Food & Health

Why Is My Chihuahua So Skinny? 7 Possible Reasons

Have you ever wondered if your chihuahua is too skinny? Or are you concerned that your chihuahua might be underweight? The chihuahua is one of the world’s most tiny, lean, and skinny dog breeds. This has made them the greatest purse-sized dogs in the world. Because of their tiny size, these dog breeds are readily transportable in their owners’ pockets and handbags, and they are frequently seen on the hips of Hollywood’s most fashionable stars.

However, as a Chihuahua owner, you may wonder how skinny and slim is too skinny for your chihuahua. Let’s answer your concerns and give you some tips on how to help your chihuahua maintain a healthy weight.

How Big a Chihuahua Should Be?

According to the American Kennel Club’s (AKC) breed standards, an adult Chihuahua should ideally weigh between two and six pounds. However, some Chihuahuas can be as tiny as one pound or even less.

The world’s smallest recorded chihuahua was a male named Milly, who weighed only one point five pounds and was three inches tall at the shoulder. Milly was born in Puerto Rico in 2013, and he died in 2014 due to congestive heart failure.

Although chihuahuas are regarded as the smallest breed, they should be within a standard height/weight range to ensure overall health. Chihuahuas grow to be just 6 to 9 inches tall when fully grown, and their weight should be in proportion to their height.

When it comes to the ideal weight for your chihuahua, there is a big range. A healthy weight for an adult Chihuahua can be anywhere from two pounds up to six pounds or more. The average healthy weight for a Chihuahua is four pounds.

So if you have a Chihuahua that is two pounds, don’t worry! That is actually within the healthy weight range for an adult chihuahua. However, if you think that your chihuahua is too skinny, while they might not fall within the ideal weight range, there could be some underlying health reasons why they are underweight.

Possible Reasons Why Chihuahua So Skinny

Possible Reasons Why Chihuahua So Skinny

Your chihuahua is too skinny when the pelvic bones and ribs are clearly apparent. Another sign is if your chihuahua’s spine, shoulder bones, and hips have little or no fat around them. Why is that? There are several possible reasons why your chihuahua might be too skinny.

🐕Underlying Disease or Health Problem

Even if you provide your Chihuahua with plenty of food, yet they are still skinny. It can be stressful at times. And one possible reason why your chihuahua is not gaining weight or is losing weight is that it might have an underlying health problem.

If losing weight is sudden, particularly associated with other symptoms such as fever or vomiting, you should immediately take them to the veterinarian. Some other health problems that can cause your chihuahua to lose weight or not

Some common diseases and health problems that can lead to weight loss in chihuahuas include:

  • Lack of appetite or Anorexia
  • Swallowing Disorder
  • Pseudo anorexia is triggered by regurgitation, vomiting, swallowing disorders, difficulty grasping or chewing food, or loss of smell or taste
  • Infectious diseases including Parvovirus, Panleukopenia, and Canine distemper
  • Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)
  • Malabsorptive illnesses that impair the body’s capacity to absorb nutrients from the gastrointestinal system, such as severe intestinal parasitism, lymphangiectasis, inflammatory and infiltrative bowel disease
  • Maldigestion diseases, such as exocrine pancreatic insufficiency, interfere with the body’s capacity to chew food into consumable nutrients
  • Paralysis or weakness caused by a neuromuscular disease
  • Increased calorie requirement due to intense physical activity, pregnancy or lactation, hyperthyroidism, fever, extended exposure to cold, inflammation, infection, and cancer

If your chihuahua is skinny and you suspect that it might have an underlying health problem, the best course of action is to take them to the veterinarian for a check-up.

🐕Not Getting Enough Food

One possible reason your chihuahua is so skinny is that they are simply not getting enough food. If you are unsure of how much food your chihuahua should be eating, you can always ask your veterinarian for advice. They will be able to tell you how many calories your chihuahua needs based on their weight, age, and activity level.

Another thing to keep in mind is that some types of chihuahua food are more calorie-dense than others. For example, dry chihuahua food typically has more calories than wet chihuahua food. So if you are feeding your Chihuahua dry food, they might need to eat less of it in order to get the same number of calories as they would from wet food.

