12 Best Small Breed Puppy Foods

By Kevin Myers | 2022 Update

✓ Reviewed by Dr. Sara Redding Ochoa, DVM

This (updated) guide lists all of the best puppy foods for small breeds.

The nutritional needs of small breed puppies can be significantly different from medium or large breed pups. Typically, small breed pups require a whole lot more calories. Their small size does not matter because of their higher metabolic rate, which requires them to consume more calories for optimal growth.

And just because their caloric requirement is higher does not mean you can feed them anything. You need to provide your small breed puppy the best, high-quality food to support its growth and overall wellbeing.

Additionally, small breed puppies require a whole range of nutrients. And since they’re omnivores, dogs can digest many kinds of meat, grains, fruits, and vegetables.

I spent several weeks researching the products recommended in this guide (here is my 40-point inspection list.)

Let’s dive right in.

The Best Small Breed Puppy Foods

Top PicksRatingTop Ingredients
1. Wellness Small Breed Complete Health Puppy Deboned Turkey, Oatmeal & Salmon Meal Recipe
(Editor’s Choice)
4.9Deboned Turkey, Chicken Meal, Oatmeal…
2. Royal Canin Small Puppy Dry Dog Food4.8Brewers Rice, Chicken By-Product Meal, Chicken Fat…
3. Merrick Lil’ Plates Grain-Free Real Chicken & Sweet Potato Puppy Dry Dog Food4.8Deboned Chicken, Chicken Meal, Potatoes, Peas…
4. Purina Pro Plan Focus Adult Small Breed Formula Dry Dog Food4.7Chicken, Brewers Rice, Corn Gluten Meal, Poultry By-Product Meal…
5. Hill’s Science Diet Puppy Healthy Development Small Bites Dry Dog Food4.7Chicken Meal, Whole Grain Wheat, Cracked Pearled Barley…

How to Switch Dog Food Without Getting Your Pup Sick

Small Breed Puppy Food Reviews

1. Wellness — Small Breed Complete Health Puppy Deboned Turkey, Oatmeal & Salmon Meal Recipe

Top 5 Ingredients: 1. Deboned Turkey, 2. Chicken Meal, 3. Oatmeal, 4. Salmon Meal, 5. Ground Barley

If you’re conscious about your small breed puppy’s diet, offer them the most flavorful and highly nutritious food made with delicious oatmeal, salmon, and turkey. The small kibble keeps your little one’s size in mind and is loaded with minerals, antioxidants, and essential vitamins to support healthy growth. This wellness formula is one of the best small breed puppy foods.

2. Royal Canin — Small Puppy Dry Dog Food

Top 5 Ingredients: 1. Brewers Rice, 2. Chicken By-Product Meal, 3. Chicken Fat, 4. Wheat Gluten, 5. Corn Gluten Meal

Royal Canin has maintained its reputation by offering only the best food for your pet. This one is specially designed for your small breed pup while paying special attention to their growing nutritional needs. Royal Canin Small Puppy food is a complete meal designed for the intense growth period that is puppyhood. This Royal Canin formula is among the best puppy foods for small breeds.

3. Merrick — Lil’ Plates Grain-Free Real Chicken & Sweet Potato Puppy Dry Dog Food

Top 5 Ingredients: 1. Deboned Chicken, 2. Chicken Meal, 3. Potatoes, 4. Peas, 5. Sweet Potatoes

This natural grain-free recipe fulfills small puppies’ nutritional requirements and appetites, with deboned chicken and various healthy veggies and fruits as primary ingredients. Keep your little guy active and sharp by supporting the growth of their brain, body, and bones with the most delicious meal packed with nutrients.

4. Diamond Naturals Small Breed Puppy Formula Dry Dog Food

Top 5 Ingredients: 1. Chicken, 2. Chicken Meal, 3. Ground White Rice, 4. Chicken Fat, 5. Cracked Pearled Barley

Diamond Naturals exceeds all other foods when it comes to offering premium-quality nutrition on a budget. It’s crafted with a range of superfoods and features loads of micronutrients to keep your small breed healthy and boost growth. Farm-raised chicken is one of those ingredients that promote muscle nourishment, along with white rice and barley to fuel your puppy’s body.

