Skip to Main Content
Ask About Financing

The Best Dry Dog Foods for Small Dogs

There is an overwhelming number of dry dog foods available from various sources, but it can be difficult to determine which one is best for your small dog. Our vets in Palmyra have shared their top picks to help you choose.

Choosing a Food for Your Small Dog

Smaller dogs with an ideal weight of under 20 lbs tend to have a faster metabolism than their larger canine friends. So, look for dry food optimized for a small dog's fast metabolism. Many small dog foods 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.

Ingredients to Avoid

When choosing food for your small or large dog, it is important to avoid certain controversial ingredients that may not be healthy for your pet. Here are some ingredients that you may want to steer clear of in order to provide your small dog with the best possible nutrition:

  • 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 selecting food for your small dog, make sure to check the first 5 ingredients on the package. These ingredients should consist of recognizable and healthy foods.

  • CANIDAE Grain-Free PURE Fields with Chicken Small Breed - First 5 ingredients: Chicken, Menhaden Fish Meal, Peas, Lentils, and Potatoes
  • Taste of the Wild - Appalachian Valley Small Breed Recipe - First 5 ingredients: Venison, lamb meal, garbanzo beans, peas, and lentils (grain-free recipe)
  • Nutro Wholesome Essentials Small Breed Adult Chicken - First 5 ingredients: Chicken, chicken meal, split peas, whole brown rice, and brewer rice
  • Wellness Complete Health Small Breed Adult Dog Food - First 5 ingredients: Deboned turkey, chicken meal, salmon meal, oatmeal, and ground brown rice
  • Blue Buffalo Life Protection Small Breed Adult - First 5 ingredients: Deboned chicken, chicken meal, brown rice, oatmeal, and barley

If you are unsure 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

Determining how much food to feed your small dog can be challenging. This is because the calorie content of dog food varies by brand, and each dog has a unique lifestyle and calorie expenditure.

Therefore, following the feeding recommendations printed on the dog food package is important. Alternatively, you can consult your veterinarian for their professional advice.

Since your vet knows your pet's overall health and nutritional needs better than any dog food manufacturer, they are the best resource for advice on what to feed your small dog.

Changing Your Small Dog's Food

If you plan on changing your dog's food, it's important to be aware that it may cause gastrointestinal issues. It's best to introduce the new food gradually to make the transition as smooth as possible. 

Start by mixing around 25% of the new food with 75% of their regular food for the first 3-4 days. Keep a close eye on your dog for any signs of tummy trouble, such as gas or loose stools. 

If your dog is doing well with the new food, gradually increase the proportion of the new food to about 50%, while still keeping an eye on any reactions. 

Over about 10-14 days, your dog's digestive system should get used to the new food. If your dog continues to experience gastrointestinal upset, it would be best to consult your veterinarian for advice. They may advise a longer, more gradual transition to the new food, or suggest that it isn't the right food for your furry friend.

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

If your dog is showing signs of illness or refusing to eat, contact our Palmyra vets today for a consultation.

New Patients Welcome

Palmyra Animal Clinic is accepting new patients! Our experienced vets are passionate about the health of companion animals. Get in touch today to book your pet's first appointment.

Contact Us

Contact (717) 838-5451