Most times, a little too hyper; sometimes, a little too feisty; all the time, too worthy of all our love. Dogs had been quoted as man’s best friend for the longest time but having a pet is nothing short of a commitment.

Assuming that toy dogs are low maintenance is a false belief. Despite their lack of size, they actually grow rapidly and have higher energy levels than larger dogs. With that, they will need the best dog food for small dogs.

Studies also show that they usually outlive the larger breeds, and this can be attributed to their natural disposition, overall health over time, and how their body processes the nutrients they consume. However, they can get really finicky with food, so you will need to do research on the nutritional needs of smaller breeds before setting their diet.

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How to Choose The Best Dog Food for Small Dogs

Basic Dietary Requirements

Veterinarians recommend that the best dog food for small dogs can be described as “nutrient-dense in small bites”. This is due to their high metabolic rates and higher energy levels.

We ought to check the nutritional facts at the back of the dog food products before we buy them. Check the label for the certified indication that the product was formulated to supply the nutritional needs as required by AAFCO’s nutrient profiles for dog food.

Here are other things that you should look for:

Animal Protein – having real meat as the main ingredient is a major indication of an effective dog food product, as it helps in developing your dog’s muscle and physical health. Whole meats should be the primary ingredient in your dog’s diet and the best meats include beef, chicken, lamb, turkey, and fish.

Fats – serve as a major energy source for dogs and it also provides cell protection, aids indigestion, and promotes vitamin-absorption.

Omega 3 Fatty Acids – this promotes the health of your dog’s fur coat and skin, making sure it is glossy and rich.

Calcium – this is vital for the development of strong bones and teeth. Too much of this may cause orthopedic disorders for your dog, especially if they are of the larger breed.

Iron – a daily dose of Iron as a supplement will further promote better circulation and healthier blood.

DHA – helps promote better brain function, protects the central nervous system, and improves vision.

Prebiotics – enhances the immune system, which is primarily located in the digestive tract of your dog. If your dog exhibits tummy problems, it may just be more than a problem with bad dog food.

Calories – the importance of the content per product will be dictated by the amount of activity your dog prefers to engage in. Dog food for small dogs tends to have more calories per serving because of their tendency towards high-energy activities.

Things to watch out for

Lapdogs are usually underfed as well and this is because of the common misconception that small dogs don’t need to eat as much. This may lead to Hypoglycemia, leaving them low on sugar and fat reserves.

Since smaller breeds are mostly high in energy, being lazy or weak may be a sign of the condition. Your dog can avoid developing this condition if it is fed multiple times a day, especially during its first 6 months. They will need a calorie-dense serving at least two (2) times a day. If your dog’s immune system acts up, opt for dog food for allergies to be safe.

Best Dog Food for Small Dogs

We’ve reviewed 14 of the best dog foods for small dogs and this may serve as your reference point. It worked for us and for many others. Hopefully, you find what works for you from this list.

Wellness Core Natural Grain-Free Dry Dog Food Small Breed

Wellness Core Natural Grain-Free Dry Dog Food Small Breed

Complete and Well-Balanced Nutrition

Boasts complete and well-balanced nutrition, with zero percent grain and a hundred percent natural ingredients. Wellness Core provides optimum calorie content to sustain your dog’s high energy levels. This formula comes in a 4 lb. pack for starters, and a 12 lb. pack if you find it works for you.

Why We Like It:
  • This may as well be one of the best dog food for small senior dogs since it helps arthritis. The formula also reduces “dog smell”.
What We Don’t Like:
  • Although protein-rich and meat-based, this formula does not claim to have meat as its main ingredient.

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Nutro Wholesome Essentials Natural Adult Dry Dog Food for Small & Toy Breeds

Nutro Wholesome Essentials Natural Adult Dry Dog Food for Small & Toy Breeds

The Best Dog Food for Toy Breeds

Nutro Wholesome Essentials’ main ingredient is farm-raised chicken meat sourced from trusted suppliers. This recipe is full of Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids, and nutrients to suit your small dog’s needs. There is also a smaller variation in kibble size, making it considerably the best dog food for toy breeds.

Why We Like It:
  • A diet consisting mainly of this formula will surely make your small dog’s skin healthier and coat shinier. This also comes in smaller packaging you can buy if you want to see how this variety works for you.
What We Don’t Like:
  • Before buying, make sure that the kibble size is the appropriate one for your dog. A toy dog may find it difficult to chew on kibble for small dogs.