Omega fatty acids and DHA are also a part of the formula to support brain development and good coat health. The recipe also contains probiotics that improve gut health and antioxidants for immunity strengthening. These micronutrients come from wholesome fruits and vegetables like pumpkin, blueberries, kale, and oranges.

5. Purina Pro Plan — Focus Adult Small Breed Formula Dry Dog Food

Top 5 Ingredients: 1. Chicken, 2. Brewers Rice, 3. Corn Gluten Meal, 4. Poultry By-Product Meal (Natural Source Of Glucosamine), 5. Whole Grain Corn

The specialized small breed formula is suitable for both little pups and adult dogs as it provides the essential nutrients that work as building blocks for your little one’s body. The bite-sized crunchy kibble is delicious and will instantly make your pup fall in love.

6. Hill’s Science Diet — Puppy Healthy Development Small Bites Dry Dog Food

Top 5 Ingredients: 1. Chicken Meal, 2. Whole Grain Wheat, 3. Cracked Pearled Barley, 4. Whole Grain Sorghum, 5. Whole Grain Corn

This specialized Hill’s Science Diet meal offers what it promises: developmental nutrition in small bites. The kibble is for small breeds and combines ingredients to promote a healthy immune system and fuel the growing needs of small breed puppies.

7. Hill’s Science Diet Puppy Small Paws Chicken Meal, Barley & Brown Rice Dry Dog Food

Top 5 Ingredients: 1. Chicken Meal, 2. Whole Grain Wheat, 3. Chicken Fat, 4. Cracked Pearled Barley, 5. Brown Rice

Hill’s Science Diet Small Paws is a nutritious and easy-to-eat meal for small, extra small, and toy-sized puppies. Made exclusively in the USA, the formula consists of chicken meal, barley, and brown rice to fulfill your puppy’s protein and carb needs. It also features fish oil, which contains DHA and promotes brain and vision development.

Vitamin C, vitamin E, and antioxidants are also present in the formula, so your puppy’s immune system becomes stronger. The brand eliminates artificial colors, preservatives, and flavors to prevent triggering allergies. Each ingredient in the food is high quality, and the formula fully supports the nutritional needs of growing puppies.

8. Royal Canin X-Small Puppy Dry Dog Food

Top 5 Ingredients: 1. Brewers Rice, 2. Corn, 3. Chicken Fat, 4. Dried Plain Beet Pulp, 5. Fish Oil

Royal Canin X-Small Dog Food packs every nutrient your puppy needs to grow steadily in tiny, easily-chewable kibbles. The recipe uses chicken by-product and brewers rice, which might not be the most nutritious ingredients, but are good enough to satisfy your pup’s basic protein and carbohydrate requirements.

However, the food does include prebiotics, so your puppy can digest food and absorb nutrients more effectively. Similarly, it provides antioxidants to strengthen their immune system. The kibbles are specifically designed considering the jaw and mouth size of tiny puppies, making them easier to chew and allowing your puppy to eat comfortably.

9. Bil-Jac — Small Breed Puppy Chicken, Oatmeal & Yam Recipe Dry Dog Food

Top 5 Ingredients: 1. Chicken, 2. Chicken By-Products (organs only, source of arginine), 3. Corn Meal, 4. Chicken By-Product Meal, 5. Dried Beet Pulp

This premium food choice for your little hound uses the best quality ingredients. The wholesome and natural ingredients are slow-cooked to perfection to make the critical first year of your dog’s development seamless and smooth.

10. Natural Balance Original Ultra Whole Body Health Puppy Formula Chicken, Duck & Brown Rice Canned Dog Food

Top 5 Ingredients: 1. Chicken, 2. Chicken Liver, 3. Salmon, 4. Brown Rice, 5. Dried Peas

Natural Balance’s Original Ultra Whole Body Health Puppy Formula is an ideal pick for every growing puppy. Its gluten-free recipe contains multiple proteins, including chicken, duck, and salmon, for muscle growth. Brown rice and potatoes are the primary sources of carbs and offer high levels of energy.

Colostrum is included in this formula to promote digestion and improve stool quality. Aside from that, the formula features antioxidants and vitamins for strong immunity, along with minerals to support hormone production. Plus, your puppy’s urinary health also remains functioning correctly with the wet food’s hydration content.

