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Best Snacks

The Best Snacks for a Chihuahua

Overview

The treats that you give to your Chihuahua are just as important as what you offer him for main meals. For most dogs, snacks will make up 15 to 20% of the daily diet. So, choosing wisely will ensure that your Chihuahua is receiving optimal nutrition. 

Here we will cover why treats are important, and the best treats that you can offer for various needs. 

The 4 Top Reasons Treats are Important

You may not think very much when handing out a small snack to your Chihuahua puppy or dog, however when implemented correctly, treats can make a big difference in 3 ways:

#1. As an aide for housebreaking and any sort of training. When a dog is learning something new, whether this is where to go to the bathroom or how to follow a command, he needs a reason to listen.  Without motivation, most dogs will have very little enthusiasm. 

In addition, a huge part of successful training is to make it very clear when a dog has done something correctly. 
While your happy words of praise and your pats do play a role in this, nothing sends the message of a job well done better than a reward in the form of a tasty treat. 

#2. To reward good behavior. Chihuahuas can be quite a handful; they are clever, often hyper, and some are always pushing owners to see just what they can get away with. 

The best way to help a Chihuahua gain a sense of right and wrong, and to help a Chi develop a well-balanced personality, is to reward good behavior with a treat that will be well-received and sends a strong message that the dog is exhibiting acceptable and desired actions. 
#3 To promote good oral hygiene. The Chihuahua breed is prone to tooth decay, so this is something that should not be overlooked. All day, around the clock, plaque is being produced. It is an extremely sticky substance that clings to teeth.

If it is not removed, it begins to harden into tartar in about 3 days; at this time it becomes much more difficult to remove. Once the tooth is under siege by the plaque and tartar, it the enamel is gradually eaten away. 

This leads to rotted teeth, which eventually lead to loose teeth that will fall out. In addition, decay often travels under the gum line, which leads to infection. Painful infections can spread up to a dog's sinuses causing swelling, runny nose, and more. And it can travel to vital internal organs. 

It is important to stay on top of at-home dental care, which includes offering a daily dental treat that is effective in helping to remove plaque. 
#4 Meal supplementation. There will be plenty of times that a Chihuahua is not ready for a full feeding, but needs a little something to tide him over. And this is where snacks and treats come in. 

Due to their speedy metabolism, most Chihuahuas need to eat multiple times per day, but in small quantities. If you have some healthy treats, you can offer a few throughout the day, knowing that your Chihuahua is receiving wholesome, healthy food. 

Qualities of the Best Treats and Snacks

The best treats will have:
  • No artificial ingredients - All dogs can have reactions to these elements; however, the Chihuahua seems particularly sensitive. In fact, your Chihuahua may be suffering the effects of ingesting chemical agents that are added to inferior treats, and you may not even suspect that the treats are the cause.
Artificial coloring, preservatives, and flavoring can cause a host of issues such as skin reaction (drying, peeling, itchiness, rashes), coat reaction (skin and coat go hand-in-hand, so unhealthy skin can lead to a dry, brittle coat), and stomach issues (upset stomach, runny bowels, nausea).  

Some additives are actually linked to cancer and other serious disease. Even so, they are legally allowed to be ingredients in dog treats.

There are countless treat ingredients to avoid; However, some of the bigger culprits include glyceryl monostearate, Blue 2, Red 40, Yellow 5, Yellow 6, BHA, BHT, and propyl gallate.
  • No indigestible foods - There are some treats that larger dogs can handle a bit better than tiny dogs like the Chihuahua, however these are not recommended in any case. This includes raw hides and other materials that can barely pass as actual foods. These can cause both partial and full stomach or intestinal blockage.
  • No added sweeteners - Some dog treats are packed with sugars. These have been linked to tooth decay, which is a serious concern, as well as canine diabetes and other health conditions
You will want to steer clear of cane molasses (also linked to cataracts, arthritis, and allergies), corn syrup (also linked to hypoglycemia, cataracts, and allergies, and sorbitol (also linked to hypoglycemia, cataracts, arthritis,and allergies)
  • Made in the USA or North America - To guard against dangerous contamination, be sure that the treats you give to your Chihuahua are both sourced and manufactured in the United States or North America (which includes Canada).
  • And will be sized for toy breed dogs. With the Chihuahua being so little, you'll want to be sure that each treat is easy to both fit in the mouth and to chew. 

Recommended Treats for Meal Supplementation and Reward

Keeping all of the above qualities in mind, some top recommended treats are:

Old Mother Hubbard. These are made in North America and are a wholesome, all-natural treat. The 'mini' variety is sized perfectly for Chihuahua and comes in a vareity of 3 flavors: chicken, chedder and char tar. These are all-natural, and wholesome.

Zuke's Mini Naturals - These are Made in the USA treats specifically for small dogs. There are lots of great flavors including chicken, duck, peanut butter, salmon, and wild rabbit. These have no wheat, corn, or soy.

Pet Botanics Training Rewards Treats for Dogs - These are sized perfectly, and some in flavors dogs like the best including chicken, duck & bacon, and beef. These are made in the USA and have added vitamins and minerals for a super healthy reward.

Fruitables Crunchy Dog Treats - These are really awesome little dog treats, perfect for toy breeds. They are Made in the USA, and are super wholesome with no added extras. They come in lots of neat flavors like pumpkin & apple, pumpkin & banana, pumpkin & blueberry, and pumpkin & cranberry. 

Recommended Dental Treats

A dental chew is made to serve the purpose of helping to remove plaque from a dog's teeth. A common added bonus is a breath freshening quality. Offering your Chihuahua one dental chew per day is an important part of taking proper care of your puppy or dog's teeth. 

There are some good chews like Virback C.E.T oral hygiene chews and Dingo treats, among others. However, the #1 recommended veterinarian recommended dental chew is Greenies. This is one of the most popular and most effective treats. In fact, they were the very first brand to receive the Seal of Acceptance by the Veterinary Oral Health Council for removing plaque and tartar. 

Another great thing about these, is that they come in a variety of sizes, to ensure that the treat fits the dog. Greenie's Teenie is for dogs 5-15 pounds, so they are perfect for Chihuahuas. They also offer a grain-free variety, and a hip & joint care type that has glucosamine and chondroitin, which makes those a great choice for senior Chihuahuas. 

Treat Tips

1) When you are going to use dog treats as reward, you will want to keep a good sized amount in your pocket to be able to reach them quickly and easily. You will want to mark the exact moment that your Chihuahua does something right, whether this is going to the bathroom in a designated area or following a command.

2) For your puppy or dog to be able to focus on the task at hand, keep the treats in a small zippered plastic bag, so that he cannot smell them. 

3) For dental treats, choose a certain time of the day to offer one, so that you don't forget. It does not matter whether it is sometime in the morning or evening, as long as it becomes routine and he receives one each day. 

4) Even if you are not actively training your Chihuahua for something specific, never just hand out a treat. Either command a 'Sit', or wait until your Chi is behaving nicely to then offer the snack so that it is always marking a good moment and has meaning. 
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