As a pup’s body goes through different physical changes, you need to adjust its diet accordingly to avoid growth failures.
Thus, having a proper diet schedule plus knowing how much, what and when to feed your pup is very crucial.
A Chihuahua pup needs 4 to 6 meals a day which gradually needs to be lowered to about 3 meals as it matures.
However, there is a lot about this topic of how often should you feed a Chihuahua that you need to know, and will be discussed in this article so read till the end.
Chihuahua Daily Caloric Requirements
A chihuahua needs about 55 calories per day for every lb of its weight. Thus, a 2 lb pup will require 110 calories per day while a 5 lb adult will need around 275 calories per day.
But you should know that there is no clear-cut caloric limit for any dog including a chihuahua. This is because a puppy’s caloric requirements depend on various factors other than its breed. It is important for you to understand them:
Much of a puppy’s daily energy is spent carrying its body all around. So simply put, the bigger the pup is, the more energy it will require to move about daily.
Energy potentials vary a lot even within a breed. You will observe some Chihuahuas will have a tendency to be more active and enthusiastic about physical activities, thus burning more calories and requiring bigger meals than those who prefer to be total couch potatoes.
Due to differences in neuro-hormonal balance, many Chihuahuas will behave differently in terms of appetite.
Some will be eating more and waiting for the next meal impatiently while others may eat only small portions and will not make any fuss for the next meal.
So you must ascertain your pup’s basic appetite before starting a diet plan. Plus, this will help you look at regulating your pup’s lifestyle so that it does not over or undereat which can lead to obesity or physical weakness respectively.
With the growth of a puppy, its energy needs gradually increase as well because a lot of food is needed for the body’s growth phase. This has a direct impact on daily caloric requirements.
On reaching adult size, the body’s daily requirements more or less remain the same because there is no extra expenditure on growth.
How Often Should You Feed A Chihuahua Puppy?
A Chihuahua pup will need a different number of meals at various months of age that suit its body’s needs as follows:
Up to 2 months
Every puppy should be solely nursed by its mother till the age of 4 weeks or 2 months. Breast milk covers all the nutritional requirements for the pup. It has the advantage of being naturally maintained at body temperature and is light on the baby’s tummy as well.
Moreover, Breast Milk is rich in natural antibodies that keep a pup’s immune system strong and protect against many infections.
2 to 3 months
Chihuahuas have small appetites just as their sizes, however, they require frequent meals to get them going throughout the day.
So after weaning, you should feed your pup about 4 to 6 times a day for the next month. its baby teeth will have grown around 2 months of age, easing the transition to dry and semi-dry food.
The timing of these meals should be equally spaced and should follow your puppy’s natural appetite without any force-feeding.
Before giving your puppy its next meal, make sure you are giving it enough time to digest the last one.
3 to 6 months
Now for the next 3 months, you will have to taper the meals from 4 to 6 meals previously to between 3 and 4 meals a day. Again, these should be equally spaced with enough time given for digestion.
During the feed, give your pooch ample time to enjoy the meal without hurrying it up. Remember not to overfeed your pup.
6 to 12 months
This is the time when your pup is more mature and its growth phase slows down. However, where other dogs need a lowering in the number of meals, a Chihuahua’s meals remain the same.
One thing you should do is add snacks in between meals to boost their energy. I will be discussing which snacks to give later in this article.
Regulate the timings so that the pup has time to eat, digest, and get energy from the food before engaging in any physical activity.
1 year and above
Continue giving your Chihuahua the same 3 to 4 meals a day. The only difference will be in the type of food your dog eats now that it is getting closer to adulthood.
