Best Dog Food for Chihuahuas in 2021

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The best dog food for chihuahuas

This is our review of the best dog food for Chihuahuas in 2021.

The best dog foods for this toy breed are nutrient-dense formulas with a small serving size.

Chihuahuas pack a lot of personality in a pint-sized package. These feisty pups are precious companions that need specialized nutrition for their tiny bodies.

I loved working with these fun pets as a veterinary technician. And now, I’ve researched the best dog foods for Chihuahuas to help you find the best option for your pup.

My research supports Wellness Toy Breed Complete Health Dog Food as the best overall dog food for Chihuahuas.

But your small furry friend is unique. So, I’ve reviewed some of the best brands in every category of dog food for Chihuahuas.

Let’s get started.

Our Best Dog Food for Chihuahuas

10 Best Dog Foods for Chihuahuas Reviewed

All dog foods included on this list meet the standard AAFCO nutrient profile guidelines for dogs. [1] Always consult with your veterinarian before making changes to your dog’s diet.

Wellness Toy Breed Complete Health Dog Food

Wellness Toy Breed Complete Health Dog Food
  • First 5 ingredients: Deboned Chicken, Chicken Meal, Turkey Meal, Ground Brown Rice, Ground Rice
  • Key feature: Whole-food based nutrition for toy breeds
  • Guaranteed Analysis: 30% Crude Protein, 17% Crude Fat, 3.5% Crude Fiber, 10% Moisture
  • Caloric Content: 502 kcal/cup
  • Type of Product: No Corn, No Wheat, No Soy
  • Life Stage: Adult
  • Best for: Overall

This formula is designed specifically for the unique needs of toy breeds. Small kibble pieces provide 502kcal/cup to provide adequate energy in a tiny serving size. Toy breeds like Chihuahuas have fast metabolisms that require high-calorie foods. [2]

A high protein, high fat composition of 30% protein and 17% fat provides these calories. Quality protein from chicken ensures that your tiny pup’s diet meets his energy needs.

Additional healthy ingredients include sweet potatoes and flaxseed. These ingredients provide healthy sources of fiber to boost digestibility and nutrient absorption in small dogs. [3]

Oats and other whole grains offer quality sources of digestible carbohydrates. Carbohydrates are critical for toy breeds susceptible to hypoglycemia. [4]

Dog owners often select this food for Chihuahuas with heart problems due to its low sodium content. But some fussy eaters may not like the taste of this formula.

Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Small Breed Puppy Food

Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Small Breed Puppy Chicken
  • First 5 ingredients: Deboned Chicken, Chicken Meal, Oatmeal, Barley, Menhaden Fish Meal
  • Key feature: Protein-rich formula with DHA for healthy brain development
  • Guaranteed Analysis: 29% Crude Protein, 17% Crude Fat, 5% Crude Fiber, 10% Moisture
  • Caloric Content: 415 kcal/cup
  • Type of Product: No Corn, No Wheat, No Soy
  • Life Stage: Growth
  • Best for: Chihuahua Puppies

Chihuahuas puppies have unique nutritional needs due to their small size. Like other toy breeds, they do not store carbohydrates efficiently as glycogen. [4] They need constant access to high-energy food to prevent hypoglycemia.

This formula from Blue Buffalo features deboned chicken as the first ingredient. A high 29% crude protein content provides adequate energy levels for growing puppies.

A 17% crude fat content contributes to an ideal caloric content of 415 kcal/cup. Fish meal provides essential omega-3 fatty acids like DHA and ARA. These nutrients play a crucial role in brain, eye, and muscle development. [5]

Unique “puppy-sized” kibble is perfect for tiny mouths. And a small serving size meets the nutritional requirements of Chihuahua puppies.

The calcium, phosphorus, and essential vitamins provided by this food are critical for healthy bone development.

Chihuahua owners find that their puppies like the taste of this food. But some puppies spit out the “LifeSource Bits” of kibble that contain concentrated vitamins and minerals.

