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8 Best Dog Foods For Small Dogs In 2024

If you have a small dog, it's important to make sure they're getting the right nutrition to keep them healthy and happy. That's why we've put together a helpful guide on the best dog foods for small dogs.

While some people may think that all dog food is the same, small dogs actually have different dietary needs than larger breeds.

Our guide will provide you with all the information you need to choose the right food for your furry friend. Just head to our post on BestForPets to check it out!

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icon Reviewed & Fact - Checked by

Deborah R. Fletcher (DVM)

Veterinarian

The information provided is current and up-to-date, in line with the latest research conducted in the field of veterinary medicine.

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Image Product View on Amazon
1 Garnish with Caesar Filet Mignon Flavor Garnish with Caesar Filet Mignon Flavor View on Amazon
2 Small Breed Merrick Classic Healthy Grains Small Breed Merrick Classic Healthy Grains View on Amazon
3 Formula Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Blue Buffalo Life Protection View on Amazon
4 Nutro Natural Choice Small Bites Nutro Natural Choice Small Bites View on Amazon
5  Adult 7+ Small Bites by Hill’s Adult 7+ Small Bites by Hill’s View on Amazon
6 Dry Dog Food Instinct Raw Boost Small Breed Dry Dog Food Instinct Raw Boost Small Breed View on Amazon
7 Mini Breed Hill’s Science Diet Mini Breed Hill’s Science Diet View on Amazon
8 Small Breed Taste of the Wild Small Breed Taste of the Wild View on Amazon

Reviews

1. Garnish with Caesar Filet Mignon Flavor and Spring Vegetables

CESAR Small Breed Dry Dog Food

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  • Beef, ground wheat, meat and bone meal, whole grain maize, brewers rice, poultry by-product meal, soybean meal are the main components.
  • Calories per cup: 350 kcal
  • 26% crude protein
  • 12.5% crude fat

When it comes to finding the right food for our beloved small dogs, we want to provide them with quality nutrition without breaking the bank.

That’s why we recommend Cesar Filet Mignon Flavor & Spring Vegetables Garnish dry dog food for its excellent value and high-quality ingredients.

This dog foods for small dogs formula features real beef as the first ingredient, providing a great source of protein and nutrients that small breed dogs need. It also includes grains and vegetables for added nutrition and flavor.

The kibble pieces are designed in an “H” shape, which can help promote dental health by cleaning your dog’s teeth as they chew.

While most dogs enjoy this food, some dogs with digestive issues may have trouble with certain ingredients like glycerin. It’s important to monitor your dog’s reaction to the food and consult with a veterinarian if necessary.

This dry dog foods for small dogs comes in a 12-pound bag and is specially crafted with 26 essential nutrients for adult dogs. The re-sealable zipper on the bag helps keep the food fresh and tasty for your furry friend.

Overall, Cesar Filet Mignon Flavor & Spring Vegetables Garnish dry dog food is a great option for small dogs who need quality nutrition at an affordable price.

Pros

The major component is high-quality beef

Protein in abundance

Cons

A lengthy list of components


2. Small Breed Merrick Classic Healthy Grains Dog Food

Merrick Classic Healthy Grains Dry Dog Food

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  • Deboned chicken, chicken meal, brown rice, barley, turkey meal, oatmeal, chicken fat, quinoa, salmon meal are the main components.
  • Calories per cup: 404 kcal
  • 27% crude protein
  • 16% crude fat

If you’re looking for a luxurious and high-quality food option for your small dog, our top pick is Merrick Classic Healthy Grains Small Breed Recipe .

This dog foods for small dogs features real deboned chicken as the first ingredient, providing a great source of protein and flavor that dogs love. It also contains nutritious grains like quinoa and oats that support healthy digestion.

One of the best things about this formula is that it doesn’t contain any wheat, corn, or soy ingredients, which can be problematic for dogs with food sensitivities or allergies. Many small dog owners reported that their dogs easily digested this food, which is always a plus.

However, some consumers did express disappointment that for the price of this cuisine, they anticipated a novel protein such as duck, lamb, or venison.

