If you have a small, toy or miniature breed dog, it stands to reason that you probably wouldn’t feed her the same food that you’d give to a mastiff or a great dane. After all, she’s so much smaller than those breeds that it only makes sense that her nutritional needs would differ from theirs. Moreover, her tiny stomach just can’t hold as much food as the stomach of a larger breed. Because her nutritional needs are so clearly different, you’re left with needing to find the best dog food for small dogs.
It’s important to understand that small breeds have different nutritional needs throughout their lifespan. They have a much higher metabolic rate, and this means that they need a more calorie-rich food than larger dogs do. For instance, a dog weighing about 10 pounds probably needs about 400 calories a day to maintain a healthy body weight. That works out to 40 calories per pound every day. However, a large breed dog weighing around 100 pounds might need as much as 2,250 calories per day. This means that the large breed only requires about 22.5 calories per pound of body weight. Accordingly, the foods you’ll see listed here tend to be more calorie dense than those that are recommended for larger breeds.
Smaller dogs have other considerations when it comes to food. Their jaws are smaller, so it’s necessary for kibble to come in much smaller diameters. Their bone structure, the health of their skin and coat and the sensitivity of their digestive systems also come into play. Also, small breeds tend to be more susceptible to dental disease, making it important to consider a food that is designed to fight plaque and tartar so that your dog maintains a healthier mouth.
As you consider the best dog food for small dogs, keep in mind that all dogs are unique. A food that is appealing and helpful to one pooch may not work out so well for another. When trying out new foods, keep a close eye on your dog to check for any adverse reactions or allergies. Similarly, don’t switch your dog from a familiar food to a new one all at once. Doing so can be rough on your dog’s digestive system. Mix the new food in slowly, moving from a mixture that contains mostly the old food with just a bit of the new food, then eventually progressing so that you’re providing more new food than old. This should keep your dog’s digestive system far happier.
1. Fromm Gold Dry Food
Fromm Gold comes from an excellent source, a family company that’s been operating for more than a century. The company exclusively owns and operates its manufacturing facilities in Wisconsin. This means that they have total control over the safety and quality of their products from beginning to end. That’s a reassuring thing, because the U.S. places pretty stringent controls on food manufacturing facilities. The Fromm Gold Dry Food has an impressive list of ingredients that begins with duck, chicken meal, chicken and oatmeal. Other ingredients include lamb, fish meal, pearled barley, brown rice, whole eggs, salmon oil and chicken fat. Fromm puts plenty of vegetables into the recipe as well, making this a well-rounded, nutritionally dense food. The kibble size is small, easy enough for even some of the tiniest breeds to manage, and with ingredients like these, there’s really no reason to say no to this food.
2. Petcurean NOW Adult for Small Breed Dogs
Like the Fromm Gold selection above, this food is also produced by a family-owned business. However, they are headquartered in Canada. They locally source all of their ingredients, except for the lamb they use, which they typically get from either Australia or New Zealand. The company has been in operation since 1999 and does not appear to have ever had to recall any of their products. Petcurean NOW has a solid list of ingredients that begins with de-boned turkey, potato flour, peas, potatoes and whole dried eggs. Other sources of protein in the formula include salmon and duck, and you’ll see plenty of fruits and vegetables thrown into the mix. This kibble packs a serious nutritional punch and features small-diameter bites to suit the palate of even the littlest dogs. However, it may be difficult to obtain in local stores, making it necessary to order over the Internet.
3. Wellness Complete Health Dry Dog Food Small Breed Adult
Wellness always makes a product that’s worth recommending, and this one is no exception. Protein in the formula comes largely from de-boned turkey, salmon meal and chicken meal. Keep in mind that any protein source that comes with the word “meal” attached to it has a super-concentrated amount of protein. That’s good news when it comes to feeding your favorite small carnivore a healthy diet. Of course, that’s not the only reason to recommend this high-quality food for small dog breeds. It also features carbohydrates from wonderful grain sources such as brown rice and barley. If your dog has any kind of allergy associated with these grains, then this clearly isn’t the food for her. However, Wellness packs in a particularly impressive list of fruits and vegetables, which ensures that your little dog gets all the vitamins, minerals and antioxidants she needs to stay healthy. You’ll find high-quality produce like tomatoes, apples, spinach, carrots and berries among other ingredients.
