10 Best Dog Food For Chihuahuas (2020 Buying Guide)

Mike PowellEdited by: Mike Powell
Abby TexasReviewed by: Abby Texas

Last Update:

These pocket-sized pooches are the smallest dog breed in the world, but if you’re a Chihuahua parent you know just how much personality can be packed into those tiny toy breed bodies.

Not only are they full of character, they tend to be quite bouncy little things as well.

Because of their high activity level, the best dog food for Chihuahuas is one that provides a good dollop of energy.

There are a few other boxes that need to be ticked when it comes to choosing the between dog foods for your Chi, but we’ve made sure everything on this list makes the cut when it comes to looking for the best dog food for small dogs. 

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Ranked #1
Ranked #2
Ranked #3
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CANIDAE PURE Real Salmon, Limited Ingredient, Grain Free Premium Dry Dog Food
Diamond Naturals Small Breed Puppy Real Chicken Recipe High Protein Dry Dog Food, 40 lb
Merrick Lil' Plates Grain Free Small Breed Dry Dog Food Real Texas Beef, Sweet Potato + Peas With Raw Bites Recipe - 10 lb. Bag
Rating
Our Rating 92 / 100
Our Rating 90 / 100
Our Rating 90 / 100
Pro 1
Limited ingredient formulas help reduce chances of allergies
High in both protein and fat for a growing Chihuahua puppy
High-quality ingredient list including real meat, meat meal, and vegetables and fruit
Pro 2
Various recipes available, all high in protein and fat, perfect for Chihuahuas
Contains DHA for developing healthy eyes and brain tissue
Very high protein and fat levels that would suit an active pup
Best Overall
Rank
Ranked #1
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CANIDAE PURE Real Salmon, Limited Ingredient, Grain Free Premium Dry Dog Food
Rating
Our Rating 92 / 100
Pro 1
Limited ingredient formulas help reduce chances of allergies
Pro 2
Various recipes available, all high in protein and fat, perfect for Chihuahuas
Custom Button
Best For Puppies
Rank
Ranked #2
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Diamond Naturals Small Breed Puppy Real Chicken Recipe High Protein Dry Dog Food, 40 lb
Rating
Our Rating 90 / 100
Pro 1
High in both protein and fat for a growing Chihuahua puppy
Pro 2
Contains DHA for developing healthy eyes and brain tissue
Custom Button
Best For Active Chihuahuas
Rank
Ranked #3
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Merrick Lil' Plates Grain Free Small Breed Dry Dog Food Real Texas Beef, Sweet Potato + Peas With Raw Bites Recipe - 10 lb. Bag
Rating
Our Rating 90 / 100
Pro 1
High-quality ingredient list including real meat, meat meal, and vegetables and fruit
Pro 2
Very high protein and fat levels that would suit an active pup
Custom Button
Sources researched
14
Sources researched
Customer reviews
18,850
Customer reviews
Hours spent testing
14
Hours spent testing
Products tested
10
Products tested

10 Best Dog Food For Chihuahuas

Canidae Grain-Free PURE Real Limited Ingredient Recipes Dry Dog Food

Best Limited Ingredient Food

CANIDAE PURE Real Salmon, Limited Ingredient, Grain Free Premium Dry Dog Food
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Overall Score92%
Ingredient Quality90%
Protein Count & Quality95%
Omegas95%
Kibble Size90%
Affordability85%

PROS

  • Limited ingredient formulas help reduce chances of allergies 
  • Various recipes available, all high in protein and fat, perfect for Chihuahuas
  • Great Omega fatty acid levels 
  • Kibbles are about the size of a pea, so great for small breed jaws

CONS

  • Fairly expensive

For dog breeds that are prone to allergies, limited ingredient dog foods are great things. They allow for great nutrition while avoiding problem ingredients as well as ingredient interactions that may aggravate or induce allergies.

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Many Flavors To Choose From 

One of the best things about this range is the variety of different flavors. This is super for dogs with allergies as it means they won’t be stuck with just one flavor forever – they can have a couple of different foods while still avoiding ingredients that they may be sensitive to. 

