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Why Is My Chihuahua Not Eating: 9 Possible Reasons

Why Is My Chihuahua Not Eating: 9 Possible Reasons

Do you find yourself in the constant misery called “Why is my Chihuahua not eating?” Believe it or not – this is quite a common phenomenon for many Chi dogs. 

Naturally, these Mexican beauties require a lot of attention when it comes to feeding, which is why they may seem a little too much at times.

Still, their demanding feeding routine comes with the package, so if you’re not ready to fully commit yourself – the advice is to look for another dog breed instead.

Not eating doesn’t always have to be related to anorexia. Basically, there are two different types of rationales for this phenomenon – medical, and behavioral. We can even establish the third one, which, possibly, is food-related. So, let’s see what they are!

Why Is My Chihuahua Not Eating

chihuahua dog lying on the floor beside bowl with food

Theory says that the longest small dogs can go without eating is three days. Some extremely healthy puppies can possibly even go longer. However, as a respectable owner, you should never test this, especially if you’re dealing with an anorexic dog.

Instead, you should seek veterinary help as soon as you notice this unusual behavior. Otherwise, you’re putting your dog in danger of dehydration and collapse. 

The “why is my Chihuahua not eating” phenomenon is rooted in many different explanations. Mostly, these toy dogs refuse to eat due to medical reasons. On the other hand, there could be certain behavioral patterns that stand in the way between Chis and their food. 

The least common, yet reasonable possibility is that your Chi refuses to eat due to some food issues. There are several reasons why certain foods are not good for Chis, or why they simply refuse to eat them. But, prior to explaining that, let us explore the list from the top!

1. Teething Period

Noticing the first teething symptoms in your dog is an emotional moment filled with joy and happiness. And yet, this is probably one of the most turbulent periods in every dog’s life.

Generally, the teething period in all dogs happens after the first two weeks of their life. Many puppies, including Chihuahuas, experience a lot of pain in their gums during this stage of life. 

Consequently, some puppies are unable to properly suck their mom’s milk or use milk replacer. This causes major disbalance in a newborn puppy, as the inability to eat significantly affects their body mass, as well as their immune system.

That being said, you should do everything you can to help your puppy overcome this problem. Try giving your puppy ice cubes for soothing irritated gums. Tooth gel can be of great help, too! Still, vet help is the best you can provide!

2. Cancer

Did you know that Chis, alongside Pomeranians and French Bulldogs, are dogs with the lowest possibility of developing cancer? That’s right – this is a quite healthy dog breed that doesn’t face many health problems throughout its lifespan.

Still, some Chis can develop cancer, which is why you need to be careful about its early symptoms. Unusual weight gain or weight loss, lack of appetite, lethargy, lumps in unusual spots, or mobility issues are all cause for concern.

Chis with progressed cancer are usually not able to digest food properly, which is why you should be very careful when feeding them. 

Even though the predictions are that Chis affected with progressive cancer will live no longer than a month (or maximum, two) – inadequate feeding can worsen the overall condition, and sadly, speed up the process.

3. Dental Issues

chihuahua dog laying down by the bowl of dog food and ignoring it

As much as teething, some common dental problems can be the answer to the “Why is my Chihuahua not eating” question. 

Problems such as plaque, gingivitis, or teeth falling out can be extremely unpleasant for Chi dogs, as they can cause pain, discomfort, and inability to chew properly.

Typically, loss of teeth in these dogs doesn’t happen until they enter late seniorhood. Still, in some severe cases, such as the case of periodontal disease, this can happen even sooner.

As periodontal disease is progressive, and can even be deadly, you should do everything to prevent it. Regularly clean your puppy’s teeth. Avoid unhealthy foods. And, always provide a chew toy!

4. Recovery Period

The reason why some Chihuahuas refuse to eat is rooted in the fact that they may be recovering from a surgical procedure, or from vet treatment. Namely, spayed or neutered dogs typically need a couple of days to regain their strength and normal daily routine.

That being said, some Chi puppies will probably act weird, refuse to eat or drink water, or sleep excessively. This is not a cause for panic. Quite the contrary – you should let your Chi rest as much as possible. 

On the other hand, some puppies react negatively to their first vaccination or deworming, which is why they refuse to eat afterwards. 

This is not an uncommon occurrence in dogs either. Still, if you notice some unusual symptoms such as collapsing, panting, or fever – you should address your veterinarian.

5. Stress And Anxiety

Unfortunately, the Chihuahua breed is prone to stress and anxiety. 

Due to its naturally small size – Chi puppies are generally afraid of bigger dogs, strangers, and other animals. In fact, the reason why their anger is on display so much is because they use it as a self-defense mechanism.

