What’s on the Chi Menu?

Love Dog
In This Chapter
  • Arranging the nuts and bolts of nutrition
  • Giving food when you first get your Chihuahua
  • Choosing between all those bags, boxes, and cans of dog food
  • Feeding at different ages and stages of life
  • Steering clear of the nutritional no-nos
Just look at the pet-food aisle at any major supermarket. It’Technical Stuff stacked high with an array of kibble, meal, biscuit, semi-moist, and canned canine cuisines — some for puppies, some for adult dogs, and some for seniors. And they all claim to offer optimum nutrition. That’s only the half of it. Pet supply stores stock several high-priced but more-concentrated brands, and each proclaims its advantages. Are you confused yet? You don’t have to be. Selecting a healthy diet for your Chihuahua can be easy. In this chapter, I help you choose the right meals for your Chi to feed her through every stage of her life.

How Nutrients Work

If you understand human nutrition, you can skip this section. Nutrients serve practically the same function in dogs as they do in people, so you already know how your dog utilizes them. For those of you who were daydreaming when your teachers talked about the body’s building blocks, the following sections detail what some of the more important nutrients do for your dog.

Building a healthy Chihuahua

Chihuahuas, and people, need a variety of nutrients to stay healthy:

– Carbohydrates are starches, sugars, and fiber. They aid in digestion and elimination and provide energy and the proper assimilation of fats. Excess carbohydrates are stored in the body for future use.

– Protein can come from meat or vegetable sources. It isn’Tip stored in the body, so your dog needs to eat it every single day. The body uses protein for bone growth, tissue healing, and the daily replacement of body tissues burned up by normal activity.

– Fats are necessary as an energy source. They also add suppleness to your dog’s skin and luster to her coat. However, excess fat is stored under the skin and can lead to an overweight dog.

Warning!

Fat balance is important. Too much fat leads to the same obesity problems that humans suffer, and too little robs your Chihuahua of necessary protection from changes in temperature and can make her overly sensitive to cold (as if she isn’t sensitive enough to cold already!).

Vitamins and minerals

Humans need vitamins and minerals in their diet, and so do their dogs. Here are some of the essentials and their roles in keeping your Chihuahua healthy:

– The body uses vitamin A for fat absorption; it’s also necessary for a healthy, shiny coat, for normal growth rate, good eyesight, and reproduction.

– The B vitamins protect the nervous system and are necessary for normal coat, skin, appetite, growth, and vision.

– Dogs synthesize vitamin C in the liver, so this vitamin isn’Tip often mentioned in an analysis of commercial dog food or vitamin supplements. Some breeders add it to the diet anyway.

– Healthy bones and teeth and good muscle tone are dependent on vitamin D, but the vitamin must be ingested in the correct ratio with calcium and phosphorus.

– Vitamin E is associated with the proper functioning of the muscles and the internal and reproductive organs.

– Most dogs can synthesize vitamin K in their digestive tracts, and this vitamin is essential to normal clotting of the blood. If your Chi seems to bleed too long from minor cuts, mention it to your veterinarian. This could indicate a deficiency of vitamin K.

– A puppy’s body must receive calcium and phosphorus in the correct ratio to provide protection from rickets, bowed legs, and other bone deformities. They also aid in muscle development and maintenance.

– Potassium is necessary for normal growth and healthy nerves and muscles.

– Sodium and chlorine boost your Chihuahua’s appetite and enable her to enjoy a normal activity level.

– Magnesium is necessary to prevent convulsions and nervoussystem disorders.

– Iron is needed for healthy blood and prevents fatigue from anemia.

– Iodine prevents goiter in dogs the same way it does in people.

– Copper is necessary for growing and maintaining strong bones. It also helps prevent anemia.

– Cobalt aids normal growth and keeps the reproductive tract  healthy.

– Manganese also aids growth and is necessary for healthy reproduction.

– Zinc promotes normal growth and healthy skin.

Feeding for the First Few Days

The only right food to feed your Chihuahua for the first few days after you bring her home is the one she was eating before you got her. Even if your new Chihuahua is an adult, make only gradual changes in her diet. She’s experiencing enough newness in her life right now. Many breeders give new owners a small amount of puppy or dog food and a written schedule to get them started, but if your breeder offers you nothing, ask the following three questions about your new dog’s eating habits:
  • What brand of food has she been eating?
  • What’s her feeding schedule (how frequently is she fed and at what hours)?
  • How much does she eat at each feeding?

