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What Can Chihuahuas Eat? (Diet, Nutrition, and Feeding Tips)

Last Updated: April 24, 2024

Chihuahuas, as tiny and adorable as they are, need proper nutrition to thrive and maintain their health. But what exactly should you give them? If you’re already a dog owner like me, you can sort this quickly. Otherwise, it’s going to take forever to get hold of a list of safe foods for Chihuahuas.

Chihuahuas can eat common dog foods that are balanced for their small size and specific nutritional requirements. They benefit from high-quality proteins, like lean meats and fish, as well as balanced amounts of carbohydrates, healthy fats, vitamins, and minerals.

Having said that, you may like to get into the specifics to understand a Chihuahua’s diet and nutrition better. Based on my experience raising dogs of varied breeds, I understood that there’s no one diet pattern that fits all. It varies from one breed to the other.

Chihuahuas have tiny stomachs that are sensitive as well. So, I used my decades of experience in creating a guide for animal rescuers and owners like me to give the right food to Chihuahuas.

Let’s get started!

What Can Chihuahuas Eat?
What Can Chihuahuas Eat?

Nutritional Requirements for Chihuahuas

Chihuahuas, like all dog breeds, have specific nutritional requirements to maintain their well-being. Meeting these needs is essential for your Chihuahua’s overall health, growth, and development.

In this section, I will discuss the importance of protein, fat, fiber, vitamins, and minerals in your Chihuahua’s diet and suggest food sources for each nutrient.


Protein is an essential nutrient for Chihuahuas, as it provides the necessary amino acids for growth, muscle development, and overall health. Since Chihuahuas are a small breed, their protein requirements may differ from larger dogs.

The suggested amount of protein for adult Chihuahuas is around 18-22% of their daily caloric intake, while puppies require between 22-28%.

According to VCA Animal Hospitals, about 22-32% of protein needs to be given to puppies in dry forms. However, if you find your little one feeling choked while digesting the dry form, you can moisten it.

Some good protein sources that you can include in your Chihuahua’s diet are:

  • Chicken
  • Turkey
  • Fish
  • Lean beef
  • Eggs


Fats are vital for providing energy and essential fatty acids, as well as facilitating the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins. Chihuahuas require around 10-15% fat in their daily diet. It is crucial that the fat comes from high-quality sources to ensure your Chihuahua is getting the proper essential fatty acids, such as omega-3 and omega-6.

Fats are critical for your dog to maintain a good metabolism level and insulate their bodies during temperature fluctuations.

Some healthy fat sources for Chihuahuas include:

  • Fish oil
  • Flaxseed oil
  • Olive oil
  • Safflower oil


While Chihuahuas do not have specific fiber requirements, including an appropriate amount of fiber in their diet is essential for maintaining healthy digestion. Generally, a fiber content of 2-4% is recommended for your Chihuahua’s diet.

The American Kennel Club strongly recommends Chihuahua owners assess fiber content in the diet given each day to ensure the little one is free from any digestive problems.

Good sources of fiber for Chihuahuas are:

  • Sweet potatoes
  • Pumpkin
  • Apples
  • Green beans
  • Carrots
Red and Green Apples

Vitamins and Minerals

Chihuahuas require a balanced diet rich in vitamins and minerals to support their overall health. Some essential vitamins and minerals to focus on include vitamins A, B6, C, and E, as well as magnesium and phosphorus.

Here is a list of some vitamin and mineral-rich foods that can be included in your Chihuahua’s diet:

NutrientDaily Adult/Puppy
Vitamin A2272 IU/1136 IULiver, carrots, sweet potatoes, kale
Vitamin B60.12 mg/0.06 mgChicken, turkey, fish, sweet potatoes
Vitamin C18 mg/9 mgBell peppers, broccoli, strawberries, oranges
Vitamin E7.5 IU/3.75 IUSpinach, almonds, sunflower seeds, olive oil
Magnesium40 mg/20 mgPumpkin seeds, almonds, spinach, black beans
Phosphorus160 mg/80 mgChicken, turkey, fish, eggs, dairy products
Vitamin and mineral-rich foods for Chihuahuas

Sometimes, supplements are given to Chihuahuas when they’re diagnosed with deficiencies. However, here’s a caution:

“Don’t forget the sunshine vitamin (Vitamin-D) that your Chihuahua needs.”

