The Best Dog Food for Small Dogs

by | Jul 14, 2019 | 0 comments

Why is buying the best dog food for small dogs important?

When it comes to owning a furry friend, keeping him healthy and happy is a priority. With so many food options on the market, it can feel daunting and difficult to choose the best dog food for small dogs. You need to look at all the different nutrient values, the best ingredients for your size of dog, and whether the dog food has the different nutrient requirements for your pet’s breed.

It is important to do research into what kind of small dog would be best for your household before adopting or buying, as not only will this research help you find the pawfect companion, but it will also give you insight into how to care for and maintain your new canine friend.

The Best Dog Food for Small Dogs

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Merrick Lil' Plates Small Breed Grain Free Mini Medley Pack Wet Dog Food
  • Grain-free nutrition
  • Gluten-free
  • For easier digestion
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Merrick Lil Plates Grain Free Small Breed Recipe
  • Grain-free nutrition
  • Highly digestible
  • Small, crunchy kibble bites to help clean teeth
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WholeHearted Grain Free Small-Breed Chicken and Pea Recipe Adult Dry Dog Food
  • Special-sized kibble for small jaws
  • With proper levels of calcium and phosphorus
  • Help support healthy digestion
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Cesar Classics Adult Wet Dog Food
  • Provides complete and balanced nutrition
  • Fortified with vitamins and minerals
  • Feature delectable flavors in meaty juices
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Blue Buffalo Freedom Grain Free Natural Adult Wet Dog Food
  • Delicious, protein-rich beef
  • 100% grain-free
  • No artificial preservatives
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What is a small breed, and how are they different?

Small dog breeds are those who only weigh up to 20 pounds at maturity; however, among the small dog breeds, you get miniature varieties. These varieties show differences in size and are not an actual breed of dog. The toy-sized dogs are very small dogs with 28 different breeds, kept exclusively as pets and not as working dogs like your border collie or German shepherd. They are bred to be small companions. They can weigh anywhere between 4 and 12 pounds and reach 6 to 15 inches in height. Some examples of toy-sized dogs would be chihuahua, Japanese spitz, and the Pekingese.

Toy dogs are not the smallest dog size. That title belongs to the teacups, which are smaller than toys in weight and height; they normally weigh 2 to 4 pounds and measure less than 15 inches in height. Examples of the teacup dog size would be the tiny English spaniels or tiny fox terriers and pomeranians. Unfortunately, with such a small-sized dog breed, they come with a host of health issues – skeletal and immune issues being the most common. This is why buying the best dog food for puppies is so important for them to stay healthy.

It’s great knowing what a small dog breed is, but how do they differ from the larger breeds? One of the major differences would be their lifespan, as the smaller dog breeds tend to have longer life spans because their bodies age more slowly than the larger breeds. For instance, the toy poodle could live up to 15 years if looked after properly, whereas the Great Dane has an average lifespan of 7 years.

Because of their size, smaller breeds are more economically friendly to care for, as they do not eat as much as the larger breeds. It is important to buy the best dog food for puppies as their nutritional requirements aren’t as great, and a correct balance of ingredients is key to keeping your furry friend happy and healthy. They are also easier to handle and afford when it comes to the medical side of caring for your paw pal. Being so small, not as many medical supplies are required to treat them (surgeries, spaying, vaccines).

Most people are unaware of the energy consumption of a small dog breed. These little pets have a very fast metabolism and, as such, require a higher calorie diet. When feeding your furry friend, keep in mind the amounts given. Remember that smaller dog breeds are susceptible to dental and intestinal issues. This is why it is important to find the best dog food for small breeds.

Many people may think this extra energy requirement comes from the smaller breeds being more anxious or excitable; however, when it comes to psychological differences between the smaller and larger breeds, these are mainly dependent on the owner, how the dog is treated, the activities the dog is able to do with his owner, and the consistency of the pet’s training. It was found that owners of small dogs are more inconsistent in their interactions with their dogs than owners of large dogs. This problem is compounded because it appears that inconsistency has a larger negative impact on smaller dogs.

