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10 Best Puppy Foods for Small Breeds in 2024 – Reviews & Top Picks

Written by: Nicole Cosgrove

Last Updated on June 12, 2024 by Dogster Team

10 Best Puppy Foods for Small Breeds in 2024 – Reviews & Top Picks

jack russell terier puppy eating food from bowl

Small dogs may think they are big and intimidating, but their nutritional needs are unique. Small breeds have smaller stomachs and higher metabolisms, so they need nutrient-dense formulas to ensure adequate nutrition without weight gain.

Finding the appropriate food for a small-breed puppy can be even more challenging. Puppies have unique nutritional needs, so it is best to choose nutrient-dense puppy food formulated for small or toy breeds.

Here are the 10 best puppy foods for small breeds, based on reviews from real pet owners.

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A Quick Look at Our Favorites in 2024

Rating Image Product Details
Best Overall
Winner
Ollie Fresh Dog Food Ollie Fresh Dog Food
  • Balanced recipes
  • Quality whole ingredients
  • Tailored to your small dog
  • Budget Buy
    Second place
    Pedigree’s Puppy Growth & Protection Dry Dog Food Pedigree’s Puppy Growth & Protection Dry Dog Food
  • Appetizing steak and vegetable flavor
  • No high-fructose corn syrup or artificial flavors
  • Third place
    Orijen Puppy Grain-Free Dry Puppy Food Orijen Puppy Grain-Free Dry Puppy Food
  • Animal protein as first ingredients
  • Grain-free and natural
  • Freeze-dried raw
  • Hill’s Science Diet Puppy Dry Dog Food Hill’s Science Diet Puppy Dry Dog Food
  • Real chicken meal and barley as first ingredients
  • Well-rounded nutrition
  • Manufactured in the USA
  • Nulo FreeStyle Limited+ Puppy & Adult Dog Food Nulo FreeStyle Limited+ Puppy & Adult Dog Food
  • Limited-ingredient formula
  • High-quality nutritional sources
  • Real animal protein
  • The 10 Best Puppy Foods for Small Breeds

    1. Ollie Fresh Dog Food Subscription Service – Best Overall

    Ollie Fresh Dog Food

    Lifestage: All
    Breed Size: All
    Form: Fresh
    Special Diet: Several

    If you’re looking for high-quality dog food for your puppy, the best overall choice is Ollie’s fresh and natural dog food. Their recipes are crafted in the US and customized for your dog’s needs after you enter your pup’s information on their site. Pet owners can select which protein their puppy likes best from chicken, lamb, beef, fish, and more. Also, Ollie ensures it’s packed with all the necessary vitamins and minerals.

    Ollie is a subscription-based service that lets you skip the grocery store trips and have pre-portioned, fresh meals delivered right to your door. You can also enjoy a starter box to let your puppy test it out! The ingredients contain no fillers, preservatives, or artificial flavors, so you know your furry friend is getting only high-quality ingredients.

    Pros
    • Free delivery
    • Quality whole ingredients
    • Tailored to your small dog
    Cons
    • Storage can be tricky
    • Comparatively expensive

    2. Pedigree’s Puppy Dog Food – Budget Buy

    Pedigree’s Puppy Dog Food

    Lifestage: Puppy
    Breed Size: Small, toy
    Form: Dry
    Special Diet: Sensitive digestion

    Pedigree’s Puppy Growth & Protection Dry Dog Food is the best puppy food for small breeds for the money. The wholesome recipe has complete and balanced nutrition with grilled steak and vegetable flavors. The formula is designed to support puppy development and contains vitamins, minerals, and omega-3 fatty acids.

    It’s free from high-fructose corn syrup, artificial flavors, or added sugars, and it’s nutrient-dense to ensure your pup gets adequate nutrition without empty calories. The kibble is small for easy-to-digest bites for small breeds. Some customers said that their puppies wouldn’t touch the food, however.

    Pros
    • Appetizing steak and vegetable flavor
    • No high-fructose corn syrup or artificial flavors
    Cons
    • Some dogs don’t like it

    3. Orijen Puppy Grain-Free Dry Puppy Food

    Orijen Puppy Grain-Free Dry Puppy Food

    Lifestage: Puppy
    Breed Size: Small, toy
    Form: Dry
    Special Diet: Grain-free, high-protein, gluten-free, natural, raw

    Orijen Puppy Grain-Free Dry Puppy Food is another quality small-breed puppy food. This biologically appropriate diet is packed with animal protein and fat for well-rounded nutrition. Fresh or raw chicken and turkey, sustainably farmed or wild-caught fish, and cage-free eggs form the foundation of the protein. Orijen’s formula also contains animal organs and bones for vitamins and minerals.

    It’s manufactured in the USA and adheres to industry nutritional and purity standards. Because of the raw ingredients, the kibble is freeze-dried and coated for a burst of flavor. Some users noted that their dogs didn’t like the food unless it was mixed with other food, and there’s concern over the effect of grain-free diets. Also, the kibble may be too large for extra-small or toy-breed puppies.

