The Best Dry Dog Foods for Small Dogs

There are so many different dog food brands out there, all promising to be the best dry dog food for small dogs. Trust our Wake Forest vets to help you pick the best food for your best friend.

Choosing a Food for Your Small Dog

Smaller dogs whose weight is supposed to stay under 20 pounds tend to have quicker metabolisms than their larger counterparts. So it is important to purchase dog food that is specially designed for small dog's nutritional needs. Many small dog foods also come in smaller kibble sizes to help make it easier for small dogs to enjoy, however feeding your small dog small-sized kibble isn't actually recommended by our Wake Forest vets. Even tiny dogs can handle regular-sized kibble.

Ingredients to Avoid

There are a number of questionable ingredients found in dogs foods for both small and large breeds. Here are a few of the ingredients we think are best to avoid so that you know you're feeding your dog the best dog food for small dogs.

  • BHA (Preservative)
  • BHT (Preservative)
  • Generic “meat” (Unknown source)
  • Propylene glycol (Moisturizer)
  • Artificial dyes (Color)
  • Ethoxyquin (Preservative)
  • Menadione (Synthetic vitamin)
  • TBHQ (Preservative)

5 Nutritious Dry Foods For Small Dogs

When choosing a food for your small dog be sure to note the first 5 ingredients on the package. Those first ingredients should be healthy foods that you recognize. 

  • Blue Buffalo Life Protection Small Breed Adult - First 5 ingredients: Deboned chicken, chicken meal, brown rice, oatmeal, and barley
  • Taste of the Wild - Appalachian Valley Small Breed Recipe - First 5 ingredients: Venison, lamb meal, garbanzo beans, peas, and lentils (grain free recipe)
  • Nutro Wholesome Essentials Small Breed Adult Chicken - First 5 ingredients: Chicken, chicken meal, split peas, whole brown rice, and brewers rice
  • Wellness Complete Health Small Breed Adult Dog Food - First 5 ingredients: Deboned turkey, chicken meal, salmon meal, oatmeal, and ground brown rice
  • CANIDAE Grain-Free PURE Fields with Chicken Small Breed - First 5 ingredients: Chicken, Menhaden Fish Meal, Peas, Lentils, and Potatoes

If you are unsure about which dry food is best for your small dog, speak with your veterinarian. Your vet will be able to recommend just the right food for your dog based on their age, overall health, and activity level.

How Much to Feed Your Small Dog

It's nearly impossible to determine the exact amount of food your dog needs. Each type of food consists of different nutritional values, if that's not complicated enough, every dog has a different lifestyle and exercise regiment.

That said, whichever small breed dog food you choose, be sure to follow the helpful feeding guidelines on the package, or contact your vet for their recommendations. Your vet understands your pet's overall health and nutritional requirements better than any dog food manufacturer.

Changing Your Small Dog's Food

When changing your dog's food you might notice some unfortunate consequences in the form of gastrointestinal disturbances. It's best to gradually introduce the new food into their diet to minimize any intestinal discomfort.

Begin by mixing about 25% new food along with their regular food for 3 or 4 days and monitor your dog for any signs of tummy upset such as gas, or loose stools. 

If your dog is doing well with the new food gradually increase the proportion of new food to about 50% and continue to monitor your dog for any reactions to their change of diet.

Over the course of about 10 - 14 days, your dog's digestive tract should become accustomed to the new food and you can complete the transition. If however, your dog continues to show signs of gastrointestinal upset, contact your vet for advice. A longer, more gradual transition to the new food may be required, or perhaps this is not the correct food for your dog.

If you would like expert advice regarding your dogs nutritional needs, contact our Wake Forest vets and we can help you find the best food.