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The 6 Best Dog Foods For Lhasa Apsos

Dog Food Nutrition March 12, 2020
lhasa apso

The 6 Best Dog Foods For Lhasa Apsos

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lhasa apso

Don’t let their small size fool you. Lhasa Apsos are tough, protective, devoted dogs. Once kept as small watchdogs in Buddhist monasteries in Tibet, the Lhasa today still takes his role of watchdog seriously.

He will carefully check out any stranger that tries to set foot in your home. With family, Lhasas are affectionate and loving. They get along well with other family pets, too, including cats. Lhasa Apsos have a beautiful long coat that comes in many colors. It requires care to keep it looking good.

Some owners choose to keep their dogs in a shorter pet trim. Despite a few possible health problems, the breed is considered to be very healthy overall.

The median lifespan for Lhasa Apsos is over 14 years. Feeding your Lhasa a good diet can help him live a long, healthy life. Keep reading and we can help you choose the best dog foods for Lhasa Apsos.

Quick Look At Our Top Picks For Best Dog Foods For Lhasa Apsos:

Our criteria

We try to use the criteria recommended by the World Small Animal Veterinary Association when choosing the best dog foods for Lhasa Apsos. We look for foods that meet the following criteria as much as possible:

  • Foods that are AAFCO-approved, preferably with food trials.
  • We give great consideration to nutritional research done by the company.
  • We prefer dog foods that have been formulated by veterinary nutritionists.
  • Good quality control is essential.

We also consider the recent warning from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration which advised that there could be a link between grain free dog foods and dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) in dogs.

The FDA continues to investigate at this time. They have expanded their investigation to include novel proteins used in dog foods.

You can read the latest research in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association . At the moment, we recommend that you feed your dog a food that includes grains unless your veterinarian recommends a grain free dog food for health reasons.

If your dog has a food allergy or sensitivity or another health issue that makes it difficult for him to eat foods that contain grains, work with your veterinarian to select the best dog food for your Lhasa Apso. These are the reasons why we are not recommending many of the most popular grain free dog foods today.

The foods we are recommending are what we believe are the best dog foods for Lhasa Apsos.

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These foods are healthy, nutritious, formulated by veterinary nutritionists, made with strict quality control standards, and backed up with solid nutritional research.

Best Rated Dog Foods for Lhasa Apsos Reviewed

1. Royal Canin Health Nutrition Small Adult Dry Dog Food

Nutritional info:

  • Protein – 25.0% Min
  • Fat – 14.0% Min
  • Fiber – 3.0% Max
  • Calories: 370 kcal/cup


  • Perfect for a small dog’s metabolism
  • Helps a small dog maintain a healthy weight
  • Enhanced palatability
  • Reduces the formation of tartar


  • Royal Canin formulas can be confusing to buyers because they have so many
  • Not suitable for puppies

Our top pick for the best dog food for Lhasa Apsos is Royal Canin Health Nutrition Small Adult Dry Dog Food. Royal Canin has several product lines including a line based on breed size.

Small dogs, like Lhasa Apsos, can burn up more calories per pound than bigger dogs. They are dynamos! This Royal Canin formula meets the high energy needs of small dogs and uses L-Carnitine to ensure calories don’t get turned into fat.

Ideal levels of EPA and DHA give your Lhasa Apso a healthy skin and coat. Plus, the kibble formula can help reduce the formation of tartar.

Ollie Hearty Beef Eats Dog Food

Nutritional info:

  • Protein – 37.5% Min
  • Fat – 31% Min
  • Fiber – 6% Max
  • Calories: 1,540 kcal/kg


  • Rich in protein and energy for active breeds
  • Fresh fruits and vegetables for natural nutrients
  • No plant-based proteins (like lentils)


  • Some dogs are sensitive or allergic to beef
  • More expensive than most commercial dry foods

Lhasa Apsos are a small-to-medium breed which means that they have a faster metabolism than many larger dogs. Add to that the fact that they are very active, and you need a dog food high in both protein and energy.

