Chihuahua puppies are tiny, lively bundles of tail-wagging energy. Your puppy should be the same way. You want to keep her healthy, tail-wagging and lively by feeding her the most appropriate food for her body’s needs. Adult dog food doesn’t have what she needs.
Small Dog Feeding Guidelines
Your Chihuahua is a small-breed dog and she’s going to stay small. Bags of premium puppy kibble come with feeding guidelines printed on the back, and this includes how much food your pup should eat, as well as how often she should eat. In general, she should eat nearly two times as much food per pound of her body weight. However, she’s going to go through picky and “glutton-pup” phases. These are timed with growth spurts and developmental changes.
If your canine friend is between 7 and 16 weeks of age, feed her three times every day. Time her meals at about the same time as yours. Calculate how much you should scoop into her bowl from the printed guidelines, which may specify either per meal or a daily total. Even if she hasn’t finished every bit of kibble in her bowl, remove it after about 15 minutes. She shouldn’t be allowed to “graze,” or she’ll become overweight.
Puppy Food Only
Your Chihuahua puppy has very specific growth and dietary needs that canned adult dog food won’t provide for her. For that reason, mixing adult food with her puppy kibble may prevent her from getting all the benefits that dry puppy kibble provides, leading to potential health issues as she matures.
Because she’s so small, she will reach adulthood sooner than a larger dog. If you want to give her canned or moist food, ask your vet for his recommendations on canned puppy foods for your Chi-puppy.
Puppy Food Ingredients
Feeding a puppy is similar to feeding a human infant. Both need high levels of specific nutrients so all their body systems grow and function properly. Your Chihuahua needs human-grade meats, particularly beef and chicken, in her kibble. Steer clear of bags that list only generic “meats” in their ingredient lists. She also needs whole grains in her food. Look for descriptions of the fat in the kibble. This should be listed as vegetable oil or chicken fat.
Because she’s a growing pup, her kibble should have microbials or probiotics, omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, and vitamins A, C and E. Above all, look for wording that says that animal feeding tests have followed procedures set forth by the Association of American Feed Control Officials, or AAFCO, that substantiate that the food gives your puppy “complete and balanced nutrition.”
Switching to Adult Dog Food
Your Chihuahua puppy shouldn’t begin eating adult dog food until she is about 1 year old. However, it isn’t a good idea to simply stop feeding your Chihuahua her puppy food one day and start her on her adult food on that same day. The changeover will wreak havoc on her tummy and intestinal system, leading to several unsavory issues, such as constipation, vomiting or diarrhea. That's not good.
Therefore, slowly convert her to her new adult food. Decrease the amount of puppy kibble by about one-eighth of a cup and mix in one-eighth of a cup of adult food. Over successive days, continue decreasing the amount of her puppy food and increasing her adult food until she is completely converted to the adult food.
Always check with your veterinarian before changing your pet’s diet, medication, or physical activity routines. This information is not a substitute for a vet’s opinion.
Genevieve Van Wyden began writing in 2007. She has written for “Tu Revista Latina” and owns three blogs. She has worked as a CPS social worker, gaining experience in the mental-health system. Van Wyden earned her Bachelor of Arts in journalism from New Mexico State University in 2006.