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Chihuahuas are undoubtedly one of the most favorite dog breeds of all time. These tiny pups are not only adorable, but they also have wonderful, larger-than-life personalities. Though they are small dogs, the teeny Chi has significant nutritional needs. Their little bodies work hard and burn far more calories than dogs much larger than them. Despite this, it is pretty easy to overfeed the Chi, leading to obesity and other health issues. Knowing what to feed your Chihuahua is a tremendous responsibility. Finding the best dog food for Chihuahuas is vital to their lifelong health and overall quality of life.
As with all breeds, the tiny yet mighty Chihuahua has different nutritional needs at different life stages. We have researched and investigated several of the top options on the market. Our top dog food picks for Chihuahua include the best foods for puppies and seniors and dry and wet options. We also consider the special dietary needs of the breed.
At A Glance: Best Dog Food For Chihuahuas
Note: All of the dog foods we’ve included in our reviews meet or exceed Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) nutritional guidelines, are made in the U.S., and contain no by-products, preservatives, or artificial ingredients.
Nutritional Needs For Chihuahuas
Like all dogs, Chihuahuas require a balanced and healthy diet to thrive. However, their small size means they need a higher concentration of nutrients in their food. A Chihuahua’s diet should consist of high-quality protein, healthy fats, and various vitamins and minerals.
Chihuahuas have a higher metabolism than larger breeds. They can use up to three times as many calories as a dog several times their size. This is part of why they often shake and shiver. They use up calories and body heat very quickly. Owners should always choose the best food for Chihuahuas that they can afford.
Protein is crucial for muscle development and maintenance, and Chihuahuas should consume a diet that is at least 25% protein. Healthy fats, such as those found in fish and flaxseed oil, are essential for maintaining healthy skin and coat and providing energy. Chihuahuas also require a variety of vitamins and minerals, including calcium, phosphorus, and vitamin D, for healthy bone development and overall health. They are prone to dental disease, obesity, and heart problems.
Chihuahuas are prone to a variety of health conditions that can be related to their diet. One common issue is dental problems, which can be prevented by feeding your Chihuahua dry kibble instead of wet food or table scraps. Owners need to be conscious of the size of kibble they provide, as Chihuahuas have small teeth and are prone to dental disease. Poor dental health can lead to other issues like heart disease.
Another issue that affects the Chi is obesity, which can lead to a variety of health problems, including joint pain and cardiovascular disease. To help prevent this, controlling portion sizes and ensuring that your Chihuahua is getting enough exercise is essential. Feeding your Chihuahua on a schedule and controlling portion sizes are crucial for maintaining a healthy weight and preventing health problems.
Additionally, Chihuahuas may develop allergies to certain foods, such as grains or chicken. Symptoms of food allergies can include itching, vomiting, and diarrhea. If you notice any of these symptoms, it is important to consult with your veterinarian and switch your Chihuahua to food that does not contain the allergen.
Chihuahuas can be sensitive to joint pain and other issues. Diet is crucial in preventing and supporting joint health. A healthy weight is key, so take care not to overfeed your pup. This tiny breed is prone to developing arthritis, osteoarthritis, hip dysplasia, and luxating patella.
This tiny breed is highly susceptible to heart disease. This is often brought on by valvular disease, which degenerates the structure and function of the heart’s valves. Congestive heart failure can also impact this breed in high numbers. Diet greatly impacts canine heart health from your pup’s very first days. Canines with heart disease do better on foods that use fresh and natural elements.
Beyond Basic Ingredients
All high-quality dog foods must contain protein, carbohydrates, healthy fats, fiber, and essential vitamins and minerals. Nevertheless, many nutritious premium dog foods are enriched with additional ingredients that significantly benefit your beloved pet’s health. To ensure your pup’s well-being, we recommend looking for certain premium ingredients that we list in our reviews. Here are a few you’ll want to look for and how they support your pup’s health.
