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What to Do if Your Chihuahua is a Picky Eater

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What to Do if Your Chihuahua is a Picky Eater

Whether you are buying the fanciest dog food, the most natural, or are ordering from an online pet food delivery service provider, it can be a source of agony to watch your pet dog not eat. So here is what you should do if your Chihuahua is a picky eater.

●    Understand what they do and do not need.

If your Chihuahua only sniffs and licks at a bowl of food that last week he happily gobbled down, you might start to think that he has become “bored” of that food, as humans do. But this is not the case; your dog will happily eat the same food every day of his life.

Dogs do not want nor need a lot of variety in terms of food.

However, they do need a tasty, nutritious meal. If you are looking to change your dog’s food formula, do it gradually. Start by combining new food with the old food and then gradually increase the ratio of fresh food to old food. This helps to get your Chihuahua accustomed to the new food and lowers the risk of a hunger strike occurring.

Alternatively, if your dog suddenly becomes a picky eater and has no history of this behavior, a medical disorder could be the issue so get his vet involved.

●    Consider eating patterns.

chihuahua picky eater


Most of the time, the reason Chihuahuas are picky eaters is a result of humans feeding him scraps from the table or being over-generous with treats throughout the day. While you only want to treat your dog because they bring you so much happiness, allowing him to eat like this can lead to obesity and encourages picky behavior.

Of course, he prefers what you are having for dinner, so he will avoid eating his own food in anticipation of receiving more goodies under the dining room table. However, Dogs, in general, have different nutritional needs from humans so what you are eating is not necessarily balanced and wholesome for them.

For this reason, you need to stop feeding your Chihuahua from the table and make a strict limit on the number of daily or weekly treats.

●    How do I correct picky behavior?

chihuahua eating dog food

When it is time to get serious with your Chihuahua about his picky eating habits, follow this strategy.

  • Be firm with your Chihuahua that no other food options exists.
  • Leave food out for 30 minutes and then take the bowl away if it isn’t eaten.
  • For the next meal, leave the same type of food out for 30 minutes and again take it away after 30 minutes if none is eaten.
  • Even if this behavior lasts a few days, don’t give in and give your dog treats or human food!

●    What can Chihuahuas not eat?

That being said, there are a lot of common foods that are dangerous to Chihuahuas.

  • Alcohol (ethanol) – Highly toxic to dogs
  • Caffeine – Caffeine is lethal to Chihuahuas at a dose of 75 mg per pound of bodyweight
  • Chocolate – Theobromine is lethal to Chihuahuas at a dose of 100 mg per pound of body weight.
  • Some fruit seeds, pits, and cores – Seeds, cores, and pits of certain fruits contain cyanide, which is highly toxic to dogs
  • Garlic – Garlic is lethal to Chihuahuas at a dose of 10 grams per pound of body weight
  • Grapes and raisins – Grapes are lethal to Chihuahuas at a dose of 14 grams per pound of body weight. Raisins are fatal to Chihuahuas at a dose of 5 to 14 grams per pound of body weight
  • Hops – Even small amounts can be fatal to Chihuahuas
  • Onions – Onions are lethal to Chihuahuas at a dose of 30 to 60 grams per pound of body weight
  • Macadamia Nuts – Most cases of macadamia nut poisonings are mild, with dogs typically recovering within 48 hours

Not as dangerous food items that should still be kept away from your Chihuahua include yeast dough, cat food, bacon,  wild mushrooms, unripe potatoes, milk, cheese and dairy, any high-fat foods, and any salty foods.

In the moments when it feels like you are never going to be able to get your Chihuahua to eat, remember that dogs don’t starve themselves willingly. So no matter how stubborn yours is, you will be able to feed it at some point!

If you leave food out for him, he will eventually succumb to the hunger and eat it. You must not give in to his protests and his changing day-to-day feelings, for his health’s sake. Follow these tips and stay strong!



Farah Al-Khojai is the Managing Partner of Pet’s Delight. A passionate entrepreneur, Farah holds a Bsc in Government from the London School of Economics. She is always on the lookout for new opportunities to develop and grow the pet and equestrian retail and wholesale market in the UAE and beyond, and is proud to be at the helm of the first and the largest pet care provider in the market representing world-class brands including Origen, Applaws, Hunter, Savic, Flamingo, Ruffwear and Rogz.

Ellen friend

Tuesday 25th of July 2023

We rescued a chihuahua a couple of weeks ago he is so fussy with eating and only takes food out of your hand he is so loving and has really settled in but getting him to eat is a nightmare any suggestions please

Sarah bishop

Friday 23rd of December 2022

I got my harley from a lady who feed him cat food I have tried everything and ànything but he is so hard to feed,he will eat not eat dog food mostly what I eat and I want but it's getting harder and harder to feed him anything


Saturday 24th of December 2022

Dogs love cat food. It's not good for them but they love it and it's hard to get them to go back to dog food once they have had cat food. Some things to try: add a little canned mackarel or tuna to his food, or add some bone broth to his food. If he were mine, I would just give up on trying to feed him dog food and make his meals. In fact that's what I'm doing now for my dogs. I cook up some ground turkey or ground beef, add some white rice cooked in beef bone broth, add some mixed veggies and a can of mackarel or tuna. I also add some vitamins and powdered calcium. My dogs love this, even my 2 extremely picky yorkies.

jayne jenkins

Tuesday 19th of October 2021 chihuahua Won't eat dog food AT all .she will starve herself until she has blood sugar levels problems then she has turns of lethargy and shaking. I've tried every thing I'm scared she's going to die she only weights 2kg .please help what can I do ?


Wednesday 20th of October 2021

What does your vet say? If you haven't contacted them, that's what I would do first. Something may be wrong that is causing her lack of appetite. Have you tried cooking for her? There are lots of homemade dog food recipes out there and most dogs prefer that to kibble. And we once had a dog who got sick and once he recovered, he refused to eat. The vet called it canine anorexia and said it was somewhat common. We soaked his food in warm beef broth and slowly he started eating again.

mary nicholson

Saturday 30th of January 2021

I have a nearly 3 years old male chihuahua who is moody at times and a picky eater. If my friend visits he will eat his meal no problem for him and tends to wait for him coming to visit at times he knows. Sometimes he eats well and other days he does not. He is not below weight and recently had a full vet check. it so frustrating when he is like this.


Monday 1st of February 2021

Sounds like he's playing mind games Mary. Could it be possible he's eating when your friend is there because he doesn't want him to get it? Maybe pretend like you are going to eat his food and see what he does.


Tuesday 1st of September 2020

My baby is 3.3 pounds. I have tried everything even the high priced refrigerated types. She refuses to eat to the point she has low blood sugar issues. At times I just syringe her water. We have been to the vet, her teeth are fine, blood tests done, she is just picky. One day she will gobble fresh cooked chicken the next day she acts like it shocks her to even go close to it. A week later she gobbles it up again. It’s so frustrating I have no answers.


Tuesday 1st of September 2020

That is frustrating Christina. Some dogs are just picky. My yorkie Ziggy is like that but not as bad. I'll think I have found something he likes, then the next time I serve it, he will turn his nose up at it. I can sometimes psych him out by pretending to eat it myself or I'll pick it up, take it to the fridge and act like I'm adding something to it. It sometimes works, other times it doesn't. Usually though, if he won't eat, I'll pick it up, put it in the fridge and try again later in the day. Often by then, he's ready to eat.