Chihuahuas are not necessarily picky eaters, and your puppy may be willing to swallow just about anything. This can create serious health problems, since puppies that don’t get the right balance of nutrients may not grow up to be healthy dogs. Malnourished Chihuahuas can develop skin problems and, puppies who miss a meal can even be at risk of death. To avoid an upset stomach, find out what the Chihuahua puppy has been eating at the breeder’s and have the same food ready before you bring the puppy home. If you want to change the puppy’s diet, do so gradually to avoid the digestive problems that often accompany a sudden change of food.
According to the Chihuahua Club of America, Chihuahua puppies do best when you feed them a high-quality dry dog food that is formulated specifically for small-breed puppies. Since Chihuahua puppies are prone to hypoglycemia due to their small size, owners should leave the food where it is available to the puppies at all times. Frequent, small meals help to keep Chihuahua puppies healthy, and by keeping the food within the puppies’ reach they can snack whenever they want. Chihuahua breeders such as Steve and Lindy Nearman of Happy Trail Chihuahuas, who have been raising dogs since 1982, suggest that you feed Chihuahua puppies four times a day until they are three months old, then decrease to three times a day until they reach six months, after which you can cut back to feeding them twice a day. Make sure the kibble you use consists of tiny pieces so your Chihuahua puppy can’t choke on it.
The Chihuahua Club of America does not recommend that you feed Chihuahua puppies a combination of natural foods to create a custom diet for the pups. Such diets can be a great deal of trouble, but if this is what you feel is the best way to feed a pup, make certain the diet includes all of the necessary nutrients. Custom diets use either dry kibble or frozen natural foods as the base and then add other ingredients such as goat’s milk, baby cereal and single-meat baby food. Never feed table scraps to your Chihuahua, and go easy on the dairy foods, as these can cause diarrhea and vomiting. Discuss homemade food with your veterinarian for suggestions for nutritional ingredients.
Watch Chihuahua puppies who are not eating properly for signs of hypoglycemia. Some of the symptoms of this deadly condition are listlessness, weakness, coordination problems, feeling cold to the touch or grey-looking gums, skin or ears. Keep Chihuahua puppies suspected of having hypoglycemia warm and immediately administer a concentrated nutrient paste, a small amount of clear corn syrup or a bit of sugar. Look for signs of improvement, and call your veterinarian right away if the puppy doesn’t get better quickly.
The Chihuahua Club of America advises that table scraps and canned foods can also cause problems for Chihuahuas, including digestive upset and diarrhea, and shouldn’t be fed to them. Some specific foods to avoid because they are toxic to dogs include chocolate, raisins, onions, mushrooms, coffee and tea. Since Chihuahuas are so small, even a tiny amount of these, or other, toxic foods can result in death. Water is essential for puppies, and your Chihuahua should have fresh, clean water available at all times. Without it, tiny puppies can quickly become dehydrated. If your Chihuahua puppy seems ill, dehydrated or has eaten something that is potentially harmful, call your veterinarian immediately.
More on Puppy Care
The Proper Nutrition for Feeding a Puppy
Puppy Care Basics
Your New Puppy: Everything You Need to Know
Puppy Grooming for Beginners
References & Resources
The Chihuahua Club of America: Chihuahua Puppy Care
Chihuahua Puppies Guide: What To Feed Your Chihuahua Puppy