Besides using the same food, sticking to the feeding schedule your Chi is used to is best, at least for the first three days. After that, you can gradually change food and chow time until her schedule blends into your household routine.

Tip

Assuming you feed your Chihuahua in the kitchen, you may want to put a carpet sample under her bowl. Many Chihuahuas (and other dogs, too) like to eat on the rug. They accomplish this by putting a few morsels in their mouths, trotting off to the closest carpeted area, and then munching them there. If your Chi is determined to eat dinner on a comfy carpet, an area rug may (notice I’m not promising anything) keep her in the kitchen.

Technical Stuff

Dogs are omnivores, which means they eat both meat and plant matter.

How to change dog foods

What if you’ve decided on a dog food and it isn’t the one your new Chi was raised on? No problem. After a few days of feeding her the brand she’s used to, introduce the food you’ve selected by adding just a little bit of it to her usual diet. Watch to make sure she eats it and check her bowel movements. As long as everything is fine (no constipation or diarrhea), add a little more of the new food and take away a little more of her old food every day. You can complete the transition by the end of a week as long as nothing appears wrong.
If your dog becomes constipated (has to strain to eliminate) or gets diarrhea, add more of the food your Chi was raised on and  less of the new food. When she normalizes, try gradually changing her diet again by substituting a very small amount of the new food daily. If problems persist, consult your vet. The problem may be caused by something other than a change of food, and persistent diarrhea is dangerous.

When to change dog foods (if you must)

Now that you know how to change dog foods, are you sure you want to? Look at your Chi. Is her weight right for her height? Does she have enough energy? Does her coat have a healthy glow? Gee, her breeder must have done something right. As the old saying goes, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” If she eats most of her meals and has regular bowel movements, an upbeat attitude, and a healthy coat, the best dog food for her (at least until she reaches another stage in her life) may be exactly the one she’s eating. See Figure 6-1 for an example of a healthy-looking, properly fed Chihuahua.
 Figure 6-1: A glossy coat, bright eyes, and an alert attitude are signs that your Chi is eating a healthy diet.
However, if your Chi is too thin or too fat, lacks energy, has a dull or dry-looking coat, or suffers from constipation or diarrhea, see your veterinarian. If he rules out parasites or an illness, consider changing her dog food. You may also want to change her diet if the one her breeder recommends is too time consuming to concoct. Some breeders create their own formulas, and many of these formulas are way too complicated for working pet owners. Besides, quality commercial food is probably better for your dog in the long run — provided that you opt for an excellent brand. The following section helps you understand the countless choices you see on the store shelves.

What You Need to Know about Commercial Dog Food

Good nutrition is essential to prevent dietary deficiency diseases. The right diet helps your Chihuahua fight off infections and reduces her susceptibility to organic ailments. The best (and easiest) way to feed your dog a balanced diet — giving her the nutrition she needs — is to choose an excellent commercial brand and stick with it. (Always make sure fresh water is available, too.) The following sections compare the many options available and help you choose the right one for your situation. I also give you the lowdown on treats and other foods you can give your pup.

Beware of bargain brands

How about I start this section with the don’ts. As in, don’t buy a bottom-of-the-line dog food for your Chihuahua. Bargain dog food is seldom a bargain. The nutritional info on the package may say it has the same percentages of protein (or other nutrients) as the better-known brands, but the amount of usable (digestible) nutrients is what’s important. For example, an old leather purse is protein but it has no nutritive value at all.
The truth is, generic and economy brands are made of the cheapest ingredients available, and tests have found that many of them don’t contain what their labels proclaim. In fact, many are downright dangerous for Toy breeds. Why? Because smaller dogs have higher energy requirements per pound than large dogs, but because of their size, they eat only a little at a time. Consequently, they need high-quality, easily digestible dinners . . . not cheap, empty calories.

Technical Stuff

So many nutritional deficiencies have shown up in dogs fed a diet of economy or generic foods that the Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital at the University of California, Davis, has labeled the syndrome generic dog food-associated disease. The common evidence of the syndrome is abnormally slow growth, coat and skin problems, and skeletal abnormalities.

Regular brands versus premium brands

I tell you in the previous section not to go bargain hunting, but you still must consider two other qualities of dog food — the regular brands and the premium brands:

The regular brands are the well-known names you’ve seen on supermarket shelves for years. Their ingredients are more digestible and made from higher quality ingredients than the economy foods. Costwise, they’re the middle-of-the-road brands — neither the cheapest nor the most expensive.