By providing your Chihuahua with the proper balance of protein, fat, fiber, vitamins, and minerals, you can ensure they maintain optimal health and vitality throughout their lives. Don’t forget to consult with your veterinarian if you have any concerns or questions regarding your Chihuahua’s specific dietary needs.

What Foods Can Chihuahuas Eat?

Your Chihuahua’s diet is crucial to their health and well-being. In order to keep them in tip-top shape and maintain a strong immune system, be sure to include a variety of meats, vegetables, fruits, and dairy products. Here are some recommendations for each category.


Chicken Meat
Chicken Meat

Chihuahuas need quality protein sources in their diet. Some great options are:

  • Chicken: Easily digestible and often found in commercial dog food.
  • Turkey: Low in fat and high in protein.
  • Beef: Rich in iron and other essential nutrients.
  • Lamb: A good alternative if your dog is allergic to chicken or beef.
  • Salmon: Rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which promote a healthy coat and skin.

Remember to cook all meat thoroughly before feeding it to your Chihuahua unless they’re used to a raw diet. Avoid giving them processed meats that contain added salt and preservatives.

Meats & grains Chihuahuas can eat

Vegetables & Fruits

Fresh vegetables in a basket. Vegetables for Chihuahuas

Incorporating vegetables into your Chihuahua’s diet adds essential vitamins and minerals. Try feeding them:

  • Broccoli: High in fiber and vitamins, but given in small amounts.
  • Carrots: Packed with beta-carotene and antioxidants.
  • Sweet Potatoes: Rich in vitamins A and C, and easy to digest.
  • Green Beans: A low-calorie snack to replace high-calorie treats.

These are just regular vegetable suggestions for Chihuahuas. Always cut vegetables into small pieces to avoid choking or digestive issues.

If you think this is the list, you’re wrong. Scroll below to see the complete list.

Fruits can be a tasty, low-calorie snack for your Chihuahua in moderation.

  • Apples: Rich in fiber and vitamins. Remove seeds and core before feeding.
  • Bananas: A good source of potassium, but high in sugar.
  • Blueberries: Antioxidant-rich and a great treat in small amounts.
  • Watermelon: Hydrating, but remove seeds and rind.

Here’s an article exclusively about fruits for Chihuahuas with a massive list of 30+ safe fruits!

Introduce fruits slowly and watch for any allergic reactions or stomach upset. In case of stomach upsets, read this: Best bland diet for dogs

Once your Chihuahua gets acquainted with these fruits, you can give the rest as in the table below.

Bell PeppersBanana
Broccoli & Brussels SproutsBlueberries
Cabbage & CauliflowerCoconut
CucumberKiwi Fruit
Green Beans & PeasMelon
Lettuce & KaleNectarine
ParsnipsPeach & Plum
Potato (cooked)Olive
Rutabaga & TurnipPear
Sweet PotatoRaspberries
Vegetables & fruits Chihuahuas can eat


Dairy can provide another source of protein and calcium for your Chihuahua. In fact, my rescued Chihuahuas have always loved tasting dairy products.

  • Yogurt: Plain, low-fat yogurt can aid digestion and be a tasty treat.
  • Cottage Cheese: Low-fat versions are a good calcium option.

Remember to start with small amounts to check for lactose intolerance. In fact, one of my dogs (of a different breed) used to vomit each time yogurt was given, and that’s when I identified that he was lactose intolerant.

“As a rule of thumb, don’t compel your Chihuahua to eat anything. Similarly, you should also wait for a longer period (compared to other dogs) to see if he/she eats it or not.”

