Chihuahua Food and Nutrition

                  

 What to feed your Chihuahua with is the key to long life of your puppy/dog.

Little dogs/Chihuahuas entail big feeding responsibilities. And little dogs fall victim to poor feeding practices far too often.
As with all mammals, a Chihuahua needs a balanced diet containing the correct proportions of fats, carbohydrates, minerals and vitamins. The balance of these requirements changes throughout a dog's life. Nowadays, when convenience is important to us all, a great proportion of our dogs are fed partly, or wholly on prepared dog foods. Those prepared by leading manufactures are very carefully formulated to supply all the nutrients required  for a dog health, and although they are on the face of it, fairly expensive to buy - there is no waste, and the actual value compares well with meat bought from butcher. A steady diet of canned food would not provide the chewing necessary to maintain dental health. But many Chihuahuas enjoy them so they can be a reasonable choice for use in conjunction with a high-quality dry food. Dog biscuits provide excellent chewing action and some of the better varieties provide complete nutrition. We feed our Chihuahuas with Royal Canin (Chihuahua) dry biscuits and Wainwright's turkey and rice tray food. A Chihuahua may take meat only at the meal with addition of hard biscuits to help the teeth. Liver, kidney and heart have  excellent  food value, but in some dogs they may cause diarrhoea, so feed them cautiously at first. Chicken, white fish or rabbit are useful sources of protein, but great care should be taken to remove all bones and skin. Carrots or green vegetables may be included in dog's diet, our Chihuahuas love them. Your Chihuahua, of course will make the final decision about what food is acceptable, but some compromising may be in order. Find a food that your dog likes, one that creates a small volume of firm stools and results in good weight with a nice coat. Be aware of the signs of possible food allergies: loss of hair, scratching, inflamed ears. One of the great mysteries of life is - why a species such as the dog, that is renown for its lead stomach and preference to eat out of garbage cans, can at the same time develop violently upset stomachs simply from changing from one high quality dog food to another. So when changing foods you should do so gradually, mixing in progressively more and more of the new food each day. We buy dog food at our local shop "Pets at Home" and "www.medicanimal.co.uk".


Recommended commercial dog foods include Royal Canin Puppy 33 for your puppies and Royal Canin Small Breed once they have reach one year of age. Another premium dry dog food with a high protein content is Natural Balance Small Bites.
Moist Dog Food
Chihuahuas have the tendency to love moist food and once they have had a taste, switching them to a healthier dry version will not be easy. Chihuahuas can be finicky and getting them onto a diet that makes you both happy can be a timely process. Canned foods are not healthy for Chihuahuas. If you currently feed your Chihuahua canned or moist food, it is suggested that you make a change. If you wish to treat them with a moist delicacy, try soaking their dry food in a tab bit of warm water once a week. They won't know what they missing but still feel your love!
Going The Home Cooked Route
If it is at all possible, home cooking your Chihuahua's meals the best alternative. This give you ultimate control over what goes into your dog's body (Need we mentioned the multitude of dog food recalls?). Giving your Chihuahua an appropriate and healthy diet will help you give your best friend a long and happy life!
Home cooked dog food does NOT mean scraps from the table or a portion of the meal that you and your family just ate. If you are going to go to the extreme of cooking for your dog, you need to make it healthy for them. Home cooked dog food must be prepared properly and with the appropriate ingredient:
Commercial Dog Food
Ideally, if you choose to go the commercial dog food route, you should feed your Chihuahua dry, premium dog food. Be sure to check the ingredient for extra fillers. These fillers are what make the difference between standard foods and premium foods. The less expensive the 5 pound bag of dog food, the more fillers it has - the more expensive the 5 pound bag of dog food is, the more meat it contains.
These fillers are actually ingredients which have zero nutritional value and simply bulk up the dog food to make it appear as if there is more in the bag - and more in your Chihuahua's belly! 
Moist Dog Food
Chihuahuas have the tendency to love moist food and once they have had a taste, switching them to a healthier dry version will not be easy. Chihuahuas can be finicky and getting them onto a diet that makes you both happy can be a timely process. Canned foods are not healthy for Chihuahuas. If you currently feed your Chihuahua canned or moist food, it is suggested that you make a change. If you wish to treat them with a moist delicacy, try soaking their dry food in a tab bit of warm water once a week. They won't know what they missing but still feel your love!
Going The Home Cooked Route
If it is at all possible, home cooking your Chihuahua's meals the best alternative. This give you ultimate control over what goes into your dog's body (Need we mentioned the multitude of dog food recalls?). Giving your Chihuahua an appropriate and healthy diet will help you give your best friend a long and happy life!
Home cooked dog food does NOT mean scraps from the table or a portion of the meal that you and your family just ate. If you are going to go to the extreme of cooking for your dog, you need to make it healthy for them. Home cooked dog food must be prepared properly and with the appropriate ingredient:

Type of IngredientExample of IngredientAmount per Meal/Recipe
Organs liver, kidney, brain 40%
or Meat chicken breast, fish, lean hamburger 40%
Vegetable zucchini, broccoli, baby carrots, potatoes 30%
Starch white rice, brown rice, pasta 30%

Feeding A Chihuahua Puppy
Due to their tiny size, a Chihuahua puppy should be free-fed or 4 meals a day if the puppy is a standard size, until it is 3 months old or over 2 pounds, which ever comes first. When a puppy of such a small size goes too long without food, their chances for experiencing a hypoglycemic episode increases immensely. Young Chihuahua puppies need to be able to maintain their sugar levels and this can only be done with free-feeding.
Chihuahua Feeding Schedule and Amounts

AgeNumber of MealsAmount of Food
3 months to 6 months (if they weigh 2 lbs) 3-4 scheduled meals 1 ounce of dry, premium dog food per pound of body weight disbursed between all meals.
6 months to 12 months 2-3 scheduled meals 1 ounce of dry, premium dog food per pound of body weight disbursed between all meals.
1 year and older 2 meals (morning and night) or 1 meal at dinner 1/2 ounce of dry dog food per pound of body weight every day

Dog Treats
The word treat says it all! It wouldn't be appealing if it was good for you. Since it is rather difficult to shed those extra ounces (and sometimes pounds) off of a Chihuahua, commercial dog treats should only be given in small amounts. A healthy alternative is baby carrots. Chihuahuas love them and they also are a healthy way to help clean their teeth.          

 DANGEROUS FOODS (CLICK ON PHOTO TO ENLARGE)

If you think human beings are the only ones that  develop strong allergies to the foods we eat, think again.  Dogs can be just as susceptible as us to the potentially damaging effects of a food that their bodies decide just  isn't good for them.    But, how do you know if your dog has a food allergy or what to do about it? It's not like they can tell you, "hey, this dog food is making me itch." It quickly becomes  your job to pay close attention to their behaviours and make any necessary adjustments.
   
Identifying Dog Food Allergies
   
It is estimated that 10% of all allergies in dogs are  food related, coming in third behind flea bite allergies and inhalant allergies. And of all the scratching and  itching in dogs, food allergies are estimated to cause 20% of the issues out there.   Unfortunately we don't know much about how the  antibodies are developed, what happens in a dog's digestive tract, or how it develops as they age. We do know, however, what we need to do to fix the problem and  help our dogs feel better.  For the most part, dog food allergies can occur at any point in a dog's life, after 5 months and as late as 12 years of age, and there is no link between any particular breed, sex, or medical history. Generally, however, dogs
with food allergies may also have other forms of  allergies.
 
Also, remember that there is a difference between food allergies and intolerances. If a dog is intolerant of a food, it will often cause diarrhea and vomiting, while  allergies result in itching and red skin. Both can be treated similarly, though intolerances can be more  dangerous.
 
Common Foods
   
A dog can become allergic to any number of foods, but  the most common foods are going to be meats like beef, chicken, fish, and lamb, and other foods that tend to appear in their food like dairy products, chicken eggs, wheat, corn, and soy.  Generally speaking, dogs will not be allergic to foods they don't normally come into contact with. Exposure amounts and the proteins that they eat are generally  related, similar to how human beings tend to develop allergies to foods they eat as a young child.
 
Symptoms of Allergies
   
The standard symptoms of food allergies in dogs start with itchy skin around the face, feet, legs, ears, and the anus. They may also suffer from severe recurring ear infections, loss of hair, hot spots, and infections that recur after antibiotics are completed. The problem with diagnosing a food allergy is that the  symptoms are very similar to a dog having a standard allergic reaction to fleas or inhalants, such as pollen. Yeast infections in the ears is a common sign of food  allergies, however, along with severe skin problems and year round symptoms.
 
Handling a Food Allergy
   
To deal with a food allergy, you will need to use a food  trial test. This is a long, careful process that starts with removing all outside sources of food from your dog's diet. Remove all treats, raw hides, medications with flavours, toothpastes, and other foods from their diet.  Then, put them on a strong protein heavy diet that will be prescribed by your vet. You'll leave them on this diet for 12 weeks and then reintroduce their normal diet to them. If that food then causes recurrence of the symptoms, you can start determining which foods in their diet are  causing it.   Because a dog cannot simply say: "I don't feel well", this method is vital. Blood testing is also available, but  will only pick out certain recognized antibodies and is  not as accurate as trial testing.   If you're concerned about your dog's health, make sure to see your vet right away to discuss the potential of  food allergies.
 
As far as dog health is concerned, I highly recommend "The Ultimate Guide to Dog Health".