4. Nutro Ultra Adult Small Breed Dry Dog Food
If you’re looking for a small breed dog food that has plenty of good-quality protein, then look no further. The main protein in this formula comes from chicken, chicken meal, salmon meal and lamb meal. That list alone might be enough to convince you to try this excellent dog food for small dogs. Like Wellness, Nutro really packs in the healthy fruits and vegetables too. Pumpkins, cranberries, spinach and more are all included in the list of ingredients. The carbohydrates come from rice and rice bran, so this is clearly not a grain-free recipe. However, for dogs that don’t have a lot of food sensitivity or allergy issues, this food tends to be really easy to digest. It gets extra points for having lots of ingredients that support a healthy skin and coat. Your dog may no longer have issues with itchiness after switching to this food.
5. Blue Buffalo Small Breed Chicken & Rice Dog Food
Like the other foods on this list, this Blue Buffalo selection is notable for the amount and quality of its protein. The main ingredients are de-boned chicken and chicken meal. It does not contain any chicken by-product meal, which is certainly not the same thing as chicken meal, nor does it have any soy, wheat or corn. It’s also free from artificial colors, flavors or preservatives, which is important to the health-conscious pet parent. The formula contains menhaden fish meal, which bolsters the fatty acid content, an important consideration for your pup’s skin and coat. Barley and brown rice provide the carbohydrates while Blue Buffalo also mixes in plenty of produce like sweet potatoes, carrots, blueberries and more. In fact, the company boasts that this food contains no fewer than seven antioxidants. That’s good news if you want to ensure your small breed’s health over the long haul.
6. Castor & Pollux Organix Small Breed Grain-Free Adult Dog Food
This food may be the ideal choice if you would prefer to feed your small breed a grain-free diet. What also separates this food from the others on the list is that it is touted to be wholly organic. Once again, if you are particularly health conscious and wanting to feed your pup a natural diet, then this may be the food you’ve been looking for. Pretty nearly every ingredient on the list is preceded by the word “organic” so you can be clear about what your dog is getting in this formula. There’s chicken, tapioca, peas, potatoes, chicken meal and more. Castor & Pollux adds in plenty of omega fatty acids as well from sources like flaxseed and salmon meal, which also provides some extra protein. The one omission in this formula seems to be the relative lack of produce. What this means is that if you’re going to feed your pup this food over the long haul, then you’ll need to supplement his diet with fruits and veggies or you can feed your dog a mix of this food and another one from this list.
7. Evo Red Meat Formula Small Bites Dog Food
You’ll find a wealth of fantastic protein sources here, many of them unlike those that are found in the other foods on this list. The main ingredients, and sources of protein, are beef, pork meal and salmon meal. Look farther down on the list, and you’ll see other proteins like bison, lamb and venison. You’ll also see a healthy mix of fruits and vegetables along with a variety of vitamins and minerals to ensure the long-term health of your small breed dog. Like the Castor & Pollux selection, this is a grain-free food. In fact, Evo advertises the absence of potato, gluten and grain, so if your pup has any sensitivities or allergies, this may be a solid choice. This food is also designed to be especially digestible, meaning that there is better calorie and nutrient absorption and fewer fillers. All around, this is an excellent choice for giving to your miniature carnivore.
The best dog food for small dogs keeps your favorite pup happy and healthy throughout their lifetime. When you select a food from among those that are listed here, you’re likely to see a positive change in your pup’s health, personality and energy levels. Plus, the small kibble size means that these foods are safer and easier for your small dog to eat and digest. Get ready to enjoy many more years of fun and companionship with your furry family member.