Best Dog Food for Small Dogs (Pros, Cons, and Pictures)

This blog post is all about the best dog food for small dogs. We’ll explore what you need to look out for when picking a suitable diet, and list our favorite picks of top brands! So if your pup’s got a tiny appetite, this article is definitely worth checking out.

Note: If you click some of the links or pictures in this article we may earn a small commission at no additional cost to you.

Best Dry Dog Food for Small Dogs

Pedigree with Tender Bites is the best dry dog food for small dogs because of its ingredient list. It contains ingredients like chicken, vegetables, and rice to promote digestive health. It also has whole grains to give your dog plenty of fiber.

Because this dog food is specifically made for small breeds, it contains the right amount of Omega-6 fatty acids to give their coats the right kind of sheen. It also keeps their skin healthy and can help prevent skin allergies.

It’s made in the USA and refrains from using sugar, artificial flavors, and high fructose corn syrup.

Finally, the kibble is small and made for smaller mouths.

PEDIGREE Small Dog Complete Nutrition Small Breed Adult Dry Dog Food Roasted Chicken, Rice & Vegetable Flavor Dog Kibble, 15.9 lb. Bag
  • Contains one (1) 15.9 lb. bag of PEDIGREE Small Dog Complete Nutrition Adult Dry Dog Food, Roasted Chicken, Rice & Vegetable Flavor
  • PEDIGREE Small Dog Dry Food features a delicious chicken and vegetable flavor that provides antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals to help maintain a healthy lifestyle
  • PEDIGREE Food for Dogs features whole grains, protein, and accents of vegetables to help support digestion
  • Complete and balanced nutrition provides optimal levels of omega-6 fatty acid to nourish skin, and help keep your small dogs coat shiny and healthy
  • Proudly made in the USA with the world’s finest ingredients, no high fructose corn syrup, no artificial flavors, and no added sugar


  • Great for picky eaters
  • Small kibble makes it easier for small dogs to eat
  • They receive all the nutrition they need


  • Dogs may have a hard time transitioning to it at first

Best Wet Dog Food for Small Dogs

If your dog prefers wet food, then you need Merrick Lil’Plates. You’re able to receive 12 cups of food. Each one is a different flavor. That makes it a great choice for dogs that are picky. There’s always something new to eat.

It doesn’t contain gluten or grain products. That makes it a great choice for small dogs with allergies to grain or gluten.

It uses a single source of protein that’s always deboned. It’s either chicken or fish. It contains a lot of glucosamine and chondroitin which helps support small dog joints. It also contains plenty of Omega-6 fatty acids and Omega-3s to keep their skin and coat shiny and healthy.

Merrick Lil'Plates Mini Medley Wet Dog Food Variety Pack - (12) 3.5 oz. Tubs
  • Twelve (12) 3.5 oz Tubs - Merrick Lil'Plates Mini Medley Wet Dog Food Variety Pack
  • Merrick Lil'Plates Mini Medley Wet Dog Food Variety Pack with 12 trays
  • Real deboned beef, chicken or turkey is always the number 1 ingredient
  • Small breed dog food ideal for adult dogs
  • Grain free wet dog food with no gluten ingredients


  • Doesn’t contain out-sourced ingredients
  • Not too many calories
  • More meat and fewer vegetables


  • Has made some smaller dogs ill

Best for Small Breed Puppies

Puppies will love the flavor of Hill’s Science dog food. Not too many dog foods pay close attention to adding DHA to their meals. This one does. DHA is useful in helping brains and eyes develop. Growing puppies need all the support that they can get during their growth and development.

It also uses high-quality protein to give puppies lean protein to help them build muscle. The food is blended with antioxidants to give them immune support that can last them for their entire life.

This dog food is specifically made for Toy and Miniature breeds. You can be sure it contains all of the nutrients that smaller breeds need.

Hill's Science Diet Dry Dog Food, Puppy, Small Paws, Chicken Meal, Barley & Brown Rice Recipe, 15.5 lb Bag
  • This dry puppy food uses DHA from fish oil to support healthy brain and eye development
  • Provides your small breed dog with high quality protein for building lean muscle
  • Uses a balance of minerals to promote strong bones and healthy teeth
  • Uses an antioxidant blend specifically for lifelong immune support in toy and miniature dogs
  • Mix up meal time with our convenient, single serve tray Science Diet Puppy Small Paws Savory Stew with Chicken and Vegetables


  • Great for cleaning teeth
  • Builds lean muscle
  • Helps develop lots of energy


  • Some dogs may choke on the small kibble

Best for Small Dogs with Allergies

Another one of Hill’s Science dog foods is ideal for smaller dogs with allergies. That’s because it’s extremely gentle on their stomachs. It uses a lot of prebiotic fiber in its ingredients to promote healthy bacteria living in your dog’s gut.