Nutro Wholesome Essentials Small Breed Senior Food

Nutro Wholesome Essentials Small Breed Senior Food Chicken
  • First 5 ingredients: Chicken, Chicken Meal, Brewers Rice, Split Peas, Whole Brown Rice
  • Key feature: Non-GMO senior formula for small breeds
  • Guaranteed Analysis: 25% Crude Protein, 13% Crude Fat, 5% Crude Fiber, 10% Moisture
  • Caloric Content: 315 kcal/cup
  • Type of Product: No Corn, No Wheat, No Soy, Non-GMO
  • Life Stage: Senior
  • Best for: Chihuahua Seniors

Some Chihuahuas are susceptible to obesity. But many lose their appetite as they age, leading to weight loss. Owners recommend this toy breed formula for fussy senior Chihuahuas.

Real chicken meat provides the 25% protein content of this food. And sensitive stomachs benefit from the absence of by-products, corn, wheat, or soy.

Beet pulp and other healthy fiber sources help keep your elderly Chihuahua’s digestive system healthy. [6]

Additional antioxidants can also help protect the weakened immune systems of older dogs.

If your dog suffers from joint discomfort, you may need to add a supplement to this diet. This senior food does not contain glucosamine or other chondroprotective ingredients.

Diamond Naturals Small Breed Adult Food

Diamond Naturals Small Breed Adult Food Chicken
  • First 5 ingredients: Chicken, Chicken Meal, Ground White Rice, Chicken Fat, Cracked Pearl Barley
  • Key feature: Budget-friendly formula that contains superfoods
  • Guaranteed Analysis: 27% Crude Protein, 16% Crude Fat, 3% Crude Fiber, 10% Moisture
  • Caloric Content: 345 kcal/cup
  • Type of Product: No Corn, No Wheat, No Soy
  • Life Stage: Adult
  • Best for: Budget Chihuahua Food

This affordable brand offers formulas that feature quality protein sources and superfoods commonly found in premium options. Superfoods in this formula include kale, pumpkin, blueberries, and chia seeds.

Superfoods are nutrient-dense ingredients that provide a concentrated source of vitamins and minerals. Your Chihuahua can get all the nutrients he needs from a small serving of this food.

Chicken is the first ingredient, providing a 27% protein content. Other budget foods often depend on meat by-products as their primary ingredient.

All Diamond Naturals formulas contain 80 billion CFUs of a proprietary probiotic with Lactobacillus Acidophilus. This probiotic helps improve digestive health when included in dry dog food blends. [7]

Dog owners report improvements in their dog’s bowel movements thanks to the probiotic. But, it may not be suitable for the pickiest Chihuahuas.

Solid Gold Mighty Mini Toy Dog Food

Solid Gold Mighty Mini Toy & Small Breed Gut Health Chicken
  • First 5 ingredients: Chicken, Chicken Meal, Chickpeas, Peas, Pea Protein
  • Key feature: Premium dog food formulated for mini breeds
  • Guaranteed Analysis: 30% Crude Protein, 18% Crude Fat, 4% Crude Fiber, 10% Moisture
  • Caloric Content: 450 kcal/cup
  • Type of Product: Gluten Free, Grain Free, No Corn, No Wheat, No Soy
  • Life Stage: Adult
  • Best for: Premium Chihuahua Food

Owners who want to feed their Chihuahua a premium diet appreciate the benefits offered by this formula.

This grain-free dog food still provides toy breeds with adequate amounts of energy. Sweet potatoes and peas offer sources of complex carbohydrates that your Chihuahua can easily digest.

Probiotics support your dog’s digestive health with the fermentation products of several strains of healthy bacteria.

Real chicken is the first ingredient, providing a high 30% crude protein content. Other animal sources of lean protein include ocean fish meal, a source of healthy omega-3 fatty acids.

This holistic formula can help improve the overall well being of many dogs. But a high portion of pea products in the recipe make it unsuitable for Chihuahuas with pea allergies.