- Fruits & vegetables: excellent natural sources of fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants to support immune health
- Fish oil and/or flaxseed (omega-3 and 6 fatty acids): brain and eye development, skin and coat health, joint and immune support
- Glucosamine & chondroitin sulfate (often from chicken meal*): maintain healthy joints
- Prebiotics & probiotics: support digestion and a healthy level of good gut bacteria
- Taurine: supports cardiovascular, eye, and brain health, immune system function, and benefits many other body functions
- L-carnitine: an amino acid derivative that helps the metabolism of fats (particularly beneficial for older, less active dogs)
- Organ meats: excellent source of premium quality protein and fat as well as vitamins A, B, D, and E, copper, iron, phosphorus, selenium, and zinc
- Chia seeds: rich in plant protein, fiber, antioxidants, omega fatty acids, calcium, potassium, magnesium, manganese, zinc, phosphorus
*A note about meat meal: Quality pet food brands often use meat meal in their recipes, which can be a very healthy source of protein for your pup (as long as the “meat” is named, e.g., chicken meal, lamb meal, etc.). A meal can be made from the meat, tissue, organ meat, bone, stomach, and intestines of the named animal. But meal does not include by-products like hair, feathers, beaks, heads, blood, hooves, hide trimmings, etc.
Best Food For Chihuahua Puppy
Puppies must have healthy nutrition, as they use a lot of energy and calories growing. A puppy formula is best as it has specific nutrients to support growth. Chihuahua puppy food will ideally contain 28% to 30% protein and 17% to 20% fat, with more calories per cup than adult food.
To ensure proper nutrition, Chihuahua puppies should consume a daily amount of food that equals approximately 50 calories per pound of their body weight. It is advisable to follow the recommended feeding guidelines provided on dry kibble packaging for the different stages of their growth.
Unlike other dogs, Chihuahuas reach maturity faster and should be switched to adult formula around 8 months instead of waiting until 12 to 15 months. Puppies should eat three to four meals daily after about three months old.
Wellness Core Small Breed Puppy
This small breed puppy kibble is designed to be easy to eat for tiny tots like the Chihuahua. Kibble is high in protein and calories and is formulated for the nutritional needs of smaller breeds. The recipe is also fortified with DHA to support cognitive development. Food is natural as well as filler and grain-free. The formula works to promote growth and whole-body health.
Protein primarily comes from natural animal meats. Natural ingredients are combined to best support coat, heart, digestive, and joint health. Dry food is made in Indiana, USA. The company focuses on wholesome elements to promote a lifetime of health and well-being. This recipe uses animal proteins and nutrient-rich superfoods to create a tasty small kibble, specifically for small breeds.
- First 5 ingredients: Deboned turkey, chicken meal, turkey meal, peas, chicken fat
- Formula highlights: Flaxseed, salmon oil, salmon meal, carrots, broccoli, blueberries, kale, sweet potatoes, spinach, bananas, Vitamin E supplement, taurine
- Guaranteed analysis: crude protein 38% (min); crude fat 18% (min); crude fiber 4.5% (max)
- Calories: 504 kcal/cup
- Starts at: $19.98 (4.5-lb bag)
Blue Buffalo Life Protection Small Breed Puppy
This puppy formula is developed to meet the needs of small breeds. Calcium, phosphorus, and essential vitamins are combined to support strong teeth and bones. Kibble is puppy-sized, soft enough for puppies’ jaws, and promotes tartar removal. The formula includes DHA and ARA for healthy brain and eye development. High-quality animal protein starts every recipe and supports muscle growth and energy. The recipe contains no corn, wheat, soy, or poultry by-product meals.
This recipe includes real meat, garden vegetables, whole grains, fruit, and Blue Buffalo’s life source bits. These contain a super seven package of antioxidant-rich ingredients. This protein-rich formula is developed to support the most critical parts of health, including brain and eye development, healthy muscle growth, proper bone development, dental health, healthy skin and coat, and a healthy immune system. The formula contains elements found in a mother dog’s milk to help support cognitive and retinal function.