You can choose from bison, chicken (which also comes in puppy, senior, and weight management varieties), duck, lamb, salmon, wild boar, and lamb, goat, and venison flavors. Each contains between 7 and 10 ingredients, all of which are listed on the front of the bag for easy reference. 

This makes it really easy to avoid chicken, potatoes, or anything else your pooch may have a sensitivity to, while still giving them a healthy, nutritious meal and a bit of a variety here and there. 

Different Nutrient Values 

The protein counts range from 25% (bison and wild boar flavors) to 32%, making it great for whatever needs your Chi has. The fats are great across the board, as are the Omega fatty acid numbers. 

Every flavor contains high levels of glucosamine and chondroitin, so your Chihuahua’s joints will be well taken care of.

Diamond Naturals Small Breed Puppy Dry Food

Best for Chihuahua Puppies

Diamond Naturals Small Breed Puppy Real Chicken Recipe High Protein Dry Dog Food, 40 lb
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Overall Score90%
Ingredient Quality90%
Protein Count & Quality90%
Omegas90%
Kibble Size95%
Affordability95%

PROS

  • High in both protein and fat for a growing Chihuahua puppy 
  • Contains DHA for developing healthy eyes and brain tissue 
  • Very affordable 
  • Contains superfood ingredients (blueberries, kelp, kale) 

CONS

  • Doesn’t contain glucosamine 
  • May not be suitable for puppies who have a poultry sensitivity  

This kibble is Chi-puppy-perfect, containing a high fat count which the tiny breed needs, as well as a decent amount of protein to maintain their little muscles. It also has helpful eye and brain supplements for a growing Chihuahua, and is easy on the pocket, making it a win-win for both pup and parent.

This dog food is specifically formulated for small breed puppies. Although it doesn’t contain glucosamine, this is super easy to supplement separately with.

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High Protein & Fat 

With 32% protein and 22% fat, your pup will thrive on this food. The protein will help their little muscles to develop well, and the fat will provide them with enough energy to be bouncy, curious, happy puppies. 

They’ll be getting plenty of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants in the array of healthy fruits and vegetables that make up the carb count, so they’ll grow up with a healthy, strong immune system. 

If your Chi is sensitive to poultry, this food contains both real chicken and chicken meal. They may need to find something else. 

Additions For Healthy Small Breed Puppies 

Every puppy food needs certain things to raise the healthiest puppy possible, and this food contains the most important puppy-specific fatty acid – DHA. This is essential as it helps the brain tissue and eye tissue to form in a healthy way, giving your pup the best chance of avoiding eye and mind problems later in life. 

The only downside is that it doesn’t contain glucosamine, which is a fatty acid that assists in building strong joints. You may need to buy a glucosamine supplement, but considering the super price of this food, that shouldn’t even be an expensive addition.

Merrick Lil’ Plates Grain-Free With Raw Bites Recipe Dry Dog Food

Best For Active Chihuahuas

Merrick Lil' Plates Grain Free Small Breed Dry Dog Food Real Texas Beef, Sweet Potato + Peas With Raw Bites Recipe - 10 lb. Bag
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Overall Score90%
Ingredient Quality90%
Protein Count & Quality95%
Omegas90%
Kibble Size90%
Affordability85%

PROS

  • High-quality ingredient list including real meat, meat meal, and vegetables and fruit 
  • Very high protein and fat levels that would suit an active pup 
  • Nice Omega fatty acid levels and glucosamine levels 
  • Beef flavor avoids poultry for dogs who are sensitive to it 

CONS

The protein level is high on this food, which would make it suitable for a young Chi that is active and whose body will make use of all that protein.

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High Protein, Moderate Fat 

Younger dogs would benefit more from this food than older ones, as the protein will help maintain active muscles. The fat count is fairly moderate, so they’ll use it to fuel their bounciness throughout the day. 

The protein and fat sources are great, healthy, wholesome foods, including beef, beef liver, lamb and salmon meal, and pork fat, sunflower oil, and salmon oil. These also account for a substantial Omega fatty acid count, which is super for a smooth coat and supple skin. 

