Best Dog Food For Small Puppy Breeds: Reviews & Top Picks

Looking for the best food for your small size breed puppy?

Before you continue your search know that so far there are no official standards for feeding small breed puppies. In practice, this means that each company can create its own guidelines.

To avoid overfeeding and any poor feeding choices, dog owners should focus on finding food that meets AAFCO’s ‘Growth’ or ‘All Life Stages’, that are carefully crafted to provide proper protein, contain no chemical preservatives, and have good fat-to-protein rations.

Still not sure if you can recognize the right brand? Keep on reading, because we have gathered the best of the best dry dog food for growing puppies.

How we chose

Because choosing the right food for your dog can be confusing and overwhelming, we reviewed all dog foods.

Every product on our list has been vetted to ensure that it aligns with Barking Royalty’s brand integrity standards and approach to well-being. Each product in this article:

  • adheres to allowable health claims and labeling requirements
  • is manufactured in facilities that adhere to current good manufacturing practices (CGMPs)
  • is produced by a medically credible company that follows ethical, legal, and industry best standards
  • is made by a company that provides objective measures of trust

Additional factors we considered included:

  • Ingredients. We looked for supplements that are free of unnecessary ingredients such as fillers and artificial
  • sweeteners and colors.
  • AAFCO Dog Food Nutrient Profile. We checked if the food meets the nutritional levels established by the AAFCO.
  • Price. We included products to suit a range of budgets.

Best Dog Food For Small Breed Puppies

Dogs should eat food that is appropriate for their age. Feeding puppies senior food won’t help puppies thrive.

Puppies should eat food that is specially formulated to meet their nutritional needs for normal development.

Choosing the best food for your puppy’s nutritional needs can be daunting, but with the right guidelines you can find the best food for your puppy in no time – just check below the best food for small size breed puppies, including the best overall, best budget, and best grain-free.

Best Overall

1. Hill’s Science Diet Small Size Breed Puppy Food

Top five ingredients in this formula: Chicken meal, whole grain wheat, whole grain sorghum, chicken fat, whole grain corn

  • Price: $$
  • Energy: 397 kcal/cup
  • AAFCO Profile: Growth
  • Grain-free: No
Crude Protein 24.5% min
Crude Fat 15.5% min
Crude Fiber 3.0% min
Moisture 10.0% max
Omega-3 Fatty Acidsnot disclosed
Omega-6 Fatty Acidsnot disclosed
Omega-6 To Omega-3 Rationot disclosed

The first ingredient in this formula is chicken meal as a great energy source, followed by whole grain wheat, whole grain sorghum, chicken fat, and whole grain corn.

This formula with grain is carefully crafted to support puppies while growing.

Fish oil is added here to support healthy brain and eye development, while vitamins E and C are added to support a healthy immune system.

Dogs in general should have meals that are carefully mixed with fruit and vegetables.

Real fruit and vegetable will make digestion better and the intestinal tract healthier.

This is why dried beet pulp is added to this formula – to help with the waste from the intestinal tract while serving as a strong energy source.

With high-quality ingredients, this formula comes with no artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives.

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Best Budget

2. Nutro Wholesome Essentials Small Size Breed Puppy Food

Top five ingredients in this formula: Chicken, chicken meal, brewers rice, whole brown rice, whole grain oatmeal

  • Price: $$
  • Energy: 3727 kcal/kg, 390 kcal/cup
  • AAFCO Profile: Growth
  • Grain-free: No
Crude Protein 28.0% min
Crude Fat 16.0% min
Crude Fiber 3.0% min
Moisture 10.0% max
Omega-3 Fatty Acids0.20% min
Omega-6 Fatty Acids2.0% min
Omega-6 To Omega-3 Ratio10.0, healthy

Chicken is the first ingredient in this formula for better taste and proper nutrition, followed by a chicken meal, brewers rice, whole brown rice, and whole grain oatmeal.

The top five ingredients are carefully mixed to provide enough protein and energy.

Puppies are in general packed with energy and they need food that will support that intensity.

For a richer taste, this formula contains fish oil and chia seed. To deliver fiber with every meal Nutro Wholesome Essentials Puppy Chicken Formula contains dried plain beet pulp, dried coconut, pumpkin, and dried kale.

Dried spinach is also in this mix for extra fiber support. Made with non-GMO ingredients, this formula contains omega-3 fatty acids like DHA that support brain and eye development.

To support puppies while growing, this formula contains calcium which supports joints and bones.

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Best Grain-Free

3. Now Fresh Grain-Free Small Size Breed Puppy Food

Top five ingredients in this formula: De-boned turkey, whole dried egg, peas, pea flour, potatoes

  • Price: $$
  • Energy: 3,773 kcal/kg, 415 kcal/cup
  • AAFCO Profile: Growth
  • Grain-free: Yes
Crude Protein 28.0% min
Crude Fat 18.0% min
Crude Fiber 4.0% min
Moisture 10.0% max
Omega-3 Fatty Acids0.6% min
Omega-6 Fatty Acids2.8% min
Omega-6 To Omega-3 Ratio4.66, healthy

In dog food, turkey is often used as one of the main ingredients, especially when the formula is grain-free.

This is why deboned turkey is the first ingredient in this formula, followed by whole dried egg, peas, pea flour, and potatoes.

To provide puppies with what they need to grow and thrive, this grain-free food combines protein and fat in balance.

To support that famous puppy energy, potatoes are added to enhance digestibility, and provide enough energy, while delivering enough vitamins and minerals.

Sweet potatoes are also included in this formula to provide enough vitamin A. This famous vitamin promotes healthy skin, coat, eyes, and even nerves in dogs.

Since bananas have high fiber content they are included as real fruit in this formula, next to squash, blueberries, cranberries, blackberries, and broccoli.

