Nutrition

Best Dog Foods For Chihuahuas: Puppies, Adults & Seniors

Emma Braby

Last Updated: March 23, 2020 | 15 min read

Chihuahua’s are one of the smallest dog breeds around, but they pack a big personality! And all that personality needs sustenance and energy, so whilst he doesn’t need a lot of food, he needs good quality food that is going to keep him healthy and happy so that he can continue wearing the crown for the best doggy diva! Because the Chihuahua is so small, the slightest toxin or wrong ingredient can have a huge impact on his tiny body, so it is important to buy a high-quality kibble from a reputable brand that is tried and tested. 

The canine nutrition market is a bit confusing to say the least, and with all the fancy sounding labels and terms and long lists of obscure sounding vitamins and antioxidants, it can even be a bit overwhelming for those in the know. This guide has compiled together a list of our favorite natural dry dog kibbles available, and whether that’s for your puppy or adult Chihuahua, a deer head or an apple head, or for the senior Chihuahua or Chihuahua with a sensitive tummy, we have covered them all!

The Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO), are the group of nutritional experts who govern the pet food industry in America. They have set nutritional guidelines that all pet food manufacturers should follow, and all of our recommendations produce food that is up to their standards, so you know that your Chihuahua is in safe hands.

At a Glance: Our Favorite Foods For Chihuahuas

Puppies: Hill’s Science Diet Small Breed Puppy
Adults: Rachel Ray Nutrish Adult Formula
Seniors: NUTRO Senior Formula

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Nutrients For Chihuahua Puppies

Puppies, just like newborn babies, have a lot of growing to do, and this requires a lot of nutrients and calories. Therefore, you should stick to a specific puppy formula as it has all the nutrients and growing goodness that adult food does not. Chihuahua puppy formula should aim for 28% to 30% of protein, and 17% and 20% fat, with more calories per cup than adult food.

Chihuahua puppies should be fed around 50 calories of food for every pound that they weigh per day. Most dry kibble packaging will recommend the amount of food to give them across the stages of their growing puppyhood. Unlike most other dogs, Chihuahua’s should be put onto adult formula at around 8 months, rather than 15 months, because they have less growing to do and they therefore grow in a shorter amount of time.

Kibble packed with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants will also be beneficial for your puppy Chihuahua as this will keep them fit and as healthy as possible, and ensures that they are ready to take on their puppyhood journey!

Nutrients For Adult Chihuahuas

An average sized adult Chihuahua will consume between 35 and 40 calories for every pound they weigh, per day, which is a bit less than the calorie requirement of a puppy. Just like the puppy food packaging, most brands will detail exactly how much kibble is required as it might be slightly different between brands, defendant on how many calories there are per cup.

Adult Chihuahua formula should aim for 25% to 30% of protein, which is not significantly different from puppy formula. However, there is a significant difference in the fat and calorie content as he is now fully grown at this stage and he doesn’t need as much, so here you should be looking for a lower fat content of 13% to 15%. For this reason, it is important to wean him off of the fatty puppy formula and onto the adult formula, otherwise he will start piling on the pounds very quickly.

Of course, this will be dependent on his activity levels, and if he is a bit of a lazy lap dog then he will need less calories compared to a crazily energetic Chihuahua. If you own a Chihuahua Mix like a Chihuahua Jack Russell Terrier Mix or Shitzu Chihuahua mix, many of these food choices will apply in the adult range if your pup takes after its Chihuahua lineage.

Nutrients For Senior Chihuahuas

Many dog owners underestimate the power of good nutrition, and they do not realize that poor quality kibble can actually do a lot of harm to their beloved pet, so it is really important that you give yours the very best.  This is especially true for senior dogs, as dogs have different nutritional requirements as they age.

As your chihuahua gets older, you’ll want to make sure that you monitor their weight.  Older chihuahuas are known for eating in excess and becoming more sedentary.  While their joints and hips won’t be as susceptible to injury as larger breeds, it’s still good to make sure that the food you feed your senior contains glucosamine and additional antioxidants to keep your elderly Chihuahua healthy.