The chicken flavor my not be suitable for pups with allergies, but there is no sign of chicken meal or sneaky ingredients in the beef flavor, which is great. 

Great Intro To Raw 

These two recipes contain raw bites scattered throughout the kibble, which provides a really lovely protein punch, as well as a dash of different texture and flavor which may give fussy dogs an incentive to scoff this down. 

If you’re considering switching to raw feeding, this would be a great idea to get your pooch used to the taste and feel. If you aren’t considering it, this is still a fantastic food choice that adds an extra nutritional element to your pup’s diet.

Pupford Freeze-Dried Training Treats

Best Treat for Chihuahuas

Freeze-Dried Training Treats from Pupford - 475+ Treats Per Bag, Low Calorie, The Perfect High Value Training Reward (Comes in Beef Liver & Sweet Potato) (Chicken)
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Overall Score90%
Ingredient Quality95%
Protein Count & Quality95%
Omegas85%
Kibble Size85%
Affordability93%

PROS

  • Super low in calories, so they’re perfect for between your Chi’s meals 
  • Three flavors to choose from 
  • Very limited ingredient 
  • Perfect size for a small breed like a Chihuahua 

CONS

  • Although you’re getting more treats per bag, they are considered to be more expensive than many others on the market 

Every dog needs a treat now and then, and these low-calorie, freeze-dried treatlets are perfect for the tiny Chihuahua as they contain a good amount of fat, are high in protein, and are bite-sized for tiny jaws.

If you’re already feeding your toy breed the best dog food for Chihuahuas, a high-quality treat is an essential complement to their dry food.

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High Protein & Fat, Low Calorie 

With less than a calorie per treat, these are perfect for a small breed. You can feed your Chi a good few of these without running the risk of overfeeding them between meals and allowing them to pack the pounds onto their little frames. Because these tiny pooches like to eat and it doesn’t take much for them to eat too much, these are pretty much the perfect between-meal snacks, as well as a bonding or training tool. 

They pack a good punch of protein and fat, so despite being a little treat, they do have a good bit of nutritional value. 

Limited Ingredient & Naturally Preserved 

There are only two ingredients in each of the meat-based flavors – chicken and mixed tocopherols (a natural preservative), and liver and pea protein (a binding agent and antioxidant). The sweet potato contains only one ingredient, and is freeze-dried in chunks. This is super for Chihuahuas as it really limits the chances of allergies, and if they happen to be sensitive to poultry, they have two other options they can happily eat with no problems. 

Being naturally preserved and minimally processed also means that they retain just about all of their nutritional value and nothing is lost in the preservation process.

Wellness Core Grain Free RawRev Adult Dry Dog Food

Premium Option

Wellness CORE Rawrev Natural Grain Free Dry Dog Food, Wild Game Duck, Wild Boar & Rabbit With Freeze Dried Lamb, 10-Pound Bag
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Overall Score88%
Ingredient Quality90%
Protein Count & Quality90%
Omegas90%
Kibble Size90%
Affordability85%

PROS

  • Recipe options available for puppies & overweight dogs 
  • High in protein and fats and grain free 
  • Contain glucosamine and chondroitin to keep joints tough 
  • Contains raw pieces for an extra healthy boost 

CONS

  • None of the Wellness Core flavors are poultry-free 
  • Somewhat pricey 

The protein and fat counts in this grain free food from Wellness Core fall right into the zone for a dog food for Chihuahuas. It’s packed with healthy, wholesome ingredients that your little guy or girl will thrive on.

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Hits All The Right Numbers 

Every flavor is grain free and high in protein and fats, as well as containing some of the highest Omega fatty acid levels we’ve seen. With an extra dash of vitamin A and E, a good calcium/phosphorus ratio, and a great dose of joint-fortifying fatty acids, you can count on this Wellness Core food to provide everything your small breed fluff needs to be healthy and satisfied. 

Something For Almost Every Dog 

There are a good few different options to choose from. The Original Wellness Core Turkey & Chicken flavor is the base recipe for the Small Breed formula, the Puppy option, and the Healthy Weight recipe. The Wild Game, Duck, Lamb, & Boar recipe is somewhat different but still contains chicken meal, making this kibble unfortunately unsuitable for those dogs who are sensitive to chicken. 

If your Chihuahua doesn’t have any problems with chicken, though, there’s an option for just about every dog here. Some of the non-chicken flavors do include chicken meal, so be careful! 

Diamond Naturals Extreme Athlete Real Meat Recipe Dry Dog Food

Best Value For Money

Diamond Naturals Extreme Athlete Real Meat Recipe High Protein Dry Dog Food With Real Cage Free Chicken Protein 40Lb
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Overall Score88%
Ingredient Quality85%
Protein Count & Quality90%
Omegas85%
Kibble Size85%
Affordability95%

PROS

  • Extremely affordable 
  • Fantastic protein and fat levels for active Chihuahuas 
  • Contains good Omega levels & a great joint-strengthening level of glucosamine
  • Contains L-carnitine 

CONS

  • Not suitable for dogs who are sensitive to poultry

It’s rare to find a dog food that is on the lower end of the price range but still contains upper-end nutritional value, but that’s exactly what we’ve got here.

The fat count is spot-on for a small breed, as is the protein, and they come from high-quality sources, which is usually not the case for more affordable foods. It also contains all the supplements necessary to keep your Chi healthy and fit.

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Perfect For Active Chihuahuas 

This is the highest fat content we’ve found on this list, coming in at 25%. This is a wonderful number for active dogs, as they draw upon this for immediate, quick energy. The protein count is also high, at 32%, which will keep your Chi’s little muscles strong and supple. 

It also contains a good dose of glucosamine and chondroitin, so your active guy or girl’s joints will be protected and strengthened. 

High-Quality Ingredients Containing Superfoods 

The ingredient list contains chicken and gluten-free grains, which some dogs may not tolerate well (although it’s not grain free, the grains are the good, easily digestible kinds). The list does boast a good few superfood ingredients, though, such as kale, chia seeds, blueberries, coconut, and papaya, all of which have fantastic antioxidant properties, as well as adding vitamins and minerals. 

Another thing that is unusual to see in lower-priced foods but excellent to spot on the list is L-carnitine, which helps muscle growth and recovery after exercise as well as assisting in energy metabolism.

Orijen Senior Grain Free High-Protein Dry Dog Food

Best for Chihuahua Seniors

ORIJEN Senior Dry Dog Food, Grain Free, High Protein, Fresh & Raw Animal Ingredients, 13lb
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Overall Score87%
Ingredient Quality90%
Protein Count & Quality90%
Omegas90%
Kibble Size85%
Affordability80%

PROS

  • Remains high in protein and fat, which is great for still-active seniors 
  • Contains DHA and EPA, great fatty acids to keep the brain sharp 
  • Great levels of glucosamine and chondroitin for aging but active joints 
  • Biologically appropriate nutrition, whole-food ingredients 

CONS

  • Contains chicken, so may not be the best option for seniors who are allergic to poultry 
  • Somewhat pricey 

Chihuahuas are naturally energetic little things, so a senior dry food that still contains good protein and fat levels is fantastic. That’s what you’ll find in this food, and it’s perfect for your older but still energetic Chi.

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High Protein, Moderate Fat 

With 38% protein and 15% fat, this kibble would suit Chihuahuas who just happen to be getting on in years but still live life with the enthusiasm of a puppy. Many senior foods reduce the fat count, providing your pooch less easily-accessible energy as they become less active, but this one keeps a good amount of fat so your Chi can continue to be as bouncy as they always were. 

Great Supplements For Seniors 

Glucosamine will keep your little senior’s joints strong and able to support their body weight, and DHA and EPA will keep their brain sharp and on the ball. Your senior may be getting on in years, but with the good stuff in this food, they should remain as bouncy and happy as a puppy.