What nutrients are in the best dog food for small dogs?

This question can be answered by asking some other questions: What do small dog breeds require that medium to giant breeds do not? What makes the small breeds different from the others?

It is well-known fact that dogs of all sizes need a balanced diet that mainly consists of proteins, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals in order for them to stay healthy. Over the years, people have debated over the canine’s diet. Some would argue that they were completely carnivorous, which means they only ate meat. However, others argued that they were, in fact, omnivorous, which means they eat meat, grains, fruit, and vegetables, similar to our own human diet.

In the past, dogs would eat an entire carcass of an animal, and this carcass provides them with a variety of essential nutrients. For this article, we will include six major nutrient ingredients for a healthy dog: carbohydrates, fats, protein, water, as well as minerals and vitamins.

Proteins are used to grow all body tissue, such as bones, muscle, hair, and nerves. Keep in mind that proteins are made up of amino acids. There are some essential amino acids that a dog’s body cannot produce by itself, and your pet must derive these from his food.

Those essential amino acids needed by your furry friends come from both animal and plant sources. Notably, animal sources, such as eggs, meat, and fish, are seen as complete nutrients, whereas plant resources, such as vegetables, fruits, and grains are seen as incomplete nutrients. The combination of these different sources ensures the healthy functioning of your dog’s body.

Fats are an important component of a dog’s diet, with Omega-3 and Omega-6 seen as essential fatty acids. These are essential as the dog’s body is unable to make them by itself. A dog must derive these acids through his food source. These fatty acids work together to help your furry friends have a soft, shiny, and healthy coat, as well as give their immune system a boost.

Meanwhile, carbohydrates help your dog’s digestive system run smoothly. The right balance of grains, starch, and sugars can add to the overall protein content, as well as provide a source of energy for your canine friend. These fatty acids are important to look for when buying the best food for small dogs because smaller dogs use up a lot of energy, and fats are the most energy-dense nutrient.

Vitamins, although only needed in tiny amounts, are still required by the body in order to help with the metabolic process of your furry friend. They are essential ingredients as your dog is unable to make any of his own vitamins. Minerals are another dietary requirement that your canine friend’s body is unable to make. These would include calcium and phosphorus for bone development, the functioning of the heart, and muscle building.

The best dry dog food for small breeds

Dry dog food is seen as the most convenient type of food to feed your paw pal, as it allows you to feed your furry canine for the duration of the day while your pet eats at his own pace without the food spoiling. Dry food is seen as more economically friendly, so if you have a tight budget, dry dog food is the best food for small dogs for you.

It’s a mistake to think that your furry pal can eat any kibble you put in a bowl for him. Sometimes, your fluffy friend can experience sensitivity to foods or food allergies. You can normally tell based on several symptoms that include stomach pains, soft stools, vomiting, and a reduction in weight. This is typically an abnormal response to certain ingredients in your pet’s food. When this happens, it is best to consult your vet, who will advise you on the best food for small dogs.

It isn’t only your pet’s tummy that gets sensitive, but his skin as well. Skin sensitivity can likewise be attributed to any sensitivity or allergy to certain food products. It isn’t easy to diagnose a food allergy; your pup will need to be exclusively fed a diet that it is not allergic to for a period of 8 to 12 weeks! This is called a food elimination trial. It is usually prescribed by your vet, and it is very important not to spoil your paw pal with treats during this trial.

 

Hill’s Prescription Diet z/d Original Skin Food Sensitivities Dry Dog Food

Hill’s nutritionists and veterinarians developed Prescription Diet® z/d® clinical nutrition. This dog food was formulated to provide nourishment for your dog’s skin and address his food sensitivities, making it the best dog food for small dogs with sensitive tummies. Actually, z/d provide nourishment that has been clinically proven to help avoid adverse reactions to food. This is the best dog food for small breeds to giant breeds when it comes to food and skin sensitivity.

