2021 Guide to the Best Dog Food for Toy Breeds

Whether you have a miniature, small, or extra tiny pooch, it’s undeniable that toy breeds are adorably unique and great additions to any family.

And just because they’re compact doesn’t mean we have to skimp on their nutritional needs.

Cute little chihuahua dog celebrating birthday

If you’re having difficulty choosing from grain-free, with grains, dry, or wet food, we made this guide to the best toy breed dog food for adult canines to help you.

Check it out!

Top 5 Picks of food for toy breed adult dogs in 2021

If you are in a hurry, check out this table. Below is the round-up of our top picks for toy breed dog food. You’ll find something to suit you and your canine’s needs and preferences.

  Toy BreedAdult Dog Food Our Rating
Best Overall Toy BreedAdult Dog Food Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Toy Breed Adult Dry Dog Food

  • High-protein recipe with Omega-6 (DHA) & Omega-3 fatty acids 
  • Made with glucosamine to support mobility and joint health
  • The kibble size is suitable for small breeds with small jaws
5
Best Budget Toy BreedAdult Dog Food Purina Bella Small Breed Wet Dog Food Trays

  • High in protein and has antioxidants that promote a healthy immune system
  • A small breed dog food that’s nutrient-dense and offers a complete and balanced diet
  • These easy-to-open and single-serve trays can be a meal itself or used as a topper
4.5
 

Best Dry Food for Toy BreedAdult Dogs

Nutro Ultra Small Breed Weight Management Dry Dog Food

  • Designed for weight control
  • Crafted with proteins from salmon, pasture-fed lamb, and farm-raised chicken
  • No preservatives, artificial flavors, or colors
 

4.5

Best Wet Food for Toy BreedAdult Dogs Halo Chicken and Salmon Grain-Free Recipe

  • Non-GMO and grain-free recipe
  • Made with sustainably sourced ingredients
  • Smooth texture & delicious taste
 

4.5

 

Best Grain-Free Food for Toy BreedAdult Dogs

Blue Buffalo Wilderness Small Breed Grain-Free Recipe

  • Made with real chicken as its first ingredient
  • Designed by animal nutritionists and holistic veterinarians
  • Free from poultry or chicken by-products, preservatives, artificial flavors, soy, wheat, and corn
 

5

Best dog food brands for toy breed adult dogs

Cute Pomeranian Spitz eating outdoors
An adorable Pomeranian Spitz eating outdoors

Let’s take a look at the best brands that ensure your pup gets only the most delicious food with high-quality nutritional value.

Some doggos have different preferences, so we’ll cover both wet and dry food options.

Best dry dog food for small breed adult dogs

Dry dog food in a ceramic green bowl

For little dogs who prefer dry kibbles best, this is a list of our top picks for dry pet food with quality ingredients. The reviews include recipes that have grains, as well as grain-free recipes.

1. Wellness Complete Health Toy Breed Recipe

Wellness Toy Breed Complete Health Adult Deboned Chicken, Brown Rice & Peas Recipe Dry Dog Food

Our rating: 4.5
Top ingredients: Deboned Chicken, Chicken Meal, Turkey Meal 
Type: Dry

This top-quality food features excellent ingredients and premium animal protein sources for your toy breed.

Its small kibbles are designed to support easier consumption and a well-functioning digestive system. And the balanced whole grains and proteins promote a strong immune system, optimal energy levels, and a healthy coat.

Pros:

  • The small kibble size is suitable for small to extra small dogs for easier digestion
  • Has no soy, wheat, corn, preservatives, artificial flavors, fillers, or by-products
  • Promotes healthy skin and coat, as well as optimal energy levels

Cons:

  • One owner complained that it gave their toy dog diarrhea

CHECK PRICE HERE

2. Blue Buffalo Wilderness Small Breed Grain-Free Recipe

Blue Buffalo Wilderness Small Breed Chicken Recipe

Our rating: 5
Top ingredients: Deboned Chicken, Chicken Meal, Pea Protein
Type: Dry

Does your little fur baby require a grain-free recipe that’s also high in protein? Then give this one a try! It helps maintain and build lean muscle mass and has complex carbs from veggies and fruits to keep her energetic.

Thanks to its LifeSource Bits rich in antioxidants and all-natural ingredients, this delicious food will satisfy your pup’s palette and ensure healthy bone and coat development.

It’s packed with the right amount of vitamins, minerals, and probiotics.

