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11 Best Dry Dog Foods for Small Dogs in 2024 – Reviews & Top Picks

Written by: Kathryn Copeland

Last Updated on June 17, 2024 by Dogster Team

11 Best Dry Dog Foods for Small Dogs in 2024 – Reviews & Top Picks

shih tzu dog eating outdoorsIf you’re the proud owner of a tiny dog, you know that they have specific food requirements. They have faster metabolisms, grow faster, and have smaller stomachs and mouths than larger breeds. All of this means that not only are their nutritional requirements a little different, but the kibble itself needs to be small enough for their tiny mouths and teeth. But there is so much dog food out there!

That’s why we’ve reviewed the best kinds of dry dog food that will be ideal for most small dogs. We hope these reviews will help take some of the guesswork out so you can just point and click and bring home the perfect food for your best friend.

divider-dogA Quick Comparison of the Winners (2024)

Rating Image Product Details
Best Overall
Winner
Ollie Baked Meal Plan Ollie Baked Meal Plan
  • Slowly cooked to retain nutrients
  • Meal plan catered to your small dog’s requirements
  • Uses high-quality ingredients
  • Budget Buy
    Second place
    Cesar Small Dog Dry Food Cesar Small Dog Dry Food
  • Great price
  • Real beef is the main ingredient
  • Bag is resealable
  • Third place
    Hill’s Diet Prescription Hill’s Diet Prescription
  • Supports a healthy urinary system
  • High in fiber so your dog feels fuller
  • Helps dogs with weight control
  • Royal Canin X-Small Dry Royal Canin X-Small Dry
  • Extra small kibble
  • Highly digestible protein
  • Prebiotics for digestive health
  • Blue Buffalo Life Protection Blue Buffalo Life Protection
  • Available in 3 sizes
  • Main ingredient is deboned chicken
  • Rich and natural source of protein
  • The 11 Best Dry Dog Foods for Small Dogs

    1. Ollie Baked Meal Plan Dog Food (Beef Recipe) – Best Overall

    Ollie Fresh Beef Dish With Sweet Potatoes

    Sizes: Choose your frequency
    Flavor: Baked beef or chicken
    Special diet: No corn, wheat, soy, or by-products

    Ollie is a subscription-based dog food delivery service. When you sign up for a subscription, Ollie will ask for a number of details about your dog and their diet. You can also choose from fresh, baked, or a combination of the two meal types. The baked meal plan contains the same high-quality ingredients, but because it undergoes a less intensive cooking process, it costs less than that of the fresh meal.

    It is similar, in concept, to a traditional kibble food, except that it uses real meat, fruit, and vegetables with meat as the primary ingredient. It is also free from low-quality and undesirable by-products like hormones.

    There is currently only a limited range of baked menu flavors: chicken or beef. And, while the food does cost a little more than traditional kibbles, the ingredients are high quality and the food is gently prepared, ensuring that the ingredients retain their nutritional value. Plus, it is less expensive than feeding a fresh menu. The combination of reasonable pricing with high-quality ingredients makes it the best overall dry dog food for small dogs.

    Pros
    • Slowly cooked to retain nutrients
    • Meal plan catered to your small dog’s requirements
    • Uses high-quality ingredients
    • Delivered directly to your door
    Cons
    • Limited choice of only two flavors

    2. Cesar Small Breed Dry Dog Food – Budget Buy

    Cesar Small Breed

    Sizes: 7, 5, or 12 pounds
    Flavor: Filet mignon and spring vegetables
    Special diet: None

    Cesar’s Small Breed Dry Dog Food is the best dry dog food for small dogs for the money. The price is right, and it contains crunchy kibble small enough for your dog as well as tender, meaty chunks. It has 26 nutrients and is high in protein for your small dog. Real beef is the first ingredient, and the shape of the crunchy kibble can help with your dog’s dental health. Lastly, the bag has a resealable zipper, keeping the food fresh.

    The main disadvantage of this dog food is that it does contain wheat, corn, soy, and animal by-products.

