Best Small Breed Puppy Foods

Happy Puppy for Best Small Breed Puppy List

Looking for the best food for your small breed puppy?

Unfortunately, there are no official nutrient standards established for feeding small or medium breed puppies.

Which means each company is free to create its own design.

And why we recommend puppy owners only consider small breed brands guaranteed to meet AAFCO1 nutrient profiles for “Growth” or “All Life Stages“… and that also contain:

  • Above-average protein
  • No generic “meat” ingredients
  • No risky chemical preservatives
  • No cancer-causing coloring agents
  • Favorable fat-to-protein ratios
  • Moderate levels of carbohydrates

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Best Small Breed Puppy Foods
July 2020

Here are The Dog Food Advisor’s top 10 best small breed puppy foods for July 2020.


Blue Buffalo Small Breed Puppy Food

Blue Buffalo Life Protection Small Breed Puppy

Rating:

Life Protection Small Breed Puppy is one of 23 dry recipes included in our review of the Blue Buffalo Life Protection product line.

  • First 5 ingredients: Deboned chicken, chicken meal, oatmeal, barley, menhaden fish meal
  • Type: Grain-inclusive (oatmeal, barley, rice)
  • Profile: Growth
  • Best for: Small breed puppies
  • Price: $$

This Blue Buffalo recipe derives the lion’s share of its meat protein from fresh chicken and chicken meal. Our dry matter label analysis reveals the recipe contains 32% protein, 19% fat and 41% estimated carbs… creating a fat-to-protein ratio of about 59%.

A solid grain-inclusive option for small breed puppies from a reputable company.

Typical buyer review… “I love this! This is a good price for the amount of food, It lasted me so long even for 2 puppies, and I love the fact that this is for SMALL BREED PUPPIES and that it’s a known and good brand. Yeah there’s other puppy food but it’s hard find small breed and puppy food in one unless you want wet food…. this is the only one I buy until my pup is a teen or adult then that’s when I will change it”

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Diamond Naturals Small Breed Puppy

Diamond Naturals Small Breed Puppy

Rating:

Small Breed Puppy is one of 13 dry recipes included in our review of the Diamond Naturals product line.

  • First 5 ingredients: Chicken, chicken meal, ground white rice, chicken fat, cracked pearled barley
  • Type: Grain-inclusive (rice, barley)
  • Life stage: Growth
  • Best for: Small breed puppies
  • Price: $

This Diamond Naturals formula takes the majority of its meat protein from fresh chicken and chicken meal. Our dry matter label analysis reveals the recipe contains 36% protein, 24% fat and 32% estimated carbs… which creates a fat-to-protein ratio of about 69%.

An affordable option available in several sizes.

Sample buyer review… “We’ve got a 10 week old Cavapoo puppy and he loves it! He was originally on ProPlan but his stools were very soft and the vet recommended switching his food. Our pup picks out the Diamond Naturals food and leaves the rest. He’s only about 3.5 lbs so the really small kibble is perfect for him.”

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Wellness Complete Health Puppy Food for Small Dogs

Wellness Complete Health Small Breed Puppy

Rating:

Complete Health Small Breed Puppy is one of 14 dry recipes included in our review of the Wellness Complete Health product line.

  • First 5 ingredients: Deboned turkey, chicken meal, oatmeal, salmon meal, barley
  • Type: Grain-inclusive (oatmeal, barley, rice, oats)
  • Life stage: Growth
  • Best for: Small breed puppies
  • Price: $$$

This Wellness formula acquires the largest part of its animal protein from fresh turkey and chicken meal. Our dry matter label analysis reveals the recipe contains 31% protein, 21% fat and 40% estimated carbs… resulting in a fat-to-protein ratio of about 68%.

An excellent company with multiple puppy recipes.

Sample buyer review… “A newly adopted ~2 yr. old rescued Shih Tzu, Zachary, was obviously neglected. Matted sparse fur and prominent spine/ribs called out for some good food and lots of it. So, we chose Wellness. He has moved from 8 lbs. to 10 lbs. in two weeks. He loves the food and it seems to be doing the trick we asked of it. What a good boy!”

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Now Fresh Puppy Small

Now Fresh Grain-Free Small Breed Puppy

Rating:

Now Fresh Small Breed Puppy is one of 13 dry recipes included in our review of the Now Fresh Grain-Free product line.

