The Chihuahua's Special Dietary Needs

Proper nutrition keeps these little dogs fit, healthy and happy.

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Telltale Signs and Related Health Problems
What are some of the outward signs that can indicate something in your Chihuahuas diet is amiss? Besides obesity, skin that is oily, flakey or drycan mean trouble. The dogs coat should have a sheen. Coat and skin are the last things on a dog that receive the benefits of a good diet, he says, and therefore are good indicators that a dog isn't receiving enough adequate nutrition. Dull eyes are another sign.  Poor nutrition increases the Chihuahua's susceptibility to skin problems, including demodex and ringworm.

Also, owners should observe their dogs stools. The dogs should produce small, firmly formed stools that are medium to dark brown in color, he explains. Owners should be able to pick them up in one piece with a paper towel. Diarrhea is an indicator, as are stools that are hard as rocks, that the diet is poor.  Dowell says that poor nutrition can lead to heart problems, as well. Poor dental hygiene can also lead to heart disease. Hypoglycemia is also known in the breed.  They play hard, they run hard, Whittle explains. They have a tendency to use up their fuel fast.

Individual Feeding Regimen
Feeding schedules depend on the individual dog and its activity level, age and needs.

Dowell typically feeds her Chihuahuas once a day in the evening.

For active dogs with fast metabolisms, I might feed them more than once a day, explains Lambert. However, some dogs I wouldn't feed more than once during a day. Lambert says she typically offers 1⁄8 to 1⁄4 a cup of food daily to most of her dogs. She also watches her dogs to see if they are particularly stressed or if the summer weather is affecting them in some way, and adjusts their diets accordingly.

Whittle also adjusts her dogs food amounts according to their individual needs. She feeds her adult dogs 1 cup of food in the morning and observes how they do with that amount. She follows the same procedure with puppies. Its the best way I can tell how each individual dog eats, she says. Of course, all enthusiasts agree, don't forget to supply cool, fresh water to your Chichis at all times.

What's the best nutrition and feeding regimen for your Chichi? Only your dog will know, but you must make the final decision for your pet. Talk to your dogs veterinarian, read dog food labels carefully and be careful of what you buy. If a food isn't working, switch it, following the advice of your dogs veterinarian. Don't feed your pet table scrapsor too many treats for that matter. To keep your Chichi from becoming overweight, establish a regular exercise routine for your pet that includes walks and longer play times. With a premium food, plenty of water and exercise, premium food, and regular observation of wieght and coat, you and your Chihuahua can't go wrong.

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janet   bethlehem, PA

3/23/2012 4:15:34 AM

good article, thank you

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