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  15. Top 10 Best Small Breed Dog Foods

Top 10 Best Small Breed Dog Foods

- August 2019

Results based on 8229 Reviews

Hill's Science Diet Dry Dog Food, Adult, Small Paws for Small Breeds, Chicken Meal & Rice Recipe, 4.5 lb Bag Hill's Science Diet Dog
Hill's Science Diet Dog
Hill's Science Diet Dry Dog Food, Adult, Small Paws for Small Breeds, Chicken Meal & Rice Recipe, 4.5 lb Bag
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Nutro Ultra Small Breed Adult Dry Dog Food With A Trio Of Proteins From Chicken, Lamb And Salmon, 15 Lb. Bag The Nutro Company
The Nutro Company
Nutro Ultra Small Breed Adult Dry Dog Food With A Trio Of Proteins From Chicken, Lamb And Salmon, 15 Lb. Bag
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Purina Pro Plan With Probiotics Small Breed Dry Dog Food, SAVOR Shredded Blend Chicken & Rice Formula - 6 lb. Bag Purina Pro Plan
Purina Pro Plan
Purina Pro Plan With Probiotics Small Breed Dry Dog Food, SAVOR Shredded Blend Chicken & Rice Formula - 6 lb. Bag
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Wellness Complete Health Natural Dry Small Breed Dog Food, Turkey & Oatmeal, 4-Pound Bag Wellness
Wellness Complete Health Natural Dry Small Breed Dog Food, Turkey & Oatmeal, 4-Pound Bag
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Wellness CORE Natural Grain Free Dry Dog Food, Small Breed, 4-Pound Bag WellPet LLC
WellPet LLC
Wellness CORE Natural Grain Free Dry Dog Food, Small Breed, 4-Pound Bag
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Pedigree Small Dog Complete Nutrition Adult Dry Dog Food Roasted Chicken, Rice & Vegetable Flavor, 15.9 Lb. Bag Pedigree
Pedigree Small Dog Complete Nutrition Adult Dry Dog Food Roasted Chicken, Rice & Vegetable Flavor, 15.9 Lb. Bag
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NUTRO WHOLESOME ESSENTIALS Natural Adult Small Breed Dry Dog Food Farm-Raised Chicken, Brown Rice & Sweet Potato Recipe, 15 lb. Bag The Nutro Company
The Nutro Company
NUTRO WHOLESOME ESSENTIALS Natural Adult Small Breed Dry Dog Food Farm-Raised Chicken, Brown Rice & Sweet Potato Recipe, 15 lb. Bag
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Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Small Breed Dog Food - Natural Dry Dog Food for Adult Dogs - Chicken and Brown Rice - 15 lb. Bag Blue Buffalo
Blue Buffalo
Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Small Breed Dog Food - Natural Dry Dog Food for Adult Dogs - Chicken and Brown Rice - 15 lb. Bag
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Hill's Science Diet Dry Dog Food, Adult, Perfect Weight for Healthy Weight & Weight Management, Small & Mini, Chicken Recipe, 15 lb Bag Hill's Science Diet
Hill's Science Diet
Hill's Science Diet Dry Dog Food, Adult, Perfect Weight for Healthy Weight & Weight Management, Small & Mini, Chicken Recipe, 15 lb Bag
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Blue Buffalo Wilderness High Protein Grain Free, Natural Adult Small Breed Dry Dog Food, Chicken 11-lb Blue Buffalo Company*
Blue Buffalo Company*
Blue Buffalo Wilderness High Protein Grain Free, Natural Adult Small Breed Dry Dog Food, Chicken 11-lb
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Best Small Breed Dog Food Reviews

We have an in-depth buyer's guide for the best dog foods for small breeds below. However, if you want to see our top picks at a glance, you can do that here, too! We've selected three options that really stand out from their competitors, based on factors like quality and price.*


Highly Rated

Hill's Science Diet Dry Dog Food, Adult, Small Paws for Small Breeds


Topping our list is Hill's Science Diet for small adult dogs one to six years in age. With two lip-smacking flavors, pet parents are sure to find something even the pickiest pup will enjoy. But taste isn't all Hill's has to offer; these recipes are fortified with extra vitamins for added health benefits. The small, bite-sized kibble is also easy for smaller pooches to eat. Combine the fact that the first ingredient is meat-based and it has an affordable price tag, and it's no wonder we give this food a perfect 10 rating!







Amazing Price

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


Sniffing for a bargain? Get a whiff of Purina Pro Plan. This low-priced food has real chicken as its first ingredient, so pooches will get plenty of high-quality protein when they chow down. But protein isn't all your pet will get. Other vitamins, minerals, and fatty acids are included to boost skin and coat health. The kibble itself is perfectly shaped for smaller breeds, making dinner time hassle-free. And if your pup is a picky eater? Don't worry; you can try out several flavors to suit your pet's unique taste. With all that this food has to offer, we rate give it a 9.8 rating!








