Small dogs have higher metabolic rates, yet with smaller stomachs. These cute little pups need the best dog food for small dogs that are nutrient-dense. However, tiny dogs are prone to becoming overweight. Their ideal adult weight is under 20 pounds. Hence, even a pound or two of extra weight can have adverse effects on their bones, organs, and overall health.
Small dog food is often formulated with higher contents of protein, fat, calories, and other nutrients for balanced nutrition. It would be best to look for pet food that can help improve your pup’s skin and coat. It includes high-quality protein, linoleic acid, and vitamin A.
What are Dog Foods for Small Dogs?
Small dogs are adorable and cute. Kids love to play with them, and you can easily carry them along anywhere. These tiny furballs are also the best companions that are always ready for cuddles when you need them. Hence, taking good care of our small pets is more than just a responsibility and a commitment.
One of the first things they need is food. However, some pet owners tend to give the same type of food to all their pooches, no matter what their size is. You might need to feed tiny pets small kibble puppy food to prevent straining their jaws. There are specific foods for our small canine friends. These dog foods contain enough vitamins, minerals, and proteins to match the energy of your little pups. Aside from these nutrients, these foods must also be tasty, which are perfect for picky eaters.
Further, these are manufactured in a way that pups can easily munch and consume. Finally, here is a simple tip if your dog is having a difficult time eating dry pet food. Pour just a small amount of water into the kibble to make it softer. Your small dogs will find it easier to eat that way.
How to Choose Dog Foods for Small Dogs
Several pet owners spend many hours and days looking for the perfect food for their fur baby. It may seem impossible to find the best small breed puppy food that is affordable and won’t upset your pup’s stomach. So how do you select the best dog food for small breed puppies? Here are the things you need to take into consideration when buying pet foods.
Young pups need more calories than mature dogs. Older dogs also need less fat. Hence, never give puppy food to senior canines. Also, the pet’s physical characteristics, behavior, and health are essential to know before giving any type of food. Hyperactive dogs will need more calories than languid pups.
Likewise, there is much difference between small breed dog food vs. regular ones. You don’t want to make a mistake of not feeding your tiny pup correctly, which may result in obesity.
Reading the labels can save you from deep troubles in the future. Food labels contain ingredients based on weight, especially meats, which are high in water content. Always get the one with a meat meal as the first ingredient on the list. Why? Because dogs are generally omnivores. The exemption only happens when pets have bad allergies that they need a vegetarian diet.
On the other hand, stay away from pet food with grain, tuber, or ground corn listed as the first ingredient. Corn, in general, has low protein, vitamin, and mineral content. Although it is not “bad” for your dog’s health, manufacturers tend to overplay its nutritional value because it’s economical.
Secondly, stay clear from foods that say “animal by-products” on the listings. It means that these came from unidentifiable animalistic sources. So, avoid these products that contain less protein than those made from real meat.
Lastly, always look for the label that says natural ingredients. Original contents, either in the best-wet dog food for small breeds or other types, are suitable for your pup’s health. Hence, always look for high-quality food to ensure that your pet will live a healthy life for years.
Know What is Your Dog Allergic To
It is wise to visit a veterinarian to confirm if your pet is allergic to any food. You must ensure that your dog has a server allergy before totally switching its diet to a grain-free one. Grain-free formulated pet food costs more. Hence you will avoid unnecessary spending if you’re sure with your dog’s health status.
Also, don’t get influenced by the hype of buying gluten-free dog food. Your top priority is to give your pet the nutrients it needs to stay healthy.
Tiny pups have naturally small jaws. It will be quite challenging for them to eat large kibble, even if it is the best dog food you can find. Giving your pet inappropriately sized meal can fracture its jaw. Smaller kibble will be a lot easier for little pups to chew.
Also, it would help if you choose pet foods that are specifically for small breeds. This type of food contains more calories, which are perfect for your small pup’s high metabolism. Further, the best dog food for toy breeds has smaller kibble, which is ideal for your fur baby’s little mouth. Just remember to follow the directions on the food package to know the right amount to give your pooch.
10 Best Dog Foods for Small Dogs
Choosing the best dog food for a Chihuahua may be a bit different than getting one for a Labrador. You don’t want to make a mistake of feeding your pet the wrong food and put its health at risk. So, here are ten of the best and healthy pet foods for tiny pups that they will genuinely enjoy.
