15 Best Dog Food for Toy Breed Dogs

It’s hard not to fall in love with the personalities of toy breed dogs. They can weigh as little as a few pounds, but their energy and affection make them as loving as large dogs and ideal for dog lovers who live in small spaces.

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Aside from their adorable personalities, toy breed dogs tend to live longer than larger dogs. According to the University of Melbourne, the reason for this is because large dogs are faster than toy breed dogs. Like the tires of a car driven daily wear faster than one sitting in the garage, large dogs age faster than small dogs.

While a longer lifespan is wonderful news for toy breed dog owners, it means that there’s an even greater responsibility to feed these dogs a nourishing diet to promote longevity. In this article, we’ll show you key ingredients to look out for and our best dog food for toy breed dogs to help make shopping easier for you.

The term “toy breed” refers to any small-sized dog. Some dogs, such as Chihuahuas, are naturally small, while others, such as spaniels and terriers, are bred down in size from larger dogs.

Below are other examples that fall into the toy breed dog category:

  • Shih Tzu
  • Maltese
  • Pomeranian
  • Havanese
  • Bolognese

Keep in mind that there are far more toy breed dogs than those on this list. Generally speaking, breeds weighing under 15 pounds fall under the toy breed dog category.

Understanding a Toy Breed Dog’s Diet Requirements

Regardless of their size, all dogs require the same nutrients to live a happy and healthy life. The most important ingredient for your toy breed dog is a high-quality protein source since there are ten essential amino acids that they can’t produce on their own. Ideally, real protein should be the first ingredient listed on the food package. Turkey, salmon, beef, and duck are examples of excellent protein sources.

You’ll also want to ensure that your dog food has high levels of fat for energy. The American Kennel Club notes that toy breed dogs need a higher calories-per-pound diet than larger dogs. For this reason, purchasing dog food formulated for toy breed dogs is essential; your dog will have access to more calorie-dense food without you having to worry about overfeeding. Also, toy breed dog food contains small kibbles, making it easier for your dog to chew and digest.

  • Puppy Toy Breed Dog’s Diet — You’ll want to ensure your puppy’s food has a high protein and fat content. It’s important to feed your toy breed dog 4 – 6 times per day. That way, your dog has less of a chance of developing hypoglycemia.
  • Adult Toy Breed Dog’s Diet — Adult toy breed dogs require calorie-dense kibbles. Avoid feeding your dog food intended for larger breeds, as it’ll need to eat more of it to get sufficient calories. Such overfeeding can lead to obesity.
  • Senior Toy Breed Dog’s Diet — Once your dog moves into its senior stage of life, you’ll want to switch its food to a variety that contains glucosamine and chondroitin, which will help keep its joints supple.

Although protein and fat should make up the bulk of your toy breed dog food, the food must also contain plenty of vitamins and minerals. These are essential for maintaining a healthy digestive system, shiny fur, and good inflammatory response. In addition to fat, carbohydrates aid your dog with sustaining energy throughout the day.

Fiber is also important for toy breed dog breeds because it may reduce the risk of colon cancer. You should aim to purchase dog food with sources of fiber from plant-based ingredients. Be suspicious of any labels with “cellulose,” as the fiber source varies, including coming from shredded paper.

Special Dietary Considerations for Toy Breed Dogs

The lifespan of toy breed dog breeds often expands well into the teens. However, having a longer lifespan than large dogs means that small dogs have more opportunity to suffer from health issues.

Below are some of the most common health issues that toy breed dogs face:

  • Hypoglycemia
  • Tracheal collapse
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Patellar luxation
  • Diabetes
  • High blood pressure
  • Mitral valve disease
  • Heart disease

Let’s take a closer look at some of these so you have a better understanding of how nutrition can impact your toy breed dog’s health.

Hypoglycemia is the result of low blood sugar. Small breed dogs—and puppies in particular—are prone to hypoglycemia if they don’t eat a calorie-dense food. When it comes to puppies, frequent feeding is critical to avoid this disease.

Tracheal collapse is a respiratory health problem iconic in small dogs. Unfortunately, there’s nothing you can do to prevent tracheal collapse. However, you should give your dog grain-free food if they show signs of allergies since this will help alleviate some of the side effects.

