The Best Dog Food for Small Dogs-Feeding Tiny Mouths Right!

Finding the best dog food for small dogs can be one hell of a struggle.

While many small dogs may think they are top dog, it doesn’t mean that you get to feed him or her like one come dinnertime. A small breed dog needs a diet specially formulated to meet their nutritional standards in a tiny kibble size that won’t break their teeth in the process. Finding the right small breed dog food for your own small breed dog is just half the battle, a battle that is made even more difficult if you don’t know where to start.

That is why I am here to help!

In this post, I will break down everything you need to look for in a small breed dog food and give some helpful tips that can help you along the way.


the best dog food for small dogs

Diet Requirements: What Do Small Dog Breeds Need Nutritionally?

Unlike regular sized dogs, small breed dogs need to meet specific dietary requirements in order to thrive. There are a few things you will have to keep in mind in order to find the best dog food for your tiny best friend such as:

A faster metabolism

Smaller breeds, in general, tend to have a faster metabolism than their regular-sized counterparts. This has an effect on the way their body processes the food as it passes through their system. With a faster metabolism, small breed dogs will require many more calories per pound of food. This means that whatever food you decide to get them must have a higher caloric value than most dog foods on the market.

Nutrient distribution

Since small breeds require a diet that is higher in calories, this also means that the ways nutrients are distributed in these foods must be different as well. For small breed dogs, you want to find a food that is made up of at least 25% to 35% protein and no more than 20% fat.

Extra nutrients

Now, this is something that shouldn’t be exclusive to small dogs only. You want to make sure you choose a food that is loaded with vitamins, digestible carbohydrates, minerals and extra components such as omega fatty acids which can help keep small dogs healthy for many years to come.


Small Breed Dog Food vs. Regular Dog Food: What’s the Difference?

Yes, there actually IS a difference between small breed dog food and regular dog food. The key differences between these two different types of food include:

  • A high caloric value-as stated above, small breed dogs need more calories due to having faster metabolisms. Most small breed dog foods you will find on the market reflect that need with higher caloric values on their food labels.
  • Smaller kibble size-the smaller the dog, the smaller the kibble size needs to be. Most small breed dog foods contain small kibble sizes to cater to dogs with smaller mouths.
  • Added nutrients-most small breed dog foods that you will find available tend to have added nutrients such as omega fatty acids, glucosamine, and chondroitin. These extra nutrients can help boost a small breed dog’s immune system as well as help support stronger bones and muscles.


Top 10 of The Best Dog Food for Small Dogs

Merrick Lil’ Plates Small Breed

This formula by Merrick is specially formulated to feed larger appetites in smaller dogs. Even though it is made for small dogs, it is made with 100% real protein as the first ingredient, is packed full of Omega 3 fatty acids and continues wholesome ingredients that are packed with all of the nutrients small dogs need.

  • Real protein as the first ingredient
  • Nutritionally balanced to meet the needs of small dogs
  • Can be expensive


Flavors Available: Lamb, Beef, Chicken, and Salmon

Sizes Available: 4 pounds and 12 pounds


Blue Buffalo Wilderness Small Breed

If there is one thing Blue Buffalo does well, it is making dogs a well-balanced meal that will feed their inner wolf. The Wilderness formula by Blue Buffalo is inspired by the natural diet of wolves, helping to provide a grain-free and protein-rich diet any small dog will love. Small dogs will benefit from the formula with the help of natural ingredients packed with essential nutrients and plenty of protein to feed hungry mouths.

  • Real meat featured in each formula
  • Can be found in most local pet stores
  • Only one flavor available
  • Slightly expensive


Flavors Available: Chicken

Sizes Available: 4.5 pounds, 11 pounds and 24 pounds


Wellness Core Small Breed

Another high-quality brand that makes an excellent diet for small breed dogs is Wellness Core. Each formula of Wellness Core is packed full of optimum levels of protein and calories to support the needs of any small breed dog.  Made with the perfect blend of nutrient-rich superfoods, additional supplements and a diet packed full of plenty of meat, no small breed dog will be able to turn it away.

  • Available in a variety of flavors and formulas
  • Real protein is listed as the first ingredient
  • Expensive


Flavors Available: Ocean, Lamb, Wild Game and Chicken

Formulas Available: Original, Senior, Small Breed Puppy, Large Breed, Puppy, Reduced Fat, Small Breed Healthy Weight, and Large Breed Puppy

Sizes Available: 4 pounds and 12 pounds


Fromm Gold Small Breed

Fromm Gold Small Breed dog food is perfectly developed to feed the nutritional and metabolic needs of small breed dogs. It is specially prepared with carefully selected protein sources and nutritionally packed ingredients to feed small breed dog of any age. What makes this formula stand out is the fact that it is made with probiotics to help ease digestion.

