The Best Dog Food for Chihuahuas

Adult Chihuahua for Best Dog Food Page

What’s the best dog food for a chihuahua?

The answer to that critical question depends on the age of your dog.

That’s because…

Chihuahua puppies, adults and seniors EACH have different nutritional needs for optimal long-term health.

Which means…

A dog food designed for an adult chihuahua may contain too little calcium for a growing puppy… or too many calories for a less active senior.

And there are other significant differences, too..

For example…

A chihuahua puppy needs 1.0% arginine (an essential amino acid)… while an adult requires less… just 0.51% of the same nutrient.

In comparison…

A senior “chi” benefits from more protein… and fewer calories.

Here’s the point…

Since there are no official nutrient standards for ANY particular breed…

And to optimize your dog’s long-term health…

It’s super important to choose a food that’s designed to match the AAFCO nutrient profile for your chihuahua’s age… and stage of life.

Chihuahua Life Stages

Since dogs age at different rates, life stage ranges for any breed are never exact.

The ages and life stage data in the table below were derived from multiple sources and should be used to help you find the best possible food for your dog.

Life Stage Age
Puppy Under 9-12 months
Adult Over 9-12 months
Senior 11+ years

Our Top Recommendations

On this page…

We’ll share The Dog Food Advisor’s safest and most recommended brands based on the age of your chihuahua… and we’ll answer the 5 most frequently asked questions we get about feeding this popular breed.

The following dog foods are listed in random order. Each was chosen because it meets or exceeds our selection criteria. If you make a purchase through one of these links, we may earn a referral fee. This helps cover the cost of operation of our free blog. Thanks for your support.


Editors Choice Logo for Best Dog Food for Chihuahuas

Best Dog Food for Chihuahuas
November 2020

Here are The Dog Food Advisor’s best dog food brands for chihuahuas for November 2020.


Wellness Small Breed Adult Dog Food

Wellness Complete Health Small Breed Adult

Rating:

Small Breed Adult Turkey and Oatmeal is one of 14 dry recipes included in our review of the Wellness Complete Health product line.

  • First 5 ingredients: Deboned turkey, chicken meal, salmon meal, oatmeal, ground brown rice
  • Type: Grain-inclusive (oatmeal, rice, barley)
  • Profile: Maintenance
  • Best for: Adult chihuahuas

Wellness Small Breed Adult derives the majority of its animal protein from fresh turkey and chicken meal. Dry matter label analysis reveals the recipe contains 31% protein, 18% fat and 43% estimated carbs… delivering a fat-to-protein ratio of about 57%.

We like the fact this recipe contains salmon oil. Salmon oil is naturally rich in EPA and DHA types of omega-3 fatty acids… which can help support healthy skin and coat. Highly recommended.

Sample buyer review… “I was looking for a truly healthy and complete dog food for my 2 year old ShihTzu/Maltese mix pup. Wellness checks all the boxes! He loves it and goes back to see if there’s more lol! I feel really good about feeding this high quality food.”

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Instinct Raw Boost Toy Breed with Real Chicken Dry Dog Food

Instinct Raw Boost Toy Breed with Real Chicken

Rating:

Instinct Toy Breed is one of 15 dry recipes covered in our review of the Instinct Raw Boost product line.

  • First 5 ingredients: Chicken, chicken meal (source of glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate), chickpeas, tapioca, chicken fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols and citric acid)
  • Type: Grain-free
  • Profile: All life stages
  • Best for: Adult chihuahuas and puppies

Instinct Toy Breed gets the bulk of of its animal protein from fresh chicken and chicken meal in addition to other named species. Dry matter label analysis reveals the recipe contains 38% protein, 22% fat and 32% estimated carbs… creating a fat-to-protein ratio of about 57%.

We note this formula is preserved with vitamin E and citric acid… and free of BHA or other high-risk chemical additives. A quality design. Highly recommended.

