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Small and toy breeds are becoming increasingly popular. Their small size makes them easier for apartment dwellers and busy modern professionals to own. Plus they are super cute. Small dog breeds have very different nutritional needs than medium and large breed dogs so it is important that what you feed them matches these needs. Here’s our feeding guide for small breed dogs.
Nutritional Needs Of A Small Breed Dog
Small breed dogs have an incredibly high metabolic rate, so they burn through calories very quickly. Small dogs require an average of 40 calories per pound, while large dogs only require an average 20 calories per pound. So it is not recommended you feed your small breed and your large breed dogs the same food. Small breeds need a caloric dense food. They also may require larger serving sizes. If a small breed dog does not have a high enough caloric intake they can develop hypoglycemia which can lead to weakness, seizures, and muscle tremors. So it important to feed them a dog food specifically tailored to their needs.
What To Look For In A Small Breed Dog Food
There are a variety of dog food brands specifically tailored for small breeds, but what should you be looking for when deciding which brand of dog food to buy?
- A high caloric value: Small dogs need more calories because they have fast metabolisms and higher energy levels. Caloric values are found on the guaranteed analysis panel and are measured as “kcal”. Your food should have 40 kcals per pound of your dog.
- Complex carbohydrates: A small breed dog food should have a variety of complex carbohydrates from whole grains, fruits, and vegetables to keep your small dog’s energy high. You can find these in the ingredients list.
- B vitamins: B vitamins drive the metabolism and help your dog process the calories in their food. B vitamins will be listed in the ingredients and also the guaranteed analysis.
- Digestibility: Small breeds have delicate digestive tracts so they need a food that will be easy to digest. It’s a good idea to look for a dog food that has pre and probiotics to aid in digestion and no artificial ingredients that can lead to stomach problems. Read the ingredients carefully to make sure that everything in the food is easily digestible.
- Small kibble size: Small breeds have smaller mouths and jaws, so they need a kibble that is sized so they can actually eat it. Most high quality dog food brands will have the kibble sized picture on the outside of the packaging.
Top Four Favorite Small Breed Foods
Wellness Toy Breed Complete Health was specially formulated for the smallest breed of dogs, toy dogs. Wellness Toy Breed Complete Health has a high protein formula made with chicken, turkey, and brown rice. It also contains tomatoes, oatmeal peas, apples, sweet potatoes, and blueberries so it is loaded with nutritious antioxidants. Wellness Toy Breed Complete Health is enriched with B vitamins to help support your small dog’s metabolic rate. They kibble itself is bite-sized and easy to crunch with their small jaws. It also offers pre and probiotics, as well as a variety of herbs to aid in digestion. Wellness Toy Breed Complete is a great option for the tiniest small breed dogs.
Fromm Gold Small Breed Adult Dry Dog Food is a high calorie, high protein food specially formulated for the metabolism of all small breeds. The main ingredients include duck, chicken, lamb, eggs, and cheese and also contains oatmeal, rice, and barley for a powerful punch of 3,963 kcal per kilogram. Fromm Gold Small Breed is also fortified with vitamins, minerals, and omega fatty acids for a complete nutritional profile. It also contains probiotics to aid with digestion. Fromm Gold Small Breed is a great option for high energy small dogs.
Like Wellness Toy Breed, Blue Buffalo Life Protection Toy Breed is a natural dog food that was specifically formulated for toy breeds. With ingredients like deboned chicken, whole grains, vegetables, and fruit, Blue Buffalo Life Protection Toy Breed has increased protein and carbohydrates to meet the energy needs of toy breeds. Blue Buffalo Life Protection is also enhanced with cold-formed Lifesource Bits, which contain a blend of antioxidant rich ingredients to support and protect the immune system. Blue Buffalo Life Protection is also minimally processed to retain the full nutritional value of all their ingredients, so it has all the nutrition and calories to meet the demands of your small breed.
Wellness CORE Grain-Free Small Breed Formula is designed for all adult small breed dogs. Made with meats like deboned turkey and chicken and superfoods like peas, broccoli, carrots, parsley, apples, blueberries, kale, and sweet potatoes, Wellness CORE Grain-Free Small Breed is a delicious, caloric-dense kibble perfect for meeting the high-energy needs of small breed dogs. Wellness CORE Grain-Free Small Breed also contains no animal byproducts or fillers that can cause malnourishment in small breeds. It is also fortified with B vitamins for metabolic energy and contains pre and probiotics for digestion, so it is a great choice for your small breed.
These four top dog food brands are just some of the great brands of dog foods available for your small breed. The high energy, easy maintenance, and adorable personalities of small breeds can make them a great pet. Though they need more calories per pound than large breeds and have very specific nutritional needs, there are plenty of great foods to make caring for them easy.