Your small breed dog may have the strength and stamina of a large canine, but they have different metabolic rates, and as a result, different nutritional needs. To be healthy, fit and happy, small pups require specially formulated recipes that are smaller in kibble or chunk size but higher in calories to satisfy their high energy needs. To help get you started on healthy small breed dog nutrition, we reviewed some of the most popular dog foods on the market, detailing our favorites below. We also created a comprehensive buying guide in which we cover everything you should know about dog food for petite pooches, including how to find the right one for your pet.
Containing no less than 28 percent of protein from top-quality sources, this dry dog food is formulated to satisfy the high energy needs of small dogs. Deboned turkey, salmon meal and chicken meal are all excellent sources of protein as they contain a complete amino acid profile, plus plenty of essential fatty acids, yet are easy to digest. The kibble is also smaller in size to suit small mouths and jaws, while the calorie intake is optimized to support a healthy weight.
Thanks to blueberries, spinach, apples and carrots, the food is packed with antioxidants, while brown rice and oatmeal provide much-needed fiber for healthy digestion. As for fat sources, flaxseed and salmon oil provide Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids necessary for a strong immune system, healthy skin and shiny coat. All in all, one of the best small breed dog foods currently on the market!
28% crude protein
15 % fat
Made from real turkey, salmon meal and chicken meal
Packed with antioxidants
Chondroitin Sulfate for healthy joints
Looking for novel protein sources for your sensitive small dog? Check out Taste of the Wild Appalachian Valley as it’s made with venison and lamb meal. This grain-free recipe is ideal for pups who are sensitive to standard protein sources and grains, although all small breed dogs can enjoy it as it’s tasty and healthy.
Besides excellent protein sources, the formula also contains antioxidant- and fiber-rich legumes, fruits and vegetables such as garbanzo beans, lentils, tomatoes and blueberries. There are also canola oil and ocean fish meal for essential fatty acid content, making the food great for skin and coat health. And to support your pooch’s gut health, Taste of the Wild added their proprietary K9 probiotic blend to this recipe, making it easy to digest.
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32% crude protein
18% crude fat
Made with novel protein sources, venison
Supplemented with probiotics for gentle digestion
Crafted using top-quality ingredients, including lamb meat, menhaden fish meal and brown rice, this small breed food by Blue Buffalo is as healthy as it is tasty. Aside from excellent animal protein sources, the formula contains wholesome grains and healthy fruits and vegetables, making it nicely balanced – perfect for high-energy small dogs!
The recipe is supplemented with all important vitamins and minerals to promote a strong immune system and overall well-being, and there are Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids for healthy skin and lustrous coat. The recipe contains no meat by-product meals and no corn, soy or wheat, making it a good choice for dogs with food sensitivities.
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24% crude protein
16% crude fat
Made with lamb and menhaden fish meal
Glucosamine for joint health
Containing at least 24 percent protein and 15 percent fat, this nutrient-rich food is nicely balanced, perfect for both indoor and outdoor pets. Tailored specifically to meet the high-energy needs of petite pups, this recipe is packed with nutritious and highly digestible ingredients such as farm-raised chicken, lamb meal, wholesome brown rice and sweet potatoes.
Other ingredients include oatmeal, barley, peas and flaxseed, so there is plenty of fiber for healthy digestion. Of course, the recipe is also fortified with supplements, including essential vitamins, minerals and other nutrients, so it’s 100% complete and balanced.
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24% crude protein
15% crude fat
Crafted with farm-raised chicken
Contains natural fiber for gut health
This is one of the smallest sized kibbles that you can get for small and toy breeds. But don’t let the tiny size fool you – this is one nutritious, high in protein food thanks to bison meat, ocean fish meal and lamb meal it contains. Aside from these powerful protein sources, the recipe also contains whole grains and more than 20 superfoods to keep your little pooch in optimum condition.
Some of the ingredients include fiber-rich oatmeal and brown rice, and antioxidant-packed pumpkin, blueberries, spinach, broccoli and beets. There are balanced levels of Omega 6 and Omega 3 fatty acids for a shiny, healthy coat thanks to salmon and almond oil too, making this formula one of the best small breed foods available.
28% crude protein f
18% crude fat
Contains bison meat, ocean fish meal and salmon meal
Formulated with 20 superfoods for strong immunity
If you’d like to try a raw diet with your small pooch but still want to keep some dry food on the menu, then check out this grain-free kibble topped off with freeze-dried raw meat that comes from cage-free duck. Crafted from only high-quality ingredients, it’s perfect for high-energy small breed dogs.
The high-quality protein will boost your mini-dog’s energy, muscle strength and all-round health, while providing a natural meaty taste they will love. Add in probiotics, essential fatty acids and vitamins, minerals and other nutrients such as calcium, glucosamine and chondroitin for bone, heart and digestive health, and you have a complete meal that packs a power punch. As well as being grain-free, the formula is also made without corn, wheat, soy, artificial flavors and additives, making it ideal for sensitive pups.
