8 Best Dog Foods for Toy Breeds

8 Best Dog Foods for Toy Breeds

From the smallest Shih Tzu to the tiniest Terriers, toy breeds are not only adorable but also easy to maintain. Their tiny bodies call for less grooming, smaller beds or crates, and less food than large breeds. However, they need a balanced diet to keep their tiny bodies strong and healthy.

Toy breeds have fast metabolic rates, and hence need foods with lots of calories. Their large surface area to volume ratio makes them lose heat faster than large breeds, making it crucial for their foods to be calorie-dense. 

What are the properties of the best dog food for toy breeds?

Toy breeds, like other dogs, thrive with a well-balanced diet. However, their small bodies call for dog foods with unique characteristics:

Real and identifiable protein sources among the first five ingredients: Toy dogs need strong muscles for support, and proteins provide amino acids, which are the building blocks of powerful muscle. Real meat should be the first ingredient. Examples of the best protein sources include chicken, beef, and turkey.

Moderate to high-fat value: Fat plays a key role in providing energy and nourishing your dog’s coat and skin. Puppies need high-fat value, while adults and senior dogs need moderate fats to lower the risks of obesity. The best sources of healthy fat include salmon oil and flaxseed.

Small kibble size: Toy breeds have smaller muzzles and need small-sized food to lower the risks of digestive problems and choking.

Essential nutrients: Toy dogs need vitamins like vitamin A, C, and E for skin and immune health. In addition, they need minerals like calcium and phosphorus for bone wellness and glucosamine and chondroitin to strengthen their joints. Antioxidants come in handy to protect small dogs against free radicals. Probiotics and prebiotics support bowel and gut wellness.

Safety standards: Go for foods formulated in countries that adhere to safety and quality control measures according to AAFCO. These countries include the USA, New Zealand, Australia, and Canada. 

Health issues: Toy breeds are susceptible to hypoglycemia (low blood sugar levels) due to their fast metabolism. They, therefore, require high-calorie foods and meals divided into smaller amounts. Some of the symptoms to watch out for include lethargy, muscle tremors, and seizures. Puppies are at a higher risk of hypoglycemia due to their high metabolism than adults and seniors. They can also become obese if given lots of food or table scraps. It is critical to stick to the amounts recommended for their body sizes.

What are the ingredients to avoid in the best dog food for toy breeds?

Some pet food manufacturers use low-quality ingredients to reduce the cost of production. The poor quality ingredients negatively impact your dog’s health. Here are some of the common ingredients to avoid when selecting the best food for your toy breed:

Fillers

Cheap fillers are full of empty calories, and hence have no nutritional value for your dog. They are used to adding bulk to the food. Most fillers are not easy to digest, leading to tummy problems, bloating, and allergic reactions. Below are some of the common filler ingredients to avoid:

  • Corn gluten
  • Wheat gluten
  • Soy
  • Rice hulls
  • Soybean hulls
  • Rice bran
  • Cereal by-products
  • Modified corn starch

Artificial colors and flavors

These additives also offer no nutritional benefits for your dog. They are meant to attract pet parents since they appear more enticing. Consuming foods with artificial colors or flavors causes loads of health problems including digestive issues as they are harmful chemicals.

Artificial preservatives

Artificial preservatives are also a no-go zone as they have lots of toxic chemicals that reduce your dog’s lifespan. In addition, they can cause food allergies. Go for food preserved using natural preservatives like mixed tocopherols.

Unidentified meat by-products or meat meals

Meat meals are excellent protein supplements, and most premium dog foods use them. However, you should be keen on the ingredient list. Ensure the labels are clear. Avoid unspecified meat meals like ‘poultry meats meals’ and go for correct labels like ‘chicken meat meal’. 

Navigating the dog food stores and choosing the right food for your toy breed can be hectic. Our extensive research gives you the 8 best foods that meet your dog’s nutritional and health needs. It is important to select the right food as it lowers the risks of digestive problems, allergies, and unhealthy weight for your dog’s happiness.