If possible, make sure to rotate some pet-friendly fruits and vegetables into the food rotation for your older chihuahua.  Adding this will help keep your pup’s diet fresh, add additional vitamins and minerals while giving your pup additional fiber that may not be available to them just by eating food.  It’s quite possible as your pup ages, that your vet will recommend a higher fiber content food as well.


Best Food For Chihuahua Puppies

Best Food For Chihuahua Puppies

We have come up with 5 dry dog food recommendations that are all made from natural ingredients, that we (and many other nutritionists and Chihuahua owners!) feel offer the best overall nutritional content. All of our recommendations are compliant with AAFCO’s guidelines and are the products of reputable brands so that you know you are choosing the best food for your Chihuahua pup.

 
Royal Canin
Science Diet
Blue Buffalo
Purina Pro
Eukanuba
Protein
28%
29.8%
30%
31%
32%
Fats
18%
19%
18%
20%
21%
Fiber
4%
1.7%
5%
3%
4%
Moisture
10%
10%
10%
12%
10%
Kcal/Cup
350
374
434
521
465

Royal Canin Chihuahua Puppy Food

Royal Canin Chihuahua Puppy Breed Specific...
  • Royal Canin Chihuahua Puppy dry dog food is designed to meet the...
  • Exclusive tailor-made kibble helps Chihuahua puppies easily pick...
  • Helps protect puppy’s developing immune system and natural...
  • Helps reduce stool odor with highly digestible proteins and...

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Royal Canin have designed this kibble that is slightly softer than most other kibbles, as they have less biting strength compared to the average dog. It is packed full of natural flavors as the Chihuahua is known to be a little fussy when it comes to his food. It has Vitamin E included in the ingredients which means that his coat will be healthy, and it also supports his developing immune system. It is full of rich chicken protein which assists in strong muscle development as well as keeping it tasty!

We love that this is specifically designed with the Chihuahua puppy in mind for all his nutritional needs.


Hill’s Science Diet Puppy Formula

Hill's Science Diet Dry Dog Food, Puppy,...
  • This dry puppy food supports the developmental needs of puppies...
  • This dry food for small breed puppies provides DHA from fish oil...
  • Provides your growing little dog with high quality protein for...
  • Uses a balanced set of minerals to promote strong bones and...

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This dry kibble is specifically designed for smaller dogs with smaller mouths, so your Chihuahua will have no problem chewing these biscuits. It includes Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) from fish oil which supports healthy brain development and eye health, as well as other balanced minerals for optimal bone growth. It has flaxseed listed in the ingredients, which is a great source of Alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), an omega 3 fatty acid, as well as Taurine which supports a healthy heart.

We love that this puppy food has been voted the number one dog food in America, so you know that your puppy Chihuahua is going to get all the nutrients that he needs to grow.


Blue Buffalo Puppy Small Breed Formula

Blue Buffalo Freedom Grain Free Natural Puppy...
  • STARTS WITH REAL CHICKEN: A recipe with real chicken as the first...
  • GRAIN FREE PUPPY FOOD: BLUE Freedom grain free puppy food for...
  • WITH LIFESOURCE BITS: This formula contains BLUE’s exclusive...
  • NATURAL DOG FOOD: BLUE dry dog food is formulated for the health...

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Blue Buffalo has created a 100% natural recipe that is also 100% grain free for those pups with grain allergies. It also follows an evolutionary diet which means that it is full of protein rich foods with chicken being the first ingredient on the list, and this will help your puppy grow to the size he should be. Blue Buffalo is popular with many dog owners, even comparing well against more expensive brands like Merrick.

DHA is included in this recipe, which is found in his mother’s milk, as well as a whole load of other important nutrients crucial for his growth. It is also packed with probiotics and glucosamine which aids digestive health for those pups with a sensitive stomach.

We love that this recipe is 100% grain and gluten free.


