Protein is an important nutrient for your Chihuahua. Protein is made up of
compounds composed of carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, and nitrogen atoms, arranged
into amino acids linked in a chain. Some amino acids also contain sulfur. Protein
can be found in both animal or plant sources.
There are 22 different amino acids for the Chihuahua.
The 22 amino acids are made up of two groups.
They are: ( Look for link below to take you to them)
1. The 12 non essential
2. The 10 essential amino acids.
The twelve non essential amino acids can be made by the Chihuahua through the
metabolic processes that take place in the liver. The liver breakdowns the proteins
into their non essential amino acids form.
The Chihuahuas must obtain the other 10 amino acids called the essential amino
acids strictly from the foods that they are fed because they cannot be manufactured
in the liver. They must be fed these 10 essential amino acids every day in order for
your Chihuahua to stay healthy. NOTE: If these 10 essential amino acids are not
fed every day then the remaining 12 non essential amino acids will not be able to be
used to their best advantage. This will in turn cause major health problems and can
lead to the death of your Chihuahua.
Your Chihuahua has a Minimum Daily Requirement (MDR) for these amino
acids. How much protein a Chihuahua needs will be based on how that particular
protein can supply the Chihuahua’s MDR for its needed amino acids.
The ability of different proteins in supplying the amino acids is called its Biological
Value (BV).The higher the biological value that any given protein has will determine
how much of that same peculiar protein will be needed to be fed to your Chihuahua.
When a protein’s biological value falls below 60 it cannot meet the Chihuahua’s
need for their essential amino acids no matter how much of this protein is being fed
to your Chihuahua.
Assuming that you have a normal healthy Chihuahua with no heart, thyroid or other
abnormalities then a diet of protein is a healthy diet for a Chihuahua. A diet of
protein intake does not cause kidney damage in a healthy Chihuahua. A protein
diet does not cause a Chihuahua to become hyperactive or aggressive. These
studies have been found to be inaccurate.
Nutritional research has cited that geriatric dogs may need up to 50% more protein
than the younger or mature adult dog. A protein diet level should exceed 15% for
all breeds at all life stages. It has also been found that even large breeds can have
up to 32% level of protein and it will not negatively affect skeletal or cartilage
development of the young pups during their first half year of life.
An all meat diet can be hazardous for your Chihuahua due to its lack of calcium.
An all grain diet can be hazardous for your Chihuahua due to the lack of the
amino acid lysine.
Remember protein is made up from both animal and plant proteins.
A healthy Chihuahua needs both types of protein. The blending of plant
proteins and animal proteins together in a proper ratio will result in a blend that will
have a higher biological value than either of the two when used alone.
Please note that pork does not cause pancreatitis.
Pancreatitis has mostly been linked to a high fatty diet.
The most important thing to remember is you are not what you eat but you
are what you can properly digest. The protein must be highly digestible for the
Note: Eggs, muscle and organ meats are the most complete, and it is also the
most digestible source of protein.
Below is a list of different foods protein digestibility:
Muscle meats (chicken, beef, lamb) 92%
Organ meats (kidney, liver) 90%
Milk, Cheese 89%
When you are looking at feed these proteins should be listed in the list of main
ingredients. It is better if you find them listed as a “meal” form of the protein. Meat
listed as “meal” form are not inferior to whole fresh cut up meat as long as the
“meal” form is listed as the animal form used like in the following examples: chicken
meal, lamb meal, salmon meal etc.
Everything listed before the first source of fat and including that fat is your list of
main ingredients on the dog food labels. The rest of the ingredients provide flavor,
function and serves as preservatives or help in the manufacturing process and
adding other dietary benefits like extra vitamins, minerals and probiotics.
I would like to note that pork, fish and eggs must be cooked before being
served. You can feed a raw egg yolk. Do not add more than one egg per pound
of food being fed adding more than this is a waste. Milk should be kept to say
around 2 fluid ounces or 2 TBS of powdered milk per lb. of food to keep your
Chihuahua from having any adverse reactions to milk. The value of cottage cheese
is closely equal to that of horsemeat and horsemeat was a really good source of
protein but I can not bring myself to feed this. If you would like to add your own meat
source to your Chihuahua’s dry food then the added meat should not exceed
10% of the weight of the dry food being fed. An example would be if you are feeding
¾ C of dry kibble then you could add up to 1/8 C or less of a pure meat protein.
Note: A quick guide to check the digestibility of your feed is to look at the
consistency and volume of their stool. If your Chihuahua is eating a proper diet they
should produce a stool once to three times a day. You should look for a well formed
stool of small amount about two times every day. If you are getting stool several
times a day and/or a large amount of stool and/or this stool can be loose or a
mixture of loose and firm then your Chihuahua is not being fed a properly digestible
You will not be able to achieve a 100% digestibility of any foods eaten. As a
rule Protein can only achieve 97% digestibility, Fat can achieve 95%, and
Carbohydrates can achieve 98% with eggs being the exception to the rule.
1. The Collins Guide to Dog Nutrition, By Donald R. Collin, DVM (1989)
2. Canine Nutrition, Choosing the Best Foods for Your Breed, By
Willaim D. Cusick (1997)
3. Understanding Nutrition, By Ellie Whitney and Sharon Rady Rolfes
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