Great Value

Pedigree Small Breed Adult Dry Dog Food


Lots of food at a great price? Look no further than Pedigree Small Breed Adult Dry Dog Food. Made in the United States, it comes in both delicious chicken and steak flavors. Besides delicious flavors, this recipe also supports a shinier coat with added omega-6 fatty. Best of all, there's no high fructose corn syrup. However, of the first five ingredients listed, only one is meat based (poultry by-product meal). Overall, we give this recipe a respectable 9.6 rating.








Looking for more information on how to feed your small doggo or pupper? We can help with that! Please read our in-depth buying guide below, so we can help you make an informed purchasing decision when selecting the best food for your small breed dog.



Small Breed Dog Food Buying Guide: How to Pick Out the Best Food for Your Pooch

Anyone who has ever owned a dog knows one thing for sure: every pooch is unique with her own personality and quirks. What you might not realize is that the breed and size of your dog plays an important role when trying to determine what kind of food you should be feeding her. All dog breeds and sizes can have different nutritional requirements. Our focus here will be on those lovable small breed dogs.


A row of six small breed dogs sitting together.
The best dog food will properly nourish your pet with the energy she needs to zoom through her day-to-day activities.


See also:


Breed, Weight & Height

First things first: you need to factor in the breed and expected size of your pooch before you can sniff out some food. If you have a puppy, you'll need to consult a veterinarian to find out what size your pup will probably grow into. All puppies may seem small, so it is important to know what the typical size range is for the breed of dog that your pup is. Small dogs are those that are typically under 22 pounds and with a height that is under 16-18 inches. Some examples of dogs that fall into this category are breeds such as the Chihuahua, Pug, Dachshund, and Yorkshire Terrier.


Once you have determined that your dog falls into the small dog range, you have to take into consideration their age. Puppies have different nutritional needs than adult dogs, and senior animals will also require specialized diets. Small breed puppies typically grow at a faster rate and have higher metabolic rates than large breed puppies. This means that they burn a lot of calories quickly. Food for a small breed puppy should be higher in protein and calories.


Because they burn through calories so fast, it is important to feed them roughly three to four times a day to keep them in optimal health. Of course, always consult a vet to confirm that your pup's eating habits ensure she gets proper nutrition.

Caloric Needs & Nutritional Requirements

If pups don't receive a sufficient amount of calories on a regular basis, they can show signs of hypoglycemia or low blood sugar, just like people. This can manifest in ways, such as lethargy, weakness, seizures, and muscle tremors. These conditions over time can sometimes even become fatal if they aren't addressed properly.


To avoid these scenerios, it is important that you keep a regular schedule of feeding. Many pet owners find a routine that works best with their own schedule, and tailor the timing to fit with their lifestyles. You can also consider keeping food available to your dog at all times. Some dogs will gulp every morsel down in seconds, but many dogs adapt to this way of feeding while also developing good eating habits. Over time, they will acclimate to this process, and it can prevent them from eating every bit of food the second it's placed in front of them. You and your vet are the best sources when it comes to deciding what feeding situation works best for you and your dog.


The important thing to keep in mind is that small dogs need different amounts of calories and nutrients than larger ones. Smaller dogs typically have longer lifespans. Nourishing them with properly balanced diets right from the start can help give them the best shot at living longer, healthier lives.


It is important to choose a high-quality diet. Many commercially available foods are clearly labeled for small and toy breeds. Most will specifically state the size of the dog they are meant to feed. When you buy a size-specific food, these products should have been specially formulated to contain the optimal blend of proteins and other requirements for dogs of that size.


No matter the age or breed of your small dog, you still need to be wary of overfeeding. Small dogs, just like any other animal or person, can quickly become overweight if they are fed too much. You can keep this in check by watching the amount they consume, weighing them on a regular basis, and limiting the amount of extra treats they get. Obesity in dogs can cause them to develop health issues that can create problems in any and all life stages.

Nutritional Value and Quality Ingredients

There are many commercial foods available that cater specifically to small dog breeds. Keep in mind that there are major differences between puppy food and adult food. If your dog is a puppy, make sure that you are feeding them food specifically prepared for puppies. These foods are full of vitamins and minerals that are critical to a growing puppy's needs. As mentioned previously, small breed dogs grow at a much faster rate than their larger counterparts, with many breeds nearly reaching their full adult size by the time they are approaching their first birthday. Whereas larger breeds typically don't reach their full size for a couple of years.


Cute pug and bowl full of the best small breed dog food on floor at home.


What Size or Breed is the Food Marketed For?

Dry dog food comes in different sizes. Because of their smaller mouths, pooches might have an easier time consuming smaller kibble. When looking at different available foods, the labeling can give you some indication of the food's size. Food for smaller breeds is often labeled directly as such.