If you think your chihuahua is not getting enough food, try increasing their daily ratio by a small amount and see if that helps them gain some weight.

🐕Poor Nutrition 

Even if your chihuahua is getting enough food, it might not be getting the right type of food. Like humans, chihuahuas need a balanced diet to stay healthy. If your chihuahua’s diet lacks certain nutrients, it can lead to weight loss.

One way to ensure that your chihuahua gets the nutrients they need is to feed them high-quality chihuahua food. There are many different types of chihuahua food on the market, so it is essential to do your research to find the best one for your chihuahua. Avoid giving them table scraps, as these are often high in fat and calories but low in other essential nutrients.

Ask your veterinarian for recommendations if you are unsure what type of food to feed your chihuahua. They can help you choose a balanced and nutritious food for your chihuahua.

🐕Intestinal Parasites

Intestinal parasites are one of the most common health problems in chihuahuas, and they can cause weight loss. Parasites such as roundworms, hookworms, and whipworms live in the intestines and consume the food that your chihuahua eats. It can lead to malnutrition, as well as diarrhea and vomiting.

If you think that your chihuahua might have intestinal parasites, take them to the veterinarian for a check-up. They can perform a test to confirm the presence of parasites and prescribe the appropriate treatment.

In most cases, intestinal parasites can be easily treated with medication. However, it is important to follow your veterinarian’s instructions to ensure that all parasites are killed. Otherwise, they can quickly reinfect your chihuahua.

🐕Age-Related Issue

As chihuahuas age, they often begin to experience a decrease in appetite. It can be due to various factors, such as dental problems, changes in metabolism, and underlying health conditions. It can be difficult to tell if your chihuahua’s decreased appetite is due to age or another health problem.

In some cases, simply increasing the frequency of meals or changing the type of food you feed your chihuahua can help to increase their appetite.

🐕EPI

Exocrine pancreatic insufficiency (EPI) is a condition that affects the pancreas. The pancreas is responsible for producing enzymes that help the chihuahua digest food. If the pancreas is not working properly, it can lead to weight loss and malnutrition.

EPI is relatively rare in chihuahuas, but it is important to be aware of the symptoms. These include poor appetite, weight loss, and diarrhea. There is no cure for EPI, but it can be managed with medication and dietary changes. Your veterinarian will work with you to create the best treatment plan for your chihuahua.

🐕Picky Eater

Some chihuahuas are just picky eaters. They might turn their nose up at certain types of food or refuse to eat altogether. If your chihuahua is a picky eater, it is crucial to find a food that they will eat. Otherwise, they might not be getting the nutrients they need. So it might take some trial and error to find one that your chihuahua likes. You can also try adding some wet food to their diet or mixing it with dry food.

These are just some of the possible reasons why your chihuahua might be skinny. If you are concerned about their weight, it is always best to consult with a veterinarian. They can help you determine the cause of the weight loss and create a treatment plan.

What Should I Do If My Chihuahua Is Underweight?

What Should I Do If My Chihuahua Is Underweight?

A chihuahua’s ideal weight is essential for its health and survival. Chihuahuas underweight are more prone to illness and may not live as long as overweight or healthy-weight pets. We’ll go over some methods and ideas for getting your chihuahua to a healthier weight.

🐾Higher Fat and Protein Foods

Anyone who has ever raised a chihuahua understands the need for high-fat, high-protein diets. Chihuahuas are small dogs with high metabolisms. Their tiny tummies can’t hold enough food to give them the nutrients they need without these two macronutrients. You’ll want to look for food with at least 25% protein and 20% fat, if not more.

Protein and fat are essential for chihuahuas’ growth and development and transition into adulthood. While these chihuahua foods may be more expensive than traditional chihuahua food, each bite is well worth the money. Chihuahuas that are overweight or underweight will benefit from high-protein and fat meals. Feeding your chihuahua a diet higher in fat and protein helps them gain weight gradually over time.

Moreover, you can also add supplements to their diet. Supplements provide your chihuahua with the extra nutrients they need to gain weight.

🐾Create a Feeding Schedule

One way to help your chihuahua gain weight is to create a feeding schedule. It will ensure that your chihuahua is getting enough food throughout the day. It’s best to feed them three to four small meals per day rather than one or two large meals.

