Best Dog Food for Small Breeds
Small breed dogs make wonderful companions. They’re the perfect pet for an apartment or condo, and they are guaranteed to be your best friend for life.
If you want to enjoy your small breed dog’s company for as long as possible, feed it a healthy diet specific to its nutritional needs. You may not realize it, but small breed dogs may need a different type of food than larger breeds to meet their unique energy requirements.
Keep reading to learn more about your small breed dog’s unique nutritional needs and to receive some tips for picking the best dog food to meet those needs. You’ll also receive our top 5 picks for the best dog food for small breed dogs.
Quick Look at Our Top Picks:
Special Dietary Needs of Small Breeds
When you look at a small breed dog compared to a larger breed, it seems obvious that it will need less food. Smaller stomachs have less room for food, after all, and it would seem to make sense that a little dog doesn’t need as many calories as a bigger dog.
Not only could you be wrong about that, but you might have other misconceptions about feeding small breed dogs. Here are some of the things to look for in a small breed dog food:
- Calorie-Dense. Small breed dogs have very fast metabolisms which, you may be surprised to learn, means that they need more calories per pound of body weight than larger breeds. In fact, small dogs may need up to 40 calories per pound versus 30 for an average-sized dog and 20 for a large breed.
- Antioxidants. Not only do small breed dogs have fast metabolisms, but they also have long lifespans. Feeding your dog an antioxidant-rich diet will help keep it healthy for as long as possible by boosting its immune system.
- Dry Food. Small breed dogs have small mouths which often leads to dental problems. Dry food is preferable to wet food for small dogs because it helps clean plaque and tartar off their teeth.
- Fatty Acids. Healthy fats provide a concentrated source of energy for small breed dogs, but they also play a role in supporting healthy skin and coat as well as brain development in puppies.
While keeping each of these things in mind, you’re now prepared to learn how to choose the best dog food for small breeds. Here’s what you need to know:
How to Choose the Best Dog Food for Small Breeds
When shopping for a small breed dog food, you need to keep your dog’s basic nutritional needs in mind.
All dogs need at least 18% crude protein and 5% fat in their diets, but small breed dogs may need a little more when it comes to fat.
Because they have very fast metabolisms, a calorie-dense diet is required to provide the energy they need.
Your small breed dog may need anywhere from 30 to 40 calories per pound of body weight to keep up with its metabolism.
Though fat is the most concentrated source of energy available to your small breed dog, protein is essential as well.
Protein fuels your small breed puppy’s growth and development then helps it maintain its lean muscle mass as an adult.
Look for high-quality sources of animal protein as the first ingredient, such as meat, poultry, or fish.
Small breed dogs do not have specific requirements when it comes to carbohydrates, but digestible sources like whole grains, legumes, potatoes, and vegetables are a valuable source of energy, dietary fiber, and essential nutrients.
Look for a recipe that contains between 3% and 5% fiber – anything too much higher might upset your dog’s digestion.
Other beneficial ingredients to look for in small breed dog food include fresh fruits and vegetables, probiotics, and chelated minerals.
Fruits and veggies provide natural sources of key nutrients like vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.
Chelated minerals are synthetic supplements, but they are highly bioavailable. Probiotics help support healthy digestion.
Keep reading to see our top 5 recommendations for the best dog food for small breeds.
The Top 5 Best Dog Foods for Small Breeds
Choosing a small-breed specific food for your dog is the best way to ensure that its unique nutritional and energy requirements are being met. From there,
look for a recipe made with high-quality ingredients with no by-products or artificial additives. That’s a great place to start.
Here are our top 5 picks for the best dog food for small breeds that you should consider:
How Much Should You Feed Small Breed Dogs?
When your small breed dog is a puppy, you should feed it four small meals per day for the first three months then reduce to three meals per day.
Keep in mind that small breed puppies burn through energy very quickly when they are growing, so you may need to adjust your feeding schedule if your puppy isn’t growing at the proper rate.
In terms of how much to feed it, refer to the feeding recommendations on the package because every recipe is different in terms of calories.
Check the package every two weeks or so and make adjustments according to your puppy’s age and weight. You can also check with your veterinarian to make sure your puppy is growing properly.
What About Food Allergies and Sensitivities?
While any dog can develop food skin allergies or sensitivities, some of the breeds most likely to develop them are smaller breeds.
It may be difficult to tell when your dog is a puppy whether it is sensitive or allergic to an ingredient in its food and many dogs don’t develop allergies until later in life.
If your small breed dog has skin problems or recurrent ear infections, however, it is a potential indication that something is not right with its food.
Consider switching to a limited ingredient recipe or a grain-free formula for a few weeks to see if things improve. If they do, you’ll have identified the source of the problem and you can simply keep feeding your dog a recipe that doesn’t cause a reaction.
Best Dog Food for Small Breeds: Summed Up
Because small breed dogs have different energy requirements than larger breeds, it is important to feed your dog a small-breed recipe.
From there, you have your choice of brands as long as you pick one made with high-quality proteins, healthy fats, and digestible carbohydrates.
If you’re not sure where to start your search, try one of our top 5 picks for the best small breed dog food reviewed above.