The Best Dog Food for Small Dogs: Includes Wet and Dry Nutrition

I understand how troublesome it is to find the best dog food for small dogs because I have a pug. As pet parents, we naturally want our pets to have a complete and balanced diet.

However, it’s tough to find one because there are so many brands and recipes claiming to give outstanding benefits to our little buddies.

I’ll help you decide by reviewing nine of the most prominent wet and dry nutrition for your canines.

Blue Buffalo Life Protection Chicken and Brown Rice Formula is suitable for little adult dogs. It has quality sources of protein and carbohydrates. They have tiny kibbles, especially for smaller jaws. If you’re searching for a dog food that can provide an average amount of calories but the right nutrients, this product can be your optimum choice.

The Best Dog Food for Small Dogs Are…

ProductDetails
1. Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Small Breed

  • Dry dog food
  • For small breeds
  • No poultry by-product meals, soy, wheat, and corn
  • AAFCO-approved
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2. Blue Buffalo Homestyle Recipe Small Breed Canned Dog Food

  • Wet dog food
  • For small breeds
  • AAFCO-approved
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3. Wellness CORE Grain-Free Small Breed Dry Dog Food

  • Kibble form
  • For small breed dogs
  • AAFCO-approved
  • Grain-free
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4. Nature's Recipe Small Breed

  • Dry dog food
  • AAFCO-approved
  • Grain-free
  • For small breeds
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5. Merrick Lil' Plates for Small Breed Dogs

  • Wet canine food
  • AAFCO-approved
  • Grain-free
  • For small breed dogs
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6. Iams ProActive Health Adult MiniChunks Dry Dog Food

  • Kibble form
  • For active small breed adult canines
  • AAFCO-approved
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7. Nutro Wholesome Essentials Small Breed

  • Dry canine food
  • For small breed
  • AAFCO-approved
  • Non-GMO ingredients
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8. Wellness Petite Entrees Natural Meals for Smaller Dogs

  • Wet canine food (Mini-Filet)
  • For small breeds
  • AAFCO-approved
  • Grain-free
  • All-natural ingredients
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9. Blue Buffalo Basics Limited Ingredient Diet Small Breed Wet Dog Food

  • Limited Ingredient
  • Grain-free
  • For small breeds with food sensitivities
  • Wet dog food
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1. Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Small Breed — Best Dry Dog Food for Small Dogs

I like Blue Buffalo Life Protection Chicken and Brown Rice Recipe because it has deboned chicken and chicken meal as the top ingredient and main protein sources.

Plus, it is enriched with the brand’s proprietary blend of nutrients and antioxidants called LifeSource Bits

My only beef with this dog food is that there’s fish meal in it, which may cause problems in canines that are allergic to seafood. Fortunately, my small breed fur baby has no food sensitivities.

Specs

  • Dry dog food
  • For small breeds
  • No poultry by-product meals, soy, wheat, and corn
  • AAFCO-approved

Pros

  • High-quality sources of proteins and carbohydrates
  • Unique kibble for tinier jaws
  • Includes glucosamine for healthy joints
  • Has omega fatty acids for healthy skin and coat
  • Contains vitamins, antioxidants, and chelated minerals for a healthy immune system

Cons

  • Not liked by some dogs

If you have a small breed adult canine, you may want to try Blue Buffalo Life Protection Chicken and Brown Rice Recipe.

Compared to other kibbles, it has less protein, more carbohydrates, and less fat and fiber. It also provides an average amount of calories at 369 for every 100 grams.

You may prefer it because it has no soy, corn, wheat, and by-products meals. It means that your pet is getting the right nutrients for better health.

Overall Rating – 4.7

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2. Blue Buffalo Homestyle Recipe Small Breed Canned Dog Food — Best Wet Dog Food for Small Breeds

Blue Buffalo Homestyle Chicken Dinner Recipe is a favorite of my small breed dogs. I like it because it has real chicken as a source of high-quality protein.

This recipe is inspired by the comforting heartiness of good old fashioned home-cooked meals.