Intermittent snacking should be continued with healthy snacks that offer better satiety with minimal calories. You can give your dog snacks at times when you feel it is really hungry.
|Chihuahua Age||Amount/Day In Cups|
|2 to 3 months||1/4 to 1/2 cups|
|4 to 5 months||1/5 to 1 cup|
|6 to 9 months||1 to 1.5 cups|
|10 months to 1 year||1 to 1.5 cups|
|1 year and above||0.5 to 1.5 cups|
|Chihuahua Age||Meals Per Day|
|2 to 3 months||4 to 6 times|
|3 to 6 months||3 to 4 times|
|6 to 12 months||3 to 4 times with snacking|
|1 year and above||3 to 4 times with snacking|
How To Convert Cups Into Grams?
In order to convert cup values into grams, multiply your cup’s figure by 236 and again by the ingredient density (in g/ml), which you can easily find on the internet.
This is because different ingredients weigh differently in the same cup due to being more or less dense.
Should I Use Cups or Grams?
For years dog owners have debated over what metric to use for measuring dog food but let’s end this debate once and for all.
I find cups to be very troublesome, they seem simple to use but can be very confusing as they vary in their exact sizes from one place to another.
In the USA, one standard cup is about 240 grams; however, you may see some differences between manufacturers as well.
Plus, there is the issue of a cup’s meniscus, the top level to which a cup is filled. People tend to fill a cup very differently. Some like to fill it to the brim while others don’t, this creates minute differences that add up over the long term.
Grams, however, are fixed and do not show subjective differences in measurement. That is why I prefer measuring the dog food in grams rather than cups.
The simplest and perhaps the most effective way to use grams is to have a kitchen scale. Fill a cup and transfer it to the scale.
This will not only measure the food in grams but also will give you an idea about the differences in the cups that you use.
Best Time To Feed Your Chihuahua
Following a feeding schedule is very important. This will set up hormonal reflexes in your puppy that will make the digestive tract ready for food before it is eaten.
In a 4-meals-a-day plan, start the day with breakfast around 7 am. This would set your pooch up for the day.
For lunch, 12 to 1 pm is a good time when your dog has spent the energy it gained from breakfast.
Have the 3rd meal around 6 pm in the evening followed by a light dinner 2 hours before your puppy goes to sleep.
For a 3-meal-a-day plan, you can have lunch at around 1-2 pm while dinner is served between 7-9 pm depending on when your puppy goes to bed as it should be 2 to 3 hours before that.
You might be interested in Do Chihuahuas Like To Sleep With Their Owners?
What To Feed Chihuahua Puppies?
Once you decide to wean your pup from breastmilk, the best food to give is puppy mush also known as gruel.
What is mush? it is the kibble that you give an adult dog but softened to a semi-solid consistency. The three main ingredients are kibble, milk, and water.
To make it, take 2 cups of dry kibble and add 340 grams of milk. Add water according to how thin you want the mush to be for your pup.
For my pups, I try to be a little experimental with it by adding additional ingredients like fruits and veggies.
This not only makes it tastier but also adds a sense of novelty to the food with a different texture. This becomes necessary when the pup gets bored eating the same food over and over again.
The goal is to find foods that are not only nutritious and tasty but also easy to manage with a limited budget. This requires a lot of trial and error with plenty of patience so keep going.
What is Kibble?
Kibble is dog food that is dried in the form of pellets. These then become easy to manage in terms of storing, serving and eating.
Now kibble from a good dog food company contains all the essential nutrients that your pooch will require but for added reassurance try to compare its back label with the recommendations for your pooch by a certified nutritionist.
This kibble comes in different-sized pellets, so choose the one that is easiest for your pup to chew and swallow.
Make sure you hydrate your dog with adequate water when it’s on a kibble diet because it is very dry and can lead to dehydration. You can opt for mush if you think your dog is prone to dehydration.
What Wet Canned Food?
You also have the option of using wet canned dog foods instead of kibble. These products have an additional water content that makes them better suited for dogs prone to dehydration.
However, the water content of such canned foods means that they provide fewer calories for the same weight as dried kibble. This needs to be kept in mind because your pup may be underfed without you even noticing it.
Many dogs find the texture of wet canned food to be more appealing, and it stimulates their appetite better than dry kibble. This serves as a better incentive for them to eat properly.
