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The 8 Best Dog Foods for Chihuahuas: Test Results for 2022

Chihuahuas have long lives, which is fantastic for you and your furry friend to develop years and years of great memories. However, with long life comes a collection of health problems that need special care and preventative measures. 

Additionally, chihuahuas’ small lean bodies mean that their diets are different from large breeds, so naturally, selecting your dog food should be specialized to your pup!

Wondering what dog food will be the best for your chi and his particular needs? Check out our top 8 best dog foods for chihuahuas.

Our Top Picks

  Product Details    
01 Blue Buffalo Small Breed Dry Dog Food Best Overall: Blue Buffalo Small Breed Dry Dog Food Blue Buffalo’s brand reputation can’t be beaten. This quality blend comes at a budget-friendly price and is well-liked among pet owners like us. Check Price
02 Blue Buffalo Small Breed Dry Dog Food Puppies Best For Puppies: Blue Buffalo Small Breed Dry Dog Food Puppies This blend focuses on the developmental needs of a growing small-breed puppy. Check Price
03 Wellness Complete Health Small Breed Food Best For Seniors: Wellness Complete Health Small Breed Food Wellness’s scientifically curated mixture for seniors is a great fit for your aging pet and their health needs. Check Price
04 Wellness CORE High Protein Dry Dog Food Best High-Protein: Wellness CORE High Protein Dry Dog Food This blend fosters great muscle tone and provides all the support your high-energy pup needs to thrive. Check Price
05 Blue Buffalo Wilderness Rocky Mountain Recipe Best Grain-Free Option: Blue Buffalo Wilderness Rocky Mountain Recipe This Blue Buffalo dog food comes rich with wild flavors and quality ingredients to satiate your pet’s natural instincts. Check Price
06 Canidae Pure Small Breed Dry Dog Food Best Limited Ingredient Dog Food: Canidae Pure Small Breed Dry Dog Food This is a great limited-ingredient option for any sensitive pet dealing with allergy issues or digestive troubles. Check Price

How We Tested the Best Dog Foods for Chihuahuas

Chihuahua eating kibble
Even little dogs need lots of nutrients to grow and stay healthy.

For this test, we considered the most well-known dog food brands out there who hold fantastic reputations and universally produce great, high-quality products. 

One brand that made our list 3 times was Blue Buffalo! They always utilize the highest quality ingredients and pack in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants your pet needs to thrive! 

Another was Wellness, which has the same attention to quality but builds blends using their love for pets and the expertise of nutritionists, veterinarians, and scientists! They are a leader in natural pet food! 

The three others were Canidae, Nulo, and Royal Canin, who all put their own twist on quality-ingredient, specialized pet food. We looked into all these companies’ brand reputations and practices to determine the best options for our pets and yours.

Additionally, we studied each ingredient and examined what loving pet owners said about these mixes. Finally, we tried them on our own chihuahuas and compared our ratings and reviews. We tested 14 chihuahua foods. 8 blends made our list of top picks.

Best Dog Foods For Chihuahuas

1. Best Overall: Blue Buffalo Small Breed Dry Dog Food

Blue Buffalo Small Breed Dry Dog Food

Product Ratings

Cost5/5
Ingredients4/5
Enhancements4.5/5
Mindfulness4/5

Type: Dry | Design: Adult | First Three Ingredients: Deboned Chicken, Chicken Meal, Brown Rice | Price: $

What We Liked

  • Budget-friendly
  • Vitamins and antioxidants
  • No corn, wheat, or soy
  • No poultry by-products

What We Didn’t Like

  • Not all chihuahuas like the Life Source bits
  • Not gluten-free 
  • Not pea allergy friendly

Blue Buffalo’s small breed dog food is not only the most cost-effective on the list but also holds the best combination of ingredients and enhancements. From their signature Life Source bits to their high-quality, USA-made ingredients, this brand is a hard one to beat, which is why we selected it as our best choice for your chi. 

