The smallest breeds of dog are often the ones with the biggest personalities. They are the ones ruling the roost at the dog park, and they don’t let their small size get them down. However, smaller dog breeds have unique needs when it comes to their diets. Finding a great brand that offers your pup all the nutrients they require is an essential part of being an amazing dog parent and will ensure that your pup lives a healthy and happy life.
Smaller pups usually have a higher metabolic rate than their bigger furry-friends, and thus, they often need more calories per pound than larger pups. Small pups can also be prone to conditions like Hypoglycaemia (low blood pressure), and thus it is essential that they are getting enough calories and nutrients in their diet. It’s always a great idea to chat to your vet about your dog’s breed-specific needs so that you can ensure they are getting the very best care.
To help you on your journey towards feeding your small or toy breed dog the very best food, we have compiled a list of our top 10 food picks for small pups. Our list offers you a variety of options that embody great nutritional value and cater to all budgets and needs. Remember, food can truly be the greatest medicine and investing in a top-quality diet for your furry-friend could add years to their life and ensure that they experience optimal health and wellbeing. Just because your pup is small, it doesn’t mean their food options have to be!
The Best Dog Food for Small Dogs
Wellness Natural Pet Food is a family-run company that offers only top quality food for your beloved pet. This brand pride themselves on using only the best quality natural ingredients and guarantee a perfect balance of essential vitamins, protein, and minerals to support your small breed pup’s specific health needs. Since this amazing food has been tailor-made for small breeds, it offers some benefits including anti-oxidant rich smaller kibble and Omega 3 and six fatty acids. These acids support overall health and are essential for healthy skin and coat. This brand also offers pet owners a recommended feeding allowance based on your dog’s weight and thus ensure that you will feed your pup correctly. This wonderful brand utilizes a delicious deboned turkey and oatmeal recipe that will tantalize your pup’s taste buds and make every mealtime an exciting one. This makes promises to enhance your pup’s energy, support ideal body weight, and promote skin and coat health. It’s a brilliant pick and one that won’t disappoint you or your best friend.
High in Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids
Rich in antioxidants
Contains all-natural ingredients and is free from preservatives, corn, soy, wheat, and artificial flavors
Creates to aid digestive health
Backed by the Wellness Guarantee and made in the US
12 lb bag
- BrandWellness Natural Pet Food
- Weight12 pounds
Taste of the Wild Grain-Free Dry Dog Food is a delicious choice for your small breed pup. It has been formulated with real venison and is a seriously tasty meal-choice for your pet dog. Rich in amino acids and protein this family-owned brand supports the promotion of strong, lean muscles and overall health. It is also a perfect pick for enhancing digestive health and has been formulated with probiotics that have been proven to strengthen gut-health and aid the digestive tract. The ingredients in Taste of the Wild have been sourced sustainably from around the globe, and the brand promises that only high-quality components make the cut. This pick is free from artificial flavors, wheat, corn, soy, and other preservatives and thus offers a healthy choice for your small breed pup. This is one of the best dry dog foods around for small breeds and boasts epic quality and great value. As always, follow the recommended feeding guide to ensure your dog receives the optimum benefits of this fabulous pick.
Contains optimal amino acids
Rich in antioxidants
Includes prebiotic fiber for digestive tract health
Rich in energy and fat to support small breed dogs
Small kibble size
- BrandTaste of the Wild
- Weight14.4 pounds
The third pick on our list is the Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula. This brand was named after a very special Airedale named Blue and the family who created a specialized formula to support his health issues. This dry dog food is a fantastic option for small breed dogs and offers a delicious blend of lamb and brown rice. The high-quality lamb protein is great for muscle strength and health and will give your pup that extra energy to seize the day. This brand has been specifically formulated for small breed dogs, and the smaller kibble size offers enhanced protein and carbohydrates. This brand prides itself on using high-quality natural ingredients and does not include preservatives, artificial flavors, poultry by-products, wheat, corn, or soy. These ingredients have been chosen with love and care by holistic vets and thus aim to promote overall well-being and healthy balance. This brand combines spectacular quality with a great price and is bound to keep your small breed dog healthy and happy all year long.