It’s important to keep in mind that while novel proteins may be appealing, they may not always be necessary for your dog’s health and well-being.

This dry dog foods for small dogs comes in a 4-pound bag and is specially formulated with leading levels of glucosamine and chondroitin for healthy hips and joints.

Overall, Merrick Classic Healthy Grains Small Breed Recipe is a great option for small dogs who need a high-quality and delicious food option that supports their overall health and well-being.

Pros

Free of wheat, maize, and soy

Quinoa, a high-quality grain, is included.

High protein content

Cons

Using a common protein


3. Formula Blue Buffalo Life Protection Dry Dog Food for Small Breed

Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Natural

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  • Deboned chicken, chicken meal, oatmeal, barley, fish meal, dried egg product, peas, brown rice are the main components.
  • Calories per cup: 417 kcal
  • 29% crude protein
  • 17% crude fat

If you have a small breed puppy, it’s essential to provide them with the appropriate diet for their age and breed. We recommend Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Small Breed Puppy food for your furry friend.

When puppies are weaned, they require a diet that’s rich in vitamins, minerals, and protein to support their robust growth into adulthood.

This dog foods for small dogs is made with high-quality chicken, grains, and vegetables, providing a palatable and nutritious meal for your puppy.

This formula contains more protein and calories than adult dog food to support the growth and development of puppies. It also contains DHA and ARA, two essential fatty acids found in mother’s milk that promote cognitive function and eye health.

Another benefit of this formula is the inclusion of LifeSource Bits, a precise blend of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals carefully selected by holistic veterinarians and animal nutritionists to support immune health, life stage requirements, and a healthy oxidative balance.

Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Small Breed Puppy food is a natural dog food that’s made with the finest natural ingredients and fortified with vitamins and minerals. It contains NO chicken by-product meals, corn, wheat, soy, artificial flavors, or preservatives.

This dry dog food comes in a 15-pound bag and contains real meat as its first ingredient.

High-quality protein from real chicken aids in the development and maintenance of your dog’s musculature, while nutritious whole grains, garden vegetables, and fruit provide additional nourishment.

Keep in mind that Blue Buffalo can be a bit pricey, so if you’re unsure whether or not your puppy will enjoy it, start with a smaller bag to test it out.

Overall, Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Small Breed Puppy food is an excellent option for small breed puppies who require a high-quality and nutrient-rich diet to support their growth and development.

Pros

There is no wheat, maize, or soy in this product

Antioxidants in abundance

Active pups require more calories

Cons

Expensive


4. Adult Lamb & Brown Rice Recipe Dry Dog Food Nutro Natural Choice Small Bites

Nutro Natural Choice Small Bites

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  • Deboned lamb, chicken meal, brown and brewers rice, rice bran, split peas, and chicken fat are the main components.
  • 341 kilocalories per cup
  • Min. crude protein: 22%
  • 14% crude fat

Nutro Natural Choice Small Bites Adult Lamb & Brown Rice Recipe is a great choice for small breed dogs, ranking fifth among rated dog foods for this category. This well-balanced blend of ingredients provides everything your adult small breed dog needs to thrive.

The primary protein source in this recipe is lamb, which is different from the more common poultry protein found in many other dog foods.

It’s blended with sturdy whole grains like brown rice and split peas to provide the fiber and nutrients your dog needs on a daily basis.

It’s important to note that this formula contains grains, so pet owners may want to try alternate recipes if their dog is sensitive to wheat. While this recipe may be a bit pricey, the quality of the ingredients and flavor are well worth the extra cost.

Each 12-pound bag of Nutro Natural Choice Small Bites Adult Dry Dog Food contains real lamb as the primary ingredient. The kibble is made with non-GMO ingredients and contains NO chicken by-product meal, corn, wheat, or soy.

This high-quality protein source provides a delicious and nutritious meal for your small breed dog. It’s also formulated to support healthy immunity with essential antioxidants and healthy digestion with natural fiber.

Another benefit of this formula is the small bite size, which is perfect for dogs that prefer smaller kibble. Nutro Natural Choice Small Bites Adult Lamb & Brown Rice Recipe is cooked in the USA facilities with the finest ingredients from around the world.