Ingredients

Blue Buffalo Small Breed Dry Dog food has all the ingredients you want and nothing you don’t. It ditched poultry by-products, corn, and soy that can be unhealthy for your dog and exchanged them instead for high-quality protein and nutrient-rich fruits and vegetables like apples, spinach, blueberries, and pumpkin!

Enhancements

This blend really shines where it counts — and we don’t just mean your best friend’s coat. Blue Buffalo Small Breed Dry Dog food is full of vitamins and minerals like omega 3 & 6, vitamin C and E, and much more to promote healthy muscle growth, joint functionality and mobility, and immune health.

This mix also includes Blue Buffalo’s trademarked “Life Source” bits that contain many rich antioxidant foods. Though we love the extra boost our furry friends receive from these potent pieces, we found many of our chihuahuas left the Life Source kibble in the bowl at the end of their meal.

Mindfulness

When making food for chihuahuas, the breed’s high energy and tiny mouths are both traits to consider. Blue Buffalo ensured they selected the perfect ingredients for your chi’s metabolic speed and the perfect size kibble to help with tartar removal and overall dental health.

These mindful marks and Blue Buffalo’s ingredients make it a great choice for your chi. 

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2. Best for Puppies: Blue Buffalo Small Breed Dry Dog Food Puppies

Blue Buffalo Small Breed Dry Dog Food Puppies

Product Ratings

Cost5/5
Ingredients4/5
Enhancements4.5/5
Mindfulness3/5

Type: Dry | Design: Puppy | First Three Ingredients: Deboned Chicken, Chicken Meal, Oatmeal | Price: $

What We Liked

  • Budget-friendly
  • Vitamins and minerals specialized for puppies
  • Even smaller kibble than other brands we tried
  • No corn, wheat, or soy
  • No chicken by-products

What We Didn’t Like

  • Some reported digestive issues
  • Kibble is still too large for some puppies
  • Not all pets like the Life Source bits

As you can guess, many of the benefits for the puppy version of Blue Buffalo’s small breed dog food are pretty similar to the adult blend! 

This mixture includes excellent ingredients that are specially crafted for not only a small breed but a small breed pup! You’ll be happy to know that with this blend, your puppy will receive all the support it needs to grow into a healthy and strong adult dog! 

Ingredients

For the puppy-version of this mixture, Blue Buffalo trades brown rice for oatmeal, which is easier for developing digestive systems. It keeps its real meat and focuses on providing lots of protein for that much-needed muscle growth. 

Just like the adult version, apples, spinach, blueberries, and pumpkin hold all the nutrients an active pup could need!

Enhancements

Blue Buffalo Small Breed Dog Food for Puppies includes all the usual vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants (and the Life Source bits, of course) and includes DHA and ARA for healthy brain and eye development and calcium for strong bones and teeth! 

Blue Buffalo gives your growing chi the support it needs as it grows rapidly through those puppy years. 

Mindfulness

Blue Buffalo decided to make their kibble even smaller for this blend, which we loved! The small kibble is great for removing tartar from teeth and allows for easy-chewing with their small jaws. 

Some testers did report that the kibble was still too big with their tiniest pups, so be cautious of that when trying this blend for the first time! 

We also loved that this mixture includes no chicken by-products or filler like corn! Though we wish our pups could receive some of the great nutrients in the Life Source bits in another, more dog-approved way, Blue Buffalo is clearly mindful of its tiny customers! 

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3. Best for Seniors: Wellness Complete Health Small Breed Food

Wellness Complete Health Small Breed Food

Product Ratings

Cost2/5
Ingredients3/5
Enhancements5/5
Mindfulness3/5

Type: Dry | Design: Adults | First Three Ingredients: Deboned Turkey, Chicken Meal, Ground Brown Rice | Price: $$$

What We Liked

  • Carefully chosen ingredients suitable for senior dogs
  • Pro and prebiotics for healthy digestion
  • No corn, wheat, or soy

What We Didn’t Like

  • Chicken by-products included
  • Kibble too hard for some older pups or those with dental issues
  • Pricier than other brands we tried

Wellness formulated this kibble, especially for tiny senior dogs. Each ingredient is selected specifically for the support of aging chihuahuas. Like all Wellness blends, this one is not only curated with care but with science.

