How to Cook for Small Dogs (Solved & Explained!)

When cooking for your small dog, you should be including proteins, vegetables, carbohydrates and sources of calcium, much like a human requires. You could also choose to feed them a mixture of their usual kibble with added ingredients, such as eggs, vegetables, tuna or salmon, or yoghurt.

With so many petfood brands around, it can be really overwhelming trying to find the best option for your dog. Often, you’re not really sure what is in their food, and you just have to hope that it’s doing your beloved pet some good.

Unfortunately, store-bought pet foods sometimes lack some of the key vitamins and minerals that a dog needs to be completely healthy. 

More and more people are choosing to cook for their dog instead, and in this article, we will look in detail at what kinds of foods you could cook for your dog, how to make the transition to home cooked meals for your dog, and the kinds of portion sizes you should be giving to a small dog.

How Much Should Your Small Dog Eat?

The easiest way to figure out how much your dog should be eating is to weigh them. Today we’re focusing on small dogs, so we’ll look at how much they should be eating based on their weight. 

Toy dogs (dogs weighing less than 10 pounds) should be eating 1/3 cup per day if they weigh 3 pounds, or 1/2 cup per day if they weigh 6 pounds.

Small dogs (dogs weighing 10-20 pounds) are recommended to eat 3/4 cup per day if they weigh 10 pounds, 1 cup per day if they weigh 15 pounds, or 1 2/3 cups per day if they weigh 20 pounds.

Foods to Cook For Your Dog 

So, you’ve managed to weigh your dog and know roughly how much they should be eating. But what to feed them? 

Like a human, a dog’s diet should be varied. They should be eating a mix of proteins, vegetables and carbohydrates, with a ratio of around 40% protein, 50% vegetables and 10% carbohydrates. 

This might be surprising – the majority of people tend to assume that dogs only need protein. In reality, vegetables are great for your dog, just like they are for us.

Here are some examples of foods that are great to feed your dog. Of course, scale what would be a normal portion for a human down to suit the weight of your small dog.

Best Protein Sources for Dogs

The best sources of protein for dogs are the ones which are lean, not cooked in oil, butter, garlic or too many seasonings. Lean chicken, pork, beef, lamb and shrimp are all suitable for a small dog to consume. Canned tuna and salmon are also good options. Be careful to remove any bones or shells before putting your dog’s dinner down.

Best Vegetables to Feed Your Dog

Luckily, the vegetables you probably already have in the fridge are suitable for your dog. Cucumber, spinach, carrots, green beans, peas and corn are all dog-friendly choices.

Best Carbohydrates/Starches for Dogs

Though you don’t need to feed your dog as much of starchy food as protein and veg, some is still recommended. Again, you probably already have potatoes, rice, pasta, quinoa and oats in the cupboards at home, and these work just fine for your dog too. 

Ingredients to Avoid For Dogs

Any dog owner will know that there are some ingredients that dog’s stomachs just don’t agree with. Often, human food can be a little too rich or fatty for a dog, regardless of the portion size you give them.

Here are the ingredients which you should refrain from feeding your dog:

  • Mushrooms
  • Chocolate
  • Avocado
  • Almonds
  • Alcohol (we hope you knew this one!)
  • Coffee
  • Cinnamon
  • Raw yeast dough
  • Grapes
  • Onions
  • Macadamia nuts
  • Any artificial sweeteners

Of course, on top of these ingredients, each dog will likely have its own sensitivities and preferences. 

If you are concerned about feeding new foods to your pet, then it may be worth investing in a dog allergy test, which will give you a complete breakdown of the kinds of foods which your dog is safe to eat, and which you should always leave out of any of their meals.

How to Switch to Home-Cooked Dog Food

So you’ve decided to make the switch to cooking for your small dog, which is great. They’ll most likely love having new, exciting foods to try which are similar to what their humans eat. 

However, like humans, an abrupt change in a dog’s diet could really shock their digestive system, which could cause them some stomach pain, which is the last thing you want to do. 

Therefore, you must think about the way you’re going to begin incorporating your cooking into your dog’s diet, if it is used to only kibble or canned dog food from the pet shop.

The best way to change your dog’s diet is to begin mixing in some of the new food with the food that they’re used to. Be sure to keep their portions consistent, as a change in quantity could also be cause for stomach upset. This can be done over a week or longer, for example:

Day 1: Mix 20% of the new food with 80% of the old.

Day 4: Mix 50% of the new food with 50% of the old.

Day 8: Feed your dog 100% of the new food.

Of course, if your dog does not seem to be enjoying the change, or if they suffer from vomiting, diarrhea or quick weight change at all, then slow down the transition. Any health concerns that persist are worth seeing a vet about, and it might be worth checking at your local practice that what you are feeding your dog is suitable long-term.