Sample buyer review… “I have never seen my dog love a dog food more. We usually have to put some meat or something on her dog food to get her to eat it but she plows right through this food! She especially loves the freeze dried bits. I have made her food for awhile but feel confident using this brand especially with the freeze dried chunks in it.”

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Canidae Grain Free Pure Dog Food Review

Canidae Pure Small Breed Recipe

Rating:

Pure Small Breed is one of 11 dry recipes analyzed in our review of the Canidae Pure product line.

  • First 5 ingredients: Chicken, menhaden fish meal, peas, lentils, potatoes
  • Type: Grain-free
  • Profile: Maintenance
  • Best for: Adult chihuahuas

Canidae Pure Small Breed gets most of its animal protein from fresh chicken and menhaden fish meal. Dry matter label analysis reveals the recipe contains 33% protein, 13% fat and 45% estimated carbs… yielding a fat-to-protein ratio of about 40%.

“Pure” is considered a limited ingredient diet… which makes it ideal for those seeking to uncover hidden food sensitivities. A nutrient-balanced recipe ideal for small dogs, including chihuahuas. Easily recommended.

Sample buyer review… “My dogs absolutely love this food and it fills them up better than any other food they have been on. Highly recommend”

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Royal Canin Adult Chihuahua Wet Dog Food

Royal Canin Adult Chihuahua Wet Dog Food

Rating:

Adult Chihuahua is one of 9 wet recipes evaluated in our review of the Royal Canin product line.

  • First 5 ingredients: Water sufficient for processing, pork by-products, chicken, chicken by-products, pork liver
  • Type: Grain-inclusive (corn)
  • Profile: Maintenance
  • Best for: Adult chihuahuas

In addition to other named species, this Royal Canin Adult Chihuahua recipe gets the better part of its animal protein from pork by-products and fresh chicken. Dry matter label analysis reveals the formula contains 37% protein, 22% fat and 34% estimated carbs… producing a fat-to-protein ratio of about 59%.

We note the inclusion of omega-rich fish oil to support joint and coat development. Readily recommended.

Sample buyer review… “My 2 Chihuahuas pounced on this food like they hadn’t eaten in weeks. This food is Breed- specific and this company certainly knows what appeals to Chihuahuas. They recommend it. Chihuahua stamp of approval.”

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Merrick Lil Plates Small Breed Wet Food for Chihuahuas

Merrick Lil’ Plates Small Breed Wet

Rating:

Teeny Texas Steak Tips Dinner is one of 10 wet recipes evaluated in our review of the Merrick Lil’ Plates product line.

This Merrick Teeny Texas Steak Tips derives the better part of its animal protein from fresh beef and beef liver as well as dried egg whites. Dry matter label analysis reveals the formula contains 44% protein, 17% fat and 31% estimated carbs… which yields a fat-to-protein ratio of about 38%.

Complete and balanced nutrient design. Contains zinc and 4 other chelated minerals for superior nutrition. Highly recommended.

Sample buyer review… “We have two chihuahuas and they love their Merrick Lil’ Plates! Oh my goodness, they jump and bark out of EXCITEMENT!”

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Hills Science Diet Puppy Small Bites Dry Dog Food

Hills Science Diet Puppy Small Bites

Rating:

Puppy Small Bites is one of 5 dry recipes included in our review of the Hill’s Science Diet product line.

  • First 5 ingredients: Chicken meal, whole grain wheat, cracked pearled barley, whole grain sorghum, whole grain corn
  • Type: Grain-inclusive (wheat, barley, sorghum, corn)
  • Profile: Growth
  • Best for: Chihuahua puppies

More Choices: Best Puppy Foods

Science Diet Puppy Small Bites sources most of its meat-based protein from chicken meal. Dry matter label analysis reveals the recipe contains 28% protein, 17% fat and 48% estimated carbs… which creates a fat-to-protein ratio of about 60%.

The formula also contains natural DHA from fish oil to support healthy brain development… and an antioxidant-rich blend of vitamin E and C to help support a healthy immune system. A classic puppy food with small size kibble. Ideal for chihuahua puppies. Highly recommended.

