The smallest dog breed with one of the biggest personalities, Chihuahuas are delightful little dogs who can become incredible companions. Originally from Mexico, this miniature breed has become popular around the world and gained a somewhat mixed reputation.
Because they’re small, some dog owners forget to treat them like dogs, which can reduce the Chihuahua’s confidence, and reinforce territorial behavior. With the right care, Chihuahuas are just as sweet and loving as any other dog breed, but you need to remember that they’re dogs, not stuffed animals.
One of the most important things about responsible dog ownership is feeding your pup the right diet. In this guide, we’re talking about what these little dogs need to stay happy and healthy, and sharing our recommendations for the best dog food for a Chihuahua.
Here’s a quick rundown of our top six picks before we dive in.
- All About Chiweenies
- Best Dog Foods for Dogs Who Need To Gain Weight
- 4 Best Dog Food Brands for Corgis & Corgi Puppies
Best Dog Foods for Chihuahuas
|Brand||Grain?||First 5 Ingredients||Price|
|Best Raw: We Feed Raw||Grain-free||1. Beef Heart|
2. Beef Liver
3. Beef Kidney
4. Beef Necks (with bone)
5. WFR vitamin + mineral mix
|Best Air-Dried: Front of the Pack||Grain-inclusive||1. 90% USDA Grass-Fed Beef|
2. Pumpkin Seed Oil
3. Organic Oats (Gluten Free)
4. Organic Guar
5. Fiber Organic Beets
|Best Freeze-Dried: Primal||Grain-free||1. Beef Hearts|
2. Beef Livers
3. Ground Beef Bones
4. Organic Carrots
5. Organic Squash
|Best Fresh-Frozen: NomNom||Grain-free||1. Ground Beef |
2. Russet Potatoes
|Best Healthy Kibble: Spot & Tango||Grain-free||1. Cod|
3. Sweet Potato
5. Sunflower Seeds
|Best Canned: Blue Buffalo||Grain-inclusive||1. Beef |
2. Beef Broth
4. Chicken Liver
Chihuahua Nutritional Needs
Don’t let the small stature of the Chihuahua fool you—these little dogs need the same basic nutrition as Great Danes, Pitbulls, and Golden Retrievers. One of the most neglected, abused, and abandoned breeds, Chihuahuas are often the victims of poor nutrition. This is in part due to the fact that Chihuahuas can be a little picky.
But, like any other dog breed, the Chihuahua needs to have protein, fat, and fiber to live a long, happy, and healthy life. Facultative carnivores like all other dog breeds, Chihuahuas do best when their diet contains animal protein and fat mixed with small amounts of fruits and vegetables.
Known to live to incredible ages of more than 18–20, Chihuahuas are generally healthy little dogs when properly cared for. In later life, Chihuahuas are prone to a number of health conditions, but these can typically be managed with food, lifestyle, and veterinary intervention.
Some common health issues Chihuahuas may be prone to include:
- Dental disease
- Spinal injuries
- Patellar luxation & hip dysplasia
- Heart disease
- Tracheal collapse
Dental disease is particularly prevalent in Chihuahuas, who may need veterinary tooth cleanings and extractions later in life. Dental disease isn’t just uncomfortable—it can fuel heart disease, cause systemic infections and inflammation, and shorten your Chihuahua’s lifespan.
Preventing dental disease isn’t so much about what you feed your dog and more about what you don’t feed your dog. There are a number of opinions on what foods fuel dental disease, with some vets adamantly recommending high-carb kibbles despite their higher glycemic index.
Carbs—sugars—can both inflame your Chihuahua’s body, and are more likely to stick in the crevices of your dog’s mouth than low-carb diets. Protein-rich diets are less likely to inflame or enhance dental disease.
To address possible hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) in Chihuahuas, it’s important to feed them a balanced, biologically appropriate diet. Each option on this list fits that bill.
Key Nutrients for Chihuahuas
It’s not possible to prevent or cure illness or disease in your Chihuahua with diet alone, but you can give your pup the best chance of a healthy life. Part of ensuring your dog’s diet is balanced is making sure they are getting the right micronutrients for their needs. To address some of the common health problems Chihuahuas have, we recommend finding foods that are high in the following vitamins and minerals.
|B Vitamins||– Anti-inflammatory- Supports muscle and joint health||– Eggs- Fish- Goat milk- Liver- Red meat|
|Chondroitin||– Supports tracheal health- Supports joint health||– Fish- Poultry and bird cartilage – Pork cartilage|
|Glucosamine||– Supports tracheal health- Supports joint health||– Beef trachea- Green lipped mussels|
|Leucine||– Supports muscle and bone health- Supports heart health||– Beef- Sardines- Eggs|
|Magnesium||– Supports heart health||– Bones- Beef- Fish- Beef organs- Spinach- Kale- Potatoes|
|Potassium||– Supports muscle function- Supports heart health||– Salmon- Potatoes- Sweet potatoes- Spinach|
|Omega-3 Fatty Acids||– Supports cartilage health (spine and joint health)||– Flaxseed- Mackerel- Pumpkin seed oil- Salmon- Sardines|
|Vitamin C||– Anti-inflammatory- Supports muscle and joint health||– Blueberries- Carrots- Kale- Pumpkin- Kelp- Sweet potatoes|
|Vitamin E||– Anti-inflammatory- Supports muscle and joint health- Supports heart health||– Beef- Beef organs- Eggs- Salmon- Spinach|
In some cases, your vet might suggest adding extra meal toppers or nutrients to your Chihuahua’s food. For example, many people like to add green-lipped mussels or extra omega-3 oils. These can be purchased at most pet stores, online, and at some veterinary offices.