    Pros
    • Great price
    • Combination of crunchy kibble and tender chunks
    • Contains 26 nutrients and is high in protein
    • Real beef is the main ingredient
    • Shape of the kibble helps with dental health
    • Bag is resealable
    Cons
    • Contains wheat, soy, corn, and animal by-products

    3. Hill’s Prescription Diet w/d Dry Dog Food

    Hill’s Prescription Diet

    Sizes: 5, 17.6, or 27.5 pounds
    Flavor: Chicken
    Special diet: Weight control, vet diet, pea-free

    Hill’s Prescription Diet w/d Dry Dog Food is perfect for those small dogs that need a little help controlling their weight. It also helps maintain healthy digestion and normal blood glucose levels and provides excellent support for a healthy urinary tract. This includes the prevention of the formation of urinary crystals. This food is high in fiber, which will help dogs feel fuller, and is high in L-carnitine, which increases the metabolism and burns fat.

    The primary disadvantages of this dog food are that it is pretty expensive and needs veterinary authorization.

    Pros
    • Helps dogs with weight control
    • Maintains healthy digestion and normal blood glucose levels
    • Supports a healthy urinary system
    • High in fiber so your dog feels fuller
    • High in L-carnitine for metabolism and burning fat
    Cons
    • Expensive
    • Needs vet authorization

    4. Royal Canin X-Small Dry Puppy Food

    Royal Canin X-Small

    Sizes: 3 or 15 pounds
    Flavor: Chicken
    Special diet: Extra small puppies

    Royal Canin’s X-Small Dry Puppy Food is specifically designed for puppies under 10 months of age and up to 8 pounds in weight. For this reason, the kibble is extra small for those tiny mouths and teeth, and it contains highly digestible proteins for growing bodies. This dog food also includes antioxidants and prebiotics to help digestive health and encourage a robust immune system.

    However, the first ingredient listed is chicken by-product, and it also includes corn and wheat gluten.

    Pros
    • For puppies up to 10 months of age and up to 8 pounds
    • Extra small kibble
    • Highly digestible protein
    • Antioxidants for a strong immune system
    • Prebiotics for digestive health
    Cons
    • Includes chicken by-products, corn, and wheat gluten

    5. Blue Buffalo Life Protection Small Dog Food

    Blue Buffalo Life Protection

    Sizes: 3, 6, or 15 pounds
    Flavor: Chicken and brown rice
    Special diet: No corn, wheat, soy, or by-products

    Another good dry food for small dogs is Blue Buffalo’s Life Protection Formula Dog Food. It comes in three sizes and is chicken and brown rice flavored. The primary ingredient is deboned chicken, which provides your small pup with a natural and rich source of protein. It also includes fruits and veggies as well as minerals, vitamins, and nutrients that are high in antioxidants. It’s high in carbs and protein, perfect for the smaller dog. The kibble itself is the right size for small teeth and also works to help remove tartar buildup. Finally, it doesn’t contain poultry by-products, wheat, soy, or corn.

    However, Blue Buffalo includes the vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants combined into a small, dark brown chunk of food called LifeSource Bits. These bits seem to get rejected by several dogs, so you might notice these small, dark pieces of food scattered around the food bowl.

    Pros
    • Available in 3 sizes
    • Main ingredient is deboned chicken
    • Rich and natural source of protein
    • Contains fruits and veggies high in antioxidants
    • Kibble is small but helps with tartar buildup
    • Doesn’t contain wheat, soy, corn, or by-products
    Cons
    • LifeSource Bits are often rejected by some dogs

    6. Nutro Natural Choice Small Breed Adult Dry Dog Food

    Nutro Natural Choice Small Breed Adult Chicken & Brown Rice Recipe Dry Dog Food

    Sizes: 5 or 13 pounds
    Flavor: Chicken and brown rice
    Special diet: No GMO, corn, wheat, or soy

    Nutro’s Natural Choice Small Breed Adult Dry Dog Food is made with whole chicken making for a high-quality protein. It also contains chondroitin and glucosamine, which will help to support your dog’s joints, as well as antioxidants for a strong immune system. This food doesn’t contain GMOs, corn, wheat, soy, or chicken by-products.