Purina Pro Toy Breed Puppy Food

Purina Pro Plan Toy Breed Dry Puppy Food,...
  • 5 lb. Bag - Purina Pro Plan Focus Toy Breed Chicken & Rice...
  • Made with high-quality protein, including real chicken as the #1...
  • Tiny, bite-sized kibble helps to make chewing easier
  • DHA from fish oil helps to nourish brain and vision development

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Purina has focused this recipe on toy breed puppies, and the kibble pieces are the perfect size for his tiny little mouth which makes eating for him all the more enjoyable. Chicken is the first ingredient on the list which is great for his protein requirements, and it contains optimal calcium and phosphorus levels to ensure that his bones and teeth become strong. It contains DHA from fish oil which assists brain and vision development and health.

We love that this recipe lists high quality chicken as the first ingredient for his muscle development.


Eukanuba Small Breed Formula

Eukanuba Puppy Small Breed Dry Dog Food, 15...
  • Eukanuba Puppy Small Breed dry dog food is complete and balanced...
  • Supports muscle growth and bone health in active pups with...
  • Supports healthy brain development with clinically proven levels...
  • Provides concentrated energy from fat and carbohydrate levels...

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This recipe is rich in protein, with chicken being the first ingredient for his growth needs, and it is packed full of natural vitamins and minerals, as well as extra supplements, that Eukanuba has calculated the Chihuahua puppy needs. It boasts optimal levels of DHA which is clinically proven to lead to smarter and more trainable puppies thanks to brain development.

We love that it has the highest protein and fat percentage in our recommendations which is exactly what any puppy needs.


Best Food For Adult Chihuahuas

Dog Food For Adult Chihuahuas

All of the following recommendations, just like our puppy recommendations are based on dry food that is made from natural ingredients that we feel have the best overall nutritional content in comparison to the AAFCO guidelines.  As your dog starts to age, you’ll want to make sure that you start introducing your adult chihuahua to a regular food that’s not specifically engineered towards younger dogs.  Do it slowly so that you avoid any digestion problems.  In no particular order, below are our favorite food picks for adult Chihuahuas.

 
Royal Canin
Rachel Ray
Blue Buffalo
Merrick Adult
Wellness Core
Protein
26%
26%
26%
38%
36%
Fats
14%
16%
15%
15%
15%
Fiber
3.6%
4%
5%
3.5%
5%
Moisture
10%
10%
10%
11%
10%
Kcal/Cup
323
368
380
403
396

 Royal Canin Chihuahua Formula

Royal Canin Chihuahua Adult Breed Specific...
  • Royal Canin Chihuahua Adult dry dog food is designed to meet the...
  • Exclusive tailor-made kibble helps Chihuahuas easily pick up and...
  • Helps reduce stool odor with highly digestible proteins and...
  • Supports coat health with omega-3 EPA and DHA and biotin

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This breed specific food, just like the puppy formula, is slightly softer than most kibble which means that it is easier for the Chihuahua to eat as his jaw is not as strong as most other pooches. This kibble has highly digestible fibers that mean his digestive health is kept in check, which also keeps stool and flatulence odor to a minimum. It includes Biotin, DHA and omega-3 fatty acids to support healthy skin and a healthy coat.

We love that this food is specifically designed with the adult Chihuahua in mind, specifically for those between 8 months and 8 years.


Rachel Ray Small Dog Formula

Rachael Ray Nutrish Premium Natural Dry Dog...
  • Contains 1 - 14 Pound Bag of Dry Dog Food
  • U.S. farm-raised chicken is the #1 ingredient
  • No poultry by-product meal, filler, wheat, or wheat gluten...
  • Natural dog food with added vitamins & minerals

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This is also made with smaller kibble that is the perfect size for smaller dogs and is full of omega 3 and 6 fatty acids that keep his coat healthy and looking shiny. It supports high energy smaller dogs and it lists carrots and cranberries in the ingredients, and it is these antioxidant ingredients that provide him with the good stuff he needs to maintain a healthy oxidative state, as well as a healthy digestive system.

We love that the first ingredient is U.S farm raised chicken, so not only is it rich in protein but it is also ethically sourced protein.