One of the only downsides to this dog food choice is its high price. Some of us with older chihuahua’s, though, determined that the benefits of this blend made the price well worth it! 

Ingredients

Wellness Complete Health Small Breed Dog Food for Seniors uses lean meat in the form of chicken and turkey and intentional fats and grains to give your senior pet the foundation it needs to live the rest of its years energetic and healthy.

In addition to high-quality meat, Wellness’s blend also includes blueberries, spinach, and carrots to pack in all those great vitamins and minerals. 

Enhancements

Wellness’s scientifically-crafted blend comes with omega 3 and 6 for a shiny coat and skin (no more itchy skin), vitamin A and E for a strong immune system, and calcium for healthy eyes, teeth, and gums! And that’s not all! 

We loved that this blend also came with prebiotics, probiotics, and fiber to assist with our aging best friend’s digestive health. 

Mindfulness 

We think Wellness did a fantastic job concocting the perfect mixture for our elder chis. With the health threats that come with chihuahua’s longevity, it’s important to select a great food to help your pet feel happy and healthy for as long as possible! 

That being said, we did see that some of our furry friends struggled with the hard kibble, especially our very elderly chis and those with dental issues. We wish that this were a bit softer for our best friends. Additionally, we don’t like the use of chicken by-products. 

These things considered, Wellness has its pros and cons related to mindfulness, so it’s best to try a small amount of this dog food first to see if it will be the right fit, especially considering the cost per bag. 

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4. Best High-Protein: Wellness CORE High Protein Dry Dog Food

Wellness CORE High Protein Dry Dog Food

Product Ratings

Cost3/5
Ingredients4/5
Enhancements4/5
Mindfulness4/5

Type: Dry | Design: Adult | First Three Ingredients: Deboned Turkey Meal, Chicken Meal | Price: $$$

What We Liked

  • Turkey as a premium-protein source
  • Vitamins and antioxidants
  • No by-products
  • No preservatives, artificial colors, or flavorings
  • Pre and probiotics for digestive health
  • No corn, wheat, or soy

What We Didn’t Like

  • Pricey
  • Not gluten-free
  • Short shelf-life
  • Not pea-allergy friendly

Wellness CORE’s high-protein, fiber-rich blend is a great choice for your chihuahua! It was specifically designed for lean body masses in mind. With this science-backed diet, your pup will have everything they need to build tone muscles and maintain all their crazy energy that we love so much! 

Ingredients 

First, we love the use of turkey as a high-quality protein alternative.

This nutrient-dense meat combined with healthy fruits and vegetables makes Wellness a hard choice to pass up. Apples, blueberries, spinach, and carrots are where the vitamins are hiding, and we love that all of these ingredients are natural and wholesome. 

We also love that this mixture uses grain to support heart health. As more studies show a grain-free dietary link to heart disease in some dogs, we’re happy to find a good balance between too much and too little grain for our chihuahuas! 

Enhancements

Each one of the vitamins and minerals inside Wellness CORE’s small breed blend helped support a different part of your furry friend’s body. This blend includes nutrients to build muscle tone, develop a shiny coat, and keep a healthy heart.

The pre and probiotics assist with digestive health, which can be a great choice if your pup is struggling with tummy troubles. Glucosamine and chondroitin foster strong joints, which we love because we’re not ready to stop running and playing with our pup anytime soon! 

Mindfulness  

It’s hard to beat Wellness when it comes to attention to detail since all their blends are curated with the knowledge of vets, nutritionists, and scientists! 

This mixture is no different and contains all the right nutrients to nurture long life and great development for your pup.