Due to their picky nature, they eat in small quantities and also save more for the next time. This can potentially make you feel that your Chihuahua is probably disliking it.

By paying attention to your Chihuahua’s dietary needs and offering a variety of the foods mentioned, you can ensure they thrive and maintain a healthy, happy lifestyle.

Silver Chihuahua Eating

What Foods Can Chihuahuas Not Eat?

Can all dogs eat anything and everything? I know you’ve had this doubt while getting your first dog, irrespective of the breed.

In fact, I had a similar doubt. However, over the years, I’ve understood how food patterns vary substantially depending on the breed. For instance, a German Shepherd’s food quantity is way more than Chihuahua’s. But, the latter needs more calories per pound due to their faster metabolism and eats food based on portions.

The American Kennel Club ascertains that the choice of food matters very much, and there’s an exhaustive list of foods to avoid for each breed.

Want to know what NOT to feed your tiny munchkin, Chihuahua? Here’s a quick guide on what to avoid feeding your little one.

FoodReason for Toxicity
ChocolateContains theobromine, which can cause vomiting, diarrhea, seizures, and even death in dogs.
Grapes/raisinsCan lead to kidney failure in dogs; even small amounts can be harmful.
Onions/chivesCan cause Heinz body anemia, a condition that destroys red blood cells, leading to anemia in dogs.
GarlicSimilar to onions, garlic can also cause Heinz body anemia.
AvocadoContains persin, which can cause vomiting and diarrhea in dogs.
Macadamia nutsCan cause weakness, vomiting, tremors, and hyperthermia in dogs.
CaffeineCan cause agitation, tremors, and even seizures in dogs if consumed in large amounts.
Toxic Foods For Chihuahuas and Their Effects

In addition to these toxic foods, there are several other foods that should be avoided, as they may cause digestive issues, allergies, or other health problems for your Chihuahua.

Some examples include:

  • Xylitol: Found in some peanut butter brands and candy, xylitol can cause a rapid release of insulin in dogs, leading to hypoglycemia (low blood sugar). Symptoms include vomiting, loss of coordination, and seizures. Always double-check food labels for xylitol content before giving any treats to your Chihuahua.
  • Bones: Avoid giving cooked bones, particularly poultry bones. They can splinter and cause obstructions or injuries in your dog’s digestive system.
  • High sugar and fatty foods: Foods like cheese, butter, and sweet treats should be limited, as they can contribute to obesity and dental issues in Chihuahuas. Their tiny teeth are prone to decay, so it’s essential to keep their diet low in sugar.
  • Peaches and other fruits with pits: The pits of these fruits can cause intestinal blockages if swallowed, and some pits contain trace amounts of cyanide, which is toxic to dogs in large quantities.
  • Raw pork: Raw pork, like other raw meats, can contain harmful bacteria such as salmonella and E.coli. It’s best to avoid feeding your Chihuahua raw meat.
  • Tuna and other high-mercury fish: These fish can contain high levels of mercury, which can be harmful to your dog if consumed in large amounts over time.
  • Milk and dairy products: Many dogs are lactose intolerant, so milk and other dairy products can cause digestive issues like diarrhea or gas in your Chihuahua.

Keep an eye on your Chihuahua’s diet and monitor them for any signs of illness or distress when introducing new foods.

By focusing on providing a balanced diet and avoiding these harmful foods, you’re helping to keep your Chihuahua happy and healthy.

Best Type of Dog Food for Chihuahuas

As soon as you happily get a Chihuahua for your family, you may wish to give him the right level of nutrition. However, most pet parents are unaware of the many options available to them. There are various types of dog food available that cater to different preferences and nutritional needs.

In this section, we’ll explore options such as dry food, wet food, dry and wet mix, homemade dog food, raw food, dehydrated dog food, and freeze-dried dog food to find the best fit for your Chihuahua.