    Unfortunately, this dog food is a little on the expensive side. Plus, some dogs might be on the picky side with this food.

    Pros
    • Whole chicken is the main ingredient
    • Contains glucosamine and chondroitin for joint health
    • Antioxidants for a healthy immune system
    • Doesn’t include soy, wheat, corn, GMOs, or chicken by-products
    Cons
    • A little pricey
    • Picky dogs will be picky

    7. Nature’s Recipe Small Breed Dry Dog Food

    Nature′s Recipe Dry Dog Food, Grain Free Small Breed

    Sizes: 4 or 12 pounds
    Flavor: Chicken, sweet potato, and pumpkin
    Special diet: No wheat, soy, or corn

    Nature’s Recipe Small Breed Dry Dog Food contains chicken as the first and primary ingredient but is also full of sweet potato and pumpkin, as well as antioxidants and fiber for digestive health and a hardy immune system, and added vitamins and minerals. It doesn’t contain any by-products, corn, wheat, soy, or artificial preservatives or flavors.

    The main flaw with this food is the price. It is on the expensive side, and like most food, picky dogs will be picky.

    Pros
    • Chicken is the main ingredient with pumpkin and sweet potato
    • Fiber and antioxidants for digestive health and immune system
    • No artificial preservatives or flavors
    • No corn, wheat, soy, or by-products
    Cons
    • Picky dogs are picky
    • Expensive

    8. Taste of the Wild Appalachian Valley Small Dog Dry Food

    Taste of the Wild Grain Free High Protein Real Meat Recipe Appalachian Valley Premium Dry Dog Food

    Sizes: 5, 14, or 28 pounds
    Flavor: Venison and green beans
    Special diet: Grain-free

    Taste of the Wild’s Appalachian Valley Dog Food contains venison as the main ingredient, and it includes both probiotics and prebiotics to aid in healthy digestion. It has lamb, duck, egg, and ocean fish which are all high in protein and provide a healthy dose of amino acids and fat that can also give your pup a healthy coat and skin. It does not contain artificial flavors, colors, corn, wheat, or grains.

    However, like the other dog foods with fewer or no fillers, it’s expensive, and some dogs seem not to like it very much.

    Pros
    • Venison is the main ingredient
    • Contains probiotics and prebiotics for healthy digestion
    • High in natural proteins and fats
    • Doesn’t have any artificial flavors, colors, wheat, soy, or corn
    Cons
    • Expensive
    • Some dogs don’t like it

    9. Purina ONE SmartBlend Small Bites Dry Dog Food

    Purina ONE Natural Dry Dog Food

    Sizes: 5 or 31.1 pounds
    Flavor: Beef and rice
    Special diet: Natural

    The Purina ONE SmartBlend Small Bites Dry Dog Food has real beef as the first and main ingredient and other high protein sources. It’s a combination of dry crunchy kibble and softer tender morsels, and it contains glucosamine for joint health. This food also supports coat and skin health with essential omega-6 fatty acids and antioxidants for a robust immune system.

    On the downside, this food does contain chicken by-products, corn, soy, and wheat. Also, while the softer morsels are enticing for most dogs, they might prove to be too enticing, and your dog might reject the kibble in favor of the tender bits.

    Pros
    • Real beef is the primary ingredient
    • Combination of kibble and tender bites
    • Includes glucosamine for joint health
    • Essential omega-6 fatty acids for coat and skin health
    • Antioxidants for a robust immune system
    Cons
    • Contains corn, wheat, soy, and chicken by-products
    • Dogs might reject kibble in favor of softer morsels

    10. Wellness CORE Small Breed Dry Dog Food

    Wellness Natural Pet Food CORE Grain-Free High-Protein Small Breed Dry Dog Food

    Sizes: 4 or 12 pounds
    Flavor: Turkey and chicken
    Special diet: High protein, grain, and gluten-free

    Wellness CORE Small Breed Dry Dog Food has deboned turkey as the primary ingredient with the addition of chicken, salmon oil, veggies, and fruit. It has probiotics, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, chondroitin, glucosamine, omega fatty acids, and taurine. It doesn’t contain any animal by-products, soy, wheat, corn, artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives.

