One of the most adorable little pets to have for apartment dwellers and owners who simply don’t have the luxury of space is the Chihuahua. The Chihuahua is a fun-loving and affectionate breed but they will only love you back if you take care of them properly starting from puppyhood.
With that said, how much do you feed a Chihuahua puppy? How often should you feed them? What can you feed them? With these questions in mind, we wrote this article to guide you in successfully raising your Chihuahua puppy.
Proper feeding for any dog breed during their puppy stages is important so that they don’t run into any trouble in regards to their health. Watching your Chihuahua pup grow healthy and strong will be the most rewarding experience as a pet owner. All breeds have their different nutritional needs and the Chihuahua deserves certain diet plans that are just right for them.
How much to feed a Chihuahua puppy?
Chihuahuas are considered a toy breed because they are quite small and are ideal for a condo unit and apartment dwellers. That’s also why they don’t need to be fed as much as compared to the medium-sized and big dogs of your neighbors.
With that said, a Chihuahua puppy needs 1/4 cup of food a day and it can be increased to 1/2 cup a day when they grow older. In adulthood, an average Chihuahua needs about 1/3 to 1/2 cup a day and should be scheduled in 3 different meals throughout the day.
If we are to do the math, 345 calories per cup are commonly found in small breed dog foods. Dividing the calories gives us 81.75 calories per 1/4 cup. This means your puppy should get around 80 to 170 calories and when they reach adulthood, their calorie intake should be around 115 to 170.
To give you a detailed idea of how much to feed your Chihuahua puppy during their growth stages, here are a couple of tips per age:
Birth to 3 weeks old
When your Chihuahua puppy is born, they will depend on being nursed by their mother, as with all puppies. Because the Chihuahua is a small breed, there could be a little difficulty in moving about for the first 2 weeks. Therefore, the mother of the Chihuahua puppies should always watch over her litter.
It’s difficult to tell whether your Chihuahua puppies are sufficiently drinking from their mother’s milk because of the size of their breed. Nonetheless, ensure that they aren’t disturbed and are always close for easy milk feeding.
By 3 weeks of age, a Chihuahua puppy will start to stand up and walk on its own. However, they cannot go very far away from their mother so they will still need to be free-fed through nursing. A Chihuahua puppy in this stage will have a fast growth rate.
4 to 6 weeks old
At 4 weeks of age, the Chihuahua puppy can start the weaning process. Begin by picking up a good brand of dog food (kibble) from the grocery store or online that’s appropriate for small breeds. Don’t put a lot of dog food into their bowl and start small. Mix the puppy food with a 1:3 ratio of kibble and water.
The importance of adding water to the mixture is that the Chihuahua puppy could easily digest it. After all, the Chihuahua is a toy breed that needs very little food. Give it a go and wait for your Chihuahua pup to respond. You can keep trying this for the 4th to 5th week until the weaning process begins.
By week 5, the Chihuahua puppy could be more interested in the food so keep leaving it out in their quarters (but pick it up if left untouched for 10 to 20 minutes or so to avoid mold and bacteria from forming). Nursing is still common because your Chihuahua puppy is still young. However, the Chihuahua mother might not be so keen on nursing the pups and will slowly get away from them to test their independence.
At 6 weeks of age, the Chihuahua puppy will still need to go through the weaning process. If your Chihuahua pup enjoys the puppy food mixture, you can slowly decrease the water content until there’s more puppy food into the mix. A 6-week-old Chihuahua pup could still be nursed but not as much as before.
7 to 8 weeks old
A Chihuahua puppy that is 7 weeks old could still be free-fed since they are still being nursed by their mother. However, make sure that the Chihuahua puppy has easy access to the food. Don’t worry if, during this time, the puppy isn’t eating a lot of kibbles yet – their time will come when they are ready.
The mother Chihuahua might completely stop nursing their litter by the time they reach 8 weeks old. With that said, the transition should be smooth to make sure that your Chihuahua puppy doesn’t get any digestive upsets. At 8 weeks of age, a Chihuahua puppy from a breeder could be re-homed to their new owner.
9 to 10 weeks old
After re-homing or transferring your Chihuahua puppy to new living quarters, you can ask your breeder what brand of puppy food they have given to the pups. This is to avoid confusion in their stomach.
Try to buy the same kind and brand of puppy food that the breeder gave to your pup. Or, if you can’t afford or find such a brand, gradually do a transition by putting small amounts of the new food into the bowl mixture and then transitioning smoothly. It will take a few days or a week for this to happen, but be patient.