What are the top five brands for the best dog food for toy breeds?

The pet food industry has plenty of choices for your toy dog’s food. Here’s our list of the best of the best dog food brands for toy dogs:

  • Blue Buffalo
  • Nutro
  • Halo
  • Eukanuba
  • Wellness 

The average price is $35.1 with prices ranging from $19.98 to $44.98 for bags weighing 4 lbs to 15 lbs. Toy puppies need more energy and calories than older adults and seniors. Senior toys need less fat as they can easily become obese.

Which dogs are considered toy breeds?

Toy breeds are dogs that weigh 15 pounds or less in adulthood.  Their breed name stems from their close resemblance to stuffed animals. Below is a list of toy breed dogs:

  • Toy Poodle
  • Pug
  • Papillon
  • Russian Toy Terrier
  • Manchester Toy Terrier
  • Miniature Pinscher
  • Chinese Crested
  • Chihuahua
  • Shih Tzu
  • Toy Fox Terrier
  • Pocket Beagle
  • Yorkshire Terrier
  • Boston Terrier
  • Maltese
  • Pomeranian
  • Havanese 
  • Biewer Terrier
  • Italian Greyhound
  • Schipperke 
  • Affenpinscher 
  • English Toy Spaniel
  • Mini Schnauzer

Although these dogs are toy breeds, their energy levels vary. Dogs like the Papillon are highly energetic, whereas their counterparts; the Shih Tzus, are couch potatoes.

Here’s our quick guide on the best dog food for toy breeds to make it easier for you to select:

ImageProductFeaturesPrice
Best Overall
Blue Buffalo Wilderness Adult Small Breed Dry Dog Food with Chicken

Blue Buffalo Wilderness Adult Small Breed Dry Dog Food with Chicken

  • Delicious, protein-rich chicken is the number 1 ingredient
  • Formulated to meet the energy needs of smaller breed dogs
  • Proprietary LifeSource bits is a blend of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals for overall health
10
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Best Value
Halo Adult Wet Dog Food Chicken Stew

Halo Adult Wet Dog Food Chicken Stew

  • Wet food formula only uses real meat
  • Complete nutrition from non-GMO fruits and vegetables
  • Great-tasting chicken stew with a smooth texture your dog will love
9.9
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Best for Adults
Nutro Ultra Adult Small Breed High Protein Natural Dry Dog Food with a Trio of Proteins from Chicken, Lamb and Salmon, 15 lb. Bag

Nutro Ultra Adult Small Breed High Protein Natural Dry Dog Food with a Trio of Proteins from Chicken, Lamb and Salmon, 15 lb. Bag

  • High-protein, real chicken is the number 1 ingredient
  • Full of wholesome foods such as chia, coconut and kale
  • Made with non-GMO ingredients
9.8
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Best for Puppies
Eukanuba Puppy Small Breed Dry Dog Food

Eukanuba Puppy Small Breed Dry Dog Food

  • Guaranteed levels of DHA help support your puppy's brain development
  • Premium protein promotes lean muscle build
  • Contains concentrated energy from fat and carbohydrates
9.8
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Healthy Weight
Instinct Raw Boost Small Breed Grain Free Recipe with Real Chicken Natural Dry Dog Food, 4 lb. Bag

Instinct Raw Boost Small Breed Grain Free Recipe with Real Chicken Natural Dry Dog Food, 4 lb. Bag

  • Delicious bites with freeze-dried raw chicken pieces
  • Rich in calcium and phosphorus for healthy teeth
  • High in protein and minimally processed
9.6
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Best Overall
1. Blue Wilderness Toy Breed Chicken Formula Dry Food

Blue WildernessToy Breed Formula by the Blue Buffalo Company, Ltd is crafted with the needs of your tiny dog in mind. The first production date is February 9th, 2012, and it targets extra small, toy, and small breeds. The main ingredients are Deboned Chicken, Pea Protein, Chicken Meal, Peas, and Tapioca Starch.