Hill's Prescription Diet z/d Original Skin Food Sensitivities Dry Dog Food

Provide nourishment and clinically proven to help avoid adverse reactions to food

Merrick Lil Plates Grain Free Small Breed Recipe

Kibble size is important when it comes to smaller breeds. Their jaw structure is smaller than that of most breeds, and their teeth are often weaker because of their size. Smaller breeds are at risk of choking on large pieces of food if they’re in too much of a hurry to chew their food into smaller, manageable bits. Large dogs can suffer from a clogged throat because of the rapid consumption of small pieces of kibble, which gets stuck at the back of the throat when eaten too quickly. So, in order to avoid this and for them to get enough nutrients with each bite, we must ensure that they are able to eat their food comfortably; this includes small-sized kibble and dog dishes that aren’t too big for them, as sometimes, the teacups or toys are too small and cannot reach into the dish where their food is served, especially when they are still puppies.

Merrick Lil Plates grain-free Small Breed Recipe is one of the best dog food for puppies, as it includes a protein-packed kibble that is designed for the smaller breeds. The product also contains probiotics and prebiotic fibers for healthy digestion and healthy joints. This is the best dog food for small breeds because the kibble is specifically formulated for your furry pal. It is filled with Omega-3 and Omega-6, and it offers a variety of different flavors so your furry friend doesn’t get bored!

Merrick Lil Plates Grain Free Small Breed Recipe

Includes a protein-packed kibble that is designed for the smaller breeds

WholeHearted Grain Free Small-Breed Chicken and Pea Recipe Adult Dry Dog Food

Whole Hearted also has a specially designed kibble that is designed to be bite-sized for your furry pal, but that is not just what makes it one of the best dog food for puppies. Having organic ingredients with the correct balance of vitamins and minerals makes it one of the best dog food for small breeds. This balance helps with the maintenance of their healthy, shiny coats and healthy development of their bones and muscles.

You may ask, why is organic dog food the best dog food for puppies? This is because organic foods do not contain any artificial colorings or additives that enhance flavor, chemical additives, or even toxic pesticides, thus giving your furry friends the best chance of fighting off skin infections and allergies. With quality grain and protein sources, it supports your canine companion’s immune system, which in turn helps combat and build resistance to skin infections.

With the lack of artificial substances and different chemicals that are found in some foods, organic foods are the best dog food for puppies. It makes their food easily digestible, which helps them eat less as they are getting more nutritious value from their organic food. With this in mind, how can you say organic foods is not the best dog food for puppies? By feeding your pup organic food, you can help ensure he has a lengthy, joyous, and healthy life, thanks to overall stronger immunity.

WholeHearted Grain Free Small-Breed Chicken and Pea Recipe Adult Dry Dog Food

An organic dog food that supports your canine companion’s immune system

The best wet dog food for small breeds

Why do you need to include wet food into a dog’s diet? Sometimes, your furry friend doesn’t drink an adequate amount of water in a day, and wet food can be a good hydration source. This also means that your fluffy pal can consume a larger serving for each meal and not worry about those extra calories.

With the food being wet, your canine friend is able to enjoy eating his food without concern for too large kibbles. Moreover, if your pet has sensitive teeth, wet food can be more easily eaten and enjoyed.

Vets often recommend soft or wet food when your dog is ill. Wet food usually has a richer scent and flavor, which would be more appetizing to an ill animal that might not be too interested in his food.

On the other hand, too much wet food could cause dental problems, as the teeth could get weak without the resistance that the dry food offers. Most dog owners find a mixture of the two to be the best dog food for puppies. Some use the wet food as a gravy, whereas others choose to give their fluffy friend a meal of wet food and then dry food later, or vice versa.

