Breed specific

5 Best Dog Food For Small Breeds in 2024 – Adequate Diet For Your Little Friend

A few years ago, all what you have to do is to buy dog food and that’s it. There were no a lot of differences in the ingredients nor the levels of nutrients. Today, the situation is completely different. We have food that is made for small or large breeds only. We also have food that is needed during a specific age of your pet.

All of this means that choosing the correct food for your dog is more complicated than ever. Here we will be focused on the dog food for small breeds. It is different than the ordinary food and now you will get a better idea how and why this difference is important.

Dog food for small breeds is made from smaller kibbles, obviously. However, this is only the first difference. The food is also different when it comes to the nutrients inside.

Small breeds require far more energy. In general, their energetic lifestyle requires a lot of calories and energy compared to large breeds. As you may know, large dog breeds are more relaxed and less physically active. What this suggests is that the food for small breeds must meet their nutritional demands.

Food with protein and high amounts of calories is the best choice. The last but not least, it should be richer in vitamins and minerals, due to a faster metabolism. Simply said, small breeds will absorb minerals and vitamins much faster than large dogs, so they need higher levels.

Product Brand Size Our rating
BLUE Life Protection Formula Adult Healthy Weight Chicken and Brown Rice Dry Dog Food 30-lb Blue Buffalo 30 lb

Wellness CORE Natural Grain Free Dry Dog Food, Original Turkey & Chicken, 26-Pound Bag Wellness Core® 26-Pound Bag

Wellness Complete Health Natural Dry Small Breed Dog Food, Turkey & Oatmeal, 12-Pound Bag Wellness Natural Pet Food 12-Pound Bag

Nutro ULTRA Adult Dry Dog Food, 30 lbs. Nutro 30 lbs.

Natural Balance L.I.D. Limited Ingredient Diets Sweet Potato & Venison Formula Dry Dog Food, 26-Pound Natural Balance 26-Pound

The Rating System Explained

At the first sight, we had an impossible task to test and rate some of the most common dog foods for small breeds. Here, even the smallest difference can have a huge effect. Obviously, we weren’t able to perform these tests all by ourselves, so we got help.

Over the period of 2 years, we cooperated with more than 200 veterinarians and we included 2120 dogs in our studies. Their energy levels, behavior, and health were monitored daily in order to see the differences the food has. One breed was fed with different dog food, but each dog was fed with just one type of food.

The next part was the rating system. Over the years we developed an outstanding rating system that can help you literally determine which the best dog food for small breeds is even before your dog tries it. It is simple as well, and all what is needed is to follow these guidelines:

  1. We started by giving 100 points to each food.
  2. Food that contains by-products, the non-specific source of the ingredients and BHT or BHA were reduced by 10 points per a drawback.
  3. Food that contains non-specific grain source or the grain was used two times, we deducted 5 points per a drawback.
  4. We deducted 3 points for food that contains corn. Minus 3 points for the food where protein doesn’t come from the meat and minus 3 points for the food that contains artificial colors.
  5. If a food contains wheat, it was subtracted by 2 points. The situations is the same with soy.
  6. Food that contains a high amount of salt, it’s score was reduced by 1 point.

Obviously, there are some signs that the food is better than most of the similar products. In order to get these benefits, we tested the food and awarded it with additional points correspondingly.

  1. Food that is made from organic ingredients gets 5 points.
  2. Food that is supported by nutritionists also gets 5 points.
  3. 3 points were given to the food that contains probiotics or fruit (6 points for both).
  4. Barley and seed oil were responsible for 2 points (4 for both).

At the end, we determined that food with the score between 95 and 100 gets A rating; 86-94 gets a B rating; 78-85 C rating; 70-77 D rating and food with a score below 70 points F rating. Now, we will see the best foods for small dog breeds.

Our top picks for small breeds

1. Natural Balance Limited Ingredient Dry Dog Food – Potato & Duck Formula

natural balance

This is the first A grade dog food on the list. Yes, we liked it a lot and during the studies, all dogs were satisfied with it as well. The best part of the food in question is the fact it comes without whole grain, artificial colors nor any chemicals that may cause allergies or have any other issue on the health of your dog.

Kibble is small and carefully chosen to fit the mouth of small dogs. Another reason why this food is simply the best for small breeds. Here we get another benefit. The food itself is made to minimize the exposure of your dog to the different ingredients. It is a safe and benefit-rich alternative.

Maintaining the health of the digestive system is another benefit the food here will offer. As such, it is perfect for dogs with sensitive stomachs or those who require a special diet.

To summarize, the Natural Balance Limited Ingredient Dry Dog Food – Potato & Duck Formula is made by a brand that exists since 1989, it has been tested and approved and all dogs like it. All of this should help you realize why this food is the best.


  • No whole grain.
  • Free from artificial colors and substances.
  • Small kibble for small dogs.
  • Promotes the health of the digestive system.


  • Kibble has different hues.
  • Some dogs require a longer period of time to get used to the food.

