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The Best Dry Dog Foods for Small Dogs

There are numerous types of dry dog foods available from different sources, making it challenging to choose the best option for your small dog. Our vets in Benicia have shared their top picks to help you make the right choice.

Choosing a Food for Your Small Dog

Smaller dogs weighing under 20 lbs typically have a faster metabolism than larger dogs. Therefore, it's important to choose dry food specifically designed for small dogs with a fast metabolism. Many small dog foods are available in smaller kibble sizes, making them easier for small dogs to consume. However, feeding small dogs small-sized kibble is not essential, as even tiny dogs can handle regular-sized kibble.

Ingredients to Avoid

When selecting food for your small or large dog, it's important to avoid certain controversial ingredients that may not be healthy for your pet.

Here are some ingredients that you may want to avoid in order to provide your small dog with the best possible nutrition:

  • Propylene glycol (Moisturizer)
  • Generic "meat" (Unknown source)
  • BHA (Preservative)
  • BHT (Preservative)
  • TBHQ (Preservative)
  • Ethoxyquin (Preservative)
  • Menadione (Synthetic vitamin)
  • Artificial dyes (Color)

5 Nutritious Dry Foods For Small Dogs

When selecting food for your small dog, check the first five ingredients on the package. These ingredients should consist of recognizable and healthy foods.

  • CANIDAE Grain-Free PURE Fields with Chicken Small Breed - First five ingredients: Chicken, Menhaden Fish Meal, Peas, Lentils, and Potatoes
  • Taste of the Wild - Appalachian Valley Small Breed Recipe - First five ingredients: Venison, lamb meal, garbanzo beans, peas, and lentils (grain-free recipe)
  • Nutro Wholesome Essentials Small Breed Adult Chicken - First five ingredients: Chicken, chicken meal, split peas, whole brown rice, and brewer rice
  • Wellness Complete Health Small Breed Adult Dog Food - First five ingredients: Deboned turkey, chicken meal, salmon meal, oatmeal, and ground brown rice
  • Blue Buffalo Life Protection Small Breed Adult - First five ingredients: Deboned chicken, chicken meal, brown rice, oatmeal, and barley

If you are unsure which dry food is best for your small dog, speak to your veterinarian. Your vet can recommend just the right food for your dog based on their age, overall health, and activity level.

How Much to Feed Your Small Dog

Determining how much food to feed your small dog can be challenging because the calorie content of dog food varies by brand, and each dog has a unique lifestyle and calorie expenditure.

Following the feeding recommendations printed on the dog food package is important. Alternatively, you can consult your veterinarian for their professional advice.

Since your vet knows your pet's overall health and nutritional needs better than any dog food manufacturer, they are the best resource for advice on what to feed your small dog.

Changing Your Small Dog's Food

When changing your dog's food, it's important to be aware that it may cause gastrointestinal issues. It's best to introduce the new food gradually to make the transition as smooth as possible.

Start by mixing 25% of the new food with 75% of the dog's regular food for the first 3-4 days. Keep a close eye on your dog for any signs of tummy trouble, such as gas or loose stools.

If your dog is doing well with the new food, gradually increase the proportion of the new food to about 50% while still monitoring any reactions.

Over about 10-14 days, your dog's digestive system should get used to the new food. If your dog continues to experience gastrointestinal upset, it would be best to consult your veterinarian for advice. They may advise a longer, more gradual transition to the new food or suggest that it isn't the right food for your furry friend.

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

If your dog is showing signs of illness or refusing to eat, contact our Benicia vets today for a consultation.

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Animal Clinic of Benicia is accepting new patients! Our skilled vets are passionate about the health of Benicia companion animals. Contact us today to book your pet's first appointment.

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