Cesar Classics Adult Wet Dog Food

Cesar Classics Adult Wet Dog Food is one of the best dog food for small breeds because it is specifically meant to be eaten either mixed with kibbles or alone, packed full with the right balance of vitamins and minerals to help the smaller breeds stay healthy. Cesar Classics has various flavors so your paw pal won’t get bored of the same taste every day. These range from Beef Stew and Filet Mignon to Grilled Chicken flavor.

Cesar Classics Adult Wet Dog Food

Packed full with the right balance of vitamins and minerals to help the smaller breeds stay healthy

Blue Buffalo Freedom Grain Free Natural Adult Wet Dog Food

When it comes to your active smaller fluffy pals, Blue Buffalo Freedom is one of the best food for small dogs as it only utilizes natural ingredients, with high-quality proteins and complex carbohydrates that will enable your fur baby to have high energy levels while also having a healthy immune system. The complex carbohydrates are derived from fruit and vegetables to help your furry pal have a healthy digestive system as the food is grain-free, which is great because some grains are harmful to dogs.

What does grain-free mean? This refers to any type of dog food that is manufactured without the use of rice, corn, wheat, and other grains. However, dogs still need carbohydrates for their energy, and this can come from fruits, vegetables, potatoes, or pea flour.

Why is grain free the best dog food for puppies? Many of the smaller breeds suffer from allergies, and some are allergic to grains. Aside from minimizing the potential risk of allergies, many grain-free foods contain more protein and animal fats and fewer carbohydrates than their grain-based counterparts and can thus be more easily digested by your furry companion. Going grain free helps keep your paw pal fuller for longer as he gets more nutrients and is not just temporarily made full by unhealthy grains. The extra protein also ensures that your pet’s skin remains healthy and its coat shiny, which also means less shedding.

Blue Buffalo Freedom Grain Free Natural Adult Wet Dog Food

With high-quality proteins and complex carbohydrates for high energy level

Merrick Lil’ Plates Small Breed Grain Free Mini Medley Pack Wet Dog Food

Grain-free dog food is the best food for small dogs, but if you are going to transition your pet from grain-based foods, make sure to do it in stages. This is to ensure that your furry companion’s digestive system has time to adjust to his new diet. Keep in mind that a grain-free diet is optimal for adult dogs as too much protein is harmful to a puppy’s kidney. However, there are other brands that state “All stages of Life.” When unsure, it is always best to ask your local vet, breeder, or shelter.

We briefly discussed Merrick Lil Plates Grain Free Small Breed Recipe earlier in the article; combining the dry food and the Merrick Lil’ Plates Small Breed Grain Free Wet Dog Food would be the optimal mixture of wet and dry food. This would be the ultimate best dog food for small dogs. Keeping to the same brand of food while mixing the food types brings down the risk of upset stomachs, especially with the smaller breeds that have a sensitive digestive system. This is because the dry and wet food will have a similar formula, so it wouldn’t be too rich for your fluffy buddy.

Merrick Lil' Plates Small Breed Grain Free Mini Medley Pack Wet Dog Food

Is considered as the ultimate best dog food for small dogs

Conclusion

In this article, we’ve covered the importance of good nutrient balance, the best wet dog food for small dogs and the best dry food for small dogs. We hope that, with this article and your research, you are armed with all the knowledge you need to make healthy decisions for your little buddy. Remember to keep stocked up on your pup’s favorite food so that his nutrient intake stays consistent for a healthy, happier, and longer living furry friend.

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Amanda Wilson
A licensed veterinarian and a member of the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants, Amanda Wilson grew up in a family of biologists and veterinarians from her hometown of Boston, MA. Amanda used to work in an animal research facility in California. However, she had a change of heart after being assigned temporarily to support a big state animal shelter and seeing the conditions of the dogs admitted. She felt that they deserve more love and that first-time pet parents should be well-informed about all aspects of pet parenthood—even the not-so-great ones.

Currently practicing at her own clinic in another city, Amanda lives with her husband and son, as well as their family dog—a Dalmatian named Tiny. Aside from attending to the needs of her fur-bulous clients, she also enjoys teaching young children about responsible pet parenting.