Osteoarthritis and patellar luxation are both issues with joints and bones. As a puppy and adult, you should ensure your dog’s food contains high levels of protein and vitamins for strength. It’s also a good idea for food to contain glucosamine and chondroitin, although these are especially essential once your dog is a senior.

Like in humans, diabetes is an issue for toy breed dogs. Food rich with natural sources of fiber can reduce the risk of your dog becoming diabetic. Diabetes in small dogs is often the result of obesity, as are heart-related conditions such as high blood pressure, mitral valve disease, and heart disease. For this reason, you should be careful not to overfeed your dog.

Another important point is that toy breed dog breeds have more trouble regulating their body temperature than larger dogs. Therefore, they’re prone to hypothermia. Ensuring your dog receives a high daily calorie count is critical in conjunction with wrapping them in a coat if it’s cold outside.

Toy Breed Dog Breed Feeding Chart

We’ve already established that toy breed dogs need a higher calorie-per-pound content than larger breeds. However, that doesn’t mean that your small dog will be lopping up more calories than a Mastiff.

According to Petnet, active dogs under twenty pounds should receive around 35 calories per pound of body weight. Toy breed dogs with an average activity lifestyle should receive around 32 calories per pound, and inactive dogs around 25 calories. These calorie estimations consider a spayed or neutered dog between one and seven years old.

Remember that these are rough estimates as each dog’s needs and each dog food brand are different. The best way to ensure your dog receives the correct calorie and nutrition is by following the feeding instructions on the dog food bag.

Feeding schedules are just as important as caloric quantities. As a puppy, you should feed your toy breed dog 4 – 6 times per day. Once your dog is an adult, you can reduce feedings to 2 – 3 times per day.

The Best Dog Food for Toy Breed Dogs: Our Top 15 Picks for 2021

Now that you have an idea of what kind of qualities to look for in your toy breed dog’s food, let’s dive into our top 15 dog food options for toy breed dogs. Remember, a high protein and fat content are critical for muscle growth and sustained energy. You also want to make sure your dog receives plenty of vitamins and minerals.

We’ve included six well-rounded dog foods for your furry loved one, along with three recommended dog foods in the adult, puppy, and senior toy breed dog categories.

Taste of the Wild Appalachian Valley Small Breed

Overall Best Food for Toy Breed Dogs: If you want a well-balanced grain-free dry food for your toy breed dog, Taste of the Wild’s Appalachian Valley variety for small breeds is an excellent choice. It contains probiotics to aid digestion, 32% protein, and 18% fat to ensure all-day energy for active dogs.

Pasture-raised venison is the number one ingredient in this dog food. Lamb and ocean fish give this recipe an extra protein boost, and antioxidant-rich legumes and fruits such as garbanzo beans and raspberries balance out this food.

  • Pros: USA family-owned company, grain-free, a good source of protein and antioxidants, fiber from legumes promote digestive health
  • Cons: The kibble size pieces can be hard for some dogs to chew, may produce gas in some dogs

American Journey Small Breed Salmon & Sweet Potato

Most Affordable Food: You love your dog and don’t want to skimp on food quality, but less face it—dog food can be expensive, and bills have to be paid. With American Journey, you can rest assured that Fido will receive protein from real salmon for sustained energy and omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids for a glossy coat, all without breaking the bank.

Crunchy kibbles scrub tartar off of teeth, and natural fibers ensure your dog’s digestive system runs smoothly.

  • Pros: Free from grains, wheat, corn, and soy, no artificial preservatives or colors, salmon is the first ingredient, no chicken or poultry by-products used
  • Cons: Has a higher carbohydrate to protein proportion with 36% carbohydrate and 32% protein, peas make up a portion of the protein

Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Small Breed

Most Popular Food: Adult toy breed dogs will gobble up Blue Buffalo’s tasty chicken and brown rice recipe. Focusing on “life protection,” this dog food is packed with protein from real chicken and Menhaden fish meal for muscle development. It contains a healthy balance of 26% protein and 15% fat. Brown rice ensures your dog gets essential B vitamins and minerals, which are critical for combating lethargy.

Easy to chew LifeSource Bits undergo minimal heating, which keeps heat-sensitive nutrients from losing their value.