Overall, Nutro Natural Choice Small Bites Adult Lamb & Brown Rice Recipe is a great option for small breed dogs that need a high-quality and nutritious diet to support their health and well-being.

Pros

Ingredients of higher grade

GMO-free formula

Antioxidants in abundance

Cons

A little pricey

Some canines prefer older formula


5. Adult 7+ Small Bites Chicken Meal, Barley & Rice Recipe Dry Dog Food by Hill’s

Hill's Science Diet Dry Dog Food

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  • Chicken meal, cracked pearled barley, brewers rice, whole grain wheat, corn, and sorghum, and chicken fat are the main components.
  • 353 kilocalories per cup
  • 15.5% crude protein
  • 10.5% crude fat

As your small breed dog ages, it becomes increasingly important to provide them with the appropriate nutrition to help them maintain good health in their senior years. Hill's Science Diet Adult 7+ is recognized as the best senior dog food on the market.

This formula is specifically designed to meet the unique aging needs of toy and small-breed dogs. As senior dogs tend to gain weight due to decreased activity levels, this formula contains fewer calories per serving than adult dog food formulations.

It also has less fat per serving to help prevent weight gain in senior dogs.

Additionally, the combination of ingredients in Hill’s Science Diet Adult 7+ promotes healthy digestion and helps maintain a healthy digestive tract in aging dogs. This is essential because senior dogs are more susceptible to digestive issues.

While this formula may be a bit pricey, its high-quality ingredients and health benefits make it an excellent option for senior dogs. If you have a picky eater, we recommend starting with a smaller bag to ensure your dog enjoys the flavor.

Hill’s Science Diet Adult 7+ is made in the USA with trusted global ingredients and is the number one veterinarian-recommended brand of dog food.

This dry dog food contains easily digestible ingredients that help support energy levels and maintain a healthy immune system in senior dogs.

This dog foods for small dogs also contains balanced minerals to promote heart and kidney health, and small kibble with high-quality protein to support lean muscle mass.

Overall, Hill’s Science Diet Adult 7+ is a great choice for small breed dogs in their senior years who need a nutritious and balanced diet to support their health and well-being.

Pros

Lower calorie and fat content per serving

Made with easily digestible components

There are no artificial colors or preservatives

Cons

Expensive


6. Dry Dog Food Instinct Raw Boost Small Breed Grain-Free Recipe

Instinct Raw Boost Small Breed Grain Free

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  • Chicken, chicken meal, chickpeas, tapioca, chicken fat, turkey meal are the main components.
  • Calories per cup: 469 kcal
  • 35% crude protein
  • 20% crude fat

Raw food diets for dogs are becoming increasingly popular among pet owners who are seeking a more natural and nutrient-rich option. Instinct Raw Boost Small Breed Grain-Free Recipe is an excellent choice for those who want to experiment with raw food.

This recipe is grain-free, gluten-free, and high in protein.

Instinct Raw Boost Small Breed Grain-Free Recipe aims to replicate the protein, fat, and calorie balance that a dog would find in the wild. It also contains an abundance of probiotics, omegas, and antioxidants to support your dog’s overall health.

It’s important to note that this recipe contains more calories, protein, and fat than typical dog food portions. Consequently, it may not be the best option for dogs that easily gain weight or are inactive.

This dog foods for small dogs recipe combines high-protein, grain-free kibble with freeze-dried, all-natural raw chicken pieces.

The recipe features cage-free chicken as the number one ingredient, and it also contains calcium and phosphorus for strong teeth and bones, as well as glucosamine and chondroitin for joint health.

Furthermore, this formulation is made without grains, potatoes, corn, wheat, soy, by-product meal, artificial colors, or preservatives.

It’s the first raw-boosted kibble for small breeds that combines natural, high-protein, grain-free dog food with freeze-dried raw dog food toppings in one bag.

It also includes probiotics and omegas and provides complete and balanced nutrition for small dogs, from puppies to aging. Instinct Raw Boost Small Breed Grain-Free Recipe is made in the USA using the finest ingredients from around the world.

