best dog food for small dogs

Top 10 Best Dog Food For Small Breeds

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This article is not intended as medical advice, and should not be taken as such. It is simply a compilation of notes from my research to better maintain the health of my own dogs, and is shared for informational purposes only. The idea is to be much better prepared when one does consult with a veterinarian. :)

Sharing your life with a small dog can be very exciting and joyful.

These little cuties are adorable and easy to carry around due to their transportable size, and they also make great partners and best friends that will always be there for you.

Due to their fast metabolic rate, small breeds require more calories per pound. Their bellies are smaller, that’s why their food needs to contain the right amount of nutrients.

We must provide them with healthy and nutritious foods that will contribute to the overall health and wellbeing of their little bodies.

So, what is the best dog food for small dogs?

Purina Pro Plan best dog food for small dogsPurina Pro Planstars-rating Check Price
Taste of the Wild small breed dog foodTaste of the Wildstars-rating Check Price
Wellness Core Natural small breed dog foodWellness Core Naturalstars-rating Check Price
Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula for small dogsBlue Buffalo Life Protectionstars-rating Check Price
Hill's Science Diet Dry Dog FoodHill's Science Dog Foodstars-rating Check Price
CANIDAE PURE Small BreedCANIDAE PURE Small Breedstars-rating Check Price
Royal Canin Small Dog FoodRoyal Canin stars-rating Check Price
Merrick Classic dog food for small dogsMerrick Classic dog foodstars-rating Check Price
Instinct Raw Boost Small BreedInstinct Raw Booststars-rating Check Price
Whole Earth Farmsstars-rating Check Price

Do small breed dogs need special food?

Generally, dogs require a broad range of nutrients, proteins, minerals and vitamins.

Despite popular belief, dogs are not purely carnivores.

For a nutritionally balanced diet, domestic dogs depend on grains, fruits, and vegetables, along with meat. That’s why many people prefer to feed commercial food products to their dogs.

Most commercial foods are inexpensive, convenient and provide all the essentials to keep dogs healthy and well-fed. 

Since few owners are knowledgeable in dog nutrition, feeding a dry or canned commercial diet saves you the time and effort of balancing your dog’s nutritional needs on a daily basis.

Some dog breeds may have dietary problems of their own. Talk to your veterinarian to see whether you should be conscious of any nutritional risks based on race, size or ongoing health problems of your small dog.

Since the jaws and teeth of toy dogs are relatively small, the perfect foods for smaller breeds have a small kibble size in order to make the chewing process more comfortable.

1. Purina Pro Plan Small & Toy Breed Formula Adult Dry Dog Food

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Purina Pro Plan best dog food for small dogs

Purina Pro Plan


Spoil your little dog with this special and tasty treats of Purina Pro Plan FOCUS adult small breed formula dry dog food.

This formula contains specific nutrients like actual meat that helps to create the essential components for your dog’s body’s nutritional needs. This recipe is rich in protein (including chicken) to fulfil your small active dog’s unique needs.

Calcium, phosphorus and other nutrients help to keep his tiny teeth and bones strong and healthy.

This premium-quality dog food is bite-sized kibble with a diversity of essential nutrients to serve the dietary needs of your dog. Moreover, the natural prebiotic fibre from the wheat bran helps to improve your small dog’s digestive health.

Key Facts

  • Made with high-quality protein.
  • Natural prebiotic fiber.
  • Supports the Immune System.
  • Strong Teeth and Bones.
  • Maintain ideal body weight.

2.Taste of the Wild Grain Free High Protein Dry Dog Food

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Taste of the Wild small breed dog food

Taste of the Wild


This grainless recipe supplies your small dog with digestible energy and delicious food.

This healthy formula is made with real roasted meat and a combination of protein sources, which offers a unique, tasty flavour.

Moreover, Fruit and vegetables provide natural antioxidants to promote a healthy lifestyle.  Go forward, give one to him.

Taste of the Wild is a grain-free dog food suitable for small breeds. The first ingredient is real venison, which provides a high protein option to support lean muscles. 