  • Real protein is used as the first ingredient
  • Features real human-grade ingredients
  • Can be difficult to find offline


Sizes Available: 5 pounds and 15 pounds


Instinct Raw Boost Small Breed

If there is anything Instinct Raw Boost does well, it is mixing the best part of a raw food diet to a traditional dried formula. The Instinct Raw Boost formula for small breed dogs features high-quality animal proteins used as the first ingredient, all boosted with bite-sized pieces of freeze-dried raw meat. Each formula is made with guaranteed levels of calcium and phosphorus to helping support small strong bones and healthy teeth with nearly every bite.

  • Real animal protein used as the first ingredient
  • Uses freeze-dried raw food: highly beneficial
  • Various flavors available
  • Can be expensive depending on the formula


Flavors Available: Beef, Chicken, and Duck

Sizes Available: 4 pounds and 10 pounds


Blue Buffalo Life Protection Small Breed

This is another formula by Blue Buffalo that is specially formulated for promoting the well-being of small breed dogs. Featuring the finest natural ingredients pet owners can find, every bag of Blue Buffalo Life Protection feature protein-rich and nutritionally balanced ingredients to feed the never-ending appetite of small breed dogs. On top of that, Blue Buffalo Life Protection features Life-Source bits, bits of natural antioxidants that can help boost a small dog’s overall health.

  • Features real animal protein as the first ingredient
  • Available in various formulas and flavors
  • Balances carbohydrate and protein ingredients naturally
  • Can be expensive depending on the formula


Flavors Available: Chicken & Brown Rice, Fish & Brown Rice, Chicken & Oatmeal and Lamb & Brown Rice

Formulas Available: Small Breed Puppy, Grain-Free Small Breed Puppy, Toy Breed Adults, Adult Small Breed, Healthy Weight, and Senior

Sizes Available: 6 pounds and 15 pounds


Nulo Freestyle Small Breed

This formula by Nulo makes sure to feed dogs the food they need in order to keep up with their surprising levels of energy. The company behind Nulo understands the nutritional needs of small dogs and that is reflected in each bag. In the bag, you will find up to 84% protein coming from real protein sources, delivered in a small kibble size small breed dogs of all ages will love.

  • Nutritionally balanced to meet the needs of small breed dogs
  • Can be difficult to find offline
  • Limited flavors available


Sizes Available: 4.5 pounds and 11 pounds


Wellness Complete Small Breed

This formula by Wellness is the standard for their small breed formulas. It is made with a unique composition to be sure to feed a small breed dog’s nutritional needs. It is made with nutrient-rich ingredients every small breed dog will benefit from.

  • Real protein used as the first ingredient
  • Available in different formulas
  • Limited to only one flavor


Flavors Available: Turkey and Oatmeal and Whitefish, Salmon Meal and Peas

Formulas Available: Puppy, Healthy Weight, Toy Breed, and Senior

Sizes Available: 4 pounds and 12 pounds


Solid Gold Wee Bit Small Breed

This grain-free formula by Solid Gold is perfect for small breed dogs who suffer from food sensitivities. It is made without using potato, features protein-rich ingredients and comes in a small kibble size to feed any small breed dog. It also features the use of novelty protein for dogs who suffer from food allergies.

  • Grain-free options
  • Real protein used as the first ingredient
  • Flavors and formulas are limited


Sizes Available: 4 pounds and 12 pounds


Dogswell Grain-Free Small Breed

Last, but not least, we have a formula by Dogswell that every small breed dog can benefit from. The real clincher with this formula is the use of natural antioxidants, which can promote the overall well-being of any dog. It is a grain-free formula made without the use of grain to benefit small breeds who suffer from food allergies.

  • Affordable
  • Features real chicken as the first ingredient
  • Plenty of sizes available
  • Limited Flavors


Sizes Available: 4 pounds and 11 pounds


The Best Dog Food for Small Dogs: The Bottomline

Hopefully, by the end of this post, you have found the best dog food for small dogs that are available on the market today. My hope is that by the end of this list, you have found plenty of affordable and healthy dog food options to choose for your small dog. I know finding the best food for your dog can be trying, but with this list, choosing the best dog food should be a little easier.


Do you have a small breed dog? Do you agree with my list? Let me know in the comments below!


Digital marketing specialist and Internet enthusiast. When Vanessa isn't working on or other marketing ventures, she spends her time making homemade dog treats and reading up on the latest advances in the veterinarian field.

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