pug eating from a bowl at home

Food and Treats for A Healthy Small Breed Dog

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Small dogs have special needs when it comes to their food and treats. Small dogs need a well balanced and nutrient-dense diet that meets or surpasses their unique needs. This article discusses health concerns that all small breed dog owners should consider for their best friend’s well being.  For your shopping convenience, we’ve also linked several premier dog foods and treats for your frisky pooch’s health and happiness.

Dental Health

Small dogs are very prone to certain dental issues such as tartar buildup, gum disease, tooth decay, and tooth loss. One reason for this is because their teeth are small and close together.  This causes food particles to get stuck between their teeth. As the food particles decay they contaminate the nearby teeth and tissues. 

To help clean the dog’s mouth and ensure good dental health, consider the following:

  • Choose a dry kibble size that is right for small dogs
  • Buy only those wet foods that are nutritionally correct for small dogs
  • Look for foods and treats with added dental benefits like tartar control
  • Offer dental chews or toys that help clean teeth and gums
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Digestive Health

Obviously, small breed dogs have smaller stomachs and digestive systems than big dogs. Certain foods and quantities of foods may be hard for small dogs to properly chew and digest. This can make small dogs more likely to develop serious digestive and health problems. 

Help your small dog’s digestive system:

  • Buy only low ash foods and treats that are easy to chew and digest
  • Don’t buy foods that contain fillers, artificial preservatives, and coloring agents
  • Try feeding smaller meals, more often so your pooch doesn’t eat too fast or overeat
  • Always make fresh, clean water available to your dog — especially at meal times

Weight Management

Small dogs are often too fat, which can cause health issues like diabetes, joint problems, and heart disease to name just a few. If you would like a handy weight tracker for your pup, then check out our dog care planner printables.

To keep excess weight off your small dog, try doing the following:

  • Choose a food that has a healthy balance of fiber and essential nutrients.
  • Feed only dog foods that are low in calories and fat
  • Don’t feed table scraps and don’t give your pooch too many treats
  • Exercise your dog every day — make it a part of your daily routine

Do these things for your small dog and he or she should stay fit and healthy for many years.  If your dog is already overweight, then cut out all high calorie treats and ask your vet to suggest a healthy weight loss program.  Always follow your vet’s advice, and never put your dog’s health in jeopardy with the latest fad diets pushed by YouTube “experts”.

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Sorting Out the Best Dog Food for Your Small Dog

Choosing the best dog food for your small dog is no simple task. But, by reading labels, consulting your veterinarian, and shopping for sound nutrition are all crucial steps in wholesome feeding your small dog.

Reading Labels

Reading labels is the only way you can really know what ingredients are in your dog’s food. Buy dog foods that list high-quality meat protein sources like fish, turkey, chicken, lamb, venison, buffalo, beef, or fish. Real, wholesome meat should be listed as the first ingredient. Never buy dog foods that list fillers like corn, wheat, and soy, which can be difficult for small dogs to digest.

Read the guaranteed analysis on the label to make sure the food meets your dog’s nutritional needs. Due to their smaller stomachs, small dogs may need smaller, more frequent meals that are packed with nutrients. It is advisable to select dog foods specifically formulated for small breeds.

Monitoring Your Dog’s Weight

Your veterinarian can help you determine the appropriate amount of food to give your dog based on its age, weight, breed, and activity level. If your dog has health problems like allergies or digestive problems, your veterinarian can suggest beneficial foods. They can also help you identify any ingredients that your dog should avoid.

Remember to monitor your dog’s weight and adjust his or her food intake.

All dogs will not do well on the same brand of food. You will probably have to do some trial and error to discover the best food and food type (dry kibble, semi-moist kibble, canned, etc.) for your small dog. By trying different brands, types, and flavors you’ll soon find what your dog likes the best.

To prevent digestive issues, it is recommended to transition your dog’s food gradually over a few days. Begin by blending a small portion of the new food with the dog’s current food and slowly increase the amount of new food over time. Several dog food packages feature helpful illustrations to guide you through the process of switching foods.

8 Recommended Small Dog Food Brands

These are our top eight picks, in no particular order. However, please remember to do your own research so you make the best choice for your dog.

Blue Buffaloclick here for more info.

Nature’s Recipeclick here for more info.

Nutroclick here for more info.

Rachael Rayclick here for more info.

Cesarclick here for more info.

Wellnessclick here for more info.

Nuloclick here for more info.

Merrickclick here for more info.

By carefully reading dog food labels, consulting with your vet, and trying different brands, flavours, textures, etc. you’ll soon find the food your small dog likes best. Monitor your dog’s weight and adjust his or her food intake as needed for good health and healthy weight.

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