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This recipe contains Inulin, which is not only a natural source of soluble dietary fibre but also a prebiotic used to promote healthy bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract of your dog.

Key Facts

  • High protein ingredients
  • Antioxidants to enhance the dog’s immune system
  • Added vitamins & minerals
  • Fruits and vegetables
  • no artificial colors, flavors or preservatives
  • MADE in the USA

3.Wellness Core Natural Grain Free Dry Dog Food Small Breed

Top Pick
Wellness Core Natural small breed dog food

Wellness Core Natural


Wellness CORE with Turkey & Chicken Recipe is 100% natural grain-free dog food for adult small breeds of dogs.

This holistic good is made of turkey, chicken, salmon oil and fruit and vegetables to help promote your dog’s optimum health with the help of smaller kibble sizes for smaller breeder dogs.

Wellness Core Small Breed dry dog food contains the right combination of protein and calories, ideal for maintaining a healthy weight for your little dog. This high-protein recipe, rich in turkey and chicken, supports high levels of energy and lean muscle.

This top-rated food is free of additives and supplies everything that your energetic dog needs to stay healthy and happy.

Key Facts

  • Grain Free. Filler Free
  • High levels of animal protein.
  • Supports joint health.
  • Fatty acids for healthy skin and coat
  • Made In USA.

4.Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Small Breed Dog Food

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Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula for small dogs

Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula


The first ingredient of Blue Buffalo foods is always real meat. High-quality real chicken protein helps your dog develop and keep their muscles active. Also, they contain healthy whole grains, veggies, and fruit.

BLUE Life Safety Formula Small Breed dry dog food provides enhanced proteins and carbohydrates, specifically designed for the well-being of adult small breed dogs.

Each package includes BLUE’s exclusive LifeSource particular mix of nutrients, vitamins, and minerals, carefully selected by holistic veterinarians and animal nutritionists to support immune-system wellness and all life-stage requirements.

BLUE dog food is the highest quality natural products enriched with vitamins and minerals. Calorie: 3,648 Kcals / kg, 397 Kcals / cup. This recipe doesn’t contain chicken (or poultry) by-product meals, corn (wheat), soybeans, and artificial flavors.

Key Facts

  • Helps build strong muscles.
  • Supports immune system health.
  • Promotes healthy skin and coat.

5. Hill’s Science Diet Dry Dog Food for Small Breed Dogs

Top Pick
Hill's Science Diet Dry Dog Food

Hill’s Science Diet Dry Dog Food


This well-balanced small dog food is rich in vitamins C and E, which help extend the lifespan and well-being of small dog breeds between 1 and 6 years old (weighing less than 25lbs).

This recipe is made with foods that are easily digested, specially designed for the stomach of a small breed dog.

The tiny kibble is ideal for a small canine mouth with high-quality protein, omega 6s, and vitamin E to promote healthy skin and a shiny coat.

The chicken and rice formula doesn’t contain artificial flavors preservatives or dyes; it has scientifically proved antioxidant benefits as well as being rich in high-quality protein and calcium.

Due to their long experience in the industry, Hill’s is one of the best dog food brands for small dogs; their food is appropriately designed to match the little companions with whom we share our homes.

Key facts:

  • Veterinarian recommended.
  • Supports healthy skin, coat and stool.
  • Clinically proven antioxidants
  • Not artificially colored or preserved.
  • Made in the USA.

6. CANIDAE PURE Small Breed Grain Free Premium Dry Dog Food

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This dog food contains limited ingredients made from 7-10 real foods in each bag, which provides your good boys and girls with all the essential nutrients.

There is nothing doubtful In Canidae PURE. No wheat, corn or soy.

Antioxidants are included in every kibble to promote healthy digestion; also, omega 6 & 3 fatty acids are provided to maintain beautiful skin and a shiny coat

Made with 6 different protein sources (Salmon, Rabbit, Duck, boar, Bison Chicken) and all life-style formula for all ages (Puppy, Adult, Junior, Small Breed), your pooch will love this small breed dog food.

Key facts:

  • Healthy digestion.
  • Supports a healthy immune system.
  • Promotes a beautiful coat

7. Royal Canine Health Nutrition Small Adult Dry Dog Food

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Royal Canin Small Dog Food

Royal Canin Health Nutrition Small Adult Dry Dog Food


The Royal Canine Size Health Nutrition Diet includes specifically balanced foods to provide dogs of different weights and life stages with the best nutrition.

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Royal Canin provides adequate nutrients and dietary needs to all breeds of dogs.

Your little dog has some significant dietary needs; this is because the energetic demands of small breed dogs are more significant than big dogs.

Not just that, these mini pooches have their unique characteristics – and they are very picky when it comes to foods and what’s put in their bowl.

Royal canine Limited adult dry dog food is created to address the particular nutritional needs of adult small breed dogs because they require higher calorie levels per pound body weight.

L-carnitine works to metabolize your dog’s fat and helps to keep his weight healthy.

Ideal EPA and DHA levels promote healthy skin and a beautiful shiny fur.

Nevertheless, there is no doubt that the tasty ingredients will satisfy all kinds of dogs, even the spoiled, picky eaters.

When your dog approaches his later years, you can always count on Royal Canine Small Adult 8+ and small aging 12+ to keep your pup healthy and happy as he age.

With nearly 50 years of studies and observation, Royal Canine aims to provide balanced nutrition for every breed.

Key facts:

  • Made for small dogs 10 months to 8 years old weighing 9–22 lbs.
  • Meets the high energy needs of small dog breeds.
  • Optimal levels of fatty acids to Support skin and coat health.
  • Kibble adapted for miniature jaws
  • Satisfies picky eaters.

8. Merrick Classic Healthy Grains Small Breed Recipe

Top Pick
Merrick Classic dog food for small dogs

Merrick Classic Healthy Grains


Created to ensure optimum digestion through the healthy balance of protein, fruits, vegetables, and an all-grain mix, including ancient grains, Merrick Classic is a healthy grain-based dog food containing fatty acids omega-3 and omega-6 to support healthy skin and bones.

This dog food for small breeds contains Quinoa, which is a significant source of protein found in real deboned chicken. Compared with other grain-type ingredients, Quinoa is high in protein (about 12-18%), dietary fiber, and other healthy nutrients.

Moreover, no chemical conservators or poultry by-products are found in this extraordinary recipe.

Key facts:

  • Main Ingredient Is Deboned Chicken.
  • Robust Levels of Omega 6 and Omega 3 Fatty Acids.
  • Supports Healthy Hips and Joints.

9. Instinct Raw Boost Small Breed & Toy Breed Natural Dry Dog Food

Top Pick
Instinct Raw Boost Small Breed

Instinct Raw Boost Small Breed


Instinct by Nature’s variety is highly recommended for those searching for a raw food diet for their small breed dogs. The recipe is not fully processed to ensure the ingredients remain whole and complete.

This formula contains freeze-dried duck meat as a main ingredient and source of proteins and amino acids, additionally, this holistic dog food contains whole foods as a source of nutrients, enzymes, vitamins, and minerals. 

Instinct Raw Dry Dog Food does not contain artificial preservatives, colors, and additives, which make it safe for allergic dogs. It’s also free of wheat, soy, or corn, and it’s produced without meat by-products.

Furthermore, glucosamine and chondroitin are also included to support your pet’s joints, as well as omega fatty acids to make his skin healthy and his coat smooth and shiny.

Finally, this dry dog food for small breeds also contains probiotics to support the digestive health of your pet.

10. Whole Earth Farms Grain Free Small Breed Recipe

Top Pick
Whole Earth Farms Grain Free

Whole Earth Farms Grain Free


This Whole Earth Farms Small Breed dog food recipe is designed to meet the dietary needs of your small dog breed.

A balanced dog food recipe with additional vitamins and minerals includes protein-rich organic chicken and turkey.

This Grain-free dry dog food formula contains all-natural goodies, No Corn, No Wheat, No Soy, No Poultry By-products, No added Flavors, No Artificial Colors, or Preservatives.

With various sources of protein, vitamins, and minerals, Whole Earth Farms is providing your dog with the finest foods that earth has to offer — made in the USA with the freshest ingredients.

Key facts:

  • Grain free goodness
  • Brown rice for increased energy
  • Natural meal to support the overall health of your small breed dog.

Picking the best food for your little partner may not always be easy. This guide will lead you through the possible factors that may influence your decision.

How to Choose The Best Food For your Dog?

Kibble Size 

Small dog breeds have smaller jaws and mouths, and they may face difficulties if they attempt to eat kibbles designed for bigger dogs, this is why dog food for small breeds includes tiny kibbles.

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Tiny kibble meant for small dogs is half the size of regular kibbles. Kibbles for toy dog breeds are even tinier, as little as a 1/8 inch.

Calories intake.

Caloric requirements differ from each dog breed based on their age and activity level, but typically, they need about 40 calories per pound of their weight.

For instance, a Chihuahua that weighs 5 pounds requires 200 calories per day, while a 20-pound Boston Terrier may need 800 calories.

Inactive and older dogs also need fewer calories, whereas working dogs require more. If you’re not sure, you can contact your vet to learn how many calories your pet needs daily.


Small breeds require more protein to build and strengthen their bodies, which prevents them from getting fat; this is why you should make sure that their recipe contains at least 20% protein for dry food.

Additionally, you must also verify that the protein comes from verified animal sources, such as ham, beef, or lamb, and not from unknown sources that are commonly branded as just ‘ meat or meat meal.


Your little pet requires fat as an energy source to keep his metabolism going. For this reason, you should ensure that your recipe contains at least 10% fat if it’s dry food, and 3% if it’s canned food. Similar to protein, Fat content is expected to come from natural, animal-based sources.

Vitamins and minerals

The daily diet of your dog requires vitamins and minerals to ensure he remains active and healthy. They must mainly come from natural sources like fruit and vegetables.

Additives can also contribute to certain areas of the overall health of your pup. Glucosamine and chondroitin supports joints health, while mega fatty acids Promotes healthy skin and coat. Finally, antioxidants supports digestive health and the immune system.

Frequently asked questions

How much to feed small dog?

Although the distinction between a toy breed and a small breed is blurry, it’s essential to know the difference to make sure you’re feeding your pup a proper dog diet.

Most dogs that are generally larger than a toy, but still under 20 pounds, are classified as small breeds.
Small dog breeds should eat:

3/4 cup per day if they weigh 10 lbs
1 cup per day if they weigh 15 lbs
1 2/3 cups per day if they weigh 20 lbs

When does a small dog breed become an adult?

In general, small to medium-sized breeds may be considered adults after approximately six months of age. But large and giant breeds must not be fed as adults until they reach about one to two years of age.

How do you introduce a new food to your dog?

Many experts suggest a gradual transition to a new diet beginning at around 20-25% “fresh” and slowly increasing it to 100% over 7 to 10 days. Be careful, and don’t hurry through the transition process. Take your time to lessen the chances of GI problems.

What if my dog shows adverse reactions after switching his food?

If you have slowly (and patiently) switched your dog food, but your pup still experiencing digestive problems like soft stools or diarrhea, he may be allergic or sensitive to one of the ingredients in the new formula. In this case, you may need to reduce or stop feeding the new food and start looking for a safer alternative. If symptoms persist, you may need to contact your vet.

How often should I change my dog’s foods?

Since the perfect dog food doesn’t exist, it is reasonable to believe that every product is flawed and excessive in some way. Many ingredients can contain small amounts of harmful toxins. Therefore, built-in defects are enhanced when the same food is served consistently.
Through regular changing of dog foods (diet rotation), the unhealthful effects of these defects can be reduced.

Can dogs eat human food?

It depends on how you define human food. There is a significant difference between human food and leftovers.
Human table food contains fatty pieces of whole meat.
Leftovers provide high-quality (but surplus) food remains after a human meal.
In certain cases, fat is a necessary part of most meaty foods. Yet table scraps only include the oily trimmings from the entire meat.
If your dog consumes fatty waste, keep in mind that he is eating an over-average amount of animal fat… which can lead to a severe illness known as acute pancreatitis.

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