The 10 Best Small Breed Dog Foods
A healthy food for small dogs will provide for your dogs basic nutritional needs and be formulated according to his breed size. Dog food for small breeds tends to be higher in calories and fat than traditional kibble, and the kibbles themselves should be smaller. As long as your dogs nutritional needs are met, you have a wide variety of options to choose from.
Heres our top pick for the best dog food for small breeds:
|Our 2022 Picks: Best Foods for Small Breed Dogs|
Now Fresh Small Breed Dog Food
Small Breed Turkey is one of 11 dry recipes included in our review of the Now Fresh product line.
- First 5 ingredients: De-boned turkey, whole dried egg, peas, potatoes, potato flour
- Type: Grain-free
- Best for:Small breed adults
Now Fresh Small Breed derives the largest share of its meat protein from fresh de-boned turkey and dried egg. Our dry matter label analysis reveals the recipe contains 30% protein, 19% fat and 43% estimated carbs resulting in a fat-to-protein ratio of about 63%.
Small-size, clover-shaped kibble ideal for small to medium breed dogs. Contains probiotics and pre-biotic fiber to support healthy gut bacteria and better digestion. The recipe also includes taurine and L-carnitine for healthy heart function.
Also contains whole dried eggs, natures most complete protein. Which means this ingredient alone naturally includes every essential amino acid a dog needs for optimal health.
A bit pricey. But an excellent, nutritionally balanced design optimized for small and medium breed dogs. Highly recommended.
Sample buyer reviewMy small dogs love this food! They will eat it dry, without anything in it! It is really small kibble but unlike other dry food, they love the taste!
Instinct Original Small Breed Dog Food
Original Small Breed is one of 5 dry recipes included in our review of the Instinct Original product line.
- First 5 ingredients: Chicken, chicken meal, chickpeas, tapioca, chicken fat
- Type: Grain-free
- Best for:Small breed adults and puppies
This Instinct Original formula derives the greatest part of its animal protein from fresh chicken and chicken meal. Dry matter label analysis reveals the recipe contains 39% protein, 22% fat and 31% estimated carbs which creates a fat-to-protein ratio of about 56%.
Instinct Original Small Breed provides an optimal balance of protein, fat and calories to ensure a balanced nutrition for your small dog. Highly recommended.
Sample buyer reviewI love this dog food, and so does my dog. I like all of the ingredients and trust the company. My dog begs for it and devours it. Hes doing very well on it. His coat is shiny, his muscles are defined, and his stools are firm. I rotate this brand with a few other brands so he has some variety, but Im very picky with which foods I include in the rotation, and only choose brands and formulas of the highest quality.
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Different Styles Of Puppy Food
There are many styles of puppy food, from commercial dry foods to all out raw feeding. In this section well look at the different styles, with pros and cons.
Lets start with some handy bullet points:
- If feeding a dry or wet food, only feed a Puppy Formula or All Life Stages formula. If neither of these are on the packaging then the food will not contain the nutrition required for the puppy phase.
- Avoid cheap dry puppy food brands. The puppy phase is critical for the long term health of your dog. If you feed them a cheap food now it will likely cost you tenfold in years to come.
- Avoid anything with Wheat, Cereals, or Cereal By-Products. If a food is formulated with these ingredients then theyre not very healthy for your pup.
- Feed a variety! This is often overlooked as many continue to feed whatever the breeder suggested, or worse whatever the shelter fed the puppy. Feeding the same product continuously is never a good idea, although this is what most people believe is correct.
- Do not feed your puppy any of the foods listed further down on this page.
A Look At Our Top Picks
If youre looking for a dog food option for your puppy, the best overall choice is Ollie fresh and natural dog food. Their recipes are crafted in the US and packaged based on your dogs needs through a preliminary quiz. Pet owners can select which protein their puppy likes best from chicken, lamb, beef, fish, and more. Also, they can be sure that its packed with all the necessary vitamins and minerals. Ollie is a subscription-based service that lets you skip on the grocery store trips and have pre-portioned, fresh meals delivered right to your door.
