Best Dog Food For Small Breeds – Our Ultimate Guide

There’s no denying the importance of choosing a suitable brand of dog food when you’re feeding a smaller breed, if only because you need to accommodate for all of their nutritional needs without giving them too many excess calories that could lead to problematic weight gain.

What’s more, many owners find that certain smaller breeds can be very picky about their food, so it’s always wise to select a brand that your dog will enjoy in its entirety.

In this guide, you’ll find a range of quality dog food formulas, all of which are well suited to smaller breeds. So with this in mind, let’s take a closer look.

In a hurry? Here’s a top 5 overview:

Rank NameCommentsRating (1-10)
# 1wellness coreWellness COREAn exceptional small breed formula that scores top reviews and gives your dog all the nutrition they need.9.5
# 2blue buffaloBlue Buffalo WildernessA reliable and tasty formula from a well-respected brand. Also scores very high in buyer reviews.9.0
# 3taste of the wildTaste of the WildA highly digestible and tasty formula that many small breeds love – great for picky eaters.8.5
# 4diamond naturalsDiamond NaturalsA quality formula that features tasty small kibbles and a decent nutritional profile of 27% protein and 16% fat.8.0
# 5natural balanceNatural BalanceA great formula for sensitive dogs thanks to its limited ingredient nature.7.5

# 1 – Wellness CORE Small Breed Dry Dog Food

This formula from Wellness is a great option for any smaller breed, and the average review score of 4.6 out of 5.0 based on over to 2,700 reviews at the time of writing is a testament to how well-loved this blend tends to be.

The formula is entirely grain free, which helps to keep the calories at a reasonable level and avoid any potential digestive issues, and it’s also rich in quality proteins from deboned turkey, turkey meal, and chicken meal.

Additionally, the formula is all-natural, and it doesn’t use any wheat, corn, soy, or meat by-products. However, it does come with a range of useful additives like glucosamine, probiotics, antioxidants, and botanicals – all of which have something beneficial to offer your small breed dog.

Overall, this is a great option for any small breed, and it manages to be surprisingly affordable, too. At the end of the day, this is a top product that covers all of the key nutritional bases and it shouldn’t let you or your dog down.

# 2 – Blue Buffalo Wilderness Small Breed Chicken Formula

Here’s another great formula for small breeds that’s made by the popular Blue Buffalo brand, who are well-known for making a wide range of popular and healthy formulas for dogs.

Fortunately, this particular product is no exception, and it scores some of the best average review ratings you’re likely to see, with an average Amazon score of 4.5 out of 5.0 based on close to 1,500 customer reviews at the time of writing.

The formula comes with Blue Buffalo’s LifeSource Bits which contain a blend of minerals, vitamins, and antioxidants which help to keep the product full of the crucial nutrition your small breed requires.

In terms of protein, it uses real chicken as the primary source – with no use of poultry by-products, meat meals, corn, wheat, or soy.

Ultimately, this is a great product that many small breeds seem to love, and it doesn’t come with any unwanted filler that would detract from the overall quality on offer here.

# 3 – Diamond Naturals Small Breed Dry Food

This brand of small breed dog food is a relatively affordable option, given the quantity that comes in a single bag. It also has many positive reviews, with an average Amazon score of 4.5 out of 5.0 based on over 180 reviews at the time of writing.

The chicken and rice product is the most popular version of the formula, and it also features small kibbles that are convenient for your small dog to eat, while the crunchiness of the kibble help to keep your dog’s teeth clear of plaque and tartar.

In terms of nutritional composition, it comes with 27% protein along with 16% fat, which are good numbers to see for any small breed, and it’s also formulated to meet the recommended levels as described by AAFCO.

In summary, this is a reasonable product that comes with great ingredients and it’ll be thoroughly enjoyed by your small breed dog, so you can’t go wrong by choosing it.

# 4 – Nutro Essentials Small Breed Dry Dog Food

Here’s a fantastic option for small breeds that’s created by Nutro, who is another well-respected brand that makes some top food-related products for dogs.

It comes at a reasonable price, and there are a couple of different options for small breeds – namely the small breed formula and the toy breed formula, which allows you to pick something that’s best-suited to your particular breed of dog.

The kibbles are nice and small, as well has having the right texture for keeping your dog’s teeth clean without being awkward for a smaller mouth to eat.

There’s also further antioxidants added to the formula, which help to bolster your dog’s immune system.