Merrick Lil’ Plates Mini Medley Wet Dog Food

Merrick Lil'Plates Mini Medley Wet
  • First 5 ingredients: Deboned Chicken, Chicken Broth, Turkey Broth, Chicken Liver, Dried Egg Whites
  • Key feature: Wet food available in a variety of flavors for picky eaters
  • Guaranteed Analysis: 8% Crude Protein, 3% Crude Fat, 1.4% Crude Fiber, 82% Moisture
  • Caloric Content: 212 kcal/cup
  • Type of Product: Grain-Free, No Corn, No Wheat, No Soy, Gluten Free
  • Life Stage: Adult
  • Best for: Wet Food for Chihuahuas

Lil’ Plates Mini Medleys come in various packs that include chicken, beef, and turkey formulas.

These wet food bowls appeal to picky Chihuahuas. Many Chihuahua owners who struggled to find dog food their pups would eat had success feeding their dogs this wet food.

Wet food contains a high moisture content, which results in macronutrient percentages that appear deceptively low. But the premium lean animal meats in these recipes provide excellent sources of protein for your toy dog.

These recipes include liver meat and other organs. Organ meats are nutrient-dense ingredients and excellent sources of vitamin A. [8]

Complex carbohydrates and quality protein meet the energy needs of high metabolisms without grain.

Nutritionists designed this food for optimal flavor, but some owners find the grayish color off-putting.

Canidae Pure Small Breed Dog Food

Canidae Pure Small Breed Chicken
  • First 5 ingredients: Chicken, Menhaden Fish Meal, Peas, Lentils, Potatoes
  • Key feature: Limited-ingredient diet for small dogs with allergies
  • Guaranteed Analysis: 30% Crude Protein, 12% Crude Fat, 4% Crude Fiber, 10% Moisture
  • Caloric Content: 520 kcal/cup
  • Type of Product: Sensitive Digestion, No Corn, No Wheat, No Soy, Grain-Free, Gluten-Free, Limited-Ingredient Diet
  • Life Stage: Adult
  • Best for: Chihuahuas with Allergies

Only nine key ingredients make up the simple recipe for this limited-ingredient dog food. This meets nutritional requirements while eliminating common allergens that affect Chihuahuas.

Toy breeds often have sensitive stomachs. Unfortunately, there is no way to cure allergies in dogs. But you can manage allergic reactions by feeding a simple diet without fillers or additives. [9]

Most allergens are proteins. So the single chicken source of this food’s 30% protein content helps limit the potential for new allergies to develop.

This formula is also gluten-free. In addition to quality protein, peas and lentils provide adequate energy to power fast metabolisms without grain.

The kibble is on the bigger side for a small breed formula. But most Chihuahuas have no problem eating it safely.

Royal Canin Chihuahua Adult Dry Dog Food

Royal Canin Chihuahua Adult
  • First 5 ingredients: Corn, Chicken By-Product Meal, Brewers Rice, Wheat Gluten, Oat Groats
  • Key feature: Breed-specific nutrition designed exclusively for Chihuahuas
  • Guaranteed Analysis: 26% Crude Protein, 14% Crude Fat, 3.5% Crude Fiber, 10% Moisture
  • Caloric Content: 323 kcal/cup
  • Type of Product: Specialty Diet
  • Life Stage: Adult
  • Best for: Breed-Specific Nutrition for Chihuahuas

This formula is developed exclusively for the unique needs of Chihuahuas. Considerations for this feisty breed include their tiny jaws and fussy appetites.

A specialized kibble design highlights this dry dog food. Kibble pieces are tiny and uniquely shaped for the petite mouths of Chihuahuas.

Owners notice that a strong pleasant aroma helps encourage their Chihuahuas to eat. This breed is notoriously picky. I often struggled to get these tiny dogs to eat during their stays at the veterinary clinic.

But fasting can cause health problems such as hypoglycemia. So this formula includes 26% protein content from chicken and digestible grains to ensure that picky pups consume enough energy.

Hill’s Science Diet Healthy Mobility Small Bites Dog Food

Hill's Science Diet Adult Healthy Mobility Small Bites Chicken
  • First 5 ingredients: Chicken Meal, Brewers Rice, Whole Grain Sorghum, Brown Rice, Whole Grain Wheat
  • Key feature: Anti-inflammatory and chondroprotective ingredients ease joint discomfort
  • Guaranteed Analysis: 17% Crude Protein, 10% Crude Fat, 3.0% Crude Fiber, 10% Moisture
  • Caloric Content: 359 kcal/cup
  • Type of Product: Specialty Diet
  • Life Stage: Adult
  • Best for: Chihuahuas with Joint Issues

Most mobility diets cater to larger breeds with prevalent joint diseases. But your Chihuahua’s small limbs are fragile and need support too.

