If you’re a chi owner, you likely know that chihuahuas have a special diet. Not any regular dry dog food will do! Your chihuahua needs something catered to their miniature size and delicate health! So, what’s the best dry dog food for chihuahua? The best dry dog food for these tiny dogs is easy to eat, nutritious, and most importantly, delicious!
I’ve scoured the market and tested over 50 dry dog foods to pinpoint the six best every chi owner must try. See which one your chihuahua will like best.
What’s the Best Dry Dog Food for Chihuahua?
OUR #1 CHOICE
OUR TOP PICK: Rachael Ray Premium Natural Nutrish Chicken and Veggies Recipe Dry Dog Food
Product Name: Rachael Ray Premium Natural Nutrish Chicken and Veggies Recipe Dry Dog Food
Product Description: Rachael Ray's Natural Nutrish is the best dry dog food for chihuahua when it comes to nutrition. It uses farm-raised chicken as the primary ingredient, providing ample protein and carbs. Moreover, this dog food supports the immune system due to its rich antioxidant levels. It contains carrots and cranberries, serving as all-natural antioxidants. And this helps maintain your chihuahua's healthy oxidative state! Not to mention the presence of these ingredients add more fiber to each bite. As a result, your chihuahua can also enjoy a healthier digestive system over time. This dog food is chock full of omega-3 and -6 fatty acids, keeping your chihuahua's coat healthy and shiny! But the pellet-style kibbles might be difficult to chew through for younger and older chis. And its strong scent may deter some chis. Nonetheless, this dry dog food is one of the healthiest on the market, providing ample nutrition and taste!
Offer price: $$$
Value for money
When value meets quality — you get Rachael Ray’s Premium Natural Nutrish Dog Food. The best thing about it is that it uses an all-natural recipe, listing chicken as the base ingredient. It uses organic meat, veggies, and fruits to add antioxidants and nutrients. And it contains no by-product meals, fillers, or grains!
But the pellets are a bit too big for younger and senior chis. Anyway, you can just crush the kibble before you give it to your chihuahua for easier consumption.
- This dry dog food lists farm-raised chicken as its first ingredient.
- The formula comes with added vitamins and minerals.
- Available in 6, 14, 28, and 40 lbs packs.
- It uses all-natural ingredients.
- It boasts a tasty recipe that all chihuahuas love.
- It is pricy.
- It has a strong scent that can overwhelm some chihuahuas.
- It has pellet-style kibbles, which can be difficult for younger and senior chis to chew.
Hill's Science Diet Chicken Recipe Dry Dog Food
If you have a chihuahua with a sensitive tummy or have digestive issues, make meal times better with Hill’s Science! Its Diet Chicken Recipe Dry Dog Food uses a formula catered for small dog breeds. And it’s jam-packed with prebiotic fibers, promoting better digestive health.
It has a unique formula that can help your chihuahua bring flatulence to more bearable levels. Specifically, it uses prebiotic fibers in feeding your chi’s microbiome. As a result, our chi can return loose stools and form healthier poop! And best of all, its all-natural recipe is safe to consume for chihuahuas of all ages. So, whether you have a young pup or a senior chi going to its golden years, choose Hill’s Science! And with this, your chihuahua can enjoy its meal times in peace.
My issue, however, is that this contains whole grains, which isn’t ideal for chihuahuas. But its presence of omega-6 fatty acids and added vitamins make up for it. These promote better skin and coat health alongside the mentioned digestion!
Wellness Complete Health Natural Dry Dog Food
For those with older or chunkier chihuahuas, go for Wellness Complete Health. It’s a natural dry dog food that mainly uses all-natural ingredients. And it’s jam-packed with nutrients, ensuring a healthier and happier dog!
Specifically, this dry dog food contains pre and probiotics, encouraging better digestion. Besides that, it also contains glucosamine and chondroitin, ideal for joint health. And finally, it has high antioxidant levels for an improved immune system. All these are essential in every aging or overweight chihuahua’s diet!
