Nutrition Part III ~ Series of IV
Dry Dog Food
Without a doubt, dry dog food is the most popular dog food sold. And there are advantages:
- It’s easy to feed & store.
- It has a decent shelf life (three to six months).
- It has little odor
- It’s good for your dog’s teeth (when fed dry)
Some things to consider before deciding to feed your Chihuahua dry dog food
One is Chihuahua puppies may not consume enough dry dog food to meet their energy needs. (See post on hypoglycemia). They eat more when the nuggets are moistened, but that removes the teeth cleaning benefit that is so important for Chihuahuas and other toy breeds. (see How You Can Save Hundreds of $$ a Year at the Veterinarian! )
Be sure to read the labels on the bag carefully because some are meant to be consumed dry while others form a gravy when moistened and are meant to be eaten slightly wet, and still others may be consumed either way.
When choosing a dry dog food for your Chihuahua be sure to check the size of the nuggets. A tiny Chihuahua naturally prefers small pieces that they can easily chew. Large, extra-hard pieces will make it hard for them to close their mouth to chew it.
Another thing to consider is that you feed them the freshest food you can. Unless you have more than one Chihuahua and you feed them the same food, you may want to buy the smallest bag to ensure that they are always getting fresh food. Nobody, not even dogs like stale, moldy food.
Canned Dog Food
The biggest benefit of canned dog food is that dogs love them! The best ones are made of mostly meat products, they have a high moisture content and usually contain some vegetable products.
Some canned dog food provides complete nutrition and some are meant to be mixed with dry dog food. If you decide to feed your Chihuahua canned food exclusively be sure it says something like; 100% complete or “complete dinner”. I personally think that if you decide to mix you should mix a complete canned food with the dry. Some brands also provide a choice of chopped or chunky. The nutritional values are the same, but in my experience, Chihuahuas prefer the chopped variety.
The best thing about the canned dog food is that some of the high quality brands are conveniently available at the supermarket. You can buy their food when you buy yours. Nice and convenient!
The bad thing is they are also expensive when compared to the price of dry dog food. Some people think they have a very unpleasant smell. And, they won’t help scrape the tarter off their teeth either and that is a very important thing to consider, especially for toy breed dogs∗. You also have to cover them and store them in the refrigerator after they have been opened.
What about semi-moist or soft-moist foods?
Just like the name implies, the moisture content of semi-moist foods is higher than in dry food, but less than canned food. With that you get a chewy texture. The best thing about semi-moist food is that they come in individual servings. While that may be good for the average size dog, the individual size servings are too much for a Chihuahua to eat at one time, and you have to store the extra in an airtight bag so they don’t dry out before their next meal.
Semi-moist foods are also usually priced higher than dry dog food, but less than canned food. Many dogs like the semi-moist foods, but the reason they love them is they contain more sugar or corn syrup. They also contain too much salt and have a variety of artificial colors and preservatives. Just as I wouldn’t advise you to eat foods with too much of those ingredients, I wouldn’t advise that you feed them to your dog.
Finally, there are the frozen dog foods you find in some pet stores. The best ones provide a high percentage of meat and dogs like them. They are stored in your freezer and seldom spoil. Just be sure to check the date before purchasing and be sure to thaw your dog’s portion thoroughly before serving. You can also use these alone or mix them with dry food.
I will continue our discussion of dog food in my next post. I’ll give you the facts about treats and table food and foods for special reasons. I’ll tell you about puppy food, maintenance meals, what to feed performance dogs, weight control, senior food and prescription dog food. So come back soon or subscribe to our blog and you will never miss a post!
∗ For the sake of simplicity I will use the pronoun “she” or “her” in this post.
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