The 7 Best Dog Foods For Small Breeds

Dog Food Nutrition October 3, 2021
small breeds

author:

The 7 Best Dog Foods For Small Breeds

This page contains affiliate links. We may earn money or products from the companies mentioned in this post through our independently chosen links, which earn us a commission. Learn More

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 7 picks for the best dog food for small breed dogs.

Compare Best Dog Food For Small Breeds

OVERALL BEST
Ollie Dog Food Chicken Goodness Recipe

1. Ollie Dog Food Chicken Goodness Recipe

RUNNER UP
Pet Plate Dog Food

2. Pet Plate Dog Food

BEST FOR OVERWEIGHT DOG
Wellness Complete Health Small Breed Adult Recipe

3. Wellness Complete Health Small Breed Adult Recipe

BEST DRY DOG FOOD FOR SMALL BREED
Nature’s Recipe Grain-Free Small-Breed Dog Food

4. Nature’s Recipe Grain-Free Small-Breed Dog Food

BEST SMALL BREED DOG FOOD FOR PUPPIES
Wellness CORE Small Breed Puppy Recipe

5. Wellness CORE Small Breed Puppy Recipe

BEST SMALL BREED DOG FOOD FOR SENIORS
Merrick Lil’ Plates Small Breed Senior Recipe

6. Merrick Lil’ Plates Small Breed Senior Recipe

BEST SMALL BREED DOG FOOD FOR ALLERGIES
Nutro Wholesome Essentials Small Bites Lamb Recipe

7. Nutro Wholesome Essentials Small Bites Lamb Recipe

Protein
10% Min
Protein
7.9% Min
Protein
25% Min
Protein
25% Min
Protein
38% Min
Protein
32% Min
Protein
22% Min
Fat
3% Min
Fat
5.5% Min
Fat
16% Min
Fat
15% Min
Fat
18% Min
Fat
12% Min
Fat
14% Min
Fiber
2% Max
Fiber
0.9% Max
Fiber
4% Max
Fiber
4% Max
Fiber
4.5% Max
Fiber
3.5% Max
Fiber
3.5% Max
Calories
1,298 kcal/kg
Calories
41 Kcal/oz
Calories
3,645 kcal/kg or 408 kcal/cup ME
Calories
361 kcal/cup
Calories
510 kcal/cup
Calories
349 kcal/cup
Calories
326 kcal/cup

The Top 7 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 7 picks for the best dog food for small breeds that you should consider:

OVERALL BEST
1.

Ollie Dog Food Chicken Goodness Recipe

Product Info

  • Protein: 10% Min
  • Fat: 3% Min
  • Fiber: 2% Max
  • Calories: 1,298 kcal/kg
Pros
  • Meals are customized based on your dogs profile
  • Four different meal flavors available
  • Free shipping and delivered right to your door
  • Recipes overseen by a vet and are human grade ingredients
Cons
  • Price on the high side as compared to other fresh dog foods
  • Food comes frozen solid
  • Profile only accounts for allergies not health issues
RUNNER UP
2.

Pet Plate Dog Food

Product Info

  • Protein: 7.9% Min
  • Fat: 5.5% Min
  • Fiber: 0.9% Max
  • Calories: 41 Kcal/oz
Pros
  • Meals are pre-portioned and in recyclable containers
  • Four different meal recipes available
  • You can mix and match all 4 recipes
  • Flexible subscription options
Cons
  • Price on the high side as compared to other fresh dog foods
  • Containers take up a lot of space in the freezer/fridge
  • Profile does not ask about health issues
BEST DRY DOG FOOD
3.

Wellness Complete Health Small Breed Adult Recipe

Product Info

  • Protein: 25% Min
  • Fat: 16% Min
  • Fiber: 4% Max
  • Calories: 3,645 kcal/kg or 408 kcal/cup ME
Pros
  • Made with deboned turkey and oatmeal
  • Optimized to support ideal body weight in small breeds
  • Plenty of essential fatty acids for healthy skin and coat
Cons
  • Some dogs are sensitive to chicken ingredients
  • Not a grain-free recipe
If you’re looking for a healthy, high-quality diet for your small breed dog try this Wellness Complete Health Small Breed Adult Recipe. Made with deboned turkey and oatmeal, it is protein-rich and highly digestible.