Sample buyer review… “My puppy loves this! The rescue we adopted her from had her on this food and she has done so well. Her stools are well-formed and she cannot wait to eat it. Her coat is so shiny and healthy as well.”

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Iams ProActive Health MiniChunks Dry Dog Food

Iams ProActive Health Adult Minichunks

Rating:

Minichunks is one of 14 dry recipes contained in our review of the Iams ProActive Health product line.

  • First 5 ingredients: Chicken, ground whole grain corn, ground whole grain sorghum, chicken by-product meal, dried plain beet pulp
  • Type: Grain-inclusive (corn, sorghum)
  • Profile: Maintenance
  • Best for: Adult chihuahuas

Iams ProActive Health Adult Minichunks derives the bulk of its meat protein from fresh chicken and chicken by-product meal. Dry matter label analysis reveals the recipe contains 28% protein, 16% fat and 49% estimated carbs… delivering a fat-to-protein ratio of about 56%.

The recipe contains a prebiotic (not a probiotic). Prebiotics help support the natural growth of healthy bacteria in the large intestine… which can lead to improved digestion. An exceptional, budget-friendly option ideal for smaller dogs. Highly recommended.

Sample buyer review… “My 2 dogs have been eating this food for a few years now, and they maintain very well on it. I always add a little snippet of something to give them a different flavor other than just kibble. They like it all by itself, though. It’s also reasonably priced compared to other nutritious dog foods.”

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Blue Buffalo Life Protection Small Breed Senior Dry Dog Food

Blue Buffalo Life Protection Small Breed Senior

Rating:

Small Breed Senior is one of 23 dry recipes rated in our review of the Blue Buffalo Life Protection product line.

  • First 5 ingredients: Deboned chicken, chicken meal, brown rice, barley, oatmeal
  • Type: Grain-inclusive (brown rice, barley, oatmeal)
  • Profile: Maintenance
  • Best for: Adult chihuahuas

Blue Buffalo Life Protection Small Breed Senior draws the majority of its meat protein from deboned chicken and chicken meal. Dry matter label analysis reveals the recipe contains 26% protein, 14% fat and 52% estimated carbs… resulting in a fat-to-protein ratio of about 57%.

A nutritious senior formula containing just the right balance of protein, wholesome grains and micro nutrients. Reasonably priced. Ideal for older chihuahuas and other small breeds. Easily recommended.

Sample buyer review… “Very nutritious for my senior dog. She loves it! I love that its for small breeds so it gives her more manageable sized pieces.”

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The Farmers Dog Fresh Wet Food

The Farmer’s Dog Turkey Recipe

Rating:

This Turkey Recipe is one of 3 human-grade wet formulas covered in our review of the The Farmer’s Dog product line.

  • First 5 ingredients: USDA turkey, parsnips, chickpeas, carrot, broccoli
  • Type: Grain-free
  • Profile: All life stages
  • Best for: Adult chihuahuas and puppies

The Farmer’s Dog Turkey Recipe derives the bulk of its animal protein from fresh turkey. Dry matter label analysis reveals the recipe contains 32% protein, 18% fat and 42% estimated carbs… yielding a fat-to-protein ratio of about 56%.

A fresh, human-grade recipe custom designed and packaged to fit the nutritional needs of your particular chihuahua. As close to a homemade dog food as you can get. Not cheap. Highly recommended.

Sample buyer review… “Our 14 year old could hardly get up and walk due to so much pain in her hips, after eating your food she’s now running again! I was hoping it would help her but I wasn’t expecting that big of an improvement. Good food reduced her inflammation. You truly are what you eat.”

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Eukanuba Small Breed Adult Dry Dog Food

Eukanuba Small Breed Adult Dog Food

Rating:

Small Breed Adult is one of 14 dry recipes evaluated in our review of the Eukanuba product line.