However, it is good to note that this won’t be the right pick if your pup has a pea allergy because it includes peas. If something more hypoallergenic is what you’re looking for, continue reading this list to find a better fit for your family.

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5. Best Grain-Free Option: Blue Buffalo Wilderness Rocky Mountain Recipe

Blue Buffalo Wilderness Rocky Mountain Recipe

Product Ratings

Cost3/5
Ingredients3/5
Enhancements4.5/5
Mindfulness3/5

Type: Dry | Design: Adult | First Three Ingredients: Deboned Beef, Fish Meal, and Peas | Price: $$$

What We Liked

  • High-protein
  • Grain-free
  • No corn, wheat, or soy
  • Real beef and other quality red meat
  • No chicken
  • Vitamins and antioxidants
  • No artificial flavors or preservatives

What We Didn’t Like

  • Pricey compared to other brands we tested
  • Not all pets like the Life Source bits
  • Grain-free may cause heart issues
  • Not pea-allergy friendly 

Blue Buffalo lands another dog food on this list with its Wilderness Rocky Mountain recipe! This blend mimics your pup’s natural diet and provides high-quality red meat over excessive amounts of poultry. 

This blend is a great health blend for any pet owner looking for a tasty, wild blend for their adventurous chi!

Ingredients

Blue Buffalo uses lean meat in the form of deboned beef and fish that assists with developing muscle mass, which is so important for our active chihuahuas.

This blend also includes fruits and vegetables laden with vitamins and minerals that would be found out in the wilderness, including blueberries, carrots, and cranberries. All of these ingredients we found to be helpful for our chihuahua’s growth and also tasty! 

For some pets, Blue Buffalo’s wild blends are a little too wild when it comes to the flavor palate, but our chihuahuas like the Wild Mountain recipe.

Enhancements

Blue Buffalo’s blend includes their classic Life Source bits that are a hit or miss flavor-wise for many pets, but those willing to partake in their fruit flavors are blessed with tons of antioxidants great for immune health. 

Beyond that, this blend included omega 3 and 6 for skin and coat health and calcium for strong bones and teeth! We also noted that Blue Buffalo added extra taurine to promote heart health, which we found to be a relief since grain-free dog foods could lead to heart issues according to new FDA studies. 

Mindfulness

Blue Buffalo Wilderness Rocky Mountain Recipe is a great choice for almost any chihuahua owner. The solid ingredients will support your pup’s day-to-day life, but we recommend consulting a vet before placing your pet on a grain-free option since the scientific conclusions on such blends are mixed.

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6. Best Limited-Ingredient Option: Canidae Pure Small Breed Dry Dog Food

Canidae Pure Small Breed Dry Dog Food

Product Ratings

Cost4/5
Ingredients4/5
Enhancements3/5
Mindfulness4/5

Type: Wet | Design: Adult | Ingredients: Chicken, Chicken Meal, Peas | Price: $$

What We Liked

  • Grain-free
  • No corn, wheat, or soy
  • Wet dog food option
  • Limited protein (chicken only)
  • Kibbles are coated with freeze-dried raw chicken
  • Vitamins and antioxidants
  • Pre and probiotics for digestive health

What We Didn’t Like

  • Not pea-allergy friendly
  • Grain-free formula may cause heart issues 
  • Some quality issues with corn being found in some batches

Canidae Pure Small Breed Dog Food is a great choice for your chi struggling with allergies! By limiting the ingredients you can limit the foods your pup might consume that give them tummy troubles. We love this option for our furry friends with sensitive stomachs. 

Ingredients 

This recipe has only one protein: chicken! This is great for chihuahuas who don’t digest other meats well or for any pup struggling with allergies. We also loved that this blend is coated with freeze-dried raw chicken, making it enticing for even our picky pups.

No corn, wheat, or soy is also a major plus, but if your chihuahua suffers from a pea allergy, this might not be the best choice. But if your pup is not allergic, the combination of peas, lentils, and garbanzo beans will be great for your dog’s digestive health.

