Best Dog Food for Small Dogs 2024

Written by Aurus Sy

Veterinary reviewed by:

Published: 04/28/2023, edited: 02/08/2024

Best Dog Food for Small Dogs 2024 image

The Wag! team conducts independent research and consults pet experts to curate our recommendations. This content is supported by our affiliate pet partners and we may receive a commission on the links provided.


They say good things come in small packages, and for the proud parents of petite pups, this couldn’t be truer. Small dogs are easy to pick up and carry, make great apartment dogs, cost less, are faster to groom, and tend to live longer. Compared to their larger cousins, they have different nutritional needs too.

In general, small dogs are constantly moving and burning energy all day long. They have higher metabolic rates (more than two times than large breeds) and obviously smaller stomachs. Thus, they do best on energy-packed diets and small meals. The best dog foods for small dogs are dense in calories and small in kibble size. And since wee woofers tend to have poor dental health, they will also benefit from chow that helps protect teeth.

What are some of the best dog foods for small dogs? Here are Wag!’s recommendations, including some personally recommended by Dr. Georgia Jeremiah, pet nutrition expert and one of Wag!’s veterinary consultants!



Overview

Nom Nom Dog Food

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5

Developed by Board Certified Veterinary Nutritionists, Nom Nom recipes feature real ingredients and minimal processing. 

One of Nom Nom’s four fresh dog food offerings is Turkey Fare, which is made with ground turkey, brown rice, eggs, carrots, and spinach. It has a soft and chewable texture that makes it especially suitable for small mouths and teeth. 

Best of all, when you sign up for a trial or subscription, your pup will get a customized plan consisting of pre-portioned meals delivered straight to your door.

Nom Nom Dog Food variations:

  • Turkey Fare
  • Pork Potluck
  • Beef Mash
  • Chicken Cuisine
Nom Nom Dog Food

Nom Nom Dog Food

Why Wag! Loves It

  • Contains human-grade ingredients
  • Prepared fresh and made to order
  • Gently cooked
  • Pre-portioned based on your dog’s needs
  • Includes personalized health insights

Considerations & Concerns

  • Can be pricey
  • Can take up a lot of freezer space
  • Packaging is hard to open

What pet parents say about Nom Nom 

"My dog loves the food. The portions are very generous so I've cut back because she started gaining weight and does not need to. My only complaint is the packaging is hard to open! Generally very happy."

Read more reviews on Consumer Affairs.

Product image sourced from the Nom Nom website. Copyright NomNomNow Inc.




Wellness Complete Health Small Breed Puppy

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4.5
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Best for puppies

This grain-inclusive recipe for young’uns is part of Wellness’s Complete Health line for small breeds. Designed to meet the special nutritional needs of growing puppies, this dry dog food features proteins and grains such as turkey, chicken meal, oatmeal, and barley. 

This recipe is also fortified with DHA for brain development, calcium and phosphorus for bone growth, and vitamin A for healthy eyes. 

And like all Wellness products, it does not contain any meat by-products, fillers, or artificial preservatives or colors.

Wellness Puppy Food

Wellness Puppy Food

Why Wag! Loves It

  • Formulated for small breed puppies
  • Promotes overall nutrition
  • Made with high-quality, natural ingredients
  • Easy to digest
  • Packaging can be recycled for free

Considerations & Concerns

  • Some dogs won’t eat it
  • Kibble size may be too big for very young puppies
  • May cause tummy issues in some dogs

What pet parents say about Wellness Complete Health Small Breed Puppy

"New puppy came into our family and I wanted the best for him. Vet recommended Wellness and our little guy loves it! Ended up changing our senior pup to Wellness Complete, as well, and he likes it better than his prior high quality food. I like the ingredients, but the dogs have to like it in order to get the good nutrition."

Read more reviews on Chewy.

Product image sourced from Chewy. Copyright Wellness Pet Company, Inc.




Open Farm Small Breed Dry Dog Food

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4.5
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Vet recommended

“Open Farm dog food is formulated with high-quality ingredients and does not contain any artificial preservatives, flavors, or colors. The company also prioritizes the use of ethically sourced and humanely raised ingredients," says Dr. Jeremiah.

Open Farm offers two dry dog foods for small breeds: one with ancient grains and one grain-free. 