1. Hill's Science Diet Small Paws for Small Breed Dogs
For pups weighing under 25 pounds, this kibble from Hill’s Science is the perfect balanced small dog food for them. It is rich in vitamin E and vitamin C that improves the overall health of canine and their life expectancy. The product has no artificial flavor and preservatives. It has chicken and rice recipe content that will surely be to your pet’s liking.
Hill’s Science is one of the well-known brands for tiny pups since they are easy to digest. Moreover, pooches enjoy this calcium-packed meal without resulting in any upset stomach. Also, it is clinically proven to provide antioxidant benefits to pets. Lastly, it contains Omega-6 fatty acids for a healthier and shinier dog coat.
However, this formula is not grain-free. Nevertheless, this product has a nourishing formula that provides muscle strength, supports the bones, and enhances your dog’s skin and coat. It also contains easily digestible ingredients.
2. Rachael Ray Nutrish Little Bites Small Breed Dry Dog Food
If you’re looking for natural ingredients, vitamins, and minerals in pet food, then these little bites are just perfect. Rachael Ray Nutrish has real chickens raised in US Farms as its number one ingredient. It is combined with wholesome grains and vegetables to ensure your little dog’s health condition.
This formula is packed with healthy carbohydrates for the much-needed energy of small pooches. Additionally, it also has natural omegas, cranberries, peas, beets, and carrots. These ingredients make this product fiber-rich, reduce stress, promote healthy digestion, skin, and coat. And of course, the bite-sized kibble is perfect for your pup’s small mouth and teeth.
There may be some pet owners who will be put off by its ground whole grain corn content. Since corn is a plant-based protein, it doesn’t necessarily contain the amino acid requirements for dogs. However, it is still a reasonable source of protein, energy, vitamins, minerals, and essential fatty acids.
3. Wellness Core Natural Grain-Free Dry Dog Food Small Breed
This food product contains 54% of deboned premium chicken and turkey meat. It has no wheat, soy, corn, artificial flavors, preservatives, or any animal by-products. This Wellness kibble is rich in protein suitable for the high energy level of small pups. Plus, it is 100% grain-free.
It has all-natural ingredients, with Vitamin E, calcium, healthy fatty acids, and Glucosamine, to boost bone health. Moreover, it has salmon oil and flaxseed that help your pet achieve a shiny coat and skin. This small kibble boasts of antioxidants, probiotics, vitamins, and minerals that your small dog needs.
The only thing you can complain about this product is that it does not come with a resealable bag. But you can quickly resolve this by transferring the food into another container to preserve the freshness of the kibble.
4. Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Small Breed
This recipe is specially formulated for senior small and toy breed dogs. Mature dogs need specific nutrients different from young pups. It has high carbohydrate content, thus making it ideal for inactive canines. The carb contents come from potatoes, peas, and healthy whole grains. Further, it has a dose of glucosamine and chondroitin. These components suit small pups prone to joint problems like Shi Tzus and Dachshunds.
The Blue Buffalo recipe is rich in antioxidants, making it an excellent choice for tiny dogs predisposed to cancer and heart disease. The ingredients start with real meat, whole grains, garden veggies, and fruit. It also contains deboned chicken for the protein needs of senior pooches for muscle maintenance. Further, it has the much-needed calcium, phosphorus, and essential vitamins.
Since this formula contains brown rice and barley, it is not advisable for dogs with grain allergies. However, it also does not have beef, dairy, or egg. So it is the perfect choice if your pet has an allergic reaction to these ingredients.
5. Natural Balance L.I.D. Limited Ingredient Diets Small Breed Bites
This dry food has real salmon as its first ingredient and sweet potatoes for the carbohydrate requirements of small pups. The limited recipe for high-quality carbohydrate sources keeps your dog’s digestive health. It also contains balanced levels of omega-3 and fatty for your pet’s healthy skin and coat. And they never include artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives, so you can feel good about feeding your favorite pooch this wholesome diet. Further, it is specially designed for tiny jaws with a crunchy texture to help maintain clean the teeth and healthy gums.
The good news is that it is grain-free. It contains no added peas, pea protein, lentils, legumes, corn, wheat, or soy. This formula makes it ideal for tiny pups with allergies. Pet owners can rely on more than 125 years of experience in the pet food industry of Natural Balance. Their products are results of research and analysis of veterinarians, animal nutritionists, and researchers. Hence, you are sure that you are getting only quality meals for your fur babies.