So, once your chihuahua goes past adulthood or begins to get fat due to decreased activity levels, prevent the onset of digestive and joint issues by changing their diet and choosing Wellness! With this kibble, your chihuahua should maintain their optimal health over time.
But what I like about this dry dog food the most is its low-calorie count! It can provide the nutrition your chi needs while ensuring a tasty meal!
Hill's Science Diet Small Bites Chicken Meal and Barley Recipe Dry Dog Food
Hill’s Science Small Bites is the best dry dog food for chihuahua with dental issues. It’s made for smaller dogs with tiny mouths, and each kibble isn’t too hard or soft. As a result, even chis with prolonged dental problems shouldn’t have an issue eating this dry dog food!
Aside from the perfectly-sized and textured kibbles, this dry dog food is also beneficial for the heart! It contains flaxseeds, rich in Taurine and ALA, a variation of omega-3 fatty acids, supporting a healthier heart for your chihuahua.
It also contains DHA from natural fish oil, promoting better brain development in younger chihuahuas. And finally, it has other minerals for better bone growth.
In short, this dry dog food is the perfect pick for growing chihuahuas.
Royal Canin Adult Dry Dog Food for Chihuahua
If you don’t mind splurging for your chihuahua’s dry dog food, go for Royal Canin. This particular formula was made to meet the needs of all chihuahuas!
It boasts a high-quality recipe ideal for young and aging chihuahuas alike. The kibbles are perfectly-sized, easy to eat, and oh so delicious! As a result, not only will your chi be cleaning its teeth with each bite, but it will also enjoy a tasty meal. With this, your chi can get all the nutrients without making mealtimes a chore.
Aside from that, this dry dog food has high fiber content and proteins, promoting better digestive health. And it also contains omega-3 fatty acids, DHA, and biotin, promoting better skin and coat health.
The enticing aroma and flavor impressed me the most about this dry dog food. You shouldn’t face much trouble letting your picky chihuahua eat with this on hand!
Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Chicken and Brown Rice Recipe Dry Dog Food
My last pick for the best dry dog food for chihuahua is Blue Buffalo’s Life Protection Formula. This dog food might be affordable, but don’t underestimate its ingredient quality and nutritional value!
It boasts some of the best mixes of ingredients and enhancements. And this dog food uses real meat as its base ingredient, ditching all the by-product meals and fillers. It doesn’t possess any corn, wheat, or soy, which are all unhealthy for your chihuahua. Instead, this dry dog food uses top-quality protein, fruits, and veggies.
Besides that, this dry dog food is also full of vitamins and minerals. Most notably, it contains a high content of omega-3 and -6 fatty acids, promoting better skin and coat health for all this. Aside from that, it also has vitamins C and E to promote healthier muscle growth and immunity.
But I like this dog food’s unique Life Source bits the most as each kibble is jam-packed with antioxidants. However, as healthy and nutritious as these bits are, some chihuahuas don’t like them and often leave them in their bowls. If that’s the case, you can crush it and mix it with the regular kibbles.
How to Pick the Best Dry Dog Food for Chihuahua?
It can be tough to spot the best dry dog food for chihuahua among the thousands of brands and formulas on the market. I’ve listed the primary considerations to make to help you find the best kibble for your chi:
✔️ Manufacturing Location
It’s safer to opt for dry dog food made in locations such as the US, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. These countries have strict quality control standards. As a result, you can ensure you’re only giving the highest quality food to your chihuahua. And that’s incredibly crucial as these tiny dogs have a slim margin for error due to their size.
In short, dry dog food from any places I mentioned earlier ensures your chi is eating no toxic ingredients.
✔️ Kibble Size
It’s best to get dry dog food with smaller kibbles for your pint-sized chi! After all, even with a strong jaw and sharp canines, chihuahuas are still tiny. That means they can easily choke or struggle to eat bigger-sized kibbles. So, ensure the dry dog food are bite-sized and easy to eat.