- First 5 ingredients: Deboned chicken, chicken meal, oatmeal, barley, fish meal
- Formula highlights: Flaxseed, fish oil, folic acid, DHA, ARA, choline, Omega -3 and 6 fatty acids, antioxidants,
- Guaranteed analysis: crude protein 29% (min); crude fat 17% (min); crude fiber 5% (max)
- Calories: 417 kcal/cup
Nulo Freestyle Grain-Free Wet Puppy Small Breed
This is a grain-free, tasty wet food explicitly developed to support the metabolism of small-breed dogs. The recipe has no corn, wheat, soy, artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives. This wet option uses real turkey and turkey liver as natural protein sources. It comes in a smooth pate, which is very easy for dogs to eat.
This recipe blends high-quality animal ingredients with wholesome lentils and sweet potatoes. Meals are very easy to digest, as it contains no fillers, wheat, corn, or soy, which are hard to digest and sometimes trigger allergies. The recipe can be used as a primary meal or mixed in with dry kibble as a topper. The recipe is formulated to use animal-based proteins, low carbs, and probiotics to support the immune system. Recipes are created by nutritionists, vets, and dietary specialists. Probiotics support digestive health, improve nutrient absorption, and promote survivability.
- First 5 ingredients: Turkey, turkey broth, turkey liver, lentils, dicalcium Phosphate
- Formula highlights: Ground flaxseed, salmon oil, Folic acid, vitamin supplements including Vitamin A, B12, D3, and E, biotin, rosemary extract
- Guaranteed analysis: crude protein 36% (min); crude fat 16% (min); crude fiber 5% (max)
- Calories: 225 kcal/can
- Starts at: $57.36 (24 x 5.5 oz cans)
Best Food For Adult Chihuahuas
A typical adult Chihuahua requires about 35 to 40 calories per pound per day, which is slightly less than a puppy’s calorie requirement. The amount of kibble needed may differ between brands based on the number of calories per cup. Adult Chihuahuas should consume 25% to 30% protein levels, similar to that of puppies. However, there is a significant difference in fat and calorie content because adult Chihuahuas do not need as much fat. Transitioning them from fatty puppy chow to adult food with a fat content of 13% to 15% is crucial to prevent excessive weight gain. The amount of food required will depend on their activity level. The packaging of most brands provides detailed information on the necessary amount for different sizes of animals.
Adult Chihuahuas should eat two to three meals a day after they reach one year.
The Farmer’s Dog
The Farmer’s Dog offers fresh, human-grade meals with whole-food animal proteins, fresh vegetables, and fruits. Every recipe uses limited ingredients and is fortified with an ideal blend of vitamins and minerals. The Farmer’s Dog pre-portions and personalizes all recipes based on each dog’s individual dietary needs. This food is exceptionally fresh, and the highest quality one can get. Though we recommend it as the best wet food for adults, it is also an excellent option for puppies and seniors. Meals are gently cooked and retain incredible nutritional value and flavor.
The Farmer’s Dog offers grain-free beef, chicken, pork, and turkey recipes. All recipes are developed by a board-certified American College of Veterinary Nutrition nutritionists. Meals are flash-frozen and then delivered to your door. Recipes use different ingredients, but here is a breakdown of their beef recipe.
- First 5 ingredients: Beef, sweet potatoes, cooked lentils, carrots, beef liver
- Formula highlights: human-grade & whole-foods, fish oil, and taurine
- Guaranteed analysis: crude protein 39% (min); crude fat 29% (min); crude fiber 2% (max)
- Calories: not available
- Starts at: $2/day for small dogs but varies based on each dog’s weight, age, and other factors (e.g., $51.74/week for mixed-breed male, one-year-old, 38 pounds, healthy size, neutered, no health problems, or allergies)
Wellness Complete Small Breed Adult
This natural dry kibble is formulated to provide whole-body nutritional support to small-breed dogs. Kibble is smaller and easy to chew. The recipe is developed without using GMOs, meat by-products, fillers, or artificial preservatives. The recipes include premium proteins, wholesome grains, Omega fatty acids, antioxidants, probiotics, glucosamine, and taurine. The formula is balanced and formulated to optimize energy levels and support the immune system, skin, and coat health.
This recipe derives most of its proteins from fresh turkey and chicken meals. The formula also includes salmon oil which is a naturally rich source of omega-3 fatty acids to support skin, coat, and brain health. This cable provides complete nutrition and can be mixed with wet meals or toppers. Kibble is best suited for adult dogs. This natural formula uses no corn, wheat, soy, artificial fillers, or flavor.
- First 5 ingredients: Deboned turkey, chicken meal, salmon meal, oatmeal, ground brown rice
- Formula highlights: Chicken fat, ground flaxseed, salmon oil, spinach, sweet potatoes, folic acid, blueberries, apples, potassium, choline chloride, iron
- Guaranteed analysis: crude protein 36% (min); crude fat 16% (min); crude fiber 5% (max)
- Calories: 408 kcal/cup
Instinct Raw Boost Toy Breed
This kibble is formulated especially for toy breeds, with high protein and freeze-dried raw elements. It uses cage-free chicken and properly balances proteins, fat, and calcium. The recipe has no grain, potato, corn, wheat, soy, by-product meals, artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives.
This recipe blends probiotics, minerals, and antioxidants and uses high-quality ingredients to create a tasty, small-breed kibble. Every bite contains all-natural, minimally processed bites of freeze-dried raw meat. Dogs love the flavor and the nutritional benefit these less processed, whole, raw foods add. The recipe is formulated to support digestion, provide energy and vitality, help with weight support, and improve skin and coat. Your dog will be more than happy when you fill their bowl at mealtime with this delicious, raw-boosted kibble. All raw recipes are created in small kitchens in Lincoln, Nebraska.
- First 5 ingredients: chicken, chicken meal, chickpeas, tapioca, chicken fat
- Formula highlights: Turkey meal, herring meal, freeze-dried chicken, freeze-dried chicken liver, coconut oil, pumpkin seeds, freeze-dried chicken heart, egg product, niacin supplement, folic acid, vitamins supplements including E, B12, D3, salmon oil, dried kelp, blueberries, rosemary extract
- Guaranteed analysis: crude protein 35% (min); crude fat 20% (min); crude fiber 4% (max)
- Calories: 469 kcal/cup
Best Dog Food For Senior Chihuahua
Owners must recognize the importance of proper nutrition and that low-quality dog chow can be detrimental to their pets. Therefore, providing your furry friend with the best possible nutrition is crucial. This is particularly important for older dogs, as their nutritional needs change with age.
When your Chihuahua grows older, it is essential to monitor their weight. Senior Chihuahuas tend to overeat and become less active. While they may not be as prone to joint and hip injuries as larger breeds, giving them glucosamine and antioxidants is still advisable to maintain their health.
Senior Chihuahuas should eat three to four small meals a day. This starts between 7 and 10 years old.
If feasible, consider adding some pet-friendly fruits and vegetables to your elderly Chihuahua’s diet rotation. This will keep their diet fresh, enhance their vitamin and mineral intake, and provide additional fiber they may not get from commercial foods.
Allie offers fresh, human-grade meals. Owners have four recipes to choose from, and all are created using fresh ingredients, all-natural elements, and no preservatives or fillers. Owners are able to formulate a meal plan specifically based on their dog’s age, breed, allergies, ideal weight, and activity levels. Recipes contain no soy, corn, or wheat. All meats are sourced from family-run farms located in the United States and Australia.
