Choosing The Right Dog Food For a Chihuahua

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.

Chihuahua Dog Food

Chihuahua Dog Food

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.
  • Preservatives.
  • Filler products, such as corn and low-quality grains.
  • Corn gluten.
  • Wheat gluten.
  • Sugar.
  • Corn syrup.
  • Animal fat.
Cooked Chicken

Cooked Chicken

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
  • Canidae
  • EVO
  • Innova
  • Nature's Variety
  • Taste of the Wild
  • Timberwolf Organics
  • Wellness


115 Responses to “Choosing The Right Dog Food For a Chihuahua”

  1. Terry says:

    There’s a picture of a poodle on these small cups of dog food it’s the kind my picky dog eats try that

  2. Susan Reed says:

    We feed our Patches fresh pet and Rachel Ray grain free. Are these all right for him

  3. Mary says:

    My two chihuahuas love Bill Jac dry food. Small pellets, so it is easy for them to eat.

  4. Angelica Sanchez says:

    My Chihuahua is 4 months old. I was feeding him Pedigree for puppies but was told he wasn’t getting the right nutrients so i switched to Eukanuba for puppies, he was eating it fine for the 1st month, but now i noticed he’s lost interest in the food and doesn’t really want to eat. I live in Puerto Rico and no PetSmart near me. What other brand can I feed PeeWee ( my chihuahua) is Beneful a good brand? Or was i doing ok with Pedigree? I mean he was eating it.

    • Elaine says:

      Stay away from Beneful it almost killed my 2 chihuahuas. Go to chewy .com. I feed my girls
      (Merrick Lil’ Plates Grain-Free Real Chicken + Sweet Potato Recipe Small Breed Dry Dog Food, 12-lb bag) Its around 39.00 a bag. Good luck.

  5. helen easton says:

    So glad its not only me that has a picky girl chihuahua. We are on our third diff food brand. Found she’s allergic to grains her skin goes red and her fur falls out so we were on Wainwrights grain free, she then decided after 6 months she no longer liked it. We are now trying Ava dried and canned. She’s still not keen and goes days without eating. I have thought of fixing home cooked chicken and veg but shop advised me against it. Also, as a side note, she won’t go to toilet outside, she holds it til we get home and goes on her puppy pad!

  6. Mary Lou says:

    My chi has lost lots and lots of hair. Had her on several big name foods. I just brought Royal Canine. The itching has started again. She throws up bile. She likes RC but is itching. Anyone else having similar problems.

  7. Niicolee says:

    My dog oxy is really picky she’s only about 2 months I’ve tried almost everything what’s the best soft kibble or canned food y’all recommend?

  8. Faye says:

    My dog, Boo Girl’s (Or Stinky) absolute fave DOG FOOD is Cesar’s 💖 (Any) And you know if that dry food SMELLS after one week why would I feed it to her? Smells like something died – so no dry…
    Caesar’s smells good too! Not rotten like other dry food. I also mix in carrots or left over peas green beans from the table and I some times as a treat I give her a little scoop or finger of peanut 🥜 butter and brush it Around her bowl. She goes crazy. I give her animal cookies from PETCO… she can close lower cupboards doors (anything for a cookie ) but she won’t fetch…

  9. Mark Howells says:

    I have just brought a little chow 2 our family thank u all for the info I hope he’s not going 2b as fussy as some. Great info is what every owner needs

    • Susan Bennett says:

      I give my chi girl who is very fussy a cooked egg yoke 1 day and webboxs chicken sticks she absolutely devours them x

      • Angelica Sanchez says:

        Hi, I was told that mixing in eggs with their food is good for them especially for their hair. I haven’t tried it but I am.

  10. Arkansania says:

    My little chihuahua is not picky. I don’t get it. What I’m only saying is that,” Whoa, are Chihuahua’s supposed to be picky?” Mine isn’t. Is it unnatural that he’s not picky about what he eats and will eat vegetables without making a face?