36.5% crude protein
16% crude fat
Made from cage-free duck, contains freeze-dried pieces
Added probiotics, glucosamine and chondroitin
Specifically made for adult small breed dogs, this high-quality recipe contains everything your pup needs to thrive, and then some. It’s packed with protein thanks to cage-free chicken and chicken meal, as well as antioxidants and other beneficial nutrients thanks to nourishing superfoods such as kale, blueberries, chia seed, coconut and pumpkin.
Aside from these super-healthy ingredients, the recipe also contains wholesome grains to provide fiber for gentle digestion. There are also added probiotics for gut health, making the food highly bioavailable. Like all Diamond Naturals, this formula too is free from all artificial additives, which means it should be suitable for sensitive pooches as well.
27% crude protein
16% crude fat
Made with chicken and fish meal
Contains an array of superfoods
Added probiotics for gut health
Looking for grain-free, high-protein and low-carb food for your small pup? We recommend Nulo’s Small Breed Salmon & Lentils recipe. 84% of the protein content comes from animal sources that pack in more amino acids. This is further supplemented by miscanthus grass, a natural fiber that will support healthy digestion regulate their appetite and keep their weight to a healthy level.
The carbohydrate content in this small breed dog food is on the lower side but there are plenty of low glycemic carbohydrates like lentils, sweet potatoes, and chickpeas to help prevent hypoglycemia. There are added probiotics to support digestion, as well as L-carnitine to help small dogs shed extra weight more easily.
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31% crude protein, where 84% comes from animal sources
17% crude fat
Miscanthus grass for digestion
Low glycemic carbohydrates like lentils
L-carnitine for weight management
For small dogs who have trouble digesting their food, the Holistic Select Small & Mini Breed recipe might be a perfect choice. Made with novel protein sources, including anchovy and sardines, plus active probiotics, digestive enzymes and fiber, this food is one of the easiest to digest.
Aside from nutritious protein sources, the recipe also contains a variety of superfoods, including pumpkin, apples, cranberries, blueberries and papaya, all rich in antioxidants needed for a healthy immune system, plus flaxseed and salmon oil for those much-needed omega-3 fatty acids. Needless to say, the formula is free from all artificial additives, making it ideal for sensitive pooches.
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35% crude protein
16% crude fat
Made with anchovy, sardine and chicken meal
Contains probiotics and prebiotics, digestive enzymes and fiber
Antioxidant-rich superfoods boost immunity
This carefully balanced food is specially crafted to be easy on the stomachs of small breed dogs. It comes with plenty of quality protein (minimum 25 %) and healthy fat (minimum 15 %) in small-sized kibble pieces that are easy to munch on. The first two ingredients are real chicken and chicken meal, and to this are added garbanzo beans, sweet potatoes, pumpkins and plenty of other healthy fruits and vegetables.
This is a grain-free formula, however, it’s not super-low in carbohydrate content, thanks to wholesome legumes, veggies and fruits, making it a great choice for active pups. There are optimum calcium and phosphorous levels to support strong bones, plus antioxidants to boost the immune systemm as well as glucosamine to support joints. All in all, one tasty and healthy small breed food!
15% crude fat
Made with real chicken
Glucosamine to support healthy joints
Small breed dogs differ from their larger counterparts in many ways, with nutritional needs being the most important difference. Having higher metabolic rates, small and toy breeds typically need more calories in their daily diet, and some pups may require additional supplements and nutrients to remain healthy in their old age. If you’d like to switch your petite companion to an appropriate small breed diet but don’t know where to start, this buying guide is for you. Here, we explain everything you should know about the specific diet of small dogs, including what to look for in good-quality recipes.
A small breed dog's nutritional needs greatly differ from those of a large breed dog. Small and toy pups' metabolisms have higher metabolic rates (which is something to keep in mind if you have a small breed puppy), plus they have different health concerns you need to worry about (such as hypoglycemia). As a result, their diet should be different and specifically formulated to support their delicate but high-energy needs. Here are some of the main ways in which small breed canines differ from large breeds.
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The smaller a dog is, the more these differences will be exaggerated. Some of the toy breeds, and the teacup varieties in particular, have very fast metabolisms and are prone to specific health problems, including the already mentioned hypoglycemia. The best dog food for toy breeds, therefore, needs to be carefully formulated to support the specific health and energy needs of smaller dogs.
A small breed dog food needs to contain specific nutrients and posses particular characteristics to suit your little pooch. Here are some things to look for in the best dry dog food for small dogs.
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An appropriate diet can play an important role in keeping your small dog healthy. Here are a few things that you should know about their diet and nutrition.
To remain healthy and happy, small and toy breeds require careful feeding. Here are a few tips to help get you started:
While all foods featured in our top list are excellent-quality recipes, our top pick has to be Wellness Complete Health Small Breed Dog Food. Specifically crafted for small breed pups, this well-balanced, highly palatable and easily digestible food should suit most adult petite dogs. It contains three nutritious protein sources, plenty of antioxidant-rich complex carbs, and just the right amount of fat to promote general health and well-being of canines. As a bonus, it's more than reasonably priced, making it one of the best, if not the best dog food for small dogs in the market!