If you do not wish your pet to be fed exclusively with wet food, it works great as a tasty topping for whatever kibble you’re already feeding them.

Specs

  • Wet dog food
  • For small breeds
  • AAFCO-approved

Pros

  • With real chicken as a protein source
  • Formulated for the unique energy needs of small breed canines
  • No by-product meals, wheat, corn, and soy
  • No artificial preservatives or flavors

Cons

  • Not liked by some canines
  • Contains eggs and seafood
  • Contains carrageenan and guar gum

You may want to try Blue Homestyle Chicken Dinner with Garden Vegetables for your small breed canines. It has more protein, fat, and fiber but fewer carbohydrates than average.

In terms of caloric content, your pets will gain 109 calories for every 100 grams. This amount has more calories compared to many recipes and brands of wet dog foods.

Overall Rating – 4.7

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3. Wellness CORE Grain-Free Small Breed Dry Dog Food

Wellness Core Grain-free is a popular choice by pet parents for their small breed canines. I like that it has a chicken meal, turkey meal, and deboned turkey as top sources of high-quality protein.

Moreover, I like that it has no bulk-adding fillers or by-products in the first five ingredients.

Specs

  • Kibble form
  • For small breed dogs
  • AAFCO-approved
  • Grain-free

Pros

  • High-quality protein for higher energy
  • Contains omega fatty acids for healthy skin and coat
  • Has Chondroitin and glucosamine for joints and bone health
  • Complete and balanced nutrition using natural ingredients
  • Includes botanicals, probiotics, and antioxidants

Cons

  • Not liked by some dogs
  • Has some seafood in it

Wellness Core Turkey and Chicken Recipe is grain-free nourishment for small breeds. You may try feeding it to your pets if you like their diet to consist of more protein.

It also has an average amount of fat and fiber and fewer carbohydrates than average. Generally, dogs need a diet rich in protein, moderate fat, and fewer carbs.

This product fits your canines’ needs to a T and provides an average amount of calories at 366 per 100 grams.

Overall Rating – 4.7

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4. Nature’s Recipe Small Breed

This Nature’s Recipe Grain-free formula is one of the best dog food for small breeds that you’ll find. It mainly consists of turkey meal and chicken — both great protein sources.

I know it’s a higher quality dog food because it doesn’t have any bulk-adding fillers or by-products in its top ingredients.

Moreover, there’s no potential allergen listed in the label, but it doesn’t mean that canines don’t have adverse reactions to it. Sometimes, sensitive dogs can still have allergies after eating it.

Specs

  • Dry dog food
  • AAFCO-approved
  • Grain-free
  • For small breeds

Pros

  • Has real chicken for muscle development
  • Includes pumpkin and sweet potatoes as sources of carbohydrates
  • No wheat and corn
  • Doesn’t contain artificial flavors and colors
  • Fortified with antioxidants for a healthy immune system

Cons

  • Not liked by some dogs

If you’re searching for a grain-free recipe, you may prefer Nature’s Recipe Chicken, Sweet Potato, and Pumpkin for small breed dogs. It has less protein, fiber, and fat, but more carbohydrates than average.

It has an average calorie amount of 370 per 100 grams. This canine nourishment is suitable for your fur babies if you want them to maintain their ideal weight.

You may like that it doesn’t contain anything artificial in the food that you’re going to feed them.

Overall Rating – 4.8

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5. Merrick Lil’ Plates for Small Breed Dogs

I like Merrick Lil’ Plates Teeny Texas Steak Tips in Gravy because it has high-quality beef and beef liver as high-quality sources of protein.

I don’t notice any by-products or bulk-adding fillers in its top ingredients. I’m confident that I’m giving higher quality nourishment to my fur babies.

However, it has guar gum, an additive that may contribute to some health issues in pets.

Specs

  • Wet canine food
  • AAFCO-approved
  • Grain-free
  • For small breed dogs

Pros

  • Has real deboned beef, fruits, and vegetables
  • No gluten, artificial flavors, and colors, and preservatives
  • Single-serve trays
  • Locally-sourced ingredients in Texas

Cons

  • Not liked by some dogs
  • Contains guar gum

You may want to try Lil’ Plates TeeneyTexas Steak Tips recipe for your favorite buddies. It has more protein and fiber and less fat and carbohydrates.