✔️ First Ingredient
You can tell the quality of dry dog food from a mile away by looking at its first listed ingredient. And for chihuahuas, meat is a crucial dietary need! After all, despite their small sizes, these pint-sized dogs have most of the biological adaptions from their wolf ancestors. So, meat is the way to go, even if they can eat fruits, grains, and veggies.
Choose a dry dog food that’s all-natural or primarily uses organic ingredients. Avoid those made with artificial flavoring, dyes, and other non-essential components. Although these aren’t life-threatening, they offer no nutritional value to your chi. And they might trigger food allergies!
✔️ Mystery Meat
Cheaper dry dog foods often contain unnamed mystery meats. And as tempting as it is to save a buck or two on dog food, it’s not worth the risk. Although meat meals or byproducts aren’t 100% bad for your chi, you still don’t know what they contain! So, it’s best to accept only those with proper and honest labels.
But note that those with labels of “chicken meal” or “turkey meal” are different from “meat meal.” And the former is more acceptable as they state what animal is the mixed meat from.
✔️ Fatty Acids
Fatty acids are crucial ingredients for chihuahuas as they’re prone to food allergies. Aside from that, these tiny dogs are also susceptible to numerous skin conditions. So, choosing dry dog food rich in Omega-3 or Omega-6 fatty acids is better. These promote healthier skin and coats in chis.
✔️ Chihuahua Age
Young and old chihuahuas have unique nutritional requirements. So, choosing dry dog food for your chi’s age is crucial. Consider your chihuahua’s age, developmental phase, and needs as they age. For instance, chi pups need ingredients made to support their developing body.
✔️ Chihuahua Health Concerns
When searching for dry dog food, it would be best to consider your chihuahua’s health. If your chi has allergies or dental problems, factor them in before deciding. After all, you wouldn’t want these existing conditions to worsen! I recommend checking the ingredients and specialization of dry dog food formulas. This way, you can confirm if the blend can keep up with your chihuahua’s health needs.
Why Should I Feed My Chihuahua Dry Dog Food?
Although different foods work better for certain chihuahuas, feeding a diet backed with top-quality dry dog food can offer many benefits for these tiny dogs. And these include the following:
🍴 Dry Dog Food Provides Complete and Balanced Nutrition to a Chihuahua
Dry dog food provides highly digestible carbs in each bite.
This nutrient is the primary energy source of omnivorous animals like your chihuahua! And it can promote better digestive health by assisting in the gastrointestinal tract. Best of all, the kibble doesn’t overdo it. After all, chihuahuas can create these nutrients themselves!
Aside from that, chihuahuas can digest nearly all the carbs they consume. Regardless, you can see why carbohydrates are a vital dietary need for your chi. If you provide enough carbs, your chihuahua can spare protein for energy. Instead, your chi can use it for tissue repair and growth, promoting better development!
🍴 Dry Dog Food Contains Safely-Cooked Ingredients
You can be confident you’re giving safe and digestible food to your chi when feeding kibble. After all, the best manufacturers have strict guidelines. They ensure that their products undergo in-depth inspection before making them publicly available.
Aside from that, safely-cooked dog food boosts the digestibility of carbs offered by cereal grains, destroying dangerous microorganisms that might be lurking in the ingredients used. Moreover, manufacturers cook dry dog food at extremely high temperatures. As a result, they retain the ingredients’ vitamins and amino acids. With this, they provide proper pasteurization for safer food.
🍴 Dry Dog Food Packs a Crunch Ideal for Your Chihuahua’s Dental Health
Even the kibble’s texture provides a hearty benefit for your chihuahua. Chewing on pieces of dry dog food helps clean and improve your chi’s teeth. They can prevent your chihuahua from developing periodontal diseases or gingivitis, debilitating disorders for these tiny dogs.
But note that feeding your chihuahua dry dog food alone won’t stop plaque build-up. So, you still need to bring your chi to regular dental cleanings!
🍴 Dry Dog Food Creates Less Waste than Other Foods
Dry dog food doesn’t need refrigeration or freezing and comes in more oversized bags. Unlike wet dog food in single-use pouches or cans, dry dog food produces less daily waste!
