Are Chihuahuas Picky Eaters?

Are Chihuahuas picky eaters

Nothing is more frustrating to a pet parent than having a picky dog on hand. Many Chihuahua owners have wondered at some point in their lives: ‘are Chihuahuas picky eaters?’

If it is any solace to you, then yes, many Chis are picky so you are probably not the only pet parent struggling to get their dog to eat.

In majority of the cases, a low appetite in dogs should not be a matter of concern as long as your little guy (or girl!) is at a healthy weight.

Of course, you could always try switching foods, using some food toppers/additives, or simply checking with your vet about ways to get your picky fella to eat.

And that is what we will discuss in today’s post.

We will cover:

  • Why are Chihuahuas picky eaters?
  • How to get your picky Chihuahua dog to eat, and – most importantly –
  • How much food should your Chi eat daily?

Are Chihuahuas Picky Eaters?

Are Chihuahuas picky eaters

Yes, many Chihuahuas are known to be quite picky. You might find yourself buying the most nutritious dog food in the market and still your pet might simply sniff at it, turn up its nose, and walk away.

Many Chihuahua owners keep trying different foods and even opt for homemade dog food but to no avail. Their stubborn dog simply refuses to eat!

Naturally, as a responsible dog parent, you might find this very concerning. You might have even checked with a vet and done everything else in your capacity to get your picky Chi to eat.

In the next section, we will discuss the exact reasons why some Chihuahuas turn picky.

Why Are Chihuahuas Picky Eaters? 9 Main Reasons

Are Chihuahuas picky eaters?

Dogs have descended from wolves who were known to be opportunistic hunters, scavengers, and predators. Naturally, we humans expect all domesticated dogs to eat whatever is present on their plates.

But this isn’t the case always.

Here are the main reasons why Chihuahuas turn picky:

1. Small dogs don’t need too much food

Chihuahuas are small dogs. They are, in fact, the smallest dog breed in the world. The average height of a Chi is between 6 and 9 inches and their average weight is between 3 and 6 lb.

So, your dog is probably eating as much as it needs to eat. May be, you are measuring the ‘food’ as per your own standards. (I will discuss exactly how much food a Chihuahua needs later in this guide).

The bottom-line: your dog’s picky eating could simply be your perception. Please check your pet’s weight from time to time so you can ensure that your fussy eater is getting the calories it needs.

2. Eating too many table scraps and treats?

We all love our little dogs and want them to have good lives. It is due to this mentality that we often end up feeding our Chihuahuas too many treats, human food, and table scraps.

If you are the proud owner of a Chihuahua puppy on hand, then you might end up treating and rewarding it during the course of its training.

Remember: this is a small dog with a tiny stomach. Even a few treats can end up being very calorific and might fill your pet up. Pickiness could stem from the fact that your Chihuahua simply isn’t hungry.

3. Not getting age-appropriate food

When your Chi was growing up, you might have fed it 3-4 times a day and it might have polished off all the food every single time.

But as your pet grows into an adult, you need to reduce the number of meals. An adult Chihuahua should ideally eat only 1 or 2 meals depending on its activity, overall health, age, and etc.

Similarly, you also need to vary your pet’s food according to the life stages. For example, a growing Chi needs food rich in DHA and omega fatty acids, animal protein, calcium, and other minerals for optimum brain development, strong bones, and healthy teeth.

On the other hand, an adult Chihuahua would need food higher in probiotics, protein, and fiber for good digestion and immunity.

If your little dog has not been getting the right balanced diet, then too it could turn into a picky eater.

4. Underlying deficiencies and health problems

Many times, food pickiness stems from an underlying health issue or nutritional deficiencies.

Some dogs with dental issues cannot chew their kibble/dry food. For such pets, you need to switch to appropriate wet/canned food or go in for homemade meals.

Pickiness in dogs can definitely arise from underlying vitamin or mineral deficiencies too. If you have been feeding the wrong food, chances are your pet has developed nutritional needs that aren’t being fulfilled with what you are feeding it.

5. Internal parasites

In extreme cases, food pickiness in a Chihuahua can stem from worms or parasites. These may be sapping all of your pet’s nutrition and might also lead to deficiencies and a lack of appetite.

6. Food intolerances/sensitivities

Sometimes, a Chihuahua could turn into a finicky eater because of food intolerances or food allergies. Some ingredient in its current food might cause stomach upset or skin allergy which could lead to annoying symptoms. These too can lead to pickiness.

7. Eating out of the trash

Some Chihuahuas sneak into the trash can to eat food that they aren’t supposed to eat. Your pet might be full for all you know, due to this habit.