2. Blue Buffalo Life Protection Dry Adult Dog Food

Blue life protection

This is another A grade dog food, specially developed for small breeds. On our tests, it recorded an amazing score and all dogs like it. The Blue Life Protection formula is simply outstanding for small breeds. It is delicious, safe and it has a few additional benefits.

The first and the most important thing to know is that this food comes with increased levels of carbs and proteins. If you recall, we mentioned that small breeds require food with more energy, due to the fact they have a faster metabolism. The food here is, therefore, suitable for small breeds with energetic lifestyle.

The possibilities are exceptional as well. You can choose between different ingredients such as lamb, fish or chicken. All of them are paired with brown rice, another advantage if you ask us. The country of origin is the United States. This is actually more important than most dog owners believe.

The food has to be tested and FDA approved, meaning that only the safest food is available. Thanks to this, you don’t have to perform any additional testing or research. This is already approved dog food. Feeding requires a careful dosage. Always give ½ cup per 5 pounds of weight, in order to get the best effect and the best results.

We also liked the fact many dog owners reported that their dogs liked the food and there are no side effects. The bottom line is that the food in question is simply recommended.


  • Rich in protein and carbohydrates.
  • Available with fish, lamb or chicken.
  • Specially made for small breeds.


  • Higher fat levels.

3. Wellness CORE Natural Grain Free Dry Dog Food

Wellness grain free

Should you consider the Wellness CORE Natural Grain Free Dry Dog Food for small breeds? Yes, you should and there are a lot of reasons for that. First one is the fact there is no whole grain in this food. We liked this fact and if you remember, we m

ention that it gets additional points for this advantage.

Then we have optimized protein and calorie levels. The food in question is specially developed for small breeds, so most of the protein comes from turkey and chicken. In other words, the energy requirements of your dog are going to be met without a problem.

All natural is the second best thing. Here, the manufacturer chose only natural ingredients, grown in a natural way. There are neither preservatives nor artificial substances. The bottom line is that your dog will get the best of the best. Also, there is neither corn nor soy in the food.

An additional fact is the same as we mentioned in the previous food. It is also developed and made in the United States, so it is approved by the government and dog experts. Probiotics and a high level of fiber are present as well.

Vitamins and minerals have an important role, especially in small breeds. Luckily for them, here you get all of them that are needed. There are no issues here, so you can be certain that your dog will boost the health.  Other facts we should mention is that this is an omega fatty acids and antioxidant rich food. All of this means that it must be A rated. In addition, only high-end ingredients are used in the manufacturing process.


  • Made from all-natural ingredients.
  • Free of artificial colors and substances, corn and soy.
  • Rich in omega fatty acids, protein and carbs.


  • High levels of potato.
  • The new recipe requires a long time for dogs to get used to it.

4. Wellness Complete Health Natural Dry Small Breed Dog Food

wellness complete health

Wellness is a well-known brand for making extremely delicious and healthy dog food. The Wellness Complete Health Natural Dry Small Breed Dog Food is no different. It till has a lot to offer and it is adorable by many dogs.

The fact it is made from turkey and it contains small kibble makes it suitable even for the smallest dog breeds. Besides oatmeal and turkey, here we can find salmon, which is a recommended and desirable ingredient.

All nutrients in the food have been optimized for higher energy demands of small breeds. There are no issues with the protein and carb levels in this case.  As you already know, it is made in the United States and it has been approved by the government. There are neither artificial colors nor artificial ingredients, so you get a perfect safety. No corn, no wheat nor soy is something we should mention as well.

Omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids are present as well. They are essential to the skin and coat. If we add minerals and vitamins, we get the ultimate food for all dogs, especially for small breeds. As you would expect, this food is A rated as well. It definitely comes with safety, nutrition and well-balanced ingredients. Even the manufacturer claims that all the ingredients and all nutrients are in a perfect balance.


  • Balanced nutrition levels.
  • Rich in fatty acids.
  • Free from artificial ingredients.


  • Kibble shape.

5. NUTRO ULTRA Adult Dry Dog Food

nutro ultra adult dry dog food

This is the only B rated food here. The NUTRO ULTRA Adult Dry Dog Food is different thanks to all the options we mentioned earlier. It doesn’t mean it is a bad choice, it just means that you will have to get used to it.

We will have, to begin with explaining what is inside. The food is made from lamb, chicken or salmon, paired with the brown rice. A well-known formula adorable by small breeds. It is delicious and all dogs like it.

Sunflower oil is present in larger amounts. It has a huge effect in increasing the levels of fatty acids. As too may know, they are essentials for great coat and skin. Let’s just add the fact that all the protein comes from all-natural sources. All the animals, used in the production are farm-raised, which we prefer. As such, lean protein comes in high amounts, making the muscles of your dog stronger and more resistant.

Beta carotene ingredients are welcomed. They have a positive effect on the eyesight of your dog. Another advantage is the antioxidants that will boost the immune system and make it stronger than ever. All other ingredients are welcoming for cardiovascular health.


  • Lean protein.
  • Rich in vitamins, antioxidants, omega fatty acids and etc.
  • Improves the immune system.
  • Great for eyesight protection.


