How to Choose the Best Dog Food for Small Breeds
Small breed dogs are a true delight, bringing a vast amount of love, devotion, and fun to their families. However, the nutritional needs for small dogs differ substantially from their larger counterparts, making a food designed specifically to address their requirements an absolute must for optimal health.
Many small breed dogs can be predisposed to mouth issues which can include tooth loss, plaque accumulation, and gum disease. To help prevent this, selecting a food with bite-sized pieces of kibble can be very beneficial. Kibble specifically designed for small breeds helps to prevent choking and to discourage rapid eating. In addition to this, the texture of the kibble can provide a scrubbing action against the teeth to keep them healthy and free from tartar buildup.
Though the nutritional needs for all dogs are quite similar, the number of calories required will vary depending on the size of the dog and the dog’s specific breed. Small breed dogs also have differing activity levels, meaning some will require a slightly different nutritional formulation and caloric count to help fuel their drive and exercise needs. The best foods for small dogs have recipes that have been specifically calibrated to meet their unique nutritional requirements.
Choosing the Correct Calorie Count for Small Breed Dogs
Make no mistake; small dogs love food just as much as their large breed friends. However, controlling portion sizes is key to keeping these littler pooches from gaining excess weight which can cause harm to their bodies.
To best determine how much of the best small dog food a small dog should be fed, it is a good idea to use the dog’s weight measured against the food’s suggested serving size. This will yield a starting point which can be adjusted until the correct amount has been identified. The dog’s appetite and weight will serve as helpful guides.
Care should be taken not to overfeed small dogs. Dogs carrying excess weight on their frames are at a far higher risk of developing health problems such as diabetes or succumbing to injury or illness.
Dietary Requirements for Small Breed Dog Foods
Any food suited to the needs of small breed dogs should be comprised of the highest quality nutrition. Since all dogs are carnivores, protein should be the primary ingredient with whole meats the preferred choice. Meat meals also provide an excellent source of protein.
Meat by-products are inferior in quality. Likewise, plant-based proteins can be very difficult for small dogs to process and utilize effectively. In addition to this, many alternative protein sources such as corn, wheat, and soy can cause allergic reactions in many breeds. Avoid foods containing any of these items as they are not the best dog food for small breeds.
Small breeds can have difficulty maintaining a consistent level of blood sugar. Since small breed dogs are known to have metabolisms that are both high and efficient, they require a diet that is dense in calories derived from the best sources for nutrients. It is also a good idea to break up the small dog’s foods into several mini meals fed throughout the day. This encourages stable blood sugar levels to support consistent daily energy.
Some small dog breeds can be prone to skin and stomach sensitivities. For those breeds, a grain-free diet may be best. All others can freely enjoy a grain-free or a grain inclusive formula without suffering any ill effects. Whether drawn from whole grains, fruits, or vegetables, the critical component of any carbohydrates included in a diet for a small breed is that it is high in fiber, rich in antioxidants, and easy to digest.
Also of great importance in a diet for small breed dogs is the inclusion of healthy fats. Healthy fats provide small dogs with the energy they need to remain active and well. But fats also assist with maintaining healthy coat and skin. Healthy fats are best taken from animal origins including chicken fat or oily fish such as mackerel, salmon, herring, or anchovies.
Things to Look for in the Best Dog Food for Small Breeds
Here is a basic list of the most important things to look for in a food for a small dog:
- Whole proteins heading up the ingredients list
- Prepared without the addition of chemicals, flavorings, fillers, or mystery ingredients
- Enriched with probiotics and helpful supplements
- Meets AAFCO nutritional requirements for a complete and balanced food