This method also helps prevent overeating and obesity in the future. Once your chihuahua reaches a healthy weight, you can reduce the number of meals per day.

🐾Try Fresh or Wet Foods

These types of food are more aromatic and have a stronger flavor than dry kibble. The strong scent and flavor will help stimulate your chihuahua’s appetite.

You can also try adding canned wet food to their diet or mixing it with dry food. It is a great way to get your chihuahua to eat more if they are picky eaters.

🐾Exercise and Playtime

Exercise is vital for all dogs, but it is especially important for chihuahuas. Chihuahuas are active dogs that need plenty of exercises to stay healthy.

A good way to get your chihuahua to exercise is to play with them regularly. It can be anything from fetch to tug-of-war. You can also take them for walks or runs around the block.

Regular exercise will help your chihuahua build muscle and burn off excess fat. This, in turn, will help them reach a healthy weight.

🐾Take Them For Regular Checkups

If you are concerned about your chihuahua’s weight, it is always best to consult with a veterinarian. They can help you determine the cause of the weight loss and create a treatment plan.

Your vet may also recommend blood tests to check for underlying health conditions. These tests can help rule out any potential causes of weight loss.

Human Food to Mix With Chihuahua’s Food

Adding these foods to your chihuahua’s diet will help them get the extra calories and nutrients they need to gain weight. However, human food should only be given in small amounts and should not make up more than 20% of their diet. Human food is often high in salt and fat, which can be harmful to your chihuahua’s health.

Some good human foods to mix with chihuahua food include:

🦴Cooked eggs

Cooked eggs are a great source of protein and fat. They are also easy to digest and have a mild flavor that most chihuahuas enjoy. However, you should only feed cooked eggs as raw eggs can contain bacteria that can make them sick.

🦴Canned tuna

Canned tuna is another great source of protein and fat. It also has a strong flavor that can help stimulate your chihuahua’s appetite. Just be sure to get canned tuna packed in water, not oil.

🦴Plain yogurt

Plain yogurt is a good source of protein, calcium, and probiotics. Probiotics are beneficial bacteria that help keep your chihuahua’s digestive system healthy.

You can mix plain yogurt with their food or give it to them as a treat. Just choose yogurt that does not contain any added sugars.

🦴Cooked chicken

You can add cooked chicken to their food or mix it with their kibble. Chicken is a great source of protein and will help your chihuahua gain weight.

Make sure to remove any bones or skin from the chicken before feeding it to your chihuahua. These can be choking hazards and can cause digestive problems.

🦴Peanut butter

Most chihuahuas love the taste of peanut butter, and it’s a great source of fat and protein. You can add a spoonful of peanut butter to their food or give it as a treat.

Just be sure to choose a peanut butter that does not contain any added sugars or salt.

🦴Mashed potatoes

Mashed potatoes are a good source of carbohydrates. They can help your chihuahua feel fuller for longer and provide them with the energy they need to exercise.

You can mix mashed potatoes with their food or give them a treat. Just be sure not to add any salt, butter, or milk to the potatoes. These ingredients can be harmful to your chihuahua’s health.

🦴Sweet Potato and Pumpkin

Sweet potatoes and pumpkins are both good sources of fiber. Fiber helps regulate your chihuahua’s digestive system and can also help them feel fuller for longer. You can mix sweet potato or pumpkin with their food or give it to them as a treat.

🦴Cottage Cheese

Cottage cheese is a good source of protein and calcium. It can help your chihuahua gain weight and build strong bones. You can mix cottage cheese with their food or give it to them as a treat.

🦴Lean Meat

Lean meat is a great source of protein and will help your chihuahua gain weight. You can mix lean meat with their food or give it to them as a treat. Make sure to remove any bones or fat from the meat before feeding it to your chihuahua.

🦴Quinoa 

Quinoa is a good source of protein and fiber. It can help your chihuahua feel fuller for longer and provide them with the energy to exercise. You can mix quinoa with their food or give it to them as a treat.

These are just some human foods that you can add to your chihuahua’s diet to help them gain weight. Just be sure to talk with your veterinarian before making any changes to your chihuahua’s diet.