    Pros
    • Animal protein is the first ingredients
    • Natural ingredients
    • Freeze-dried raw
    Cons
    • Some dogs don’t like it
    • Concern over grain-free diets
    • Kibble may be too big for toy puppies

    4. Hill’s Science Diet Small Bites Puppy Food

    Hill’s Science Diet Small Bites Puppy Food

    Lifestage: Puppy
    Breed Size: Small, toy
    Form: Dry
    Special Diet: High-protein

    Hill’s Science Diet Puppy Healthy Development Small Bites Dry Dog Food is another good puppy food for small breeds. The formula includes wholesome ingredients, like chicken meal and barley, to support healthy brain, eye, and skeletal development. In addition to meat and high-quality grains, Hill’s has natural DHA from fish oil, vitamins, and antioxidants for well-rounded nutrition.

    Designed for small breed puppies, the formula is easy to digest for growing puppies that need a small kibble size. It’s manufactured in the USA with attention to purity and nutritional standards. This formula is recommended for puppies up to a year old. Some customers noted that their puppies didn’t like the food, and others suggested that the bag size was too big and became stale before their dogs finished it.

    Pros
    • Real chicken meal and barley are the first ingredients
    • Well-rounded nutrition
    • Manufactured in the USA
    Cons
    • Some dogs don’t like it
    • The bag may be too big

    5. Nulo FreeStyle Alaska Pollock & Lentils Recipe

    Nulo FreeStyle Alaska Pollock & Lentils Recipe

    Lifestage: Puppy
    Breed Size: Small, toy
    Form: Dry
    Special Diet: Grain-free, low glycemic, limited ingredient

    Nulo FreeStyle Limited+ Alaska Pollock & Lentils Recipe is an excellent choice for pups with sensitive stomachs. The limited-ingredient food has protein-rich ingredients from Alaska Pollock with the patented probiotic GanedenBC30. All ingredients are designed to support proper digestion and digestive health.

    Puppies need nutrient-dense food formulas, and this food is formulated with a single source of animal protein and low-glycemic ingredients for no empty calories. It also has omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids for skin and coat health. However, Nulo Freestyle is an expensive recipe for puppies.

    Pros
    • Limited-ingredient formula
    • Real animal protein
    • High-quality nutritional sources
    Cons
    • Expensive

    6. Merrick Healthy Grains Raw-Coated Kibble Puppy Food

    Merrick Healthy Grains Raw-Coated Kibble Puppy Food

    Lifestage: Puppy
    Breed Size: Small, toy
    Form: Dry
    Special Diet: High-protein, sensitive digestion

    The Merrick Healthy Grains Raw-Coated Kibble Puppy Recipe Freeze-Dried Dry Dog Food is a freeze-dried raw food with real chicken as the first ingredient and plenty of DHA for healthy brain development. Hearty whole grains supply vitamins and minerals, but there are no lentils, peas, or potatoes. The formula also has omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids for healthy skin and fur.

    Glucosamine and chondroitin are added to support healthy joint development and support growing and rambunctious puppies. The kibble is small and easy to digest for small and toy breeds. However, picky pups may not like the flavor.

    Pros
    • Animal protein is the first ingredients
    • Rich in nutrients
    • Free from peas, lentils, and potatoes
    Cons
    • Some dogs won’t eat it
    • Kibble is too small for some dogs

    7. Royal Canin Puppy Gastrointestinal Ultra Soft Dog Food

    Royal Canin Puppy Gastrointestinal Ultra Soft Dog Food

    Lifestage: Puppy
    Breed Size: Small, toy
    Form: Pate
    Special Diet: Veterinary diet, sensitive formula

    Royal Canin’s Gastrointestinal Puppy Ultra Soft Mousse is a high-energy food for puppies with sensitive stomachs. It’s packed with nutrition for healthy development and optimal digestion. The formula contains probiotics, dietary fiber, and electrolytes to ensure your puppy absorbs all the nutrients without upsetting their stomach.

    It can be offered long-term or short-term and has an easy-to-digest mousse texture. Small and toy breeds can eat smaller portions and still get adequate nutrition. However, this is a veterinary-prescribed food and requires a prescription from a veterinarian to order. Several pet parents had positive results with this formula for their sensitive pups, but others had puppies that wouldn’t eat it or had digestive issues.

    Pros
    • Special digestive formula
    • High-quality nutrition
    Cons
    • Veterinary authorization required
    • Some dogs don’t like it

    8. Honest Kitchen Puppy Blend Dog Food

    Honest Kitchen Puppy Blend Dog Food

    Lifestage: Puppy
    Breed Size: Small, toy
    Form: Dry, dehydrated
    Special Diet: Grain-free, natural

    The Honest Kitchen Food Clusters Chicken Recipe Puppy Blend Grain-Free Dehydrated Dog Food contains cage-free chicken that’s cold-pressed and dehydrated. All of the ingredients are human-grade and ensure that your pup gets optimal nutrition. It’s free from artificial flavors, GMOs, preservatives, meat meals, gums, or carrageenan.

