As is the case with any dog, feeding your chihuahua too much or too little can lead to a litany of health problems. Given how small they are, feeding them too much is far too easy and can lead to obesity while not enough food can lead to nutritional deficiencies.
That said, it is far more common for chihuahuas to become overweight than it is for them to be underweight. Overfeeding is all too common for this breed of dog because it can become challenging to know just how much to feed your chihuahua each day.
How Much to Feed a Chihuahua Puppy?
Puppies in general need to be fed more often than adults. They have more dietary needs because their bodies have not developed yet, with bones and joints becoming stronger as they get older. That means that your chihuahua puppy should be eating food that has no less than 22.5% protein content.
Puppies also have a much higher metabolism, which means that they need to eat 3-4 meals per day, at least at the start. Chihuahua puppies will see their meal frequency vary beginning at two months old and capping at around eight months.
Any chihuahua feeding chart will begin with 4-6 meals each day from the two-month mark to around four months old. From four to six months old, that will change to 3-5 meals per day. At six to eight months, that will change to 3-4 meals per day. Finally, when they hit eight months old, they should be settling in at around 2-3 meals per day.
Calculate the amount of food that your dog requires based on weight, age, activity, and how many treats you are giving them each day. Just make sure that you err on the side of caution; you don’t want to start overfeeding your puppy in their developmental stage. Extra weight as a puppy can lead to a much higher risk of obesity as they transition into adulthood.
How Much to Feed an Adult Chihuahua?
There are a few variables that come into play when determining how much you need to feed your chihuahua. You need to know their ideal weight, check any recommendations for feeding amounts on their food, and account for any variables in their lives.
Determining Ideal Weight
The standard ideal weight for a chihuahua is roughly between 3 and 6 lbs. That said, it can change because chihuahuas come in a variety of different body sizes and types. The American Kennel Club is a good reference, but it is just that – a reference.
There is a body sectioning chart that can show you what their weight is like from underfed to overfed. It will illustrate what their body will look like as well as the characteristics that their bodies will show at each stage.
Look for things like ribs – can you see one or two? Are you able to feel them? Does their abdomen “tuck” at all or is it more rounded? Determining their body weight isn’t as simple as weighing them at times.
Check Food Recommendations
Another major factor in determining their feeding is checking the packaging of their food. Most food will come with a helpful feeding chart guide. That said, those charts don’t take into account current weight, age, activity level, and any of the snacks that you might be giving them.
When you have their ideal weight, you can match that up with the recommendations about feeding amounts. Generally speaking, those amounts are in reference to how much they should be eating over the course of 24 hours.
Most adult chihuahuas eat roughly 2-3 meals at a minimum. Depending on their individual needs, like having hypoglycemia or other issues related to food, there may be the need for even more feedings over the course of a day.
Accounting for Variables
Finally, there are individual factors to consider as well. Each chihuahua is different from the next, with factors such as age, activity level, weight, and the number of snacks that you are giving them weighing into how much they need to eat.
Highly active dogs – who walk or run for at least an hour on most days – might need a little more food than what the chihuahua feeding chart says (unless they are active because they are overweight). Keep a close eye on their activity level and the number of treats that they are getting each day and adjust their food intake accordingly.
The last thing to take into consideration is the caloric breakdown of the food that you go with. Each food can be different, so there isn’t a simple template to follow when it comes to how much to feed your adult chihuahua each day.
Determining how much to feed your chihuahua starts with a proper schedule as a puppy and transitions into something more routine after they develop into an adult. Finding that balance is important because they need to develop properly.
Always err on the side of caution and avoid overfeeding. The last thing that you want to do is have them develop obesity at a young age, leading to a plethora of health problems later on down the line.