Stress and anxiety are generally caused by fears and phobias, separation, a change in their routine, and improper parenting. This is an extremely clingy dog that seeks attention at all times. 

That being said, you should never leave your Chi alone for more than several hours during the day.

On the other hand, exposing your puppy to loud noises or large groups of unknown people is not recommended, as it causes stress and produces fear.

Chi puppies that are under constant stress and anxiety are most likely to refuse to eat, which causes a lot of metabolic problems in the long term.

6. Inadequate Food

white chihuahua dog stranding beside bowl with food

It is no secret that Chi puppies are picky when it comes to food. However, there are some foods that you should never even consider giving your Chi.

Garlic, onions, chocolate, cooked bones, and foods that contain a certain percentage of alcohol are highly toxic for any dog.

On the other hand, giving your dog table scraps or junk food, or feeding it the worst dog food brands can cause stomach problems, irritation, dog allergies, obesity, and eventually – a significant drop in appetite. 

Chis are known for having an extremely sensitive stomach, which is why these pooches should be given at least three smaller, but high-quality meals a day. 

Despite their size, these pooches are voracious eaters that don’t know how or when to stop. This is where your assistance is required!

7. Stale, Expired, Or Spoiled Food

Due to their picky nature, there is a high possibility that your Chihuahua will refuse to eat food that is stale, expired, or spoiled with something.

On the other hand, some Chis are highly likely to refuse to eat food that is cold. If they are used to eating freshly-cooked or warmed up meals – they will find it extremely odd when cold food is served.

Aside from creating the perfect Chi feeding chart, a Chi owner must be aware of the fact that these pooches have certain eating standards, too.

For instance – they will probably never eat food they don’t like (even when they are hungry) if they know that there’s something better cooking up in their dog kitchen. Their high-maintenance character that comes to display in this regard irresistibly reminds you of cats.

8. Liver Or Kidney Disease

It is not that hard to recognize a major liver of kidney disease in a dog, even to an untrained eye. These two types of diseases have pretty obvious, major symptoms that need to be addressed immediately.

Constant vomiting, excessive weight loss, lethargy, lack of appetite, diarrhea, and blood in their urine are symptoms that should concern every respectable Chi owner. 

In order to prevent the disease, or to at least ease their misery, you should try preparing home remedies for urinary health, easily-digestible food, and food that doesn’t contain high amounts of protein.

Otherwise, your dog may be refusing to eat or have fatal consequences in the attempt to digest its food.

9. Attention Seeking

Probably the least harmful, yet overwhelming reason for “why is my Chihuahua not eating” is their clinginess and attention seeking. Chis are extremely clingy dogs that seek their owner’s attention at all times.

It may be weird, but some Chi puppies even refuse to eat if they are not given enough attention. They may find it extremely pleasing that you constantly beg and call them to eat, as that way, they feel like they are in the center of attention.

On the other hand, some Chis are not used to being fed from a bowl, but from their owner’s hand. This especially goes for Chis that are given too many treats during the day. If your dog refuses to eat from the bowl, the reason might be – it’s just spoiled and clingy! 

How To Make Your Chihuahua Eat

chihuahua try to eat food from woman's hand

1. Hand Feeding

One of the main reasons why Chis are not qualified among the best family dogs in the world is their high-maintenance in terms of their behavior. Chis that are born and raised within families can be extremely spoiled, even to the extent that they refuse to eat until hand-fed.

Unfortunately, there’s not much to do in this regard, but to feed them from your hand. Their stubbornness is often the reason for their anorexia, which is why you don’t want to risk them not eating.

2. Try Different Foods

Always provide the best and highest-quality food for your Chi puppy. This is the first step towards a healthy puppy. However, if your dog is refusing to eat foods of certain brands or certain types of food – you should probably switch to something else.

Chi dogs are extremely picky eaters, which is why their feeding chart needs to be designed in accordance with their taste. Try to find the balance between tasty and healthy. Don’t force something they don’t like. Just don’t.  

3. Set Up A Strong Routine

Both male and female Chi puppies are animals of habit. They need to have a carefully-designed and planned daily routine. A disbalance in their routine may either lead to inadequate feeding or refusing to eat at certain times.

If they are used to an early breakfast – give them an early breakfast! Avoid giving them snacks before the main meals. And, don’t ever feed them right before bedtime. 


The “why is my Chihuahua not eating” dilemma is rooted in various different explanations. All of them have their own signs of recognition, which is why you need to be extremely careful when detecting what makes your Chi not eat.

Hopefully, we have provided you with some useful information that will help you understand your Chi better!

Read more: Why Are Chihuahuas So Aggressive? Top Tips For A Calmer Dog