10 Best Dog Foods for Small Dogs 2020

With row upon row of colorful bags with cute pups staring back at you, it can be overwhelming to choose the best food for your dog. With even more choices online, the search for the perfect product can seem endless. Add in all the clashing information about nutrition that can be misleading or marketing gimmicks, you feel downright confused.

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But never fear, with a little knowledge (and your canine in mind), this guide will help you find the best dog food for small dogs.

Consider the Following

You want your four-legged pal to have the best nutrition possible and simple concept to keep in mind while searching for the best dog food: wholesome, quality ingredients are paramount.

  • Make Sure Meat Is the Main Ingredient. Remember, dogs are naturally carnivores. Their digestive tracks are not as complex as ours are and therefore have a hard time with many plant-based foods.

It shouldn’t be a surprise that the first ingredient in ANY food you choose for your canine should be meat. You will notice the pricier dog foods have one thing in common: specifically named meat proteins. No “bone meal” or mystery meat here.

  • Activity Level. Consider the activity level of your little pal, too. Some dogs may be couch potatoes while others lead a more active lifestyle, so if your smaller dog is carrying around a little extra weight, consider a low-calorie food to help them get back into shape. For more active dogs, make sure that you’re providing them with enough food daily and that you aren’t choosing a food that is too rich in protein.

Top 10 Dog Foods for Small Dogs Table

PictureNameGrain-Free?PriceRating (1-5)
PictureNameGrain-Free?PriceRating (1-5)
1. NUTRO Small Breed Dry Dog Food, Chicken, Brown Rice and Oatmeal, 15 lbs.No$$$4.7
2. Hill’s Science Diet Small & Toy Breed Dry Dog FoodNo$$$4.7
3. Blue Buffalo Freedom Grain-Free Recipe for DogYes$$$4.6
5. Ideal Balance Small Breed Natural Chicken & Brown Rice Recipe Dry Dog FoodNo$$$4.6
6. NUTRO Lite and Weight Management Adult Dry Dog FoodNo$$4.6
7. IAMS PROACTIVE HEALTH Adult MiniChunks Dry Dog FoodNo$$4.6
8. Merrick Grain Free Recipe Dry Dog FoodYes$$$$4.5
9. Taste of the Wild Dry Dog FoodYes$4.5
10. Wellness Complete Health Natural Dry Small Breed Dog FoodNo$$$4.5

Buying Information

First and foremost, keep in mind your specific pet when searching for the best dog food for small dogs. Dogs are susceptible to allergies, obesity, and other health issues just like their owners. A chat with your vet about any specific dietary concerns should be the first step.

If your dog is a healthy adult with average physical activity, there are a few things you can look for in his food to keep him active, happy and healthy:

  • Protein is paramount! Make sure it’s the first ingredient on the label, and it’s a protein you recognize.
  • The word “by-product” just refers to organ meat. It is an acceptable form of protein.
  • Avoid “bone meal” or “meat,” as they are often over-processed and lacking nutrients.
  • For active dogs, an 18-25% protein ratio is optimal.
  • Healthy fats (often chicken, egg or beef) are necessary to aid in protein absorption.
  • Carbohydrates are fine; but beware of any food that is more than half carbs. Dogs do not need an excess of carbs for energy. Often these carbs are low in nutrients and are used as filler.
  • Look for omega fatty acids on the label. Dogs only naturally produce 12 of the 22 amino acids their bodies need. They rely on food for the other 10.
  • Small breeds often have trouble eating kibble made for larger dogs. Small breed dog food should, accordingly, be smaller bites.
  • Make sure you’re buying food specific to your dog’s age/size/dietary needs!

Top 3 Best Dog Food for Small Dogs Reviews

1. NUTRO Small Breed Dry Dog Food

This dog food was made with your smaller dog in mind. The kibble itself is designed for tiny mouths, and helps promote plaque and tartar reduction. Although small in size, this kibble packs a nutritional punch. The first five ingredients are chicken, chicken meal, brewers rice, split peas, and whole brown rice. The chicken and chicken meal provide the protein, while peas offer protein, carbs and fiber.

The overall protein, fat, and carbohydrate ratio is nicely balanced, at 23, 35, and 42 percent, respectively. This balance will keep your companion feeling satisfied and full of energy. The addition of chelated minerals aids in protein absorption and is usually found in higher quality dog foods. With no corn, gluten or wheat, this is a great choice for dogs with allergies. With such great ingredients, this NUTRO brand is a contender for the best dog food for small dogs.

2. Hill’s Science Diet Small & Toy Breed Dry Dog Food

Although Science Diet’s recipe has more grain than some on this list, it is still regarded a solid choice for your small dog.

The consensus is that this kibble must be a tasty treat for canines, as they’re sure to gobble it up. There are many reports of shiny coats and improved dispositions after switching to Science Diet. With ingredients like flaxseed and sorghum, this diet offers an array of vitamins and minerals lacking in lesser quality foods. Chicken meal, whole grain wheat, brewers rice, whole grain sorghum, and soybean meal round out the top five ingredients in this recipe. The addition of pork fat as an ingredient aids in the digestion of chicken and soybean protein.

3. Blue Buffalo Freedom Grain-Free Recipe for Dog

This dog food is easier on the pocketbook and the stomach than much of its competition. There are no artificial colors, preservatives or mystery meats here.

We love that it is grain-free and the fact that it is chicken-based probably means that dogs with sensitive stomachs will have luck with this recipe.

The kibble size makes it easier for smaller dogs to break down, too!

If the first two suggestions didn’t work for you due to the grain content, then give this grain-free recipe a try. Reasonably priced and something that many picky dogs seem to enjoy!