If you’re the proud owner of a proud tiny dog, you know that they have specific food requirements. They have faster metabolisms, grow faster, and have smaller stomachs and mouths than larger breeds. All of this means that not only are their nutritional requirements a little different, but the kibble itself needs to be small enough for their tiny mouths and teeth. But there is so much dog food out there!
We’ve reviewed 10 of the best kinds of dry dog food that will be ideal for most small dogs. We hope these reviews will help take some of the guesswork out so you can just point and click and bring home the perfect food for your best friend.
A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites – 2022 Update
The 10 Best Dry Dog Food for Small Dogs
1. Blue Buffalo Life Protection Small Dog Food – Best Overall
|Sizes:||3, 6, or 15 pounds|
|Flavor:||Chicken and brown rice|
|Special diet:||No corn, wheat, soy, or by-products|
We picked Blue Buffalo’s Life Protection Formula Dog Food as the best overall food for small dogs. It comes in three sizes and is chicken and brown rice flavored. The primary ingredient is deboned chicken, which provides your small pup with a natural and rich source of protein. It also includes fruits and veggies as well as minerals, vitamins, and nutrients that are high in antioxidants. It’s high in carbs and protein, perfect for the smaller dog. The kibble itself is the right size for small teeth and also works to help remove tartar buildup. Finally, it doesn’t contain poultry by-products, wheat, soy, or corn.
However, Blue Buffalo includes the vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants combined into a small, dark brown chunk of food called LifeSource Bits. These bits seem to get rejected by several dogs, so you might notice these small, dark pieces of food scattered around the food bowl.
2. Cesar Small Breed Dry Dog Food – Best Value
|Sizes:||7, 5, or 12 pounds|
|Flavor:||Filet mignon and spring vegetables|
Cesar’s Small Breed Dry Dog Food is the best dog food for small dogs for the money. The price is right, and it contains crunchy kibble small enough for your dog as well as tender, meaty chunks. It has 26 nutrients and is high protein for your small dog. Real beef is the first ingredient, and the shape of the crunchy kibble can help with your dog’s dental health. Lastly, the bag has a resealable zipper, keeping the food fresh.
The main disadvantage of this dog food is that it does contain wheat, corn, soy, and animal by-products.
3. Hill’s Prescription Diet w/d Dry Dog Food – Premium Choice
|Sizes:||5, 17.6, or 27.5 pounds|
|Special diet:||Weight control, vet diet, pea-free|
Hill’s Prescription Diet w/d Dry Dog Food is perfect for those small dogs that need a little help controlling their weight. It also helps maintain healthy digestion and normal blood glucose levels and provides excellent support for a healthy urinary tract. This includes the prevention of the formation of urinary crystals. This food is high in fiber, which will help dogs feel fuller, and is high in L-carnitine, which increases the metabolism and burns fat.
The primary disadvantages of this dog food are that it is pretty expensive and needs veterinary authorization.
4. Royal Canin X-Small Dry Puppy Food – Best for Puppies
|Sizes:||3 or 15 pounds|
|Special diet:||Extra small puppies|
Royal Canin’s X-Small Dry Puppy Food is specifically designed for puppies under 10 months of age and up to 8 pounds in weight. For this reason, the kibble is extra small for those tiny mouths and teeth, and it contains highly digestible proteins for growing bodies. This dog food also includes antioxidants and prebiotics to help digestive health and encourage a robust immune system.
However, the first ingredient listed is a chicken by-product, and it also includes corn and wheat gluten.
5. Nutro Natural Choice Small Breed Adult Dry Dog Food
|Sizes:||5 or 13 pounds|
|Flavor:||Chicken and brown rice|
|Special diet:||No GMO, corn, wheat, or soy|
Nutro’s Natural Choice Small Breed Adult Dry Dog Food is made with whole chicken making for a high-quality protein. It also contains chondroitin and glucosamine, which will help to support your dog’s joints, as well as antioxidants for a strong immune system. This food doesn’t contain GMOs, corn, wheat, soy, or chicken by-products.
Unfortunately, this dog food is a little on the expensive side. Plus, some dogs might be on the picky side with this food.
6. Nature’s Recipe Small Breed Dry Dog Food
|Sizes:||4 or 12 pounds|
|Flavor:||Chicken, sweet potato, and pumpkin|
|Special diet:||No wheat, soy, or corn|
Nature’s Recipe Small Breed Dry Dog Food contains chicken as the first and primary ingredient but is also full of sweet potato and pumpkin. Antioxidants and fiber for digestive health, a hardy immune system, and added vitamins and minerals. It doesn’t contain any by-products, corn, wheat, soy, or artificial preservatives or flavors.
The main flaw with this food is the price. It is on the expensive side, and like most food, picky dogs will be picky.
7. Taste of the Wild Appalachian Valley Small Dog Dry Food
|Sizes:||5, 14, or 28 pounds|
|Flavor:||Venison and green beans|
Taste of the Wild’s Appalachian Valley Dog Food contains venison as the main ingredient, and it includes both probiotics and prebiotics to aid in healthy digestion. It has lamb, duck, egg, and ocean fish which are all high in protein and provide a healthy dose of amino acids and fat that can also give your pup a healthy coat and skin. It does not contain artificial flavors, colors, corn, wheat, or grains.