🍴 It’s Affordable
Kibbles, in general, are cheaper than wet dog food. After all, dry dog food is more accessible to mass produce. But don’t let its low price tag fool you, as dry dog food can give chihuahuas the meal of their dreams in one pack!
Chihuahuas and their Unique Nutritional Requirements
Chihuahuas are generally healthy dogs, living up to 15 years or more! But with this comes unique challenges, and dietary needs are one of them. Due to their long lifespans, chihuahuas are more prone to lifestyle-related health conditions. So, what you feed them is incredibly crucial. After all, no chi owner wants their dog to get obese, have diabetes, or have arthritis — all common for this breed.
Besides those mentioned, here are more conditions to watch out for in chihuahuas:
- Skin and coat issues. Most of them are hereditary, but some, like food allergies, get influenced by your chi’s diet. Avoid dry dog food with allergens like corn or soy. Instead, focus on ingredients like novel protein sources such as chicken or beef.
- Dental disease. Feeding your chihuahua dry dog food can help keep their teeth clean and strong.
- Joint problems. Chihuahuas are more prone to developing articulation issues than other small dog breeds. You can reduce the severity of joint-related conditions through a proper diet. So, look for dry dog food with chondroitin or glucosamine.
Providing your chihuahua with top-quality dry dog food is vital to prevent these conditions and keep your dog happy and healthy. For a more in-depth insight, let’s dive into the different nutritional values for chihuahuas, depending on their age!
Chihuahua pups have plenty of growing to do. So, they naturally need more nutrients and calories than usual. Opting for dry dog food with a puppy formula is ideal for these young pups. It has all the nutritional value growing chihuahuas need. I recommend looking for dry dog food for chi puppies with at least 28% – 30% protein and 17% – 20% fat.
Moreover, ensure it provides more calories per cup than kibbles made for adult chis. Generally, these pups need around at least 50 calories for each pound of their total weight daily. But some dry dog food recommends the amount of food to give to chis throughout puppyhood.
Aside from that, it would be best if you also considered getting dry dog food packed with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. These keep your young chi in the ideal weight, helping them go through their puppyhood like a breeze.
Unlike other dog breeds, chihuahuas must transition to adult formula dry dog food at eight months. And it’s because they’re naturally small and stop growing by that time.
Adult chihuahuas must eat at least 35 to 40 calories for every pound of their total weight daily. But as I mentioned, most brands will suggest how much dry dog food kibble to give your chi. And this can differ between brands. So, refer to the packaging to get a better idea.
Calories aside, adult chihuahuas also need at least 25% – 30% protein in their daily diet. And a low-fat content of 13% to 15%. Giving your adult chihuahua kibble with lower fat content is crucial. After all, they’re now fully grown! So, you don’t want your chi to become overweight.
For that reason, you need to wean your chihuahua off the old puppy dry dog food formula. If not, expect a fatter chi that won’t live as long as average-sized chihuahuas!
Of course, all these also depend on how active your growing chihuahua is. If you have a lazy chihuahua that likes to lounge all day, it needs fewer calories than those energetic chis.
Many chihuahua owners undermine the power of proper nutrition. Only a few realize that poor-quality dry dog food can do more harm than good! And this is especially the case for senior chihuahuas. So, it’s essential to pay attention to the food you give your older chi as they have unique nutritional needs.
When dealing with a senior chi, you must pay attention to their weight. After all, older chihuahuas are notorious for eating more than they chew! That’s why you’ll notice some of them becoming more sedentary as they age. Although senior chis aren’t prone to injury as larder dog breeds, it’s still best to keep an eye on their kibble!
Ideally, dry dog foods for senior chihuahuas should have glucosamine and antioxidants. Aside from that, I suggest adding dog-friendly fruits and veggies to your senior chi’s diet. Doing so keeps your senior chi’s diet fresh and oh so nutritious! All these keep your older chi at a healthy weight.
What to Feed My Chihuahua When I Run Out of Dry Dog Food?