The premium brands are the highest-priced dog foods, and seldom are they seen in supermarkets. Instead, they’re sold at pet supply stores, pet shops, and some veterinarians’ offices. What sets them apart from the regular brands? Regular brands usually use wheat, corn, or soybeans as their primary ingredient, but many premium foods use a meat source as their main ingredient. Likewise, because premium foods contain only top-quality, highly digestible ingredients, they’re considered concentrated. That means dogs eat less of them and still get optimum nutrition.

So even though they cost more, premium brands go further than regular brands. Another advantage is that concentrated food makes for smaller, more compact stools, giving you easier cleanups. Of course, that’s more important to a St. Bernard owner than it is to you, but I thought I should mention it anyway.

I bet you think I’m going to tell you to run right out and buy a premium brand. But the choice isn’t that simple . . . at least not with Toy dogs. Yes, I know you want the best for your Chihuahua, and yes, premium food is the way to go if it agrees with her. But it may not. If you try a premium brand for a few weeks and she starts to show signs of constipation (straining to eliminate), gradually change back to a grain-based brand. Some small dogs do best on less-concentrated food and stay more regular when eating food that contains corn. If your Chi is one of them, find a reputable brand that keeps her bowels regular and stick with it. (For more on foods formulated for different stages of a dog’s life, see the section “Foods for Special Reasons.”)

Remember

The ingredients on a container of dog food are listed in descending order, by weight. But just because chicken is the first ingredient doesn’t mean the food is mostly chicken. The next four ingredients may be wheat flour, corn meal, barley flour, and wheat germ. When combined, the plant-based ingredients probably weigh a lot more than the chicken.

Dry dog food

Dry dog food, sold in bags or boxes, is the most popular commercialstyle feed. Here are the pluses of dry food:
  • It’s easy to feed and 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).

Now consider the minus side: Chihuahua puppies may not consume enough dry dog food to meet their energy needs. They eat larger servings when the nuggets are soaked and softened, but that removes the teeth-cleaning benefit. Read the labels on dry food carefully, because some are meant to be consumed dry, others form gravy when moistened and are meant to be eaten slightly wet, and still others may be consumed dry or moistened.

Tip

When choosing a dry food for your Chihuahua, check the size and texture of the pieces before buying. A Chi prefers small pieces she can easily chew as opposed to large, extra-hard chunks that make it hard for her to close her little mouth.

Also, consider that the freshest food is the best food. After you choose a brand of dry dog food, buy it in the smallest bag or box you can find. As you get down toward the bottom of the bag, check to make sure it still smells fresh, like biscuits, rather than stale or moldy.

Canned dog food

The best canned foods are made mostly of meat products, have a high moisture content, and usually contain some vegetable products, too. If you want to use canned food exclusively, read the label on each candidate carefully. Some canned foods provide total nutrition, but others are formulated to be mixed with dry food. If the canned food alone provides every nutrient a dog needs, the label says something like, “100 percent complete” or “Complete dinner.”
Personally, I choose cans with complete nutrition even though I mix the canned food with dry. Some brands provide a choice of either chopped or chunky. The nutritional values are the same, but Chihuahua puppies, and most adult Chis, prefer the chopped version.
The best thing about high-quality canned foods (those made mostly of meat) is that dogs like them. In addition, they’re easily stored, have long shelf lives, and some of the top brands for Toy dogs are conveniently available in the supermarket.
The downside of canned dog food is that the best brands (the only ones you want for your Chi) are expensive when compared to dry food. They also have an unpleasant smell (to some people) and won’t help scrape tartar from your dog’s teeth like dry foods do. In addition, you have to cover and store them in the refrigerator after opening.

Semi-moist or soft-moist foods

As their name implies, the moisture content of semi-moist foods is higher than that of dry food but less than canned. The result is dog food with a chewy texture. The best thing about semi-moist food is its convenience. It usually comes packaged in individual servings; however, that helps owners of average-sized dogs more than it helps you. Because the serving size is probably more than a Chihuahua eats at one time, you still must put the leftovers in an airtight bag so that they don’t dry out before her next meal.
Semi-moist foods are usually priced higher than dry food but lower than quality canned dinners. Many dogs like semi-moist food, but the reason they eat them so eagerly makes them a minus rather than a plus in the nutrition department. The truth is, semi-moist foods contain more sugar (or sweeteners such as corn syrup) than your dog should eat. They often contain too much salt, as well, and a variety of artificial colors and preservatives. In short, I don’t recommend semi-moist foods.

What’s the solution?