Ingredients chosen by holistic vets
High-quality lamb protein
Rich in antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals
Supports the immune system and healthy oxidative balance
No artificial flavors or preservatives
- BrandBlue Buffalo
- Weight15.2 pounds
Nutro Protein Dry Dog Food for Small and Toy Breeds is a top quality pick and contains a delicious blend of chicken, brown rice, and sweet potato that is bound to have your small breed dog longing for more. High in protein and utilizing the health benefits of chicken, lamb, salmon, and venison this brand boasts immense quality. Nutro prides themselves on using only clean ingredients and thus avoid GMO’s and unhealthy preservatives. This brand wants only the best for your small breed dog. Ingredients are sourced only from the most trusted suppliers and farms to ensure that optimum quality is achieved. Pet owners have commended this fantastic pick for boosting skin and coat health and have noted that it’s a brand that their pups truly love. Nutro won’t disappoint you or your small breed dog and will make every meal time a success!
Made with only non-GMO ingredients
Sourced from trusted farmers and suppliers
Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids for optimum skin and coat health
- Weight15.3 pounds
The fifth pick on our list is Solid Gold’s Holistic Dry Dog Food. This exceptional brand has formulated a delicious recipe using only quality ingredients and their blend of bison, brown rice, and pearled barley are sure to be a hit with any small breed pup. The tiny kibble size is ideal for small and toy breed pups and will make meal-times an even more enjoyable experience. This iron-rich dog food supports their bodies to function optimally, and the inclusion of protected probiotics is essential for optimal digestive health. Gut health is essential for boosted immunity and overall wellbeing, and thus this brand takes their health seriously. This brand source only excellent quality protein from the tranquil waters of the Atlantic and Bering seas and other sources like eggs and protein-rich superfoods. Your small breed pups deserve the absolute best, and this brand is serious about powerful nutrition.
Rich in antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals
Supports optimal immune system function
Boosts overall health and wellbeing
Rich in superfoods like pumpkin, blueberry, and broccoli
- BrandSolid Gold
- Weight4 pounds
Nature’s Variety Instinct Raw Boost is a perfect combination of kibble and freeze-dried raw food. This protein dense food for smaller breeds is high in Omega oils for optimum skin and coat health and supports the development of a healthy immune system. This epic pick is loaded with probiotics and will also support digestive health and overall wellbeing. Raw food has recently been praised for its amazing health benefits, and this pick adds nutrient-rich ingredients to your pup’s diet. Pet owners have praised this brand for its deliciously delectable qualities and have noted that their dogs devour it in minutes. This make boasts great quality and is a brilliant pick for any small breed dog.
Kibble and raw food mix
Nutrient-dense, grain-free and gluten-free
Rich in Omega 3 and Omega 6 for skin and coat health
Filled with probiotics
No wheat and no soy
- BrandNature’s Variety
- Weight4.1 pounds
The next pick on our list is Diamond Natural Dry Dog Food and its promise of offering ‘holistic nutrition to every pet’. This amazing brand is enriched with superfoods and probiotics for added health and wellbeing. Probiotics are important for promoting gut health and studies have shown that a healthy digestive tract is key to enhancing immunity. The smaller size kibble is specifically tailored to smaller breed dogs and has been formulated to aid dental hygiene by cleaning plaque. High in protein and good fats, this awesome dog food pick will give your small breed pup the energy and calories they need to show the world their big personalities. If your pup enjoys an active lifestyle, this product will offer them optimal vigor and will not disappoint. What is more, is that this brand is free from any artificial preservatives or flavors, and thus offers only the best for your small breed pup.
Holistic pet nutrition
Rich in probiotics
High in protein and good fat
No corn, wheat, artificial flavor, or preservatives
High in antioxidants
- BrandDiamond Pet Food
- Weight18.4 pounds
Nulo Dry Dog Food for small breed pups is an amazing grain free option that promises to “fuel their inner athlete” by providing them with nutrient-dense food for maximum energy. While your small breed dog might be little, it doesn’t mean that they can’t play just as energetically as their bigger counterparts. This awesome pick is loaded with great-quality protein in the form of deboned salmon, turkey meal, lamb meal, red lentils, and Menhaden fish meal. These animal proteins do wonders for cardiovascular health and support the development of healthy and strong muscles. The smaller kibble size also means your pup can digest the food better and enjoy a better chewing experience. This make also pride themselves on using only top quality ingredients and this brand is free from wheat gluten, corn, preservatives, colors and artificial flavors. Nulo wants the best for your small breed dog, and this amazing dog food pick will certainly keep them feeling happy and energized.