Merrick Grain Free Weight Formula Dry Dog Food

Best Weight Management

Merrick Grain Free Dry Dog Food Healthy Weight Recipe - 22 lb. Bag
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Overall Score86%
Ingredient Quality90%
Protein Count & Quality90%
Omegas90%
Kibble Size80%
Affordability80%

PROS

  • Lower in fat for dogs who don’t use as much energy 
  • Remains high in protein despite the lowered fat count 
  • Contains good levels of Omegas and joint-strengthening supplements  
  • High-quality, easily digestible ingredients

CONS

  • Not suitable for pups sensitive to poultry products 
  • Somewhat pricey 

Because they’re so small, Chihuahuas can easily become overweight if their food intake isn’t monitored closely by their parents. If your Chi has gotten a little too heavy, you may want to consider a weight management food to get them back down to a weight that is appropriate for their size.

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Lower In Fat For Less Active Dogs 

This is definitely aimed at dogs who are less active due to their weight, and it combats the issue by providing less fat as a metabolizable energy source, so that your less-active pup doesn’t have it go to waste. 

Despite the lower fat count, though, it still contains a significant amount of protein (34%) to maintain muscle mass. It’s also full of vitamins,minerals, and probiotics. 

Short-Term Solution 

It’s important to note that a weight management formula isn’t a long-term thing. Once your pooch has reached the weight they should be at, you will most likely need to start them on a food with a higher fat count, as long as they’re getting enough exercise to work it off.

Nutro Wholesome Essentials Small Breed Dry Dog Food

Best Low-Protein

NUTRO WHOLESOME ESSENTIALS Small Breed Adult Natural Dry Dog Food, Farm-Raised Chicken, Brown Rice & Sweet Potato Recipe Dog Kibble, 5 lb. Bag
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Overall Score85%
Ingredient Quality85%
Protein Count & Quality85%
Omegas85%
Kibble Size85%
Affordability85%

PROS

  • Lower in protein for dogs who need less of it 
  • Retains a high fat count despite being lower in protein 
  • Good quality ingredient list including antioxidant-rich foods 
  • No by-products or artificial ingredients

CONS

  • Contains chicken

Because Chihuahuas are susceptible to diabetes and other kidney problems, they could be recommended a low-protein diet by a vet.

This food is lower in protein but still retains a good fat count to give your pooch the energy he or she needs during the day, keeping your Chi active and healthy while reducing the amount of work their kidneys need to do to metabolize the nutrients.

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Lower Protein, But Good Fat 

Less protein in a diet helps take some pressure off the kidneys and liver to metabolize things, which is very helpful for dogs who may have problems with these two organs. Often, though, a low protein food will also be low in fat, which is what we don’t want. 

This kibble sticks to a decent fat level, so your pup will have enough energy for their day despite having a lower protein diet. 

High-Quality Ingredient List 

The ingredient list is filled with great quality whole foods, some of which have super antioxidant properties, which is very helpful for pups who may have health issues. Sweet potato, flaxseed, apples, blueberries, and carrots all add a health-promoting boost of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, improving your pet’s health even more. It’s grain free too, making it easy on the tummy. 

Royal Canin Chihuahua Breed-Specific Dry Dog Food

Best Breed-Specific

Royal Canin Chihuahua Adult Breed Specific Dry Dog Food, 2.5 lb. Bag
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Overall Score82%
Ingredient Quality75%
Protein Count & Quality80%
Omegas90%
Kibble Size90%
Affordability75%

PROS

  • Contains glucosamine and chondroitin 
  • Specially made kibble for mini mouths 
  • Contains DHA and EPA, which are specific, useful fatty acids 
  • Naturally preserved with mixed tocopherols and citric acid 

CONS

  • Contains ingredients that can be allergy-inducing (by-products, wheat) 
  • Slightly lower in protein and fats than some others 
  • The puppy formula doesn’t contain glucosamine or DHA 
  • Pricey considering the quality

If you want to feed your Chihuahua something that is specific to their breed, your options are somewhat limited. While there are many foods aimed at small breeds or toy breeds, kibble created especially for Chihuahuas is rare to find. This food from Royal Canin has been formulated with Chihuahuas in mind, although there are some question marks when it comes to quality.