Generally, dogs need a high protein diet, and this canned food is an excellent choice. It also has fewer calories at 73 per 100 grams than other wet nourishments for fur babies.

Overall Rating – 4.5

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6. Iams ProActive Health Adult MiniChunks Dry Dog Food

We like Iams ProActive Health Mini Chunks because it has chicken as its main ingredient. Chicken, as we all know, is a good source of protein.

It also has just the right amount of carbs for small dogs to sustain their energy levels, and the optimum level of fiber and prebiotics to promote good digestion.

However, it has a chicken by-product meal listed as one of its top ingredients. I’m not a big fan of by-products because they’re inexpensive, low-quality raw materials in dog foods.

Specs

  • Kibble form
  • For active small breed adult canines
  • AAFCO-approved

Pros

  • Crunchy texture for tartar-free and clean teeth
  • Includes prebiotics for healthy digestion
  • Natural ingredients fortified with vitamins and minerals
  • No artificial preservatives and fillers

Cons

  • Not liked by some dogs
  • Contains corn and byproduct meal

You may want to try Iams ProActive Health Mini Chunks. It has less protein, fat, and fiber but more carbohydrates than average.

As for caloric content, it provides 343 calories for every 100 grams. This amount is less than the average of the other kibbles. You may like its natural ingredients without artificial fillers and preservatives.

Overall Rating – 4.8

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7. Nutro Wholesome Essentials Small Breed

I like Nutro Wholesome Essentials, and it’s truly one of the best out there. This variant has chicken and chicken meal as sources of high-quality protein.

However, it contains brewer’s rice and whole brown rice, which are bulk-adding fillers needed to maintain the shape of the kibble. My pets don’t need these ingredients in their diet.

Specs

  • Dry canine food
  • For small breed
  • AAFCO-approved
  • Non-GMO ingredients

Pros

  • With natural fiber for healthy digestion system
  • Includes omega fatty acids for healthy skin and coat
  • No chicken by-product meal, wheat, soy, and corn
  • No artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives

Cons

  • Not liked by some dogs
  • Has brewer’s rice

You may try Nutro Wholesome Essentials Chicken, Brown Rice, and Sweet Potato to your small breeds. It has less protein, fat, and fiber but more carbohydrates than average.

It’s a healthier alternative than what you’ll find in the market. This dog food uses wholesome ingredients and has nothing artificial in it. It provides 375 calories for every 100 grams, which is an above-average amount.

You may also like that it doesn’t contain any GMO ingredients. There’s a long list of studies showing that genetically modified organisms (GMOs) can damage internal organs.

They can also result in changes in animal behavior. Nutro Wholesome Essentials don’t include components that can potentially cause harm to your beloved fur babies.

Overall Rating – 4.7

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8. Wellness Petite Entrees Natural Meals for Smaller Dogs

I tried feeding my fur babies Wellness PetiteRoasted Chicken, Beef, Carrots, and Green Beans Entrees, and they liked it. As a pet parent, I like that it has chicken as a premium source of protein.

However, I notice that it has tapioca starch as one of its top ingredients. It’s a bulk-adding filler, and my pets don’t need it in their diets.

Specs

  • Wet canine food (Mini-Filet)
  • For small breeds
  • AAFCO-approved
  • Grain-free
  • All-natural ingredients

Pros

  • Formulated for the unique requirements of small breeds
  • Quality ingredients like beef, roasted chicken, and carrots in gravy
  • No meat by-products, soy, and meat
  • No artificial flavors and colors
  • Complete and balanced nutrition

Cons

  • Not liked by some dogs
  • Has guar gum
  • Not for dogs sensitive to beef and eggs

If you’re a pet parent of small breed dogs, you may want to try Wellness Petite Roasted Chicken, Beef, Carrots, and Green Beans.

It has more protein, an average amount of carbohydrates and fiber, and less fat than average. Generally, canines need a high protein, low carbs, and a medium fat diet.