8. Changes in environment/stress

Sometimes, pickiness can arise due to changes in routine, environment, or stress such as the arrival of a new pet or a baby. These factors can also affect your Chihuahua’s appetite and lead to pickiness or skipping meals.

9. They are master manipulators

Lastly, we must not forget that Chihuahuas, like most dogs, are master manipulators. They might even starve themselves to get their food warmed up or have some food toppings or mixers added to their foods. Not eating could also be a way of getting their owner’s attention as well.

Can a Chihuahua Starve Itself to Death?

No healthy dog would intentionally starve itself to death.

Chihuahuas, like all dogs, can go without food much longer than we think they are capable of. If your Chi is healthy, it can easily go without food for up to two days.

Naturally, if your Chi won’t eat for more than 24 to 36 hours, it is best to bring it to the attention of your vet.

Do check if your Chi has access to other foods – perhaps it has been eating out of the trash – which can lead to food poisoning symptoms such as nausea or vomiting. It also could be that a family member is sneaking it some treats.

As mentioned earlier, starvation could be a trick to get your attention or get the food it loves. Sometimes, simply warming up the food or soaking it in some warm broth can get your picky eater to eat.

Which Dog Food/Food Topper is the Best for a Picky Chihuahua?

Are Chihuahuas picky eaters?

It is best to discuss Chihuahua dog food options with your vet.

Sometimes, dogs just need a change of taste or some variety in food and making a switch to another high-quality food can help.

Always start small when you change your dog’s diet. Chihuahuas are known to be sensitive and sudden food changes could cause indigestion or an upset stomach.

 Try adding some food toppers or food mixers in your pet’s current food. The following could be excellent additives for your picky Chihuahua:

1. Herbsmith Kibble Seasoning

Are Chihuahuas picky eaters

Herbsmith seasoning contains just four ingredients- carrots, celery, beef, and potatoes. It is made using USDA beef and contains no gluten, fillers, grains, artificial colors, artificial flavors, sugars, or other harmful additives.

Many picky dogs have started loving their kibble again thanks to Herbsmith seasoning.

The best part is that this seasoning has been developed by a holistic veterinarian – so you can rely on it!

Herbsmith Kibble Seasoning – Freeze Dried Beef – Dog Food Topper for Picky Eaters, 4.5 oz
  • REAL, USDA-INSPECTED BEEF - We only use whole food ingredients, like human-grade fruits and veggies with real, raw meats for dogs (because no dog deserves to be served “meat substitute”).  All of these ingredients are responsibly sourced in the USA to provide your dog with only the best!
  • FREEZE DRIED RAW –  The freeze-drying process allows for a flavor-packed mix of deliciousness, while still maintaining the essential vitamins and minerals in each ingredient.  Add water to our raw dog food topper to see it turn back into real, whole food before your eyes!
  • GLUTEN + GRAIN FREE –  Our 100% GRAIN FREE formula creates MORE room for meats and produce and NO room for ingredients like “chicken meal” that others tend to use. Our dog food seasoning contains ZERO ADDITIVES, fillers, flavors, dyes, preservatives, meat meals, or grains.
  • PICKY EATER APPROVED –  When you’ve got a pup with a particularly pesky palate, we know how hard it can be to find a successful dog food topper for your picky eater – but look no further! We’ve created a delicious, 100% US-sourced, freeze dried kibble topper that’s sure to delight even the pickiest of pups!
  • MADE IN THE USA – Each of our recipes are created by holistic veterinarian Dr. Chris Bessent, who owns and operates Herbsmith’s two facilities in Wisconsin.  It’s quality you can trust from a veterinarian with over 30 years of experience.

2. K9 Freeze-dried Hypoallergenic Food Topper

Are Chihuahuas picky eaters

If your Chihuahua is allergic or sensitive to certain food ingredients, then this topping is a great choice. It is hypoallergenic and made with 100% grass-fed, free-range beef.

It is made in New Zealand and is suitable for Chihuahuas at all life stages.