Both recipes contain chicken and turkey as the main animal protein sources, plus sweet potato, pumpkin, and chicory root for healthy digestion. Omega-3 fatty acids, parsley, and peppermint also make either recipe a great choice for pups who need skin and breath support. 

As with all Open Farm products, you can trace the ingredients back to the source by inputting your bag’s lot code in their traceability tool.

Open Farm Small Breed dry dog food variations:

  • Small Breed Ancient Grains Chicken and Turkey
  • Small Breed Grain-Free Chicken and Turkey
Open Farm Dog Food

Open Farm Dog Food

Why Wag! Loves It

  • Uses antibiotic- and hormone-free meat
  • Formulated for smaller dogs with higher metabolic rates
  • Kibble size is optimized for small mouths
  • Picky eater approved
  • Packaging can be recycled for free

Considerations & Concerns

  • Can be pricey
  • Some dogs won’t eat it
  • Not available in big retailers

What pet parents say about Open Farm Small Breed 

"I have two tiny Yorkies, one with picky tastes and the other with a very sensitive stomach. Both dogs are LOVING this Open Farm Small Breed food. The kibble size is actually tiny enough for my pups' [5-pound jaws (many so-called "small breed" brands are just too big), and the kibble pieces are not rock-hard and can be easily crunched. Stools have been perfect, energy levels are up, and eyes and coats are bright."

Read more reviews on Amazon.

Product image sourced from the Open Farm website. Copyright Open Farm Pet Food.




Solid Gold Wee Bit Bison, Brown Rice & Pearled Barley Recipe

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4.5
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Best whole grain option

One of Solid Gold’s eight dry dog foods for toy and small breeds, this is one of only two recipes that include grains. 

Specially crafted for small jaws and teeth, it features bison, whole grains like brown rice and pearled barley, and 20 nutrient-rich superfoods such as blueberries, broccoli, and kelp. 

It also contains protected probiotics which stay alive until consumed for gut health. The kibble is a cute heart shape and one of the smallest sizes on the market.

Solid Gold Dog Food

Solid Gold Dog Food

Why Wag! Loves It

  • Contains prebiotic fibers and protected probiotics
  • Packed with superfoods
  • Provides digestive health and overall immune support
  • One of the smallest kibble sizes on the market
  • First holistic pet food brand in the US

Considerations & Concerns

  • Some dogs won’t eat it
  • May be too hard for some dogs
  • May cause tummy issues in some dogs

What pet parents say about Solid Gold Wee Bit Bison, Brown Rice & Pearled Barley Recipe

"My last vet recommended this dog food. It is hard to find a toy breed whole grain product. I was feeding her grain free, however, [my] current vet said dogs need to have grain in their diet. Glad we were able to find Solid Gold had an option. Wish there were more options."

Read more reviews on Chewy.

Product image sourced from Chewy. Copyright Solid Gold Pet, LLC.



Merrick Lil' Plates Grain Free Senior Real Chicken & Sweet Potato Recipe

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Vet recommended

This grain-free dry food recipe for older dogs is part of Merrick’s Lil’ Plates line for small breeds. Specially formulated for senior pups, it lists deboned chicken as the first ingredient and has fewer calories and fat to help older dogs maintain a healthy weight. 

This recipe is also supplemented with prebiotics and probiotics to aid in digestion, as well as glucosamine and chondroitin to support hip and joint function. In addition to being small, the kibble has a crunchy texture to help keep teeth clean.

Dr. Jeremiah notes, "Merrick products are made with high-quality, whole food ingredients, and they use no artificial preservatives, colors, or flavors.”

Merrick Dog Food

Merrick Dog Food

Why Wag! Loves It

  • Formulated for small senior dogs
  • Tiny kibble size
  • Easy to eat, even for dogs with missing teeth
  • Contains omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids for a healthy coat
  • Picky eater approved

Considerations & Concerns

  • May cause tummy issues in some dogs
  • Some dogs won’t eat it
  • Available in only one flavor

What pet parents say about Merrick Lil' Plates Grain Free Senior Real Chicken & Sweet Potato Recipe

"My dog loves the flavor of this food and ate it all in one go so I had to give it to her in smaller portions throughout the day to make sure she doesn't binge it too quickly. However, one thing I've noticed for this food is that it gives my dog HUGE poops and I have to be careful to not couple it with wet food or she will have diarrhea from the richness."

Read more reviews on Chewy.

Product image sourced from Chewy. Copyright Merrick Pet Care.

FAQ

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