Rich in animal protein for heart and muscle health
Free from artificial flavors, preservatives, gluten wheat, and corn
Smaller kibble size for a better chewing experience
Added probiotics for gut health
- ModelSmall Breed Salmon
- Weight10.8 pounds
The second last pick on our list is created by Holistic Select Natural Pet Food and has been crafted to meet the nutritional needs of small breed dogs. This is a healthy dog food option for small dogs and offers protein and fat levels to support the unique calorific needs of smaller pooches. The live yogurt cultures infuse this product with essential prebiotics and probiotics to aid digestive health and support overall immunity so that your pup can experience ultimate wellbeing. This holistic company uses only the best quality ingredients, and their healthy mix is free from preservatives, grains, artificial colors, and flavors. Loaded with only natural ingredients, this tasty product offers completely balanced nutrition to your beloved companion and will leave them feeling energized and ready to face the day.
Loaded with natural fiber, live yogurt cultures, and digestive enzymes
Anchovy, sardine, and chicken meal recipe
No artificial preservatives, colors, or flavors
Only natural ingredients
- BrandHolistic Select Natural Pet Food
- Weight4 pounds
The final pick on our list is by Nature’s Recipe and true to its name, it offers only high-quality ingredients straight from nature itself. This delicious dog food for smaller dogs includes a tasty mix of chicken, pumpkin and sweet potato and is bound to keep your small pup content and energized all day long. These high-quality carbohydrates offer slow-release energy and thus keep your pup feeling energized for longer. This grain-free recipe is super easy to digest and aids stomach health and overall wellbeing. It is also an all-natural pick and high in essential vitamins and minerals to keep your pooch energized and happy. It has been specifically formulated for breeds under 25 pounds and is tailored for the unique metabolic needs of smaller breeds. This is an awesome pick offers high-quality protein to support and maintain muscle health.
Chicken, pumpkin, and sweet potato mix
High in protein
Specifically formulated for breeds under 25 pounds
All natural ingredients
- BrandNature’s Recipe
- Weight12.2 pounds
Best Dog Food for Small Dogs Buying Guide & FAQ
How Are Small Breeds Different?
Smaller breed puppies and dogs have a higher metabolic rate than larger dogs, and thus, they need to eat more frequently to ensure they are getting enough calories. A quick and easy way to ensure them is to feed them more calorie dense food. If they don't get enough calories, they can face issues such as low blood pressure. However, they can also be prone to weight-gain since they are so little and thus, the key is finding a balance to ensure they maintain a healthy weight.
Smaller breeds also mature quicker than large breeds and thus need nutrient-dense food that will aid healthy development. A diet high in antioxidants will boost their immunity help them to fight illness.
What to Look for in a Dog Food for Small Dogs
- Smaller kibble size to cater to their smaller mouths. Larger kibble can be a choking hazard
- Calorie dense food since they need more calories for every pound due to a higher metabolic rate
- Products that use only quality ingredients (No GMO'S, additives, preservatives, colorants, artificial flavors, wheat, corn, or soy.)
- Food that is rich in antioxidants and will thus cancel out free radicals
- Specially formulated food for small and toy breeds that will cater to their size and calorie needs
The Nutritional Needs of Small Breeds
Every breed of dog will have its own unique nutritional and medical needs and small breed pups are no different. Small breed puppies and dogs are known to have very high metabolic rates, and therefore they can quickly burn through calories. Despite their small size, they need to eat a significant number of calories frequently to ensure that they don't get low blood pressure. Small dogs usually require 40 calories for every pound, whereas a bigger breed needs only 22.5 calories for every pound. Thus, small or toy breed dogs need more calories than their bigger counterparts. However, smaller dogs also have tiny stomachs and as such, their food needs to be more calorie dense than that of larger dogs.
Food that is high in antioxidants is also super important for smaller breeds to cancel out the dangers of free radicals which can cause cancer. Since smaller breeds can often live for a very long time, this will ensure that they remain healthy into their old age.
Tips for Feeding Small Breed Puppies and Dogs
It is important that your small breed dog or puppy gets enough calories every day to ensure that they develop properly and experience maximum health. It is important to weigh your pet and to follow the recommended daily feeding allowance that is specified by their food brand.
However, as much as it is important to feed them enough, you also shouldn't over-feed them. Excess weight can cause numerous health hazards for dogs and put strain on the joints and heart. To ensure you are feeding your pooch the correct amount, be sure to:
- Follow recommended feeding allowances for your dog's weight
- Take your pup for regular checkups to ensure that they are maintaining a healthy weight
- Make sure your dog always has clean, fresh water. Hydration is key for good health
- Stick to a meal schedule and feed them small amounts regularly (2-3 times a day)
- Make sure the kibble is specifically formulated for smaller dogs as large kibble can be dangerous and lead to choking
Best Dog Food for Small Dogs FAQ:
Q: What is the best food for toy breed dogs?