K9 Natural Freeze Dried Dog Food Topper By Perfect Grain Free, Healthy, Hypoallergenic Limited Ingredients For All Dog’S - Raw, Freeze Dried Mixer (Beef, 8.8Oz)
  • Best Natural Dog Food Topper - Contains 1 Pack Of 8.8Oz Beef Green Tripe Freeze Dried Booster. Supports Healthy Skin, Coat Condition & Boosts The Nutritional Value Of Your Dog’S Food In Seconds. Ensure Your Dog Gets All The Nutrients They Need To Be In Top Condition By Simply Adding This 100% Natural Supplement Booster To Their Diet.
  • Perfectly Safe For Your Dog – No Fillers Or Gelling Agents, Just All Natural New Zealand Beef Green Tripe. This Grain Free Dog Supplement Is; Filler Free, Gmo Free, Animal Meal Free, Artificial Preservative Free, Legume Free Artificial Flavor Free And Artificial Color Free.
  • 100% New Zealand Grass Fed Beef Green Tripe – Get The Best Grass-Fed New Zealand Beef Green Tripe For Your Dog From Ethical And Sustainable Sources With A Traceable Supply Chain. New Zealand Has A First-Class Reputation For Producing The Healthiest Farmed Animals In The World.
  • Raw Freeze Dried & Easy To Use- Comes In A Resealable Pack. Simply Mix The Gently Freeze-Dried Raw Grass-Fed Beef Green Tripe Into Your Dog’S Dry Kibble Or Wet Canned Dog Food. Test The Best Serve Size For Your Dog Type And Size. Store In Your Pantry After Opening.
  • Palatability Guarantee – K9 Natural Is Made Fresh To Satisfy Even The Most Picky Eaters. If Your Dog Doesn’T Love K9 Natural, We’Ll Refund Your Purchase, No Questions Asked. It’S That Good. Add To Cart Now.

How to Get a Picky Chihuahua to Eat?

Before using the tips below, make sure that your Chi is actually picky and not suffering from a health issue.

In addition to using the best food additives mentioned above here are some more tips to get your picky Chihuahua to eat:

1. Add stew or broth to its kibble

Add some chicken/vegetable/lamb stew or broth over the dry kibble. These help soften the crunchy dry food which can be a boon for smaller dog or dogs with dental issues. Stews and broths also make everything taste better too.

2. Avoid feeding it table scraps and treats

For a few days, lay off the treats and table scraps. They could be too calorific and your Chi might be filling up on them.

3. Only lay the food out for 30 minutes

This usually works with my dog (an 8 year old Chihuahua named Bella). I feed Bella home-cooked meals which she usually eats but on some days, she turns up her nose at it. In this case, I simply leave the food out for 5 minutes before picking it up. It always works as she comes running to eat it!

Your Chi has to understand that that pickiness could mean starvation and that is what it will get.

4. Make dietary changes

Switching to a high-quality balanced diet for Chihuahuas or to canned/wet dog food can also get picky Chihuahuas to eat. (Make sure to discuss this move with your vet first). Also, start slow to prevent allergies/intolerances.

5. Warm the food before serving

In addition to using food toppers or additives, you could try soaking the kibble in warm water first to make it softer for Chis with tooth troubles. You could also warm up its canned food before serving since warming enhances the flavor of food.

6. Exercise your Chi and feed it the right quantities

If your vet has ruled out health issues, you might simply need to exercise your Chihuahua a little bit more than usual. And always feed age-appropriate quantities – older dogs do not need as much food as pups do.

How Much Food does a Chihuahua Need?

Are Chihuahuas picky eaters

A healthy adult Chihuahua needs just ¼ to ½ a cup of high-quality kibble or dry food. You can split this into 2-3 meals per day. (This quantity will vary based on your Chi’s activity levels and other health factors, so always check with your vet).

Chihuahua puppies need to eat at least 4-5 small meals per day. (Note that the kibble size can also vary for puppies and adult dogs for easy picking and chewing.)

A senior or aging Chihuahua too needs 1-2 meals based on its activity, health conditions, etc.

No two dogs are the same, so always consult your vet before deciding on the number of meals, type of food, etc. for your Chi.

FAQs on Are Chihuahuas Picky Eaters?

1. How long can a picky Chihuahua go without eating?

Most dogs can easily go without food for 1-2 days. However, Chihuahuas are prone to hypoglycemia which can cause their blood sugar to drop if they go hungry for a long time.

So please consult your vet if your Chi has not eaten for more than 24-36 hours.

2. What should I feed my picky Chihuahua?

You can try feeding some chicken broth or a vegetable and meat stew. Most picky eaters love this.

3. Do Chihuahuas get bored of eating the same food?

Some Chihuahuas are known to get bored and desire variety when it comes to their food choices. However, many Chis are okay eating the same food all their lives.

In reality, dogs do not have many taste receptors on their tongues and cannot taste or differentiate between flavors. That is why they don’t need too much variety.


Are Chihuahuas picky eaters?

Yes, some Chihuahuas are known to be picky and need variety in their foods. Pickiness can also stem from being filled up with table scraps, human foods, or dog treats.

You can try changing your dog’s food, warming it up, or adding food toppers, deboned chicken, chicken meal, or chicken broth to its diet. These tricks usually get most picky Chihuahuas to eat.

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