This specialty formula provides common chondroprotective ingredients specifically for toy breeds suffering from joint discomfort.

This dry dog food features a slightly lower protein content of 17% from chicken meal. Most of the 359kcal/cup caloric content comes from whole-grain ingredients like brown rice.

Increased levels of omega-3 fatty acids from fish oil help ease joint inflammation. [10]  And additional antioxidants like vitamin E help protect joint tissues from damage.

This food also features higher levels of glucosamine and chondroitin to provide building blocks for healthy joint cartilage. [11]

Chihuahua owners generally notice improvements in their Chihuahua’s mobility within 30 days of starting this diet.

Eukanuba Fit Body Weight Control Small Breed Food

Eukanuba Fit Body Weight Control Chicken Formula Small Breed
  • First 5 ingredients: Chicken, Chicken By-Product Meal, Wheat, Corn, Barley
  • Key feature: Weight-control formula with low-fat content
  • Guaranteed Analysis: 29% Crude Protein, 10% Crude Fat, 3.9% Crude Fiber, 10% Moisture
  • Caloric Content: 320 kcal/cup
  • Type of Product: Weight Control, Pea-Free
  • Life Stage: Adult
  • Best for: Overweight Chihuahuas

Chihuahuas need relatively small serving sizes of dog food. But when overfed, they can quickly become overweight. This formula ensures that your tiny furry friend gets all the nutrients he needs without excess calories.

A low fat content of 10% sets this dog food apart and lowers the caloric content. This blend has 40% less fat than Eukaneuba’s traditional food. But digestible carbohydrates and a 29% protein content from chicken still provide adequate energy for toy breeds.

A 50% greater concentration of glucosamine helps support the joints of overweight Chihuahuas. Toy breeds have fragile joints that undergo excess stress under extra pounds of weight.

Dog owners who combine this diet with adequate exercise report successful weight loss in Chihuahuas. Weight loss is encouraged by L-carnitine, an amino acid that promotes fat burning. [12]

chihuahua puppy

Guide to Buying Dog For Chihuahuas

There are several factors to consider when selecting the best dog food for your Chihuahua. 

Nutritional Requirements

Chihuahuas are small dogs with significant nutritional needs. Like all dogs, they need a balanced ratio of macronutrients, just in a smaller serving.

Moderate to High Protein

It’s hard to imagine that the pint-sized ball of love in your lap is a descendent of wolves. But Chihuahuas evolved to thrive on high-protein diets just like their ancestors.

Protein-rich diets help this energetic breed feel their best. Look for dog foods that list meat as one of the primary ingredients. A crude protein content over 24% is ideal for fit adult Chihuahuas.

Adequate protein helps prevent muscle degeneration. And muscles store glycogen. So healthy muscles are critical for toy breeds susceptible to hypoglycemia.

Moderate Fats

Chihuahuas are fussy eaters. But they are also prone to weight gain if they overeat. It’s challenging to provide your mini pup with the correct portions.

Healthy fatty acids are vital for brain and coat health in Chihuahuas. They can also help prevent heart diseases that impact this toy breed.

But too much unhealthy fat can be bad for overweight dogs. The best Chihuahua foods have a crude fat content of 10-20% sourced from fish oil and other premium ingredients.

Digestible Carbohydrates

The inclusion of digestible carbohydrates in your Chihuahua’s diet is beneficial for his health. Carbs act as a readily available source of energy for toy dogs with high metabolisms.

If small breeds do not consume enough carbohydrates from their daily diet, they can suffer from low blood sugar and hypoglycemia.

Look for whole-grain ingredients like brown rice and barley. Grain-free diets are also suitable for Chihuahuas when they contain sources of complex carbohydrates like potatoes and peas.