  • First 5 ingredients: De-boned turkey, whole dried egg, peas, pea flour, potatoes
  • Type: Grain-free
  • Life stage: Growth
  • Best for: Small breed puppies
  • Price: $$$

This Now Fresh formula gets the major portion of its animal protein from fresh turkey. Our dry matter label analysis reveals the recipe contains 31% protein, 20% fat and 41% estimated carbs… which results in a fat-to-protein ratio of about 64%.

An exceptional grain-free selection for small breed puppies. Highly recommended.

Sample buyer review… “I discovered NOW puppy food for small breed puppies a couple of years ago. The kibble pieces are the smallest ones I have found and perfect for my pint-sized puppies to eat since they have no teeth to chew with when first starting out. I always had to grind up the kibble, but not any more. They do great on them too and love to put a couple in their mouth and take to their bed to munch on.”

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Simply Nourish Small Breed Puppy Food

Simply Nourish Small Breed Puppy

Rating:

The Small Breed Puppy formula is one of 15 dry recipes included in our review of the Simply Nourish product line.

  • First 5 ingredients: Deboned chicken, chicken meal, brown rice, oatmeal, chicken fat
  • Type: Grain-inclusive (rice, oatmeal)
  • Life stage: Growth
  • Best for: Small breed puppies
  • Price: $$

This Simply Nourish recipe derives the greatest part of its animal protein from fresh chicken and chicken meal. Our dry matter label analysis reveals the recipe contains 33% protein, 19% fat and 40% estimated carbs… creating a fat-to-protein ratio of about 57%.

A great budget-friendly, grain-inclusive formula for smaller puppies.

Sample buyer review… “This was the first time ordering this food and my Frenchy puppy loves it. Just the right size morsels!”

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Holistic Select Small Mini Puppy

Holistic Select Grain Free Small and Mini Breed Puppy

Rating:

Small and Mini Breed Puppy is one of 10 dry recipes included in our review of the Holistic Select Grain Free product line.

  • First 5 ingredients: Anchovy and sardine meal, chicken meal, chickpeas, peas, chicken fat
  • Type: Grain-free
  • Life stage: Growthi>
  • Best for: Small breed puppies
  • Price: $$$

This Holistic Select formula derives the majority of its meat protein from anchovy, sardine and chicken meals. Our dry matter label analysis reveals the recipe contains 39% protein, 19% fat and 34% estimated carbs… producing a fat-to-protein ratio of about 49%.

A terrific grain-free growth option.

Sample buyer review… “My chihuahua puppy has been super picky about any food I get for her, but she LOVES this food. The kibbles are really small and perfect for her little mouth. I’ve also noticed improvement in her stool. She’s had some constipation issues, but this food has really made a difference in the appearance of her stool. I am definitely a fan.”

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Hills Science Diet Small Paws

Hill’s Science Diet Small Paws Puppy

Rating:

Small Paws is one of 5 dry recipes included in our review of the Hill’s Science Diet Puppy product line.

  • First 5 ingredients: Chicken meal, whole grain wheat, whole grain sorghum, chicken fat, whole grain corn
  • Type: Grain-inclusive (wheat, sorghum, corn, barley)
  • Life stage: Growth
  • Best for: Small breed puppies
  • Price: $$

This Hill’s Science Diet Puppy formula gets the major share of its animal protein from chicken meal. Our dry matter label analysis reveals the recipe contains 30% protein, 20% fat and 42% estimated carbs… producing a fat-to-protein ratio of about 67%.

A longstanding company with multiple puppy recipes to choose from. Great selection.

Sample buyer review… “I have used Science Diet forever and would not change from it! My dogs and cats all do very well and I am a loyal customer!”

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Wellness Core Small Breed Puppy Food

Wellness Core Small Breed Puppy

Rating:

Core Small Breed Puppy is one of 12 dry recipes included in our review of the Wellness Core product line.

  • First 5 ingredients: Deboned turkey, chicken meal, turkey meal, peas, chicken fat
  • Type: Grain-free
  • Life stage: Growth
  • Best for: Small breed puppies
  • Price: $$$

This Wellness formula gets the greatest share of its animal protein from fresh turkey and poultry meals. Our dry matter label analysis reveals the recipe contains 42% protein, 20% fat and 30% estimated carbs… which creates a fat-to-protein ratio of about 47%.

