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The Chihuahua is one of the smallest dog breeds out there and it sometimes gets a bad rap for being aggressive and yappy. With proper care and training, however, the Chihuahua can actually be an excellent family pet and a great companion. Chihuahuas are one of the oldest breeds of dog, their ancestry dating back to ancient Mexico as early as 300 BC. This breed of dog may be small, but it has a big personality which is part of what makes it so popular. Chihuahuas are consistently ranked among the top 25 breeds according to AKC registration statistics, though their popularity has fallen a little bit in recent years. In order to keep your Chihuahua healthy you not only need to provide him with enough daily exercise – you also need to make sure he has a healthy diet. Below you will find valuable information about meeting your Chihuahua’s nutritional needs as well as some special considerations to make. You will also find recommendations for the best commercial dog foods for chihuahuas.
Nutritional Needs for Chihuahua
The Chihuahua is classified as a toy breed and it generally stands no taller than 10 inches and weighs no more than 6 pounds at maturity. Chihuahuas are very small dogs, but they often exhibit big personalities and they have been known to hold their ground against much bigger dogs. The Chihuahua comes with either a short coat or a long coat and these dogs exhibit a wide variety of colors and patterns. Chihuahuas can be a little yappy and stubborn if they aren’t properly trained and socialized but, if they are, these dogs can be very friendly. Chihuahuas are prone to a number of health problems in addition to obesity, so choosing the right diet for your dog is very important. It is recommended that you select a commercial dog food specially formulated for small or toy breeds.
When it comes to your dog’s nutritional needs, protein is the most important consideration because it provides helps to fuel healthy growth and development. Protein should come from high-quality sources like deboned chicken and fresh fish, not from plant-based sources or animal by-products. Next to protein, fat is the second most important nutrient and it too should come from animal-based sources like chicken fat and fish oil rather than plant-based sources like canola oil and flaxseed. Fat is especially important in the diet of small-breed dogs because it helps to maintain the fast metabolism of smaller breeds. Small dogs burn calories much more quickly than large-breed dogs so they need plenty of fat to supply their metabolisms with the energy they need on a daily basis.
In addition to protein and fat, your Chihuahua also needs high-quality, digestible carbohydrates in his diet. Dogs do not have specific requirements for carbohydrate in their diet, but whole grains (like oatmeal and brown rice) and other complex carbohydrates provide dietary fiber as well as valuable vitamins and minerals. Avoid low-quality carbohydrates like corn and wheat because they do not provide much nutritional value. If you prefer gluten- and grain-free carbohydrates, look for ingredients like tapioca and sweet potato. In shopping for the best dog food for chihuahuas, you should also look for products that contain probiotics to ensure optimal digestion as well as a blend of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids for healthy skin and coat. Fatty acids are especially important for long-coated Chihuahuas.
Special Considerations for Chihuahua
The most important thing you need to know about your Chihuahua’s nutritional needs is that small-breed dogs have very high calorie needs in comparison to larger dogs. A small-breed dog like a 5 ½ pound Chihuahua may only need a total of 250 calories per day, in comparison to a 110-pound Alaskan Malamute that needs about 2,500 calories. If you do the math, however, you will find that the Chihuahua needs about 45 calories per pound of bodyweight in comparison to the Malamute’s 23 calories per pound of body weight. Small-breed dogs have very fast metabolisms so they need energy-dense diets that will provide for their calorie needs.
The best way to ensure that your Chihuahua’s energy needs are met is to provide him with a small- or toy-breed specific commercial dog food diet. These formulas are not only made with high-quality proteins and fats for maximum energy, but they are also made in smaller kibble sizes to fit your small-breed dog’s mouth. These formulas are very energy- and nutrient-dense to ensure that your dog’s needs are met in a small portion size since these dogs do not have very large stomachs. For the best results, start your Chihuahua on a small-breed puppy formula then switch to a small-breed adult formula when he is almost at his maximum size. Though Chihuahuas have high energy needs compared to larger dogs you still need to be careful about overfeeding them because they are very prone to obesity. Once your dog becomes obese it can be difficult for him to lose weight and he will have a much higher risk of developing serious health problems.
Top Recommended Dog Foods for Chihuahua
If you need some help in finding the right food for your Chihuahua, consider one of the commercial dog food brands discussed below. Be careful when considering a breed-specific formula for your dog – do not just assume that the formula will meet your dog’s needs without evaluating the product for yourself. Consider the ingredients list to make sure that the product is of high-quality before offering it to your dog.
1. Artemis Fresh Mix Small Breed Adult
The Artemis pet food company offers a variety of different dry food products for dogs, all of which contain a precise blend of protein, fat, carbohydrate, vitamins, and minerals. This company uses high-quality proteins in all of their recipes and their products are supplemented with prebiotics, antioxidants, and omega fatty acids. The Artemis Fresh Mix Small Breed Adult formula is specially designed for small-breed dogs like the Chihuahua and it is made with chicken, chicken meal, and turkey as the first three ingredients followed by fish meal, barley, and brown rice. This formula is made in smaller kibbles to accommodate your Chihuahua’s small mouth and it is energy-dense so your dog gets the nutrition he needs in a smaller portion size. Overall, the Artemis Fresh Mix Small Breed Adult is an excellent choice of diet for your toy- or small-breed dog.
2. Blue Buffalo Life Protection Toy Breed Adult Formula
The Blue Buffalo pet food company is widely known as a high-quality pet food company that produces natural foods for dogs and cats. All of Blue Buffalo’s products are made with the finest quality ingredients without the use of artificial flavors, preservatives, and dyes. Blue Buffalo offers four different product lines of dry dog foods – the Life Protection line of natural foods, the Freedom line of grain-free foods, the Basics line of limited ingredient diets, and the Wilderness line of high-protein foods. The Blue Buffalo Life Protection Toy Breed Adult Formula is an excellent choice for toy breeds like the Chihuahua because it contains increased protein and carbohydrate levels to support the breed’s high energy needs. This formula is made with deboned chicken, chicken meal, and whole ground brown rice as the top three ingredients followed by oatmeal and whole ground barley as well as chicken fat and fish meal. This toy-breed formula is supplemented with glucosamine and chondroitin for joint health as well as chelated minerals and vitamins. Simply put, this formula is specially designed to provide for the nutritional needs of small-breed dogs like the Chihuahua.
3. Nutrience Original Adult Small Breed Formula
The Nutrience pet food company is known for producing high-quality recipes made in small batches from only the highest quality ingredients. This company offers three different lines of dry dog foods – the Original line of simple but holistic recipes, the Natural line of foods made with low-glycemic carbs and high-quality proteins, and the Grain-Free line of ancestral diets. The Nutrience Original Adult Small Breed Formula is a great choice for your Chihuahua because it is made with high-quality proteins to maintain lean muscle mass as well as omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids for healthy skin and coat. This formula is made with chicken meal, brown rice and green peas as the top three ingredients followed by oatmeal and chicken fat. The Nutrience Original Adult Small Breed Formula is supplemented with antioxidants from fresh fruits and veggies as well as glucosamine and chondroitin for bone and joint health. Overall, it is a great choice for your small-breed dog.
As a small-breed dog, the Chihuahua has very high needs for energy so you need to be intentional about providing for your dog’s dietary needs. If you need help choosing a commercial dog food diet for your Chihuahua, consider one of the top-rated brands reviewed above.