  11. Jeanie says:

    The majority of popular dog food brands are safe to eat, but the healthier feeds would be the more natural “holistics” feeds (as with humans).

  12. Carlos says:

    Does anyone have any reviews of Royal Canin Chihuahua food?

  13. Amanda says:

    My Chi had dry skin on his belly and I heard that it would help to drizzle a bit of extra virgin olive oil in his dry food. It worked and he loves it!:)

  14. Karen OBrien says:

    Wellnes, Eukanuba, and homemade, baked or boiled chicken with carrots. I got my picky girl to eat dry food by adding water down gravy. Warm. Drizzle over dry food slowly less and less. I also brought her bowl with my dinner so she thought it was my food. Took some time and patience. She still turns her nose up. But I add warm water and she gets chicken bites if she eats her food. She eats. My vet says chicken breast and carrots, with rice is perfectly fine.

    • Linda J says:

      I am having trouble with my chihuahua Arney eating. I have tried recommended food (C—r) by the previous owners, and table food too. He eats the food for a couple of times then he stop. I enjoy selecting different flavors of C—r so he want get bored and so I will have a variety of flavors for him to eat. His favorites have been duck and juicy beef but now he will not eat those. He goes for days not eating much of anything. I am at my wit’s end. Is this a characteristic found in Chihuahuas? HELP!

      • sharron says:

        Hi Linda – yes it goes along with being a chihuahua.
        i have a yorkie/chihuahua X and both of these breeds are
        picky – i have mine on Acana and feed her a different formula every meal to keep her interested – she did go 2 days without eating and her blood sugar dropped, brought up yellow bile, but would she give in and eat? heavens no!! – we are doing much better now.

  15. Mr Big Time Gambla says:

    Give them a hot dog or chicken. They love that.

  16. susan says:

    Royal Cabin I tried has first ingredient corn!! Switched to wellness may switch again

  17. Jill says:

    My chihuahuas stopped eating Royal Canin Chi formula and I tried 5 different brands even grain free. I’m at a loss of what to try. My vet is no help. They will eat some canned but can’t get them on dry.

    • sharron says:

      Hi Jill – i know your comment is nearly a year old but i thought i would reply – i have a yorkie/chihuahua X both breeds are known for being picky – i feed Lexee Royal Canin Chihuahua dry with Royal Canin Chihuahua canned – i have tried many other foods, grain free dry, dehydrated, raw and even other brands of canned – doesn’t like any of it – so back to the RC – she does well on RC but she does tire of it after being on it a month or two. Been told that i have made her a picky dog, perhaps i have to a point but i think part of it is her too – it can be so frustrating at times – take care and good luck

  18. JOYCE KRUGER says:

    my dog is sneezing a lot. my vet said to try new dog food my dog is part Chihuahua ten pounds. WE HAVE HIM ON WELLNESS DRY WHITE FISH AND SWEET POTATOE. WHAT IS A GOOD ONE TO TRY.

  19. Chris says:

    I adopted a 5 year old Chihuahua and didn’t know what to feed her. She is rather picky on what she eats. I tried Blue Buffalo and Timberwolf… both of which are expensive but good for her… but she only would eat it if that’s all that was in the bowl. She sulked most of the time. I switched to Science Diet and she now is eating. I mix it with a little Cesar Grilled Chicken… perhaps a tablespoon. She loves that… so that’s what she gets now. A dog food is only good if the dog will eat it. For treats she gets Science Diet Chicken and yogurt treats and small dog buiscuits.

  20. Kathy says:

    My Chihuahua is very similar, when it comes to food. I started putting his dog food in the refrigerator. It seems to help when he see me open the refrigerator door, he is more intrigued to eat his food. I still leave available food and water in his dish throughout the day. Good luck I know how you feel.

