The Best Chihuahua Snacks, Training Treats, and Edible Chews

October 26, 2021

Snacks, training treats, and edible chews that you provide to your Chihuahua in addition to their regular meals are an important part of a healthy diet and often account for 15 to 20% of a puppy or dog's overall nutritional intake.

This article discusses the differences between different sorts of snacks, how each can be useful, and recommendations for the healthiest options.

Snacks, Training Treats, and Edible Chews Have Their Own Characteristics.

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Though some people use these terms interchangeably, there are significant differences between these three sorts of treats, and understanding these distinctions will allow you to provide these to your Chihuahua in the most beneficial ways.

Snacks. Dog snacks are little bits of food given to a puppy or dog between meals. Snacks serve numerous functions. While waiting for the next substantial meal, a modest snack satisfies the appetite. And, because little toy breeds such as the Chihuahua are prone to blood sugar reductions (hypoglycemia) if they go too long without food, it helps keep blood glucose levels equal.

Snacks should be dry meals in order to complete their work as well as feasible. These may also be referred to as crunchy or baked snacks.

Training Reward. This type of goodie, as the name suggests, is intended to be given to a puppy or dog as a reward as they are being taught. Housebreaking, command training, and teaching a Chihuahua to heel all need the use of training goodies. These are also used to promote excellent behavior, such as not barking at other dogs or remaining quiet when visitors arrive at the house.

The goal is to provide a rapid and delightful burst of taste in a small container that will not fill a dog up (since numerous treats may be provided throughout training sessions) and that is seen as 'high value' to deliver a strong, powerful message of a job well done.

Training treats should be small, soft (may also be characterized as 'chewy,' flavorful (distinctive tastes such as bacon, cheese, duck, liver, and more are preferable), and something that is not provided to a Chihuahua at any other time other than training sessions.

Chews that are edible. Chihuahua chews are digestible pieces of food with a hard or 'tough' yet chewy and flexible consistency that require a lot of chewing time to be fully consumed. Chews can keep a dog entertained and are especially useful for dogs who have strong chewing desires and like to work their jaws. Dental chews are included in this category because they are meant to eliminate plaque by scraping against teeth with a rough and firm texture, and they play an important part in at-home dental care.

Some chews, such as rawhide or pig's ears, can cause choking in dogs. More information about selecting safe chews follows.

Characteristics of the Best Snacks and Treats

You may be asking what distinguishes one snack from another, or what makes a training treat truly exceptional. And the answer is: a lot. Most significantly, some of the components in poor-quality dog snacks and treats can cause allergic reactions, and others have been related to health problems including as organ damage, neurological disorders, and others.

So, before we get to our top recommendations, let's go over what to look for: all-natural.

Choose all-natural products to avoid synthetic preservatives, food coloring colors, and flavor enhancers. These can cause a variety of difficulties, including skin reactions (rash, itching), stomach and intestinal troubles, and a variety of short- and long-term health issues.

Ethoxyquin (which, due to a legal loophole, does not always have to be mentioned as an ingredient) and butylated hydroxyanisole are hazardous chemical preservatives that are prohibited in human meals but permitted in dog food and treats. Certain colors, such as Yellow # 5, which has been connected to hyperactivity, aggression, and insomnia, Red #40, which includes known carcinogens, and Blue #2, which has been associated to allergies and brain tumors, can be dangerous. Allergies can be triggered by MSG and soy (both flavor enhancers).

Many high-quality dog snacks and treats contain a vitamin blend (which may be listed as mixed tocopherols) and/or herbs (rosemary, spearmint, and so on) as natural preservatives.

Grain-free or wheat-free.

When a dog is diagnosed with a grain allergy, it is often gluten that is the source of the problem. While living grain-free is absolutely a healthy option, it's recommended to avoid wheat and rye (and their by-products) because they contain significant quantities of gluten.

Ingredients that are nutritious.

When looking at what's in a dog treat, avoid anything that includes the words 'by-product' or a specific meat (for example, chicken by-product). This type of by-product refers to any animal body component judged inappropriate for human consumption (lungs, kidneys, undeveloped eggs, spinal tissue, etc.). And avoid any treat labeled "generic meat" because it could be produced from infected zoo animals, road dead, expired meat from grocery stores (with Styrofoam or other packaging tossed in), or other similar sources.

You'll want to see real whole foods like chicken, salmon, peanut butter, blueberries, and so on.

There are no fillers.

Fillers are low-cost ingredients that are sometimes added to dog food products to reduce total manufacturing costs. One prime example is corn, which is not the delicious and nutritious corn you could serve at dinner but a gritty cattle-grade variety that is difficult to digest (there are plenty of other vegetable options if a dog food company simply wanted to add in vitamins and minerals). Other fillers include the hulls of any food (peanut, oat, cottonseed, rice, and so on) and any term including the word 'wheat' (wheat middlings, wheat mill run, etc.).

Made in the United States (or Canada or New Zealand).

Dog food and treats made in China or with Chinese ingredients are dangerous. One major cause derives from an incident in 2007 with jerky-based treats, which killed hundreds of dogs in the United States and other countries. Though the cause of so many pet deaths has yet to be determined, several of the treats tested positive for high quantities of prohibited sulfur-based antibiotics and anti-viral medicines.

Melamine is a poison used in the production of plastic that has been related to major health issues such as kidney stones and bladder cancer. It is commonly used as animal feed that winds up in dog snacks in China and other countries with relatively lax laws governing pet food.

Read labels carefully, including the back of packaging, and stick to foods made in North America (USA or Canada). New Zealand is another country that produces a lot of dog food while maintaining high quality standards.

