Skip to main content
Small Breed Dog Recipes

Dog Food for Small Dogs

Your furry little friend may identify as one of the big dogs, but he or she may still benefit from a specialized, complete and balanced small dog food. The best food for small dogs is made with premium, purposeful ingredients, and crafted to offer right-sized nutrition for compact canine bodies. Scroll down for options and more info.

Specialized Small Breed Dog Food Recipes

The following recipes were crafted specifically with small dogs in mind.

What Weight Qualifies as ′′Small′′ for a Dog?

Terms like “small” and “large” can definitely be subjective, so the exact definition may depend on who you talk to. But most people agree that the upper end of the spectrum for small dogs is 20 to 25 pounds or so.

At Nature′s Recipe®, when we talk about complete and balanced dog food for “small dogs,” we′re generally talking about breeds and mixes that weigh less than 25 pounds as healthy adults.

Examples of Small Dog Breeds

Some of the most popular examples of small dogs include breeds like French bulldogs, beagles, poodles, Yorkshire terriers, chihuahuas, shih tzus, Maltese and dachshunds. Of course, there are others, as well as countless mixed breed small dogs.

Nutritional Needs Specific to Small (Adult) Dogs

While all dogs need the same basic nutrients, dogs of different sizes can benefit from different amounts. A good dog food for small dogs will be made with these factors in mind.

Caloric Needs

Pound per pound, small dogs tend to need more calories than larger dogs. So foods made especially for small dogs tend to be more energy-dense.

Energy density for dog food is measured in kilocalories per kilogram (kcal/kg). A complete and balanced small breed dog food should offer about 3,400 to 3,800 kcal/kg, while a complete and balanced dog food for large dogs should offer about 3,200 to 3,400 kcal/kg. You can find kcal/kg info on the back of your Nature′s Recipe® dog food bag under “Calorie Content.”

Weight Management

Despite small dogs′ need for more energy relative to their size, it′s important not to overfeed. As much as 60% of small breed dogs are considered obese. If your dog is overweight, a lower-calorie food may be the better choice. Your vet can help you choose.

Other Health Considerations

Small dogs may benefit from lower fat, high fiber dog foods, since these breeds tend to be at risk for diabetes and high triglyceride levels. A high fiber diet can also help prevent constipation, which can be an issue for smaller dogs, due partly to their naturally shorter large intestine.

Finally, because dental disease is more common in small dogs, it may be especially beneficial to feed your small dog dry food before any issues actually start. The texture of the kibble can help remove plaque from teeth as he or she chews. For older dogs who already suffer from dental issues, soft (wet) dog food may be easier to eat.

Does Small Dog Food Mean Smaller Kibble Size?

Kibble size may vary by brand, but Nature′s Recipe® small dog food recipes do feature small kibble especially for your little buddy′s little mouth. Yet, as mentioned above, these small bites still pack big nutrition, specially crafted for small dogs. And of course, they also offer big, delicious tastes dogs love.

Should Small Dogs Eat Grain Free Food?

Most small dogs don′t require grain free food. Still, we understand some pet parents prefer it. That′s why we offer both whole grain and grain free small breed dog food recipes.

Is Small Dog Food the Same Thing as Puppy Food?

Since puppies are small compared to adult dogs (at least at first) it′s easy to assume that whatever counts as a complete and balanced dog food for small dogs would also be a healthy choice for puppies. But in reality, a growing puppy has different nutritional needs from a small adult dog. Adult dog food simply won′t cut it for a pup, and puppy food isn′t ideal for most dogs of all life stages, either.

The recipes on this page are for small adult dogs, not for puppies. However, we do offer a separate selection of complete and balanced puppy food recipes to provide all the nutrients growing pups need, in just the right amounts.

How Much to Feed a Small Dog

Even though small dogs may need more calories per pound than large dogs, that doesn′t mean they need more food, especially if it′s a small dog food that′s already energy-dense. The right amount depends on your dog′s weight and the specific recipe you choose.

Look for the chart on the back of your Nature′s Recipe® dog food bag as a starting point for your dog′s daily food intake, and adjust based on your pal′s specific breed, size, age, level of activity and environment.

A dog catching a ball in a lake

Find Complete and Balanced Food for Dogs of All Sizes & Ages

Got more than one dog to feed? Explore our many other wholesome, complete and balanced dog food recipes.