An exceptional grain-free small breed puppy formula.

Sample buyer review… “My foster loves this. He was really underweight, and this has helped him plump up. He also needs small bites or he chokes. It’s has a perfect kibble size!”

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Iams Smart Puppy

Iams Proactive Health Smart Puppy Small Breed

Rating:

Proactive Health Smart Puppy Small Breed is one of 15 dry recipes included in our review of the Iams Proactive Health product line.

  • First 5 ingredients: Chicken, ground whole grain corn, chicken by-product meal, corn gluten meal, dried beet pulp
  • Type: Grain-inclusive (corn, sorghum)
  • Life stage: Growth
  • Best for: Small breed puppies
  • Price: $

This Iams product takes the vast majority of its animal protein from fresh chicken. Our dry matter label analysis reveals the recipe contains 33% protein, 20% fat and 39% estimated carbs… which produces a fat-to-protein ratio of about 60%.

A high-quality recipe ideal for small breed puppies.

Sample buyer review… “I highly recommend Iams small bites puppy food. Great nutritional value and a great price. You get what you pay for in dog food. My Boston Terrier pup loves it!”

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Nutro Wholesome Essentials Puppy Chicken Formula

Rating:

Wholesome Essentials Puppy Chicken is one of 23 dry recipes included in our review of the Nutro Wholesome Essentials product line.

  • First 5 ingredients: Chicken, chicken meal, brewers rice, whole brown rice, whole grain oatmeal
  • Type: Grain-inclusive (rice, oatmeal)
  • Life stage: Growth
  • Best for: Small breed puppies
  • Price: $$

This Nutro formula takes the lion’s share of its meat protein from fresh chicken as well as chicken meal. Our dry matter label analysis reveals the recipe contains 30% protein, 18% fat and 44% estimated carbs… which results in a fat-to-protein ratio of about 59%.

Enthusiastically recommended.

Sample buyer review… “I’ve been feeding my senior dog this brand since 2012 so of course when I brought a puppy home this was my go to choice! I gradually switched the puppy over from the food he was previously eating with no trouble at all. I’ve noticed that the puppy eats all of this food where he would nibble and leave the other brand in the bowl all day. Both my dogs love this food and will be Nutro pups for life!”

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More Top Picks

For more top puppy foods… click the link below that best meets your feeding needs.



Is my puppy considered a small breed… or a medium breed?

If you expect your puppy to weigh 20 pounds or less when grown, then your dog is considered a small breed.

In comparison…

A medium breed puppy will weigh 20 to 50 pounds when she reaches adulthood.


Can my small breed puppy eat regular puppy food?

Yes… A small breed puppy can safely eat ANY quality puppy food… including those designed for large breeds.

Just be sure the food states that it meets AAFCO nutrient profiles for “Growth”… or “All Life Stages”.


When should I switch my puppy to adult dog food?

Adult dog foods contain different nutrients than puppy foods. So, it’s important not to switch your puppy to adult dog food too soon.

In fact…

The best time to switch your puppy to adult food depends on your dog’s breed type. The table below can help you determine when to switch your puppy to adult dog food.2 3

Breed TypeAdult WtSwitch
Small breedUnder 20 lbs9 – 12 months
Med breed20 – 50 lbs12 – 14 months

A Final Word

The Dog Food Advisor is privately owned and is not affiliated (in any way) with pet food manufacturers. We do not accept money, gifts, samples or other incentives in exchange for special consideration in preparing our reviews.

However, we do receive a referral fee from online retailers (like Chewy or Amazon) when readers click over to their website from ours. This policy helps support the operation of our blog and keeps access to all our content free to the public.

For more information, please visit our Disclaimer and Disclosure page.

Important FDA Alert

The FDA is investigating a potential link between diet and heart disease in dogs. Click here for details.

References

  1. Association of American Feed Control Officials
  2. Waltham Centre for Pet Nutrition (1999), Canine Life Stages and Lifestyles, The Waltham Course on Dog and Cat Nutrition, p. 4
  3. IAMS: Is Your Puppy Ready for Adult Dog Food?