You can also enjoy a starter box to let your puppy test it out! The ingredients contain no fillers, preservatives, or artificial flavors so you know your furry friend is getting only high-quality ingredients.
|Special Diet:||Grain-free, high-protein, gluten-free, natural, raw|
Orijen Puppy Grain-Free Dry Puppy Food is another quality small-breed puppy food. This biologically appropriate diet is packed with animal protein and fat for well-rounded nutrition. Fresh or raw chicken and turkey, sustainably farmed or wild-caught fish, and cage-free eggs form the foundation of the protein, perfect for dogs unique nutritional needs. The food contains animal organs and bones for vitamins and minerals.
|Special Diet:||High-protein, grain-free|
|Special Diet:||High-protein, sensitive digestion|
|Special Diet:||Veterinary diet, sensitive formula|
|Special Diet:||Grain-free, natural|
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Aafco Nutritional Adequacy Statement
The Association of American Feed Control Officials, or AAFCO, recommends nutrient profiles for pet foods based on the most recent research in pet nutrition. However, they do not inspect, approve, certify or regulate pet foods. Instead, the organization provides a standard for each states feed laws. But in order to be marketed as complete and balanced, foods must meet nutritional standards outlined in AAFCOs minimum requirements.
How To Select Food For Your Small Breed Puppy
Before looking at the product labels and heading out to buy puppy food for your small furry companion, it is vital to know something about the basics of puppy nutrition.
To make life easier for you, we have provided everything you need to know in the section below when shopping for the best dog food. In this part of our review of the best food for small breed puppies, you will find the details about essential amino acids, digestible proteins, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals.
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How Much Should I Feed My Small Breed Dog
Finding the best dog food for small dogs is the first step toward helping your pet live a long and healthy life. Figuring out how much to feed them is the second. In general, the guidelines on the back of the food bag are a good place to start. Measure out each meal and monitor your pets weight closely to see if he gains or loses weight when you follow the manufacturers instructions, and dont hesitate to talk with your veterinarian to help you determine the best weight for your dog.
Unfortunately for small breed dog owners, breeders, and enthusiasts, there is no single best dog food for small breeds. Following these guidelines and consulting with your veterinarian are good ways to find a dog food that works for your wallet and your dog. With a little research, you can feel safe knowing that your dog is getting the best possible nutrition to help her live a long and healthy life.
What Should I Look For In A Small Dog Food
Here are the factors pet owners must consider when looking for the best dog food for small dogs:
- Protein & Carb sources. Dog food brands with protein sources from high-quality meat and fat products identified by species are best.
- Healthy Grains or Grain-Free Recipes. Grain-free dog food is good for energetic dogs, but whole grains such as barley and brown rice are healthy ways of adding carbohydrates to your dogs diet.
- First ingredient. The best dog food for small dogs must feature real meat placed first on the ingredient list and starches lower on the list. Real meat is packed with protein and amino acids.
- Whole Fruits & Veggies. Produce listed high on the ingredient list helps add calories without using grains and can help naturally meet nutritional needs. Fruits and vegetables provide vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.
- Organic or High-Quality Ingredients. Organic ingredients are natural ingredients grown free from pesticides. The Association of American Feed Control Officials defines organic products according to USDA standards.
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Merrick Small Breed Puppy Lil Plates
Merrick Small Breed Puppy Formula
- Grain-free formula.
Deboned Chicken and Chicken meal are the first two ingredients on this list, which provide your small pup with high levels of protein and energy, as well as DHA and glucosamine for his eye function and bone and joint support. It also lists potatoes, peas, and sweet potatoes for his energy and fiber needs, which is further supported with pre and probiotics for optimal digestion. Salmon oil, flaxseed, and folic acid helps to nourish his skin, and this formula comes in ready-packaged little plates which is great for families on the go.
