Here we’re going to discuss the positive and negative aspects of using different types of dog food for your Chihuahua.
Dry dog food
Dry dog food, sold in bags or boxes, is the most popular commercial style feed. Here are some of the positive aspects of dry food:
- It’s easy to feed and store.
- It has a decent shelf life (three to six months).
- It has little odor.
- It’s good for your dog’s teeth (when fed dry).
Now consider the negative side: Chihuahua puppies may not consume enough dry dog food to meet their energy needs. They eat larger servings when the nuggets are soaked and softened, but that removes the teeth-cleaning benefit. Read the labels on dry food carefully, because some are meant to be consumed dry, others form gravy when moistened and are meant to be eaten slightly wet, and still others may be consumed dry or moistened.
When choosing a dry food for your Chihuahua, check the size and texture of the pieces before buying. A Chi prefers small pieces she can easily chew as opposed to large, extra-hard chunks that make it hard for her to close her little mouth.
Also, consider that the freshest food is the best food. After you choose a brand of dry food, buy it in the smallest bag or box you can find. As you get down toward the bottom of the bag, check to make sure it still smells fresh, like biscuits, rather than stale or moldy.
Canned dog food
The best canned dog foods are made mostly of meat products, have a high moisture content, and usually contain some vegetable products, too. If you want to use canned food exclusively, read the label on each candidate carefully. Some canned foods provide total nutrition, but others are formulated to be mixed with dry food. If the canned food alone provides every nutrient a dog needs, the label says something like, “100 percent complete” or “Complete dinner”.
Personally, we recommend cans with complete nutrition even though we mix the canned food with dry. Some brands provide a choice of either chopped or chunky. The nutritional values are the same, but Chihuahua puppies, and most adult Chis, prefer the chopped version.
The best thing about high-quality canned foods (those made mostly of meat) is that dogs like them. In addition, they’re easily stored, have long shelf lives, and some of the top brands for Toy dogs are conveniently available in the supermarket.
The downside of canned dog food is that the best brands are expensive when compared to dry food. They also have an unpleasant smell (to some people) and won’t help scrape tartar from your dog’s teeth like dry foods do. In addition, you have to cover and store them in the refrigerator after opening.
Semi-moist or soft-moist foods
As their name implies, the moisture content of semi-moist foods is higher than that of dry food but less than canned. The result is dog food with a chewy texture. The best thing about semi-moist food is its convenience. It usually comes packaged in individual servings, however, that helps owners of average-sized dogs more than it helps you. Because the serving size is probably more than a Chihuahua eats at one time, you still must put the leftovers in an airtight bag so that they don’t dry out before her next meal.
Semi-moist foods are usually priced higher than dry food but lower than quality canned dinners. Many dogs like semi-moist food, but the reason they eat them so eagerly makes them a minus rather than a plus in the nutrition department.
The truth is, semi-moist foods contain more sugar than your dog should eat. They often contain too much salt, as well, and a variety of artificial colors and preservatives. In short, we don’t recommend semi-moist foods.
So what’s the solution?
After you know a little about the popular types of dog food, which one should you choose for your Chi? Many long-time Chihuahua owners say their dogs do best when they are fed a diet of dry and canned food mixed together. A popular ratio is 1/4th canned to 3/4th dry, mixing well before serving.
A good-quality commercial food – premium dog food – likely contains all the nutrition a Chihuahua needs to glow with good health. The better brands of commercial food are well balanced, providing your dog with the best canine nutrition known to modern science. That’s why they’re healthier than anything you can create at home for twice the price.
The right balances of protein and carbohydrates, fats and fiber, and vitamins and minerals are too important for our guesstimates and are best left to the test kitchens of the major dog food companies. Feeding a quality commercial food also protects puppies from the dangerous but all-too-human tendency to believe that if a little of something is good, a lot is even better. Nutrition doesn’t work that way, more of some substances actually can be toxic.