By 10 weeks of age, the Chihuahua puppy should be fed 3 times a day and should already have a consistent schedule. Since they will grow intensively during this period, the Chihuahua puppy should have equal amounts of food with each meal to avoid getting overweight or have sudden cravings. If your Chihuahua puppy tends to be very active, it’s okay to give them a little bit more food.
11 to 12 weeks old
A Chihuahua puppy that is 11 weeks old should be watched over at all times for signs of weight gain. Look at the pup’s waist to see if it is just right in terms of definition. If it is rounded, the Chihuahua puppy could be overweight and you need to cut down on the kibble.
When your Chihuahua reaches 12 weeks old, they should take about 3 to 4 meals a day and keep the serving to 1/2 cup a day, divided into such meals. Since a Chihuahua typically has a thin appearance due to being a toy breed, it’s hard to tell whether they need more food or not but you can just observe their stomach or waist.
All Chihuahua puppies are different because not every pup was born with the same weight. However, here is a general feeding schedule to help you figure out how often you should feed the Chihuahua puppy to keep them healthy and away from being overweight:
|Below 3 months old||4 to 6 meals a day|
|3 to 6 months old||3 to 4 meals a day|
|6 months to 1 year old||2 to 3 meals a day|
|Above 1-year-old (adulthood)||2 meals a day|
In addition to that, here’s a sample feeding schedule so that you can feed your Chihuahua puppy properly based on their age and weight (and also keep them physically fit)
|6 a.m.||Wake up|
|7 a.m.||Morning meal|
|9 a.m.||Indoor/outdoor exercise or playtime|
|1 p.m.||Indoor/outdoor exercise or playtime|
|5 p.m.||Dinner meal|
|7 p.m.||Indoor/outdoor exercise or playtime|
Keep in mind that you can adjust this schedule based on how many meals a day are recommended for your Chihuahua puppy depending on their age. Just make sure that after each meal, leave about 1 to 2 hours of break to help them digest the foods properly to avoid stomach problems, especially if you are going to take them out for a walk or playtime.
If you are curious as to what your Chihuahua puppy should weigh based on their weight at birth, here is a helpful chart. Hopefully, this will help you figure out whether your Chihuahua pup is underweight, overweight, or just fine for their age:
|Age of puppy||Chihuahua puppy weight (oz.)|
FAQs on Feeding a Chihuahua Puppy
Now that we’ve read about the recommended amount of food for a Chihuahua puppy, we’ll have a look at some frequently asked questions about feeding them to help you out:
How do I know if my Chihuahua puppy is overweight?
Obesity in Chihuahua puppies can be easily detected because of their small build. With that said, because the Chihuahua is a toy breed, it’s also easy to make a mistake in feeding them too much from their body capacity, making them more overweight faster than if you had a medium-sized dog breed as a puppy.
The problem with obesity is that your Chihuahua will be at risk for certain health problems, such as diabetes, thyroid problems, arthritis, heart problems, and the like. Moreover, because the Chihuahua rarely walks like other dogs due to their toy size, they won’t get as much exercise as the big dogs do.
If you suspect that your Chihuahua pup is overweight, you’ll see it in their weight and appearance. If you are still not sure, either put them on a typical bathroom weighing scale or have them visit the vet for a little assessment.
The vet could also give you advice on what to feed your Chihuahua pup should they be overweight. They might present a special diet to reduce their body fat and keep them healthy.
What can I do with an underweight Chihuahua puppy?
A Chihuahua puppy that’s too thin for its age and ideal weight could have underlying issues. For example, their food intake isn’t made of healthy choices so you have to rethink your kibble or raw food to ensure that they are getting the right nutrients.
Second, your Chihuahua could be running around more often, causing them to burn more calories and thus, get thinner, losing body fat fast.
Moreover, a Chihuahua puppy could also be prone to hypoglycemia, which is the imbalance of blood sugar levels, which causes nausea, trembling, and the like. They might also get parasites, which cause them to be weak, which is why proper deforming and vaccination is important for them.
Which foods are bad for a Chihuahua puppy?
Like all puppies out there, certain foods are a no-go for a Chihuahua puppy, which includes chocolate, nuts, avocado, onions, garlic, caffeine, alcohol, citrus fruits, raisins, leeks, chives, and various kinds of nuts (e.g. walnuts and macadamia). Moreover, corn, soy, and wheat don’t do well in a Chihuahua puppy’s digestive system as they are simply food fillers.
You may also want to look for a Chihuahua puppy food brand that doesn’t use artificial colorants, flavorings, and preservatives to keep your pup healthy and strong. It will also help them to stay away from allergies and stomach problems.