Dry Food

Dry food, also known as kibble, is a popular choice for many Chihuahua owners. Not only is it convenient and affordable, but it can also help improve dental health by scraping away tartar. Look for high-quality brands with real meat as the first ingredient, and avoid foods with artificial additives. Feed your Chihuahua according to the package instructions, which might vary based on your dog’s weight and age.

Get one for yours below… (Royal Canin breed-specific food is my favorite as it’s specially formulated for your little Chi, with perfect sized kibble to suit their little mouth).

Wet Food

Wet food can be a tasty and highly palatable option for Chihuahuas. It has a higher moisture content, which can help keep your dog hydrated. Again, choose a high-quality brand with real meat and no artificial additives.

Caution: When serving wet food, follow the feeding guidelines on the package and adjust as needed based on your Chihuahua’s specific dietary needs.

Here’s my favorite for Chihuahuas:

Dry and Wet Mix

Combining dry and wet foods can provide your Chihuahua with the best of both worlds. The kibble helps maintain dental health, while the wet food adds moisture and extra flavor. You can mix the two types of food in one meal or alternate between them throughout the day.

Chihuahua Eating a Mix of Dry and Wet Dog Food
My friend’s Chihuahua Molly eating dry dog food with added wet food

Homemade Dog Food

Preparing homemade dog food allows you to control every ingredient that goes into your Chihuahua’s diet. Consult with your vet or a dietitian to ensure that your homemade meals meet all necessary nutritional requirements. They can help recommend specific recipes and portion sizes tailored to your dog’s needs.

Always use fresh, high-quality ingredients and avoid including anything toxic to dogs, such as onions or grapes.

Here’s a recipe that I totally love:

Raw Food

A raw food diet includes raw meat, organs, bones, fruits, and vegetables. Some Chihuahua owners choose this diet for its potential health benefits, such as shinier coats and healthier teeth. However, feeding raw food can be more expensive and time-consuming than other options. Ensure you properly handle and store raw meats to avoid bacterial contamination.

Speak with your vet about the pros and cons of a raw food diet, as well as proper portions and nutritional balance for your Chihuahua. I recommend talking to an expert because some small breeds face difficulties chewing and digesting raw food.

Dehydrated Dog Food

Dehydrated dog food is made by removing the moisture from the ingredients, leaving a nutrient-dense and lightweight product. To serve, simply rehydrate the food with water according to the package instructions.

Dehydrated food can be a convenient option if you’re traveling with your Chihuahua or need a long-lasting food supply. Look for high-quality brands that use real meat and natural ingredients.

You can buy the following from The Honest Kitchen:

Freeze-dried Dog Food

Similar to dehydrated food, freeze-dried dog food is made by removing moisture but through a different process. Freeze-dried food retains more nutrients since it’s not exposed to heat during the drying process.

Like dehydrated food, you’ll need to mix it with water before serving. Opt for brands with real meat and natural ingredients to offer your Chihuahua a nutritious and convenient meal option.

Feeding your Chihuahua an optimally balanced diet can have a significant impact on their overall health and happiness. Always experiment with different food options, and you’ll land up at the right balance.

How Much Food Should A Chihuahua Eat?

Feeding your Chihuahua the right amount of food is critical. Since Chihuahuas are a small breed, their daily caloric intake might be less than you think.

Let’s explore the ideal quantity for Chihuahuas depending on their growth sizes.

LifestageNumber of MealsCalories per 1lb of Bodyweight
Meal Plan and Calories for Chihuahuas

For puppies, it’s essential to provide enough nutrition to support their rapidly growing bodies. You should feed your Chihuahua puppy three to four times a day, dividing their daily ration into equal portions. A typical Chihuahua puppy weighing around 2-4 pounds needs about 100-200 calories per day.

When your Chihuahua transitions into an adult, their calorie intake should be reduced to maintain a healthy weight and prevent obesity. An adult Chihuahua weighing between 3-6 pounds, needs around 120-240 calories daily, depending on their activity level. It’s recommended to have two meals a day for adult Chihuahuas, splitting their daily calories accordingly.