  • Pros: Contains glucosamine and chondroitin for joint health, free from allergy-inducing wheat and corn, a good source of calcium and phosphorus for bone strength
  • Cons: Some dogs pick around the darker brown bits and only eat the light brown ones, old food needs slow replacement with this product to avoid loose stool

NomNom Fresh Food Delivery

Super Premium Food: In today’s modern-day world, you may have the desire to cook fresh food for your dog but lack the time. Nomnom takes care of this with their home delivery service. Real, handpicked ingredients go into the four recipes that Nomnom offers. All arrive from U.S. farmers, and they’re prepared with love in Nomnom’s zero-waste facility.

The cooks prepare the food in small batches, so your pet’s food will arrive pre-portioned at your door. Nomnom meals are ideal for toy breed dog breeds because you can make special requests about calorie needs or unique dietary requirements.

  • Pros: USA based company, all ingredients are fresh and real, you can set up the delivery schedule, excellent insulation if the box sits on the curb for a while, fully-recyclable packaging
  • Cons: Only ships to 48 states, it’s an expensive option since you’re paying for quality and convenience

Diamond Naturals Small Breed

Best Food for Toy breed dog Breeds with Allergies: If your toy breed dog suffers from allergies, they’ll find comfort with Diamond Naturals since it’s free of corn, wheat, and soy. Cage-free chicken is the first ingredient in this product. It contains a stunning 27% protein content and 16% fat content. Small kibbles ensure easy digestion for dogs with sensitive stomachs while helping to clean tartar from teeth.

Your dog’s coat will shine thanks to chia seeds, coconut, and flax seeds, which are rich sources of omega fatty acids. Their digestive system will also run smoothly with the help of a K9 Strain probiotic blend.

  • Pros: Free from wheat and grains that are common allergens, USA made under rigorous health standards, a good source of antioxidants and omega fatty acids
  • Cons: Contains beet pulp, which is a filler but also may help with your dog’s intestinal health

Hill’s Prescription Diet Digestive Care

Best Food for Toy breed dog Breeds with Sensitive Stomachs: Sensitive stomachs are uncomfortable for dogs and owners alike. With Hill’s Prescription Diet Digestive Care, your dog will enjoy tasty, crunchy kibbles containing easily digestible proteins. Tested by nutritionists and veterinarians, this product balances vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants using ingredients that promote nutrient absorption.

Prebiotic fibers will encourage good bacteria to grow inside your pup’s stomach, preventing future bouts of sensitivity. Once you start your dog on this food, electrolytes and B-vitamins will soothe their upset stomach within three days.

  • Pros: Encourages the growth of healthy bacteria in the gut, replaces lost nutrients when dogs have digestive upsets, electrolytes settle upset stomach within a few days
  • Cons: Contains grains meaning it may be a poor choice for dogs with allergies

3 Top Rated (5 Star) Toy breed dog Breed Adult Foods

The Farmer’s Dog

Adult toy breed dogs need food that will maintain their muscle and keep them energized throughout the day. The Farmer’s Dog is an up and coming fresh dog food delivery service that provides just that. Both dogs and humans test out these recipes, all of which contain 100% real, preservative-free ingredients.

That’s right—humans can eat this dog food too! The vet-designed plans are customizable to your pup’s dietary needs, and food arrives at your door within days of cooking without ever being frozen. Customers rave that their dog has less odor, more vitality, and they make fewer trips to the vet since switching to The Farmer’s Dog.

Iams ProActive Heath Minichunks Chicken & Whole Grains Recipe

Iams’ easy to eat Minichunk pieces are packed with protein, fat, vitamins, and minerals you need to keep your adult toy breed dog healthy. The formula is ideal for dogs between 1 – 6 years old. Premium-sourced real chicken is the first ingredient to maintain strong muscles, and it doesn’t have any fillers.

A blend of fibers and prebiotics means that your dog’s digestive system will stay running smoothly. Plus, antioxidants promote a healthy immune system. Specially designed TeethCrunchy kibbles prevent tartar and bad breath from plaque.

Purina ONE SmartBlend Small Bites Beef and Rice

Touting a 100% complete diet for small dogs, Purina ONE SmartBlend contains a combination of crunchy and tender morsels. Real beef is the first ingredient, which is followed closely by various other quality proteins. Glucosamine and a skin and coat formula ensure that your dog enjoys subtle joints and lustrous fur, while Vitamins E & A, zinc, and selenium support a healthy immune system. To round it all off, this SmartBlend contains zero fillers, making it a healthy choice for your adult dog.

