, as well as supports internal organs, the nervous system, and a healthy coat. Fat also makes the food taste better as humans also know. There should be a healthy balance to limit calorie intake. Fish oil is important to include in their diet to support brain function and a healthy skin and coat.
Carbohydrates are needed to produce energy in the body and come in multiple forms. Complex carbs are better are they are a longer lasting energy source versus simple carbs and sugars that are empty calories and no nutritional value. Fiber is also important to help keep your pup fit and feeling full.
Vitamins and minerals are essential for bone growth, nerve and muscle function, fluid balance, healing, and metabolism. They also help maintain a string immune system and fight off illness. The right balance of both is important as too much of either can cause health issues.
Keep in mind that Chihuahuas must eat more per pound that larger dogs to maintain their weight and condition. As discussed, they have small stomachs and need to be fed more calorie rich foods and more small meals per day. Chihuahuas need foods rich in complex carbohydrates and avoid simple sugars to prevent hypoglycemia. When looking at labels three to four of the first six ingredients should be animal derived, as they are tastier and easier to digest than plant-based ingredients.
There are several types of food to choose from and each type sites why it is better. Commercial dog food consisting of convenient kibble, semi-moist easy to open packets or wet canned food. Kibble contains more fillers like wheat and corn.
Most commercial food has preservatives, additives, and sugar. However, Chihuahuas do prefer the taste of canned food and can be used as an occasional treat. If you choose to feed your Chi commercial food, buy a high quality food from a well known brand that states it meets the recommended minimal nutrient levels for dogs set by the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) and has been tested through feeding trials. It is best to buy only the freshest food available. Just a note that dry food loses its nutrients as it sits on shelves and the fat content can be old and stale.
Non-commercial food consists of home cooked meals with meat and fruit and vegetables or raw food consisting of raw meaty bones and raw fruits and vegetables. Despite the fact that dogs have a stronger resistance to bacteria related food poisoning, be careful if feeding your pup a raw diet as they have occasionally been linked to food poisoning specifically salmonella.
It's a good idea to avoid ground meat in raw diets and always seer the surface of the meat to kill any bacteria, which is where most pathogens are found.
Don't forget to join my Newsletter to get three free homemade recipes and the Healthy and Toxic foods printable Factsheet including foods your should limit giving to your Chi.
My personal favorite is home cooked meals that include chicken, brown rice and vegetables like shredded carrots, spinach or broccoli. You can make this yourself or get these now in ready to serve fresh packets delivered weekly. Usually dogs love food warmed up slightly to body temperature. I usually heat 20 seconds in the microwave with just a tad of chicken broth or water.
Setup a feeding schedule for your pup starting on day one and stick with it. Dogs love routine, so feed them at the same time every day. This will avoid confusion with your pup and help with house training as well. As your dog ages, feeding schedules will change.
Puppies should be fed three times daily, adolescent puppies should be fed twice daily and older dogs one to two times daily.
Always make sure there is clean water in your pup's bowl. Each time the water bowl needs filling, ensure that you empty, scrub and refill the water to prevent algae from growing.
Measurements per feeding range from a quarter cup to half a cup depending on your Chi's size and if you are including fresh fruit and/or vegetables in their food.
Chihuahuas have low exercise requirements and usually short daily walks will due. Walking your Chi is a great way to bond as well. They are playful at home, so they will get exercise that way as well. Never leave your Chi outside alone even in your secure backyard, as there have been many instances where hawks, owls, foxes, and even larger dogs scoop them up with their talons or in their mouths.
This may seem like common sense, but always keep your Chi's water bowl full. You may miss this if you have a lot of chores and projects going on throughout the day. Every time you refill the bowl, make sure you clean it well to prevent algae and bacteria from growing and multiplying. Most dogs love ice cubes in their water, especially if they are not feeling well.
Although your little Chi may seem tough, she is still fragile. Always keep on eye on your pup when outside to protect her against predators and tough terrain and play with her gently. Your Chi will always want to be with you, whether on the couch or in bed. She will try to jump up to be with you. Likewise, you when you get up, she will want to go with you and try jump off the furniture.
This happened to my Chi while I was running an errand. When I came home her neck was sensitive to touch. Luckily, no permanent injuries occurred, but she did need to be on medication for a few weeks to reduce the inflammation.
It's a good idea to get your pup a dog ramp to prevent injuries from happening ranging from their neck, back and legs. You can use discount code CHIHUAHUA20 to get 20% off The Paw Ramp. Plus they offer fast delivery, free shipping and easy returns if it does not work out for your Chi. I think you and your Chi will love this adjustable ramp, as it is the perfect solution for small dogs to have access your bed, couch, car and other hard to reach areas.
You and your veterinarian of choice will work as a team to ensure your Chi’s good health. A few things to consider when choosing your new vet are overall availability, emergency, availability, costs, good clean facilities, communication, and location.
Having a good rapport with your veterinarian is especially important, as your vet should listen closely to you about your observations and explain in detail what is going with your Chihuahua. Start to look to look for a vet right away, so you can meet under regular conditions. Your vet should provide an annual plan with required and well timed vaccinations and booster shots schedule including the best heart-worm medication.
Common signs that your pup is not feeling well are lethargy, loss of appetite, diarrhea, vomiting, coughing, and urinating abnormally. Scooting the rear across the ground can be sign of an impacted anal sac.
Remember, ultimately you are responsible for your dog’s health and wellness, so educate yourself on dog heath and medicine so you can make educated decisions and have the ability to recognize problems early on.
Always be prepared since there are no paramedics for dogs. It is a good idea to always keep enough gas in the car to be able to get to the vet or emergency clinic. Even the most dedicated pet owner has a hard time deciding if the situation is a true emergency. When in doubt call your vet or emergency clinic.
Make sure to keep your veterinarian’s number along with the local emergency clinic number by the phone or somewhere very handy. In an emergency, try to stay calm for your pup. It is a good idea now to create an emergency kit with essential items for your pup.
Here are some important items to keep in your kit: anti-diarrhea medication, antiseptic skin ointment, clean sponge, first aid instructions, hydrogen peroxide, instant cold compress, ophthalmic ointment, pen light, poison control center number, rectal thermometer, scissors, self-adhesive bandage, sterile gauze dressings, syringe, towel, tweezers, veterinarian and emergency clinic numbers. It's a good idea to get an airtight container to store all your essential items and ensure you keep the kit in an easy accessible place.
Chihuahuas are known for many things and being loyal to their pet parents is one of them. They enjoy spending quality time with you whether it is sitting on your lap during your leisure time or taking a ride around town with you.
Chihuahuas love attention and body warmth, so holding your puppy in your lap is one of the better ways to bond with her. She will not mind if you read or watch television at the same time!
Chihuahua Dog Care
Quick Links for the main topics you will find on Love Your Chihuahua