Blue Buffalo Wilderness High Protein, Natural Adult Small Breed Dry Dog Food, Chicken 4.5-lb
10
  • Delicious, protein-rich chicken is the number 1 ingredient
  • Formulated to meet the energy needs of smaller breed dogs
  • Proprietary LifeSource bits is a blend of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals for overall health
  • It is crafted with real chicken for a high-value protein of 36%  to build lean muscles. 
  • Toy dogs have a fast metabolism and this meal has a fat value of 16% and 425 calories per cup to make your Terrier active and reduce the risk of hypoglycemia.
  • Calcium, phosphorus, and glucosamine work together to strengthen your dog’s bones, while omega 6 and 3 fatty acids keep the coat and skin bright and admirable.
  • This formula comes in small kibble sizes and is formulated with ingredients that suit the energy needs of toy dogs.
  • It has antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals that work together to support the immune system, and your dog’s life stage, and provide a healthy oxidative balance.
  • This recipe is free from corn, wheat, soy, and artificial preservatives for your sensitive Papillon.

Blue Wilderness Toy Breed Formula is ideal for adult dogs with sensitivities and grain allergies. Toy breeds weighing up to 5 lbs need a daily intake of ¼  to ½ cup. This translates to 106.25 – 212.5 calories per day. To lower the risks of digestive problems, spread the meals into smaller portions. An 11-lb bag costs $37.98.

Best Value
2. Halo Spot’s Stew Wholesome Chicken Small Breed Recipe Dry Food 

Formulated for small, extra small, and toy breeds, this recipe by Halo is the best choice for your tiny dog. It satisfies your dog’s instincts and nourishes its body. The first production date is September 28th, 2011, and it has gained popularity among pet parents. The key ingredients are Chicken, Dried Egg Product, Chicken Liver,  Oatmeal, and Dried Peas.

Halo Adult Wet Dog Food Chicken Stew
9.9
  • Wet food formula only uses real meat
  • Complete nutrition from non-GMO fruits and vegetables
  • Great-tasting chicken stew with a smooth texture your dog will love
  • Quality meat from real chicken contributes to a high protein content (27%) for thick muscles.
  • It suits toy dogs with high metabolism as it comes in small nutrient-rich kibble. The fat value of 17% and 413 calories per cup also boost your dog’s energy levels.
  • This formula is free from meat meals and artificial additives, hence easier to digest and absorb for maximum health benefits.
  • Wholesome grains provide energy and fiber for proper digestion and maintenance of a healthy weight.
  • Formulated with omega 6 and 3 fatty acids for radiant skin and shiny coat.
  • Halo Company uses no factory farming and all the ingredients are sourced from certified farmers in the USA.
  • This diet is formulated with taurine and L-carnitine to support heart health and is also packed with antioxidants to prevent oxidative damage.

Halo Spot’s Stew Formula is ideal for dogs that can tolerate grains. Dogs weighing 5 lbs need a daily intake of ½ cup or 206.5 calories, while those weighing 10 lbs require 309.75 calories or ¾ cup. A 10-lbs bag costs $25.

Best for Adults
3. Nutro Small Breed Ultra Chicken Dry Food

Nutro Small Breed Formula by The Nutro Company is perfect for your toy breed, as it is crafted with high-quality ingredients for maximum nutritional and health benefits. The initial production date is May 13th, 2009, and it targets small, extra small, and toy breeds. The major ingredients include Chicken, Whole Grain Sorghum,  Chicken Meal, Whole Grain Brown Rice, and Whole Grain Oats. The protein content of 26% from real chicken and other high-quality protein sources ensures your dog’s tiny muscles are strong.