6 Best Dog Foods For Chihuahuas
This list includes only high-quality dog foods formulated by vets and canine nutritionists. Made from whole ingredients with zero filler, each of these foods is high-protein with a perfect balance of fat, fiber, moisture, and micronutrients.
Whether you want to feed your Chihuahua raw food, they like crunchy kibbles, or you want the convenience of canned wet food, you’ll find an option on this list.
1. Best Raw: We Feed Raw Beef Patty
We Feed Raw has a handful of amazing raw formulas made from different proteins. The beef recipe is one of our favorites for Chihuahuas since beef contains many of the nutrients your Chi needs. High in leucine, magnesium, and vitamin E, beef is especially good for maintaining healthy muscles and joints. We Feed Raw also includes a healthy portion of bone and organ meats.
If your Chihuahua already has tender teeth or missing teeth, raw diets are a nice option since they won’t need to chew. Completely free of complex carbohydrates, We Feed Raw’s blends also won’t contribute to dental decay.Save 25% off your first subscription trial box.
|First 5 Ingredients||Beef Heart, Beef Liver, Beef Kidney, Beef Necks (with bone), WFR vitamin + mineral mix (contains Flaxseed, Calcium Carbonate, Zinc Sulfate, Sodium Selenite, Vitamin E Supplement, and more)|
|Food Type||Raw, grain-free|
|Guaranteed Analysis (crude)||12.2 % Protein – 10% Fat – 1% Fiber – 68.8% Moisture|
|Feeding Instructions||Feed 4.8 oz per day or 2.4 oz per meal*|
|Cost Per Meal||$0.98 per meal* – $32.99 for 5 lbs|
What Reviewers Say:
2. Best Air-Dried: Front of the Pack USDA Beef
Notoriously picky, Chihuahuas are sometimes bigger fans of their treats than their food! Front of the Pack has solved this problem by creating an air-dried dog food that looks and tastes like beef jerky. Perfect little bite-sized pieces are easy for even the smallest Chihuahuas to munch down, and the dry formula is mess-free and easy to feed.
We’ve chosen the beef recipe for Chihuahuas since it contains leucine, magnesium, and vitamin E. We also love that this formula has pumpkin seed oil, a great source of Omega-3 fatty acids.
|First 5 Ingredients||90% USDA Grass-Fed Beef, Pumpkin Seed Oil, Organic Oats (Gluten Free), Organic Guar Fiber, Organic Beets|
|Food Type||Air-dried, grain-inclusive|
|Guaranteed Analysis (crude)||30% Protein – 20% Fat – 4% Fiber – 15% Moisture|
|Feeding Instructions||Feed ⅓ cup per day, or 2.75 tablespoons per meal*|
|Cost Per Meal||$0.75 per meal* – $209.99 for 46.5 cups|
What Reviewers Say:
3. Best Freeze-Fried: Primal Raw Beef Nuggets
Primal makes freeze-dried raw food, which is basically just raw dog food with the moisture removed. To serve, simply break up the nuggets and rehydrate them with a few tablespoons of warm water. It takes just a few minutes, and choosing raw in this format eliminates the need for you to keep your dog’s food frozen.
For Chihuahuas, we love that Primal’s beef formula contains beef hearts and livers, B vitamins, magnesium, and vitamin E. This recipe also includes carrots for vitamin C, fish oil for omega-3s, and a plethora of other healthy veggies.
|First 5 Ingredients||Beef Hearts, Beef Livers, Ground Beef Bones, Organic Carrots, Organic Squash|
|Food Type||Freeze-dried raw, grain-free|
|Guaranteed Analysis (crude)||34% Protein – 36% Fat – 8% Fiber – 3% Moisture|
|Feeding Instructions||Feed 4 nuggets per day or 2 nuggets per meal*|
|Cost Per Meal||$1.35 per meal* – 14 oz bag contains approximately 48 nuggets and costs $32.28|
What Reviewers Say:
4. Best Fresh-Frozen: NomNom Beef Mash
For the Chihuahua who refuses to eat anything but human food there’s NomNom! Cooked fresh then flash frozen to lock in freshness, NomNom’s recipes are made from whole ingredients you can actually see. We love the beef mash recipe for Chihuahuas since it contains ground beef with lots of key nutrients, potatoes for magnesium and potassium, and eggs for B vitamins, leucine, and vitamin E.