What happens when you run out of the best dry dog food for chihuahua at home? If you don’t have time to go to the store to buy kibble for your chi, you can always make them homemade food. But only do this till you get a new batch of dry dog food, as the latter is better for your chi’s dental health.
The good news is you have control over the ingredients when giving your chihuahua food that’s not their regular kibble! So, you can ensure your chi doesn’t eat anything artificial or unnecessary.
Best Foods to Give Your Chihuahua When You Run Out of Dry Dog Food
That said, here are the best foods to give your chihuahua when you run out of dry dog food:
✅ Meat (Animal Products)
I recommend feeding your chihuahua meat (raw or cooked) whenever you run out of dog food. After all, these little omnivores are big on meat. Most meats are safe for chihuahuas to consume, but I suggest giving leaner meats to inactive chihuahuas. Remember to remove the skin and excess fat when feeding your chi meat.
Meanwhile, dark meats like beef are a good choice if your chihuahua doesn’t need a strict low-fat diet. Aside from regular meat, other animal products you can substitute for dry dog food for a while are organs. Chicken and beef liver are excellent picks for a chihuahua!
Fish is rich in vitamin D and makes for an excellent substitute for your dry dog food. Unlike meat, you can only feed cooked fish to your chi to ensure their safety. Before you cook some for your chihuahua, remember to take out the bones! And never feed your chi fish like Pacific salmon or trout as they can be toxic to your dog.
Eggs can be excellent treats for your chihuahua and a temporary substitute for dry dog food. After all, it’s rich in calcium and protein, ideal for growing chihuahuas! You can leave the eggs’ shells on as they provide more calcium.
If your chi can handle dairy products, substituting plain yogurt for dry dog food for a while is ideal. But if your chihuahua can’t take cow dairy products, opt for those made from goat milk. Remember, this isn’t enough to meet your chi’s nutritional needs, so add other foods like meat.
✅ Produce (Fruits and Veggies)
Fruits and veggies give chihuahuas ample nutrients and, most importantly, fiber. Lots of it! This nutrient boosts a chihuahua’s digestive system, promoting better overall health. When you run out of dry dog food, I recommend substituting leafy greens like kale and spinach for a bit. You can also try starchy vegetables like sweet potato, ideal for underweight chis.
But before you give your chihuahua vegetables, be sure to cook them thoroughly!
Before you feed your chi with dry dog food alternatives, you must consider if your dog has allergies. Most chihuahuas with food allergies can’t handle chicken, beef, wheat, and dairy. And giving them any of these at uncontrolled amounts can be dangerous. So, be cautious when choosing a temporary substitute for your chihuahua’s kibble.
As you plan what to give your chihuahua, consider a meal that won’t trigger their food allergy. Or something that won’t worsen a preexisting disease! When feeding a chihuahua with food allergies, I recommend going for a protein your chi hasn’t tried before, like lamb or rabbit. And mix those with leafy greens like kale or spinach.
If you’re uncertain what foods your chihuahua might be allergic to, it’s best to buy their regular kibble ASAP. But if that’s not possible, consult your chi’s vet before feeding them anything other than their dry dog food.
Regardless of what you substitute for your chihuahua’s regular dry dog food, remember that it’s only temporary. These aren’t ideal for long-term feeding as they’re not nutritionally balanced as kibble. The longest you can feed these alternatives to your chihuahua is one-week maximum. It should give you enough time to buy their dry dog food!
Foods Not to Give Your Chihuahua When You Run Out of Dry Dog Food
No matter the circumstance, never give your chihuahua the following foods. It’s better to buy their regular dry dog food ASAP than feeding these to your chi:
Chocolate is dangerous for dogs to consume, and chihuahuas are no exception. This delicious treat has methylxanthine substances, which can be fatal to dogs. When chihuahuas ingest chocolate, their bodies release norepinephrine and epinephrine. And these can cause cardiovascular issues like arrhythmia (irregular heartbeat).
Specifically, chocolates contain caffeine and theobromine; where both can kill your chihuahua instantly. After all, these tiny dogs absorb these slower than us people. So, while chocolate is safe for us to munch on, it can be fatal to a little chihuahua!