It’s packed with the pure, real nutrition of raw, which is natural, made from real meat and whole food ingredients, high in protein, and minimally processed.

Overall, Instinct Raw Boost Small Breed Grain-Free Recipe is an excellent option for small dogs who need a high-protein and nutrient-rich diet to maintain their health and well-being.

Pros

High in protein and calories, this food is ideal for active dogs

Ingredients are few

Cons

Extremely costly

Not recommended for dogs who acquire weight quickly


7. Sensitive Stomach & Skin Small & Mini Breed Chicken Recipe Dry Dog Hill’s Science Diet

Hill's Science Diet Dry Dog Food

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  • Chicken, brewers rice, chicken meal, yellow peas, cracked barley, and whole grain sorghum are the main components.
  • Calories per cup: 392 kcal
  • 21% crude protein
  • 12% crude fat

It can be challenging to find the right food for dogs with sensitive stomachs. Hill's Science Diet Adult Sensitive Stomach & Skin is a recipe that is designed to meet the needs of dogs with sensitive digestive systems.

This dog foods for small dogs mix contains prebiotic fiber, which helps to support your dog’s digestion after meals. Chicken is the main ingredient in this recipe, and it is easily digestible for most dogs.

There are also other fiber-rich fruits and vegetables that are beneficial for your dog’s health. It’s worth noting that this recipe contains grains, which may not be suitable for some dog owners.

This dry dog food is formulated to provide optimal digestive health for small dogs by using prebiotic fiber to feed their microbiome.

It also contains vitamin E, omega-6 fatty acids, and other nutrients that help to nourish the skin and promote a healthy coat. This dog food is specifically formulated for miniature and toy breed dogs to provide an optimal balance of nutrients.

The precise balance and highly digestible ingredients in this dog food make it an excellent choice for dogs with sensitive stomachs and sensitive skin.

Additionally, this dog food is made with natural ingredients, and it’s made in the USA using globally sourced ingredients that you can trust. It’s also veterinarian recommended.

Overall, Hill’s Science Diet Adult Sensitive Stomach & Skin is an excellent option for dogs with sensitive digestive systems. It’s packed with high-quality ingredients, prebiotic fiber, and nutrients that help to support your dog’s overall health and well-being.

Pros

Vitamin E is present to support healthy skin and hair

Prebiotic fiber and other fiber-rich substances abound

Cons

Grain content

A little pricey


8. Small Breed Grain-Free Dry Dog Food Taste of the Wild Appalachian Valley

Grain Free High Protein Real Meat

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  • Venison, lamb meal, garbanzo beans, peas, lentils, pea protein, canola oil are the main components.
  • Calories per cup: 422 kcal
  • 32% crude protein
  • 18% crude fat

While grains such as maize, wheat, and barley are not commonly found in wild canine diets, they are frequently included as fillers in many dog feeds.

Some dog owners choose to give their pets grain-free foods, which is why we suggest Taste of the Wild Appalachian Valley Small Breed Grain-Free Dry Dog Food .

This formula’s first two components are venison and lamb meal, making it heavy in protein. Instead of grains, Taste of the Wild contains garbanzo beans and lentils, which give critical minerals and vitamins for your dog’s growth.

This dog foods for small dogs contains canola oil, which some pet owners prefer not to use. Because this dish is heavy in calories, it is not suitable for less active dogs.

Taste of the Wild Appalachian Valley Small Breed Grain-Free Dry Dog Food is designed for adult dogs. It’s a high-quality dog food that is packed with protein and essential nutrients, making it an excellent option for dogs with grain sensitivities or those on a grain-free diet.

Pros

Protein of high grade

Ingredients high in fiber

Cons

A lot of calories

Canola oil is present

Buyer's Guide

Buyer's Guide

When selecting dog food for your small dog, it’s important to consider several factors and criteria, such as:

1. Excellent ingredients

The quality of ingredients is crucial for any dog food, but especially for small dogs. Ensure that the ingredients are natural, healthy, and free of artificial colors, flavors, preservatives, additives, by-products, and GMOs.

