Choosing a dog food for your Chihuahua isn't a decision that should be made lightly. Like all dogs, Chihuahuas have very specific nutritional needs that must be met through proper dieting. Unfortunately, most of the dog foods sold in pet stores and grocery stores fail to provide enough nutrients for healthy growth and development. While they may provide your Chihuahua a "full" belly, they don't offer the right balance of nutrients and minerals. If you're wondering what the best type of dog food is for a Chihuahua, keep reading.
Why The Right Dog Food Is Important For a Chihuahua
Many owners overlook the importance of a premium dog food for their Chihuahua. As you can expect, a good brand of dog food is naturally going to cost more money, which is why some owners opt to go with the cheaper types. The problem in doing so, however, is that cheap, low-quality dog food opens up your Chihuahua to a whole world of new health problems. You might save a couple dollars by feeding your Chihuahua a low-quality dog food, but you'll likely end up paying more in the long run for vet visits and healthcare.
Here are some of the most common side effects associated with feeding a Chihuahua the wrong dog food:
- Coat loses some of its color and sheen.
- May suffer from tooth decay, tooth loss or other oral problems.
- Weakened immune system leaves them more susceptible to disease.
- Stunts their growth and development, causing them to grow at a slower pace than normal.
- Leads to obesity and canine diabetes.
- Increases the chance of food allergies.
- May contain potentially life-threatening strains of food borne-illness, such as salmonella.
What To AVOID When Choosing Dog Food For Your Chihuahua
There are some common mistakes owners make when choosing dog food for their Chihuahua, one of which is placing their trust in brands sold at the grocery store. This can undoubtedly be confusing given the fact that some of these brands are labeled premium, but you have to carefully inspect any food you're thinking of purchasing and feeding to your Chihuahua. Even some of these so-called "premium" dog foods are loaded down with junk ingredients and filler products that offer little-to-no nutritional value when consumed. Does this mean that ALL premium dog foods sold in grocery stores are poor choices that should be avoided? Not necessarily, but you need to be cautious and not risk your Chihuahua's health based on the package labeling alone. Don't worry, we'll reveal what a good Chihuahua dog food needs to contain in a bit.
Another common mistake owners make is following the advice of their veterinarian. There are some ethical vets out there who enjoy helping people and the pets brought into their office, but there are others who are simply in the business to make money. If a vet recommends feeding your Chihuahua a type of dog food sold on their office premises, it's almost certain that they are getting a commission for the sale. I recommend that you politely turn down a veterinarian's offer to sell you dog food if it's available in their office, and instead look for a type elsewhere.
Here are some of the ingredients that should be kept to a minimum in a dog food for your Chihuahua:
- Food dyes.
- Filler products, such as corn and low-quality grains.
- Corn gluten.
- Wheat gluten.
- Corn syrup.
- Animal fat.
Things To Look For In Chihuahua Dog Food
Now that you know what to avoid in a dog food for your Chihuahua, let's take a look at some of the beneficial ingredients that you should look for. As previously stated, most of the "premium" dog foods gold in grocery stores are actually poor choices that don't offer the right balance of meat, vegetables and overall nutrition; therefore, they should be avoided. Instead, take a look at the dog food products sold in pet stores around your area. If there aren't any good choices here, you can always order your Chihuahua's food online, but you'll probably have to pay to have it shipped. Of course this is a small price to pay for your Chihuahua's health and well being.
The number one ingredient that dog food for your Chihuahua should contain is meat. Whether it's chicken, beef, fish or lamb, the dog food needs to have roughly a 40% meat content; otherwise, it's not going to offer enough protein to meet their needs. It might be hard to determine exactly how much meat a bag of dog food has, but you can read the ingredients label to get an idea. I like to see meat products listed in at least 3 of the top 5 ingredients, as this is a sign it's made with a substantial amount of meat.
The second most important ingredient a dog food needs to contain are vegetables. This is essentially where your Chihuahua will get the majority of their beneficial vitamins and minerals, so you'll want to choose a dog food with a good balance of vegetables and meat. Look for the more healthy vegetables labeled on the ingredients, such as carrots, peas, sweet potatoes, squash, zucchini and broccoli. Regular potatoes are considered filler ingredients and should be avoided. These healthy vegetables should make up roughly 40% of the ingredients in a dog food as well. The remaining 20% should consist of starches like pastas.
Here's a short list of high-quality premium dog foods that are great choices to feed a Chihuahua:
- Artemis Fresh Mix
- Blue Buffalo
- California Natural
- Nature's Variety
- Taste of the Wild
- Timberwolf Organics