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Diamond Naturals Small Breed Dog Food

Diamond Naturals Small Breed Dog Food

Made with High-Quality Ingredients

Made with high-quality protein from free-range chicken, Diamond Naturals’ formula made especially for small dog breeds. This is a premium “superfood” mix full of antioxidants, probiotics and Omega fatty acids.

Why We Like It:
  • Aside from making your dog’s skin and coat healthier, the kibble is highly digestible.
What We Don’t Like:

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Merrick Classic Small Breed Dry Dog Food

Merrick Classic Small Breed Dry Dog Food

The Best Dog Food for Small Senior Dogs

This has deboned chicken as its main ingredient and includes grains that support the digestion. It has an optimal amino acid profile that aids in the processing and absorption of consumed nutrients.

Why We Like It:
  • This has lower glycemic content because it does not include potatoes in the ingredients. This contains nutrient levels that keep hips and joints healthy, making it a recommendation for older dogs.
What We Don’t Like:
  • This formula only comes in a 4 lb. packs, so you have buy multiples for your stock.

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Blue Buffalo Basics Limited Ingredient Diet for Small Breed

Blue Buffalo Basics Limited Ingredient Diet for Small Breed

Filled with Protein, Vitamins, and Minerals

For those who are a fan of Blue Buffalo, then one is for you. This has Turkey meat as its main ingredient, refining a recipe of protein-dense kibble particularly for smaller dog breeds so as to make nutrient absorption even more effective. This was made with vitamins and minerals that keep the immune system strong and up at optimal levels, easily making it one of the best dry dog food for small dogs. So, for a healthier and much more effective treat for your tiny furry friends, give this a go.

Why We Like It:
  • This dog food for sensitive stomach includes pumpkin, peas, and potatoes that mixed to aid in gentle digestion. It is also suggested for smaller dogs with bowel issues.
What We Don’t Like:
  • The natural smell of the dog food is quite unpleasant, but both owner and pets had worked their way around this because of the benefits.

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Earthborn Holistic Small Breed Natural Dog Food

Earthborn Holistic Small Breed Natural Dog Food

Holistic Formula with an Eco-friendly Packaging

A crowd-favorite when it comes to holistic nutrition, Earthborn offers dog food for breed that are under 20 lbs. at maturity. It has chewable and highly digestible kibble full of Omega fatty acids that keep your dog’s skin and coat shiny.

Why We Like It:
  • Aside from the holistic formula, the packaging is eco-friendly and recyclable.
What We Don’t Like:
  • It only comes in large packaging, which at 14 lbs., may have to be a gamble if you’re out to try the product.

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Taste of The Wild Appalachian Valley Grain Free Dog Food

Taste of The Wild Appalachian Valley Grain Free Dog Food

Grain-free Superfood

Taste of the Wild takes protein to another level with Venison and Bison as its primary ingredient and has it complemented with a “superfood” blend of fatty acids, antioxidants, and probiotics. This also contains no grain fillers, corn, rice or wheat.

Why We Like It:
  • Easy to chew and digest, the kibble is very nutrient-dense. This mix is one of the most suitable and the best dog food for small dogs
What We Don’t Like:
  • Main concerns of purchase are usually the results of online shipping, thus buying local is a preferred option.

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Blue Buffalo Wilderness Nature’s Evolutionary Diet for Small Breed

Blue Buffalo Wilderness Nature's Evolutionary Diet for Small Breed

The Best Dog food for Dogs with Allergies

Made with the Blue Buffalo iconic Lifesource bits, its kibble is also ideal for smaller dog jaws.

Why We Like It:
  • Reduces itches and smells for smaller dogs, making it a preferred dog food for allergies and inflammations.
What We Don’t Like:
  • Choose to buy these from a local store if you’re planning to try this out.

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Wellness Complete Health Natural Dry Toy Breed Dog Food

Wellness Complete Health Natural Dry Toy Breed Dog Food

Wholesome and Complete Formula

This recipe offers holistic nutrition through a well-balanced daily diet made especially for toy dog breeds. The small kibble, protein-dense and optimal amino acid profile can support your high-energy nutrient requirements, and make mealtime a more enjoyable experience for your energetic one.