    You’ll notice a pattern here, but dog food that tends to contain whole ingredients and no fillers also seems to be expensive. Some dogs might not like it, particularly if they are picky.

    Pros
    • Deboned chicken is the main ingredient
    • Contains a variety of taurine, glucosamine chondroitin, and probiotics
    • Doesn’t have artificial ingredients, by-products, wheat, soy, or corn
    Cons
    • Expensive
    • Picky dogs might not like

    11. Purina Pro Plan Shredded Blend Small Breed Dry Dog Food

    Purina Pro Plan Shredded Blend Adult Small Breed Chicken & Rice Formula Dry Dog Food

    Sizes: 6, 18, or 34 pounds
    Flavor: Chicken and rice
    Special diet: High protein

    The Purina Pro Plan Shredded Blend Dry Dog Food is another dog food that is a combination of kibble and tender morsels. Whole chicken is the main ingredient, and it includes vitamin A and linoleic acid for a healthy coat and skin. It also contains live probiotics for the immune system and digestive health and also has prebiotics for additional digestive health.

    Unfortunately, similar to the other kinds of kibble like this one with tender morsels, some dogs might ignore the kibble and only eat the soft bits. This food also contains chicken by-products, soy, wheat, and corn. Additionally, sometimes the bags are inconsistent with the number of morsels contained, with some bags having little to none.

    Pros
    • Combination of tender bites and kibble
    • Whole chicken is the main ingredient
    • Has vitamin A and linoleic acid for healthy coat and skin
    • Prebiotics and live probiotics for immune system and digestion
    Cons
    • Some dogs will pick out the shredded pieces
    • Contains by-products, wheat, soy, and corn
    • Some of the bags have little to no shredded pieces

    divider-dogBuyer’s Guide: Selecting the Best Dry Food for Small Dogs

    Now that you’ve had a look at some of the options, you should read our Buyer’s Guide, as we’ll go over a few points of interest that should help you make your decision.

    Dog Size

    The smaller your dog, the smaller the bag might need to be. Of course, this is something you can decide on at your own discretion but stocking up on enormous bags of food for a dog that will take twice as long to eat it, as compared to its larger counterparts, might not be the best idea, as the food can spoil before your dog has a chance to eat it all.

    But if you have the space and aren’t worried about the food going bad or being attacked by pests, then get the larger bags.

    Chihuahua dog eating_tanyastock, Shutterstock
    Image By: tanyastock, Shutterstock

    Dog Food Ingredients

    Fillers are the concern here. Sometimes manufacturers add extra fillers, which does seem to take down the product’s price. Animal by-products, wheat, corn, and soy are all fillers. There are also artificial preservatives, flavors, and colors added to some of the recipes.

    It’s always a good idea to get into the habit of reading the ingredients list on your dog’s food, especially if your dog has any allergies or health issues. Some dogs do just fine on these cheaper foods but just be aware of what is going into your pup’s food.

    Dog Food Flavor

    Chicken is sometimes an ingredient you should avoid, as many dogs have food sensitivities with it. It can be difficult to find food that doesn’t contain chicken in some form or other. Yet another reason to read the ingredients. Otherwise, if you know your dog favors beef, look for beef or filet mignon flavors.

    Many dogs sometimes seem to be put off by the “healthier” dog foods, so play around with the flavors until you find the right one.

    divider-dog

    Conclusion

    Ollie’s Baked Meal Plan is our overall favorite as it doesn’t contain any wheat, soy, corn, or animal by-products, and the dry food is customized to your small dog’s needs. Cesar’s Small Breed Dry Dog Food is priced well, and it contains crunchy kibble as well as tender, meaty chunks perfectly sized for your pup’s mouth. Finally, Hill’s Prescription Diet w/d Dry Dog Food is expensive, but it is the perfect food for those small dogs that need a little help controlling their weight.

    We hope our reviews have helped you to figure out what food will be the best for your little friend and that they’ll thank you for it in their own way.


    Featured Image Credit: thanakarn Singto, Shutterstock

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