How Much Do Chihuahuas Eat?
Even though many people don't pay attention, the dietary needs of your furry friend are essential. It may come as a surprise, but your dog can develop health-related issues if not fed correctly. The diet is not related only to the quality but also quantity. Chihuahuas are susceptible to obesity and can quickly gain weight if the food intake surpasses the recommended amount of food they should intake per day.
Do not be afraid. We will explain everything, starting with your Chihuahuas food intake from a puppy to an adult dog, alongside all the factors such as walks, exercise, and everything in the middle.
While this may seem like a beginning of an advanced math course, believe us, it isn't. The important thing is that this topic has been researched, and the researchers set the advice in place.
What is the Best Quantity to Feed Your Chihuahua Puppy?
Starting at the beginning should set the pillar of your journey through the dietary needs of your dog. While this is not complicated, people who do not have experience with Chihuahuas are probably not aware of the health issues food can bring to your puppy and even an adult dog. This is why it is imperative to watch how you feed your puppy.
Puppies need an abundance of calories and protein, much higher quantities than a mature dog. Ergo, they require a diet that is particularly formulated to help them develop and grow correctly.
Chihuahua puppies also have a speedy metabolism, needing multiple small meals during the day to retain their blood sugar levels well balanced. Food that isn't nutritious can cause the puppy not to get as much energy as it needs, enhancing the risk of hypoglycemia.
Hypoglycemia or low blood sugar is a preventable yet severe issue that some breeds are more susceptible to. Chihuahuas especially. If you notice that your dog has a wobbly gait, lethargy or restlessness, muscle twitching, and seizures, this can all be due to hypoglycemia. However, please not be alarmed because this can all be prevented.
For your puppy, up to one year of age, you shouldn't feed them more than 2 to 4 oz per day, meaning between 50 - 120 grams per day. This quantity will allow them to have enough calories per their body weight, which for most Chihuahua puppies is anywhere between 300 grams to 2.7kg (0.7lbs to 6lbs) as they approach their first year of life.
How Often Should You Feed Your Chihuahua?
As Chihuahuas are a tiny breed, they don't have the energy supplies of their larger relatives. Hence, they can be at risk of low blood sugar if they don't eat often enough.
Because of this, we suggest you feed an adult Chihuahua three times a day, meaning breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Some snacks in-between can also be necessary to maintain their energy levels between meals.
Remember that puppies below three months will need up to 4-6 separate meals per day due to their fast metabolism. At 3-6 months, you can reduce this to 3-4 meals per day. After that, you can keep them at three meals per day.
Here we will break down the feeding schedule of your Chihuahua throughout the day:
- Breakfast: While we do understand that because of your obligations, you might not be able to give food to your Chihuahua at the same time every morning, it would be beneficial for your furry best friend to develop this habit. Due to their high metabolism and energy levels that need to be maintained, sticking to approximately the same time will help them greatly. This also includes weekends, so make sure someone gets up on time.
- Lunch: The always tricky time for feedings has become slightly more manageable due to the pandemic. Since most owners still work from home, this makes things easier since you can feed your Chihuahua when you prepare to sit down for lunch yourself. However, if you are a working parent of your puppy and cannot make it home on time or at all to feed your dog, you can ask the neighbor if one is available or even buy a food dispenser and set it to dispense at a specific time.
- Dinner: As humans, we tend to need three meals a day. The same goes for our furry friends, especially Chihuahuas. Make sure that you feed your dog before retiring for the evening. One more crucial thing to note is that please avoid feeding them your scraps because of your pups' dietary needs. While larger breeds can sometimes indulge in their owners' craps, Chihuahuas cannot.
- Snacks: If your dog is more on the playful side, running a lot and jumping, you might want to consider including some snacks as well. The snacks will help them maintain their sugar levels and avoid hypoglycemia. It will also allow for a healthy and balanced diet that your Chihuahua requires.
What Should You Watch Out for When Feeding Your Chihuahua?
Chihuahuas are very susceptible to gaining weight. You could be feeding them the best food there is; however, giving them too much and succumbing to their pleads can cause health issues.
Obesity is a real issue for Chihuahuas. This is because many owners tend to overfeed their furry little friends. They may confuse the dog being chubby as a charming quality rather than seeing it as a sign of a severe problem.
Chihuahuas are a small breed, which means that if they gain weight, while it might not be much in terms of grams or kilograms, it is a big difference and makes a massive impact on the quality of life your dog has. If your puppy weighs 20% over its ideal weight, it would be considered obese, while 10-20% is overweight. This is why we emphasize the importance of maintaining their weight.
An inadequate diet packed with artificial additives and chemicals will also add to weight gain. If you feed your Chihuahua with high-quality, nutrient-dense ingredients, the puppy will naturally need to eat less food each day than eating more 'junk' food, which we know can be addictive, as is with humans as well.
In order to see whether your Chihuahua is overweight, examine its abdomen. It should tuck in towards their body, but if your Chihuahua looks plumper, this is a cause for concern.
You should also be able to feel their spine, hips, and ribs when you examine them. Lastly, you should be able to identify their waist when viewing them from above.
Being the overeaters they are, many Chihuahuas will happily overeat if presented with a chance. Hence, we suggest you plan and manage your Chihuahua's food portions.
How Much Should You Feed Your Chihuahua?
Now that we have covered almost all the necessary details concerning your Chihuahua, whether they are a puppy or a grown dog, we have arrived at our final destination, which is the quantity of food you should provide to your pet.
The correct quantity of food to give to a Chihuahua is tied to that puppy or dog's calorie requirements. This can differ and alternate daily depending on a dog's activity level, specific age, health state, and even the climate (all dogs tend to eat more in the wintertime). Usually, the calorie necessity for puppies is about 50 calories per pound of their body weight, while for adult Chihuahuas, it would be between 35 to 40 calories per pound of body weight.
The best portion size for Chihuahuas also fluctuates. This depends on what type of food is given (wet or dry, chicken vs. veel, high-quality vs. mediocre, etc.). However, you can generally expect a Chihuahua to eat a tiny quantity, especially if you compare them to larger breeds and especially humans.
Chihuahuas that fluctuate in size from 4 to 10 pounds usually eat around half to 1 and 1/3 cups per day. This quantity is split into the number of meals you are giving, which should be three if not more in most circumstances.
They are tiny, yes; however, what is interesting about Chihuahuas is that they need high-quality food while they do not eat a lot. It is important to remember that there are different sizes of chihuahuas, and there are some that can eat over two cups of food per day, which is why you should follow the 50 calories per pound system.
While the guidelines on the food packaging are correct and you should follow them, we also recommend you look at your puppy, and if they need more food or snacks, you can give them the nutrients they require. Even though it is tied to charts and numbers, this topic should also be perceived based on your perceptions. Do not be reserved when it comes to feeding your Chihuahua, and if you need, you can always consult with your vet.
We know this is all scary looking and can put additional pressure on you due to your puppy's sensitivity, but once you get the hang of things, this will become a routine for you. Your dog is your obligation, and while sometimes they can be a bit too much to handle, trust us, the love they provide and the devotion, alongside the trust, will pay off ultimately.
You shouldn't feel overwhelmed since all of this is relatively simple. If you are a first-time dog owner, this will seem like a Baba Yaga in your eyes, a wicked Witch from the West, but trust us when we tell you, this benefits you, as well as your Chihuahua. They are more delicate than most dogs but worth it in more ways than one.