List of the Best Chihuahua Snacks, Training Treats, and Chews

The Top 3 Dry Dog Snacks

As a refresher, snacks are dry and crunchy morsels given to a Chihuahua to keep them pleased in between meals. Keeping in mind all of the tight rules for what makes an amazing dog snack, here are our top three picks:

  • Portland Pet Food Company All-Natural Dog Treat Biscuits

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Dog Treats that are completely natural. These all-natural baked bone cookies have a small list of healthful ingredients that we adore. And there are three fantastic flavors to choose from: bacon, gingerbread, and pumpkin. There are no additives, soy, wheat, byproducts, fillers, or gluten in this product. And they're made in the United States. These also come in a nice resealable bag to help keep them fresh.

For a variety of reasons, these are one of our top recommendations. When it comes to flavor, nothing beats pumpkin and apple, pumpkin and banana, pumpkin and blueberry, pumpkin and cranberry, apple and bacon, and sweet potato and pecan. You can buy a variety pack that includes all of them, or you can buy individual bags. These have no wheat (but do contain oats) and no additives, fillers, or by-products. And they're made in the United States. As an added benefit, these are packaged in resealable bags to keep them fresh.

  • Zuke’s Crunchy Natural Baked Treats

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We'd be remiss if we didn't mention Zuke's if you're seeking for even more diversity. These are likewise 100 percent natural, with a short list of healthful ingredients and an oatmeal base as the major ingredient. There are three flavors to choose from: berry (a delicious combination of cranberries, cherries, and blueberries), peanut butter and bananas, and sweet potato and pumpkin. There are no fillers, by-products, wheat, soy, or other additives, and the product is manufactured in the United States. Zuke's also use a resealable zip bag to keep these treats fresh.

Three of the Best Soft Training Treats

As a reminder, training treats should be used to reward a Chihuahua when they are attempting to learn something (house training, heeling, etc.) or to reinforce their positive behavior (they remained calm instead of jumping on guests, etc.). Keeping in mind all of the characteristics that treats should have in order to be both super-healthy and effective, our top three recommendations are as follows:

  1. Wellness Natural Wellbites Soft Dog Treats

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Wellness does an excellent job of providing grain-free options in their kibble, snacks, and treats. This range of soft chews is great for training adult Chihuahuas; the Soft Puppy Chews are for young pups. There are flavor combinations that are out of this world and are guaranteed to delight even the most discerning Chi; there is beef and turkey, chicken and lamb, chicken and venison, lamb and salmon, and turkey and duck. There are no maize or other fillers, soy, by-products, synthetic preservatives, or other ingredients, and the items are manufactured in the United States. To keep the snacks fresh, the bag has a resealable zip.

  1. Zuke's Mini Natural Training Dog Treats

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 For a variety of reasons, Zuke's is one of the greatest training treats for Chihuahua pups and dogs. These are all-natural, high-quality snacks that include no artificial ingredients, fillers, additions, or byproducts. And they're made in the United States. But what really sets these treats apart is that they are tiny pellets, which are the quintessential training treat shape (and perfect for small breeds like the Chihuahua), there are six amazing flavor options (chicken, duck, peanut butter & oats, pork, rabbit, and salmon), and there are three size options (6, 16, and 32 oz.) so you can really choose what works best for you and your specific Chi.

  1. Full Moon Organic Human Grade Training Treats

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With these super-healthy training goodies, the name says it all. These are truly human-grade, with only a few nutritious ingredients. They stick to the fundamentals, delivering chicken (a classic flavor that most dogs like) and duck (a savory flavor that most dogs can't get enough of), and these are organic recipes. There are no fillers, by-products, or artificial additions, as you might expect. There's also no corn, wheat, or soy. As an added bonus, these are specifically sized for little breeds.

The 3 Best Edible Chihuahua Chews

To refresh your memory, edible chews are candies with a very firm consistency that demand effort (a lot of chewing) to consume. Pig's ears, rawhide, and bully sticks are harmful chews that should not be given to Chihuahuas (or any dogs). Choking, esophageal and/or digestive system damage, internal blockage (which can be fatal), Salmonella or E. coli contamination of individuals who handle them, and toxin ingestion are all risks (common in the processing of these sorts of products).

There are, thankfully, some excellent options. Keeping in mind everything that is required to define a chew as healthy and high-quality, here are our top three picks:

  • Brutus & Barnaby Sweet Potato Dog Treats

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These chews can't go wrong because there's only one ingredient: sweet potatoes, which are high in fiber, iron, potassium, and vitamins A, B6, and C. These super-healthy snacks come in a range of shapes and sizes, and the larger ones are easy to cut or tear into more manageable sizes for young Chihuahuas. These rawhide substitutes are created in the United States and Canada. As an extra bonus, they come in a resealable bag to keep them fresh.

These are yet another fantastic chew that is both yummy and healthful for Chihuahuas. These contain only organic chicken, organic sweet potato, vegetable glycerin (derived from vegetable oil), vinegar powder, and rosemary (as a natural preservative). These fetch fries resemble french fries, as you could have guessed from the name. Their texture is chewy and pliable, comparable to jerky (but more safer), and they are created in the United States.

  • GREENIES Teenie Natural Dental Dog Treats

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As previously stated, edible chews include dental treats, and because it is critical to maintain a Chihuahua's teeth clean and in good health, this is one type of treat you should offer to your little guy or gal on a daily basis. Greenies is our top recommendation (and one of the most popular brands) since they are VOHC (Veterinary Oral Health Council) approved and provide a wide variety of alternatives.

The 'teenie' is designed for canines weighing 5 to 15 pounds. Grain-free recipes are available, as well as weight management, 'fresh,' which provides an added benefit of immediate fresh breath, and chews designed exclusively for senior dogs. As with any dental treat, you should keep an eye on your Chi while they chew on these and remove any little pieces that may fall off.

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