Review wise, the product scores an excellent rating of 4.7 out of 5.0 on Amazon, based on close to 1,000 user reviews at the time of writing – making it one of the highest-rated small breed formulas on the market right now.

# 5 – Taste Of The Wild Appalachian Small Breed Dog Food

This brand of small breed dog food promises to be highly digestible thanks to the small kibbles, and it also contains additional probiotics to support the health of your smaller dog.

The formula is free of grain, and it’s a very popular formula with many dogs who generally seem to love it the taste, making it a good choice if you have a picky eater on your hands.

The protein comes from a blend of venison, lamb, duck, egg, and ocean fish, and it uses garbanzo beans for a tasty source of quality carbs to keep your dog fully of energy.

In terms of buyer reviews, it currently scores a rating of 4.4 out of 5.0, based on over 120 reviews at the time of writing. A number of reviewers have found their dog quickly takes to the food, which is always good to see.

# 6 – Hill’s Science Diet Advanced Fitness Small Bites

Another good option for small breeds is this formula from Hill’s Science Diet.

It comes in two different flavors – either chicken or lamb – and it promises to improve the quality of your dog’s skin and coat within 30 days thanks to the use of healthy additives aimed at maintaining coat health.

There’s no use of artificial flavors, colors, and preservatives – but there are further antioxidants added to the formula – which offer a variety of benefits. It also comes with a generous 100% satisfaction guarantee, and they’re happy to honor it if you’re not happy with the foods performance.

The ingredients primary rely on chicken as the main protein source, although it also comes with whole grain wheat and corn, which isn’t necessarily a problem for a dog who doesn’t have any digestive issues.

The review scores are very positive, with a rating of 4.7 out of 5.0 based on over 600 reviews at the time of writing.

# 7 – Purina Pro Plan Savor Small Breed Dry Dog Food

Purina Pro Plan is a fairly good option for most small breed dogs, and their small breed version is a top choice on Amazon, with an average Amazon rating of 4.6 out of 5.0 at the time of writing.

The formula uses a high protein blend with chicken as the main ingredient – as well as plenty of important vitamins and minerals like calcium, phosphorus, vitamin A, and omega fatty acids.

It also contains brewers rice as the second ingredient, along with poultry by-product meal which provides a natural source of glucosamine.

You’ll also find the formula contains natural prebiotic fiber due to the use of wheat bran, which aids your dog’s digestive system, and the kibble comes in smaller bite-sized pieces that a smaller breed will greatly prefer.

In general, this is a great blend for any small dog, and you’ll likely find that most small dogs will love it, as attested by the very high buyer review scores from real customers.

# 8 – Eagle Pack Natural Small Breed Dry Dog Food

This small breed formula from Eagle Pack comes with smaller kibble to make it easier for your dog to eat, and it also features tasty protein in the form of chicken meal and pork meal, with analysis showing the product has a minimum of 27% protein and 14% fat, which are reasonable numbers to see.

The ingredients focus on the natural, with no use of artificial colors and preservatives, nor will you find any cheaper meat byproducts which you may want to avoid. It’s also worth noting that the product is exclusively made in the USA.

When it comes to the user reviews, this product scores a solid rating of 4.4 out of 5.0 based on over 500 customer reviews at the time of writing, with many reviewers being thrilled with the formula overall.

# 9 – Natural Balance L.I.D. Small Breed Dry Dog Food

This small breed dog formula from Natural Balance is an entirely grain free formula, and it also uses a limited number of ingredients, which helps to maintain the health of a dog with a sensitive stomach or digestive issues.

Of course, the limited ingredient nature of this formula also means that you won’t find any artificial flavorings, colorings, or preservatives, too.

As you’d expect, the food uses smaller kibble sizes which are perfectly suited to the small mouths of a small breed dog, and the reviews are very positive indeed.

At the time of writing, it currently scores a rating of 4.6 out of 5.0 – based on just over 450 customer reviews.

A number of reviewers note that switching to this brand of food went quite some way towards alleviating troublesome digestive issues, as well as skin allergies, so it’s a good choice if you’re looking for a quality formula that won’t upset your small dog’ digestive processes.

# 10 – AvoDerm Natural Small Breed Adult Dog Food

Lastly, we have this interesting formula made by AvoDerm, which is specially blended to be suitable for small breed dogs.