While NomNom is a little on the pricier side, the brand does all it can to make its food super convenient. You’ll receive custom feeding instructions for your pooch and can get recommendations for different formulas based on your Chihuahua’s unique characteristics.
|First 5 Ingredients||Ground Beef, Russet Potatoes, Eggs, Carrots, Peas|
|Food Type||Fresh-frozen, grain-free|
|Guaranteed Analysis (crude)||8% Protein – 4% Fat – 1% Fiber – 77% Moisture|
|Feeding Instructions||Feeding instructions customized by NomNom based on your dog’s specific information.|
|Cost Per Meal||Meals start at around $2.50 per day, but pricing is customized for your dog’s needs.|
What Reviewers Say:
5. Best Healthy Kibble: Spot & Tango UnKibble
Unlike typical kibble, UnKibble from Spot & Tango is wheat, corn, and soy free! Less carb-heavy than classic kibble, UnKibble is much better for your Chihuahua’s teeth, and it tastes better, too. We love the cod and salmon recipe since salmon is high in omega-3 fatty acids. This formula also includes sweet potatoes and pumpkin for extra potassium and vitamin C.
Spot & Tango will help you figure out your dog’s serving size, and will even send a custom scoop designed to perfectly portion out your Chihuahua’s food. Easily the best dry dog food for Chihuahuas, Spot & Tango has two other delicious recipes for you to try.
|First 5 Ingredients||Cod, Salmon, Sweet Potatoes, Pumpkin, Sunflower Seeds|
|Food Type||Kibble, grain-free|
|Guaranteed Analysis (crude)||29.67% Protein – 22.06% Fat – 1.15% Fiber – 3.82% Moisture|
|Feeding Instructions||Feeding instructions customized by Spot & Tango based on your dog’s specific information.|
|Cost Per Meal||$1.44 per meal* – $40.44 for two weeks of food|
What Reviewers Say:
6. Best Canned: Blue Buffalo Small Breed Prime Rib in Gravy Delights
When you have a dog as small as a Chihuahua, it can take a while to get through a whole can of dog food. To make life a little easier, Blue Buffalo has created a line of small-breed wet food in 3.5-ounce bowls that are just the right portion size for an itty-bitty dog.
Made from a beef base for a healthy dose of leucine, magnesium, and vitamin E, this wet dog food also features chicken liver, carrots, peas, and other healthy ingredients to round out the meal.
|First 5 Ingredients||Beef, Beef Broth, Water, Chicken Liver, Carrots|
|Food Type||Wet, grain-inclusive|
|Guaranteed Analysis (crude)||8% Protein – 3% Fat – 1.5% Fiber – 82% Moisture|
|Feeding Instructions||Feed 2 bowls per day or 1 bowl per meal*|
|Cost Per Meal||$1.29 per meal* – $15.53 for (12) 3.5-ounce bowls|
What Reviewers Say:
*Feeding instructions and cost analysis based on calculations for a 5lb adult Chihuahua with an average activity level.
Best Food for Chihuahuas FAQ
Do you have more questions about the best Chihuahua foods on the market? Here are some of the most frequently asked questions from Chihuahua owners like you.
If your Chihuahua is picky, they’re probably sick of eating dry, carb-heavy food. Brands like We Feed Raw, Primal, and Blue Buffalo are great for meat-obsessed dogs. NomNom basically tastes like human food, so it’s great for Chihuahuas who have a taste for sandwiches. For Chihuahuas who enjoy the crunch of kibble but not the taste, Spot & Tango’s UnKibble is packed with flavor.
Human food! The human diet is too high in saturated fat, salt, and seasonings, and it’s just not appropriate for a dog. Chihuahuas are especially at risk for poor diets and are notoriously fed human food since they’re so small.
You should also avoid toxic foods for dogs like chocolate, garlic, onions, etc.
No, Chihuahuas don’t need a breed-specific diet, but they do need the right balance of nutrients. Small-breed dog food is sometimes recommended by vets, but most small breeds can eat regular dog food without an issue.
While you can make your own dog food at home, creating a completely balanced diet is quite time intensive and can be expensive. You should also consult with a vet or canine nutritionist before trying to make dog food at home. Nutrient deficiencies can be detrimental to your dog’s health, so never try to formulate dog food at home without professional help.
Soft dog foods that require little chewing are the best options for Chihuahuas with no teeth. Raw foods like We Feed Raw and Primal are nice options, since they’re basically just mush. Blue Buffalo’s canned foods have a pate texture and are also easy to eat without teeth.
Unless your Chihuahua is overweight, suffering from a specific health condition, or has allergies, they should not be put on a diet. Your vet will be able to tell you if your dog requires a new diet, less or more food, or prescription dog food.
Be sure you are taking your dog to the vet at least once a year to consult with them about your dog’s nutritional needs.
Blue Buffalo’s small breed dog food will work for a Chihuahua puppy, but it’s not specifically formulated for growing dogs. Sticking with Blue Buffalo, we think that their canned puppy food is a contender for the best dog food for Chihuahua puppies.
Chihuahua Terrier mixes will have many of the same needs as a purebred Chihuahua and would do well on any of the dog food brands listed above.