Nutro Ultra Adult Small Breed High Protein Natural Dry Dog Food with a Trio of Proteins from Chicken, Lamb and Salmon, 15 lb. Bag
9.8
  • High-protein, real chicken is the number 1 ingredient
  • Full of wholesome foods such as chia, coconut and kale
  • Made with non-GMO ingredients
  • The 17% fat value blends with the calorie content of 442 Kcal/cup to provide energy for metabolism.
  • The fiber value of 4% from wholesome sources adds bulk to stool for regular bowel movements and lower rates of digestive problems.
  • This premium recipe is crafted with 15 superfoods including blueberries and chia seeds for powerful antioxidants, probiotics, and prebiotics for the immune and digestive systems.
  • The ingredients are sourced from trusted suppliers and thoroughly tested to provide optimal nutrition.

Nutro Ultra Small Formula is best for a dog’s tummy issues. Toy dogs weighing 10 lbs need a daily intake of 294.67 calories or  ⅔ cups. This amount may vary depending on your dog’s age and activity levels. A 5-lb bag costs $34.98.

Best for Puppies
4. Eukanuba Small Breed Puppy Dry Food

Give your toy puppy premium nutrition with Eukanuba Small Breed Formula by Royal Canin. The initial production date is July 15th, 2015, and it targets small breeds. The primary ingredients are Chicken, Chicken By-Product Meal, Corn, Chicken Fat, and Wheat.

Eukanuba Puppy Small Breed Dry Dog Food, 15 lb
9.8
  • Guaranteed levels of DHA help support your puppy's brain development
  • Premium protein promotes lean muscle build
  • Contains concentrated energy from fat and carbohydrates
  • It is suitable for toy puppies as it has a protein content of 32%, fat value of 21%, and calorie content of 465 Kcal/cup for the growth and development of strong muscles and provision of sufficient energy.
  • It has DHA for brain development, improved concentration, and easier trainability.
  • Calcium and phosphorus are responsible for strong bones, while vitamin E protects your puppy against infections and free radicals that cause cancer.
  • Prebiotics and natural fiber aid gentle digestion, while optimized carbohydrates add to the energy levels.
  • For maximum nutritional benefits, pair this dry puppy recipe with Eukanuba wet puppy formula or treats.

Eukanuba Small Breed Formula is suitable for puppies that need high protein foods and can tolerate grains. Puppies weighing 5 lbs need 1 ½ cups at 6-11 weeks, 1 ⅜ cups at 3-4 months, ⅞ cups at 5-7 months, and ½ cups at 8-12 months. Pregnant and nursing dogs also benefit from this formula. However, you should increase the amounts by 25% to 50%. A 15-lb bag costs $43.59.

Best for Weight Management
5. Instinct Raw Boost Grain-Free Small Breed Formula with Chicken & Freeze-Dried Dry Food

Massage your dog’s instincts with Instinct Raw Boost Formula by Nature’s Variety. The first manufacturing date is March 3rd, 2017, and it targets extra small, toy, and small breeds. The main ingredients include Chicken, Chickpeas, Chicken Meal, Tapioca, and Chicken Fat.

Instinct Raw Boost Small Breed Grain Free Recipe with Real Chicken Natural Dry Dog Food, 4 lb. Bag
9.6
  • Delicious bites with freeze-dried raw chicken pieces
  • Rich in calcium and phosphorus for healthy teeth
  • High in protein and minimally processed
  • Chicken is the number one ingredient contributing to a protein value of 35% to fuel your dog’s muscle growth.
  • The calorie value of 469 Kcal/cup and fat value of 20% suits your ever-active toy dog.
  • Freeze-dried for a burst of flavor to attract your finicky toy dog.
  • Consuming this meal strengthens the joints, teeth, muscles, and bones with glucosamine, chondroitin, calcium, and phosphorus. 
  • Omega-6 and 3 fatty acids are great for smooth skin and lustrous coat, while vitamins C and E are responsible for immune health and protection against inflammation.
  • It contains probiotics and prebiotics for digestive and immune health.
  • It is free from grains, corn, potato, wheat, soy, artificial preservatives, or by-product meals for your sensitive dog.

Instinct Raw Boost Formula is best for dogs with sensitive tummies and grain allergies. The daily feeding varies depending on your dog’s weight. Dogs weighing 2-8 lbs need ½ to 1 cup for weight maintenance and ¼ to ½ cups for weight loss. A 10-lbs bag costs $41.