We love that this recipeis grain-free, which makes it one of two only options on this list for smaller pups with grain intolerances, or those owners who wish to feed their small pup such a diet.
Merrick Classic Small Breed Dog Food
Classic Small Breed is one of 13 dry recipes included in our review of the Merrick Classic product line.
- First 5 ingredients: Deboned chicken, chicken meal, brown rice, barley, turkey meal
- Type: Grain-inclusive
- Design: Maintenance
- Best for:Small breed adults
This Merrick Classic recipe takes the major portion of its animal protein from fresh chicken as well as chicken meal. Our dry matter label analysis reveals the recipe contains 30% protein, 17% fat and 45% estimated carbs resulting in a fat-to-protein ratio of about 56%.
Merrick Classic Small Breed is a solid grain-inclusive recipe with fiber-rich quinoa to help maintain digestion. Easily recommended.
Sample buyer reviewMy little 3 yr old yorkie mix Zoey loves this food. I get both the wet and dry food of Merrick for her. I started slowly switching her over to eating more kibble portion in order to save money, since the wet food cans get so expensive. Zoey eats all of her food like a champ even now that her bowl is 3/4 dry kibble. I mix water in there to moisten it. She loves it! Her bowels are regular with no issues . We are definitely fans.
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Why Small Breed Dog Food
If your dog has a big heart but a small body, youre likely searching for the best food for small dogs. Unlike food for larger breeds, food for small dogs is formulated to deliver nutrient levels that can benefit little dogs.
The best dry food for small dogs may also feature a small bites food that is easier for little mouths and teeth to chew. Choosing a food for small dogs means you can feel confident theyre getting nutrition tailored to your dogs unique needs.
Whether your little dog likes dry or wet food, Purina offers a range of small dog food products theyll love, including puppy food for small breeds.
Top Small Breed Puppy Food: Faq
Feel free to check out our FAQ for more details.
When should puppies start eating solid food?
Puppies should begin to be weaned from their mothers milk, aged 3-4 weeks. During this time, you should gradually transition to milk replacer and solid food, and gradually lessen the milk replacer until they are eating only solid food by 8 weeks of age at the latest.
How much should puppies eat?
Generally, puppies should eat 20g of food per 1kg of their body weight per day. They should also eat 4 small, equally spaced out meals per day during the weaning process, dropping down to 3 meals per day at 2-3 months of age, and 2 meals per day from 4-6 months onwards.
What nutrients do puppies need?
Key vitamins to look out for include A, B, C, D, E, and K. These look after your pups eyesight, coat, skin, blood, and more. DHA is essential for brain development and antioxidants help to build a strong immune system. Minerals like calcium are essential for developing bones and probiotics promote healthy digestion. Omega fatty acids support heart, skin, and coat health, and amino acids promote healthy growth, development, and healing of the entire body.
How to feed a puppy?What is the best kind of food for dogs?What should you avoid in dog food?How to stop your dog from getting bored with their food?
Those are the ten best dog foods for small breed puppies. Will you be trying out one of our recommendations or have one of your own to tell us about? Let us know in the comments down below!
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Wellness Natural Complete Health Natural Dry Small
Made with small-breed pups in mind, this smaller-sized kibble is just right for their tinier mouths.
Wellness is known for its quality ingredients and lack of by-products, fillers, and artificial flavors in its pet food formulas. Deboned turkey, chicken meal, oatmeal, and salmon meal are among this recipes top ingredients.
Puppy Food For Small Breeds: Wet Vs Dry
When choosing a diet for your small-breed puppy, your first decision is whether to feed your dog wet or dry food, or a combination. According to the Clinical Nutrition Service , wet food can be easier for dogs to chew and swallow and is also a good option for picky eaters. Canned food also has higher water content, which can be beneficial for dogs with certain health considerations. Fat and protein are typically more prevalent in wet food as well, so this may be a good option for your small-breed pup.