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Chihuahua-Specific Features 

One of the features we like about this kibble is that it’s been specially formulated to suit tiny jaws. This is a great thing when it comes to small breeds who are susceptible to dental issues. 

The protein is slightly on the low side, but the fat level is good for a Chi. It also contains DHA and EPA, which are always good additions, as well as joint-strengthening supplements to keep your little one’s hips and knees tough. 

The Downside of Royal Canin 

If your pooch has a sensitive tummy (as some Chihuahuas are prone to), this food may not be the one for them. It contains common allergens and lower quality ingredients, such as chicken by-product meal, corn (which is the first ingredient on the list), wheat gluten and vegetable oil. 


Testing Protocol & Criteria Used For Evaluation

Criteria #1: Ingredient Quality

This is always a factor when it comes to choosing the best dog foods for your pooch. No matter the dog, their health concerns, their lifestyle, or their appetite, a high-quality, health-promoting dog food made from real, whole food ingredients is first prize. 

We’ve analyzed the ingredient list of every food we’ve reviewed, and chosen only those that contain healthy, real food ingredients. Artificial ingredients (flavors, colors, and preservatives) are to be avoided at all costs. 

Some dog food may contain gluten-free grains (as good as grain free), some will make use of fruits and vegetables, and all will have a quality protein source (whether real meat or meat meal). None of the dog foods on this list will contain low-quality, non-nutritional fillers, or chemical additives. 

The best food for small dogs like Chis will also contain vitamins, minerals, and healthy probiotics. 

This is the foundation of good health and nutrition for your pet – healthy, wholesome foods that will promote a healthy immune system.

Criteria #2: Protein Count & Quality

Because these littlies can gain weight very quickly if they aren’t careful, the best food for Chihuahuas is high in protein. Their daily activity levels are usually pretty busy, so they’ll use the protein to sustain their energy levels. A high protein count also helps keep your pooch fuller for longer. 

You’ll be looking for a high-quality animal protein on the top of the ingredient list. Animal protein far outweighs plant protein when it comes to being a healthy, well-rounded option, as it’s packed with essential amino acids that plant protein doesn’t contain.

The ideal amount of protein for a toy breed or small breed is 30% and upwards. While there’s nothing wrong with something a little lower, and some pups might require it, we recommend going with a higher protein choice. 

We’ve tried to go with foods that contain real meat rather than meat meal, although if you do choose one with meat meal, it contains almost 4 times the amount of protein that whole meat does. It can also be pretty tough to find dog foods that don’t contain chicken, but if you have a Chi who is sensitive to poultry, check out this list of chicken-free dog foods, and if they don’t do well with potato, here are some options that avoid vegetables. 

Criteria #3: Omega Fatty Acids

There are a few reasons for a high fatty acid content being a great thing in the best food for small dogs like Chihuahuas. 

These pint-sized toy breed fluffs are prone to food intolerances and allergies, and these can often affect the skin. Getting a good dose of these fatty acids in their dog food will keep your little one’s coat sleek and shiny, and their skin itch-free and well-nourished.

Fatty acids also provide plenty of energy, support good brain and heart health, and provide joint support and lubrication. Generally, the fat content and Omega fatty acid content are separate things on a guaranteed analysis list, and for good reason. The general fat content is what your pooch will draw upon for quickly metabolizable energy to get through their day. Omega fatty acids help for energy levels, but they are a group of different fats that have various purposes, as mentioned above. 

While we have looked at the main fat content when choosing our best foods for Chihuahuas, this criteria refers specifically to the Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids, which you will find lower down the guaranteed analysis list on the dog food packaging.

It includes glucosamine and chondroitin, which will likely be listed separately, and Omega-3 and Omega-6. We’ve based this rating on the levels you see on the label, and the quality of the sources they come from. 

Criteria #4: Kibble Size

If you have even a vague idea of what a Chihuahua looks like, you’ll know that their mouths are very tiny. Have you ever tried to eat something the same size as your mouth? It’s not as difficult for us, because we have utensils and thumbs, but a Chihuahua has nothing but their teeth and tongue to get the food to where they can chew it.