Blue Buffalo Adult Small Breed

Blue Buffalo Freedom Grain Free Recipe for...
  • STARTS WITH REAL CHICKEN: A recipe that starts with real chicken...
  • GRAIN FREE SMALL BREED DOG FOOD: BLUE Freedom grain free dog food...
  • WITH LIFESOURCE BITS: This formula contains BLUE’s exclusive...
  • NATURAL DOG FOOD: BLUE dry food is formulated for the health and...

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Blue Buffalo have created this recipe with 100% natural ingredients that is 100% grain and gluten free for those Chihuahua’s with sensitive stomachs or those with specific allergies. It also lists real chicken as its rich protein source, and this is the first ingredient. It also includes omega 3 and 6 fatty acids which promote a healthy and shiny coat, as well as Taurine and L-carnitine for a healthy heart.

We love that it also contains Blue Buffalo’s exclusive ‘Lifesource Bits’ which are packed full of antioxidants and superfoods that assist your Chihuahuas healthy oxidative balance.


Merrick Small Breed Recipe

Merrick Lil Plates Grain Free Real Beef +...
  • #1 Ingredient Is Real Deboned Beef
  • Recipe Provides Grain-Free Ingredients For Easier Digestibility,...
  • Poultry-Free Recipe For Dogs With Sensitivities To Poultry...
  • Small, Crunchy Kibble Bites To Help Clean Teeth

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This recipe is perfect for small breeds thanks to the smaller pea-sized kibble. The number one ingredient is always meat for high protein content, as well as farm-fresh fruit and vegetables such as peas, sweet potatoes, apples and blueberries, to name a few nutritious antioxidants. The kibble also comes in already weighed packets, or plates as they are called here, so they are easier for days on the go.

We love that Merrick offers poultry free recipes for those Chihuahuas with allergies to poultry.


Wellness Core Small Breed Food

Wellness CORE Natural Grain Free Dry Dog...
  • Grain Free: 100 percent Grain Free, Complete And Balanced...
  • Small Breed: Naturally Grain Free And Protein Rich, Made With...
  • All Natural: Contains Only Premium, All Natural Ingredients With...
  • Made In Usa: Backed By The Wellness Guarantee And Proudly Made...

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Wellness Core prides itself on containing only the best natural ingredients with no wheat, corn, soy, meat by-products, artificial colors, flavors or preservatives, so it is great for Chihuahuas with a sensitive stomach or any of the aforementioned ingredient allergies. It also supports healthy bones and joints with added glucosamine hydrochloride and chondroitin sulphate. It also lists flaxseed and salmon oil which supports healthy skin and coat.

We love that it is 100% grain free and suited to those pooches with the most common Chihuahua allergies.


Best Food For Senior Chihuahuas

Senior Chihuahua Dog Foods

Is your Chihuahua a Senior Pooch?  As mentioned prior, senior Chihuahuas will start to have different nutrient requirements as they age.  Their metabolisms slow, and having a calorie dense food will become much less of a requirement.  Your pup may stop being so active, which means it may be time to switch to a lower calorie formula to maintain a healthy weight.  If your senior starts to develop a sensitive stomach, you’ll want to make sure to switch to a food that will help aid in digsetion, which your vet may recommend.  In no particular order, below are our favorite picks for older chihuahuas.

 
NUTRO Ultra
Wellness Complete
Science Diet
Protein
27%
28%
24%
Fats
13%
10%
9%
Fiber
4%
6%
13%
Moisture
10%
11%
10%
Kcal/Cup
311
335
291

NUTRO Small Breed Senior Formula

NUTRO ULTRA Small Breed Senior Dry Dog Food 4...
  • Contains One (1) 4 Lb. Bag Of Nutro Ultra Small Breed Senior Dry...
  • Features Trio Of Protein From Chicken, Lamb, And Salmon—Chicken...
  • Our Premium Dog Food Kibble Is Made With High-Quality Ingredients...
  • Nutro Ultra Dry Dog Food Is Made With High-Quality Protein And...

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This recipe is created with small kibble for the senior Chihuahua with little biting strength. It contains a trio of rich protein ingredients that are chicken, lamb and salmon, which is full of nutrients and oils to keep his bones and joints as strong as possible. It also includes a balance of 15 superfoods, such as kale, blueberries and coconut which provide him with the best antioxidants around, which is why it is called the superfood plate.  Nutra has a space in many of our favorite food lists, including this one here and another here.