However, unless specifically labeled as food for large breed dogs, most dry food comes in a medium-size kibble. Unless a food is directly labeled as small or large breed food, it can generally be assumed that the food is of a medium size. This labelling makes the different brands appealing to people who have dogs of all sizes.

Check the Label

One of the most important steps in sniffing out the best dog food is to check the label on the bag. This label is always a good place to start, whether you are buying food or treats. This process may seem daunting for people that are new to buying dog food. But, with a little bit of patience and research, you will find that this process doesn't have to be worrisome at all!

What Does the "Complete and Balanced" Label Mean?

Some dog foods are listed as being balanced diets, and may come with "complete and balanced" labels. In the United States, these labels are regulated by the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO). They break down this label in the following manner:

This labelling can take some of the guesswork out of whether or not your dog’s food contains the ingredients that Fido needs. These labelled products generally contain ingredients that are formulated to meet your dog’s nutritional requirements. It should contain at least the minimum nutrients considered necessary, and in proper proportion to your pet's size and age. Usually, a label can only earn a "complete and balanced" rating if it includes feeding instructions based on these variables.

How Should I Read the Ingredients Label?

Look at the list of ingredients. This step is an excellent way to see what the primary components in your pup's meals are. Ingredients are generally listed in order of predominance, meaning that items used more by weight are listed first on the label; ingredients used less by weight are listed lower. This ordered labelling is where you will clearly be able to see that all foods are not created equal. You will find that the list of the ingredients will vary tremendously depending on the quality of the food.


For example, foods that are good for dogs should contain high-quality protein in the form of meat-based ingredients, such as chicken. If you have to go far down the list to find a meat-based source of protein, it's probably a sign that this particular product isn't too great.

What Ingredients and Nutritional Supplements Should I Look For?

Make sure that whatever food you choose has the necessary protein and nutrients that your dog requires. Many foods contain the necessary vitamins and minerals, but some are crafted better than others. Keep in mind any allergies that your dog is known to have. This can have a large effect on the brands and types of food available from which to choose.

Protein Sources

It is important to purchase food with sufficient protein. Proteins are necessary for proper growth and maintaining complex body systems. Proteins are made up of essential and non-essential amino acids. Some of these amino acids are naturally produced within the body. These are known as non-essential. Essential amino acids are ones that are not produced by the body, and must be consumed from outside sources. This is where good, quality food comes into play.


Dogs need protein and fat, so it's also important to be on the lookout for fatty acids. These acids are necessary for providing your dog with energy. They also can improve taste and aid in digestion. An example of this type of acid is linoleic acid, which is something commonly listed on a food bag. This acid can be found in corn, whole grains, and body fats.


Omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids are also commonly listed on a bag. Sources for these acids include fish oil, flax seed, egg yolks, lean meats, and poultry fat. Omega-6 fatty acid is commonly included to promote healthy skin and coat.


When reading the label, you might also come across mouthfuls like "animal fat preserved with mixed-tocopherols." Oftentimes, dog food contains animal fat for a flavor boost. Okay, but what about the other part of that mouthful? Tocopherols are simply chemical compounds that help make up vitamin E, which manufacturers often add to boost the immune system.

Fruits and Vegetables

Good dog food will also include whole fruits and vegetables to help provide your dog the nutrition she needs. Sweet potatoes, peas, and carrots are included in many meals for their taste, nutritional worth, and value as whole vegetable thickeners. Apples are common fruits to find in specialized treats.

Healthy Grains

It's okay to find some grains in your pet's food, so long as there is still meat-based protein listed high on the bag. Dog owners should check for healthy whole grains. Brewers rice is commonly found in commercially available dog foods. This rice is heavily processed, which means it lacks many nutrients found in whole grains. Why do manufacturers include it then, if it is not nutrient dense? Simply put, it's a cheap filler. Finding this ingredient does not mean your pet's food is automatically awful, but it does mean that other ingredients need to be especially nutrient dense to compensate.


It's also possible to feed a small breed a grain-free diet full of healthy fiber. Grain-free recipe options are quite popular, as they eliminate nutrient-lacking grain fillers present in a lot of commercially available products. Although it's a little tricky to find, it is possible to find grain-free small breed dog food.


Do Your Research

It can't be stressed enough that you should try to buy the best quality food that you can afford. You can go online and search reviews, as well as talk with your veterinarian about the ingredients and get recommendations. There are many resources that you can use if you find that you need detailed information about a specific brand of food.


Dog is using a laptop to research the best small breed dog food.Food for small dogs needs to have the correct ratio of vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients to ensure they are getting enough nourishment to fuel their many adventures.