Pellet size is something many pet parents don’t think about until it actually becomes an issue. By that time, though, you most likely already have a grumpy pup and a bag of food that is still 85% full.

We’ve checked out the size of each dog food’s kibble here, to make sure it’s appropriate for toy breed Chihuahua-sized jaws and teeth. We’ve had a look at the companies’ claims about their kibble’s size, as well as customer reviews and comments about how the pellet size actually works for their pets.

Criteria #5: Affordability

Another great thing about these little fellows is that they eat significantly less than a big dog. You can buy a bag of dog food and it lasts a lot longer than a Labrador’s food would, which automatically makes it slightly more affordable to have a pocket-sized pooch. 

Although that means that many Chihuahua parents are more free to buy slightly more expensive dog food, we understand that everyone’s budget is different. We’ve made our best attempt to cover all price ranges in this list, so there’ll be something healthy and affordable for pet parents of all financial situations. 

Some of the foods reviewed here will be higher up the price spectrum, but they’re very worth the buy if you can afford them. Others, though, are closer in price to the lower quality foods, although we can vouch for them being top-notch in terms of health and quality. 

We also have a Best Value For Money option, which is a super high-quality, healthy, packed-with-goodness dog food that is the most affordable for its caliber that you’ll find on the market. 


Questions & Answers

What should I look for in a dog food for my Chihuahua?

Although all the best dog food shares common characteristics in terms of being healthy and digestible, there are some specifics that you should be considering when choosing a food for your Chihuahua in order to ensure that they get all they need. 

There’s a myth out there that because little dogs need less food, they can also get by with less protein and fat in their kibble. This is definitely not so – tiny pups who expend plenty of energy actually need higher protein and fat counts than many bigger dogs do! 

Your Chihuahua will thrive on a dry food that is moderate to high in calories (per pound of body weight), high in protein (30% plus), and high in fat (15 – 25%). If possible, you should go for a grain free option, although gluten-free grains like rice, sorghum, and oats are acceptable (this will vary by dog, though). 

Once you’ve made sure the dog food you’re looking at has hit the above numbers, there are a couple of other additions you should check for. Omega fatty acids are very important for your pooch’s wellbeing and should be on the guaranteed analysis list in decent amounts. You may be surprised to learn that Chihuahuas’ joints need a little extra support, so glucosamine and chondroitin are essential to see on that list. 

Antioxidants (often found in fruit and vegetable ingredients), vitamins, minerals, prebiotics, and probiotics are also great, and although you may not find these on the actual guaranteed analysis list, you should be able to tell either by the quality of ingredients or on the dog food packaging.

Are there things that I should avoid when looking for a dog food?

Chihuahuas are, unfortunately, a sensitive breed, and tend to suffer from allergies and intolerances to certain ingredients in dog food. While this will differ from pup to pup, there are a few ingredients that should be avoided from the start, because they just don’t add any nutritional value, and can actually disrupt digestive processes and the body’s harmony. 

The best foods for Chihuahuas will be free from artificial ingredients, because these ingredients contribute nothing in a nutritional sense. Synthetic preservatives include BHA (butylated hydroxyanisole), BHT (butylated hydroxytoluene), and ethoxyquin. 

Artificial colors often include the color name, such as Red 40, and let’s be honest – do you think your dog really cares if their dog food is dirt-brown or more reddish? These are the fluffs who dig things out of the garden and chew on them, so they really aren’t going to care about aesthetics. 

You can read a handy guide on how to make sense of dog food labels here, which will make it easier for you to figure out if you’re really feeding your pup the best dog food for them. 

Chihuahuas also tend to prefer grain free dog food, or at least dog food with grains that don’t contain gluten. Some of them may be sensitive to certain other ingredients, such as chicken or lamb. You’ll need to pay attention to your own pooch and see how they react to their food, and if something seems off, it may be worth doing some experimenting to see which ingredients your pet likes and doesn’t like. 

The best food for Chihuahuas is a generalization – you will need to find the best dog food for YOUR Chihuahua based on his or her appetite, preferences, and health. 