11. Diamond — Puppy Formula Dry Dog Food

Top 5 Ingredients: 1. Chicken By-Product Meal, 2. Whole Grain Ground Corn, 3. Wheat Flour, 4. Chicken Fat (Preserved With Mixed Tocopherols), 5. Dried Beet Pulp

Loaded with crucial nutrients, the presence of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids in this blend of kibble promises healthy skin, a shiny coat, and great overall wellbeing. Other ingredients work as sustainable resources to help you raise a healthy, active small-breed puppy.

12. Nutro — Wholesome Essentials Small Breed Puppy Farm-Raised Chicken, Brown Rice & Sweet Potato Recipe Dry Dog Food

Top 5 Ingredients: 1. Chicken, 2. Chicken Meal, 3. Whole Brown Rice, 4. Brewers Rice, 5. Pea Protein

The wholesome goodness of Nutro’s healthy kibble for your pup is an excellent form of nutrition. The delicious flavor, a healthy mix of ingredients, and a high protein level make for an ideal meal to help your small-breed dog grow healthy and strong.

The Best Small Breed Puppy Foods FAQs

1. Is wet food better for my small breed puppy or dry food?

While kibble is highly recommended as a complete source of nutrition and great for dental health, wet food can be superior to kibble in terms of a higher meat protein content. Sticking to one type of food may not be sufficient for your puppy’s health and growth. You can always offer them a combination of both for the best results.

2. How much food is sufficient for my small breed puppy?

Small breed puppies require more calories per pound as compared to larger breed dogs. At the same time, they also need smaller kibble to make consumption easier. Therefore, it is important to feed your small breed pup a diet specially formulated for them. And even though their calorie per pound requirement is higher, overfeeding is not an option.

3. How much should I feed my small breed puppy?

Here’s a breakup of how much is enough to feed your small breed puppy:

  • 5 lbs. puppy – ½ cup to 5/8 cup food
  • 10 lbs. puppy – ¾ cup to 1 cup
  • 20 lbs. puppy – 1 ¼ cups to 1 ¾ cups
  • 40 lbs. puppy – 2 ¼ cups to 3 cups
  • 60 lbs. puppy – 3 cups to 4 cups
  • 80 lbs. puppy – 3 2/3 cups to 5 cups
  • 100 lbs. or above – 4 ¼ cups to 6 cups

4. Can I feed adult dog food to my small breed puppy?

The nutritional needs of puppies and adult dogs are different. It is important to feed your puppy enough protein, carbs, and micronutrients to help their growth and wellbeing. Puppies – regardless of the breed – also require more calories for proper growth. Food designed for small breed puppies has a smaller kibble size appropriate for their small mouths. In simple words, no, it is not the best idea to feed adult dog food to your small breed puppy.

5. How often should I feed my small breed puppy?

Puppies usually require 3-5 feedings in a day. You can use the calorie guide on your dog’s food packaging and divide that into several meals to ensure you are feeding just the appropriate amount of food. A typical feeding schedule is 6 am, noon, 6 pm. However, it is important to adjust this pattern for your small breed puppy and ideally feed them 4-6 times a day.

6. Can I mix wet and dry food to feed my pup?

Of course, you can! Canned food can boost the flavor and nutritional value of your pup’s regular kibble meal. However, it is important to consider your pet’s dietary needs, calorie requirements, preferences, and most importantly, their health before you take the initiative.  

7. What kibble size is appropriate for my small breed puppy?

As mentioned earlier, small breed puppies require a special nutrient-dense diet that’s easy for them to eat. If your pups prefer dry food, it is important to choose something specifically designed for their small mouths and jaws. The size appropriate for a small breed puppy is usually half the size of the regular kibble.

8. What’s the difference between a small breed pup’s and a large breed pup’s nutritional requirement?

Since large breed puppies have better nutrient digestion capacity than smaller breeds, foods formulated for small breed puppies limit fat content and calories accordingly.

9. What human foods can I give as a treat to my small breed puppy?

There are many healthy human foods that you can treat your small breed to. These include:

  • Carrots
  • White rice
  • Apples
  • Different types of berries
  • Fish
  • Certain dairy products (if your pup isn’t lactose intolerant)
  • Chicken
  • Bananas
  • Pumpkin
  • Sweet potatoes
  • And other leafy green vegetables

10. How to encourage a stubborn puppy to eat well?

Treating them with flavorful, healthy food options other than their regular food can encourage a stubborn one to eat for optimal growth and development. Offer your little pooch foods like eggs, yogurt, vegetables, fruits, and sardines as treats for eating well.

