How much to feed a small Chihuahua


Question

I have a 4 year old Chihuahua that is very overweight and the vet said she should be weighing about 7lbs and she is almost 11.5 lbs. She is a very picky eater and she’s been eating Stella’s Chews dehydrated food both Chicken & Beef mostly but then I was told by one of your staff that it was very high in fat but I haven’t found a food that she likes. Her babysitter has given her Fresh Pet rolls & she’ll eat them at his house but I’m not sure if the food is good for her. He also gives her the Fresh Pet turkey bacon treats. Do you have any suggestions on what food and treats to give her and how much?
Sue

Answer

Hi, Sue!

Stella & Chewy’s is a wonderful brand with so many fun flavors to try, but – you’re right! The chicken and the beef are both a smidge high in fat for such a tiny dog whose genetics tend to hand them cardiac and hepatic issues. However, fat = FLAVOR, so the finicky pups really do love it. Other brands do have freeze-dried formulas that are lower in fat (Primal’s pork or turkey & sardine, as well as Northwest Natural’s chicken & salmon come to mind). If you chose to go with frozen raw instead of freeze dried, I’d recommend looking at Raw Bistro’s bison and Primal’s venison and rabbit formulas for the lowest fat options (the venison is also one of the lowest in sodium).

As for portioning, feed her for how much she should weigh, rather than how much she currently weighs. You’d want to follow feeding formulas for a 7-pound dog, rather than a 10-pound dog which often requires some math. Many brands are happy to help you calculate proper feeding quantities. Primal’s web site, for instance, would have you feed her a total of 3 nuggets per day to achieve weight loss if you went with the turkey & sardine option. This doesn’t allow for treats, however, so you’d need to adjust additionally for that. Whatever calories she gets in treats for the day, she doesn’t get for dinner. There are lots of low-calorie treat options out there, the newest being the Leanlix brand (40 licks equals ONE calorie!), 2-calorie Zukes treats are size appropriate for her, Charlee Bear’s are only 3 calories a piece, and Fruitbles Skinny Minis are only 2.5 calories.

 Pop in to your local Chuck & Don’s to chat about these and other great, low-calories options for your pup! A diet doesn’t have to be miserable for her OR for you and we’re happy to be a part of her team.