Senior Chihuahuas may experience fluctuations in their weight and activity level. Be mindful of any changes, and adjust their calorie intake accordingly. On average, a 5lb senior Chihuahua needs about 125 calories per day. Monitoring their weight regularly and providing a balanced diet is crucial to maintaining their health.

These numbers are just a rough guideline, and various factors such as age, weight, activity level, and overall health contribute to determining the ideal food quantity for your individual Chihuahua.

Black Chihuahua Eating

Chihuahua Feeding Schedule

Determining the ideal feeding schedule for your Chihuahua will also depend on factors such as age, weight, activity level, and general health.

Generally, you should feed an adult Chihuahua twice a day, in the morning and evening. Puppies may require more frequent feedings, around three to four times a day, to support their growth and development.

Pay attention to your Chihuahua’s appetite and adjust the feeding schedule and portion sizes accordingly. Ultimately, you should provide a balanced and nutritious diet for your precious pet.

Commercial dog foods designed for small breeds or even preparing homemade meals with appropriate proportions of proteins, fats, and carbohydrates, alongside essential vitamins and minerals, can ensure your Chihuahua stays in optimal health.

Here’s a sample meal plan for an adult Chihuahua:

DayMorning MealEvening Meal
MondayChicken & RiceBeef & Vegetables
TuesdayTurkey & QuinoaFish & Sweet Potatoes
WednesdayLamb & BarleyChicken & Green Beans
ThursdayFish & Brown RiceTurkey & Carrots
FridayBeef & PeasLamb & Broccoli
SaturdayChicken & CarrotsFish & Rice
SundayTurkey & PumpkinBeef & Green Beans
Adult Chihuahua meal plan

Chihuahua Puppy Meal Plan

As a small breed, Chihuahuas have unique dietary requirements, so you should provide them with the right food and meal plan.

Here are some key aspects to consider when preparing your Chihuahua puppy’s meal plan:

Quality ingredients: Choose high-quality, protein-rich food sources, such as lean meats or fish, alongside nutritional fruits and vegetables, like sweet potatoes or peas. Opt for dog food brands that focus on healthy ingredients and avoid filler ingredients like corn, soy, and wheat.

Size-appropriate kibble: Chihuahuas have small mouths and teeth, so it’s crucial to pick a kibble specifically designed for small breeds. This will make it easier for them to chew and digest the food.

Balanced nutrients: A balanced diet should have the right amount of protein, fat, and carbohydrates to support the development and energy needs of your Chihuahua puppy. Make sure to provide food that meets the AAFCO guidelines for complete and balanced nutrition.

Here’s a sample meal plan for a Chihuahua puppy aged 8 weeks to 6 months:

AgeMeals per day
8-12 weeks4 meals
3-4 months3 meals
4-6 months3 meals
Chihuahua puppy meal schedule

For puppies aged 6 months and above, you can switch to a twice-daily feeding schedule, adjusting the portion size according to your puppy’s growth and energy needs.

Enjoy this exciting time with your new furry family member, and always offer fresh water alongside their meals.

Read more: How Often Should You Feed a Chihuahua?

Final Thoughts

The best diet for a Chihuahua is comprised of several intricacies that demand extra caution. While it’s understandable that they need proteins, fats, fiber, vitamins, and minerals, their proportions can vary. As soon as you get a Chihuahua, start using the nutrition guide and meal plan as suggested here.

Aside from food, don’t forget the importance of regular exercise and mental stimulation for your little Chihuahua. These will help keep them happy, agile, and mentally sharp. By combining a proper diet with adequate physical and mental activity, your Chihuahua will thrive and be your loving companion for years to come.

Sowmya Sankaran
Sowmya Sankaran is crazy about dogs, rabbits and birds! An avid rescuer and rehabilitator of dogs and other animals, she runs the Life With Equality Charitable Trust, an animal shelter in Chennai, India. She is also the founder of Petsmond, a pet website, in which she shares her experiences in raising different creatures and paying attention to intricate aspects of their health.

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