The best way to feed your Chihuahua a balanced diet – giving her the nutrition she needs – is to choose an excellent commercial dog food (premium dog food) and stick with it. Good nutrition is essential to prevent dietary deficiency diseases. The right diet helps your Chihuahua fight off infections and reduces her susceptibility to organic ailments.
Beware of bargain brands
As in, don’t buy a bottom-of-the-line dog food for your Chihuahua. Bargain dog food is seldom a bargain. The nutritional info on the package may say it has the same percentages of protein as the better-known brands, but the amount of usable (digestible) nutrients is what’s important. For example, an old leather purse is protein but it has no nutritive value at all.
The truth is, generic and economy brands are made of the cheapest ingredients available, and tests have found that many of them don’t contain what their labels proclaim. In fact, many are downright dangerous for Toy breeds. Why? because smaller dogs have higher energy requirements per pound than large dogs, but because of their sizes, they eat only a little at a time. Consequently, they need high-quality, easily digestible dinners…not cheap, empty calories.
Regular dog food versus premium dog food
You still must consider two other qualities of dog food – the regular brands and the premium brands:
- The regular brands are the well-known names you’ve seen on supermarket shelves for years. Their ingredients are more digestible and made from higher quality ingredients than the economy foods. Costwise, they’re the middle-of-the-road brands-neither the cheapest nor the most expensive.
- The premium brands are the highest-priced dog foods, and seldom are they seen in supermarkets. Instead, they are sold at pet supply stores, pet shops, pet online stores, and some veterinarians’ offices. What sets them apart from the regular brands? Regular brands usually use wheat, corn, or soybeans as their primary ingredient, but many premium dog foods use a meat source as their main ingredient. Likewise, because premium foods contain only top-quality, highly digestible ingredients, they’re considered concentrated. That means dogs eat less of them and still get optimum nutrition.
So even though they cost more, premium brands go further than regular brands. Another advantage is that concentrated food makes for smaller, more compact stools, giving you easier cleanups.
Probably you’re about to run to the store to buy a premium dog brand. But the choice isn’t that simple….at least not with Toy dogs. Pretty sure you want the best for your Chihuahua, and yes, premium dog food is the way to go if it agrees with her. But it may not. If you try a premium brand for a few weeks and she starts to show signs of constipation, gradually change back to a grain-based brand.
Some small dogs do best on less-concentrated food and stay more regular when eating food that contains corn. If your Chi is one of them, find a reputable brand that keeps her bowels regular and stick with it.
The ingredients on a container of dog food are listed in descending order, by weight. but just because chicken is the first ingredient doesn’t mean the food is mostly chicken. The next four ingredients may be wheat flour, corn meal, barley flour, and wheat germ. When combined, the plant-based ingredients probably weigh a lot more than the chicken.