After you know a little about the popular types of dog food (see the previous sections), which one should you choose for your Chi? Many long-time Chihuahua owners say their dogs do best when they’re fed a diet of dry and canned food mixed together. A popular ratio is 1⁄4th canned to 3⁄4ths dry, mixing well before serving.
A good-quality commercial food likely contains all the nutrition a Chihuahua needs to glow with good health. The better brands of commercial food are balanced, providing your dog with the best canine nutrition known to modern science. That’s why they’re healthier than anything you can create at home for twice the price. The right balances of protein and carbohydrates, fats and fiber, and vitamins and minerals are too important (and complicated) for our guesstimates and are best left to the test kitchens of the major dog food companies. Feeding a quality commercial food also protects puppies from the dangerous but all-too-human tendency to believe that if a little of something is good, a lot is even better. Nutrition doesn’t work that way; more of some substances actually can be toxic.
For more advice on what to choose based on your Chihuahua’Technical Stuff place in life, see the section “Foods for Special Reasons.”

Technical Stuff

Do you remember a Hill’s Pet Products commercial from back in the early 1980s? It showed a guaranteed analysis just like the ones displayed on dog food cans. Protein was listed at 10 percent, fat at 6.5 percent, fiber at 2.4 percent, and moisture at 68 percent — all typical numbers for those nutrients. Finally, the ad displayed the actual ingredients: eight worn-out, leather work shoes, a gallon of used crankcase oil, a bucket of coal (crushed), and 68 pounds of water. When analyzed, the items equaled the guaranteed analysis, but imagine how much nutrition your Chihuahua receives from such a concoction!

Tip

Loaves of frozen dog food are available in some locales. The best ones have a high percentage of meat. Dogs like them, and they’re stored in the freezer so they seldom spoil. Check the date on the package before purchasing, and thaw your dog’s portion thoroughly before serving. You can use them alone or mix them with dry food.

What about treats and table food?

The problem with giving your Chihuahua table scraps is that tiny tummies can’t hold much food at a time, and no matter how nutritious your dinner is for humans, chances are your dog’s food is much better for her. Also, dogs that eat table scraps usually lose their taste for dog food completely.

Warning!

Don’t give your Chihuahua food directly from the table or she’ll become an accomplished beggar. If you have healthy leftovers like chicken or pot roast (not scraps like the fat you trimmed off your steak), you can serve them mixed with your Chi’s dinner. First chop or mash them well and then mix them in with her regular ration. If you get lazy and leave them chunky, she’ll inhale them first and walk away from the rest of her meal.

High-quality biscuits are good treats because they help scrape tartar from a dog’s teeth. Just don’t give her too many. Most of your dog’s calories should come from her regular meals. Many companies make miniature dog biscuits just the right size for Toy dogs. One company near me even offers dog cookies shaped like tiny postmen!
Some dogs even enjoy an occasional cooked vegetable cut into Chihuahua bite-sized pieces, such as carrots, yams, green beans, or peas. Tiny digestive systems don’t do well with raw veggies, so offer them only when they’re well cooked and have cooled to room temperature. An occasional bit of hardboiled egg is good, too, but  raw eggs are a no-no. Treats that are good for training include tinypieces of cheese (provided that your dog isn’t lactose intolerant) or chicken.

Warning!

Many dogs love a bit of cheese for a treat, but some of them can’t handle dairy products because of lactose intolerance. They suffer from diarrhea and gas cramps (yep, you’ll suffer, too) when they dine on dairy. The only way to find out if your dog can handle cheese is to try it, so offer just a tiny tidbit at a time until you’re sure that she can digest it without problems.

Foods for Special Reasons

Many of the major dog food companies offer special formulas (dry or canned) for every stage of a dog’s life. And that’s a good thing. Dogs have different nutritional requirements at different times, just like people. The following sections break down the different stages or options and their nutritional requirements.

Grub to grow on

Whether you choose dry food, canned food, or a combination of the two, your Chihuahua needs to eat a diet formulated for puppies (often called a growth formula) until she’s 1 year old. Growth formulas contain more protein and fat than adult diets. Puppies need extra protein for growth and extra fat to keep up with their energy levels.

Maintenance meals

After your Chi celebrates her 1st birthday, you can switch gradually to a commercial adult (maintenance) food (clearly labeled as such). You can use it until she’s an oldster, provided that it keeps her healthy inside and out. A poor coat usually is the first sign that your dog’s diet is letting her down. And depending on her activity level, you may want to adjust amounts a little bit over the years to keep her from gaining or losing weight.

