When your tiny, trembling Chihuahua stares pleadingly at you, it's hard to deny her a bite of your food. Remember how small she is and that, while a Rottweiler can scarf down his own weight in table scraps, even a small bite of some foods can make Chica sick.
Not From the Table
Most veterinarians counsel pet parents to refrain from feeding their dogs people food. It's a behavioral issue as well as a nutritional one, as a diet composed entirely of people food can encourage begging as well as cause obesity and illness. In her book on Chihuahuas, Amy Fernandez lists human foods that can make your Chihuahua sick, including bread dough, chocolate, walnuts, macadamia nuts and spicy foods.
Healthy Human Food
You may have caved and, from time to time, shared a lick from your ice cream cone or a bite from your cookie with your Chihuahua. While sticking to her high-quality, small-dog formula kibble would be best for her, there are healthy foods that both humans and Chihuahuas can eat, although ice cream and cookies don't top the list. Vet Info and "The Doctor's Book of Home Remedies for Dogs and Cats" recommend homemade meals for dogs, as food you prepare for your Chihuahua is healthier than store-bought and you won't run the risk of contamination or poisoning. Some Chihuahua-friendly ingredients you probably already have on hand include lean meat like beef, pork, chicken or fish, eggs, potatoes, oats, broccoli and zucchini.
Concentrate on Nutrition
Being such tiny creatures, Chihuahuas have a high metabolism. Amy Fernandez writes that they need almost twice as many calories per pound to stay healthy. Their small stomachs keep them eating less in one sitting than they optimally need, however. Fernandez's recommendation for this problem is to feed your Chi a high-quality kibble, making every bite count. When shopping for Chihuahua food, read the label and buy only the foods that list protein from meat within the first three ingredients. Avoid meat byproducts, meat meal and protein from unnamed sources. Also, go with foods that are free from additives, preservatives and artificial colors and flavors.
Guidelines for Homemade
If you opt to home-make meals for your Chihuahua, follow a few sensible guidelines. Avoid high fat foods and stick to lean meats. Cook the foods thoroughly, especially meat and eggs, as your little dog is as susceptible to salmonella and other similar illnesses as you are. This also means using a separate cutting board to slice up raw meat. You can easily prepare a one- to three-month supply of food for your Chihuahua. Just freeze the food in single-serving portions so you can thaw only what you'll be feeding her as you need it. As with any issue related to your Chihuahua's health, talk to your vet before you begin cooking for your Chi to get her advice on serving sizes and concerns that might be an issue with your specific dog's health.
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