Owners can pick from four fresh recipes packed with animal meat: beef, chicken, turkey, and lamb. Fresh meals are a fantastic choice for older Chihuahuas, who often experience digestive issues and mouth pain. The top-quality nutrition from fresh ingredients keeps them healthy and provides plenty of energy. It is also beneficial for digestive health. Recipes are very high in moisture which helps keep your senior dog hydrated and strong. We break down the chicken recipe below.
- First 5 ingredients: Chicken, rice, carrots, chicken livers, peas
- Formula highlights: spinach, cranberries, tricalcium phosphate, salmon oil, taurine
- Guaranteed analysis: crude protein 8% (min); crude fat 3% (min); crude fiber 2% (max)
- Calories: Not available
JustFoodForDogs Pantry Fresh Balanced
JustFoodForDogs Pantry Fresh line is a superb choice for older dogs. This recipe uses a single protein source, making it easy to digest. It offers the top nutritional value of fresh meals but in a shelf-stable pouch. All ingredients are human-grade, and a team of veterinarians and canine specialists develops recipes.
All food is gently cooked to retain as much nutritional value as possible: no preservatives, rendered meats, or artificial elements. Pouches stay fresh and unopened for two years. High in calcium and phosphorus and low in fat. Perfect for easy digestion and weight management.
- First 5 ingredients: Water, chicken, rice, carrots, spinach
- Formula highlights: JFFD’s vet-developed Nutrient Blend, safflower oil, cod liver oil, potassium chloride, taurine, niacin, folic acid
- Guaranteed analysis: crude protein % (min); crude fat % (min); crude fiber % (max)
- Calories: 31 kcal ME/oz
- $84.93 12 pack of pouches approx. 1 oz each
Best Wet Food For Chihuahuas
Wet meals are very helpful and add much-needed water, animal meats, and flavor. Both puppies and adult dogs can benefit from wet meals. Wet food can be canned, in pouches, or fresh.
Stella & Chewy‘s Lil Bites Savory Stews
These delectable stews are formulated to cater to the needs of small and tiny breeds. Recipes use only responsibly sourced proteins and feature shredded muscle meat. Free from grains, potatoes, legumes, carrageenan, wheat, meat by-products, soy, artificial colors, preservatives, and flavors. Turmeric for anti-inflammatory support, sunflower and salmon oil for skin & coat health, and taurine is added to support heart function.
Tasty stew in a luscious broth. Shredded muscle meats offer top nutrition. Plus, all stews are packed in recyclable cups. No added hormones or antibiotics. The company also offers a money-back satisfaction guarantee. All proteins are responsibly sourced.
- First 5 ingredients: Chicken, chicken broth, duck, tapioca, sunflower oil, shredded organ meat
- Formula highlights: Sunflower oil, salmon oil, turmeric, taurine
- Guaranteed analysis: crude protein 10% (min); crude fat 2% (min); crude fiber 2% (max)
- Calories: 62 kcal/cup
Purina Pro Plan Adult Small Breed Wet
This recipe is specifically formulated for small breeds and uses real chicken and pork lungs as the first two ingredients. This healthy protein and organ meat support healthy muscle development. The recipe is very low in fat and nutrient-dense. This recipe is grain-free and should be fed in combination with high-quality kibble.
The preparation trays are very convenient, and the recipe meets all nutritional requirements. This recipe uses no corn, wheat, soy, artificial colors, preservatives, or flavors. Meals are a soft texture and easy to eat.
- First 5 ingredients: chicken, pork lungs, water, liver, carrageenan
- Formula highlights: Limited ingredient, Vitamin A, B12, D3, biotin, folic acid, niacin
- Guaranteed analysis: crude protein 9% (min); crude fat 3.5% (min); crude fiber 1.25% (max)
- Calories: 108 kcal/tray
Merrick Lil’ Plates Small Breed Wet
This is an excellent option for adult Chihuahuas. Several flavors are available, and all use real animal proteins. Perfect for small breeds with sensitive digestion. Grain, corn, soy, and gluten-free. Offers complete and balanced nutrition.