It comes with small kibble sizes to accommodate the mouths of small breeds, and importantly, it uses protein as the first ingredient in the form chicken meal. The analysis shows the minimum protein level to be 26%, with a fat level of 16%.

You’ll also find carbs in the form of ground whole brown rice, ground whole white rice, and oatmeal. But one of the more unique ingredients in this formula is avocado, which comes loaded with healthy fats that work to maintain your dog’s skin and coat.

What’s more, the formula doesn’t use any corn, wheat, soy, or meat by-products – and it’s also made exclusively in their Californian plant, with ingredients being sourced from the USA, Canada, New Zealand, and France.

Buyer reviews are largely positive overall, with an average score of 4.6 out of 5.0, with around 80% of reviewers giving the blend a full five-star rating.

The Best Small Breed Wet Food

It’s safe to say that most dogs love a good wet food formula and small breeds are no exception.

These products can be used in addition to dry food to give your dog a tasty treat, and the added moisture content found in wet food formulas can really benefit many smaller breeds – particularly those who struggle to receive enough water in their day to day diet.

Now, let’s take a look at a few of the best small breed wet food products available to buy at the moment.

# 1 – Nutro ULTRA Small Breed Pate Dog Food

To begin with, we have the Nutro Ultra Wet food, which comes in a variety of different versions, although we’ll focus on the small breed formula here.

It comes in the form of a pate which makes it incredibly easy for your small dog to eat, and it uses a range of tasty ingredients that your dog is sure to enjoy.

The ingredients include chicken as the main ingredient, along with chicken broth, chicken liver, carrots, spinach, lamb, and a host of different vegetables and fruits that complete the formula.

Analysis shows the formula to have a minimum of 8.5% protein, 6.5% fat, and 78% moisture. There’s also plenty of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that will help to support your dog’s long term health.

It’s generally quite affordable given that you can purchase it in packs of 24, while the buyer reviews are mostly positive, with an average score on Amazon of 4.5 out of 5.0 based on close to 300 reviews at the time of writing.

# 2 – Blue Buffalo BLUE Homestyle Recipe Small Breed Formula

Here’s a tasty formula from the well-loved Blue Buffalo brand, and it’s certainly a great choice that many people love to buy.

It comes in either packs of 12 or 24, and while it’s not the cheapest wet food on the market, it’s certainly one of the higher quality options that any small dog will find tasty and enjoyable.

It uses chicken and chicken broth as the main ingredients, along with carrots, ground brown rice, peas, oatmeal, and sweet potato to provide a source of healthy carbohydrates.

What’s more, the food is easy for your small breed to eat, thanks to the meat texture that mixes well with a dry food product.

The buyer reviews are very enthusiastic in regards to the quality on offer, and it holds an average Amazon review score of 4.5 out of 5.0 based on over 250 customer reviews at the time of writing.

# 3 – Nature’s Variety Instinct Small Breed Canned Dog Food

The Nature’s Variety formula is another great blend that’s a good choice for any small breed dog, and it focuses on providing a range of quality proteins, fruits, and vegetables to give your dog a balanced level of nutrition that should serve them well.

Ingredient wise, you’ll find chicken, chicken broth, chicken liver, as well as cod – and there’s also peas, eggs, and ground flaxseed. What’s more, there’s plenty of added vitamins and minerals to ensure the formula covers all of the bases your small dog needs.

It’s also worth noting that it comes in two different versions, either ‘small breed chicken’ or ‘small breed salmon’, both of which score great averages in the buyer reviews.

And speaking of buyer reviews, this product holds a healthy rating of 4.1 out of 5.0 at the time of writing, based on over 300 customer reviews.

Most people are very happy with the product, and the older negative reviews are mostly concerned with the condition of the cans upon purchase, rather than the quality of the formula itself. Fortunately, the ‘dented and dinged cans’ issue seems to have been resolved nowadays.

# 4 – Merrick Classic Small Breed Thanksgiving Day Dinner

The Merrick brand make some excellent products, and this small breed canned formula is a top choice that’s loved by many dogs.

It uses deboned turkey as the primary ingredient, along with turkey broth and chicken – and a range of vegetables like sweet potato, carrots, green beans, peas, and even apples. You’ll also find many vitamins and minerals, and there’s no use of grain-based products, either.

The product is rich in omega fatty acids like omega 6 and omega 3, along with glucosamine and chondroitin – both of which are important for maintaining healthy joints.