    Though the Honest Kitchen has complete and balanced nutrition, it can be used as an add-on to other dog food formulas. The kibble is small enough for small or toy breeds and can be supplemented with The Honest Kitchen goat’s milk or beef broth for added nutrition and flavor. Some customers experienced quality-control issues with the bags , and some dogs didn’t like the flavor. Others complained about how expensive the food is.

    Pros
    • Grain-free
    • Human-grade ingredients
    Cons
    • Expensive
    • Quality-control issues
    • Some dogs don’t like it

    9. Taste of the Wild Puppy Recipe Dry Dog Food

    Taste of the Wild Puppy Recipe Dry Dog Food

    Lifestage: Puppy
    Breed Size: Small, toy
    Form: Dry
    Special Diet: Grain-free, chicken-free

    Taste of the Wild Pacific Stream Puppy Recipe Grain-Free Dry Dog Food is formulated with novel proteins like salmon for puppies with poultry sensitivities. Peas and sweet potatoes are added for easy-to-digest energy sources, while fruits and vegetables and dry chicory root offer antioxidants and prebiotic support. All minerals are chelated for optimal absorption

    The Taste of the Wild contains K9 Strain Proprietary Probiotics for healthy digestion and optimal immune function. It’s made in the USA and formulated with only quality ingredients from sustainable domestic and international sources. No grains, corn, wheat, or artificial flavors are added, ensuring your pup gets nutrient-dense food. However, some pet parents said their pups didn’t like the formula.

    Pros
    • Real animal protein
    • Grain-free formula
    • Made in the USA
    Cons
    • Some dogs don’t like it

    10. Diamond Naturals Small Breed Puppy Formula

    Diamond Naturals Small Breed Puppy Formula

    Lifestage: Puppy
    Breed Size: Small, toy
    Form: Dry
    Special Diet: High-protein

    Diamond Naturals Small Breed Puppy Formula Dry Dog Food is formulated specifically for small breeds and features superfoods and probiotics for healthy growth and development. Cage-free chicken is the first ingredient for high protein, while kale, pumpkin, blueberries, and oranges provide vitamins and minerals. Diamond Naturals also includes omega fatty acids for healthy skin and fur.

    All formulas are made in the USA by a family-owned company, and the ingredients are sourced from trusted domestic and international sources. The small kibble size is ideal for even the smallest of puppies. Each serving contains K9 Strain Proprietary Probiotics for better digestion. Several pet parents said their puppies wouldn’t touch the food, however.

    Pros
    • Cage-free chicken as the first ingredient
    • Well-balanced nutrition
    • Made in the USA
    Cons
    • Some dogs aren’t drawn to the taste

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    Buyer’s Guide: How to Select the Best Puppy Foods for Small Breeds

    Small breeds differ from medium or large breeds in many ways, including their nutritional needs. They have higher metabolisms and require more calories per pound, which can be challenging to achieve with a small stomach. In addition, an extra pound or two could be detrimental to a small dog that weighs less than 10 pounds.

    As puppies, they also need extra nutrition to support their growth and development. This can make it more challenging to find the best food to support puppy nutrition and satisfy the high metabolism of a small or toy breed.

    Here’s what to look for in small-breed dog food for puppies:

    Nutrient-Dense Formula

    Small dogs have high metabolisms, and they’re prone to hypoglycemia. When that happens, they can suffer weakness, lethargy, muscle tremors, or seizures. Complete and balanced small-breed foods have the right amount of nutrients to support small breeds’ energy and caloric needs.

    Small Kibble Size

    Puppies may inhale their food without chewing, which can be a choking hazard. Small kibble reduces this risk and makes it easier for tiny puppies to chew properly. Another option is rehydrated food or wet food, which dogs need to take their time eating.

    Puppy yorkshire terrier eating dry dog food
    Image Credit: Scorpp, Shutterstock

    Empty Calories

    Small dogs may need more calories per pound but are prone to obesity. Nutrient-dense formulas will have higher quality nutrition and fewer empty calories, which can contribute to obesity. Avoid formulas with fillers, artificial flavors, or low-quality carbohydrate sources, and avoid overfeeding your pup. Long-term obesity in dogs is linked to devastating illnesses like kidney disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, osteoarthritis, and joint injuries.

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    Conclusion

    Toys and small breeds have unique nutritional needs, especially puppies. The top choice for a small-breed puppy food is Ollie Fresh Dog Food, which has well-rounded nutrition for developing puppies. For the best value, choose Pedigree’s Puppy Growth & Protection Dry Dog Food, a wholesome dog food free from empty calories and fillers. Although Ollie and Pedigree were our top picks, the other recipes we discussed are also suitable for small-breed puppies. We hope we’ve helped you find the ideal formula for your little pup!


    Featured Image Credit: Gladskikh Tatiana, Shutterstock

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