Chihuahuas have their share of medical issues – one of which is obesity. Many owners brush off their chi’s excess weight as a non-concerning problem. However, obesity is just as dangerous to them as it is to us. So, you may be wondering, how to help my chihuahua lose weight? Basically, with proper exercise and a balanced diet, your furry companion will be in top health in no time! Why it’s crucial to keep track of their weight and how to help them lose some are discussed below.
Why You Must Keep Track of Your Chihuahua’s Weight
Obesity in small breeds like chihuahuas can lead to several medical problems. These include the following:
- Difficulty breathing. An oversized chihuahua’s lungs can’t keep up with the dog’s bodily needs. The excess fat in the pup’s chest can limit the lungs’ expansion, leading to respiratory issues.
- High blood pressure. Obese chihuahuas have a higher chance of developing high blood pressure, which is life-threatening to smaller breeds.
- Joint issues. A chihuahua’s excess weight puts extra pressure on their bones and joints, causing arthritis at a young age. It can affect their overall health and quality of life in the long run.
- Type II diabetes. This medical condition can be challenging to manage in smaller dogs as they’ll need insulin injections every day to keep with their body’s needs.
- Back problems. Obesity can cause chihuahuas to experience painful back and spinal issues, leading to torn ligaments or slipping of the spinal disc.
- Heart disease. It’s the deadliest illness for any chihuahua as the excess fat prevents their heart from functioning properly.
To truly help your dog, you need to identify if your chihuahua does have an actual weight problem. Generally, chihuahuas need to weigh at least 6 pounds, based on the American Kennel Club standards. However, this doesn’t apply to all chis.
To accurately identify if your pup is obese or overweight, take your hands and rub them on the sides of your chihuahua’s ribcage. If you can’t feel the bones in this area, your dog is overweight.
Overall, if you want your chihuahua to live a long, healthy, and happy life, you need to keep an eye on their weight and make some changes along the way.
How to Help My Chihuahua Lose Weight? 9 Foolproof Tips!
1. Increase their activity levels.
Exercise will play a crucial role in your chihuahua’s weight loss journey, but remember to do it progressively. Never force your chihuahua to do several things simultaneously, as this can overwhelm them and make matters worse.
Of course, chihuahuas are small breed dogs, but that doesn’t mean you should overlook the need to exercise them.
Many owners assume it’s okay to keep their chis locked up in their homes and only take them out when they need to do their business. However, that isn’t the case.
Like any other dog, chihuahuas need plenty of time and space to run around in and explore. Ensure your chihuahua gets enough exercise within each passing day.
To encourage active behavior, take your chihuahua for a walk when the weather permits. But when it’s raining or snowing, you can always engage in indoor activities with your pup.
2. Always feed your dog following the recommended servings.
It’s crucial to provide your chihuahua with just the right amount of food since they can gain weight quickly due to their miniature stature. Unfortunately, most chihuahua owners are unaware of the recommended portions for their dogs.
You can get the nutritional information you need regarding your dog’s food by consulting with your vet. But you can also check the suggested daily servings at the back of your chihuahua’s dog food packaging.
3. Try breaking up your chihuahua’s meals.
Vets and other experts recommend feeding smaller breeds in smaller servings as it lets your dog burn more calories.
Generally, you need to divide your dog’s daily food up to 3 to 6 portions. That’s because consuming several small meals requires energy to digest, burning more calories along the way.
Plus, feeding small meals to your pup can help keep their insulin levels at ideal levels.
It reduces their appetite spikes, helping your dog feel full most of the day.
4. Change their diet.
Slowly change your chihuahua’s diet into one that’s high in fiber as it can reduce their food intake. It helps your pup feel full throughout the day. So rather than loading your chihuahua with food, buy dog food that’s rich in nutrients, vitamins, minerals, and other health supplements.
To make it more effective, choose food that contains whole, organic, and fresh food. Most processed dog foods are full of carb-based fillers, which is the main culprit behind canine obesity.
So when buying dog food, make sure to check if the first ingredient contains real meat! This is often a good indication that the dog food is top-quality and made from all-natural ingredients. Try to get a formula with a perfect balance of protein, fat, and carbs.
5. Cut out treats.
Treats are a massive contributor to most dogs’ weight gain, including chihuahuas. So to help your chi shed extra pounds, try to cut out treats altogether until they become slim enough. However, if this isn’t possible, healthy treats do exist!
It can be challenging not to indulge your tiny pups, but you need to consider healthy options with low fats and sugar. In other words, if you’re going to give your chihuahua extra goodies, make them count!