Fiber does not provide a direct source of energy for dogs. But it is essential for your Chihuahua’s digestive health.

Adequate fiber helps prevent constipation in small breeds. Select a dog food that includes good sources of fiber such as beet pulp and coconut.

Vitamins and Minerals

Any food you choose for your Chihuahua should meet AAFCO’s nutrient profile guidelines for dogs. The balanced ratios of vitamins and minerals recommended in these guidelines help ensure normal development.

Deficiencies can be especially problematic for growing puppies. Calcium and phosphorus play an essential role in bone formation. Your Chihuahua puppy could develop skeletal diseases if his diet does not provide adequate amounts of these minerals.

Some vitamins from fruits and vegetables act as antioxidants. Antioxidants help protect tissue from free radicals. This protection can help Chihuahuas suffering from joint conditions.

Things to Consider When Selecting Dog Food for Chihuahuas

Every Chihuahua has unique nutritional needs depending on their life stage and activity level.

Kibble Size

Chihuahuas are tiny dogs with tiny mouths. Standard dog food often consists of kibble that is too large for toy breeds to chew and digest.

This small breed needs dog food with small pieces of kibble. They can easily choke on large amounts. And if they manage to swallow unchewed food, they may not digest it properly.

If your pup doesn’t eat appropriately sized kibble, he can suffer from nutrient deficiencies due to poor digestion.

Life Stage

Chihuahuas have different nutritional needs throughout their lifetime. Puppies need higher levels of protein for growth. And additional carbohydrates help lower their risk of hypoglycemia.

Adult Chihuahuas should eat a diet with high protein and moderate fat content. Adequate calories are essential to support their high metabolisms.

Seniors need healthy fats that support heart health. They also benefit from formulas with added ingredients to support aging joints and immune systems.

Calorie Needs

These dogs may be small, but Chihuahuas have high energy demands. Active adult Chihuahuas generally need to eat around 300 calories per day.

How Much Should You Feed a Chihuahua?

Determining how much to feed a small dog with high energy needs is difficult. Every pup is different, so consult your veterinarian when developing your Chihuahua’s diet.

How Much Should You Feed a Chihuahua Puppy?

Chihuahua puppies need a lot of calories to support their growth. Growing pups between the ages of 8 weeks and 12 months usually require around 50 calories per pound of body weight.

Puppy WeightDaily Calories
1 lb50 Calories
2 lb100 Calories
3 lb150 Calories
4 lb200 Calories
5 lb250 Calories
6 lb300 Calories

How Much Should You Feed an Adult Chihuahua

Average-sized dogs need to eat around 30 calories daily per pound of body weight. Toy breeds like Chihuahuas have faster metabolisms and higher caloric needs.

Adult Chihuahuas generally need about 35 to 40 calories per pound of body weight. Most of these dogs will eat ½ to 2 cups of food per day.

Adult WeightDaily Calories
3 lb120 Calories
4 lb160 Calories
5 lb200 Calories
6 lb240 Calories
7 lb280 Calories

These are approximate recommendations that can vary greatly depending on your dog’s activity level and health conditions.

chihuahua running

How Often Should You Feed a Chihuahua?

Chihuahua puppies need nearly constant access to food to keep their blood sugar levels stable. Puppies under three months need 4 to 6 meals per day, while older puppies need 3 to 4 meals per day. 

After the age of 6 months, Chihuahuas can eat 2 to 3 meals per day. Splitting their food into multiple meals helps promote digestive regularity in small dogs.

Health Issues and Dietary Considerations

Diet can have a significant influence on common health conditions that impact Chihuahuas.

Skin and Coat Issues

Chihuahua coats can vary in length. But many suffer from sensitive skin and allergies. Thankfully, all pups benefit from nutrients that support skin and coat health.

Omega fatty acids are some of the most vital ingredients for healthy hair. Healthy fats from fish oil encourage the production of natural oils by the skin. These oils help give your Chihuahua a healthy glow.

Joint Problems (Dislocated Knee Cap)

Small pups have small joints that can be vulnerable to excess stress. And Chihuahuas are more likely to suffer from joint problems than most toy breeds. Dog food ingredients like glucosamine provide the building blocks for healthy cartilage to ease discomfort.