Provisions for performers

If you decide to enter your Chihuahua in dog shows or train her for high-energy events such as obedience or agility competitions (see Chapter Training Your Chi for Canine Events, Tricks, and for Show), consider feeding her a performance (sometimes called stress) formula. Most performance foods have higher protein and fat percentages than maintenance foods, making them similar to puppy food. In fact, some exhibitors simply keep their dogs on top-quality puppy food as long as they’re competing.

Low-calorie lunches

When it comes to weight issues, prevention is the best policy. Make sure your Chihuahua exercises enough, eats a regular diet of dog food (not table scraps), and doesn’t get a treat each and every time she begs. If she starts getting pudgy anyway, a variety of reduced-calorie dog foods are available to help her slim down. Most of them contain lower percentages of protein and fat and higher amounts of fiber than normal maintenance formulas.

Although the fiber helps your dog feel full on less food and a lower fat content helps her lose weight, other weight-loss options usually are healthier. The best option is increased exercise. If that doesn’t do it, try feeding her a little less of her regular food at each feeding. Start by giving her 90 percent of her normal ration for a month. After that, if you don’t see any improvement, talk it over with your veterinarian and consider a low-calorie cuisine.

Senior cuisine

Diets for geriatric dogs contain less protein than maintenance foods, which may or may not be a good thing. If your Chi is a healthy oldster, changing chow may not be necessary. But if she suffers from an ailment such as kidney disease, your veterinarian may recommend a senior formula because less protein puts less stress on her kidneys. See the section “Supper for seniors” later in this chapter for more on this topic.

Prescription dog food

If your Chihuahua has a specific health problem — such as diabetes, heart disease, renal failure, pancreatitis, or certain skin ailments — your veterinarian may prescribe a diet formulated especially for dogs with that issue. Prescription diets are available only through veterinarians, because the formulas are so different that they aren’t good for healthy dogs. If your veterinarian puts your Chi on a prescription diet, he or she wants to monitor her progress — at least during the first few months.

Setting Puppy Feeding Schedules

Depending on your Chihuahua’s age at the time, her breeder probably fed her between three and five times a day. The younger and tinier the puppy, the less she can eat at a time and the more often she needs nutrition. As she grows older, she’ll chow down on larger amounts at a time and therefore will need less frequent meals.

Tip

Most Chihuahua puppies need four meals a day when they move into their permanent homes, but they won’t have to eat that often forever. How do you know when to cut back to three feedings? Easy: Your Chi will tell you. She’ll simply start ignoring all or most of the food at one of her meals (usually when she’s around 3 months old). After she leaves most of one meal several days in a row, cut out that feeding. Give her slightly larger portions than before, but offer food only three times a day.

At around 6 months old, your Chi will lose interest in another meal (usually the middle one). Now it’s time to increase the portions again and feed her only two meals a day, between 10 and 12 hours apart. Many large dogs wolf down a big dinner once a day and do just fine, but that doesn’t work with a little dog. A Chihuahua’Technical Stuff energy requirements are big and her belly is small, and too much elapsed time between meals can cause a dangerous drop in blood sugar.

Tip

As a starting point, offer your puppy a minimum of half a cup of food at every meal. If she finishes it quickly, licks her bowl, and looks for more, you can increase the amount. No tried-and-true rule exists for how much a puppy needs to eat, and appetites vary. Your eyes are your best gauge. They tell you if your pup is gaining or losing weight or staying just right.

Don’t let your Chi keep her food dish for longer than 15 minutes. If she hasn’t finished her meal by then, remove it until the next feeding. This will help her learn to eat when she’s fed.

Warning!

Don’t try to teach your Chihuahua to clean her plate by giving her the same stale meal at every feeding until she finishes it. That won’t teach her to eat and may make her sick. A dog needs fresh food in a clean bowl at every meal.

Filling a Mature Chi’s Belly

Adult Chihuahuas do best on twice-a-day feedings, but the meals don’t have to be identical. After your dog is 1 year old, you may try giving her dry food served dry in the morning (good for her gums and teeth) and dry food slightly moistened and mixed with canned food in the evening (or vice versa).
If you feed a healthy, parasite-free Chihuahua properly, she will maintain the same weight month after month, along with bright eyes, a shiny coat, healthy skin, steady nerves, and enough energy. If something is missing from her diet, or if she consumes too many calories, you’ll notice. Poor nutrition displays itself through coat and skin problems and sometimes a lack of energy, and excess calories lead to obesity.

Warning!