  • First 5 ingredients: Chicken, chicken by-product meal, corn, chicken fat, wheat
  • Type: Grain-inclusive (corn, wheat, sorghum)
  • Profile:Maintenance
  • Best for: Adult chihuahuas

Eukanuba Small Breed Adult obtains much of its animal protein from fresh chicken and chicken by-product meal. Dry matter label analysis reveals the recipe contains 31% protein, 20% fat and 41% estimated carbs… resulting in a fat-to-protein ratio of about 64%.

A time-proven, classic formula that features wholesome cereal grains. Small kibble size, perfect for adult chihuahuas. Nutritionally complete and balanced. Reasonably priced. Highly recommended.

Sample buyer review… “I HIGHLY HIGHLY recommend Eukanuba small breed dry food! I have 2 little furry family members, a Yorkie mix and a Chihuahua. I never worry that they are not getting the right balance in their diet and they sure do eat well with Eukanuba!”

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Natures Recipe Grain Free Dry Dog Food

Nature’s Recipe Grain Free Salmon, Sweet Potato, and Pumpkin

Rating:

Salmon, Sweet Potato, and Pumpkin is one of 6 dry recipes included in our review of the Nature’s Recipe product line.

  • First 5 ingredients: Salmon, garbanzo beans, peas, menhaden fish meal, pea starch
  • Type: Grain-free
  • Profile: All life stages
  • Best for: Adult chihuahuas and puppies

Nature’s Recipe Grain Free Salmon, Sweet Potato, and Pumpkin acquires the bulk of its meat protein from fresh salmon and menhaden fish meal. Dry matter label analysis reveals the recipe contains 30% protein, 13% fat and 49% estimated carbs… delivering a fat-to-protein ratio of about 44%.

Loaded with omega-rich, fresh salmon for healthy skin and coat. Also contains zinc proteinate and 3 other chelated minerals for superior nutrition. Free of BHT and other high-risk preservatives. Fairly priced. Highly recommended.

Sample buyer review… “My dogs eat this right up , makes there coats shiny, Low fat so they don’t gain weight , high in protein so it keeps the healthy, Not allot of unneeded fillers .”

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More Top Picks

To view more top recipes for your chihuahua… click the link below that best meets your personal feeding needs.


How can I switch to a new food… without making my dog sick

In this video

Dr. Gary Richter shares a simple feeding tip that can help lower your chihuahua’s risk of getting sick… when you switch to a new food.


Do chihuahuas need special dog food?

That depends on the age of your chihuahua. After about 9 to 12 months, your “chi” is considered an adult… and can eat just about any quality dog food. Wet or dry. But for optimal health, a chihuahua puppy should be fed a food that meets AAFCO guidelines for either “growth” or “all life stages”. A senior “chi” may benefit from a recipe made for seniors.


When can I safely switch my chihuahua puppy to adult dog food?

Adult dog foods can be deficient in protein and other essential nutrients. Chihuahua puppies don’t stop growing and aren’t ready for adult food until they reach 9 to 12 months of age.1


When is a chihuahua considered a senior?

According to VCA Hospitals, small breed dogs tend to live longer than large breeds. So, chihuahuas aren’t considered “senior” until they reach 11 years of age. If your chi is 11 years (or older), you may wish to visit our best senior dog foods page here.


How much food should I feed my chihuahua?

Since every dog is unique, it’s impossible to predict the exact serving size that’s “ideal” for every chihuahua. So, start with the feeding amount printed on the package. Then, over time, adjust that quantity up or down… to reach and then maintain your chi’s ideal weight.


A Final Word

The Dog Food Advisor is privately owned. We do not accept money, gifts, samples or other incentives in exchange for special consideration in preparing our reviews.

However, we do receive a referral fee from online retailers (like Chewy or Amazon) when readers click over to their website from ours. This helps cover the cost of operation of our free blog. Thanks for your support.

For more information, please visit our Disclaimer and Disclosure page.

Important FDA Alert

The FDA is investigating a potential link between diet and heart disease in dogs. Click here for details.

References