The Best Small Breed Puppy Foods Buyer’s Guide

So, what do you think you know about feeding that cute toy pup you’ve got there? Probably you think you can provide him the best nutrition with homemade food,

…but hey! It’s not that easy.

Small breed puppies are highly sensitive. Also, their food choices can vastly affect their moods, growth, and, most importantly, their health. Unless you are 100% sure about the nutritional value of the food you prepare at home, giving them a diet that’s not sufficient for their growth and development can cause long-term health problems. You have to be careful if you want your small breed pup to be healthy and fit as they grow into beautiful adults.

Here’s all the information that you’re looking for about the nutritional requirement of your small breed pup. Let’s dive in!

Small Breed Puppy Nutrition 101

So how do you decide what type of food is best for your small breed pup? Thankfully, relying on your nutritional calculations isn’t the only choice now. You can find a wide variety of dog foods available in the market today, prepared under expert supervision, keeping the specific requirements of your dogs in mind. They’re easier to find, affordable, and provide complete nutrition to your precious dogs. Keep reading to learn more about small breed puppy nutrition.

Preventing Hypoglycemia in Small Breed Dogs

Let’s also talk about the most common health condition in small breed dogs associated with the wrong diet.

Hypoglycemia is a condition in which the blood sugar levels of small breed dogs fall. These dogs are highly susceptible to hypoglycemia because of their high metabolic rates. Another factor contributing to this is their low sugar and fat body reserves. You must be very careful and observant while feeding your little pooch. Firstly, its diet should be calorie-dense, and secondly, provide it four to six evenly spaced meals per day to ensure your dog gets enough time between the meals for proper digestion.

Here are some of the symptoms of hypoglycemia to watch out for:

  1. Lethargy
  2. Weakness
  3. Muscle tremors
  4. Seizures

Specialty Diet for a Small Breed Puppy

It is very common for dog owners to follow new trends in their pup’s diet. And with so much going around right now, such as grain-free diets, raw diets, and home-cooked meals, picking the best small breed puppy food can be difficult.

While it’s okay to feed a non-traditional diet to your precious puppy, you must be thoroughly aware of what’s inside of it. If you are not sure about the best available diets, feel free to seek assistance from your veterinarian. Just because certain things are in trend doesn’t necessarily mean they’re great for your dog. As a small breed puppy owner, you must be aware of your dog’s personal preferences and health conditions to keep them safe and healthy.

Some dogs – especially the small breed puppies – can be allergic to certain ingredients. Just because a certain food suits your neighbor’s dog doesn’t mean it’s the best thing for your puppy too. So make sure you check out the ingredients before you transition your puppy to any special diet.

Small Breed Puppy – Feeding Secrets

Compared to their larger counterparts, small breed dogs have a higher metabolism rate, which means that you must feed a diet designed to meet their specific nutritional requirements.

Here are all the secrets you should know about feeding your small breed puppy.  

Real, wholesome proteins

Being a canine, most of a puppy’s nutrition should come from protein, and the best source for that is real meat. Most manufacturers use one of these four animals for meat: chicken, turkey, beef, and salmon. These proteins are equally nutritious, but salmon is better for puppies with allergies and sensitive stomachs because of its easy digestibility.

Essential fats and fatty acids

After protein, fat is the most important nutrient for puppies. It is the most caloric-dense of all groups, digests easily, and makes their food taste a lot better. Animal-based fats like chicken fat, beef fat, and salmon oil are rich in nutrients and easy to digest. Similarly, vegetable-based oils like flaxseed oil and sunflower oil are also used frequently as a source of essential fatty acids.

Whole grains and carbs

Carbohydrates are a highly understood nutrient group in the dog food world. Even though they aren’t a natural part of their diet, carbs are great at giving pups an energy boost and improving digestion. Whole grains like oatmeal, barley, and brown rice are examples that are full of digestive fibers. However, if your puppy is allergic to grains, you could choose a grain-free diet that uses sweet potatoes, lentils, and peas as an alternative.