Enhancements

This blend includes several quality vitamins and minerals like omega 3 and 6 and vitamin E and A to assist with coat shine and immune development. It also includes prebiotics and probiotics to further assist with digestive health.

This is limited-ingredient dog food, though, which means even the enhancements are limited intentionally for the well-being of your sensitive pup. 

Mindfulness

Canidae’s limited ingredient option serves sensitive chihuahuas by providing select, high-quality ingredients for your delicate chi. The only downside is the inclusion of peas and the debate surrounding grain-free dog food and its impact on heart health, so consult your vet for the best recommendation.

If grain is another cause for digestive distress for your pup, all the more reason to try this grain-free blend.

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7. Best for Weight Management: Nulo Small Breed Dry Dog Food

Product Ratings

Cost4/5
Ingredients4/5
Enhancements4/5
Mindfulness5/5

Type: Dry | Design: Adult | Ingredients: Deboned Salmon, Turkey Meal, Menhaden Fish Meal | Price: $$

What We Liked

  • Grain and gluten-free
  • Mostly protein in the formula
  • Vitamins added for overall health
  • Low-carb
  • Low-glycemic ingredients

What We Didn’t Like

  • Grain-free may cause heart issues
  • Kibble may still be too large for small breeds
  • Some digestive issues reported

Nulo is a brand with high-quality standards and a great reputation! This blend we found to be the best for weight management as it’s the only one on the list that’s low-carb and low-glycemic.

It focuses on quality proteins to cater to your pup’s high metabolism. We loved the unique attributes of this blend and found it to be the perfect fit for any chi that needs a healthier diet. 

Ingredients 

This Nulo blend is a whopping 84% protein! The protein used is turkey, lamb, salmon, and other seafood. Additionally, this blend stays low-carb and uses healthy carbohydrates like hearty sweet potatoes! The proteins inside are easy to digest but great to help your pup build muscles and stay lean. 

Enhancements 

Like many options, Nulo’s Small Breed Dry Dog Food includes many vitamins and minerals like calcium, vitamin E, biotin, and vitamins C. You’ll also see ingredients rich in antioxidants like apples and blueberries.

Though this blend doesn’t take the cake on the most enhancements out there, it definitely has all your pup needs to have full metabolic support for their unique energetic personalities and long lives.

Mindfulness

Nulo’s blend is great for helping overweight chihuahuas shed a little while getting full dietary support. We loved that when we looked at the ingredients we recognized everyone. 

The high-protein mixture is great for most pups, but we did find that some had digestive issues due to the meat content, so be sure to try just a little before diving into a full bag. 

We loved that this blend came gluten and grain-free for the ultimate health-conscious and concerned pet owner. These attributes are also stellar for pets struggling with allergies. 

There is some debate, though, on whether grain should be included in a dog’s diet, so consult with your vet before making the switch. 

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8. Best Chihuahua-Specific Option: Royal Canin Chihuahua Food

Royal-Canin-Chihuahua-Food

Product Ratings

Cost2/5
Ingredients2/5
Enhancements4/5
Mindfulness3.5/5

Type: Dry | Design: Adult | Ingredients: Corn, Chicken By-Product, Brewer’s Rice | Price: $$$

What We Liked

  • Tailor-made for chihuahuas
  • Special kibble size and shape
  • Vitamins and minerals
  • Pleasant scent to entice picky eaters

What We Didn’t Like

  • Very pricey
  • Includes chicken by-product
  • Includes gluten
  • Includes corn

On a list of best dog foods for chihuahuas, we must include Royal Canin’s chihuahua-tailored blend! It’s the only dog food on the list that is made specifically to the unique necessities of chihuahuas and not small-breeds as a whole. 

This blend is great for any type of chihuahua, including apple head, deer head, fawn, and teacup! The company has gone to great lengths to research and study the best option for your best friend. 