Pros:

  • Made with real chicken as its first ingredient
  • Designed by animal nutritionists and holistic veterinarians
  • Free from poultry or chicken by-products, preservatives, artificial flavors, soy, wheat, and corn

Cons:

  • Some said they wish there were smaller bags of this dog food so they can see if their dogs like it, as some pets wouldn’t even give it a try

CHECK PRICE HERE

3. Nutro Ultra Small Breed Weight Management Dry Dog Food

Nutro Ultra Small Breed Weight Management

Our rating: 4.5
Top ingredients: Chicken, Chicken Meal, Whole Brown Rice
Type: Dry

If your fur baby needs help in managing her weight, give this recipe from Nutro a try. It’s formulated with healthy and fiber-rich ingredients, like whole grains, that offer balanced nutrition.

It’s made for small and toy breeds to ensure that they get and maintain all the nutrients they need while maintaining optimal weight to enhance their quality of life.

Pros:

  • Designed for weight control
  • Crafted with proteins from salmon, pasture-fed lamb, and farm-raised chicken
  • No preservatives, artificial flavors, or colors

Cons:

  • Few of the dogs who tried this recipe didn’t enjoy it, while one became gassy

CHECK PRICE HERE

4. Instinct Raw Boost Grain-Free Recipe

Instinct Raw Boost with Real Chicken & Freeze-Dried

Our rating: 4.5
Top ingredients: Chicken, Chicken Meal, Peas
Type: Dry

This freeze-dried dog food for breeds of all sizes is a grain-free option that’s natural and free of gluten, soy, wheat, and corn but high in animal protein. It’s formulated to keep your pooch healthy throughout her lifespan.

Pros:

  • Has probiotics that boost our pets digestive system and metabolic rates
  • No preservatives, artificial colors, or by-product meal
  • High in omega fatty acids that contribute to healthy and shiny coats

Cons:

  • A few owners said their dogs turned their noses away when they try to give this kibble

CHECK PRICE HERE

5. Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Toy Breed Adult Dry Dog Food

Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Toy Breed Adult Chicken & Brown Rice Recipe Dry Dog Food

Our rating: 5
Top ingredients: Deboned Chicken, Chicken Meal, Brown Rice
Type: Dry

Not only is this Blue Buffalo recipe made with LifeSource Bits, but it’s also enhanced with antioxidant-rich ingredients known as the Super 7 package.

It’s packed with garden fruits and veggies, whole grains, and, more importantly, real meat! Perfect for little canines who love the delicious taste of chicken.

Pros:

  • High-protein recipe with Omega-6 (DHA) & Omega-3 fatty acids 
  • Made with glucosamine to support mobility and joint health
  • The kibble size is suitable for small breeds with small jaws

Cons:

  • Not all dogs are a fan of this dry kibble, and owners wished there were sample packages

CHECK PRICE HERE

Don’t miss: Best Dry Dog Food for Adult Dogs

Best wet dog food for a toy or extra small adult breed

Premium wet dog food in tray
Delicious premium wet dog food in tray

Now that we have covered all the best dry food options, let’s look at the best wet foods for toy breeds. Some dogs prefer the texture of wet foods and lap up every last bit.

We have some great choices below that are sure to satisfy your little pup.

6. Hill’s Science Diet Adult Small Paws Canned Dog Food

Hill's Science Diet Adult Small Paws Chicken & Barley

Our rating: 4.5
Top ingredients: Water, Chicken, Pork Liver
Type: Wet – Minced

Vets recommend this wet food for adult toy and small breeds with an age of 1 to 6 years old. It’s made with a precise balance of key nutrients and lean proteins that aid your fur baby’s ideal body weight.

Optimal nutrient absorption won’t be an issue with every bite of this highly digestible canned food.

Pros:

  • A small breed formula with natural ingredients such as cracked pearled barley, whole grain corn, pork liver, and chicken
  • Made with lean proteins for leaner muscles
  • A highly digestible recipe that helps your pup stay in shape

Cons:

  • Check all the ingredients first to ensure your doggo isn’t allergic to anything in this wet food, but other than that, many owners said their pets love this recipe

CHECK PRICE HERE

7. Purina Bella Small Breed Wet Dog Food Trays

Purina Bella with Beef & Smoked Bacon in Savory Juices Small Breed Wet Dog Food Trays

Our rating: 4.5
Top ingredients: Meat by-products, Water, Chicken
Type: Wet – Pate

Does your dog love wet food, but you want a quick and easy way to serve it for her? This formula with beef and smoked bacon savory juices are on ready-to-eat trays that will satisfy your pup’s desire for tasty meals!

This may not look enough for large breeds, but it’s made specifically for toy breeds while thinking of portion control.