Ollie fresh food is catered to your dog’s calorie requirements and made with fresh, human-grade ingredients to deliver a powerful punch of quality nutrition.

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We like Ollie’s Hearty Beef Eats recipe for the Lhasa Apsos breed because it is higher in fat and calories than some of the other recipes, making it an energy-rich source of nutrition for this active breed.

This recipe contains fresh fruits and vegetables as well to provide natural sources for key nutrients.

3. Purina Pro Plan SAVOR Shredded Blend Small Breed Formula Chicken & Rice Adult Dry Dog Food

Nutritional info:

  • Protein – 29.0% Min
  • Fat – 17.0% Min
  • Fiber – 3.0% Max
  • Calories: 393 kcal/cup


  • Guaranteed live probiotics to support digestive health
  • Real chicken is the first ingredient
  • Vitamin A and linoleic acid keep your dog’s skin and coat healthy
  • High nutrient density is good for small dogs


  • With 29 percent crude protein and 17 percent crude fat, this food is better for an active Lhasa Apso
  • This is a maintenance dog food so it’s not suitable for puppies

4. EUKANUBA Small Breed Dog Food

Nutritional info:

  • Protein – 28.0% Min
  • Fat – 18.0% Min
  • Fiber – 4.0% Max
  • Calories: 406 kcal/cup

Eukanuba Small Breed Dog Food is specially formulated for the higher metabolism of small dogs. It also has a specialized fiber system made from natural beet pulp and prebiotic FOS (a natural sugar). These fibers encourage better nutrient absorption and healthier digestion.

Eukanuba Small Breed Dog Food contains naturally-sourced glucosamine and chondroitin to support healthy joints. This formula also features optimal levels of omega 6 and omega 3 fatty acids to promote healthy skin and coat. Plus, the kibble is smaller so it’s ideal for your Lhasa when eating it.


  • Specialized fiber system for better nutrient absorption and digestion
  • Naturally-sourced glucosamine and chondroitin
  • Formulated for the higher metabolism of small dogs
  • Optimal levels of omega 6 and omega 3 fatty acids


  • With 28 percent crude protein and 18 percent crude fat, this food is best for active Lhasa Apsos
  • This is a maintenance dog food so it’s not suitable for puppies

5. Hill's Ideal Balance Small Breed Natural Chicken & Brown Rice Recipe Adult

Nutritional info:

  • Protein – 21.0% Min
  • Fat – 16.0% Min
  • Fiber – 3.0% Max
  • Calories: 419 kcal/cup

Hill’s Ideal Balance small Breed Natural Chicken & Brown Rice Recipe for adult dogs features chicken as the first ingredient.

Brown rice provides natural fiber for healthy digestion. This food does not contain any corn, wheat, or soy; and it has no artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives.

This formula includes omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids to improve your Lhasa’s skin and coat. Hill’s offers a money back guarantee that your dog’s skin and coat will be improved.


  • Chicken is the first ingredient
  • Natural fiber
  • No corn, wheat, soy, artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives


  • Price is above market average.

6. Victor Ocean Fish Formula with Salmon

Nutritional info:

  • Protein – 25.0% Min
  • Fat – 12.0% Min
  • Fiber – 3.8% Max
  • Calories: 405 kcal/cup

Victor dog food has become extremely popular in the United States in recent years. Many people swear by it.

The food has also been testing well with dogs that have been tested for dilated cardiomopathy despite being a relatively small company. We can recommend some of their dog foods with grains such as Victor Ocean Fish Formula with Salmon.

This is an all life stages food with fish as the single source of meat protein. Seventy-three percent of the protein in the food comes from fish. This is a good food for dogs that might have allergies to other meat proteins.

This food contains no corn, wheat, soy, or gluten, though it does contain peas as the fifth listed ingredient in the food.


  • Mostly fish protein
  • Good for dogs that can’t eat other meat proteins
  • No corn, wheat, soy, or gluten


  • Contains peas as the fifth ingredient

What kind of diet should you feed your Lhasa Apso?

