Chihuahuas and Obesity
Chihuahuas are the world’s best beggars and they know it! But they are so darn cute when they look up at you with those big beautiful eyes as if they are saying “pl EEE ESE”? So, is it really so bad? It is. It is especially dangerous for a toy or small breed dogs.
Reasons why you should not let your Chi get chubby:
- Extra weight places excessive pressure on their joints and may cause them to develop arthritis and develop a number of bone and joint problems.
- Just like humans, it increases their risk of Type II Diabetes which could cause them to require daily insulin injections.
- They are more likely to have back and spinal problems. It may cause their spinal discs to slip, bones to fracture or torn ligaments.
- They are at greater risk of high blood pressure. Excessive weight places greater strain on all their organs and tissue and opens them up to a number of diseases.
- The greatest risk being heart disease.
- Sadly, it causes lethargy, they have less stamina and are at greater risk during surgery.
- So, the bottom line is as cute as their begging may be, if you want your Chihuahua to be healthy and happy and live as long as possible, don’t let them become overweight.
So what can you do if they ARE overweight?
Stop feeding them table food, unless it’s OCCASIONALLY as a treat, carrots or skinless, boneless chicken. Never feed them chocolate, garlic (or anything cooked in garlic), grapes or onions.
Increase their activity. Although Chihuahuas make good pets for apartment dwellers or those with small homes, they NEED exercise. They need enough space to run and play and they need short daily walks. See: How To Exercise Your Dog Indoors.
Set regular feeding times. Unless otherwise directed by your veterinarian they should be fed twice a day to prevent hypoglycemia that is common in Chihuahuas. You are better able to monitor their food intake by setting it out at the same time each day and only give them the specified amount set by your veterinarian. Chihuahuas thrive on routine and they will soon become accustomed to eating at certain times a day.
But, mine won’t eat dog food!
I know it is so hard to say no to a Chihuahua. Those big, beautiful pleading eyes! But remember, they don’t know what’s good for them and what isn’t. That’s your job. Even though we hate to admit it, Chihuahuas are dogs. They don’t feel the need to have a variety of different foods as we do. They are perfectly happy to eat the same food over and over, day after day…. as long as it tastes good. Keep in mind also that most dog foods are tested in kitchens by scientists that know all the nutrients that dogs need and in exactly what balance.
Put the dog food out for them (remember, at a regularly scheduled time). Encourage them to eat and leave it out for 10-15 minutes. If they won’t eat, put the food up and try later that day. If she/he still won’t eat it, put it up and try again the next day. To keep their blood sugar level, give them a small amount of a high calorie food supplement like: Nutri-Cal through out the day.
BELIEVE ME she/he will eventually eat! A human may decide to starve themselves for one reason or another, but not so with a dog. I promise, no harm will come to him/her. I don’t believe there has ever been a documented case of a dog purposely starving themselves. When they get hungry, they will eat. It goes without saying that you need to be sure that they have plenty of access to water, and if they still won’t eat after a few days, be sure to have them seen by a veterinarian.
One cautionary note:
I think it is necessary to again caution about Hypoglycemia. So, if they refuse to eat after several hours, be sure to keep their blood sugar level even. You should always have a high calorie supplement like Nutri-Cal in the house and when traveling with your Chihuahua. See: HOW TO RECOGNIZE, TREAT AND PREVENT HYPOGLYCEMIA to know how to recognize if your chi is showing the symptoms. Of course, if they still won’t eat after a few days, be sure to have them checked by a veterinarian.
Don’t feel like you are being mean or neglectful to your Chihuahua. They are counting on you to help them live a long, healthy life!
For more information on Chihuahua nutrition and what to feed your dog see our series of posts, starting with this one: Confused about which dog food is best for your Chihuahua?
Questions? Leave it in the comment below and I will do my very best to answer it. Always rely within 48 hours.
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