6. Wellness Toy Breed Complete Health Dry Food

Crafted for extra small, small, and toy breeds, Wellness Toy Breed Formula by WellPet LLC  is the best choice for your petite dog as it meets its overall nutritional and health needs. The first production date is May 11th, 2013. The primary ingredients include Deboned Chicken, Turkey Meal, Chicken Meal, Ground Brown Rice, and Rice.

  • The high protein value of 30%  promotes muscle power, while the fat value of 175 and 462 calories per cup is perfect for your dog’s fast metabolism.
  • Calcium, phosphorus, chondroitin, and glucosamine work together to support bone, muscle, and tooth health.
  • Beta-carotene and omega fatty acids blend to give your dog healthy skin and coat.
  • Consuming this meal boosts immune wellness and protects dogs from inflammation with vitamins C and E.
  • It comes in a small kibble size for easy eating.
  • This diet is crafted with wholesome grains for high-quality fiber to support smooth digestion.

Wellness Toy Breed Recipe is perfect for dogs with sensitive tummies and those that can tolerate grains. Dogs weighing 1-3 lbs need a daily intake of ⅛ to ¼ cup and those weighing 4-6 lbs need ⅓ to ½ cup. A 5-7 day transition period is best for a lower risk of digestive problems. A 4-lbs bag costs $19.98.

7. Merrick Classic Healthy Grains Small Breed Recipe Adult Dry Food 

Crafted for your pint-sized dog, Merrick Classic Formula by Merrick Pet Care features real deboned chicken as the first ingredient for your dog’s muscles. The initial manufacturing date is January 14th, 2016 and it targets extra small, toy, and small breeds. Other key ingredients are Chicken Meal, Brown Rice, Barley, and Turkey Meal.

  • It is crafted with healthy grains including brown rice and quinoa for dietary fiber to promote digestive wellness and healthy weight.
  • It is enhanced with omega fatty acids, chondroitin, and glucosamine for skin, coat, and joint health.
  • This recipe is enhanced with taurine and yucca schidigera to support cardiac health, promote digestion, and reduce stool odor.
  • It has 404 calories per cup and a fat value of 16% to boost your toy dog’s stamina.
  • It is free from corn, wheat, soy, and peas to suit your sensitive dog.

Merrick Classic Formula is suitable for dogs with sensitive stomachs and those that can tolerate grains. Dogs weighing 3 lbs need a daily intake of 1⁄3 cup, while those weighing 6 lbs require ⅔ cups. Weights ranging from 10 to 30 lbs need a range of 1 to 2 cups. Divide these amounts by the number of times you feed your dog. A 12-lb bag costs $44.98.

8. Solid Gold Holistic Grain-Free Mighty Mini Dry Food

Give your dog a solid body with Solid Gold Formula by Solid Gold Pet LLC. The initial production date is March 14th, 2016, and it targets small, extra small, and toy breeds. The key ingredients include chicken, Chicken Meal, Chickpeas, Peas, and Pea Protein.

  • The high protein value of 30%, a fat content of 18%, and calorie value of 450 Kcal/cup support your dog’s muscle health while providing sufficient energy for physical activities.
  • Consuming this meal promotes cognitive health and improves focus and trainability with DHA.
  • This recipe contains vitamins C and E to protect dogs from infections and oxidative damage.
  • Omega fatty acids are essential for coat and skin health.
  • It also features probiotic support for gut health.
  • This diet is crafted with a single meat source to lower the risks of tummy problems and allergies.
  • It is made with 20 nutrient-dense superfoods including pumpkin, carrots, and cranberries to promote immune wellness.

Solid Gold Formula is suitable for dogs with sensitive tummies and grain allergies. Dogs weighing 2-15 lbs need a daily intake of ¼ to 1 cup, while those weighing 16-30 lbs need 1 to 1 ½ cups. An 11-lb bag costs $33.29.