This recipe contains canola oil, which has been a subject of debate among dog owners. Although canola oil is non-toxic, it is more processed than other types like olive oil. It means that it is more likely to include genetically modified crops. Hence, even if it is safe for your pets, there are other healthier options like fish and coconut oils.
6. Iams Proactive Health Small Breed Adult Kibble
If your dog loves the taste of chickens, then the Iams Proactive Health will be the perfect meal. Aside from the yummy taste, this pet food delivers the nutrition small dog breeds deserve. It has omega fatty acids to promote healthy coat and skin, and L-carnitine that helps burn fat and stimulates metabolism. Veterinarians recommend this recipe made with real ingredients.
Since this formula comes from chicken and egg, it is an excellent source of protein. It is also rich in antioxidants, which helps build the immune system of your pets. All of these benefits, together with fiber and prebiotic contents, develop healthy digestion among tiny pups.
Iams reported on their website that this product did not undergo testing for nutritional value. But, even though they changed its formula, it still has the essential vitamins and minerals small pooches need.
7. Wellness Natural Pet Food Complete Health
With the high-quality protein and wholesome grain contents of this product, you can ensure that your little pup will grow up healthy and strong. It is a complete meal containing nutrients that tiny dog breeds need. Further, it does not contain any meat by-products, fillers, or preservatives. Wellness Natural pet food only uses natural and non-GMO ingredients.
It is rich in antioxidants for a healthy immune system. Also, it has omega fatty acids that maintain your pet’s shiny coat and skin. Moreover, it includes glucosamine, taurine, and probiotics to ensure a healthy heart.
It sources a small portion of the mixed tocopherols and green tea extract from China, which makes some pet owners apprehensive. Nevertheless, it only consists of less than 1% of the total ingredients. All other components come from the US, New Zealand, Australia, Italy, and Chile.
8. Halo Natural Small Breed Dry Dog Food Recipes
Halo only uses real whole poultry or fish meats. Pet owners are guaranteed that each bag does not contain any type of “meat meal.” It is made of small kibble perfect for little jaws, combined with protein for stronger muscles. The recipe also has fatty acids to take care of your pup’s skin and coat.
This pet food is made of a real whole chicken and not from any rendered meat meal. It contains non-GMO, wholesome sweet potatoes, carrots, cranberries, and blueberries. These fruits and veggies provide for the needed antioxidants, fiber, and vitamins for petite pooches. Lastly, your dog will surely love this easy to digest meal with its meaty flavor.
Although Halo products are manufactured in the US, they do not own the manufacturing facilities. And since they have confidentiality agreements with them, Halo cannot divulge who and where exactly these facilities are. However, it assures dog owners that the ingredients and recipes used by these facilities undergo strict testing and lab analysis.
9. Dr. Gary's Best Breed Holistic Dry Dog Food
This pet food from Dr. Gary’s Best Breed is hypoallergenic and ideal for pooches of any age. The unique recipe includes Atlantic salmon that is rich in omega-3. It also has prebiotics for easy absorption and digestion. This meal contains wholesome carrots, celery, beets, spinach, and herbs to boost your pup’s immune system. Additionally, it includes glucosamine and green-lipped sea mussels to support the joint of small dogs.
Dr. Gary’s Best Breed specializes in producing all-natural premium pet foods. It uses only the highest quality ingredients with no animal by-products, fillers, and gluten. Also, the recipe does not contain any artificial preservatives, flavors, or colors. Plus, this dog food product is grain-free; thus, ideal for sensitive pets.
Best Breed is a small company based in Ohio and founded in 1994. Some pet parents may prefer larger manufacturers who have been in the industry much longer. However, Best Breed is currently making over a dozen dog and cat foods, supplements, and treats. Also, their product is included on the Whole Dog Journal’s list of approved foods, thus gaining attention from more pet owners.
10. Stella & Chewy's Lil' SuperBlends Small Breed Meal Mixers
One of the well-known recipe meal mixers is the one from Stella & Chewy. It features raw and freeze-dried meals rich in nutrients for dogs of all ages. Moreover, it includes meat, organs, bones, bananas, organic blueberries, cranberries, and strawberries. Additionally, these components make it an excellent source of protein, vitamins, and antioxidants.
