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Pet Care Blog

The Best Dry Dog Foods for Small Dogs

There are a vast number of dry dog foods available from supermarkets, pet stores and your vet's office, but which one is best for your small dog? Our Memphis vets share some of their top choices.


Choosing a Food for Your Small Dog

Smaller dogs with an ideal weight of under 20lbs tend to have a faster metabolism than their larger canine friends. So look for a dry food that has been 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.

Best dry food for small dogs, Memphis Vet Specialists

Ingredients to Avoid

There are a number of controversial ingredients found in dogs foods for small dogs and larger dogs. Here are a few of the ingredients you may want to avoid in order to ensure that you are feeding your small dog the very best food:

  • 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 choosing a food for your small dog be sure to note the first 5 ingredients on the package. Those first ingredients should be healthy foods that you recognize. 

  • 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 brewers 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 about 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

Calculating the exact amount of food that you should serve your small dog is almost impossible. Each brand of food contains a different amount of calories, and every dog's lifestyle and calorie expenditure differs. 

That said, whichever small breed dog food you choose, be sure to follow the feeding guidelines on the package, or contact your vet for their recommendations. Your vet understands your pet's overall health and nutritional requirements better than any dog food manufacturer.

Changing Your Small Dog's Food

Changing a dog's food can cause some unexpected consequences in the form of gastrointestinal upset. The best way to transition your canine pal to a new food is in gradual steps.

Begin by mixing about 25% new food along with their regular food for 3 or 4 days and monitor your dog for any signs of tummy upset such as gas, or loose stools. 

If your dog is doing well with the new food gradually increase the proportion of new food to about 50% and continue to monitor your dog for any reactions to their change of diet.

Over the course of about 10 - 14 days your dog's digestive tract should become accustomed to the new food and you can complete the transition. If however your dog continues to show signs of gastrointestinal upset, contact your vet for advice. A longer, more gradual transition to the new food may be required, or perhaps it isn't the right food for your little friend.

If your dog is showing signs of illness or refusing to eat contact our Cordova vets today. At Memphis Veterinary Specialists & Emergency, we offer 24/7 emergency services for cats and dogs in the Greater Memphis Area.

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