Enough Calories

Feeding your small breed puppy enough calories is highly crucial. Since they’re prone to hypoglycemia, their blood sugar can drop very fast if not fed adequately. Therefore you must provide them frequently and keep an observant eye on the number of calories.


Fundamentally, the guidelines mentioned on the small breed dog food package are sufficient to start with. But, your dog’s activity level decides how much food it requires. Two similar dogs may have different calorie requirements because of their different activity level and their digestibility. Therefore, it is important to customize the food based on the specific needs of your small breed pup.

Frequency Monitoring

Small breed puppies do grow rapidly! It is essential to feed them the ‘lot’ of calories they require. You will also have to provide them more frequently (most ideally 4 to 6 times). But once they grow up and move on to the adult dog food formula, they will require two meals per day, so it is important to readjust the feeding pattern. The protein-rich recipe also takes time to break down in their tummies; therefore, frequency monitoring is essential.   

Choosing the Right Bite

You should always opt for a small kibble size for your small breed pup. Larger pieces can choke them because of their small mouth and small teeth.

Mealtime Pattern

Establishing a good mealtime pattern is crucial to avoid overfeeding. Be sure to pick up the leftover food in the pot. If food is available all day, she may eat out of boredom.

What to Avoid

Your puppy is consuming a whole and balanced diet if he’s on a formulated dog food. Feeding human food to your small breed pup or any dog for that matter can instantly throw off that balance. It’s okay to treat your pup with occasional flavors of eggs, chicken, veggies, or fruits, but making it a habit can wean your dog off from his regular, balanced dog food.

I recommend you also check out these related guides as well:

More Top-Rated Small Breed Puppy Food Options…

Taste of the Wild — High Prairie Puppy Formula Grain-Free Dry Dog Food

Top 5 Ingredients: 1. Buffalo, 2. Lamb Meal, 3. Sweet Potatoes, 4. Egg Product, 5. Pea Protein

This blend from the Taste of the Wild uses real buffalo and other protein-rich ingredients. This natural grain-free dry food for your small-breed puppy not only offers lean nutrition for strong muscle growth but has an abundance of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, among other essential nutrients to promote overall development and wellbeing.

Blue Buffalo — Freedom Small Breed Puppy Chicken Recipe Grain-Free Dry Dog Food

Top 5 Ingredients: 1. Deboned Chicken, 2. Chicken Meal, 3. Peas, 4. Pea Starch, Turkey 5. Meal

The special diet formula is not only an excellent grain-free option, but it is also free from gluten, corn, soy, and wheat, which makes it one of the best meals to serve your puppy’s sensitive digestive system without compromising on the flavors and nutrients. The high-quality blend of proteins and carbs will more than meet your little tail-waggers growing energy requirements.

Hill’s Science Diet — Puppy Small & Toy Breed Savory Chicken & Vegetable Stew Dog Food Trays

Top 5 Ingredients: 1. Chicken Broth, 2. Chicken, 3. Pork Liver, 4. Brown Rice, 5. Wheat Flour

The savory flavors and an ideal blend of nutrients in this Hill’s Science Diet stew dog food make it a popular option among small-breed dog owners. This blend is crafted with high-quality protein and not only helps with the overall health and activity of your dog but also maintains the ideal physical conditioning of your little furry friend.

Eukanuba — Small Breed Puppy Dry Dog Food

Top 5 Ingredients: 1. Chicken, 2. Chicken By-Product Meal, 3. Corn, 4. Chicken Fat, 5. Wheat

Rich in phosphorus and calcium, among the other high-quality nutrients, the blend is optimized using the best combination of ingredients to support your puppy’s strong growth. The delicious flavor works as a cherry on top.

Purina Beneful — Healthy Puppy with Real Chicken Dry Dog Food

Top 5 Ingredients: 1. Chicken, 2. Chicken By-Product Meal, 3. Corn Gluten Meal, 4. Whole Grain Corn, 5. Barley

Ensure your puppy’s great health and happiness by feeding your little guy this ideal blend prepared with real chicken and a variety of other healthy ingredients. The small-breed puppy formula is 100% complete with balanced nutrition and added DHA to support overall development and growth.