Why We Like It:
  • May easily be the best dog food for toy breeds because of the wholesome and complete formula. This also improves the skin and coat.
What We Don’t Like:
  • The kibble may seem too hard for some dogs, so you can opt for the most suitable or wet dog food for small dogs as an alternative.

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Canidae Grain Free PURE Dry Dog Food For Small Breeds

Canidae Grain Free PURE Dry Dog Food For Small Breeds

Free from Preservatives and Perfect for Sensitive Stomachs

Canidae’s Premium focuses on Salmon meat as the primary ingredient of their nutrient-dense kibble, offering the best option of dog food for sensitive stomachs. Its 9 key ingredients do not include grain fillers and preservatives that may irritate your dog’s stomach.

Why We Like It:
  • The formula is simple but it can satisfy all the dietary requirements of your small dog.
What We Don’t Like:
  • Salmon meat is a safe choice but is not usually the preferred flavor by dogs, who usually choose chicken meat.

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IAMS Proactive Health Small Breed Adult Dry Dog Food

IAMS Proactive Health Small Breed Adult Dry Dog Food

For Stronger Immunity

IAMS aims to promote a strong immune system and lean muscle growth on both small dogs and toy dog breeds with this dry food recipe. All that while making sure the skin and coat are healthy with the fatty acid contents in the formula.

Why We Like It:
  • This is a veterinarian-recommended variety of dry dog food for small dogs.
What We Don’t Like:
  • Purchasing this pack online had resulted in damaged goods so always check before feeding this to your dog.

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Instinct Raw Boost Small Breed & Toy Breed Dry Dog Food

Instinct Raw Boost Small Breed & Toy Breed Dry Dog Food

Good Choice for Senior Dogs

The recipe comes in a number of protein-enriched flavors, including chicken, beef, and duck, and is infused with calcium and phosphorus. This also has a formula specifically for toy breeds.

Why We Like It:
  • This could be the best dog food for small senior dogs because of its Glucosamine content.
What We Don’t Like:
  • If you prefer raw bits included in the kibble, this may not be for you.

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Blue Buffalo Homestyle Recipe Natural Adult Small Breed Wet Dog Food

Blue Buffalo Homestyle Recipe Natural Adult Small Breed Wet Dog Food

The Best Wet Dog Food for Small Dogs

A recipe that looks like chunks in a stew, Blue Buffalo has canned a protein-rich formula made with chicken and grain that provides smaller dog breeds the daily nutrition they need. Packed with a protein-rich real chicken, this recipe may as well be the best wet dog food for small dogs.

Why We Like It:
  • Might as well be considered the best canned dog food for small dogs, and has been a long-time favorite.
What We Don’t Like:
  • Wet dog food, especially canned will spoil easily, so consume the contents as soon as possible.

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Solid Gold Small & Toy Breed Wet Dog Food

Solid Gold Small and Toy Breed Wet Dog Food

For Dogs of All Life Stages

Grain-free, full of wholesome ingredients and protein-rich, Solid Gold’s formula is ideal for small dog stomachs that are sensitive and easily inflamed. It is specially crafted for all life stages dietary needs and supports gentle digestion.

Why We Like It:
  • It is full of probiotics that promote the immune system and gut health, and the absorption of nutrients.
What We Don’t Like:
  • Take note that wet dog food must be consumed as soon as possible to avoid spoilage.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What type of dog food should I give my dog?

A: Dog food comes in 3 types: Dry Kibble, Semi-moist and Moist. Among the three, dry kibble usually has higher fat content, longer shelf life, and does well for dog’s dental health. As they grow older, you can slowly transition them into semi-moist or moist dog food, which is easier to chew and digest.

Q: How often should a dog of a smaller breed be fed?

A: Your dog must be fed multiple times a day, especially during its first 6 months. Just cut their daily requirement into proportions throughout the day.

Q: The formula I got has adverse effects on my dog. Why does that occur?

A: There are dog food recipes that work better with some more than others. If you want to transition to a new formula, buy smaller packages and observe how your dog’s body responds to the nutrient content. Also, be cautious to check the contents for spoilage or molds before serving it to your dog.

Conclusion

What we have for you are just the guidelines – from one dog lover to the other. Also, you can do your own research, so you can be at ease and have more control in providing only the best to your beloved dog.

There are more varieties out there in the market – all promising a good deal for your money; some more expensive, and some cheaper. What is important, however, is how your dog will respond to the product, which is why you need to check up on your dog regularly.