Moreover, this dog food has fewer calories at 70 for every 100 grams. It’s a lesser amount compared to most wet canine nourishments.

Overall Rating – 4.6

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9. Blue Buffalo Basics Limited Ingredient Diet Small Breed Wet Dog Food

Blue Buffalo Basics Grain-free Limited Ingredient Lamb and Potato Recipe has lamb as a quality source of protein.

It doesn’t include any inferior quality bulk-adding fillers and by-products. I’m confident that my pets are eating a premium product because it doesn’t have any of these ingredients.

However, I notice that it has carrageenan and guar gum, which can contribute to a few medical conditions in canines.

Specs

  • Limited Ingredient
  • Grain-free
  • For small breeds with food sensitivities
  • Wet dog food

Pros

  • Has real lamb
  • Fortified with vitamins and minerals
  • No chicken, dairy, beef, eggs, by-product meals
  • No grain, corn, soy, wheat
  • Doesn’t contain artificial preservatives and flavors

Cons

  • Not liked by some canines
  • Contains seafood
  • Has carrageeman and guar gum

If you’re searching for dog food for your adult small breed pet, you may want to try Blue Basics Grain-free Lamb and Potato. It has less protein and carbohydrates, but more fat and fiber.

Additionally, it has 107 calories for every 100 grams, which is slightly higher compared to many wet canine nourishments.

Overall Rating – 4.2

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Buying Guide For Dog Food For Small Breeds

The small dog classification encompasses any breed that at full growth weighs under 22 pounds and stands under 16 inches, give or take. This includes adorable favorites like pugs, Yorkies, Bichons, Maltese, Shih Tzus, and beagles.

Before you decide the right recipe for your small breed pet, you have to understand some dietary and nutritional requirements.

Unique Nutritional And Dietary Requirements Of Small Breed Dogs

Blood Sugar

Dogs, especially the toy breeds, need careful diet planning. They are susceptible to low blood sugar or hypoglycemia. Their metabolisms aren’t the same as the medium and large-sized canines.

Moreover, they don’t have high body fat, so if you don’t feed them adequately, they can develop hypoglycemia. You have to opt for nutrient-dense and calorie-dense diets and feed them small meals frequently every day.

Ask Your Veterinarian

If you’re trying various diets and your pet isn’t reacting as expected, you may consult your vet to ask for recommendations.

Opt For Antioxidants-Rich Foods

Small breeds have extended life spans and may live for more than 15 years. You have to plan for their senior years, so you need to include diets rich in antioxidants to stave off doggy colds and free radicals.

Don’t Overfeed

Your small canines need additional calories because of their metabolic rate. They cannot gain excessive weight because they can develop health issues like osteoarthritis, cancer, and type 2 diabetes.

Obesity can shorten the life of your pets by two years, so you have to ensure that you maintain a feeding schedule. Moreover, you have to provide fresh water and review the feeding instructions regularly.

Feed Small Kibbles

Small breeds canines have small jaws, so you can’t feed them with large kibbles because they can’t chew them thoroughly. Moreover, small kibble sizes can provide dental comfort to them too.

Learn About Your Pets’ Metabolic Rate

As I mentioned earlier, small breeds need more calories because they have a higher metabolic rate than large dogs.

They burn their energy fuel rapidly, so you have to feed them with foods rich in fats and protein.

Essential Nutritional Needs Of Small Breeds

Animal-Based Protein

Protein from animals must be the primary ingredient in the dog food that you choose. Your pets need a steady source of protein to maintain their energy levels.

 If your choice doesn’t list the meat-based protein as its top ingredient, you have to try another product.

Fiber

You also have to include fiber in the diet of your fur babies for a healthy metabolism. It prevents harmful bacteria growth and repairs the colon after an injury.

Moreover, fiber promotes firm stool, but you can overfeed your pets with it because they’ll have stomach issues.

Necessary Vitamins and Minerals

Your dogs also need essential vitamins and minerals from fruits and vegetables. These nutrients maintain healthy skin and coat, strong bones and teeth, and have the stamina to last throughout the day.

