Best Dog Food for Small Dogs

Small dogs can be our biggest pals! They easily fit in your lap when watching television or working from home, and they can curl up right next to you in bed. 

These cuties are easily taken wherever you go, and some of these angels are even small enough to fit inside your bag. These pawsome pups are friendly and sweet to everyone around them, winning you both extra friends when you’re out and about. 

Your small dog loves to be with you and is a wonderful companion. You want to provide the best care for your small dog, so you’ve got all the necessary items for your baby to thrive. They have multiple beds (but usually end up in yours), small toys geared towards small dogs, and maybe even some cute clothes to help stay warm when the weather is a little chilly. Cue the Instagram photos!

We do so much to care for our little dogs, which is why it’s important to give them the best food we can find. If you’re feeling overwhelmed by all the options, PAWZ is here to help with our guide to dog food for small dogs. Your fur baby will get the dog-licious food they love once you learn everything there is to know about dog foods for teeny doggos.

First Thing’s First: What Are My Dog’s Nutritional Needs?

Small dog breeds have different nutritional needs than larger breeds. First, tiny dogs have even tinier stomachs and will benefit from eating a few small meals a day. They are able to digest their food quicker than a larger dog, and they can also have more energy. For this reason, smaller breeds do need more calories per pound compared to larger breeds. These little angels have big appetites! 

When selecting the best food for your small dog, age isn’t just a number. Puppies have different nutritional requirements as they grow to their full size in just a year. A growing pup needs plenty of love and kibble! 

Food branded for puppies has the right amount of nutrients that your growing buddy needs to set them up for success. When your dog has the right dog food for their breed and lifestyle, they will be energetic, their coat will be glossy, and you can rest easy knowing your best friend is fit and full. 

As your puppy grows into an adult, you can select a food based on breed, energy level, and your dog’s taste preferences. When you go into any pet food store, you may be overwhelmed at all the choices that you have when it comes to selecting the best type of dog food for your small dog. 

What Are AAFCO Standards?

When selecting any type of dog food for your little furball, make sure that their food has been certified by the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO). The AAFCO reviews pet foods and determines if they are complete and balanced for a dog’s particular life stage. 

When it comes to any pet food, you want to ensure that your dog’s food contains all the vital nutrients to keep them healthy. This will include vitamins, minerals, fats, proteins, carbohydrates, and water. The AAFCO maintains the guidelines for these nutrients for each type of dog food. 

The dog food making process is an interesting one, and it’s important to understand so you can ensure that your pupper is receiving a balanced diet. This is also dependent on your dog’s stage in life and even their breed. 

For example, some breeds may be more susceptible to joint disorders and may need more protein and calcium to maintain strong bones. You can also work with your dog’s veterinarian to ensure that they are receiving all the yummy nutrients they need. 

How Much Food Does My Small Dog Need?

Caloric intake is also vital for small dogs. They may lead a more “inside” lifestyle and will not need as many calories as a dog who is working on a farm. With your dog’s tiny stature, it can be much easier for them to gain weight and become a little too chonky for their health. 

Pay close attention to the feeding instructions on the back of their dog food so you can help ensure that they stay at their ideal weight. Overweight dogs can be susceptible to a number of health problems like diabetes, high blood pressure, or kidney disease. The extra weight can also be tough on their joints, which can cause mobility issues. 

If your dog seems ravenous whenever they are fed, you can select a dog food that is a little less dense in calories and feed them a little more in volume. The same idea applies for a dog who tends to leave a good bit of food in their dish — you want to make sure that all their nutritional needs are met, so selecting a more nutritionally dense food will help your lil’ cutie eat everything they need to be as healthy as possible. 

Treats also count in the amount of food that you feed your little dog. Try to keep the amount of treats under 10% of their daily intake. We know it will be tough to not give your dog a treat after every cute thing they do, but we believe in you.

Should You Feed Wet Foods to Your Small Dog?

Overall, wet food may be a healthier choice for your small dog. Wet food is higher in protein and fats, which may be more palatable to your pup. It is also lower in carbohydrates, which may cause weight gain. If your baby needs to shed a few pounds, wet food may be helpful in slimming them down. Plus, if your dog is a timid water drinker, wet food can help keep them a little more hydrated. 

Too much fat in wet dog food can be too rich on your pup’s little tummy. Also, if your small dog has any dental issues, wet food can exacerbate these and contribute to periodontal disease. If your small dog does have a diet that is primarily wet food, a dental routine is a good to have in place so your pup’s pearly whites stay healthy. 

Should You Feed Dry Food to Your Small Dog?

Dry dog food is the most commonly given food to pups. This is because it is easier to store and most dogs ingest it quite easily. Dry dog foods over some dental benefits, as the dry kibbles can help scrape tartar off their teeth. 

For small dogs, kibble size is important. You don’t want the kibble to be too big, as it may be tough for them to chew. Large sized kibbles can also hurt little teeth. Plus, it may be a choking hazard if your dog tries to swallow a larger piece of kibble whole. Kibble that is branded for small dogs is smaller in size, perfect for their teeny mouths. 

Dry food can also be used in treat toys and puzzle games you may offer to your pup to keep them engaged and work their mind. Putting dry kibble in game form is also helpful if your pup inhales their food. Slower eating is much better for your dog! There is no wet food mess involved, and your pup gets a chance to work their brain and get a snack. 

Now, we can’t promise that there won’t be dry kibble everywhere — but as with any dog, they will usually clean up any yummy bits to eat. 

For a special treat, mix in a little wet food with your dog’s dry food from time to time. They will absolutely love the new flavor, and you will totally be the favorite pet parent of the day. 

PAWZ: Save These Adorable Animals!

As much as you care about your pupper getting the right nutrients their cute little body needs, us dog lovers care about all of oue furry friends out in the world. PAWZ knows how you feel. 

We offer dog centric apparel that keeps you looking stylish and comfy, while also professing all the love you have for the lil pups out there, from English Mastiffs to the ever-popular crusty white dogs.

No matter what activity you are doing — from lounging on the couch with your little buddy to planning a day-out — PAWZ has you covered with hoodies, crewnecks, and tees that share your love for all these adorable animals. We have a multitude of collections that keep you in style for every situation and every holiday. 

In addition to being big dog lovers, we also are a proud supporter of no-kill shelters and donate 10% of our net profits to local and national no-kill animal shelters and animal welfare organizations, like Best Friends Animal Society. We want every animals to safe and placed into their furever homes with loving dog parents. 

It’s simple: PAWZ keeps you stylish while you help Best Friends make our country’s shelters no-kill, one pup at a time. 


Growth Guide: Keeping your Puppy on the Right Track | Tufts University

How to Help Overweight Pets | Veterinary Medicine at Illinois

Dry, Canned, or Semi-Moist: Food Choices for Dogs | VCA Hospitals

Should I Feed Canned or Dry Food? | Tufts University

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