Pros:

  • High in protein and has antioxidants that promote a healthy immune system
  • A small breed dog food that’s nutrient-dense and offers a complete and balanced diet
  • These easy-to-open and single-serve trays can be a meal itself or used as a topper

Cons:

  • Picky eaters may not eat
  • A few dogs experienced diarrhea or upset stomach

CHECK PRICE HERE

8. Merrick Lil’ Plates Grain-Free Small Breed Wet Dog Food

Merrick Lil' Plates Grain Free Small Breed Wet Dog Food

Our rating: 4
Top ingredients: Beef, Beef Broth, Venison Broth
Type: Wet – Stew

Calling all dog owners searching for gluten-free and grain-free wet food for their fur baby who suffers from sensitive stomachs!

These mini trays feature savory gravy and real deboned beef made with essential minerals, probiotics, and prebiotics to help with digestion.

It also has chondroitin, calcium, and glucosamine that support joint and hip function, and high levels of omega fatty acids for healthier and shinier coats.

Pros:

  • Comes in a case of 12 easy-to-open trays
  • Made with no grains, gluten, soy, wheat, and corn
  • Formulated for your little doggo’s balanced and complete nutrition

Cons:

  • One owner said their dog had one and wouldn’t eat it again
  • The Grey color of food can look dull and unappealing

CHECK PRICE HERE

9. Halo Chicken and Salmon Grain-Free Recipe

Halo Chicken & Salmon Recipe Grain-Free Small Breed Canned Dog Food

Our rating: 4.5
Top ingredients: Chicken, Chicken Broth, Chicken Liver 
Type: Wet – Pate

This delicious chicken and salmon meal will have your pup wagging her tail. The ingredients in this dish are top-notch and include salmon oil, flaxseed oil, and non-GMO fruits and vegetables.

The antioxidants, healthy fats, and proteins will ensure your tiny sidekick gets all it needs for a healthy coat, skin, and bones. With no meat meals and artificial ingredients, your pup will be able to digest this tasty meal easily.

Pros:

  • Non-GMO and grain-free recipe
  • Made with sustainably sourced ingredients
  • Smooth texture & delicious taste

Cons:

  • Picky eaters may not like this wet dog food

CHECK PRICE HERE

10. Hill’s Science Diet Adult 7+ Small Paws Dog Food Trays

Hill's Science Diet Adult 7+ Small Paws Savory Chicken & Vegetable Stew

Our rating: 4.5
Top ingredients: Water, Chicken, Pork Liver
Type: Wet – Stew

This delectable chicken and vegetable stew is a recipe that your petite canine will love! It’s formulated for senior dogs who are 7 years and older.

It will help support their quality of life while ensuring their meals are easy to digest.

With the perfect amount of proteins to promote lean and strong muscle growth, this wet food is great for senior dogs. It is also easily digestible and will keep your dog’s stomach happy.

Pros:

  • Crafted with natural ingredients such as vegetables, brown rice, and chicken
  • Single-serve and hassle-free trays
  • It will help maintain your pet’s lean muscles, thanks to its high-quality protein source

Cons:

  • Not all dogs are a fan of this wet dog food

CHECK PRICE HERE

Don’t miss: Best Wet Dog Food for Adult Dogs

Buying & feeding the best dog food for your toy breed

Chihuahua-being-hand-fed.jpg (Kindly use the existing image)

From Chihuahuas to Teacup Shih Tzus, toy breeds do not need as much food as larger breeds. Still, they need a nutritious and well-balanced diet to grow and live a healthy life.

All canines have different needs throughout their life stages. So from puppy food to senior dog food, they must be getting the right vitamins, minerals, carbohydrates, and proteins.

What nutrients do toy breed dogs need?

Besides their metabolism and size, our pet’s nutritional needs will mostly depend on their life stage. From a small breed puppy to a senior dog, their dietary requirements will change.

The 6 nutrients considered basics when feeding our fur babies include vitamins, minerals, carbohydrates, fats, proteins, and water.

But another question comes to mind, are toy breeds and small breeds the same? Aside from size, there isn’t much difference between them. They’re the type of dogs that are exclusively kept as pets and companions.

Chihuahua eating dried food on hand
Hungry Chihuahua dog eating dried food on hand

Toy breeds usually weigh under 12 pounds (5.4 kg), and small breeds can weigh up to 16 – 18 pounds (7.2 – 8.1 kg).

A dog food with high caloric density and is made with very small kibbles are also a need for these petite dogs.

And since toy breeds have a faster metabolism than larger dogs, they require more calories per pound to sustain their energy.

Dog owners who already have experience having a toy dog know that they can devour plenty of food in seconds. This means they can suffer from obesity, too. So we need to make sure that we don’t overfeed our little fidos.

It’s important to look for high-quality food with more calories and nutrients per pound than other foods as they cannot eat a lot every meal.