3 Top Rated (5 Star) Toy Breed Puppy Foods

Royal Canin X-Small Puppy Dry Food

Start nourishing your beloved toy breed puppy right from the get-go with Royal Canin’s puppy formula. Perfect for puppies younger than ten months and with an expected adult weight of up to eight pounds, miniature kibble bits ensure this dog food is easy to chew.

Your puppy will benefit from excellent nutrient absorption thanks to highly digestible proteins. With antioxidants’ help, this product boosts puppies’ natural defenses, and a carefully selected blend of fibers promotes healthy stools from a young age.

Ollie

Ollie is yet another pre-prepared dog food delivery service. It’s an excellent choice for toy breed puppies because Ollie’s vet-crafted recipes are tailored-made for all breeds, sizes, and ages. Therefore, your puppy can grow up on Ollie meals without you ever needing to test out new brands once your puppy reaches adult and senior ages.

Shipping is free, and you’ll receive the food in two days. You can choose from beef, chicken, turkey, and lamb meals. And if you get hungry yourself, you can dive into these 100% human-grade meals too! The starter kit comes with two weeks’ worth of food and the ability to adjust or automate future orders.

Wellness Small Breed Complete Healthy Puppy

Toy breed dog puppies are energetic, so they need food that replenishes the calories they expend. Wellness’ Complete Health dry food packs in protein, fat, and nutrients without meat by-products, fillers, or artificial preservatives.

Produced in the USA, this product promotes whole-body nutrition with antioxidants, probiotics, vitamins, and minerals. Small kibble pieces mean your puppy will lap up its meal with ease.

3 Picks for Senior Toy Breed Dog Foods

Merrick Lil’ Plates Grain-Free Senior

Maintaining joint and muscle health are one of the most important aspects of senior toy breed dog food. Merrick’s chicken and sweet potato food use real deboned chicken as its first ingredient, offering a high protein content. It’s infused with glucosamine and chondroitin to enhance hip and joint function.

Grain-free and gluten-free, this formula has reduced calories and fat to accompany your senior dog’s slower pace of living. A crunchy texture helps reduce plaque while not being too hard on the teeth for your senior dog to chew.

Hill’s Science Diet Adult 7+

If you notice your senior dog losing energy, try switching their food to Hill’s Science Diet, formulated for dogs seven years and up. Hill’s Science Diet claims that its carefully blended nutrients will improve vitality in only 30 days. Chicken meal, rice, and barley are key ingredients in this food. It includes vitamin E and C to foster a healthy immune system.

There aren’t any artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives in this dog food, and it’s USA-made, following strict quality guidelines. And just as wonderful, by purchasing a Hill’s Science product, you’ll be helping to feed 100,000 homeless pets per day.

A Pup Above

Fresh made home delivery dog food is an ideal fit for senior toy breed dogs since it has a high nutrient content, and the food is soft. A Pup Above is particularly great for senior dogs since its gravy is rich in collagen to promote supple joints. It’s also high protein and low carb, with 11 grams and 4 grams, respectively.

In fact, A Pup Above claims to average 72% more protein than other fresh dog food companies. A Pup Above uses the sous-vide method of cooking to retain nutrients and prevent food shrinkage. You’ll have four flavors to choose from—beef, turkey, pork, and chicken.

Our FAQ and Toy Breed Dog Feeding Guide

Now that you have an idea of the best dog food for toy breed dogs, there are some other factors to consider when feeding. For example, a small dog bowl is ideal for tiny dogs so they can easily access their food. Stainless steel is an excellent dog bowl material because it won’t crack if dropped, and it’s easy to clean.

While we’re on the subject of cleaning, it’s important to wash your dog’s bowl with soap and water regularly to prevent bacteria growth, such as E. coli and MRSA. While you’re at it, clean your dog bowl, too. According to Phys.org, dog water bowls are the third most contaminated item in a home.

When it comes to storing your dog’s food, it’s best to pour a freshly opened bag into an airtight container. That way, the dog food will stay fresh for longer, and rodents won’t be able to chew through the bag. Light is damaging to dog food as it can decrease the nutrient content, so make sure to store the food away from direct sunlight and in a cool place.

