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Feeding Small Dog Breeds & Small Breed Puppies

Feeding small dog breeds is no small task if you consider the fact that most small breed dogs reach maturity between 6 months and a year of age!

Small breed dog.

Feeding Small Dog Breeds

Unlike large & giant breeds that can take up to two years to mature, and medium breeds that reach maturity in about a year.. Small breed dogs can achieve full growth anywhere from six months to a year old!

Feeding small dog breeds during this rapid race to adulthood requires some serious nutrition. We're here to help you and share first hand knowledge of exactly what type of diets are best for feeding small dogs and small breed puppies.

Bonus: As an added bonus we've written specific articles on nutritional requirements of many popular small & toy breed dogs!

Specific Small Breed Guides

Small dogs as we say in Massachusetts, mature "wicked fast", much faster than both medium and large breed dogs. To compound the complexity of feeding small dog breeds, not only can they mature between 6 months to a year, their metabolism is faster, meaning they burn calories faster. To compensate, aim for a diet that is higher in calories, proteins and fat as compared to a diet for larger breeds.

Fitted with tiny stomachs, small breed dogs (especially small breed puppies), cannot consume enough food to maintain their energy if fed only once or twice a day. Feeding small dog breeds three or four small meals per day is desireable.

Caveat: Multiple daily meals translates to more frequent bathroom breaks. Keep this in mind, especially when house breaking small breed puppies.

Speaking of small breed puppies, very young puppies (under 3 months of age) and certain toy breeds are prone to hypoglycemia. Hypoglycemia is a drop in blood sugar and can lead to seizures or unconsciousness if severe. Hypoglycemia can occur because some tiny dogs just can't store enough sugars in their body to replenish supply at the rate it is being burned.

TIP: With a new small breed puppy or young toy breed dog, it's always good practice to keep a tube of Nutrical on hand. Many pet stores or breeders dealing in toy breeds may even send a small tube home with you and your new pup.

Once a small breed puppy has settled in and is on a good feeding schedule receiving three or four small meals per day, the chances of hypoglycemia really diminish. Keep up the routine of multiple small daily meals for the first 3 to 6 months.

Selecting Food for Small Breed Dogs

When selecting a kibble food for feeding small dog breeds be sure it's of high quality and of appropriate small size pieces. Just about every manufacturer and brand these days seems to have a formula specific to small breed dogs, but keep a few things in mind when selecting a Kibble Dog Food.

  • Be sure the food has ingredients that cover the unique nutritional requirements of small dog breeds.
  • Kibble size is important but the food should also be higher in calories, protein, and contain essential fatty acids such as Omega-3 & Omega-6.
  • Food should not contain additives such as flavors, colors, flavor enhancers or preservatives.
  • Kibble should be small and appropriate size for a small breed's tiny mouth.
TIP: For help finding good kibble formulas don't miss our Dry Kibble Section or our Recommended Kibble page. For comprehensive info on raw dog diets, see our Raw Feeding Dogs section.

Additional Info..

On the dog feeding methods discussed in this article is available on our Homepage via easy navigation banners.

Small breed dog specific nutritional guides are linked on this page with additional articles being published weekly, so stop in again soon. Questions, comments, or suggestions? Send us a note using the email form on our contact page.