puppy eatingNot all breeds are created equal. Smaller breeds have different requirements than those of larger breeds. I’m going to show what smaller breed needs that differ from their larger cousins.

Calories-they need them, we don’t

While smaller breed and Toy dogs need fewer calories than their larger counterparts, they require more calories per pound. This is due to the fact that they have a higher metabolic rate than a large breed. The reason for this is that they grow faster than a large breed dog. They reach their adult stage a lot earlier, usually about 4-6 months sooner than a large breed will. Be careful not to over feed them. The best thing to do is to read the feeding guidelines on the bag for your small breed. Obesity can cause some serious health issues and can take as many as two years off your dogs life. In general, small breeds tend to live longer than larger breeds. This means that they could be eating the same food for approximately 15 years after puppy hood. Also important is to make sure their diet is rich in antioxidants. This will help prevent free radical damage over the lifespan of your dog.

Sweets for your sweetie

You need to be careful about too much and not enough sugar in their diet. Dogs can develop hyperglycemia, or diabetes, just like a human can from having too much sugar in their diet. Conversely, small breed and toy breeds are more prone to hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar. This is also due to their higher metabolism as well as their smaller body fat reserves. Some symptoms of hypoglycemia are:

  • Weakness
  • Lethargy (lack of energy or enthusiasm)
  • Muscle tremors
  • Seizures

If you notice any of the above symptoms, check with your veterinarian.

Reading what they are eating

If you already have a favorite veterinarian, you can ask them if they have any recommendations on food for your small breed dog. If you don’t, reading the label is the best thing you can do for your dog. There are several things to look for on the label. Let’s start with the front of the bag. Some brands may say “All Stages”. These are okay, however, I recommend buying food that is labeled for “Small Breeds”. One of the reasons for this is that those labeled for small breeds have smaller kibble. Smaller kibble is not only easier for their little mouths, but is also easier for them to digest faster than larger chunks. The label should also say “complete and balanced” Now for the label on the back of the bag. You want to make sure is states that it is certified by the AAFCO (Association of American Feed Control Officials). They are the organization that establishes the guidelines for all pet foods. If the label says “FDA Approved”, it should be good too, however, the FDA is only required to maintain the minimum vitamins and minerals required by law. Another important thing to check the ingredients for is to make sure the food contains no allergens. Again, if you’re not sure if your dog’s food contains quality ingredients, then you can check with your vet or even go to the manufacturer’s website or call their customer service department. It is always best to do some research before you acquire your furry friend.

Price-isn’t your dog worth a little more to you?

Your dog is going to be a member of the family. You wouldn’t feed your family the cheap stuff, would you? You shouldn’t but corners on the dog’s food either. While many of the cheaper brands may be okay, it wouldn’t hurt to spend a little extra on your pooch too. Expensive doesn’t always mean the highest quality either. Again, read the label and do the research before getting your dog. Some of the most noted places to get their food that I’ve found are Chewy, Petco, PetSmart and even the Tractor Supply Company (TSC) if you have one available to you.

Myth or fact

Some may say that pork is no good for your dog because it causes kidney failure. The fact of the matter is that the main cause for kidney failure in dogs is periodontal disease. Pork is a good source of digestible protein, calorie content and amino acids. High amounts of proteins don’t cause kidney failure. You want maintain the proper level of protein in your dog’s diet which is between 14 and 20 percent. Low protein levels aren’t any good for him either. If he doesn’t get enough protein in his diet, his body will try to draw protein from its own sources. The greatest area for the body to draw from are the muscles which will cause your dog even more harm. Egg protein has the highest biological value along with whole milk, meats, soy bean and some grains. We all know that pork is “the other white meat”! Another myth is meat meal isn’t good for dogs. Meat meal like chicken meal, turkey meal etc is simply the meat with the water and fat removed. As long as you provide him with plenty of water throughout the day, he’ll be just fine.

On another note, honey is good for your dog as well, in moderation of course. Best to use pure honey, although, regular store bought is okay. This actually does help with his coat, but also helps build up his pollen immunities and can also be used as a topical for burns and superficial cuts and wounds.

The long and short, like I mentioned, is to either talk to your vet for food recommendations or contact the food manufacture’s website or call their customer service department. If it is your first dog, do your research before you get your new family member. This is your baby and you wouldn’t have one of those without knowing a little something about how to care for it ahead of time. Now, you are a little more informed so go out and get the little guy!

20 Replies to “Small breeds-not necessarily small feeds”

  1. Hello, Joseph 

    This was a well written and really interesting article. 

    You got a lot of helpful information across in a very clear and concise way. 

    While I’m not a dog owner myself I still really enjoyed reading this. 

    I agree with your point that spending more on pet food is worthwhile. 

    My cat would definitely agree with this!

    I never knew that honey was good for dogs. 



    1. Yes, honey is good for their coat, burns and cuts. My cat loves the good food she gets. She has no idea what I spend on it, but she loves me for it! Thanks for you comment:)

  2. Nice write up I must say .when it comes to choosing a diet for your dog it is important you do so with proper knowledge of the content of the meal and it’s functions . At a time when my dog had a cut on his right arm, I never knew pure honey can help heal the wound and even build up his pollen immunity. This is indeed an eye opener.