Let’s take a look at some common questions about feeding toy breed dogs:

How much food should I feed my toy breed dog? How much you feed your toy breed dog will depend on their size, age, and activity level. VetCalculators will give you an estimate of how much you should feed your dog. However, the feeding chart on the back of your dog food bag will offer the most accurate feeding suggestion.

Petmd offers these estimated feeding recommendations:

  • 3-pound toy breed dog should get approximately 1/3 cup per day
  • 6-pound toy breed dog should get approximately 1/2 cup per day
  • 10-pound toy breed dog should get approximately 3/4 cup per day

How many times a day should I feed my toy breed dog? — Puppy toy breed dogs require between four and six meals per day to stay full and avoid hypoglycemia. Once your dog is an adult, you can cut back to twice per day, with 12-hour intervals. That said, a three-meal per day feeding schedule (8-hour intervals) is an excellent option, too, particularly if your dog is active.

What kind of food do toy breed dog breeds eat? — Freshly made food with 100% real ingredients is the best food for toy breed dogs. However, this food is expensive to purchase and time-consuming to prepare, so the second-best option is a high-quality dry food packed with protein and fat. Regardless of what you choose, it’s important to select varieties specifically for toy breed dogs since they require a higher per pound calorie count than larger dogs.

What vegetables are good in a toy breed dog’s food? — It may be counterintuitive to think of vegetables as part of a dog’s diet. However, vegetables offer a natural source of fiber and an array of vitamins and minerals. They also help alkalize the body, which aids in decreasing inflammation.

Below are some excellent vegetables to look for in your toy breed dog’s food:

  • Broccoli
  • Carrots
  • Cauliflower
  • Peas
  • Pumpkin
  • Sweet potato
  • Zucchini

As a bonus, you can also consider supplementing your dog’s diet with fruit. Apples and bananas are an excellent source of vitamin A and potassium, respectively. Just make sure to introduce fruit (and raw vegetables, if you’d like) in small quantities. Otherwise, your dog could experience uncomfortable gastrointestinal issues.

Do toy breed dogs need grain-free dog food? — Toy breed dogs aren’t inherently prone to allergies. Therefore, you may not have to purchase grain-free food for them. However, you should monitor your dog for food allergies, especially if you switch up their food.

Signs of toy breed dog allergies include:

  • Itchy skin
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Weight loss
  • Lack of energy

Keep in mind that toy breed dogs are more prone to tracheal collapse, which causes breathing difficulties. Tracheal collapse doesn’t correspond with allergies. However, if your dog suffers from both tracheal collapse and allergies, you’ll need to be extra careful not to feed them any food that can trigger their allergy.

Should I feed my toy breed dog before or after walking them? Whether you feed your toy breed dog before or after walking them depends on the distance you’ll be walking and your dog’s personal tolerance level. Generally speaking, it’s best to wait to walk your dog at least 60 minutes after it’s finished its meal. Taking a long or exercise intensive walk right after eating can lead to bloat or Gastric Dilation Volvulus.

Walking your toy dog before eating is rarely an issue. According to Well Pet, a healthy dog can go 3 – 5 days without eating. Of course, this isn’t the goal—adult dogs should eat 2 – 3 times per day. However, taking your dog for a walk before mealtime won’t kill them (even though they might think it will!).

Should I feed my toy breed dog as soon as it wakes up? — As dog lovers, we tend to cater and cave into our pet’s every need. When it comes to adult toy breed dogs, there’s nothing wrong with feeding them as soon as they wake up. However, since dogs tend to wake with their owners, some dog trainers recommend waiting to feed your dog until you’ve been up for 30 minutes. The idea behind this is so your dog doesn’t bug you to get out of bed.

The bottom line here is that there aren’t any health-related advantages or disadvantages to feeding your adult toy breed dog at a specific time. However, you should aim to consistently feed your dog at 12-hour intervals (2 feedings per day) or 8-hour intervals (3 feedings per day).

A Final Word

Picking the right food for your toy breed dog is essential to your dog living a happy and long life. The best dog food for toy breed dogs comes down to your feeding style preference and your dog’s taste buds. Whether you prefer high-quality dry food or a fresh food delivery service, the brands listed in this article make it easy to give your toy breed dog the nutrition it deserves.

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