Interestingly, the formula is under 100 calories per can, so it’s useful for keeping your dog at a healthy weight, too. It’s also worth noting that the formula comes in a few different flavors (cowboy cookout, grammy’s pot pie, and thanksgiving dinner) all of which contain similar nutrition profiles, albeit with different meat sources.

The buyer review scores are very positive, and the product holds an average Amazon review score of 4.4 out of 5.0 based on close to 200 customer reviews at the time of writing.

# 6 – Blue Buffalo Wilderness Small Breed Wet Food

Here’s another tasty addition from the Blue Buffalo brand, which comes with a strong focus on protein, which includes turkey, chicken, chicken broth, and turkey liver in slightly higher levels than an average formula. Of course, this also means it costs a little more, too.

There’s a range of healthy vegetables like potatoes. along with ground flaxseed and many vitamins to keep your dog in great shape. There’s no use of artificial preservatives, corn, wheat, soy, or cheaper meat by-products.

The product review scores on Amazon are generally high, with an average score of 4.3 out of 5.0 based on over 100 customer reviews at the time of writing. Additionally, around 75% of all reviewers have issued the product with a full five-star rating.

The Best Small Breed Puppy Food

Investing in quality small breed formula for a growing puppy is always important, as a quality product will go a long way towards ensuring your puppy receives all of the crucial nutrition they need to grow in a steady, healthy way. Keeping this in mind, let’s take a look at a few of the best small breed puppy foods that are worth buying.

# 1 – Wellness Complete Health Dry Small Breed Puppy Food

Firstly, we have this excellent small breed puppy formula from Wellness, who make a variety of top food-related products, many of which score great recommendations from buyers.

This particular formula is from the ‘Complete Health’ line, which is designed to support the 5 signs of wellness which include skin and coat health, energy requirements, digestive health, immunity, and eyes, teeth & gums.

The ingredients feature deboned turkey, chicken meal, and salmon as the main protein sources, which promise to be at least 28% of the formula based on guaranteed analysis. There’s also a range of carbohydrates like oatmeal, ground brown rice, and several vegetables.

In terms of buyer reviews, the product scores a solid rating of 4.5 out of 5.0 based on over 1,000 customer reviews at the time of writing. Most reviewers are very impressed by the formula, and over 80% of all reviewers give the product a full five-star rating.

# 2 – Blue Buffalo Freedom Puppy Small Breed Formula

Blue Buffalo are a great food company who make a wide range of well-reviewed dog food products, and this grain free puppy formula is a solid choice for any puppy.

It comes with deboned chicken and chicken meal as the primary protein source, along with vegetables in the form of potatoes, peas, carrots, and sweet potatoes – as well as blueberries, cranberries, and a few other ingredients that round-out the formula and provide a quality source of antioxidants.

There’s also enough vitamins and minerals to help support your dog’s health, along with chondroitin and glucosamine to support joint health.

The buyer reviews are largely enthusiastic, with an average Amazon score of 4.5 out of 5.0 based on over 260 customer reviews at the time of writing. Most reviewers find the product to be the best option for a small breed puppy, and it ensure their pup is full of energy and in great health.

# 3 – Hill’s Science Diet Puppy Small & Toy Breed Dry Dog Food

This formula from Hill’s Science Diet is specifically formulated to cater to the needs of small and toy breed puppies, and it uses a range of natural ingredients along with vitamins, minerals, and amino acids that support your puppy’s healthy development.

The primary ingredient is chicken meal, and there’s also pork meal, which altogether gives you a guaranteed analysis of 26% protein or more, along with 16% fat content.

Now, the formula isn’t grain free as it uses whole grain wheat and whole grain corn – but this isn’t necessarily a problem, especially if your dog isn’t sensitive in terms of digestion.

The company behind the product proudly state that their formula is often recommended by veterinarians and other animal-related professionals, and the buyer reviews on Amazon are very positive indeed. In fact, this particular formula scores a rating of 4.7 out of 5.0 at the time of writing, based on close to 1,000 customer reviews.

# 4 – Tuffy’s 131508 Nutri Small/Medium Breed Puppy Food

This formula by Nutri Source is designed to cater for small and medium breed puppies, and while it’s certainly not the cheapest puppy food on the market, it’s still a good choice that offers excellent quality and is well-loved by many puppies.