 Most Chihuahuas are good eaters. In fact, some Chihuahua owners have to watch their pets’ weights to prevent obesity. Please don’t let your Chihuahua get fat. It’s bad for her bones and organs. Obesity does as much damage to dogs as it does to people. It’s a major health problem in American dogs. In fact, it’s estimated that nearly 50 percent of the dogs in the United States are overweight.

After you find a high-quality dog food that your dog enjoys and obviously does well on, you have no reason to change. Your Chi won’t get bored with the same food every day like you would and doesn’t need to discover new shapes, colors, or sizes in her bowl at frequent intervals.

Supper for seniors

When your Chi becomes a golden oldie (around age 10 or 11), try feeding her so she maintains the same weight she carried in healthy middle age. You can adjust the amounts, or even how the food is presented, to keep your senior Chi in top condition.
If she has less of an appetite than she used to, try tempting her with a few easy options:

– For starters, warm up her food. That’s often all it takes to stimulate an old dog’s appetite.

– Another option is treating her as though she’s in her second puppyhood by feeding her small meals at frequent intervals.

– If that doesn’t help, try soaking her dry food until it softens, which makes a difference when sore teeth or gums are the problem.

– The final option is mashing tasty goodies, like boiled chicken, cooked ground beef, or cottage cheese, into her regular dinner.

It’s only fair to tell you that special foods spoil your pet and make her expect the same treatment at every meal! But then, that isn’t so terrible. If your Chi is well into her teens, a little spoiling may make both of you feel better.

Remember

Most breeds are considered seniors when they’re older than 7, but because Chihuahuas are so long lived (usually well into their teens), they aren’t oldsters until their ages reach double digits.

Supplements for adults

Supplementation may be a good idea at certain times in a Chihuahua’s life. A dog may benefit from dietary supplements in the following situations:
  • Show dogs stressed from constant travel
  • Performance dogs competing in obedience or agility events
  • Dogs recuperating from illness or injury
  • Dogs used for breeding
If you think your Chi needs a little extra help nutrition wise, check with your veterinarian. He may recommend a prepared vitaminmineral powder or tablet, or simply suggest the addition of cottage cheese, hard-boiled (never raw) eggs, or a little fat to her diet.

Warning!

Over supplementation with vitamins and minerals can be dangerous — even toxic. Check with your veterinarian before adding supplements to a balanced dog food.

Warning: Don’t Feed Your Dog Any of These Foods

The following list presents a rundown of forbidden foods for Chihuahuas; some items may surprise you:

Chocolate, onions, or any highly spiced, greasy, or salty foods: Chocolate contains theobromine, a substance that’Technical Stuff poisonous to dogs. Onions (raw or cooked) can also be toxic, and spicy sauces and junk food lead to upset stomachs.

Warning!

Children often want to share their treats with their pets; unfortunately, their favorites usually include chocolate chip cookies, brownies, and chocolate ice cream. You must let your kids know that chocolate, in all forms (even icing), is off limits to your Chihuahua.

Bones: Chicken, turkey, and pork chop bones, for example, can shatter and slice open your dog’s intestines. There is an exception, however. Bones cooked in a pressure cooker until they’re soft (it takes a long time at a high temperature) are actually good for dogs.

Beer, wine, or any other alcoholic beverage: Alcohol poisoning is deadly, and it doesn’t take much to poison a little dog. Also, be careful not to leave leftover cocktails where your Chi can find them.

Grapes and raisins: These have been known to cause kidney failure in dogs. The dogs become critically ill, and many die even with aggressive treatment programs.

Macadamia nuts: Some dogs have had serious reactions from eating macadamia nuts.

Cat food: Feed your cat out of your Chihuahua’s reach. Dogs love cat food, but it contains more protein and fats than they can handle.

Spoiled or moldy stuff: Don’t even consider giving your dog the leftover piece of chicken that you ignored for several days in the fridge. And be careful that she doesn’t snatch it out of the garbage. The bad food’s “enticing” odor will attract her. If the food is too old for you to eat, it’s just as dangerous for her.

Of course, you wouldn’t even think of feeding your Chi any of the following dangerous items, but I mention them because it’s important to always keep them out of her reach:

Baking power and baking soda: If you spill some, clean up the mess before your Chi can lick it. These agents can cause myriad problems in dogs, including congestive heart failure.

Coffee grounds or coffee beans: These items can cause caffeine toxicity.

Fruit seeds, pits, and stones: Fruit seeds contain cyanide, which is poisonous to people and pets. Most people have the good sense not to eat them, but pets may consider them chew toys.

by Jacqueline O’Neil

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