We have a few questions about the ingredient choices, but we appreciated the focus on chihuahuas’ specific needs. 

Ingredients 

Royal Canin’s blend chooses chicken as an easily-digested protein, which will be great for your chi. The ingredients also include wheat gluten, brown rice, and corn.

We were disappointed to see corn as the first ingredient since corn is widely considered to not have much nutritional value for dogs nor be great for digestion. We’re not sure why Royal Canin decided to include so much of a low-quality ingredient in their mixture.

Enhancements 

This blend includes vitamins and nutrients specific to a chihuahua’s needs including EPA, DHA, omega 3, and biotin for skin and hair support. It also includes vitamin E and A for immune and heart health. Lastly, it holds glucosamine for joint health, which is very important for active and aging pups! 

Mindfulness

Something unique to the Royal Canin blend is that it has specialized kibble size and shapes for the jaw structure of a chihuahua! This was great, considering kibble size and hardness were often an issue with other brands when we tried them with our pups! 

Additionally, Royal Canin’s blend has a special scent meant to entice picky eaters to chow down on this food! This was the only dog food we tested with this enhancement. 

Though the kibble and scent specialization is great, we were disappointed with the ingredients. Chicken by-products, gluten, and corn were all included. We expected higher quality ingredients and a better selection with such a high price.

Ultimately, some of the chihuahuas that were lucky enough to test Royal Canin responded very well to the formula, so we included it in our top 8. 

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Comparison Chart

ProductsBest OverallBest for PuppiesBest For SeniorsBest High-ProteinBest Grain-FreeBest Limited IngredientBest for Weight-ManagementBest Chihuahua-Specific
Overall Rating4.4/54/53/53.75/53.4/53.75/54.25/52.8/5
Cost5/55/52/53/53/54/54/52/5
Ingredients4/54/53/54/53/54/54/52/5
Enhancements4.5/54.5/55/54/54.5/53/54/54/5
Mindfulness4/53/53/54/53/54/55/53.5/5

The Winner

Overall, we loved Blue Buffalo Small Breed Dry Dog Food the best! We found this mixture tough to beat, from the budget-friendly price to the high-quality ingredients.

The kibble size was great for small dogs, and all the added vitamins and nutrients gave us confidence our chihuahua was getting the absolute best — and at a great price, too!

How to Choose a Dog Food for Your Chihuahua

Chihuahuas being fed a treat by their owner
Choosing the right food for your chihuahua’s needs will help them have the best quality of life.

Consider Your Chihuahua’s Age

Chihuahuas can live long lives, so the health risks and needs in those later years motivate us to alter their diet to keep them happy and healthy as they age. Additionally, developing dogs and puppies need support for their developing muscles, eye-sight, and more.

Choose dog food based on the age of your chihuahua, their developmental phase, and upcoming needs as they age.

Think About Your Pup’s Health Concerns

Does your pup struggle with allergies, weight gain, or dental issues? Any of these factors will sway what food is best for your chi. Take time to examine the ingredients and specialization of each blend to confirm it’ll serve your dog’s health needs. 

Get Your Vet’s Opinion

It can be difficult to decide if your pup might need high-protein or more easily digested meat options. You might find yourself considering grain or gluten-free selections. Or maybe your chi is just a picky eater, and you’re not sure what to do. 

No matter your concern or question, consulting your veterinarian on the best selection for your chihuahua’s needs will give you confidence that you made the best and most educated selection for your dog.

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Jesse Hopping, CCDT

Jesse is a natural-born dog-lover certified dog trainer (CCDT), dog foster, and former volunteer at Richmond SPCA and surrounding dog shelters for over 10 years. Her pack includes a Bernedoodle and 3 Boston Terriers. She’s sipping caramel coffee and watching her pack play in the sun when she’s not writing blogs. Jesse has her Certified Dog Trainer designation from CATCH Canine Trainers Academy since 2018 and and majored in English from the University of Virginia.

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