Generally, single-ingredient treats are ideal as they give your dog the spoils they deserve minus the harmful side effects. Popular choices for chihuahuas are sweet potatoes, blueberry bites, or salmon. But whatever treat you go for, make sure to count them as additional calories.
Many dog owners feed their pups the right amount of food but often unknowingly sabotage their efforts by giving their chis one or two snacks every day. Remember, each calorie counts since in smaller breeds, as few as 40 extra calories every day means your chihuahua may gain over four pounds in one year.
For the best results, break the treats into tiny pieces and give them to your dog whenever they earn them. And remember, only use these to reward your pup for good behavior – and nothing else!
6. Give them supplements.
With consent and advice from your vet, giving supplements can be a great way to help your chihuahua lose weight. A few of these every day can help your pet stay fit and trim.
I’m talking about the omega-3 fatty acid supplement, which contains fish oils that pack potent antioxidants. These have been proven time and time again to help in weight loss, thanks to the presence of L-carnitine.
This nutrient can aid in weight loss while promoting lean muscle mass, according to several studies.
But before giving your dog some, ask your vet if this supplement is safe for your chihuahua.
7. Know how much you’re feeding your dog.
Determine how much food you’re feeding your chi. Most owners look at the side of the dog food’s packaging or follow its suggested feeding recommendations. However, remember, your dog is an individual, so it’s unlikely they’ll match those generalized feeding suggestions.
If you’ve accidentally done this, reduce your dog’s food up to 5% to go against the bloated recommendations. But if it didn’t work the first time around, try to add another 5% reduction.
A sudden decrease in food may lead to begging. If this happens, try to split your pup’s meals 2 to 3 days every day. Doing so can make your dog feel fuller without eating extra food.
8. Cut down on the carbs.
If your chihuahua is overweight, it’s clear they don’t need a high-carb diet. However, this is what most pet owners feed their furry companions. Many owners unknowingly give their dogs food filled with 60% carbs until they check the label.
To help your dog lose weight, switch up your dog’s diet by cutting down on the carbs. Try feeding your chihuahua a higher protein and lower-carb diet.
However, always consult with your dog’s vet first before making any changes to their diet. After all, dogs with certain medical conditions like kidney failure might do better on a different diet.
9. Visit the vet.
If you’ve tried everything you can to help your chihuahua shed some pounds, but to no avail, it’s time to visit the vet. Doing so can help you rule out any health condition your dog has. That’s because weight gain can be a sign of medical conditions like Cushing’s syndrome.
Not only will you help your dog lose weight faster, but it will also help you address any potential medical issue they have.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What is a healthy weight for a chihuahua?
A: A decent weight for a chihuahua is between 3 to 6 pounds. But generally, this small dog shouldn’t go over 5.9 pounds, based on the American and British breed standards. However, more miniature chihuahuas weigh less, and these dogs tend not to be very active and healthy.
Q: What can I feed my chihuahua to help them lose weight?
A: A simple meal that can help jump-start your dog’s weight loss journey is feeding them their regular food in the day and replacing their second meal with green beans. Add these vegetables to a bit of their everyday dry food, and you’re good to go. Finally, skip feeding them at night and give them a multivitamin instead. But before doing any of these, consult with your vet first.
Q: How long will it take for my dog to lose weight?
A: Although the process varies for each dog, most can achieve weight loss goals between 6 to 8 months. However, if the process is taking longer for you, you might need to change some things. Regardless of what you do to help your dog lose some extra pounds, a healthy weight loss is anything between 1 to 5 pounds every month.
Q: Can walking my chihuahua help them lose weight?
A: Walking is one of the best ways for chihuahuas to lose weight as it keeps them going without putting too much strain on their tiny bodies. So, in addition to what your vet may suggest regarding their diet, help your dog exercise. Do this by taking them on a walk every day.
Q: How many times in a day can my chihuahua eat?
A: Since chihuahuas are a much smaller breed, they might not have the energy reserves of bigger dogs. That’s why they can be at risk for blood sugar if they don’t eat as often. For this reason, feeding your chihuahua around thrice a day is ideal. Just make sure to choose healthier foods!
How to help my chihuahua lose weight? There are several methods you can do to help your dog shed some extra pounds, but the best strategy is to help them develop good habits – and stick to them! Help your dog in their weight loss journey by consistently applying these methods in their daily lives long-term.
Do you have any suggestions on how to help chihuahuas lose weight? Leave a comment below!
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.