Calcium, phosphorus, and vitamin D all play a vital role in joint and bone development. If your dog’s diet is deficient in these nutrients, he can develop skeletal disorders. 

Patella Luxation, or a dislocated knee cap, is a common condition in Chihuahuas. This disorder involves a malformation of the knee cap that can cause severe lameness. [13]

Chihuahua puppies can develop this disease if they do not receive adequate nutrition while growing.

Heart Conditions (Patent Ductus Arteriosus)

Chihuahuas have an increased risk of suffering from patent ductus arteriosus. This is a heart condition that prevents blood from efficiently reaching the lungs. [14]

This disease is congenital, but diet can help keep your Chihuahua’s heart healthy. Look for ingredients that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids to help support your pup’s cardiac function.

Dental Disease

This breed has tiny teeth, but they still suffer from dental disease. One of the worst dental cases I saw as a veterinary technician involved a Chihuahua.

Regularly brushing your dog’s teeth helps keep his smile healthy. But selecting a dry dog food with specially shaped kibble can also help scrape his teeth clean at mealtime.

Eye Disorders (Glaucoma, Corneal Dystrophy, Lens Luxation)

Those big cute eyes can suffer from several eye disorders. Chihuahuas have an increased risk of glaucoma, corneal dystrophy, and lens luxation. Lens luxation occurs when the lens capsule has dislocated from its usual location [15]

Vitamin A is an essential nutrient for eye health. Good sources of vitamin A include organ meats like liver. Ensure your dog food provides an adequate amount of this vitamin if your pup suffers from poor eyesight.


Hypoglycemia is one of the biggest health concerns for owners of toy dog breeds. This common health problem occurs when your pup suffers from low blood sugar.

Diet plays a vital role in managing the risks of this condition. Adequate energy levels from food are critical. Meeting his minimum calorie requirements with a balanced ratio of macronutrients will help normalize blood sugar levels.

Chihuahuas are predisposed to this issue because they cannot store adequate amounts of sugar effectively. [16] Their small muscle mass does not have the same glycogen reserves as larger breeds.

Hypoglycemia can cause shaking, seizures, and weakness. Your Chihuahua can suffer significantly from an unbalanced diet.

Weight Management

Meeting minimum calorie requirements is essential. But it is easy to spoil these adorable dogs a little too much.

Owners may not appreciate just how tiny their Chihuahuas are. Extra food portions and snacks have a much more significant impact on toy dogs than larger breeds.

Overfeeding a Chihuahua can quickly result in unwanted weight gain. This can place additional stress on their fragile joints and hearts.

Make sure to talk to your veterinarian to determine the precise amount of food your pet should eat to meet his energy requirements without packing on extra pounds.

chihuahua puppy eating


Here are answers to common questions about feeding Chihuahuas.

Are Chihuahuas Picky Eaters?

Chihuahuas are notoriously fussy eaters compared to other dogs. If you are struggling to find a formula your pup enjoys, consider feeding wet food. Most Chihuahuas find wet options more appealing than kibble.

Do Chihuahuas Need a Special Diet?

Like other tiny dogs, Chihuahuas need special small breed food. Specialized formulas for toy breeds provide adequate energy in a smaller serving size. These dogs have little mouths that cannot chew large kibble pieces.

The Verdict: The Best Dog Food For Chihuahua

Chihuahuas are tiny, energetic dogs that need highly digestible energy in a small serving size.

The best dog food formulas for Chihuahuas use nutrient-dense ingredients to meet your pup’s nutritional requirements. Wellness Toy Breed Complete Health Dog Food provides comprehensive support designed for tiny mouths.

Your Chihuahua may not realize he’s tiny, but specialized small breed food will help him thrive.

Work with your veterinarian to select the best dog food for your tiny but feisty companion.

Photo of author
Caroline Cochran is a former veterinary technician who is passionate about helping fellow dog lovers learn about canine nutrition. Her best friend is a rescued Great Pyrenees named Syrah, who is also very enthusiastic about dog food.

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