We love that the NUTRO brand is highly respected and sought after.  It’s a natural food that goes above and beyond to ensure that their ingredients used are top tier when compared to some of their competitors.


Wellness Core Small Breed Healthy Weight

Wellness Natural Pet Food 89119 Complete...
  • Complete health: Complete and balanced everyday nutrition for...
  • Small breed healthy weight formula: Smaller kibble size, reduced...
  • All natural: Contains only premium, all natural ingredients with...
  • Made in USA: Backed by the wellness guarantee and proudly made...

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If your Chihuahua is a bit on the porky side, or your Veterinarian has suggested that he should lose a few pounds, then Wellness Core have created a great recipe with a lower calorie count which will enable him to lose weight, or at least maintain his weight if he is not as active as he should be. Be sure to follow the package guidelines closely and keep your Chihuahua as active as possible, despite his reluctance to. Not only will this recipe allow him to return to a healthy weight, but it will also decrease the pressure on his knee joints.

We love that Wellness Core took the initiative to create a lower calorie food for pups that are less active or may be prone to overeating.  Dog obesity is becoming more common, and helping keep your Senior Chihuahua’s weight in check is a good thing.


Hill’s Science Diet  Sensitive Stomach

Hill's Science Diet Dry Dog Food, Adult,...
  • This dry dog food uses prebiotic fiber to feed your small dog's...
  • Vitamin E, omega 6 fatty acids and other nutrients in smaller...
  • Dog food formulated with little dogs in mind to provide an...
  • Precise balance and highly digestible ingredients for sensitive...

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Hill’s Science diet for small breeds with a sensitive stomach is the perfect recipe for optimal digestive health. It is full of probiotic fibers which will help return loose stools or unbearable flatulence to normal levels. Whilst it is not grain free it is full of omega-6 fatty acids and vitamins that nourish his skin and coat, so it is also great for those with sensitive skin. Veterinarians across America have voted it as the best kibble for dogs with specific needs thanks to its scientific formula that has been developed by over 200 Veterinarians and specialist nutritionists. 

We love most Science Diet products.  They are high quality products, and this is a great pick if your Chihuahua develops a sensitive stomach as he ages.  It’s not uncommon for sensitive stomachs to develop as pups age, and this will make it easier during meal time for your pup.


Never Feed Your Chihuahua These

You should never allow your beloved Chihuahua to eat the following food and drink products. Because he is so tiny these unsafe ingredients will have a much bigger impact on him compared to almost all other dog breeds, and as such they are all toxic or poisonous even in the smallest amounts:

  • Alcohol – Alcohol can be deadly for small breeds like the Chihuahua.
  • Grapes and Raisins – these are extremely dangerous and can cause kidney failure.
  • Chocolate – this contains theobromine which is very toxic, especially to small breeds.
  • Candy and Gum – the sugar can cause an insulin spike, which is dangerous for chihuahuas.
  • Onions and Garlic – eating these can cause anemia.
  • Tomatoes – tomatoes can cause issues quickly in small dogs.
  • Avocado – the chemical persin is poisonous to small dogs.
  • Caffeinated Drinks such as Coffee and Soda – caffeine can be deadly to small dogs quickly.

 As always, remember that water is just as important as nutrition, so make sure your Chihuahua has access to fresh water at all times.

Final Thoughts

Because your Chihuahua will only eat small amounts of food everyday, and therefore his nutrition won’t cost a bomb like extra large breeds, there is probably a bit more room to spend on higher quality kibble, and this extra expenditure will likely save you money on future Veterinarian bills in any case. So, in addition to all the reasons given throughout this guide it is definitely worth spending a little bit more on the best nutrition around!

Remember that with his tiny body he needs to be kept away from all of the dangerous foods listed above, and despite being a bolshy and independent little guy he does need you to look out for him. If you follow our recommendations above you will not go wrong with his nutrition whatever his specific needs are, and your Chihuahua will thank you forever!

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