Its first ingredient is chicken with ground bone, followed by chicken liver and gizzard. Hence, this recipe is delicious for dogs. It also contains dried lactobacillus, calcium carbonate, zinc sulfate, and iron sulfate. This product is also a good source of Vitamin E, Niacin, vitamin D3, Folic Acid, and Vitamin B12. You can feed puppies and pregnant or nursing canines twice the amount you give for adult dogs. It is because young pups and lactating dogs need more nutrients than others.
You might find sharp tiny things in the freeze-dried foods of Stella & Chewy. These are raw ground chicken bone, which is crucial as part of a raw diet. Although these ground bones may feel a bit sharp to a human, dog’s teeth are designed to process it.
Dog Foods for Small Dogs – FAQ
Giving the proper food to our pets is no simple task, especially if you need the best dog food for small dogs with allergies. And to answer some of your questions in mind, continue reading below.
What is the Best Dog Food Recommended by Vets?
Veterinarians recommend high-quality commercial pet foods that underwent laborious testing by specialists. Many people feed their pets with dry kibble or canned wet meals. These foods contain nutrients, vitamins, and minerals that our fur babies need for staying healthy.
Aside from meat products, dogs can also get their needed nutrients from grains, fruits, and vegetables. These non-meat foods are also a good source of fiber and vitamins. Most veterinarians highly recommend a pet cuisine that has meat, vegetables, fruits, and grains appropriate to a dog’s digestive system. Aside from all of these factors, your dog must like its taste. This factor is crucial, most notably to puppies that are choosy.
Note that puppies and adult dogs need a different amount of daily food. It will also depend on the age, size, breed, and health of your pup. Hence, to ensure that you’re giving the right amount of nutrients, always check product labels and consult with your veterinarian.
What is the Healthiest Dog Food for Dogs?
So how do you select the healthiest one among hundreds, if not thousands, of choices? Always look for a product that is appropriate to the size, age, and breed of your dog. It will also help to select one made from locally sourced ingredients. See the label to ensure that it contains the appropriate amount of protein, carbohydrates, and minerals needed by your pup. And lastly, never take the flavors for granted.
You might have already come across many reviews and blogs on various pet food products. But, instead of helping you decide, you get more confused with all the profiles and ingredients laid down before you. Different manufactured foods have various components and nutritional profiles.
Some of the trusted brands when it comes to pet foods are Hill’s Science, Blue Buffalo, Wellness, and Iams, just to name a few.
What are the 10 Best Dog Foods?
Not all foods for canines are created equal, and determining which is the best is not that easy. While there are high-quality brands that use the best ingredients, there are those that use fillers to cut costs. Thus, if you want to find the best quality pet food, you need to go for trusted brands. Some brands that offer the best food for pups are as follows:
- Blue Buffalo for wet food
- Wellness for mature or senior dogs
- Hill’s Science for adult canines
- Rachael Ray Nutrish for dry food
- Dr. Gary’s Best Breed for hypoallergenic meal
- Natural Balance for grain-free kibble
- Iams for vet-recommended food
- Halo for non-GMO vegetable kibble
- Stella & Chewy’s for raw meat toppers
- Primal Freeze-Dried Nuggets for freeze-dried food
Other reliable brands are the Orijen, Taste of the Wild, Purina, and Nature’s Logic, to name a few.
What Should Small Dogs Eat?
It is prudent to give small pups with appropriately-sized foods. It helps prevent any untoward accident, like jawbone fracture, on your furball. Secondly, small dog breeds can burn the energy a lot quicker; thus, they need more proteins and calories in their diet.
There are specific meals for young pups to ensure that they receive the right amount of nutrition. It ensures that their bones will develop accordingly and that they will grow healthy. Also, be careful not to overfeed your small dog.
Thirdly, it is advisable to stick with a single variety of complete balanced pet food. Never add supplements that are not recommended by the vet. Additionally, do not suddenly alter your pet’s diet. If you want to change into another type of dog meal, do it gradually. It will help if you do it in a span of seven to ten days to avoid stomach upset.
Small breed dogs are popular among families, especially those with children. These little furballs do not take so much space at home and are very easy to carry along. But, feeding tiny pups needs more than just going after name brands. You need to consider their size, age, health conditions, lifestyle, and breed. The nutritional needs of small dogs are very much different from those of bigger pooches. Therefore, pet parents of tiny pooches must follow careful consideration and selection when it comes to the best dog food for small dogs.