What Is the Best Dog Food for Small Dogs? — Chewy Arrow Down Arrow Left Arrow Right Arrow Left Arrow Right Twitter Facebook Instagram Pinterest Video Play

What Is the Best Dog Food for Small Dogs?

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Tips for Choosing the Best Dog Food for Small Dog Breeds

All dogs need exercise and someone to care for them; they need playtime and daily belly rubs. But it may come as a surprise to you that not all dogs have the same nutritional needs. A puppy, for example, needs more DHA for nervous system development than a full-grown dog, and a senior often needs more fiber and fewer calories than a younger pup.

But your dog’s life stage isn’t the only factor that determines the proper diet. Different breeds and different size dogs also have varied nutritional needs. A more active breed, such as a Hound in hunting season, is going to require a higher protein content to do his job than a more sedentary Pug. Larger breeds, such as Great Danes or Bernese Mountain Dogs, require less calcium in their food for steady bone growth and adequate development and to prevent their bones from becoming brittle.

With all of these facts about the best diet and nutrition for a dog, have you ever wondered, “What is the best dog food for small dogs?” Well, you’ve come to the right place!

According to veterinarian Judy Morgan, DVM, CVA, CVCP, CVFT, “Small breed dogs have a higher metabolic rate and will require more calories [than a large dog] per pound of body weight to keep them going.” Wellness Small Breed Complete Health Adult Turkey & Oatmeal Recipe Dry Dog Food is a specially formulated dog food for small breeds with 420 kcal per cup. It’s made with natural ingredients and four protein sources for maximum nutrient absorption, and includes plenty of omega-3 and 6 fatty acids for a healthier dog—inside and out.

“Foods that are more nutrient dense can result in a lower volume of food that needs to be eaten,” says Dr. Morgan. “Due to their higher metabolic rate, these dogs will fare better when fed more frequent, smaller meals, rather than one larger meal.”

Small breed dog food recipes also tend to have higher protein and fat levels because smaller dogs burn more energy moving around on their short little legs. Taste of the Wild Appalachian Valley Small Breed Grain-Free Dry Dog Food has a 32% minimum crude protein and 18% minimum crude fat in order to support the energy requirements of small dogs. The small kibble size and highly digestible lamb and garbanzo bean formula make it easy on your pup’s teeth and stomach, too! Another great option is the Merrick Lil’ Plates Grain-Free Real Chicken + Sweet Potato Recipe Small Breed Dry Dog Food, which has a 38% minimum crude protein and 17% minimum crude fat.

Because small dogs have just as many teeth as big dogs, but have tiny mouths, they require more precise attention to dental care. Natural Balance L.I.D. Limited Ingredient Diets Chicken & Sweet Potato Formula Small Breed Bites Grain-Free Dry Dog Food feature a kibble shape, size and texture that’s ideal for small dogs to promote overall dental health. The crunchy bites scrape off plaque and tartar from the surface of the teeth and help support healthy gums. This grain-free meal is specially formulated with limited proteins and carbohydrate sources to combat allergens and food sensitivities. It’s free of artificial colors and flavors and provides all of the nutrition and energy small dogs need.

When you’re trying to answer the question, “what is the best dog food for small dogs,” and your pet eats wet food, try Nutro Adult Petite Eats Roasted Turkey & Vegetable Entree Cuts In Gravy Dog food Trays. This formula provides the optimal balance of proteins, fats and carbohydrates for optimal dog nutrition, plus it’s free of artificial colors, flavors and preservatives. It can be used as a topper, mixed with dry food, or fed as a complete meal.

Feeding foods specific to your dog’s size and age is essential to making sure he’s getting the nutrients he needs at every stage of his life. And remember, every pet is different, so be sure to consult with your veterinarian before making the decision to transition your pet to a new diet. Just as a special food is optimal for small dogs, so are smaller-sized treats. For a specially curated selection of treats and food for your little one, consider treating him to the Chewy Goody Box, Tiny But Mighty, which is filled with goodies he is sure to love.



Originally from Chicago, Nicole joined the Chewy team as a marketing intern in January, 2017. Since then, Nicole has continued writing and photographing for Chewy as a Content Collaborator while completing her education at Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business. She is majoring in both marketing and corporate innovation, before returning to Chewy as a Marketing Analyst. In her free time, Nicole enjoys traveling, riding her horse or snuggling up with her Pug, @zoetheloaf, and Terrier, Cozmo.