Does my small dog need special dry food?

Chihuahua, Jack Russell, Maltese or Yorkshire Terrier – if you have a small dog living with you, it has special requirements for living together – and also for food. What they are and whether you should feed special dry food for small dogs, you will learn in the following article.

Dry food – the practical feeding solution

Many dog owners:inside particularly like to feed dry food. The pellets and kibbles are easy to store, have a long shelf life and are perfect for “ad libidum” feeding, where your four-legged friend chooses how much and when he wants to eat. Other features include:

  • It is easy to portion.
  • It offers a wide variety of flavors.
  • It is available in different compositions and variants.

With small dogs, however, there is often an unexpected hurdle. The classic chunks of food are much too large and it is difficult for the little ones to break up the chunks and swallow them. Manufacturers offer here as a solution special dry food for small dogs. This differs not only in size, but also in the composition of nutrients. This makes it ideal for energy consumption and the needs of the dwarves.

Dry food of various shapes and sizes. Label reads: One of the most obvious reasons to feed special dry food for small dogs is the size of the kibble.
One of the most obvious reasons to feed special dry food for small dogs is the size of the kibble.

Small dog with large energy needs

Would you have known? The smaller a dog, the greater its energy requirement per kilogram of body weight. This is due to the unfavorable ratio between weight and body surface area in the little ones. Due to the large surface area, more body heat is lost, which means that the quadruped must recover this loss through more energy intake, i.e. through a higher amount of food.

For comparison, you can imagine the following: A Chihuahua weighing 2 kilograms needs 80 calories per kilogram per day. In contrast, the large Great Dane, which weighs 70 kilograms, gets by with 35 calories per kilogram of body weight. The reason for this difference is the so-called metabolic body weight (MJ).

The metabolic body weight

This term refers to the so-called metabolic mass. This mass is determined by the ratio between weight and size and is calculated according to a fixed formula: Weight 0.75. From this, a dog weighing 2 kg has an MJ of 1.68, and a dog weighing 70 kg has an MJ of 24.20.

This formula is used as a guide for the composition of the feed and the amount of feed. Exactly how much your dog needs also depends on his activity level, age, temperature, and individual metabolism. If it is more in motion, it needs more energy. If he has problems with digestion, he needs special varieties.

Do small dogs need special dry food?

The list of small dog breeds is long and especially for people who live in the city or in the rented apartment, the mini breeds are extremely popular. And also popular with landlords. The smallest dog breed in the world is considered to be the Chihuahua. The smallest representatives bring only a shoulder height of 15 cm and a weight of 2 kilograms or less.

Miniature spitz and chihuahua with empty food bowls in their mouths. Label reads: the smaller the dog, the more important it is to meet its needs.
The smaller the dog, the more important it is to meet its needs.

The fuzzy representatives among the smallest include the snow-white Bichon Frisé, the cuddly and, despite its small size, robust Bolonka Zwetna, the likewise white Maltese with its silky coat or the Shih Tzu, the lion dog from Tibet. The French Bulldog also still belongs to this category.

Small as they are, these dogs are often lively and have a high urge to move. The composition of the feed must be adapted to this and to the associated energy requirements.

Which variants are best for small dogs?

High energy levels, fast metabolism and often long life expectancy characterize many of the small dog breeds and bring with them special dietary requirements. In addition, there is a short gastrointestinal tract. This means they can only take in small amounts of food and digest it at lightning speed. Dry food for small dog breeds specifically addresses these needs.

What dog food is best for small dogs?

Dry food for small breeds of dogs should contain easily digestible, high-quality ingredients and not swell in the stomach. A high protein content, high-quality fats and sufficient fiber are part of the mix, as are the nutritional additives that contribute essential vitamins, minerals and trace elements.

A high quality feed contains:

  • animal protein, that is, meat (depending on the brand poultry such as turkey, game or other varieties).
  • Offal
  • Fat
  • Carbohydrates for example from the potato
  • Fiber as dietary fiber.

In order for the food to meet your dog’s energy needs, it must be labeled as a complete food. This includes a calcium/phosphorus ratio of 1:1 to 2:1.

The croquette size

Essential is the size of the food croquettes in the dog food for small breeds. If they are too big, as in the classic food for normal-sized dogs, it will be difficult for your four-legged friend to crack the chunks. You can easily test which kibble size – and shape – is optimal for your dog by paying attention to the following:

Your dog should be able to crack the food chunk, that is, it must fit in the mouth. Otherwise, it may be difficult for him to eat the food. This in turn can lead to digestive problems.

Larger kibble for small dogs that gobble

If your dog tends to snare, choose slightly larger varieties. Then the probability increases that he will chew at least a little on the kibble and make it easier for his digestion.

If your pelt nose is already older or has bad teeth, the croquettes should also be chosen rather smaller. Soaking can then also be helpful and useful. If chewing remains difficult for your dog, you can try soft food. This is also available in the small version.

How much dry food does a small dog need?

The right amount of food is an issue for many dog owners and that is regardless of the breed of dog. Manufacturers give recommendations about the daily ration of food. For small dogs, they also take into account changes in energy content and digestibility requirements. But here, too, the need is individual.

Feeding needs for small dogs are individual

How much food your dog should eat daily depends on his weight, but also on his age and activity level. Thus, calm or older dogs require less food than small bundles of energy or puppies. The food recommendation is therefore only a first indication, you must approach the individual needs of your dog step by step.

Small breeds – small stomachs

Miniature dogs and small breed dogs also have small stomachs, which means they can only eat a limited amount of food per meal. So that they are nevertheless full and supplied with all important nutrients, it is recommended to feed especially small dogs more than once. Three meals spread throughout the day are ideal.

What food for small breed puppies?

Puppies and growing dogs need a special food mix to thrive. Puppy food for small dogs takes into account the small growth phase (small breeds are often full grown at under a year), when puppies need a lot of energy, protein, minerals and vitamins.

How long do you feed puppy food?

Puppy food with its high energy content should be fed to your dog until the end of the growth phase. Once he is fully grown, you can switch to classic dog food for small dogs, often labeled “adult.”

What dry food for small dogs do veterinarians recommend?

When it comes to food recommendations from the veterinarian, you should generally keep in mind that most veterinarians are not nutrition experts. They often recommend specific brands that are high-priced and quite controversial in their quality.

If your dog is sick and needs a special or diet dog food, the vet is the right person to contact. HE knows and sells feeds that are not even available in stores as diet feeds.

Which is better: dry or wet food for small dogs?

Whether dry or wet food is the right choice for your small dog is a matter of taste and also depends on your circumstances. If you feed your small dog all or part of wet food, it is important to pay attention to the right packaging size, because: Food cans should not be left open for more than two days, or 48 hours.

Manufacturers respond to this requirement and offer dog food for small dogs also in small cans, or bowls. Although they are significantly more expensive by the kilo than the large packs and create more packaging waste, you don’t have to dispose of any food because it has already been open for too long.

So that you can still buy large cans, there is the following trick: Portion the wet food, for example in ice cube containers and freeze it. This way you can check favorable prices when shopping and still provide your dog with the best possible care.

Small dog – special food

The trade offers countless types and varieties of food specifically for small dogs. The good composition as well as the kibble size in the dry food for small dogs make it easy for you to feed your darling healthy and tasty. Always pay attention to the ingredients. These should be high quality and easily digestible.

The fewer “by-products” the feed receives, the better the quality usually is. By the way, you should pay attention to smaller packages not only for dry food, but also for wet food. Dried food has a long shelf life, but still loses quality and flavor when stored for long periods in an open bag.

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