There are a huge number of dry dog foods available from supermarkets, pet stores and your vet's office, so how do you know which one is best for your small dog? Our Memphis vets share some tips on choosing the best food for your small dog.
Choosing a Food for Your Small Dog
Small dogs with an ideal weight of 20lbs or under, tend to have a faster metabolism than larger dog breeds. So, when shopping for a food for your small dog, look for a dry food that has been optimized for a small dog's fast metabolism. Many foods specially formulated for small dogs also come in smaller kibble sizes to help make it easier for small dogs to enjoy, however feeding your small dog small sized kibble isn't essential...even tiny dogs can handle regular sized kibble. The nutrition, not the size of the kibble is what counts most.
Ingredients to Avoid
There are a number of controversial ingredients found in dogs foods for small dogs and larger dogs. Here are a few of the ingredients you may wish to avoid in order to ensure that you are feeding your small dog the very best food:
- Propylene glycol (Moisturizer)
- Generic “meat” (Unknown source)
- BHA (Preservative)
- BHT (Preservative)
- TBHQ (Preservative)
- Ethoxyquin (Preservative)
- Menadione (Synthetic vitamin)
- Artificial dyes (Color)
5 Nutritious Dry Foods For Small Dogs
When choosing a food for your dog's specific needs it's always best to consult with your vet. No one understands your dog's heath and nutritional needs better than your veterinarian. That said, here are a few high quality foods for small dogs that your vet may suggest:
This brand of premium dog food offers a range of dry foods specifically created for different small and toy breed dogs. The range includes:
- Royal Canin X-Small Aging 12+ created to meet the nutritional needs of older toy and miniature breeds
- Royal Canin West Highland White Terrier Adult dry dog food
- Royal Canin Pomeranian Adult dry dog food
- Royal Canin Chihuahua Puppy dry dog food
Hill's® Science Diet® Adult Small Bites Lamb Meal & Brown Rice Recipe dog food
- Hills has specially formulated this dry food to fuel the energy needs of adult small breed dogs. This food includes high quality, easy-to-digest ingredients in a small bite size that's easy for small mouths to chew.
Purina Pro Plan FOCUS Adult Small Breed Formula Dry Dog Food
- Chicken is the first ingredient in this premium small breed dog food that provides complete and balanced nutrition for healthy adult dogs
Nutro Wholesome Essentials Small Breed Adult Chicken
- Formulated specifically for little dogs, this dry food, contains healthy ingredients such as farm-raised chicken, brown rice, and sweet potatoes.
Wellness Complete Health Small Breed Adult Dog Food
- The first 5 ingredients in this dry food for small dogs features: deboned turkey, chicken meal, salmon meal, oatmeal, and ground brown rice. A feast for any small dog.
Blue Buffalo Life Protection Small Breed Adult
- This dry food for small dogs has been formulated with a precise blend of proteins and carbohydrates to help support the higher energy needs of smaller dogs.
If you are unsure about which dry food is best for your small dog, speak to your veterinarian. Your vet will be able to recommend just the right food for your dog based on their age, overall health, and activity level.
How Much to Feed Your Small Dog
Each brand of food contains a different amount of calories, and every dog's lifestyle and calorie expenditure differs. Whichever small breed dog food you choose, be sure to follow the feeding guidelines on the package, or contact your vet for their recommendations. Your vet understands your dog's overall health and nutritional requirements better than any dog food manufacturer.
Changing Your Small Dog's Food
Changing any dog's food can cause some unexpected consequences in the form of gastrointestinal upset. To transition your canine pal to a new food take gradual steps.
First begin by mixing about 25% new food along with their regular food for 3 or 4 days and monitor your small pup for any signs of tummy upset such as gas, or loose stools.
If your little dog is doing well with the new food gradually increase the proportion to about 50% new food and continue to monitor your dog for any reactions to their change of diet.
Over the course of about 10 - 14 days your dog's digestive tract should become accustomed to the new food and you can complete the transition. That said, if your dog continues to show signs of gastrointestinal upset, contact your vet for advice. A longer, more gradual transition to the new food may be required, or perhaps it isn't the right food for your little friend.