Also, make sure the ingredients come from reputable suppliers who follow ethical and environmentally responsible practices.

2. Nutritional value

The nutritional value of the dog food should meet the requirements and preferences of your small dog based on their age, size, breed, level of activity, and health condition.

To maintain your small dog’s optimal health, the dog food should contain adequate amounts of protein, fat, carbohydrates, fiber, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and omega-3 fatty acids.

Avoid dog foods with an excess or deficiency of any nutrient that could cause imbalances or deficiencies in your small dog’s body.

3. Kibble size

Select kibble size appropriate for your small dog’s jaw and teeth. Small dogs have smaller jaws and teeth than larger dogs, so they need smaller kibble sizes that are easier to chew and ingest.

Smaller kibble sizes can also help prevent choking, dental issues, and digestive problems in small dogs.

4. Palatability

The degree to which your small dog enjoys the flavor and texture of the food is referred to as palatability. Small dogs are often pickier and more sensitive to food quality and flavor, so choose a dog food that appeals to their taste receptors and appetite.

Look for dog foods with natural flavors, fragrances, or coatings that enhance palatability. You can also read user reviews or feedback to determine whether other small dogs enjoy the food.

These are some of the considerations you should keep in mind when selecting dog food for your small dog. If you’re looking for information about small dog food, you can check out our blog post “Small Dog Foods

FAQs

FAQs

1. Can small dogs eat regular dog food?

Small-breed adult dogs have unique nutritional needs, which is why diets that are specially formulated for small breeds are often the best option.

These diets typically have smaller kibbles and more calories per pound than food designed for larger breeds. However, it’s still important to make sure you’re not overfeeding your small dog, as too many calories can lead to obesity and other health problems.

2. Can I feed my dog human food instead of dog food?

While it might be tempting to share your food with your furry friend, most human food is not appropriate for dogs. Many human foods are too rich and fatty, which can lead to digestive problems like vomiting and diarrhea.

Additionally, some foods that are perfectly safe for humans can be toxic to dogs. It’s best to stick with high-quality dog food that meets your pet’s nutritional needs.

3. What foods must dogs never eat?

There are many foods that can be harmful to dogs, including chocolate, avocado, onions, grapes and raisins, dairy products, macadamia nuts, sugary foods and drinks, caffeine, yeast dough, and foods that are high in salt.

It’s important to keep these foods out of reach of your dog and to seek veterinary care if your pet accidentally ingests any of them.

FAQs

4. What nutritional requirements do small canines have?

Small dogs have different nutritional needs than larger breeds. They require more calories per pound of body weight, as well as smaller kibbles that are easier for them to chew.

Small dogs also tend to be more picky about their food, so it’s important to choose a high-quality dog food that meets their specific needs and preferences.

5. How do I introduce a new dog food to my petite dog?

If you’re transitioning your small dog to a new food, it’s important to do so gradually over the course of 7-10 days. Start by mixing a small amount of the new food with your dog’s current food, and gradually increase the amount of the new food while decreasing the old food.

Keep an eye on your dog’s weight, energy level, and overall health during the transition, and adjust as necessary.

Conclusion

If you have a small breed dog, it’s essential to give them food that is appropriate for their size. Now that you know the benefits of feeding your tiny dog recipes tailored to their needs, consider trying them the next time you purchase food for your furry companion.

The one formula to consider is Cesar Filet Mignon Flavor & Spring Vegetables Garnish . We are confident that your small dog will enjoy it!

At BestForPets (bestforpets.org), we aim to provide evaluations and guides to help you find the best dog foods for small dogs. We hope that our recommendations will assist you in selecting the right food for your beloved pet.

Author Image

Dr. Deborah Fletcher

Deborah R. Fletcher, DVM, is a skilled veterinarian with more than 15 years of experience dealing with companion and exotic animals. She has experience caring for a variety of animals, including household cats and dogs, reptiles, birds of prey, and even primates. Dr. Fletcher is a valuable part of the BestForPets team, where she contributes to their aim of providing pets and their owners with the finest possible treatment and services.

Veterinarian (DVM) Dr. Deborah Fletcher

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