Moreover, avoid Chihuahua puppy food that contains by-products because you don’t know where those came from. Instead, look for whole meat (e.g. chicken, beef, turkey) as the first ingredient in a product.
Dry food vs. wet food: which is better for a Chihuahua puppy?
Generally, most dog breeds like wet food due to their flavorful taste and close-to-nature texture. However, keeping your Chihuahua puppy on a wet or canned food diet all the time might not be the best idea because of dental issues.
The reason why a Chihuahua is best on a kibble diet is that small breeds like them are prone to teeth problems. By crunching on kibble, the Chihuahua puppy will have stronger teeth and it will also act as a natural cleaner. Moreover, a Chihuahua pup that’s only dependent on wet food might run into digestive upsets.
Of course, there’s also the problem of having a picky eater. If your Chihuahua pup is just very demanding when it comes to feeding them, you can mix dry kibble with wet food and use it as a topping. Additionally, you can use chicken broth (or any similar broth) that’s low on salt/sodium and pour it over the kibble to make it tastier for your Chihuahua puppy.
What should I look for when choosing Chihuahua puppy food?
If you don’t know what brand of food or product you should choose for your Chihuahua puppy, don’t worry as we’ve got you covered. Here are some tips and pointers on how to pick an ideal puppy food brand or product for your Chi:
1. Small-sized kibble
The Chihuahua is a toy breed so naturally, they’d best work with a smaller-sized kibble. Fortunately, many manufacturers out there are already selling such kibble that’s meant for small dogs.
Even though the Chihuahua has a set of sharp teeth, they will find it easier to crunch on kibble that’s suited for their breed size.
2. Meat is the first ingredient
Since the Chihuahua is still a dog breed, and all dogs descended from the wolf, having quality meat as the first ingredient will make them healthier and stronger. After all, any dog should depend on a protein-rich diet.
Look for chicken, turkey, and beef meats as the first ingredient and make sure they aren’t by-products at all. It would also help if the Chihuahua puppy food came from a company that sources its meats from reputable and responsible farmers.
3. No artificial flavors or additives
The Chihuahua is a breed that’s quite allergic to certain types of foods so you’ll never know until you try. With that said, since the Chihuahua is quite sensitive and you wouldn’t want inconvenience for their health, it’s best to stay away from artificial flavors and additives.
Not only do these flavorings have no nutritional value – but they are also only meant for human consumption. It’s best to go all-natural for your puppy to keep them healthy and away from potential food allergies. Most Chihuahua puppy foods that don’t have such artificial additives are those sold online and not so much in grocery stores.
4. Strict quality control standards
To ensure that your Chihuahua puppy only gets quality food, any puppy food brand that’s made in the United States New Zealand, Europe, or Canada will be a great choice. That’s because such countries adhere to strict quality control when it comes to manufacturing healthy dog/puppy food.
5. No animal by-products
Chihuahuas don’t do well with animal by-products because it could make them sick. We don’t know where by-products came from – some of them might even come from roadkill meat and expired grocery store chicken.
6. Look for omega fatty acids
Your Chihuahua pup will benefit from foods rich in omega fatty acids to take care of their skin and coat health. That’s because this breed is prone to certain skin conditions, as well as food allergies. Most omega fatty acids are found in fish and fish oil, but we advise that the fish should be wild-caught.
7. Balanced ratio of protein, fat, fiber, and carbohydrates
A balanced ratio of everything for your Chihuahua puppy will make them healthier and less likely to develop diseases in the long run. While protein is okay, having a little bit of fiber and healthy carbs is also just fine for your Chihuahua pup. Fortunately, many puppy foods nowadays have a good blend of natural ingredients for your puppy.
8. Glucosamine and chondroitin
As a toy breed, Chihuahuas are also likely to have knee issues so by having strong joints thanks to glucosamine and chondroitin, you’re keeping them away from such threats at an early age.
9. Consider probiotics
Because the Chihuahua is a breed that’s prone to digestive problems and food allergies, you’ll want to strengthen their gut. One way to do this to give your Chihuahua pup probiotics from their food or supplements. You can also ask your vet for certain brands for this.
Antioxidants help your Chihuahua pup to stay away from inflammatory problems and they will also boost their immune system. Examples of antioxidants in dog and puppy food include blueberries, raspberries, kale, green beans, yellow squash, and sweet potatoes.
To wrap it up, a Chihuahua puppy deserves the right nutrition and a proper feeding schedule because they are very prone to being overweight. We hope that our guide above helped you in terms of keeping your Chihuahua puppy strong, healthy, and happy to adulthood.