Tips for Preventing Future Weight Loss in Your Chihuahua

Chihuahua playing

You must focus on preventing further weight loss after your chihuahua has started medical treatment. There are a few things you can do to help prevent your chihuahua from losing weight in the future.

►Feed them High-Quality Chihuahua Food

The first step is to feed them high-quality chihuahua food. Avoid any foods that contain fillers or by-products. These ingredients are not nutritious and can be harmful to your chihuahua’s health.

Feed them Smaller Meals More Frequently

Another way to help prevent weight loss is to feed your chihuahua smaller meals more frequently. It will help increase their metabolism and allow them to better absorb the nutrients from their food.

►Make sure they Get Enough Exercise

It’s also essential to make sure your chihuahua gets enough exercise. Exercise helps increase their appetite and can also help them build muscle.

►Provide Proper Living Condition

Chihuahuas are small dogs that need a warm place to sleep. They should have their own bed or blanket in a warm room. They also need plenty of toys to keep them entertained. Chihuahuas are high-energy dogs, so they need an outlet for all their energy.

►Keep Track of Weight Changes

Finally, it’s important to keep track of any weight changes. You can catch any weight loss early and start treatment right away.

Frequently Asked Question

Q: What should I do if my chihuahua is too skinny??

A: If your chihuahua is too skinny, you should talk to your veterinarian. They will be able to determine the cause of the weight loss and provide you with the best course of treatment. You can also follow the tips above to help prevent future weight loss.

Q: Is it bad if my chihuahua is skinny??

A: It depends. If your chihuahua is healthy and has no other medical conditions, then being a little bit skinny is not necessarily a bad thing. However, if your chihuahua is underweight, it can signify an underlying medical condition.

Q: What are some signs that my chihuahua is too skinny??

A: Some signs that your chihuahua may be too skinny include: a visible rib cage, hip bones, or spine; loss of muscle mass; and/or fatigue. If you notice any of these signs, you should talk to your veterinarian.

Q: Why is my chihuahua not gaining weight?

A: There are several reasons why your chihuahua may not be gaining weight. It could be due to a medical condition, such as gastrointestinal disease or thyroid problems. It could also be due to poor nutrition or a lack of exercise.

Q: Can I give my chihuahua table scraps?

A: You can give your chihuahua table scraps, but you should avoid giving them fatty foods or bones. Rich foods can harm your chihuahua’s health, and bones can splinter and cause digestive problems. Stick to lean meats, vegetables, and fruits.

Q: My chihuahua is a picky eater; what can I do?

A: If your chihuahua is a picky eater, you can try adding some wet food to their dry food. You can also add some chicken broth or beef broth to their food. It will make the food more appealing and help them stay hydrated.

Q: My chihuahua is always hungry; what can I do?

A: If your chihuahua is always hungry, you may need to increase the food you are feeding them. You can also try feeding them smaller meals more frequently.

Q: Should I take my chihuahua to the vet if they are losing weight?

A: Yes, you should take your chihuahua to the vet if they are losing weight. Weight loss can be a sign of a serious health problem. Your veterinarian will be able to determine the cause of the weight loss and start treatment right away.

Q: What fruits can Chihuahuas eat?

A: Chihuahuas can eat various fruits, including apples, bananas, and blueberries. You should avoid giving them grapes or raisins as these can be harmful to their health.

Q: What’s the best type of soft food for Chihuahuas?

A: The best soft food for Chihuahuas is high-quality wet food. Wet food has more moisture and nutrients than dry food. It’s also easier for them to eat and digest.

Q: What kinds of meat can Chihuahuas eat?

A: Chihuahuas can eat a variety of meats, including chicken, turkey, and beef. You should avoid giving them pork as it can harm their health.

Q: Does my skinny chihuahua need supplements?

A: If your chihuahua eats a balanced diet, it should not need supplements. However, if your chihuahua is not getting enough nutrients from its food, your veterinarian may recommend a vitamin or mineral supplement.

Final Thoughts 

If you’re wondering why is my chihuahua so skinny, there could be a variety of reasons. Though, these dog breeds are prone to weight loss. The best thing you can do is talk to your veterinarian and follow their recommendations. You can also use the tips above to help your chihuahua maintain a healthy weight.