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We all want the best for our fur babies and ‘the best’ always starts by feeding your pooch a wholesome and healthy diet, but you may be a little unsure about what the best food for small dogs really is.
Dogs generally have the same nutritional needs, however there are a few factors that may mean your dog needs a few slight dietary adjustments—their age (pups have different nutritional needs to adult and senior dogs), any medical conditions they have, their activity levels and of course, their size.
While the concept of a breed-specific diet is really just a marketing gimmick, the size and weight of your doggo will influence their nutritional needs. Unlike most larger breeds, small or toy dog breeds tend to have very high energy levels, high metabolic rates and smaller appetites, which is why they generally need more calorie-dense meals packed into smaller portions.
Whether you’re feeding a Chihuahua, Pug, Jack Russell or Cavalier, here are a few things to keep in mind when trying to select the best food for small dogs.
What to Consider When Choosing the Best Food for Small Dogs
- Choose a premium quality dog food which is jam-packed with premium, natural ingredients and essential nutrients (like protein, carbohydrates, minerals and vitamins) that loads enough calories into a small serving.
- Look for dog foods which include a high proportion of high-quality protein. It’s also important to note that while small dogs generally need their meals to include at least 20% protein, puppies need more than that for development and growth (at least 28%).
- While carbs aren't essential for canine survival, they can be good for your dog's digestive system and can help with tummy issues.
- Dog food that is rich in antioxidants and probiotics could also help prevent radical damage over a small dog's long lifespan.
- The food should also contain unsaturated fats like Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids, which you can get from fish and flaxseed oil. These healthy fats maintain the health of your pup’s heart and promote healthy skin and a shiny coat.
- Since miniature dogs have narrow throats and small jaws, opt for tiny or nibble-sized kibble to avoid choking and enable easier digestion.
Extra Tips for Feeding Small and Toy Dogs
Owners of small and miniature dog breeds should carefully monitor the amount of food they are giving to their pets. Our little canine friends can be prone to weight gain, and while a bit of extra weight may seem unnoticeable or harmless, it can have serious health risks on your pudgy pooch. The added weight can put a lot of stress to the dog's bones and organs, or worsen any existing medical conditions.
To put it into perspective, take a pug who is 2 kilograms overweight. That is around 14.5 extra kilos on the average woman, and 17 extra kilos on the average man!
Overfeeding can also lead to dog obesity, which is one of the biggest problems in dog nutrition. Did you know that dogs tend to overeat when fed kibble rather than canned or raw foods? Canned and raw dog foods have a higher water content, which makes their tummy feel full sooner, helping to curb their appetite.
On the contrary, if dogs aren't eating enough or eating properly, they may develop hypoglycaemia, or low blood sugar. Feeding your small dog smaller portions more frequently is a good way to combat this. Unless it’s a very small breed, providing breakfast, dinner and a snack in an enrichment toy or puzzle feeder during the day is generally a good approach.
If you're unsure how much food you should serve your pup, you should use your dog's ideal weight for their breed or size as a guide. Either consult with your vet or follow the recommended servings printed on the dog food packaging.
It's always a good thing to consult your veterinarian if there's something you need to know about your dog's needs, as nutritional risks may differ based on its breed, age, lifestyle, or current health problems.
At Petzyo, we promote smart, healthy feeding for your pooch by offering high-quality, all-natural dog food in individual serving portions which are specifically tailored to your dog to ensure they are getting all the valuable nutrition they need in the correct quantities. Why not give our premium quality kibble or raw dog food varieties a go—your pooch is sure to love them!