Fresh meats offer great flavors and no hard-to-digest grains or fillers. Food tastes great, is easy to digest, and boosts protein and moisture. Chihuahuas love food, so they will gobble up tasty morsels like this. We take a closer look at the beef recipe. Real meat, top flavor, and easy to digest.
- First 5 ingredients: Beef, beef broth, venison broth, beef liver, dried egg whites
- Formula highlights: Prebiotics, probiotics and essential minerals, glucosamine, chondroitin, zinc, and four other chelated minerals
- Guaranteed analysis: crude protein 8% (min); crude fat 3% (min); crude fiber 1.4% (max)
- Calories: 90 kcal/cup
- Starts at: $19.98 (4.5-lb bag)
Best Dry Food For Chihuahuas
Chihuahuas should have dry kibble as part of their diet. Not only does dry kibble provide complete nutrition, but it is also beneficial to dental health. Be careful not to choose anything too large or hard-to-chew for your pup. Chihuahuas are prone to dental disease and have small teeth that will break on chow that is too tough. A balanced diet should include both dry and wet foods.
ACANA Singles Limited Ingredient Dry
This high-quality kibble uses a limited ingredient recipe. 65% of each recipe comes from only one animal source. This is very helpful for Chihuahuas, which can develop a sensitive stomach. Kibble is grain-free and high in protein. It uses both fresh and raw animal ingredients, whole vegetables, fruits, and botanicals. This kibble is formulated to be used for dogs of all life stages. No artificial ingredients, preservatives, flavors, or colors. The recipe also is free from peas, corn, and plant proteins.
The recipe includes ingredients like sweet potatoes that help digestion and gut health. Packed full of taurine and other minerals, vitamins, and antioxidants to support circulatory and immune system function. This limited-ingredient recipe is easy to digest and provides top-quality nutrition for even the pickiest dogs.
- First 5 ingredients: deboned beef, beef meal, beef liver, sweet potato, whole chickpeas
- Formula highlights: beef fat, Pollock oil, whole pumpkin, lentil fiber, beef cartilage, beef tripe, whole cranberries, freeze-dried beef liver, taurine, and vitamin supplements.
- Guaranteed analysis: crude protein 31% (min); crude fat 17% (min); crude fiber 5% (max)
- Calories: 371 kcal/cup
Open Farm Small Breed
This high-quality kibble uses hormone and antibiotic-free meats. The kibble is smaller and easy to eat for little dogs like the Chihuahua. This recipe is free of peas, potato, and legumes but does contain wholesome ancient grains. The formula also includes antioxidants, Vitamin A, and naturally occurring prebiotic fibers from ingredients like pumpkin and dried chicory root. Additionally, this recipe contains New Zealand green lip mussels for healthy hips and joints. It also includes peppermint and parsley to promote fresh breath.
Open Farm uses 100% traceable ingredients and shares sourcing information on its website. They also offer grain-free small-breed kibble, as well as several other options.
- First 5 ingredients: chicken, turkey, ocean Menhaden fish meal, barley, brown rice
- Formula highlights: includes herring meal, sweet potato, quinoa, coconut oil, pumpkin, flaxseed, kale, apples, blueberries, sunflower oil, cranberries, salmon oil, and vitamin supplements.
- Guaranteed analysis: crude protein 29.89 % (min); crude fat 16% (min); crude fiber 2% (max) calories per pouch
- Calories: Not Available
Should I Consider A Supplement?
While high-quality dog food should provide your Chihuahua with all the nutrients they need, some dogs may require nutritional supplements. For example, Chihuahuas with joint problems may benefit from a glucosamine or other joint supplement, while those with skin or other allergies may benefit from a fish oil supplement.
Before giving your Chihuahua any supplements, consult your veterinarian to ensure they are safe and effective. Additionally, be sure to follow the recommended dosage and administration instructions carefully.