What facts should you know about dog foods for Toy Breeds?

Although they are tiny, toy breeds need healthy meals for their overall growth and development. Here are other facts to know about the best dog foods for Toy Breeds:

  • Toy breeds have small mouths and hence need food with a small kibble size. Large kibbles can lead to digestive problems as they are hard for these tiny dogs to chew.
  • Toy breeds have tiny muscles, which require high-quality proteins for strength. Read the labels carefully and ensure the first ingredient is always a protein source. High-quality protein sources include turkey, beef, chicken, and fish. The more protein sources in the first five ingredients, the better for your petite dog.
  • Toy breeds have fast metabolic rates and hence need calorie-dense food. Puppies need more calories than adults due to their large surface area to volume ratio. These dogs are also susceptible to hypoglycemia and hence need sufficient calories. Fats and carbs are excellent sources of energy. The best fat sources include flaxseed and salmon oil while wholesome grains like quinoa are great sources of carbs.
  • Toy breeds are prone to obesity. You should, therefore, stick to the amounts needed for their body weight, as too much food leads to unhealthy weight. Go for foods with L-carnitine, as it breaks down excess fat into energy. High-quality fiber also helps with weight management, as it makes dogs feel full from consuming less.

What are the other dog foods for Toy Breeds with different health conditions?

Toy breeds are susceptible to different health problems and therefore need a balanced diet that helps lower the negative effects of the diseases. Here is the best dog food for toy breeds with pancreatitis and allergies:

The Best Dog Food for Toy Breeds with Pancreatitis

A high-fat diet is the main cause of pancreatitis. Although you cannot treat it with food, a proper diet helps fasten the healing process and lower the risks of further occurrence. Listed below are the best foods for pancreatitis:

The Best Dog Food for Toy Breeds with Allergies

Allergies are common to toy breeds, and this calls for foods free from common allergens. Identifying the cause of allergy is critical as it helps choose the right diet for your canine baby. Here are the best dog foods for allergies:

What is the Toy Breed Feeding schedule? 

Toy breeds need small meals because of their small bodies. Spreading the meals throughout the day is better compared to serving one large meal. Spreading meals also lowers the risk of obesity. Three to four meals per day is the best feeding option.

Their fast metabolism and susceptibility to hypoglycemia make it crucial to serve them the right amount of calories. Puppies need more calories as they are still growing and highly active. Senior toy dogs need less fat and calories to maintain a healthy weight. Below is a guide on how much food to serve your toy dog:

Weight 

Daily intake

3 pounds 

⅓  cup

6 pounds

½ cup

10 pounds 

¾ cup

15 pounds

1 cup

20 pounds

1 ⅔ cups

This table is only a guide and the amounts may vary depending on your dog’s age, health condition, and activity levels. The amounts may also change according to the weather conditions and the type of food. 

Is it necessary for small dogs to eat only small-size kibble?

Yes. It is best for small dogs to eat small size kibble. Below are the reasons why small size kibble is crucial for small dogs:

  • Small dogs have small mouths

Small dog breeds have small mouths and tightly packed teeth. There are lots of spaces for bacteria to lodge in and cause an infection, thus exposing them to an increased risk of gum diseases. Small-sized kibble fits well into their mouths to reduce the chances of infection. In addition, small kibble is usually designed to clean your dog’s mouth while chewing. In addition, large-sized kibble is a choking hazard and can cause digestive upsets for small dogs.

  • Small dogs have small tummies

Their tiny bodies meant they have smaller stomachs. This means toy dogs do not have the capacity to eat a large kibble. 

  • Small dogs have higher nutrient requirements 

Due to their small mouths and stomachs and high metabolic rates, toy dogs need small-sized nutrient-dense kibble.

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Michael Brady

Michael is an animal-lover who specializes in marketing. He started running Dog Food Care with his mother, Sarah, after leaving his office job. Michael gained enough flexibility in his schedule to be able to adopt a dog of his own and welcomed Emmie the dachshund into his home in 2020.