As a result, their digestive system works better. They’re able to metabolize their food a lot easier.

It also contains a lot of vitamin E and Omega-6 fatty acids. These ingredients promote skin health and coat health.

The ingredients are also easy to digest. They’re gentle on the stomach which makes it easier for dogs to digest and avoid developing allergies. Each ingredient used in the formula is natural.

This particular formula is recommended by veterinarians.

Hill's Science Diet Dry Dog Food, Adult, Small & Mini Breeds, Sensitive Stomach & Skin, Chicken Recipe, 4 lb Bag
  • This dry dog food uses prebiotic fiber to feed your small dog's microbiome for optimal digestive health
  • Vitamin E, omega 6 fatty acids and other nutrients in smaller kibble help nourish skin & promote a lustrous coat
  • Dog food formulated with little dogs in mind to provide an optimal balance of nutrients specifically for miniature and toy breed dogs. Calorie content: 3734 kcal/kg (392 kcal/cup)
  • Precise balance and highly digestible ingredients for sensitive stomachs and for dogs with sensitive skin
  • Made with natural ingredients


  • Smaller kibble is ideal for small mouths
  • Helped remove allergies
  • Skin and coat look great


  • Does contain chicken so some dogs may still be allergic to it

Best for Old Dogs with Bad Teeth

Dogs who have bad teeth find it difficult to eat dry kibble. Biting into the kibble can cause them pain or they may not be able to bite down if they’re missing teeth. Purina has a great solution with their Moist & Meaty dog food. It’s not completely wet dog food. It’s just slightly moist dry food.

The moisture makes the meal soft. It’s ideal for dogs who prefer to chew their food but can’t use the full strength of their teeth. Because it’s moist, it also rolls down their throat easier.

Each meal is placed in a sealed package. You can easily open it and pour the meal into their bowl. Each package also has a complete nutritious meal. Your dog’s health will skyrocket.

Purina Moist & Meaty Wet Dog Food, Steak Flavor - 36 ct. Pouch
  • (1) 216-Ounce Box Of Purina Moist & Meaty Steak Flavor Dog Food
  • 100% Complete & Balanced Nutrition For Adult Dogs
  • Serve Up The Smiles With Tender, Meaty Pieces Made With Real Meat
  • Enjoy Convenience And No Mess With Individual Stay Fresh Pouches In Every Box
  • Can Be Used As A Meal, Snack Or A Topper


  • Great for picky eaters
  • Dogs with missing teeth can easily eat it
  • Works great as a treat for training


  • High in high-fructose corn syrup

What Dog Food Do Vets Recommend for Small Dogs?

Vets recommend the following dog food for small dogs:

  • Taste of the Wild Small Breed Recipe
  • Merrick Classic Small Breed Dog Food
  • Nom Nom Turkey Fare Fresh Dog Food
  • Nulo Freestyle Small Breed Dog Food
  • Instinct Original Small Breed Dog Food
  • Blue Buffalo Life Protection Small Breed

What Wet Dog Food Do Vets Recommend?

  • Royal Canin Puppy Canned Dog Food
  • Hill’s Science Diet Adult Beef & Barley
  • Purina Pro Plan Focus Adult 7+ Beef & Rice

Which Is Better Dry or Wet Dog Food?

Both are safe and healthy for dogs to eat. Wet dog food is easier for dogs with dental problems to eat. It can also encourage older or sick dogs to eat because of its aroma. However, it’s difficult to store long-term.

Dry food is great in helping dogs preserve their dental health because it’s chewable. You can also store it for a long time. However, some dry dog food contains harmful ingredients that can cause allergies or other health problems in dogs.

Can Dogs Live on Dry Food Only?

Dogs can live on dry food only. Wet food isn’t necessary for their diet. The only time they may need wet food is if their dental health starts to deteriorate. Eating wet food may be the only thing that they can eat. It doesn’t require them to chew.

Older dogs or sick dogs may also prefer wet food. The taste and smell of it are more appetizing to them.

However, dogs that only eat dry food will still receive all of the nutrition that they need to stay healthy.