  • Different taste.

Best Wet Dog Food for Small Breeds


nutro ultra wet dog food

NUTRO ULTRA Wet Dog Food is simply the best wet dog food, specially developed for small breeds. It is made from all-natural ingredients, it has been made in the United States and it has been approved by the government and veterinarian association.

This food is perfect for dogs younger than 1 year due to the specific nutrient balance it has to offer. The next best thing is the taste. Dogs prefer it and enjoy eating more than ever before.

A special fact to be mentioned is related to the health benefits. This food is A rated simply because it will boost the general health of your dog. It protects the heart, the immune system, the vision and it has a positive effect on the skin and coat. As such, there are no other words than saying this is the best wet food for small breeds.


  • Perfect for boosting the health.
  • Made in the United States.


  • Some dogs don’t like it.

Best Weight Control Dog Food for Small Breeds

Hill’s Science Diet Perfect Weight Dry Dog Food

hill's science diet

Obesity in dogs is more and more common nowadays. The main thing to remember is that they won’t be able to lose weight all by themselves. These dogs will require a special diet and huge lifestyle changes. In other words, it means that you will have to take an action. The best way is to use proper food, made to help the dogs lose weight. Here we have the Hill’s Science Diet Perfect Weight Dry Dog Food and it is more than just good.

The first and foremost, this food can help to your dog lose weight during the first 10 weeks of the diet. More than 70% of dogs achieve these results, which is outstanding. Proper diet will have a lot of benefits to the health and the life expectancy. And yes, this is another A rated food. In a matter of fact, it is probably the best choice in this category.


  • 70% of dogs lose weight during the first 10 weeks.
  • Rich in nutrients.
  • Safe to use.
  • 100% satisfaction guaranteed.


  • Specific taste.
  • No glucosamine.

Best Tasting Dog Food for Small Breeds

Nature’s Variety Instinct Raw Boost Small Breed Grain Free Chicken Meal Formula Dry Dog Food

natures variety

Made from the best ingredients, from freeze dried pieces and without artificial substances, Nature’s Variety Instinct Raw Boost Small Breed Grain Free Chicken Meal Formula Dry Dog Food is simply the most tasteful food on the market today.

All dog owners have reported that their dogs like this food, a lot. On our tests, we deduced the same results.  Even more important, this is a nutrient-rich food, so none of the nutritional values haven’t been compromised.

Grain-free and gluten-free are other benefits of the food in question. They make it perfectly healthy to small breeds which is preferable. Probiotics for healthy digestion are present as well, so as omega fatty acids, needed to the skin and fur. In general, this food is well-balanced and it offers perfect amounts of proteins, fat, and calories.

Besides the ultimate taste, this is the ultimate nutrient-rich food. This brand is well-known for being a partner with the Best Friends Animal Society and together, they serve more than a million meals across the dog centers.


  • Well-balanced nutrition values.
  • Rich in omega fatty acids and probiotics.


  • Raw pieces vary in size.

Best Holistic Dog Food for Small Breeds

Blue BuffaloSmall Breed Dry Dog Food

This is one of the newer dog foods that promise a lot. On our test, this food recorded a high score and we should award it with A rating. In essence, it is a perfect meal that is carefully balanced to provide precise amounts of fat, protein, and carbs. We must add the fact there are no artificial substances. On the other side, antioxidant levels are high.

Some other advantages include DHA, which is needed and recommended for proper brain and vision development. All of this means that your dog will live longer and be in perfect health. Definitely, something most of you want. We will also add the fact that it is affordable dog food and all dogs like it.


  • Money guarantee.
  • Rich in DHA.
  • Well-balanced nutrient levels.


  • Still new type of food.
  • Once opened a bag cannot be sealed properly.

Best High Fiber dDog Food for Small Breeds

EUKANUBA Adult Dry Dog Food

The EUKANUBA Adult Dry Dog Food is a high-end dog food that has a lot to offer. First and foremost, it is high in fiber, meaning that it is suitable for small dogs with a faster metabolism. Then, we have the ultimate taste and probiotic rich advantage, known for promoting the nutrient absorption.

This food is also rich in glucosamine, which we prefer and we award this advantage accordingly. Omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids are also present in higher levels, making skin and coat well-protected. The bottom line of this food is that your dog will get the best and the most of it, especially fiber.


  • Very high in fiber.
  • Omega fatty acids.
  • Powered by probiotics.
  • Glucosamine is present.


  • Some dogs don’t like the taste.

Final Words

We didn’t just compare nutritional values from the packages, we performed a proper testing and we used real dogs to help us. As the bottom line, you get only the best and the healthiest dog foods available on the market.

There are neither mistakes nor errors here, due to the fact all the data is re-checked 3 times. At the end, we can only advise you to take all of these foods into consideration and choose them accordingly to your dog breed and needs. Looking for the best dog food isn’t easy, and without the help, you get here it is almost impossible.

Luckily for you, we did all the hard work in order to help you choose a perfect diet for your pet.

Be sure to also check out other similar posts:

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