It comes with chicken, chicken meal, and fish meal as the main sources of protein with the guaranteed analysis showing at least 32% of protein and 21% fat.

The carbohydrate source is provided by the brown rice, white rice, and oatmeal, and there’s plenty of vitamins and minerals that add to the benefits provided by the formula.

The buyer reviews are largely positive, with a number of happy reports posted on Amazon from buyers who’ve found the food to be a great buy. The average review scores rest at 4.6 out of 5.0 based on close to 100 individual reviews at the time of writing.

# 5 – Diamond Naturals Small Breed Puppy Dry Food

Lastly, we have this small breed puppy formula made by Diamond Naturals, who are another well-respected brand that make top food products in general.

This formula comes with plenty of omega fatty acids to maintain skin and coat health, and there’s also plenty of DHA to support healthy brain development.

The buyer reviews are generally very good, with an average Amazon score of 4.3 out of 5.0 based on roughly 100 reviews at the time of writing.

Several reviewers comment that the kibbles are nice and small, making them highly suitable for small breed puppies, and a few owners of incredibly small dogs like teacup Chihuahuas have found this to be a better choice than any of the alternative products out there.

Overall, this tasty chicken-based formula is a solid option for anyone who’s shopping for small breed puppy food that won’t disappoint.

The Best Small Breed Puppy Wet Food

If you’re aiming to give your small breed puppy a special treat, then giving them some delicious wet food is certainly a great idea. With this in mind, let’s take a closer look at a few of the top small breed puppy wet food formulas currently on the market.

#1 – Wellness Complete Wet Puppy Food

The Wellness Complete formula has long been a highly recommended brand, and this Puppy version of the formula is always a good choice that most puppies love.

The wet formula is an excellent way to give your dog some much-needed hydration thanks to the higher water content, and it also comes with a broad range of key vitamins and minerals to aid your dog’s healthy development.

In terms of buyer reviews, the formula scores an excellent average rating of 4.2 out of 5.0 on Amazon, based on over 600 customer reviews at the time of writing. Overall, this is a popular formula that shouldn’t give you any problems, and most puppies seem to take to it very quickly!

# 2 – Nutro Puppy Tender Cuts In Gravy Dog Food

Another great option is this puppy wet dog food made by Nutro, which comes in a tasty chicken or beef formula. It specializes in giving your small breed puppy everything they need, all in a delicious gravy sauce that’ll entice even the fussiest of eaters.

The ingredients are generally of a very good quality, and you won’t find any chicken by-product meals or artificial additives and preservatives in the product, so you can rest assured that the quality is adequate for your beloved puppy.

When it comes to the buyer reviews, you can expect to see positive reports from the vast majority of customers, and it currently holds a respectable score of 4.1 out of 5.0 on Amazon at the time of writing.

# 3 – Royal Canin Puppy Canned Dog Food

Finally, we have this interesting puppy formula from Royal Canin, which comes in either a tray or can serving.

The formula promises to deliver a wide range of important nutrition, so you can expect plenty of Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Taurine, and fish oil – all of which goes towards maintaining a healthy skin and coat. In general, the formula is very well-balanced, too.

The buyer reviews on Amazon seem to be very favorable towards this formula as well, and it holds a top rating of 4.5 out of 5.0 at the time of writing, based on around 60 customer reviews. Ultimately, this makes it one of the best-rated puppy wet food formulas on the market right now, and it’s unlikely to let you or your puppy down.

 Small Dog Nutrition Tips

  • Meal frequency is a vital when you’re caring for a small breed dog, as their smaller stomachs and faster metabolism can make them prone to low blood sugar conditions like hypoglycemia. The solution to this is to provide small, regular meals throughout the day. As a puppy, 3 to 4 daily meals is advisable, but when they become older, a 2-day routine can work well. Establishing regular meal times is also highly beneficial.
  • Selecting a specialized ‘small breed’ formula is a wise choice, as this ensures your small dog receives all of the essential vitamins and minerals they need to stay in great health. Additionally, these formulas will use ‘small bite’ formulations which are easier for a smaller dog to manage.
  • Quality protein sources are always important for any kind of dog food, along with a decent ratio fats to keep their skin and coat healthy and fiber to maintain good digestive health. Of course, the carbohydrate quality is important for maintaining stable blood sugar levels, with ‘complex’ carbs being a better choice in most circumstances thanks to the stable energy they provide.