It is therefore critical to ensure that the caloric and mineral content is consistent regardless of the amount of kibble or canned food used.
|Dry Kibble||Wet Canned Food|
|Easy to store||Requires more storage space|
|Better for mastication development||Not ideal for mastication development|
|Fiber content helps in digestion||Too easy to digest|
|Easy to serve||May spill|
|Needs Air-tight container to keep fresh||Fresh with every can|
|Cheaper in bulk||Expensive|
Human Foods That A Chihuahua Pup Can Eat
Many foods that humans eat can be given to dogs because of their high nutrient content and easy digestibility. Here are some human foods that you can give your Chihuahua:
Apples: being loaded with iron that keeps the blood cells healthy, also contain fibers to make digestion easier.
Bananas: are high in carbohydrates, which provide instant energy, and potassium, which helps to maintain electrolyte balance.
Pineapple: Filled with vitamins C and B6, pineapples are juicy and delicious. You should cut them into smaller bites before serving them to your pooch.
Carrots: are rich in carotene, which is required for better vision and skin. Also, carrots contain a lot of fiber to give bulk to the stools.
Rice: is easy on the stomach and a good source of antioxidants.
Pumpkins: rich in fluid and water content, pumpkins are a great food to be given for an upset stomach.
Beef, lamb, and chicken: are great sources of protein for the dog.
You can use chicken in mush or make a broth. Also, chicken over rice is a favorite food of many dogs. However, try to avoid the parts of the chicken that are rich in fat, like the skin or thigh.
Sweet potato: with a lot of water, proteins, and a decent amount of fiber, sweet potato can be a very nutritious part of a dog’s diet.
Potato: boiled potatoes are easy to digest and provide plenty of calories.
Cabbage: cabbage contains fiber and antioxidants that keep the dog’s body young.
Cheese: can be a good source of calcium and vitamin D. However, use it only in moderation, or else it can lead to obesity.
Pasta: can provide lots of carbs before exercise. However, pasta should only be given in small amounts every once in a while due to the risk of obesity.
Eggs: Eggs are rich in essential amino acids and are safe to be eaten when fully cooked. You can also use these in different salads as boiled eggs for the protein content.
Choose a snack that not just is liked by your pooch but also is from a trusted brand. Usually, for my Chihuahuas, I go with Fruitables mini dog treats or Wellness Natural Wellbites, these are tasty, digestible and from sources that I can trust. You are free to choose yours.
Also, you can give them small bites of fruit or cooked meat apart from meals as snacks. Just keep the snacks rotating so that it doesn’t get boring.
Human Foods Not To Feed A Chihuahua And Other Dogs
Many human foods contain chemicals that are harmless to us but toxic to dogs and can even be fatal in large amounts. These should be withheld from dogs at all costs.
Grapes and raisins: These fruits contain toxins that affect a dog in two ways. First of all, they lead to vomiting and diarrhea. Second, they hurt the kidneys, and if they are given in large amounts, they can cause kidney failure.
Avocados: Persin is a chemical that is found in avocados and can cause loose motions in dogs. When severe, this can lead to severe dehydration, collapse, and even the death of a dog.
Apple and cherry seeds: these contain cyanide, a famous poison that is often depicted in movies as being used by spies. This is a lethal chemical and can lead to instant death when ingested in large amounts.
Coffee and other similar beverages that are loaded with caffeine lead to increased gut motility, which can cause watery stools and dehydration. Also, they increase the heart rate, leading to palpitations and anxiety.
Chocolate: The theobromine in dark chocolate is another gut stimulant that can potentially cause diarrhea in dogs, so it is better to avoid it.
Xylitol- A component of artificial sweeteners used in many sugar-free products. When taken by dogs, xylitol can cause rapid sugar drops that can lead to unconsciousness and can even be fatal in large amounts.
Raw Meat: Raw meat, whether it is from fish or cattle, can contain parasites capable of infesting the dog’s body. It can involve multiple organs, especially the digestive tract and lungs. Treating them can be troublesome, and some parasitic diseases are potentially fatal.
