This (updated) guide list 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 of 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. Feed them the best, high-quality food to support their growth and overall well being.
Additionally, small breed puppies also 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 8 Best Small Breed Puppy Foods
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 is crafted keeping 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
Designed to fulfill the nutritional requirements and appetites of small puppies, the natural grain-free recipe has deboned chicken and a variety of 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. Most of these micronutrients are sourced 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 exactly what it promises: developmental nutrition in small bites. Designed for small breeds, the kibble combines ingredients to promote a healthy immune system and to 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 specifically designed to be nutritious and easy to eat for small, extra small, and toy size 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, antioxidants are also added to strengthen their immune system. The kibbles are specifically designed considering the jaw and mouth size of tiny puppies, which makes them easier to chew and allows 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 is prepared from 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
Formulated for overall well-being and swift digestion, 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.
To promote digestion and improve stool quality, the recipe uses an ingredient called colostrum. Aside from that, the formula features antioxidants and vitamins for strong immunity, along with minerals to support hormone production. Plus, with the wet food’s hydration content, your puppy’s urinary health also remains functioning correctly.
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, shiny coat, and a great overall well being. 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 level of protein 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 content of meat protein. 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 require smaller kibble to make consumption easier. Therefore, it is important to feed your small breed pup a diet that’s 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 feet adult dog food to my small breed puppy?
The nutritional needs of puppies and adult dogs are different. To help your pup with growth and wellbeing, it is important to feed them enough protein, carbs, and micronutrients. Puppies – regardless of the breed – also require more calories for proper growth. Food designed for small breed puppies has a smaller kibble size, which is 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 take into account 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 that’s specifically designed keeping their small mouths in mind. 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 as compared to smaller breeds, so foods that are formulated for small breed puppies limit fat content and calories accordingly.
9. What human foods can I treat my small breed pup with?
There are many healthy human foods that you can treat your small breed pup with. These include:
- White rice
- Different types of berries
- Certain dairy products (keeping in mind that your pooch isn’t lactose intolerant)
- 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 own 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 in nature. 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 got to be really 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 own 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, mostly 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 pretty self-explanatory 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, his diet should be calorie-dense and secondly, he should most ideally be fed between four to six times a day. This is to ensure your dog gets enough time between the meals to digest easily.
Here are some of the symptoms of hypoglycemia that you’re supposed to watch out for:
- Muscle tremors
Specialty Diet for a Small Breed Puppy
It is very common for dog owners to follow new trends when it comes to 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 pooch, it is important that you are thoroughly aware of what’s inside of it. If you are not so 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, it is important that you’re aware of your dog’s personal preferences and health condition 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 pooch too. So make sure you check out the ingredients before you transition your pooch to any special diet.
Small Breed Puppy – Feeding Secrets
Compared to their larger counterparts, small breed dogs have a higher metabolism rate. This naturally means that you must feed a diet that’s specifically designed for them to ensure that their nutritional requirements are met. The specified diets are formulated keeping the right balance of nutrients in mind.
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 super-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.
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 feed them frequently and keep an observant eye on the number of calories.
Fundamentally, the guidelines mentioned on the package of small breed dog food is sufficient to start off with. But, your dog’s activity level decides how much food she requires. Two similar dogs may have a different calorie requirement because of their different activity level and their digestibility. Therefore, it is important to customize the food based on the specific requirements of your small breed pup.
Small breed pooches do grow rapidly! It is essential to feed them the ‘lot’ of calories they require. You will also have to feed 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 formula 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.
Establishing a proper 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 pooch 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 pooch 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 is made with 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 is also free from gluten, corn, soy, and wheat. This 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-wagger’s 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 makes it a popular option among small-breed dog owners. Crafted with high-quality protein, the blend 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 completed with 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 is prepared with 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 by Pedigree is specially formulated for puppies with flavors they will love. The balanced ingredients promise complete nutrition in a ground, meaty texture that puppies are particularly fond of.
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 optimal development of your pup’s vision and brain. Also, the combination of natural ingredients loaded with nutrition ensure smooth growth and 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 big hit for a number of reasons. First, it is made from 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
Made from premium-quality chicken meal, the recipe offers the best lean protein for you growing puppies. The kibbles are packed with dense nutrients and are 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.
A well-balanced diet for your precious pooch speaks for itself! Your small breed dog should get everything that this super cute pup deserves i.e. a special small breed dog formula. Additionally, as a dog owner, it is your responsibility to keep an eye on the portion to avoid overfeeding. It is also important to ensure that you only offer occasional food from the table, also 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.