Most Lhasa Apsos should be able to eat a normal diet for dogs. Most dogs need similar nutrients in their diet unless they have a health problem.


Your adult Lhasa Apso needs a minimum of 18 percent protein in his diet for daily maintenance. A pregnant/nursing dog and puppies need a minimum of 22 percent protein in their diets.

Most dog foods today have higher protein percentages than these levels but your dog doesn’t need a huge protein percentage.

High protein sounds great but if your dog is getting more protein than his body needs, he will excrete the excess in his urine. If you are buying a super expensive, high protein dog food, your dog could be urinating much of that money away. Many grain free dog foods have extremely high protein percentages.

Dog lovers often believe they are providing their dogs with lots more protein than with traditional dog foods. However, in most cases the increased protein in these grain free dog foods comes from plant sources such as peas, legumes and lentils.

These are the ingredients that the FDA is currently investigating because of a possible link to dilated cardiomyopathy in dogs.

Editor’s Note: We recommend that you feed your Lhasa Apso a food with moderate protein that relies on meat protein. Look for dog foods that have a protein percentage between 22 and 26 percent.


Fat is good for your dog. It makes his food taste better; calories from fat give him energy; and fatty acids are good for your dog’s skin, coat, and organs. Some vitamins can only be absorbed from fat.

Adult dogs need a minimum of 5 percent fat in their diet. Pregnant and nursing dogs and puppies need a minimum of 8 percent fat per day.

Virtually all dog foods have higher fat levels than these percentages. Some dog foods have very high fat levels so you should be aware of the fat percentage of your dog’s food and its calories. It can be easy to overfeed your dog if a dog food is high in fat.

We recommend a fat percentage of about 12 to 16 percent for Lhasa Apsos. This is considered to be a moderate fat level.


While many dog lovers have been taught to believe that carbs are bad for dogs, they actually perform many important functions. They are not “filler ingredients” or empty calories.

They are another source of energy for your dog, along with fat. They can be a source of fiber. And they can provide nutrients. Simple sugars and starches from carbs help your dog’s brain function. Fibers helps regulate your dog’s gastric system.

Complex carbohydrates are important for keeping your dog’s glucose levels steady so he can avoid blood sugar spikes after meals. Carbohydrates can also help prevent your dog from feeling hungry between meals.


Fiber can be either soluble or insoluble. You will often see soluble fiber on a dog food ingredient list in the form of chicory, beet pulp, and inulin. This kind of fiber draws more water into your dog’s digestive system, turning stomach contents to gel and slowing the digestive process.

Insoluble fiber adds bulk to the digestive matter and helps speed digestion. Most kibbles today have somewhere between 3 and 6 percent fiber.

If your Lhasa Apso is having loose stools it could be because there is too much fiber in the food for his system. You can try changing to a food that has less fiber and see if it solves the problem. Conversely, if your Lhasa seems to be constipated, you can try changing to a food that has a little more fiber.

Remember to please see a veterinarian if any digestive problem is causing your dog distress.

Probiotics and prebiotics

Prebiotics and probiotics help keep your dog’s gastrointestinal system functioning, as well as strengthening the immune system. Prebiotics are a dietary fiber that encourages the growth of “good” or beneficial bacteria in your dog’s digestive system. Chicory and inulin are prebiotics that are often added to dog foods.

Probiotics are living microorganisms that are sometimes added to dog food to “colonize” your dog’s digestive system. They can add millions of helpful bacteria to your dog’s system.

You can also buy probiotics separately and give them to your dog if you want to make sure he is getting enough friendly bacteria in his diet.

It’s believed that 70 percent of your dog’s immune system is related to his gastrointestinal system which means that prebiotics and probiotics can be very important to your dog’s health.

Vitamins and minerals

Kibble is cooked at a very high temperature. Unfortunately, this means that many of the vitamins and minerals in the food’s ingredients are destroyed. Dog food companies typically add vitamins and minerals back into the food after cooking to be sure the food is nutritionally complete.