Fish Oils

Quality dog food has omega fatty acids to help reduce inflammation and attain an ideal immune function. Fatty acids also assist in the growth of cells and blood clotting.

Carbohydrates

Carbohydrates provide your fur babies with the energy they need to stay active. They support the protein and fats in sustaining their stamina.

However, if they over-consume carbs, they’ll gain weight. Thus, you have to ensure that you check the carb content of the dog food to ensure that you’re feeding your fur friends a balanced diet.

Read the Labels

Whenever you shop for dog nourishments, you have to read the product labels. You need to determine if these canine foods meet the specific dietary requirements of small breeds.

You have to remember the following:

  • Check the caloric amount per portion
  • Search for keywords like balanced and complete
  • Read the list of ingredients carefully and check for fillers that your dogs don’t need
  • Buy dog foods that are appropriate for the life stage of your canines

 

What Your Vet Will Tell You About Dog Foods

Your furry friends will eat anything because they’re not picky eaters. However, you have to ensure that you are feeding them to make them healthy and have a long life.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulates commercially available pet foods. It ensures that these products have nutritious and safe ingredients.

Let’s go through some fundamental facts before you opt for a brand and recipe.

Search For The Nutritional Guarantee

You search the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) statement on the dog food label.

 You have to search for the phrase stating that the product offers complete and balanced nutrition. You may also read that it meets the nutritional levels set by AAFCO Dog Food Nutrient Profiles.

The main ingredient doesn’t make a difference, as long it comes from the meats of animals. Your dog mustn’t encounter any issues when it eats for its chosen product.

Don’t Rule Out Grains Or By-Products

Some manufacturers claim that their products contain real meat, so their dog foods are better than the others.

By-product meals and by-products are ground parts of the animal carcass that includes organs and bones. They can be nutritious too.

You’ll also notice cornmeal and grains in many commercially available dog foods. Gluten-free is trendy for humans, but gluten sensitivities are rare in canines.

If you believe that your fur baby has food allergies, you have to consult your veterinarian to help determine the ingredients to avoid.

Prime Foods Aren’t Always Better

There are no nutritional requirements for grouping canine foods into categories. Some manufacturers advertise their products like “premium,” “gourmet,” or “popular.”

You may opt for affordable and favored pet food if budget is an issue. You can spend the money you save from buying premium diets to other things like heartworm preventive medicine.

You Can Opt For A Vegetarian Diet

Your favorite dogs can do away with a meatless diet, especially if you’re vegetarian too, or they have allergies to animal proteins.

However, you’ll discover that it’s tricky to balance the carbohydrates, nutrients, fat, and protein for your vegetarian fur babies.

You may, however, opt for a commercial meatless canine food instead of for a homemade diet.

Dry vs. Wet Food

Dry food is easy to store and isn’t messy. It can be an excellent option for your pets’ teeth. However, wet food is suitable for canines that can’t chew their food or don’t drink enough water.

Don’t Serve Too Much Food

It may be convenient for you to leave food for your dogs all day, but your pets may overeat. Veterinarians often don’t recommend it. You can check the label for the serving size based on the weight of your fur babies.

Moreover, your vet will tell you how much to feed your canines, depending on how active they are. However, you may split the serving size into two: one in the morning and another in the evening.

Final Thoughts

Small breeds are a favorite for many city dwellers because they can fit into limited space in urban life. They cost less in terms of veterinary and food costs, and they’re easier to handle when you bring them to the vet for surgeries, neutering, and spaying.

Some hotels, restaurants, and stores also accept them in their establishments. If you have one, you already know why little breeds rule. If you’re thinking of getting one, you can have a small breed dog at any time.

However, it’s troublesome to find the right dog food because there are several brands and recipes in the market today. Hopefully, this article has helped you make a decision.

Of the nine products I reviewed, I’m recommending Blue Life Protection Chicken and Brown Rice Formula. It has real meat as a quality protein source.

This dog food is suitable for petite breed canines because its kibbles are for smaller jaws. Moreover, it has no soy, corn, wheat, and poultry by-products.

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