I have a Chihuahua X papillion mix, she is 6lbs and almost 4 years old. Currently, feeding her is a nightmare and I worry she isn't getting the proper nutrition she needs for her specific breed and small intestnes. She currently only eats a small handful of dry food (puppy) as thats all she'll eat per day, with a small ammount of fresh chicken. Nothing else works, I have tried every dry/wet/organic food available. Is this harmful?
ANSWER: Hi Kitaya,
Balance is the key thing to any diet. The puppy food is a higher protein and of course the chicken is just meat.
To keep things balanced, you should only add no more than 10-15% of just chicken to her mix. Much more than that and the diet becomes unbalanced. That means she is not getting enough calcium and other nutrients per day.
Since she likes higher proteins, try only the grain free premium canned foods. These are mostly meat but do have some veggies and other stuff to make it balanced.
Dry foods are lacking in much needed moisture. No dog should be on mostly dry food as the dog will actually live in a mild state of dehydration. This is taxing to her organs.
Look for canned foods that are 95% meat. Ones like Natures Variety, Before Grains, Merricks 95% canned and others.
Some dogs can be picky, especially Chihuahua's. Many times people will doctor up meals to get there dogs to eat. You can try a little cottage cheese, yogurt, sardines or some other mixes so she will eat mostly what she needs to eat.
Nature's Variety makes a powder product called Boost. It's a freeze dried raw powder that you can sprinkle on her meals.
We use this a lot for dogs who are picky and/or have certain diseases and do not want to eat what they should.
You can go to Nature's Variety's website http://www.naturesvariety.com/products/treats/instinct/boost/bites
and look at some of their products as well. Some of there newer Boost bite and other products are very good and dogs love them.
You can put in your zip code and find a store near you that sells it.
But keeping her diet high in moisture is very important. We recommend feeding most small dogs only canned or better yet, raw foods. It's relatively inexpensive to feed smaller dogs canned or raw. And it is so much better for them.
Dry foods don't really have a lot of benefit other than if you are feeding multiple dogs or a big dog.
The other key and the number one thing you can do for her is to add enzymes and probiotics to her diet.
These vital nutrients are very critical to her ongoing health. Most people don't realize they need these.
Dogs and cat's get these nutrients in there natural diet or raw or prey model diet. But they are destroyed when you cook foods.
The lack of these in dogs diets are the main reason why so many dogs are suffering from allergies, skin disorders, cancers, arthritis, weight gain, yeast problems and much more.
If you don't feed a raw food diet, you can purchase enzymes and probiotics and add them to each meal. Animal Essentials makes a good one we use. It contains both enzymes and probiotics in the powder and you just sprinkle it on each meal.
We feed exclusively raw food made for dogs and we still add this on each meal. It's that important.
If you do nothing else for her, do that.
So try adding the Boost and/or getting grain free 95% canned foods and see how she does. Add the enzymes and probiotics to each meal.
Give her lots of variety. That helps her create a stronger digestive system and keeps her excited about eating.
Once you find a few good foods she likes, rotate them and you shouldn't have too many more problems.
If you would like to find out more about a raw food diet, you can respond back and I can help you transition to one.
You can find out a little more about a raw food diet on Nature's Variety's website as they sell raw for dogs as well. But there are many other raw food for dogs manufacturers.
I strongly suggest you at least look into this. Most dogs absolutely love it and it's the best thing in the world for them to live longer and more healthy and thrive the way nature intended them to do.
I know it may sound different to do that but this is there natural diet, the way they were intended to eat and thrive.
Feeding her any different for her size or breed does not make any difference. She should be eating what a Great Dane is eating, only not as much of course. It's all about balance and proper nutrition. Breed and size makes no difference. Nature did not intend any size or shape of dog to eat only specific foods.
They only difference is that smaller dogs eat smaller prey and larger ones eat smaller and larger prey. That's the way it's been throughout history. And they all survived and still with us today.
It's mostly that we domesticated them and believe they should be eating cooked foods as they become our kids. But nature never meant for them to eat cooked foods and there digestive systems are designed to process this just fine.
You can feed good canned foods and maybe a little dry but you need to add supplements like enzymes and probiotics or they will never be balanced properly and will usually develop some type of degenerative type disease, cancer or other problems.
I hope this helps and you can get her excited about eating each meal.
If you should have any other questions or would like to add more, feel free to respond back and let me know if I can do anything else.
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QUESTION: Roger, thankyou so much for the extremely detailed answer in such quick time. I am in the united kingdom, so unsure wither the products you mentioned are available here. She happily steals my cats wet food, but after trying over 50 different brands with her, she still refuses. If you would be happy to do as mentioned and help me transfer her onto a different diet I would be utterly greatful. Cooking her meals isn't an issue, I'd be happy to do so if it makes her healthier.
Your welcome for the information, I hope it does help. We've been able to transition hundreds of dogs to a healthier diet and achieve greater health.
My wife and I did write a book on the subject. If you have a Kindle or Kindle app or just an Amazon account, you can download it for only $2.99.
It contains a lot of good information about choosing good food and supplements. You can check it out here: http://www.amazon.com/Dog-Food-Decoded-Choose-Healthy/dp/1478351217/ref=sr_1_1?i
As I mentioned before, the best diet in the world for any dog is a raw food diet. This gives them all the nutrients they need and a good high moisture diet.
There are commercially made raw food products all over the world that make feeding raw very easy. These products are usually balanced as they will have bone and organ meat ground into them to make them balanced.
I'm not sure of the brands that are available in the UK but I'm sure there are some good premium brands. You just have to learn what ingredients are best for her and what to stay away from. Our book as well as many other good books on Amazon and/or other book sites can lead you in a good direction.
It all depends on what you, your budget and time frame as to how far you want to go with this. You can provide a completely healthy diet as simply as opening a bag of raw food for dogs and pouring some in her bowl. Or you can go to more extreme measures by selecting good fresh ingredients yourself and combine them into a proper balanced diet.
With our time constraints, we choose to use a commercially prepared raw food diet for our dogs and cats.
We change things up for them often. We'll sometimes add eggs, cottage cheese, some greens leftover from our own juicing, sardines, tuna and other leftovers at times.
So when you mention that you want and are willing to change her foods, you have to decide how much you want and can put into her diet.
Besides the raw foods, you can cook a good homemade diet for her. My mom does this for her dogs. It don't matter how much I tell her about the raw diet, she is just not comfortable with doing that.
This is fine and I help her make sure that the meals are balanced. There are hundreds of good recipes available on the internet and many good books with good, homemade balanced diets.
You can search through your local listings for healthier dog food stores in your area. You can go visit them and talk to them about the raw food diet and others. They will usually carry good supplements so if you choose to make her food, you can add these to make it balanced.
In the meantime, keep trying to doctor her own food up so she will keep eating. Try baby food and/or some gravy or broth on her foods. Something is bound to make her get eating.
I hope this all helps, I know I didn't give you any specific meal plans but before we do that, you need to think about what direction you want to try first. Then just try one from a good book or get a prepackaged raw product and try them out. See what might make her excited about eating.
So think about these options and let me know if you still have questions or need more information about anything. I'll be happy to keep helping if I can.