10 Best Dry Dog Food for Small Dogs in 2022 – Reviews & Top Picks


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.

divider-dogA 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

Blue Buffalo Life Protection

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.

Pros

  • Available in 3 sizes
  • Main ingredient is deboned chicken
  • Rich and natural source of protein
  • Contains fruits and veggies high in antioxidants
  • Kibble is small but helps with tartar buildup
  • Doesn’t contain wheat, soy, corn, or by-products

Cons

  • LifeSource Bits are often rejected by some dogs

2. Cesar Small Breed Dry Dog Food – Best Value

Cesar Small Breed

Sizes: 7, 5, or 12 pounds
Flavor: Filet mignon and spring vegetables
Special diet: None

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.

Pros

  • Great price
  • Combination of crunchy kibble and tender chunks
  • Contains 26 nutrients and is high in protein
  • Real beef is the main ingredient
  • Shape of the kibble helps with dental health
  • Bag is resealable

Cons

  • Contains wheat, soy, corn, and animal by-products

3. Hill’s Prescription Diet w/d Dry Dog Food – Premium Choice

Hill’s Prescription Diet

Sizes: 5, 17.6, or 27.5 pounds
Flavor: Chicken
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.

Pros

  • Helps dogs with weight control
  • Maintains healthy digestion and normal blood glucose levels
  • Supports a healthy urinary system
  • High in fiber so your dog feels fuller
  • High in L-carnitine for metabolism and burning fat

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Need vet authorization

4. Royal Canin X-Small Dry Puppy Food – Best for Puppies

Royal Canin X-Small

Sizes: 3 or 15 pounds
Flavor: Chicken
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.

Pros

  • For puppies up to 10 months of age and up to 8 pounds
  • Extra small kibble
  • Highly digestible protein
  • Antioxidants for a strong immune system
  • Prebiotics for digestive health

Cons

  • Includes chicken by-products, corn, and wheat gluten

5. Nutro Natural Choice Small Breed Adult Dry Dog Food

Nutro Natural Choice

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.

Pros

  • Whole chicken is the main ingredient
  • Contains glucosamine and chondroitin for joint health
  • Antioxidants for a healthy immune system
  • Doesn’t include soy, wheat, corn, GMOs, or chicken by-products

Cons

  • A little pricey
  • Picky dogs will be picky

6. Nature’s Recipe Small Breed Dry Dog Food

Nature’s Recipe Small

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.

Pros

  • Chicken is the main ingredient with pumpkin and sweet potato
  • Fiber and antioxidants for digestive health and immune system
  • No artificial preservatives or flavors
  • No corn, wheat, soy, or by-products

Cons

  • Picky dogs are picky
  • Expensive

7. Taste of the Wild Appalachian Valley Small Dog Dry Food

Taste of the Wild

Sizes: 5, 14, or 28 pounds
Flavor: Venison and green beans
Special diet: Grain-free

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.

Pros

  • Venison is the main ingredient
  • Contains probiotics and prebiotics for healthy digestion
  • High in natural proteins and fats
  • Doesn’t have any artificial flavors, colors, wheat, soy, or corn

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Some dogs don’t like it

8. Purina ONE SmartBlend Small Bites Dry Dog Food

Purina ONE SmartBlend

Sizes: 5 or 31.1 pounds
Flavor: Beef and rice
Special diet: Natural

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.

Pros

  • Real beef is the primary ingredient
  • Combination of kibble and tender bites
  • Includes glucosamine for joint health
  • Essential omega-6 fatty acids for coat and skin health
  • Antioxidants for a robust immune system

Cons

  • Contains corn, wheat, soy, and chicken by-product
  • Dogs might reject kibble in favor of softer morsels

9. Wellness CORE Small Breed Dry Dog Food

Wellness CORE

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.

Pros

  • Deboned chicken is the main ingredient
  • Contains a variety of taurine, glucosamine chondroitin, and probiotics
  • Doesn’t have artificial ingredients, by-products, wheat, soy, or corn

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Picky dogs might not like

10. Purina Pro Plan Shredded Blend Small Breed Dry Dog Food

Purina Pro Plan

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.

Pros

  • Combination of tender bites and kibble
  • Whole chicken is the main ingredient
  • Has vitamin A and linoleic acid for healthy coat and skin
  • Prebiotics and live probiotics for immune system and digestion

Cons

  • Some dogs will pick out the shredded pieces
  • Contains by-products, wheat, soy, and corn
  • Some of the bags have little to no shredded pieces

divider-dogBuyer’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.

Dog Size

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.

Chihuahua dog eating_tanyastock, Shutterstock
Image Credit: tanyastock, Shutterstock

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.

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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

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