Toy breeds can also develop a few health problems during their lifespan. Though they usually live longer than larger breeds, they require other nutrients like antioxidants.

It promotes a healthy immune system to help fight off any chronic illness.

And did you know that if they don’t get enough calories, they can get hypoglycemia due to low blood sugar? This alone can lead to several major health issues.

Ingredients to look for when choosing what your toy breed should eat

As responsible pet owners, we should know how to read the label of anything we give our dogs, especially something they consume.

So it’s best to be aware of what ingredients should be included in Rover’s food, as well as what to steer clear of.

Ingredients to look for:

  • Whole protein such as real meat products (real chicken & lamb)
  • Digestible carbohydrates 
  • Healthy animal-based fat 
  • Antioxidant-rich ingredients 

Ingredients to avoid:

  • Artificial additives
  • Synthetic supplements
  • Animal by-products (fish meal and lamb meal)
  • Fillers 

Then, keep in mind that there are some human foods that dogs can and cannot eat. For example – cranberries, lentils, and chickpeas are safe for dogs to eat while onions, nuts, and grapes are not.

Check out the full list of foods here

Dry kibbles, wet food, or raw: What type of dog food should toy breeds have?

Miniature and toy dogs are famous for being fussy eaters, but it’s all going to fall on preference. Each type of dog food has its advantages and disadvantages.

Chihuahua with the yellow green food bowl
A Chihuahua dog looking his food on a yellow green bowl

Dry dog food may be more accessible and relatively cheaper, but you still have to find which recipe suits your pet. It’s also good for your fur baby’s teeth and gums.

Canned dog food is more palatable and can cost more. If your pooch isn’t picky, other owners mix dry kibble with wet food.

Raw food offers a more natural approach to feeding your toy breed, but it requires preparation and care as it poses health concerns when improperly handled.

Some dogs are even advised to eat a particular diet, so that’s something to consider, too.

Is grain-free dog food better than with grain?

There is no evidence to suggest that grain-free food is better for your breed.

Besides consulting the veterinarian about this concern, it’s best to know that manufacturers would have to replace grains with other ingredients, which doesn’t necessarily assure us that it’s a healthier option for our toy dogs.

When buying grain-free, always remember to make sure the carbohydrates used to substitute the grain are easily digestible, like sweet potato, for example.

Apart from what we recommended above, Taste of the Wild is also a great grain-free brand to check out.

Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

Papillon puppies eating from colorful bowls
Little Papillon puppies eating their food from colorful bowls

How much food should you feed your toy breed adult dog?

Since all small breed dogs are different and need higher calories per pound, it’s best to check the guidelines on the food packaging.

On average, and depending on their size, toy dogs should eat about 400 calories per day. So, according to the caloric count of food, you’ll be able to work out how much to feed them.

When and how often should you feed your toy breed adult dog?

Toy dogs should eat smaller portions, about 3 to 4 times, throughout the day because of their small jaws and stomachs. This will help them digest the food properly while still getting the calories they need.

Can you give homemade food for your toy breed adult dog?

Yes, toy breeds can eat homemade food as long as they’re filled with all the nutritious ingredients they need. Here’s a recipe for you to try at home:

What you’ll need:

Flax seeds (ground)
½ cup of cottage cheese
2 eggs
1 ½ cup of old fashioned oatmeal
2 pounds of lean ground beef
3 ¼ cups of grated vegetables (zucchini, broccoli, carrots, sweet potatoes)

Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F°.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine all the ingredients.
  3. Take two meatloaf pans and lightly butter them. Then, place the mixture in the pans.
  4. Bake it in the oven for about 20 to 24 minutes. You don’t have to cook the meat thoroughly.
  5. Section it out into 24 portioned size pieces. Freeze the leftover meals and use them whenever needed.

What to remember when choosing the best dog food for toy breeds 

Cute white dog waiting the food in an empty plate
Cute hungry dog waiting the food in an empty plate

Toy breeds have little bodies that need more nutrients than larger dogs, and most are picky eaters.

That’s why we made this list and guide to help make the task easier, whether you’re choosing your fido’s first dog food or she needs to change her diet.

And the top picks summarizes the list for you. Other than that, consider what your pet likes and if it’s a food you can buy and feed her consistently. It should also benefit your dog inside and out.

The above options are a great place to start, but different dogs have different health and nutritional needs. Due to their unique size, it’s best to consult a vet on the best food and diet for your specific pup.

Do you have a cute toy breed pooch that loves a specific brand or texture? What do you think is the best dog food for toy breeds? Comment and let us know your thoughts – we’d love to hear from you!

Further reading: More dog food options for other dog breed sizes

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