What to look for when choosing the best dog foods for Lhasa Apsos

Lhasa Apso

When choosing the best dog foods for Lhasa Apsos we recommend the following:

  • Look for a food that is grain-inclusive unless your veterinarian recommends a different kind of food
  • Most dogs will do well eating a protein percentage between 22 and 26 percent
  • A moderate fat percentage between 12 and 16 percent is good for most healthy dogs
  • Most dog foods today have a fiber percentage between 3 and 6 percent which is suitable for most dogs

If your Lhasa Apso has a health problem and he can’t eat a grain-inclusive dog food, talk to your vet about what kind of food to feed your dog. Food allergies are not as common as many dog lovers believe but they do occur.

Even in dogs with food allergies, grains area not the most common allergen.

If you think your dog has a food allergy or sensitivity, it’s best to talk to your veterinarian and have your dog diagnosed instead of trying a lot of different dog foods that your Lhasa may not be able to eat.

Trying lots of foods that your dog can’t eat can inflame his digestive system and make things worse.

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Special considerations for feeding a Lhasa Apso

Picky eaters

According to many sources, your biggest problem in feeding your Lhasa Apso may be coping with his fussy eating habits. It’s not always easy to find a food that these dogs will like.

You might have to try several different dog foods before you find one that your Lhasa will eat. And, if there’s a change in the ingredients you could have to start all over looking for a new favorite food.

The good news is that Lhasa Apsos don’t usually become overweight since they are so particular about their food. An occasional dog may overeat or have weight problems but it’s not something that’s common in the breed.

Skin problems

Some Lhasa Apsos can have a problem with sebaceous adenitis (SA). This is an inflammatory skin condition that is often associated with Standard Poodles.

With SA, the dog’s immune system attacks their sebaceous (oil) glands, leaving a silvery dandruff, a brittle coat, a musty odor, and skin lesions. Lhasa owners sometimes mistake this condition for a food allergy but it’s not food-related.

If you see this problem with your dog you should consult your veterinarian for a treatment plan. There are many shampoos and other products that can help with it.

Your vet can also prescribe antibiotics. Some experts recommend feeding dog foods that emphasize Vitamins A and E, as well as omega fatty acids to support the skin and coat.

How much should you feed your Lhasa Apso?

You can expect a mature Lhasa Apso male to be about 10-11 inches tall at the shoulder; a female will be slightly smaller. Lhasas will weigh between 12 and 18 pounds as adults.

Since dog foods vary, it’s best to use calories to determine how much to feed your dog instead of cups or some other measurement.

  • A three-month-old Lhasa that weighs 3 kg (about 6.6 pounds) would need about 479 calories per day.
  • A six-month-old Lhasa Apso that weighs about 5.5 kg (about 12 pounds) would need about 503 calories per day.
  • At one year, as an adult, your Lhasa Apso might weigh 7 kg (about 15.4 pounds) and he would need about 542 calories per day.

These are only estimates. Your puppy could weigh slightly more or less. You will need to adjust his calories based not just on his weight but on his condition.

If your puppy looks too thin or too pudgy, you can make small changes in how much food you are feeding him.


Lhasa Apsos are smart, funny, devoted dogs. They make wonderful pets and get along well with other pets in the home. They are also good watchdogs, alerting you to anyone who dares to approach your door. Once accepted, a Lhasa is happy to welcome your friends.

These little dogs are one of the oldest breeds. It’s easy to see why they have been beloved for so long. We hope that the information provided here will help you select the best dog foods for Lhasa Apsos.

Carlotta Cooper

Carlotta Cooper is a long-time contributing editor for the weekly dog show magazine DN Dog News. She's the author of The Dog Adoption Bible, a Dog Writers Association of America (DWAA) award winner. In addition, she is an American Kennel Club Gazette breed columnist and is the author of several books about dogs. She has been reviewing pet foods and writing about dog food for more than 10 years.
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