What Do Chihuahuas Eat? Their Diet Explained.

Written by Gabrielle Monia
Updated: October 25, 2023
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Small but mighty, chihuahuas are tiny dogs with a whole lot of personality. They’re the smallest breed of dog in the world, and they tend to be fiercely territorial and protective. They’re known to bark consistently at any potential threats. Interestingly, they’re thought to be descended from the Techichi, a small and mute companion dog of the Toltec, Olmec, and Aztec civilizations. These little pups are known for having big attitudes and strong preferences. They can be picky eaters, so it is critical to find the best diet to feed them. So, what do chihuahuas eat? Let’s find out.

What Do Chihuahuas Eat?

Chihuahuas eat a variety of muscle meats, organs, eggs, vegetables, and fruits.

Chihuahuas eat a diet consisting of muscle meat from chicken, turkey, bison, beef, lamb or fish, organs, bones, eggs, vegetables, and fruit in the form of kibble, wet food, or home-prepared meals that are raw or cooked. They are omnivores who benefit from variety, but protein and fat must make up the main proportion of their diet. 

If feeding kibble or wet canned food, it’s important to use a high-quality preparation that isn’t full of additives and fillers. Chihuahuas are a breed that is very sensitive with a low tolerance for chemical additives.

Meat should be the first item on the ingredients list. Chihuahuas can benefit from home-prepared meals that provide the proper balance of nutrients. If you’re going to feed them home-cooked meals, research proportions and make proper preparation.

For chihuahuas, size is a significant consideration. They have small and soft teeth making bones dangerous for them. If you want to add bones to the diet, they may need to be ground to soft powder first. Feeding the proper portions is vital for chihuahuas, so we’ll discuss those details below.

Complete List of Foods Chihuahuas Eat

  • Chicken
  • Turkey
  • Bison
  • Beef
  • Lamb
  • Fish
  • Bone dust
  • Kibble
  • Canned wet food
  • Eggs
  • Vegetables
  • Fruits
  • Edible chews

How Much Do Chihuahuas Eat?

Chihuahua puppy on soccer ball

This breed does best on small and frequent meals.

©iStock.com/Aime Martin

Chihuahuas do best when fed in small amounts frequently. This helps to keep their blood sugar regulated and their energy consistent. Most do best when fed three meals per day and given snacks in between to sustain them. Exact calorie requirements vary based on activity level, age, and health status. The general requirement for Chihuahuas is about 50 calories a day per pound of bodyweight for puppies and 35 to 40 calories a day per pound for adults.

Overfeeding can be a problem for chihuahuas. Since they are so small, they don’t need much food each day to thrive, and it can be easy to overdo it. But this can lead to dangerous health consequences, so it’s best to be aware of the proper proportions. Chihuahuas can live 12 to 18 years, which is a long lifespan relative to other breeds. A proper diet is vital to supporting a long and healthy life.

Special Dietary Considerations

CHIHUAHUA TEETH - A vet showing their teeth

Diet plays a factor in dental health and is hugely important for overall health.

©Chang-Pooh24/Shutterstock.com

Since chihuahuas tend to be such picky eaters, it might take some trial and error to find the diet that works. They’re susceptible to many conditions, including heart disease, eye conditions, epilepsy, and low blood sugar. If any health concerns come up, it’s essential to consider diet and rule out allergies.

Chihuahua teeth are sharp but sensitive. Periodontal health can be a significant concern for this breed. A study completed by the University of Veterinary Medicine in KoŇ°ice, Slovak Republic, compared the effects of dry, soft, and dental diets for chihuahuas and found that providing enzymatic chewing strips decreased dental plaque, calculus, and gingivitis only on specific teeth. They concluded that there are no absolute preventative measures for periodontitis. So, toothbrushing may be the best response to dental health. However, it’s important to note that this study did not consider home-prepared diets.

Should I Feed my Chihuahua Dry or Wet Food?

Both dry and wet dog food are valid sources of nutrition. Veterinarians suggest that wet food is preferable for its ease of consumption, improved hydration, enhanced satisfaction, and palatability with reduced carbohydrate content.

On the other hand, dry food offers convenience and oral health advantages at a more affordable cost. A combination of both types can also be an excellent choice.

Dry foods are more nutritionally concentrated and provide a well-balanced diet, ensuring that your Chihuahua receives all the necessary nutrients conveniently.

List of Foods Chihuahuas Should Not Eat

  • Onions
  • Garlic
  • Shallots
  • Leeks
  • Chives
  • Chocolate
  • Grapes
  • Raisins
  • Currants
  • Wild mushrooms
  • Pecans
  • Macadamia nuts
  • Walnuts
  • Cherries
  • Pits, Cores and apple seeds
  • Xylitol
  • Any food or drink with caffeine
  • Nightshade plants

The photo featured at the top of this post is ©

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About the Author

Gabrielle is a freelance writer with a focus on animals, nature and travel. A Pacific Northwest native, she now resides in the high desert beneath towering ponderosa pines with her beloved dog by her side. She often writes with a coyote call or owl hoot backdrop and is visited by the local deer, squirrels, robins and crows. A committee of turkey vultures convenes nightly in the trees where she resides. Here, the flock and their ancestors have roosted for over 100 years. Her devotion to the natural world has led her to the lifelong study of plants, fungi, wildlife and the interactions between them all.

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