How Long After A Dog Eats Do They Poop?
Dogs have this thing called the ‘gastro-colic reflex’ which means that whenever they eat something that fills their stomach, it sends a signal to their colon to empty itself.
So about half an hour after you have fed a dog, it will poop and empty its colon.
Puppies defecate more than adults and for the obvious reason that they eat more often.
However, when a pooch is going to free itself more often than it eats, you might consider an upset stomach and have it checked by your vet.
Which Dog Food Is The Best For Your Chihuahua?
There is no single magic food that will satisfy your dog and can be continued throughout the year. You will have to go with a trial-and-error approach.
For kibble, the best advice is to check its nutritional content and match it to your dog’s daily needs.
I mostly use products from Royal Cannin as I’ve found them very standardized, and my dogs also like the taste of their products. You are free to try any one of the certified brands and pick one that suits you and your pooch.
The Association of American Feed Control Officials sets guidelines for all pet food marketers according to the best health standards, making sure whichever product you pick complies with them.
Once you try and fail multiple times, you will end up with the perfect food for your dog in amount, consistency, and taste.
You can go with various combinations of canned foods and add things to make them more flavorful.
Try alternating between canned food and kibble so that your dog’s taste buds don’t get bored with one particular food all the time.
As was already said, you can also add human foods to kibble or wet canned foods to make them more interesting and nutritious.
Can I Feed My Dog Once A Day?
Puppies do not have mature guts and hence cannot digest big meals given to them once a day. So it is better that you divide their food into portions spread across the day.
However, for some adult dogs like the GSD, you can have them on the one-meal-a-day plan. Their bodies are old enough to be able to digest and get as much energy as possible from a single meal to keep them going all day.
But a chihuahua still requires 2-3 smaller meals even when they are old.
How Much Water Should A Chihuahua Puppy Drink?
Referring to the guidelines set by the AKC, a pup should drink half a cup of water every 2 hours to stay hydrated. This equals about 120 ml of water.
It should be understood that this changes a lot with your dog’s hydration status and with changes in the weather with obvious increments in summer and decrements in winter.
I would advise you to avoid giving your pooch water right before sleep to prevent any midnight urination accidents.
The thing that people often do not understand is that puppies do not need any water during breastfeeding. This is because breast milk provides adequate fluid content for the pup’s body.
Following are the signs of dehydration that need to be looked for in a dog that you think is prone to dehydration, is ill, or over-exhausted:
- Sunken eyes
- Dry skin with lost turgor (skin tightness)
- Dry tongue with pale gums
- Persistent diarrhea or loose motions
Frequently Asked Questions
These are the questions that you may have in mind regarding the Chihuahua feeding guide.
What do Chihuahuas like to eat the most?
Chihuahuas tend to like meat a lot. Whether it’s poultry, fish or lamb, they eat it with great fervor and enjoy it a lot.
Should you leave water out for the puppy?
Pups can get thirsty at any time of the day, so it is better to leave water for them to quench their thirst. This is especially important in the summer months when dehydration threatens your pup’s health.
However, you should avoid leaving water for your pup before bedtime in order to minimize the chances of bed wetting, which can disturb the quality of sleep.
Can dogs eat popcorn?
Avoid all artificially flavored popcorn, such as caramel or chocolate-coated popcorn. These are loaded with extra calories that can lead to obesity.
You can give your pooch air-popped popcorn every once in a while. They have adequate calories and fiber to make them nutritious without being a health hazard.
Feeding a pup has a lot to do with its age, weight, physical activity, and any comorbid conditions. Smaller pups require smaller meals as compared to larger ones.
Chihuahua puppies can eat a variety of foods, but it is essential to know the portions and timing of the meals. Then there are certain foods that need to be avoided altogether.
Read through the article to know all about a Chihuahua puppy’s diet.
I hope the guide about How Often Should You Feed A Chihuahua helped you.
As always have a nice day!