Puppy Chow — Tender & Crunchy with Real Beef Dry Dog Food

Top 5 Ingredients: 1. Whole Grain Corn, 2. Corn Gluten Meal, 3. Poultry By-Product Meal, 4. Whole Grain Wheat, 5. Beef Fat Naturally Preserved With Mixed-Tocopherols

The tender and crunchy formula by Puppy Chow is supplies minerals and vitamins that are naturally present in mother’s milk. Help your little one grow into a stronger, beautiful dog by offering them the best nutrients packed in a meal.

Blue Buffalo — Life Protection Formula Small Breed Puppy Chicken & Oatmeal Recipe Dry Dog Food

Top 5 Ingredients: 1. Deboned Chicken, 2. Chicken Meal, 3. Oatmeal, 4. Barley, 5. Menhaden Fish Meal

Support your small-breed pup’s optimal health and development and offer them only the best at the growth stage of their life. The meal has real chicken and other antioxidant-rich ingredients for improved growth and wellbeing.

Pedigree — Chopped Ground Dinner with Chicken & Beef Canned Dog Food

Top 5 Ingredients: 1. Sufficient Water For Processing, 2. Chicken, 3. Chicken By-Products, 4. Meat By-Products, 5. Animal Liver

The minced meal for puppies by Pedigree has all the flavors they will love. The balanced ingredients promise complete nutrition in a ground, meaty texture that puppies want.

Iams — ProActive Health Smart Puppy Original Dry Dog Food

Top 5 Ingredients: 1. Chicken, 2. Ground Whole Grain Corn, 3. Chicken By-Product Meal, 4. Ground Whole Grain Sorghum, 5. Dried Beet Pulp

Rich in natural fish oils and DHA, the small, chewable kibble serves as an ideal meal for the optimal development of your pup’s vision and brain. Also, the combination of natural ingredients loaded with nutrition ensure smooth growth and a high level of activity in your small-breed dogs.

American Journey — Chicken & Brown Rice Protein First Recipe Puppy Dry Dog Food

Top 5 Ingredients: 1. Deboned Chicken, 2. Chicken Meal, 3. Brown Rice, 4. Peas, 5. Rice Bran

The chicken and brown rice recipe is a big hit for several reasons. First, it contains a high-quality blend of interesting ingredients that support proper growth and development in puppies, and second, it is regarded as a special diet as it is free of wheat, corn, and soy. Works even for the most sensitive small-breed dogs!

VICTOR — Purpose Nutra Pro Active Dog & Puppy Formula Dry Dog Food

Top 5 Ingredients: 1. Chicken Meal, 2. Blood Meal, 3. Whole Grain Millet, 4. Chicken Fat, 5. Yeast Culture

This recipe provides a premium-quality chicken meal offering the best lean protein for your growing puppy. The kibble is packed with dense nutrients and fortified with minerals, vitamins, amino acids, and essential fatty acids that optimally help with your pup’s health and wellbeing during the growth stage.

Pedigree — Puppy Growth & Protection Chicken & Vegetable Flavor Dry Dog Food

Top 5 Ingredients: 1. Ground Whole Grain Corn, 2. Poultry By-Product Meal, 3. Brewers Rice, 4. Corn Gluten Meal, 5. Animal Fat

Last but not least, Pedigree is also among the best small breed puppy foods available. And if your little guy is a fan of chicken and vegetable flavors, this can be a delicious meal to serve. The blend contains antioxidants, protein, and fiber blend to help your small-breed puppy relish a balanced meal while enjoying great health and development.

Still have questions? Check out these Frequently Asked Questions.

Further reading:


A well-balanced diet for your precious pup speaks for itself! Your small breed dog should get everything this super cute pup deserves, i.e., a special formula for small breed dogs. Additionally, as a dog owner, it is your responsibility to watch the portion to avoid overfeeding. It is also important to ensure that you only offer occasional food from the table, emphasizing the frequency of meals and not forgetting the size of each bite.

So that’s about all the details you’ve got up there. You can take care of all of these things and make sure your small breed doggy is healthy and growing at the right rate. Have a fit and well-maintained pup.

Good luck!

We independently research, review, and recommend the best pet products—learn more about our process. We may earn a commission if you buy something through our links. This comes at no extra cost to you.

Leave a Comment