As for dry food, kibble can be harder for your small-breed puppy to chew . However, dry food makes less mess when feeding and cleaning up after mealtimes and also has a longer shelf life than wet . Dry food is also thought to help maintain dental health in dogs .
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The Farmers Dog Fresh
Turkey Recipe is one of 4 fresh-made foods included in our review of The Farmers Dog product line.
- First 5 ingredients: USDA Turkey, chickpeas, carrot, broccoli, parsnips
- Type: Grain-free
- Life stage: All life stages
- Best for:Puppies and adults, all breed sizes
This specific poultry formula derives most of its meat protein from fresh USDA turkey. Dry matter label analysis reveals the recipe contains 33% protein, 19% fat and 40% estimated carbs which creates a fat-to-protein ratio of about 56%.
All Farmers Dog recipes are human-grade. Theyre each designed by a board certified veterinary nutritionist . A rare and unusual finding.
The company designs a customized feeding plan thats based on your dogs ideal weight, age, breed type and activity level and then pre-packages each meal into an appropriate portion size, according to the number of calories needed to maintain your dog at ideal weight.
The food is delivered to your door on a flexible schedule. Once in your home, store the food in your freezer and thaw each package in your refrigerator.
An exceptional, fresh, grain-free option ideal for those who want to feed a scientifically balanced meal thats as close to homemade as you can get. Minus all the hard work.
Affordable. But not cheap. Enthusiastically recommended for small dogs of all ages especially puppies.
Best For Large Breeds: Purina One +plus Healthy Puppy Formula
Large-breed puppies often need more protein in their diets to develop strong, healthy muscles. The winner in our Best for Large Breeds Category is Purina One +Plus Healthy Puppy Formula. We chose this food because it is high protein content, appealing texture, and veterinarian-recommended formula.
This puppy dry dog food is also rich in nutrients that your growing pup needs including vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. It is made with highly digestible ingredients that help your puppy maintain healthy digestion. This food comes in the right size to suit the needs of medium, large, and even giant breed puppies.
Purina has been in the pet food business for more than 90 years, and they have always worked with the top veterinarians and nutritionists to create nutritionally sound, healthy products. Purina ONE +Plus Healthy Puppy Formula is no exception. The first ingredient is real chicken. Other healthy ingredients include chicken meal, dried peas, and dried carrots. The recipe contains DHA, a nutrient known to support healthy vision and brain development. Omega-3 fatty acids promote a healthy coat and skin.
Customers say their large breed puppies love this food. The combination of crunchy bites and tender morsels appeals to picky puppies. Reviewers report that their large-breed dogs reliably put on weight and healthy muscle when fed this food. We saw lots of positive reviews from owners of German shepherds, Great Danes, mastiffs, and huskies.
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What To Look For In The Best Puppy Food For Small Breeds
Small breed dogs mature within 6 months to a year. They stop growing within 6-8 months, which is considerably faster than medium-sized dogs who typically reach their full size at around 12 months of age, and large breed dogs who take up to two years of growth.
High Quality, Natural Ingredients
The best small breed puppy foods are made of natural, high-quality ingredients. They should have high-quality real meat such as cage-free chicken, lamb, salmon or named meat meals as the first ingredient. Examples of named meat meals are chicken meal, lamb meal, or salmon meal. These should be picked over food made with poultry by-product meal, chicken by-product meal, or meat by-products.
Avoid dog food with additives and artificial flavors, colors, and preservatives. A lot of budget commercially-available pet foods contain such additives. However, there are many brands of dog foods that are not so expensive, yet are made of all-natural ingredients.
If your small breed puppy prefers a grain-inclusive meal, avoid dog foods that are full of corn or wheat unless otherwise prescribed by your vet. Pick a puppy food that has wholesome grains such as oats, brown rice, sorghum, millet, brewers rice, etc. These grains are typically less processed and are full of essential nutrients and fiber that aids digestion.
High in Calories
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High in Healthy Fats
Complete and Balanced Diet