A: Toy breed dogs are super adorable (but let's not forget that they are often the ones with the feistiest of personalities!) These sweet little pups are a great pick if you live in an apartment block, or don't enjoy having to do loads of walking. They are the perfect companions and can accompany you on numerous adventures.
Like smaller and large breed dogs, they also have their own nutritional needs.
- Smaller Kibble
One of the most important things for a toy breed pup is that they are fed small kibble. Toy breeds have smaller mouths and need food that they can properly chew. Large kibble can be a choking hazard and if not properly chewed can lead to digestive problems and an inability to absorb essential nutrients. Toy breeds are often prone to dental issues, and smaller, crunchy kibble is a great way to clean their teeth and scrape off any plaque. If you are concerned about their teeth to visit your vet for a checkup and inquire about a dental clean.
- Calorie Control
Having a toy breed is a balance between feeding them enough, and not feeding them too much. Since they are very little, they can be prone to gaining weight quickly. You need to find food that is calorie rich and will sustain their energy without leading to weight gain. It is always essential to follow the recommended feeding guidelines for their size, and these will be found on the food packet.
- Antioxidant Rich
Toy breeds can live for a really long time (17 years plus if given the right medical care and attention) so it is really important to feed them amazing quality food that is rich in antioxidants. Antioxidants boost their immune systems and help them to fight off illness and cancer.
Q: Which dog food for a small senior dog?
A: As dogs get older, their dietary needs change, and they need added vitamins and minerals to support their aging bodies. As we age, our bodies can feel more strain, and dog food that has been specifically made for older dogs addresses these changes. Senior dog food usually offers extra support to their internal organs and joints and is created in a way that makes it easier to digest and absorb.
If you have a senior small breed pooch, then you will have to invest in a brand that caters to both small breeds and senior dogs. Since older dogs can sometimes experience trouble with their teeth, it is a good idea to opt for smaller kibble size or a brand that has wet food options if needed.
Some common ailments that senior dogs can experience include:
- Obesity, or weight loss
- Kidney failure and heart disease
- Dental issues
Specialized diets can target these problems can give your senior pup extra support. It's always a good idea to take your senior pet for an annual check-up with your trusted vet. During the routine check-up, they will weigh your dog and check all their vitals. They might take urine or blood samples and will also perform a physical exam. If your pup is experiencing any physical problems, your vet will most likely suggest a specialized diet to support them as well as giving them necessary medication.
Q: What dog food for a small breed puppy?
A: Puppy food is specifically formulated to aid the developmental needs of puppies. Puppies need to be fed a calorie-rich diet to support their growing bodies. However, since they have smaller stomachs, it is important that every single calorie is filled with maximum nutrition. Puppies need more protein and fat than adult dogs, and thus it is essential that you buy a brand that is made specifically for small breed puppies. Small breed pups have high metabolic rates and therefore need high-quaility food that is calorie rich.
Q: What is the best dog food for small dogs with sensitive stomachs?
A: If you feel like your small breed pup is experiencing digestive issues, you need to figure out what is causing them. Some dogs, just like humans, have certain food sensitivities and certain ingredients just won't agree with them. A telltale sign that your pup is experiencing food sensitivity or intolerance includes:
- Loose stools
Since these symptoms can be a sign of more serious medical issues, it is important to take them to your vet to rule out anything more sinister. However, if they are given the all-clear, then it is time to change their diet.
Seek the support of a veterinary nutritionist to help you on your journey. You might begin with an elimination diet where you eliminate foods that could be causing problems, and slowly integrate new ingredients every couple of days.
Your vet will also be able to recommend high-quality foods that can support your pup's digestive problems. However, no two pups are the same, and what works for one with stomach sensitivity, might not work for another. Thus, it is largely a process of trial and error, and it might take a while to find the perfect food for your fur-baby.
Our Top Pick
While we absolutely love all the picks on our list and each one offers a myriad of health benefits and delicious flavors to you and your small breed pup, we have chosen Wellness Nature Pet Food as our best pick. This brand boasts amazing quality and a delicious taste and is rich in Omega 3 and 6 and powerful antioxidants. This wonderful brand is made with a delicious deboned turkey and oatmeal recipe that will tantalize your pup's taste buds and make every mealtime an exciting one. This makes promises to enhance your pup's energy, support ideal body weight, and promote skin and coat health. It's a brilliant pick and one that won't disappoint you or your best friend.