    • J.J. says:

      If it gonna feed her human food feed her boiled chicken breast, I also boil or bake carrots, broccoli if u have it but don’t over cook them cook them til they are done but slightly firm and mix together but make sure u don’t put any seasoning her food. my chihhuha loves it and I feed her chicken breast twice a day Everyday but he also eats his dog food. BUT not til about midnight and he has beautiful white teeth and a beautiful shiny coat, he’s a tri color short hair chi. And he never sheds.

  21. Amari says:

    Please help . My chihuahua wont eat anything but human food . She won’t even touch dog food . I have dog food sitting out for her and she will literally make herself throw up yellow and starve herself until she gets what she wants . What food can I feed her or suggestions on what she will eat .

    • kim says:

      Try Nature’s Variety Raw Boost small breed kibble, and their canned food. I have a very, very, very picky girl who absolutely won’t eat anything else. I take the little dehydrated chicken nuggets and smash then up in my fingers and sprinkle over the top of the food, she loves it. I also will feed her a very small bowl of canned food that I make into “soup” by adding water. She isn’t a fan of drinking enough water,so this helps. She was a puppy that I home cooked puppy food for (using real human ingredients) she now eats THIS kibble 🙂
      Hope this helps.

      • susan says:

        So sorry! Maybe don’t let food sit out and sprinkle a bit of turkey on top or hand feed a bit of dry food when shes real hungry

    • Katygurl says:

      Ty for asking this. Lil boy chi is 8yrs old and absolutely refuses to eat anything dogfood related. I have to fix him a plate at dinner too. Ty for all the suggestions ppl listed. .

    • Dina says:

      Your chihuahua is smart!
      Feed her homemade food!

  22. Anna says:

    I meant halo food. Sorry incorrect:)

  23. Anna says:

    Try Balo toy breed or Blue. Great ingredients. I mix with a bit of water and add few spoons of wet food by same brands. Everything else makes my chihuahua vomit and bleed!

  24. Melinda says:

    I have been feeding my dog Royal Canine plus. It runs a little expensive but I bought it because it says especially for chihuahuas. I tried changing to a cheaper food but he didn’t like it and started vomiting. Is this a good food, as I really haven’t even looked at the ingredients in it.

    • Shanna says:

      I also use Royal Canine.My dogs love it and are pretty picky like most chihuahuas .But they have lost alot of teeth,and have a lot of plaque on their teeth.So I wonder if it is food.

      • Donna Lynn Meunier says:

        Depending where you live, I would suggest the following. Canine Source. My chi eats surf and turf and all is good with her. I have had comments about her coat and teeth and she just loves this food. Where I purchased they gave me Royal Canin as this is what they were giving her. The next day I changed the food and did not have any side effects. I am extremely pleased and the store Mondou told me that this was I grade food

        • Rebecca says:

          i was looking to try and find something my lil girl chi would eat she is so picky,i was feeding her the Royal Canin Chihuahua Bites and looked at ingredients and its CORN.THIS FOOD IS WAY TO PRICEY TO BE FEEDING MY BABY GIRL CRAP,SO ROYAL CANIN YOU JUST LOST ALL MY MONEY.

    • Anna says:

      Well I just looked first I ingredient is corn! Second meat by products then gluten and other not so great stuff 🙁 doesn’t sound very good for the price especially!

  25. Elizabeth Swenson says:

    Science Diet dry mixed with warm water and Science Diet wet. The only proven dog food for longterm care. Keeps them healthy and their fur soft.

  26. Anne S says:

    I feed my chihuahua Earthborn Holistic grain free. He is 3 and I noticed that he has a dark staining on his teeth. I wondered if it could be from his food. He is a very picky eater and it took us 11 different dog foods to find one he would eat.

  27. Lisa says:

    I feed my six month old Acana Puppy small breed. Is this a good brand? nIt says it is 65% chicken, egg or Fish 20% reginal fruits or vegetables and 15% low-glycemic Alberta oats.

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