Small breed dachshund dog

From Yorkies to Shih Tzus: The best dog food for small breeds

From Yorkies to Shih Tzus: The best dog food for small breeds

With the popularity of small dog breeds on the rise, we are always learning more about our miniature mates. The emergence of small breed dog food is predicted to saturate the market further in 2018 – but is it really worth it? From cheerful Chihuahuas to beautiful Bichon Frises, we investigate the requirement for breed-specific diets and the best food for small dogs.

Devil in disguise

Whilst small dog breeds are often referred to as low maintenance (as opposed to large dog breeds) this is folly. Believe it or not, but smaller dog breeds actually require a higher intake of protein and fats in their diet than larger dog breeds. This is simply due to their much faster metabolisms, meaning that to maintain a healthy dog weight, their diets must be nutritionally balanced in accordance with this.

Not only do smaller dog breeds require more protein and fats (calories), but small breeds do have a tendency to turn their nose up at different foods. Therefore, finding dog food which is nutritionally balanced AND that your dog will actually eat can be tricky… and that’s where we come in.

small-pug-looking-sad

What’s the difference?

  • As mentioned above, smaller dogs need more calories. That’s why small breed dog food tends to a have a higher protein and fat content than generic dog food. NB: due to the number of calories in this specific dog food, dogs can gain weight faster, but owners should be wary that the weight can be lost just as easily, so always monitor how much your dog is eating and their weight.
  • Small dog breeds naturally have smaller mouths and therefore some wet food and larger kibbles are a choking hazard. Small dog breed food is therefore designed with smaller kibbles for safety and ease of eating.
  • Due to their petite bodies, small dog breeds are more susceptible to allergies (read more about dog allergies here) and therefore opting for a hypoallergenic dog food is even more vital for these smaller breeds.

Puppy food vs. small dog food

If your small dog is the size of a puppy, then you may pose the question “can’t I just feed my small dog puppy food?” but this is a big no-no. Puppies and adult dogs (despite their size) have completely different dietary requirements. For example, a dog on a high meat content diet or on grain free dog food is perfectly acceptable. However, for a puppy this can cause hyperactivity and lead to complications due to their developing organs (particularly kidneys).

Read more about puppy feeding here.

How much should I be feeding?

Whilst small dog breeds do require more calories in their meals than large dog breeds, this needs to be provided in much smaller portions.

The exact amount of dog food you should be feeding your dog varies between breeds and your pet’s activity levels. For this reason, we believe that for accurate advice, owners should always consult their vets.

Of course, how much you feed your dog also depends on what type of dog food you are feeding them.

yorkshire-terrier-in-yellow-flowers

The best dog food for small dogs

Dry food

So, what is the best dry food for small dogs? It needs to be hypoallergenic for starters. Due to small dogs sensitive stomachs, allergens are extremely common in these breeds and therefore picking a diet which does not contain these allergens is an easy way to ensure your dog’s health is up to scratch.

In addition to this, the best dry food for small breed dogs should contain a high protein and fat content. This is one of the big pros to dry diets, because a lot of nutrition can be conveniently packed into small kibbles.

As always with dry food, the one thing to watch out for is ensuring that your dog is drinking plenty of clean fresh water to supplement the low moisture content.

Wet food

Whilst wet food can be great for puppies who struggle with chewing, by the time your small dog is an adult (even if they are still tiny) their teeth will be fully developed to eat ‘hard’ food like kibble.

The big downside to wet food is that we often have little knowledge as to what it is going into our doggy’s diet. Furthermore, whilst a lot of wet food brands claim to be ‘hypoallergenic’, on reading the label you will find that a lot of common allergens are present in these recipes.

Raw food

Raw food diets are tricky to get right, particularly when it comes to smaller breed dogs. Whilst some argue that raw food can result in healthier skin, teeth and digestion we do not recommend this type of food for dogs for the reasons below:

  • Raw food opens up the risk of contracting harmful bacteria such as Salmonella and E-coli.
  • This type of food can cause bowel obstruction and intestinal perforations (even more of a danger to small-bodied dogs!).
  • Whilst small dogs need a lot of protein, feeding your dog any more than 50% protein exceeds recommendations.
  • Ensuring raw food is nutritionally balanced is not only time-consuming but very difficult.

Our final point? If your small dog is anything like my Shih Tzu/Toy Poodle cross you don’t want to spend time worrying about defrosting meals and whatnot, you want to be enjoying quality time with your canine companion.
cavalier-king-charles-spaniel

What do we suggest?

We suggest that dog owners stick to dry dog food for small dogs because you can rest assured that your dog is not only getting all the vital nutrients they need, but they are also avoiding any allergens or nasty stuff that can be present in wet and raw food.

 

Tell us about your small dog’s diet over on our Facebook page.


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