It features three animal proteins for high energy and strong muscles, plus plenty of healthy fats for beautiful skin and coat. It is also optimized to support your dog’s ideal body weight.
BEST AFFORDABLE SMALL BREED DOG FOOD
4.

Nature’s Recipe Grain-Free Small-Breed Dog Food

Product Info

  • Protein: 25% Min
  • Fat: 15% Min
  • Fiber: 4% Max
  • Calories: 361 kcal/cup
Pros
  • Real chicken as the #1 ingredient
  • Made with digestible grain-free carbohydrates
  • Antioxidants in every bite for healthy immunity
  • Supplemented with glucosamine for joint health
Cons
  • Made with an unnamed animal fat (poultry fat vs. chicken fat)
  • Above Avg. in cost
For an affordable dog food that will nourish your small breed dog’s body from the inside out, consider this Nature’s Recipe Grain-Free Small Breed Dog Food. It features real chicken as the #1 ingredient with sweet potato and pumpkin for digestible carbohydrates.

This recipe is rich in antioxidants for healthy immunity with plenty of fiber and healthy fats. Plus, it is supplemented with glucosamine for joint health and mobility.
BEST SMALL BREED DOG FOOD FOR PUPPIES
5.

Wellness CORE Small Breed Puppy Recipe

Product Info

  • Protein: 38% Min
  • Fat: 18% Min
  • Fiber: 4.5% Max
  • Calories: 510 kcal/cup
Pros
  • Made with deboned turkey and salmon meal
  • Fortified with antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals
  • Rich in dietary fiber for healthy digestion
  • DHA for healthy brain development
Cons
  • Some dogs are sensitive to chicken ingredients
  • Somewhat expensive compared to other puppy foods
Small breed puppies need plenty of energy to fuel their growth and development which is exactly what this Wellness CORE Small Breed Puppy Recipe delivers. Made with deboned turkey and salmon meal, this recipe is rich in protein and healthy fats for strong muscles and brain development.

This recipe is fortified with antioxidants and essential nutrients for immunity and contains plenty of protein to support your puppy’s digestive system.
BEST SMALL BREED DOG FOOD FOR SENIORS
6.

Merrick Lil’ Plates Small Breed Senior Recipe

Product Info

  • Protein: 32% Min
  • Fat: 12% Min
  • Fiber: 3.5% Max
  • Calories: 349 kcal/cup
Pros
  • High protein content
  • Highly digestible for sensitive digestion systems
  • Formulated uniquely for senior dogs
Cons
  • Not all dogs will enjoy it – some reviews say that their dogs didn’t like the flavor
  • Contains high-carbohydrate sweet potato and other plant ingredients
As your small breed dog gets older, it needs a reduced calorie load but adequate levels of protein to support healthy body weight. This Merrick Lil’ Plates Small Breed Senior Recipe is uniquely formulated to meet the nutritional needs of aging small breed dogs and it contains plenty of protein.

Made with real chicken and sweet potatoes, you can bet that this recipe is also easy on your senior dog’s digestion.
BEST SMALL BREED DOG FOOD FOR ALLERGIES
7.

Nutro Wholesome Essentials Small Bites Lamb Recipe

Product Info

  • Protein: 22% Min
  • Fat: 14% Min
  • Fiber: 3.5% Max
  • Calories: 326 kcal/cup
Pros
  • Made with pasture-red lamb and rice for digestibility
  • No artificial additives or GMO ingredients
  • Rich in nutrients and full of natural flavor
Cons
  • Contains high-carbohydrate sweet potato and other plant ingredients
Many small breed dogs develop food allergies and sensitivities which means that you might need to find a recipe made with less common ingredients. This Nutro Wholesome Essentials Small Bites Lamb Recipe is made with pasture-fed lamb and rice to ensure digestibility and quality nutrition.

It is rich in nutrients and full of flavor as well, sure to be a hit with your small breed dog.

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.

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 7 picks for the best small breed dog food reviewed above.

Kate Barrington holds a Bachelor’s degree in English and is the published author of several self-help books and nutrition guides. Also an avid dog lover and adoring owner of three cats, Kate’s love for animals has led her to a successful career as a freelance writer specializing in pet care and nutrition. Kate holds a certificate in fitness nutrition and enjoys writing about health and wellness trends — she also enjoys crafting original recipes. In addition to her work as a ghostwriter and author, Kate is also a blogger for a number of organic and natural food companies as well as a columnist for several pet magazines.
Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *