There are a lot of dog food options available in the market and all of them claim to be the best dog food for small dogs. However, only experienced dog owners know which product is well-suited and formulated especially for the small breeds. This is why I have decided to review 10 best dog food for small dogs in 2020 to make things easier for you—and your small breed dog! Hope you enjoy reading my reviews. Don’t forget to check out the buying guide and frequently asked questions at the end.
Best Dog Food for Small Dogs in 2020 – Top Product List
|Our Picks||Product||Our Review||Price|
|Wet/Canned Dog Food|
|For Sensitive Stomach|
The Best Dog Food for Small Breeds – Buyer’s Guide
Dog food for small breeds is widely different from dog food for adult breeds. The reason is that small breeds have smaller teeth and less energy to bite through heavy or chewy food, making it a hassle for not only the dogs but for their owners as well who have to look after their diet and well-being by constantly monitoring their food intake.
Even though small breeds look like they don’t need much food, it’s a fact that they require the same amount of energy and protein intake as large breeds to grow. Here’s a buyer’s guide to help you evaluate and select the best dog food for small breeds, but first— let’s start with things to look for in the best dog food for small breeds
Ingredients should be checked thoroughly
It goes without saying that a lot of dog owners like to purchase the dog food can their dog likes to eat. Be it fish, lamb or pork, the only thing that dog owners care about is that at least their dog is consuming something. It is not necessary that your dog has to consume only the original, authentic chicken or meat.
The most important thing is making sure that all the other ingredients present in the dog food are suited to your dog. If you purchase your food online or manually visit a grocery store to get your dog food, you need to read the label of instructions first. A lot of dogs are allergic to salt, gluten or even grains.
Reading the broad label makes you believe that you’re giving them 100% authentic food while they are getting sick day by day and you don’t know the reason for it. There are times when my friends have read the label as ‘Grain-Free’ but in the small leaflet of ingredients, they found out that the product still has wheat included in a small amount. In addition to that, you must check the weight of the ingredient.
The weight of the ingredient can be checked by seeing the order of ingredients. The ingredient that has the most weight and value is added in the most amount and vice versa. You need to make sure that you purchase a product that has protein as the main ingredient which has the most weight.
Choose if your dog requires wet dog food or dry dog food
The issue with dog food is that there are a lot of options available. The most important decision that you need to make is if you want your dog to consume wet dog food or dry dog food.
While dry dog food is a better option for promoting the health of gums and promoting digestion and improving activity levels, many dogs are in the process of growing teeth which makes dry food extremely uncomfortable for them. Not only that but the wet dog food is great if your dog has digestive disorders, stomach pains or any other difficulty, or is just— spoilt! For this reason, I always make sure that my dogs have a blend of wet dog food and dry dog food.
Wet Dog Food
- Offers more taste and flavors for dogs, which is why dogs love it
- The smell and visuals are better
- It provides fewer energy levels as the maximum amount is moisture based which includes soup or water or any other liquid such as gravy
- Not a great option for messy or fussy dogs
- Difficult to store once the can has been opened
Dry Dog Food
- Offers various varieties such as crunchy kibbles, bite-sized, steaks, shredded meat, etc
- Easy to use as it has no mess
- Easy to store for a long period of time even after opening the pack
- Can be retained back even after you feed it, in case the dog rejects it
- Allows more nutrition as it doesn’t have extra moisture
Age of the dog must be kept in mind
When you are purchasing the dog food for small breed dogs, you need to consider if it can eat the product or does it need a more chewable option. Another thing to keep in mind is if your dog has gotten to an age where it can bite through a large piece of meat himself, or not.
For younger dogs, wet dog food is a better option but make sure to keep a balanced diet between dry dog food and wet dog food as you wouldn’t want them to be habitual of something that is not easily available to them at all times.
Next, you need to make sure that as your dogs grow older, they get the nutrition that is especially required for them. it includes folic acid, vitamins and the necessary minerals that would aid their reproduction process and promote healthy growth.
The flavors should be according to your dog’s preference
It goes without saying that your small breed dogs will instantly reject the food if they don’t like it. It’s as simple as that. Your dogs wouldn’t even touch the food that is not according to their desired flavor so instead of wasting your precious money, get the right flavors.
If your dog likes to fish, get the food that has fish as the main ingredient. If your dog likes chicken or lamb, get that one and vice versa.
What is the best dog food for small/toy breed dogs?
For toy breeds or small breed dogs, you can go for either Nature’s Recipe Grain-Free Dry Dog Food or Wellness Core Natural Grain-Free Dry Dog Food since both of these are rich in proteins and nutrients which are required by a toy breed or small breed dog.
Which dog food is great for young small breed dogs?
For dogs who are still in their growing stage, wet dog food should be preferred over dry dog food. Some great options for wet dog food for small breed dogs include Canidae Pure Grain Free Limited Ingredient, Premium Wet Dog Food as it contains 100% natural, easy to chew food that your dog would love to eat and get the maximum energy from.
What kind of dog food should be given to senior small breed dogs?
Since a senior small breed dog needs proper care for his joints and bones, it is always advised that dog food with the most calcium and vitamins should be preferred. The Purina Pro plan Small and Toy Breed Formula Dry Food is a great option since it has the most amount of protein that provides great digestion and is high in vitamins and minerals.
Small Dogs Key Nutritional Needs
Small breed dogs require a lesser amount of food, but that doesn’t mean that they don’t require the nutrients necessary for their growth and well-being.
The six basic nutrients that your dog needs are water, proteins, fats, carbohydrates, minerals, and vitamins. The best way to monitor your dog’s nutrition is by measuring the amount of food that you’re feeding him every day.
It is not always practical to measure the dog’s food based on their kind. Vets can calculate the required amount based on your dog’s weight and age and dietary requirements considering any possible health issues. However, the standard formula for calculating the energy and nutritional requirements for your small breed dogs is given below 30 x weight in kg + 70 = daily calorie needs You can adjust the dog’s meal according to the calorie count required. Be advised that this is just a general formula to give you an overview. Make sure to consult your vet before you make any decision.
The Best Dog Food for Small Dogs – Top 10 Product Reviews1
Nature’s Recipe – Editor’s Top Pick
For small dogs who want to devour in the yumminess of their food, nature’s recipe grain free small breed dry dog food is a great option. Not only the food is tasty but it is incredibly healthy as well. All the recipes are crafted keeping in view a small breed’s diet and nutritional values that they require, so you don’t have to worry about managing your dog’s diet because nature’s recipe takes care of it all. If you want to build muscle strength and help your dog digest better while also retaining the maximum amount of energy and happiness, then you’ll find that this particular brand does the job for you. It also makes your dog extremely active and joyful as his tummy is full and he wants nothing but to relax and play with you.
The dry food has chicken as the main ingredient, but the chicken is prepared 100% organically without adding any additional preservatives that might deteriorate your dog’s health in the long run. The food is completely grain-free. It includes sweet potatoes and pumpkin which will help your small breed dog to digest better. Better digestion helps promote better health and helps your dog stay active and playful.
The main ingredients include Chicken, Garbanzo Beans, Peas, Sweet Potatoes, Pumpkin, Dried Tomato Pomace, Salt and Rosemary extract. It even has vitamins that are so necessary for small breeds’ growth. The food is packed in small nibbles for the small dogs to chew and bite better. It has been a problem in the past that small dogs cannot devour a large piece of beefsteak alone, making it go to waste. But nature’s recipe has created the chicken-based food but packed it in small nibble-sized portions to help them get the most out of it and to save your hard-earned money as you’ll only be feeding your dog the food that he requires, not that he doesn’t.
The best part, however, is that there is no added corn and wheat. There is no soy and artificial flavors as well so if your dog is allergic to any of it he can safely consume nature’s recipe dry food.
- The food is extremely yummy so even picky eaters would love it
- Soy-free food allows your allergic dog to resist hot spots
- 100% organic and natural
- No preservatives have been added
- Bite-sized nibbles allow an easy intake
- Perfect to avoid digestive disorders
- Provides all the necessary vitamins
- The small-sized bites become a problem for busy owners as they have to constantly monitor their dogs’ growth and adjust the portions manually
Conclusion – I’m going to go ahead and say it. This is hands-down the best dog food ever. Since I am a hardcore dog lover and have 3 adorable dogs of my own, I make my research very carefully. I bought this for my 2-year dog who was having digestive difficulties and since I have put him on this dry food I have never faced any difficulties with his bowel system anymore.2
Wellness Core Natural – Runner Up
For the dogs and owners who hate the idea of grains in their food, but need the proteins fats and carbohydrates to function properly, this one’s for you. Even though it doesn’t have any grains or wheat included, it still provides the yummy goodness that your dog needs to function properly. It is also full of proteins and vitamins and has a high amount of energy. The food is full of flavors ranging from various tastes and doesn’t even have fillers in it. There are no meat by-products as well.
The main ingredient for this dry dog food for the small breed is premium quality turkey and chicken. If your dog likes to eat nothing but the best, you’ll find that he’ll resort to eating this in double the amount as he does with his previous food. If your dog is increasingly skinny, this dog food will also add some weight and health in your dog’s body— thanks to the completely natural source of carbohydrates and fats.
Since small breeds are more inclined to tasty food but need the optimal amount of energy to grow, this dog food is prepared to keep in mind just that. It includes deboned turkey, chicken meal, turkey meal, potatoes, peas, dried ground potatoes, natural chicken flavors, tomato pomace, and chicken fat. For added nutrition and health benefits, it includes Ground Flaxseed, Salmon Oil and Vitamins such as Vitamin E supplements, Beta Carotene which is extremely good for maintaining your dog’s eyesight and Vitamin A supplement that helps to keep hair shiny and soft.
The dog food doesn’t contain gluten as well, which makes it an extremely healthy option for small dog breeds.
- 100% grain-free, completely natural food
- High in proteins and vitamins
- No artificial flavors or colors have been added
- Completely Gluten and Soy-free
- Has high-quality turkey and chicken as its base
- Has an incredibly savory taste
- Since the food has a savory and strong taste, some dogs might not be able to adjust too quickly. However, with time— they’ll fall in love with it.
Conclusion – If you’re looking for a dog food that is completely gluten-free and has nothing but the most premium ingredients such as turkey and chicken, I’ll advise you to go for this one. My own dogs love this dry food and come running to the food bowl whenever I open the pack to feed them.3
Hill’s Science Diet – Best for Balanced Diet
The Hill’s Science Dry Food is 100% vet recommended as it is formulated keeping in view the unique specifications of each breed of dog. Like a person has its own preference and needs, dogs have the same phenome and Hill’s Science understands that. This is why it created specialty formulas with the precise nutrition that a small dog breed requires. Nothing more and nothing less! It creates an exact balance of proteins, fats, and carbohydrates. It keeps in view that small dogs can face digestive difficulties, so all the food is prepared to support healthy stool and improve digestion by clinically proven antioxidants to help aid the process and make your dogs’ lives easier.
The product does not even have a single ounce of artificial coloring in it. All the ingredients are 100% natural and are proven to be healthy for your small breed dogs. Since it is formulated by the experts, in a science lab, it is crafted to make sure that little stomachs can easily digest it and get the most out of it.
The ingredients include proteins for strong muscle growth and to make sure that the dog’s activity levels are always high, omega 6s make your small breed dog’s eyes strong and shiny. Not only that, omega 6s have been proven to make hair healthier and shinier, and which dog owner doesn’t like that? All the ingredients are formulated in a safe environment. The ingredients include Chicken Meal, Whole Grain Wheat, Brewers Rice, Soybean Meal, Cracked Pearled Barley, Pork Fat, and Chicken Liver flavor. It even includes veggies such as carrots, spinach, dried grape pomace, dried tomato pomace, and dried citrus pulp.
To promote your dog’s health and long life, it has Vitamin A, B12, and Beta Carotene. It even has vitamin E and Folic Acid that can especially help female small breed dogs when they are giving birth by helping their reproduction system get the necessary nutrients to work properly. If that wasn’t all, it even has antioxidants and amino acids. If you want your dog to taste all the good things in life, you can simply get a pack of the Science Hill’s as it has salmon, lamb, and real chicken— all included in 1 packet to add variety in your dog’s life.
- Made with 100% natural ingredients
- Offers a variety of base ingredients: Salmon, Lamb, and Chicken
- Has the necessary antioxidants
- Contains omega 6 fatty acids for better health and growth
- Recommended by Veterinarians
- Proteins, Vitamins and amino acids promote lean muscle growth
- Formulated according to your dog’s specifications
- The taste is not particularly great. If your dog is a picky eater, it might take some time before he actually adjusts to the taste, but since all good things come at a price you’ll need to pay the price of making the extra effort to entice your dog into consuming healthy food.
Conclusion – I bought this when my Shitzu started being really cranky for no reason. My vet recommended this product to me. The first few days were difficult since he was not particularly adjusting to the taste, however, after a few days, he came running to the food bowl when I called his name. If you want a safe option that is recommended by vets and has a variety of ingredients available, then I’d totally recommend this product to you.4
Canidae Pure – Best Wet/Canned Food
The Canidae Wet Food is completely grain-free, easily chewable food for your small dogs who either have a fine taste for good premium quality food or small breed dogs who have not developed their tangs yet and need a portion of food that they can digest without biting it. In other words, this dog food is formulated by keeping in view your dog’s hypersensitive glands, be it taste glands or digestive glands. The wet dog food by Canidae has a lot of flavors, especially rich salmon zest as salmon is the main ingredient for this product.
All the recipes are incredibly healthy since they are created in completely natural broth, improving the nutrition levels and providing your dogs with nothing but the best. It is created with fish, that is salmon as the main ingredient and then 7 other key ingredients that improve the deliciousness for your dog to feel good as he devours in the yumminess of the food.
There is no grain added, so dogs with sensitive stomachs can relax and eat it as much as they want. The best part is that it doesn’t have a lot of tangy flavors, so everything is extremely mild and healthy. Ingredients for this wet dog food for small dog breeds include Salmon, Salmon Broth, Chicken Liver and Potatoes. It also includes Ocean Fish, Chicken, Carrageenan, Guar Gum, Locust Bean Gum, Flaxseed Oil, and Sunflower Oil. For added nutrition, it includes Vitamin D3, Folic Acid, Thiamine Mononitrate and Yucca Extract with Cranberries and Rosemary Extract.
All of these ingredients ensure the best digestion and optimal growth for your small breed dogs. It has added probiotics that are vital for digestive ease. However, the best thing about this product has to be the fact that it can be fed to dogs of all sizes and breeds because it is perfect for every kind. Needless to say, small dog breeds can benefit the most as it is light on their stomachs, as well as mouths.
- Grain-Free Wet Dog Food allows easy digestion
- Includes no extra flavors
- Easy to eat for baby dogs without teeth
- Contains Salmon as the base ingredient
- Full of proteins and minerals
- No fillers added
- Wet dog food cannot be consumed alone on a daily basis as the sole food. It requires a blend of 25% canned food and 75% dry food so that your dog does not get loose stool or diarrhea.
Conclusion – This product was tried and tested by me when my Shitzu had allergies and I had to feed him food that was extremely mild so his stomach does not get disturbed. At first, I gave it to him as it came out of the can, but slowly I decided to mix it in dry food and the results were fabulous. I still use it every time my dog gets sick as it provides him a certain kind of calm and helps his stomach feel better.5
Purina Pro Plan Savor – Best for Sensitive Stomach
Dense with nutrition and energy, the Purina Pro plan small breed formula is a dry food that is shredded to perfection, making it easier for your dog to consume and digest it. The food is full of deliciousness that your dog can savor and get the most out of every bite. Not only the live probiotics allow him to work properly, it even allows better digestion and improved immunity in dogs.
The best thing about dry food is that it has everything real. The base is of real chicken and real lamb, shredded into bite-sized meals so that your small breed dog doesn’t have to waste any effort in cutting it. The meat includes crunchy kibbles and tender, juicy pieces of meat that provide an ultimate mouth-watering experience and leaves your dog longing for more.
If you’re looking to make your dog gain weight by consumption of healthier food, but your dog isn’t really enjoying any of the wet or dry options offered by ordinary methods, then the crunchy shredded nibbles are new, out of the box option for your small breed dog. The main ingredients for the dry dog food include chicken, ground rice, poultry by-product meal and soybean meal, beef tallow, corn gluten meal, and a fried egg. It even includes whole-grain corn and whole-grain wheat, corn germ meal and wheat bran for added nutritional benefits and to aid in the progress of your dog’s speedy growth.
Not only that, but this dog food also contains vitamins such as B12, Calcium Carbonate, Vitamin A, B, D3, B7 and even Folic Acid which is extremely necessary for a small dog. For dogs who have a tough time stooling, and constantly face constipation, Garlic Oil is also added that will help get rid of stomach aches and constipation.
- Shredded meat
- 100% complete and balanced diet
- Has chicken has the main ingredient
- Extremely nutritious
- Has the benefits of vitamin A, omega 6 fatty acids and folic acid.
- Includes rice formula
- Promotes better digestive health
- Since the product is shredded if your dog is a messy eater you might have to clean it up more often.
Conclusion – This one is one of the best options for sensitive stomachs. If your dog is anything like my 2-year-old shitzu, you’ll notice a vast difference in his health and overall activity levels.6
Natural Balance L.I.D. – Best Limited Ingredient
Not all dogs like ordinary lamb and chicken blends, which is why Natural Balance has come up with a unique new blend of potato and duck to provide the necessary proteins, carbohydrates, and vitamins to your dog. The dog food is created to reduce any problems of acidity and digestive disorders in your dog. It has been specially formulated to keep in view dogs who may have food sensitiveness and all the flavors have been kept super-mild on purpose.
Even though it is incredibly tasty, the flavors are present in an insignificant amount. One of the most premium quality product that offers a complete balanced diet for your small breed dogs. The size and shape of the dry food are crafted keeping in view the small fangs and of the small breed dogs, and helps to improve healthy gums in the small breed dogs. The best part is that 9 tests are done on each individual batch of food to make sure that food is crafted to perfection and is safe for your dog, providing quality assurance in the best way possible.
Natural Balance LID uses real duck and healthy farm-grown potatoes as the main ingredient and doesn’t believe in integrating grains to mend digestive disorders. All of the ingredients are extremely simple and unique, making it a no-fuss, all-organic, extremely healthy option for your small breed dogs. The core ingredients for Natural Balance LID are potatoes, duck meals, and dried potato products. The food is prepared in Canola Oil. It also includes Flaxseed, Potato Proteins, and Salmon Oil, as well as salt. In vitamins and minerals, it included Taurine, Biotin, Vitamin D3, D calcium, Citric Acid, Vitamin 12 supplement and Zinc sulfate, copper sulfate, calcium iodate. All of the ingredients are proven to be the best for small breed dogs’ optimal growth and aids in promoting good health, good mood, and better digestion.
- Limited ingredients for better energy absorption
- Grain-free formula
- No artificial preservatives or flavors added
- Crunchy bite-sized meals
- Tested thoroughly to provide quality assurance
- The smell of this dog food is rather strong. This is not a problem with dogs, but the owners who are feeding it.
Conclusion – This product is a sensible choice if you’re looking for a bite-sized, tiny meals options for your small breed dogs. It can even be used as treats for fussy dogs as the food is provided in tiny ball-shaped munchies.7
Merrick Lil Plates – Best Gluten-Free Formula
Designed especially for the small breed dogs, this product has everything that is required to meet their nutritional needs. The food is packed in small kibbles for tiny dogs and doesn’t include gluten for dogs who are allergic to it
The main ingredient is meat, chicken or fish. It contains sweet potatoes, peas, chickpeas, potato proteins, pork fat, whitefish meal, salmon oil and fruits such as apple, blueberries, yucca extract, flaxseed oil and vitamins such as biotin, folic acid, iron, zinc sulfate, and amino acids.
- 100% gluten-free
- Aids in digestion difficulties
- Packed in small-sized bites
- Prepared in Canola Oil
- Contains Probiotics for better health
- The flavors are not strong, and some dogs who are habitual of strong flavors might face a problem adjusting
Conclusion – If you’re looking to add variety by offering a new variant of dog food that is gluten-free, get this without a second thought.8
Diamond Naturals – Best High Protein Formula
Diamond naturals provide food which is truly one of its kind, using one of the best quality ingredients. It provides a holistic approach to the diet which is perfect for every kind of dog, but specially curated for small breed dogs. The bites are tiny, created specifically for tiny teeth to give them ease and comfort so that they can enjoy their food properly
The core key ingredient would be authentic chicken and chicken meal with ground white rice and pea proteins. It also includes eggs, pearled barley, dried beet pulp, fish meal, flaxseed, salmon oil and the goodness of kale and chia. Additionally, it includes coconut, spinach, and carrots. One of the best things about diamond naturals is the fact that it includes DHA in the diet that promotes brain development and improves eyesight.
- Improves vision development
- No corn or wheat fillers have been added
- No artificial preservatives
- Has antioxidants for better health
- High in protein
- The expiry date is only 6 months once the bag is opened so you cannot store it for more than that
Conclusion – One of the safest options for brain and vision development, and one of the healthiest at it. Try to infuse this dog food in your dog’s diet to see great results.9
Nutro Wholesome Essentials – Best Non-GMO Formula
Nutro Wholesome Essentials natural dog food is a craft of blended goodness that is rich in nutrients and full of zest. It is created with Non-GMO ingredients which makes it super-safe to consume. Even the food is directly imported from trusted farmers who maintain the quality and authenticity of ingredients like no other. It provides a series of recipes, suited according to your dog’s taste.
The key ingredient is chicken. However, it also contains split peas, whole brown rice, barley, lamb meal, dried beet pulp, and Flaxseed. It has lamb meal and whole-grain oatmeal as well as a lot of vitamins including Vitamin B1, D3, and B12. It also has folic acid and rosemary extract.
- All ingredients are Non-GMO
- Variety of options for recipes
- Contains omega 6 fatty acids for better hair growth
- No artificial flavors, colors or preservatives have been added
- Food needs to be cooked before it can be served to the dog.
Conclusion – If you’re looking to improve your dog’s overall health, this one is hands-down the best option.10
Cesar Dry Dog Food – Most Affordable
Cesar small breed dry food offers the blend of mignon and vegetables to entice your dog into eating healthy, gourmet dog food.
The main ingredients for Cesar Small Breed Dry food are Beef, Chicken, Ground Corn, Ground Wheat, Rice, and Dried Beet Pulp. It also contains Glycerin and Salt and has Soybean Meal with dried peas added for better flavor.
- Offers a blend of meat and vegetables
- Delicious chunks of meats
- Made with real beef and chicken
- Food is hard to bite through
Conclusion – It’s a great option for dogs who have strong teeth, and an ability to enjoy vegetables with beef or chicken.
If you want to trust my word and select the best dog food for small breeds, I’d simply advise you to go for Nature’s Recipe Grain-Free Small Breed Dry Dog Food, Sweet Potato, and Pumpkin. It is safe, healthy and has been tried and tested by me.
Frequently Asked Questions – Small Breed Dogs
- How often should I feed my small breed dog?
You should feed your small breed dog twice every day.
- What should I look at in my dog food?
Make sure that the dog food has proteins as the main ingredients and contains a lot of vitamins.
- Can small breed dogs digest carbohydrates?
Yes, dogs can digest carbohydrates. However, when it comes to grains, it is always advised to cook them for better digestion