Best Dog Food for Small/Toy Breeds: Guide & 4 Reviews (2017 Updated)

People who live in small homes or apartments might begin their search for the perfect pet among the small dog breeds. Not all small dog breed are lazy, little lap dogs — some are quite energetic. The American Kennel Club mentions that there is a small breed for every dog lover.

All small dogs need to get daily exercise despite their activity level. Certain breeds like Terriers and Dachshunds enjoy life on farms or in the country.

It’s very important to make sure your small friend gets the best dog food for small and toy breeds on the market as most toy breeds need a diet that is rich in protein to give them more nutrition for the serving size.

If you’re looking for a small dog that has a big personality and loves to cuddle, small or toy breeds usually fit the bill nicely.

Quick Comparison: Top Dog Food For Small And Toy Breeds in 2017

Dog FoodQualityOur Rating
Wellness Complete HealthA
Blue BuffaloB+
Taste of the WildA-
Royal CaninA

* click on the product name to be taken to Amazon where you can check the current price and read customer reviews.

Below you’ll find in-depth reviews of each of the above products.

What’s the Recommended Calorie Intake?

The standard formula for a dog’s caloric needs is:

  • Divide a dog’s body weight in pounds by 2.2 to convert to kilograms (kg)
  • Resting Energy Requirement (RER) = 70 (body weight in kg)^0.75
  • Maintenance Energy Requirement (MER) = appropriate multiplier x RER

While that looks like a complex formula, it’s not very exact as it applies to small breeds.

Happy Running Puppy

Dr. Jennifer Coates says that there are so many variables in determining caloric intake for small breeds that even the best experts can be way off the mark. She recommends starting with a general guideline and monitoring your dog’s weight and activity level against an optimal weight for the particular breed. If you are still not sure, check with your veterinarian.

General Nutrition Information About Small/Toy Breeds

Look for several things when choosing dog food for all breeds. Because small dogs have smaller stomachs and eat less food, it’s wise to pay attention to the ingredient list in your dog food to make sure that your brand packs a lot of nutrition into a serving.

Toy Dog Breeds

Certain breeds may need more of one nutrient, but most dog foods should contain the following:

  1. Rich protein
  2. Natural foods like whole meats, fruits, and vegetables
  3. Well balanced combination of protein, carbohydrates, and fats
  4. Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids
  5. Fish oil
  6. No fillers such as the corn or the casings from grains or nuts
  7. Food that tastes and smells pleasing to dogs

Beware of ingredient-splitting. Dog food suppliers have gotten wise to smart consumers who read ingredient lists. They have resorted to doing things like splitting corn into corn meal and corn flour to get the corn listed lower than protein on the list on the list of ingredients.

Don’t fret if your favorite dog food doesn’t include fish oil. You can get the same effect by sprinkling a little fish oil on your dog’s dry food.

It might seem a little frivolous to select dog food based upon what your dog likes. The healthiest brand of dog food doesn’t do him any good if he won’t eat it. Find a brand that is nutrient-rich and tastes good too.

Common Health Problems with Small/Toy Breeds

One of the most common problems with small breeds is obesity. Little dogs need to eat less and be active enough to burn off excess calories.

Health Problems with Small Breeds

PetMedMD reviews other common health issues for small breeds:

  1. Patellar luxation – the dog’s kneecap dislocates from its normal position causing lameness.
  2. Intervertebral disk disease – compressed discs in the spine causing pain, weakness, and paralysis.
  3. Pancreatitis – inflamed pancreas leading to fever, diarrhea, vomiting, pain, and dehydration.
  4. Brachycephalic Airway Syndrome – upper airway problems found in short-nosed, flat-faced breeds.
  5. Ectropion – causes the eyelid to roll forward, common in short-nosed, flat-faced breeds.

Feeding Guidelines by Age

Acclaimed dog behaviorist, Cesar Milan, recommends feeding according to this schedule:

  • 0-3 months/4 times daily
  • 3-6 months/3 times daily
  • 6-12 months/2 times daily
  • After 1 year/1-2 times daily

Switch to adult dog food at 10-12 months of age. Small breeds need ½ to 1 cup of high quality dry food per day. The amount of food varies substantially by breed. Follow the advice of your veterinarian if you have any doubts.

Editor’s Choice – The Best Dry Dog Food For Small and Toy Breeds

Here’s our pick of some of the best brands on the market.

1. Wellness Complete Health

Wellness Complete Health has several brands and flavors of dry dog food, which are all excellent. They use rich proteins as a base and supplement them with oatmeal, natural fruits, and natural vegetables. Their recipes are boosted with Omega fatty acids and glucosamine for sheen coats and joint health.

Wellness Complete Health Natural Dry Dog Food

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2. Blue Buffalo

Blue Buffalo dog food brand was inspired by the animals that roamed the primitive west and that is what makes them so special. Blue buffalo recipes contain proteins like bison, beef, lamb, and venison and don’t contain fillers.

Blue Buffalo Life Protection Dry Puppy Food

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3. Taste of the Wild

Taste of the Wild uses fresh-roasted meats and lamb meal, which has more protein content than lamb. Their recipes are also loaded with natural fruits and vegetables. Taste of the Wild includes sweet potato, which is rich in fiber and beta-carotene.

Taste of the Wild Grain-Free Pacific Stream Dry Dog Food for Puppy

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4. Royal Canin

Royal Canin makes dog food products that are high in protein. Their recipes have a well-balanced profile of protein, carbohydrates, and fats. The recipes include natural fruits and vegetables, as well as brown rice. They contain glucosamine for healthy joints and they don’t use fillers.

Royal Canin 14-Pound Adult Dry Dog Food

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The Final Choice

Our favorite choice for small and toy breeds is Royal Canin. We love this dog food because they understand the needs of small breeds. They offer several brands that are specially formulated for specific breeds like Pugs, Yorkshire Terriers, Shih Tzu, and Dachshunds.

Buy Royal Canin Dog Food

What We Like

  1. Provides breed – specific recipes and kibble sizes
  2. High in protein
  3. Fatty acids for skin health and shiny coats
  4. Glucosamine for joint health
  5. Nutrient dense using natural fruits and vegetables
  6. Pleasing aroma
  7. Tasty flavor

What We Don’t Like

  1. Some brands contain corn
  2. Some brands contain soy
  3. Some brands contain gluten