    1. Thank you for your response. I appreciate it. Yes, every part of their food has some purpose for their health. Yes, even the honey. Thank you again and I will be doing more on food diets that help them heal as well.

  3. Puppies are usually are usually small in nature but really not necessarily small just as we are made known in this article. We have made to understand how important it to know that much calories isn’t good for puppies that it could lead to frustration early dead as too.much fat isnt good for them just as it is in human…..This is indeed an intriguing article aw it will help keep your dog in the right diet

    1. Thank you so much for your response. I hope you found the information useful. I love animals and want them to be around as long as possible. Thank you again and should you have any questions in the future, you can leave them for me and I will try to respond either directly or perhaps in an upcoming article.

  4. Aloha and thank you for sharing.

    Funny that I come across your article when my girlfriend and I have been currently looking for a small puppy now for about a week.

    Your site is definitely bookmarked. Been a few years since we were able to raise a dog.

    I wanna ask, do you know where we can get a “COCKAPOO” and have it sent to Hawaii?

    Also, what are some other small breeds you would recommend for a condo, so has to be calm and tamed.

    Can you please email me.

    Your response is greatly appreciated!

    1. Thank you and I will need your email in order to do so.

  5. Quite an informative article I must say…its a fact that small breeds really do not need much calories are they could really cause them alot of Damage, I did experience this when jimmy my dig was a Poppy, I feed him too much that at a time I found him staying in a position for hours and then I knew I needed to reduce his feeds…
    I did find thus this article really useful

    1. Thank you very much evans for reading the article. It means a lot to me to have a dog owner review my articles. It is true that smaller breeds don’t need as many calories, overall, than a larger breed. They do, however, require more calories per pound than larger breed dogs. Again, thank you for your review and hope you will be able to read some of my other articles soon.


  6. Hi Joe

    I love dogs but I’ve never been a fan of small breeds. OK, yeah, pugs are adorable, but that’s as far as I’ll go!!

    I must say though, I found this article extremely informative. I did not know that dogs could be hyperglycemic, or that the small breeds could suffer from low blood sugar! You live and learn, right?

    1. Thank you for your feedback! I’m a big dog lover myself, but due to medical issues, I can no longer handle a larger dog so I now prefer a smaller lap dog. I have another article entitled “running with the big dogs” you may be interested in. You can find it on my website here: mydogshealthyfoods.com I’m glad you found this one interesting as well and hope you check back on my site for future articles. Thanks again!

  7. Well done on this Article: Healthy foods for small dogs, awesome pictures and it really tell a lot, You give tips on how to take care of them from feeding the right healthy foods to exercise with them. You went into details that I never knew and that is smaller dogs has a higher metabolic rate that large breed dogs awesome article thanks for the many tips

    1. Thank you so much for your feedback! I hope this article helped to inform you. I have three others as well that you may find of some and provide more information to you. I aim to provide preventative information rather than after the fact. Thank you again and good health to your furry friend!

  8. What a nice post.

    I’m a lucky pug owner, and unfortunately it is very sensitive. That’s why your post captured my attention.

    It took me years before I was able to find the right food for it, and even if it is more expensive than the others, it prevent me from buying medicines for my dog.

    Actually medicines are not the solution, they only help our hairy friend to live a bit better, but maybe not longer.

    Your post is really meaningful to me and I hope that many people will read it and thanks to it, will be able to give a better life to their dogs.

    Thanks for sharing.

    Have a great day,


    1. Thank you very much for your feedback. I hope this article helps you and my others as well can be checked out. I’m glad I was able to provide some information for you.

  9. Wow,  this is  indeed a very detailed,  constructive and informative post,  I really agree with having a fore knowledge of how to take care of a dog before getting one, I have a dog and I have lived with the myth of pork causing kidney failure for my dog,  I really feel so bad to have deprived my dog a very good source of protein,  but now I know better now. Thanks for sharing.

    1. First off, thank you so much for your comments! Second, like I stated, pork is a good source of protein, but don’t give them too much. As for the myth, pork doesn’t cause kidney disease, but by no means do you want to feed pork to a dog with kidney disease. Thank you again for your comments and paying particular attention to the pork myth. Your comments are invaluable as well.

  10. Hey nice article you have there. Your thoughts are indeed invaluable, thanks for sharing such an awesome information to dig breeders and livers. I found this article most useful. Nevertheless, there is a question I have been wanting to ask about dog sugar level. How can one have a balance sugar level for his dog, is there any measurement for it ?

    1. First off, thank you very much for your comments on my article! Second point, canine diabetes and human diabetes are very similar as far as levels go. Normal for canine is between 88-120 and humans are between 90-120. The normal average is around 90. Blood sugar can be obtained from the front leg usually. The rear leg won’t show much difference though. Your veterinarian can tell you more about this. Your vet can give you the same information concerning hyperglycemia (high blood sugar levels) and also hypoglycemia (low blood sugar levels) and be treated much the same as with humans through diet and, if necessary,, through insulin. I really appreciate your comments and hope I have answered your question. Look forward to any comments you have on my other articles on healthy dog care and their foods/dietary needs.

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