We also recommend avoiding wet food and only feeding your Chi dry food. This is because wet food is high in calories and contributes to bad breath (which no Chihuahua owner needs). Dry food is more nutrient-dense and helps keep their teeth cleaner. 

How much and how often should I feed my Chihuahua? 

Dog foods usually come with a guide on the packaging as to how much food you should feed your pet based on their weight. This should not be taken as the be-all and end-all, though – your dog’s age, activity level, and health can make quite a difference to how much dog food you actually feed them. 

It’s generally accepted that a Chihuahua puppy should eat about 50 calories per pound of body weight per day, and adults should eat 35 to 40 calories per pound per day. Keep in mind this is per day, not per meal, so once you have the daily number, you’ll need to divide that by the number of meals per day in order to get calories per meal. 

Puppies under 4 months old should be fed 4 to 6 times a day, on a fairly strict schedule. Between 3 and 6 months, you can decrease it slowly to 3 or 4 times a day, and from 6 months you can decrease to either 2 or 3 times a day. 

If your toy breed pooch suffers from hypoglycemia, it’s recommended to stick to 3 or 4 meals a day in order to keep their blood sugar up. While we understand that not all dog owners will be able to be around all day, free-feeding is not recommended as these dogs may be tiny but wow, can they eat. In most cases, free-feeding will only lead to obesity as they will scoff all the dog food in sight.  

Remember to leave space for a couple of treats in between meals when calculating your pup’s daily calories! 

What health conditions affect Chihuahuas? 

An unfortunate side-effect of being the world’s tiniest pooch is that these guys and girls are fairly sensitive and come with some health conditions. 

Food allergies and intolerances are common in many dog breeds, and can also be developed over time. Chihuahuas are quite prone to allergies and can react badly to many different ingredients. This can vary quite a bit from dog to dog, so you’ll have to observe your pup eating for a bit to be able to come to conclusions about what they may be allergic to or intolerant of. The most common ingredients to be wary of are chicken, beef, dairy products, eggs, wheat, corn, and soy. Other less common but possible allergies include lamb and oats. 

Chihuahuas are also very prone to obesity if owners don’t pay close attention to how much they are feeding them. Although they are quite high-energy and will burn off calories fairly easily if they’re constantly being fed more than they burn they can become a lot more round than lean. This is dangerous by itself, but it also increases the risk of other health conditions, such as joint problems, heart disease, diabetes, and general unhealthiness. Increasing your pup’s activity level is a good way to help combat this, but you will need to change their eating habits too, especially if they are older or less active due to illness or injury. 

Dental problems are what you’re most likely to come across if you’re a Chihuahua mom or dad. These fluffs have tiny mouths but normal-sized teeth, making it quite a tight squeeze in there. This can make eating dog food difficult, and opens them up to a host of dental issues, such as impacted teeth, tooth and jaw pain, and a terrible case of bad breath

You’ll need to brush your Chi’s teeth regularly to remove tartar and make sure nothing is going wrong in there. If your pooch is reluctant to eat, this could be why, and a trip to the vet will be necessary. Heads up, we only recommend wet food as a treatment if it’s been suggested by a vet! 

Although they are tiny, small breed dogs’ little joints are susceptible to dislocation. Patellar luxation (dislocating kneecap) and hip and elbow dysplasia happen with tiny pups, which is why a dose of glucosamine and chondroitin in their food is essential. 

Diabetes is also a common Chi-problem. They’re prone to low blood sugar, which can be worsened if they’re eating a low-quality food that isn’t giving them the nutrients they need. Although switching over to one of the best dog food can help, this is a matter for the vet, as your pooch will most likely need medication to keep them on the healthy side. 

Other things that can affect your toy breed include trouble birthing puppies (due to their size), tracheal collapse, and valvular disease (which can cause heart murmurs). Other things to be on the lookout for is excessive shivering (although this isn’t a health condition, it could be because your Chi gets cold easily due to their size and light coat), and injury (which is the leading cause of death in Chihuahuas, as they tend to forget how small they are and get very ambitious).