The only right food to feed your Chihuahua for the first few days after you bring her home is the one she was eating before you got her. Even if your new Chihuahua is an adult, make only gradual changes in her diet. She’s experiencing enough newness in her life right now.
Many breeders give new owners a small amount of puppy or dog food and a written schedule to get them started, but if your breeder offers you nothing, ask the following three questions about your new dog’s eating habits:
- What brand of food has she been eating?
- What’s her feeding schedule (how frequently is she fed and at what hours)?
- How much does she eat at each feeding?
Besides using the same food, sticking to the feeding schedule your Chi is used to is best, at least for the first three days. After that, you can gradually change food and chow time until her schedule blends into your household routine.
Assuming you feed your Chihuahua in the kitchen, you may want to put a carpet sample under her bowl. Many Chihuahuas (and other dogs too) like to eat on the rug. They accomplish this by putting a few morsels in their mouths, trotting off to the closest carpeted area, and then munching them there. If your Chi is determined to eat dinner on a comfy carpet, an area rug may keep her in the kitchen.
How to change dog foods
What if you’ve decided on a dog food and it isn’t the one your new Chi was raised on? No problem. After a few days of feeding her the brand she’s used to, introduce the food you’ve selected by adding just a little bit of it to her usual diet.
Watch to make sure she eats it and check her bowel movements. As long as everything is fine (no constipation or diarrhea), add a little more of the new food and take away a little more of her old food every day. You can complete the transition by the end of a week as long as nothing appears wrong.
If your dog becomes constipated or gets diarrhea, add more of the food your Chi was raised on and less of the new food. When she normalizes, try gradually changing her diet again by substituting a very small amount of the new food daily. If problem persist, consult your vet. The problem may be caused by something other than a change of food, and persistent diarrhea is dangerous.
When to change dog foods
Now that you know how to change dog foods, are you sure you want to? Look at your Chi. Is her weight right for her height? Does she have enough energy? Does her coat have a health glow? Gee, her breeder must have done something right. As the old saying goes, ” If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” If she eats most of her meals and has regular bowel movements, an upbeat attitude, and a healthy coat, the best dog food for her (at least until she reaches another stage in her life) may be exactly the one she’s eating.
However, if your Chi is too thin or too fat, lacks energy, has a dull or dry-looking coat, or suffers from constipation or diarrhea, see your veterinarian. If he rules out parasites or an illness, consider changing her dog food.
You may also want to change her diet if the one her breeder recommends is too time consuming to concoct. Some breeders create their own formulas, and many of these formulas are way too complicated for working pet owners. Besides, quality commercial food is probably better for your dog in the long run – provided that you opt for an excellent brand.