If your chihuahua accidentally ingests some, you’ll see the symptoms within 6 to 12 hours. But once you notice your chi displaying excess vomiting, diarrhea, or rapid breathing, bring them to the vet ASAP! If you leave it for too long, your chihuahua might get into a coma, have a heart attack, or die on the spot.
Besides chocolate, other foods to avoid are cocoa beans, cocoa powder, and hot chocolate mix.
❎ Fruit Seeds, Pits, or Cores
A fruit’s seeds, pits, or cores have high levels of cyanide, which can be fatal to chihuahuas. This substance stops your dog’s body cells from using oxygen. Without oxygen, those once healthy cells will die. And without those, your chihuahua will eventually die. So, even if the flesh parts of most fruits are safe for chihuahuas to eat, watch out for their seeds, pits, or cores!
Symptoms can emerge within a few minutes or hours of ingestion. But once you see your chihuahua vomit, act lethargic, or drool, bring them to the vet immediately. Or, if available, bring your chihuahua to an emergency pet poisoning center nearby.
Although many chihuahua owners use garlic to treat fleas at home, it’s not safe to ingest! After all, it has thiosulfate. It’s a substance chihuahuas cannot digest. When chihuahuas consume some, their body metabolizes the garlic into oxidative compounds. And this, in turn, destroys your chi’s healthy red blood cells, resulting in anemia.
You’ll be able to spot symptoms within 1 to 3 days of consumption of the garlic. But once you see your chihuahua salivate excessively, contact the vet ASAP.
Whether cooked, powdered, or raw, any food with garlic should always be out of your chi’s reach. Besides that, you should keep onions, chives, shallots, leeks, and scallions far from your chihuahua.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What’s the best dry dog food for chihuahua?
A: The best dry dog food for chihuahuas are ones without synthetic ingredients. Whether flavoring or dye, these non-essential additives add no value to the food. So, choose one that’s all-natural when looking for dry dog food for your chi. Moreover, ensure the dry dog food uses real meat as its base ingredient.
Q: Is feeding my chihuahua wet or dry dog food better?
A: Dry dog food is quintessential in every chihuahua’s diet, but it’s better to feed your chi wet and dry. Although dry dog food offers all the nutrition your chihuahua needs and is more convenient for owners, it isn’t enough. It’s better to feed your chi wet and dry dog food, with the latter as the supplement. Besides, like most dogs, chihuahuas like wet food better as it’s delicious and has a meaty texture!
Q: Does my chihuahua need special food?
A: Due to a chihuahua’s small size, they have unique nutritional needs to maintain their health. Their special dietary needs vary. And it depends on the miniature dog’s age, breed variation, and health.
Q: What does a chihuahua usually eat?
A: Chihuahuas can eat various muscle meats, eggs, veggies, fruits, and organs. Their diet must consist of muscle meat from chicken, bison, turkey, cow, lamb, or fish! Aside from that, you can also find that in organs, eggs, veggies, bones, and fruits. You can make your life easier by feeding your chi kibble and wet food. These pack all the nutrition your chihuahua needs.
Q: How often does my chihuahuas need to eat?
A: Like people, chihuahuas must eat three times daily. You can divide your chi’s meal times like how you would for yourself! So, feeding your chihuahua for breakfast, lunch, and dinner would be best. Aside from that, you can sneak in treats in-between to keep your chihuahua’s energy levels high.
Dry dog food is essential in every chihuahua’s diet. It gives these tiny dogs all the nutrition value they need. And our reviews for the best dry dog food for chihuahua should kickstart your search with a breeze. Each product is ideal for all your chi’s life stages. From puppyhood to adulthood, the listed dog foods should meet all your chihuahua’s needs and everything in-between!
Here at ILoveChihuahua, we share our personal experiences as owners of this feisty breed. We talk about recommended methods, dog supplies picks, and advice on common Chihuahua problems. Our goal is to promote responsible dog ownership, so there would be fewer Chihuahuas in shelters.