However, like the other dog foods with fewer or no fillers, it’s expensive, and some dogs seem not to like it very much.
8. Purina ONE SmartBlend Small Bites Dry Dog Food
|Sizes:||5 or 31.1 pounds|
|Flavor:||Beef and rice|
The Purina ONE SmartBlend Small Bites Dry Dog Food has real beef as the first and main ingredient and other high protein sources. It’s a combination of dry crunchy kibble and softer tender morsels, and it contains glucosamine for joint health. This food also supports coat and skin health with essential omega-6 fatty acids and antioxidants for a robust immune system.
On the downside, this food does contain chicken by-products, corn, soy, and wheat. Also, while the softer morsels are enticing for most dogs, they might prove to be too enticing, and your dog might reject the kibble in favor of the tender bits.
9. Wellness CORE Small Breed Dry Dog Food
|Sizes:||4 or 12 pounds|
|Flavor:||Turkey and chicken|
|Special diet:||High protein, grain, and gluten-free|
Wellness’s CORE Small Breed Dry Dog Food has deboned turkey as the primary ingredient with the addition of chicken, salmon oil, veggies, and fruit. It has probiotics, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, chondroitin, glucosamine, omega fatty acids, and taurine. It doesn’t contain any animal by-products, soy, wheat, corn, artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives.
You’ll notice a pattern here, but dog food that tends to contain whole ingredients and no fillers also seem to be expensive. Some dogs might not like it, particularly if they are picky.
10. Purina Pro Plan Shredded Blend Small Breed Dry Dog Food
|Sizes:||6, 18, or 34 pounds|
|Flavor:||Chicken and rice|
|Special diet:||High protein|
The Purina Pro Plan Shredded Blend Dry Dog Food is another dog food that is a combination of kibble and tender morsels. Whole chicken is the main ingredient, and it includes vitamin A and linoleic acid for a healthy coat and skin. It also contains live probiotics for the immunity system and digestive health and also has prebiotics for additional digestive health.
Unfortunately, similar to the other kinds of kibble like this one with tender morsels, some dogs might ignore the kibble and only eat the soft bits. This food also contains chicken by-products, corn, wheat, and corn. Additionally, sometimes the bags are inconsistent with the number of morsels contained, with some bags having little to none.
Buyer’s Guide: Selecting the Best Dry Food For Small Dogs
Now that you’ve had a look at some of the options, you should read our Buyer’s Guide, as we’ll go over a few points of interest that should help you make your decision.
The smaller your dog, the smaller the bag might need to be. Of course, this is something you can decide on at your own discretion but stocking up on enormous bags of food for a dog that will take twice as long to eat it, as compared to its larger counterparts, might not be the best idea, particularly in the summer. But if you have the space and aren’t worried about the food going off or being attacked by pests, then get the larger bags.
Dog Food Ingredients
Fillers are the concern here. Sometimes manufacturers add extra fillers, which does seem to take down the product’s price. Animal by-products, wheat, corn, soy are all fillers. There are also the artificial preservatives, flavors, and colors added to some of the recipes. It’s always a good idea to get into the habit of reading the ingredients list on your dog’s food, especially if your dog has any allergies or health issues. Some dogs do just fine on these cheaper foods but just be aware of what is going into your pup’s food.
Dog Food Flavor
Chicken is sometimes an ingredient you should avoid, as many dogs have food sensitivities with it. It can be difficult to find food that doesn’t contain chicken in some form or other. Yet another reason to read the ingredients. Otherwise, if you know your dog favors beef, look for beef or filet mignon flavors. Many dogs sometimes seem to be put off by the “healthier” dog foods, so play around with the flavors until you find the right one.
Conclusion: Best Dry Dog Food for Small Dogs
Blue Buffalo’s Life Protection Formula Dog Food is our overall favorite as it doesn’t contain any wheat, soy, corn, or animal by-products, and the kibble is perfect for small mouths. Cesar’s Small Breed Dry Dog Food is priced well, and it contains crunchy kibble as well as tender, meaty chunks perfectly sized for your pup’s mouth. Finally, Hill’s Prescription Diet w/d Dry Dog Food is expensive, but it’s the perfect food for those small dogs that need a little help controlling their weight.
We hope our reviews have helped you to figure out what food will be the best for your little friend and that they’ll thank you for it in their own way.
Featured Image Credit: thanakarn Singto, Shutterstock
Kathryn was a librarian in a previous lifetime and is currently a writer about all things pets. When she was a child, she hoped to work in zoos or with wildlife in some way, thanks to her all-consuming love for animals. Unfortunately, she’s not strong in the sciences, so she fills her days with researching and writing about all kinds of animals and spends time playing with her adorable but terribly naughty tabby cat, Bella. Kathryn is hoping to add to her family in the near future – maybe another cat and a dog.