Other Considerations

Sometimes there are other factors to consider when feeding your small dog, including:

Specific Nutritional and Health Needs of Your Pet

Just like people, canines can also have special dietary requirements. Some common health concerns that may force your pet to eat a specialized diet include:


Some dogs have allergies to different foods, and it will take some trial and error to find a diet that works well with them. Fortunately, there are many products available that are free of common allergens, and may be suitable for canines with allergies. Many veterinarians also have prescription diets that are available in their offices. These are specifically formulated foods that cater to specific allergies or dietary requirements. Your veterinarian can be your best friend if you are dealing with specific health concerns.


Note, however, that just because a product says it is hypoallergenic does not mean it won't trigger an allergic response. Dogs can have allergic reactions to many different things! Hypoallergenic foods are usually just free of common allergens; however, your pooch may still be allergic to some of the ingredients, so always double check the label first!


Limited ingredient diets are one alternative food for small breeds, especially for animals with allergies. Fewer ingredients means less chances that there is something in the meal that will upset a sensitive canine, after all.

Senior or geriatric status

As your dog ages, her food requirements can also change. A trip to a pet shop will show you that there is food available specifically formulated for the needs of older dogs. Many of these diets contain different levels of protein, sodium, carbohydrates, and other ingredients. They may also contain ingredients that help address issues that older dogs can develop, such as arthritis and inflammation. Turmeric and curcumin supplements are quickly becoming popular to aid pooches with hip and joint pain! Specialized senior dog food can also contain prebiotics that can help older dogs with digestion. If you find yourself struggling with different choices, again, your veterinarian can be quite helpful with recommendations.

Dog Food Brand

Some people are really attached to their dog food brands, and that's okay! There's lots of reputable brands out there worth buying again and again. However, be careful not to let brand loyalty make you unwilling to try food for small dogs that could be potentially better than a formula you currently use, especially if said formula is not helping your canine maintain proper energy levels, healthy digestion, or decent skin and coat health.

Dog Food Review

Fortunately, if you are interested in checking out new food for small dogs or simply different food brands, a review is easy to find online. Usually, reviews are on the company or seller's own site, or through an online retailer like Amazon.


Little pooches often have big personalities. Small breed dogs eat what they want! Unfortunately, many of our beloved pets are quite picky when it comes to their meals. As such, texture may be a make-it-or-break-it factor when it comes to picking out pet food. There’s a variety of textures out there, so most people can find something that their fur babies will enjoy. When it boils down to it, the best dog foods are ones that pups will actually eat.


Common options include dry and wet dog food, although freeze dried is also becoming a popular option. This type of product is dried through a process of low-temperature dehydration. Essentially, products are frozen, and after a few steps, water (persevered as ice) is removed.

Kibble Size

Pet parents who opt for dry varieties should consider the size of the kibble. The best dog food for small breeds should be, well, small. After all, smaller canines have smaller mouths and smaller teeth, so they can have a ruff time trying to chow down on larger bits in their food bowls.


Switching to New Products

If you want to bring some new products into the home, you'll need to factor in an adjustment period. In other words, you want to slowly switch Fido over to a new diet. Over a period of one to one-and-a-half weeks, slowly add the new food in with the old until only the new remains. You can check how well your canine is doing on new products by checking his energy levels, bowel movements, and changes in skin and coat.


Finding the Best Small Breed Dog Food

Feeding small dogs doesn't have to be complicated if you go into it with an informed mind. Just being aware that your dog’s size can make a difference in your choice of food is a great first step! Hopefully this information has given you some things to consider as you go about picking out the perfect food for your furry friend.


While it may seem overwhelming at first, you will find that a little knowledge and patience will help you navigate the dog food world. There are many resources and reviews about many foods currently on the market. There are also online communities of pet people that can be very helpful in answering your questions. As stated earlier, your veterinarian is also an invaluable source of information and can tell you specific food requirements for your individual dog.


There isn't any specific brand that fits all situations, but with a little time and research, you can feel confident that you are providing your dog with the best nutrition you can. You can soon find yourself able to navigate through all the different choices on the market. Knowledge is power, and you can rest easy knowing that you are giving your dog the best chance at a healthy and happy life.


Cute small white dog with empty white plate on the kitchen table, small breed dog food concept image.



Disclaimers: We really like these products, but be advised that the site owners may receive compensation for purchases facilitated through his site. Prices and ratings are correct and items are in stock at Amazon at the time of writing. The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the site owner or any brands and companies mentioned here. This article is purely for reference purposes and does not constitute professional advice and may not be reflective of the best choice for your unique situation. This site strives to provide as much accurate information as possible; however, sometimes products, prices, and other details are subject to change. Therefore, this site does not verify for the accuracy of the information presented in this article. This site does not assume any liability for any sort of damages arising from your use of this site and any third party content and services. Statements regarding dietary supplements have not been evaluated by the FDA and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease or health condition.

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