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Dogs come in all sizes – and so does their food! There are formulas of dog food for small dogs, large dogs, puppies, large breed puppies and so on, each designed to meet those dogs’ specific needs. But, are all small dog food formulas the same? Hardly. If you have a petite pup, here are a few factors to consider when choosing a small breed dog food formula.


Is your small dog a puppy or an adult? They have different nutritional needs. Puppies, for example, need more calories to support growth, and more protein to build new tissues and support muscle, skin, hair coat and organ development. Small breed puppies, in particular, have very high metabolic rates and tend to burn through their calories quickly. Thus, you may want to consider a small breed puppy formula like Purina® Pro Plan® FOCUS® Puppy Small Breed Chicken & Rice Formula, which offers the calories and protein small breed puppies need, plus DHA to help nourish brain and vision development.


How small is your small dog? There is a wide variability in the sizes and characteristics of small breed dogs. For example, dogs that weigh between five and 15 pounds have the same number of teeth as larger dogs, but they have smaller mouths. Luckily, many small dog food brands make kibble pieces that are specifically designed for miniature mouths. For example, Purina® Pro Plan® FOCUS® Toy Breed Formula offers tiny, bite-size kibbles for dogs up to 10 pounds, and the brand’s Small Breed Formula has a slightly larger kibble for dogs up to 20 pounds.

Owner Preference

Do you prefer to feed your dog a grain-free formula? Perhaps you want your dog to eat a natural formula. Or, maybe you want to avoid certain ingredients, like corn, soy or artificial colors. Think about what’s important to you in terms of ingredients. You’re sure to find a dog food for small breeds that also meets your feeding preferences.

Once you choose a small breed dog food formula, be sure to follow the feeding guidelines on the package to help your dog maintain a healthy body condition. You can also refer to the Purina® Body Condition System chart. Small breed dogs actually require more calories per pound than larger dogs, so it’s important to make sure your dog is getting all the nutrients he needs.

As you know, dog food is not “one size fits all.” Choosing a formula that’s tailored for your small dog’s breed size and age will help ensure that he is getting everything he needs to stay at his best.