Which Diet Is Right For Your Chihuahua?

There is no such thing as “best dog diet”. Each dog responds differently on different type of diet. Healthful foods  should meet certain parameters, but the food you choose must also agree with your individual dog. What provides one dog with vibrant health and energy may not do so for another. Here is some of the most popular types of dog food to help you decide what’s best for your dog.

Dry/kibble

Most dry foods are made via a process known as extrusion, which is somewhat similar to what’s done to make pasta. Ingredients are ground in a mill and blended together in a mixer until the consistency resembles a powder. The mixture is put into a machine called an extruder, which cooks it with steam.

The cooked mixture exits the opposite end of the machine through a die, which forms it into the desired shape and cuts it into individual pieces. The pieces are heated to remove the moisture and then cooled at room temperature. The dried pellets are sprayed with coatings, such as fats or flavorings.

Pros:

  • Cost-effective. Energy-and nutrient-dense.
  • Consistent product. Each piece of food is nutritionally balanced.
  • Convenient. Easy to store and pour. Travels well.
  • Grinding of ingredients prior to extrusion may increase digestibility.
  • Can be left out without spoiling. Perfect for dogs who graze throughout the day.

Cons:

  • Might contain synthetic preservatives and other artificial ingredients.
  • Might contain grains, such as wheat, corn or soy, as the main protein source, instead of more expensive animal proteins.
  • Low water content means dogs must drink more to stay hydrated.
  • Can mold, become rancid or become infested with grain mites if stored improperly.

Wet/canned

A combination of ingredients, such as meats, grains and vegetables that have been mixed together and cooked. The ingredients are typically filled into cans, which are vacuum-sealed and heated at a high temperature for several minutes to kill bacteria and prevent spoilage.

Pros:

  • Taste. Some dogs find wet food more palatable than kibble.
  • Typically lower in synthetic preservatives and other artificial ingredients than dry food.
  • Less processed than dry food, which helps to preserve the integrity of the ingredients.
  • High water content (about 75 to 80 percent) helps dogs stay hydrated.

Cons:

  • Spoils quickly. Cannot be left out for more than 30 minutes.
  • Typically more expensive than dry food.
  • High water content means dogs must eat more to meet their nutritional requirements.

Commercial frozen raw

A combination of raw ingredients, such as ground muscle meat, organ meat, bones, fruits, vegetables and herbs that have been mixed together and flash-frozen. Some raw food manufacturers use heat-free sterilization methods, such as high pressure processing, to kill pathogens like Salmonella and E.coli.

Pros:

  • Processed without heat. Raw ingredients retain their original nutrient composition.
  • Contains fresh ingredients.
  • High proportion of fresh animal protein per serving.
  • No synthetic preservatives or other artificial ingredients.

Cons:

  • Spoils quickly. Cannot be left out for more than a few minutes.
  • Careful handling required due to potential for cross-contamination of pathogens, such as Salmonella, which could pose a threat to people.
  • Not for all dogs, such as those with certain medical conditions or those receiving chemotherapy, due to a decreased immune system ability to fight off potential bacteria.
  • Expensive, especially if feeding a large dog.

Dehydrated

A combination of ingredients such as animal protein, fruits, vegetables and herbs. Warm air is used to slowly remove the food’s water content.

Pros:

  • Minimally processed. Closer to fresh food than canned or kibble.
  • Convenient. Just add water to rehydrate.
  • High in moisture when rehydrated, which helps dogs stay hydrated.

Cons:

  • Typically more expensive than canned or kibble.
  • Less convenient for travel than canned or kibble. Requires water to rehydrate.

Freeze-dried raw

A combination of ingredients such as animal protein, vegetables and fruits. Freeze-dried foods are first flash-frozen, then placed in a special pressurized chamber. Drastically decreasing the pressure and increasing the temperature inside the chamber, while still keeping it below the freezing point, changes the ice in the frozen product directly from a solid to a gas, bypassing the liquid stage.

Pros:

  • Retains virtually the same nutritional properties as raw.
  • Convenient. No freezing or thawing. Just add water to rehydrate for a meal, or serve as-is for treat, depending on the manufacturer’s directions.
  • High in moisture when rehydrated, so dogs can drink less to stay hydrated.

Cons:

  • Requires the same safe-handling methods as raw.
  • More expensive than canned or kibble.

Home-prepared raw

A combination of raw animal protein and other ingredients such as fruits and vegetables prepared by the owner and served uncooked. Might contain organ meats and bone parts.

Pros:

  • Owner controls the type and quality of ingredients.
  • Contains whole, fresh foods of known origin.
  • Raw ingredients retain their original nutrient composition.
  • High proportion of fresh animal protein per serving.
  • No synthetic preservatives or other artificial ingredients.

Cons:

  • Spoils quickly. Cannot be left out.
  • Careful handling required due to potential for cross-contamination of pathogens, such as Salmonella, which could pose a threat to people.
  • Not for all dogs, such as those with certain medical conditions or those receiving chemotherapy, due to a decreased immune system ability to fight off potential bacteria.
  • Expensive, especially if feeding a large dog or using organic ingredients.
  • Home-prepared diets might not be nutritionally balanced. Requires the guidance of a veterinarian or qualified animal nutritionist.
  • Less convenient than commercial food. Owner must source, store and prepare a variety of ingredients.

Home-prepared cooked

Fresh ingredients sourced and prepared by the owner via a variety of cooking methods including, baking, steaming and boiling.

Pros:

  • Owner controls the type and quality of ingredients.
  • Owner controls cooking method.
  • Contains whole, fresh foods of known origin.
  • No synthetic preservatives or other artificial ingredients.

Cons:

  • Home-prepared diets might not be nutritionally balanced. Requires the guidance of a veterinarian or qualified animal nutritionist.
  • Less convenient than commercial food. Owner must source, store and prepare a variety of ingredients.
  • Expensive, especially if feeding a large dog or using organic ingredients.
  • Spoils quickly. Cannot be left out for more than a few minutes.
Which Diet Is Right For Your Chihuahua? was last modified: by

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