As a grain-free formula, this food is made without the by-product of meat meals, while offering omega fatty acids to support healthy brain and heart development.

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4. Blue Buffalo Small Size Breed Puppy Food

Top five ingredients in this formula: Deboned chicken, chicken meal, oatmeal, barley, menhaden fish meal

  • Price: $$
  • Energy: 3,733 kcal/kg, 417 kcal/cup
  • AAFCO Profile: Growth
  • Grain-free: No
Crude Protein 29.0% min
Crude Fat 17.0% min
Crude Fiber 5.0% min
Moisture 10.0% max
Omega-3 Fatty Acids0.75% min
Omega-6 Fatty Acids3.25% min
Omega-6 To Omega-3 Ratio4.33, healthy

The first ingredient in this formula is deboned chicken for better taste and balanced nutrition, followed by a chicken meal, oatmeal, barley, and menhaden fish meal.

These ingredients are carefully selected to provide enough protein and energy for energetic puppies.

For richer flavor, this formula contains dried tomato pomace, potatoes, and carrots.

Carrots, next to pea fiber, pea protein, and fish oil provide enough fiber to support healthy digestion.

With no corn, wheat, soy, or chicken by-product meals, Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula offers omega fatty acids that are great for healthy skin and coats.

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5. Diamond Naturals Small Size Breed Puppy Food

Top five ingredients in this formula: Chicken, chicken meal, ground white rice, chicken fat, cracked pearled barley

  • Price: $$
  • Energy: 3,995 kcal/kg, 453 kcal/cup
  • AAFCO Profile: Growth
  • Grain-free: No
Crude Protein 32.0% min
Crude Fat 22.0% min
Crude Fiber 3.5% min
Moisture 10.0% max
Omega-3 Fatty Acids0.5% min
Omega-6 Fatty Acids3.4% min
Omega-6 To Omega-3 Ratio6.8, healthy

Chicken is the first ingredient in this formula selected for its texture, flavor, and ability to mix easily with other ingredients.

Next to chicken, this formula contains chicken meals which serve as a great energy source to help dogs build muscle mass.

Ground white rice is added to provide enough calcium for strong and healthy bones, while chicken fat makes bites richer in flavor.

As the fifth main ingredient, cracked pearled barley offers not only extra protein, and also dietary fiber.

Puppies need food with fiber to help clean their intestinal tract. Extra fibers are received from chia seed, pumpkin, quinoa, dried kelp, carrots, and spinach.

To deliver more superfoods, Diamond Naturals Small Breed Puppy formula offers oranges, papaya, and other real fruit such as blueberries and coconut.

Thanks to salmon oil, fish meal, and dried chicory root this diet is carefully crafted to deliver omega fatty acids that are beneficial for coat and skin.

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6. Wellness Complete Health Small Size Breed Puppy Food

Top five ingredients in this formula: Deboned turkey, chicken meal, oatmeal, salmon meal, barley

  • Price: $$
  • Energy: This food contains 3,881 kcal/kg or 489 kcal/cup ME (metabolizable energy) on an as fed basis
  • AAFCO Profile: Growth
  • Grain-free: No
Crude Protein 28.0% min
Crude Fat 19.0% min
Crude Fiber 4.25% min
Moisture 10.0% max
Omega-3 Fatty Acids0.60% min
Omega-6 Fatty Acids4.20% min
Omega-6 To Omega-3 Ratio7.0, healthy

Deboned turkey is the first ingredient in this formula for a great protein source and great taste, followed by a chicken meal, oatmeal, salmon meal, and barley.

Turkey is an excellent protein source and great meat to be mixed with other ingredients making it a common ingredient in the formula of higher quality.

Deboned turkey is often used in dog formula foods to promote whole-body nutrition and deliver great taste.

For richer flavor, this formula contains tomato pomace and tomatoes, while pea fiber and salmon oil make digestion easier.

Spinach, apples, blueberries, and carrots are added for minerals and vitamins, while chicory root extract is beneficial to a dog’s intestinal tract.

Omega fatty acids —including DHA— offer antioxidants and essential vitamins and probiotics for overall dog health.

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7. Holistic Select Grain-Free Small Size Breed Puppy Food

Top five ingredients in this formula: Salmon, potatoes, peas, menhaden fish meal, dried ground potatoes

  • Price: $$
  • Energy: 3,585 kcal/kg; 448 kcal/cup
  • AAFCO Profile: Growth
  • Grain-free: Yes
Crude Protein 29.0% min
Crude Fat 174.0% min
Crude Fiber 5.0% min
Moisture 10.0% max
Omega-3 Fatty Acids1.80% min
Omega-6 Fatty Acids2.40% min
Omega-6 To Omega-3 Ratio1.33, suboptimal

Salmon is the first ingredient in this formula as a great protein source, followed by potatoes, peas, menhaden fish meal, and dried ground potatoes.

An Anchovy meal is added to provide extra fish oil and deliver enough omega fatty acids.

Omega fatty acids are directly linked with a healthy dog’s skin and coat. Whenever you want to make your dog’s skin shinier and stronger you should add some salmon oil to your dog’s food.

Before any kind of diet change make sure that you talk with your veterinarian.

This formula contains ingredients that are carefully selected to support dogs’ overall digestive health and contribute to a healthy heart.

For a richer taste, this formula contains dried ground potatoes, sardine meal, and blueberries. Real fruit and vegetable such as pumpkins, papayas, blueberries, and pomegranates are added to promote enough vitamins and minerals.

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8. Wellness CORE Grain-Free Small Size Breed Puppy Food

Top five ingredients in this formula: Deboned turkey, chicken meal, turkey meal, peas, and chicken fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols)

  • Price: $$
  • Energy: This food contains 3,910 kcal/kg or 504 kcal/cup
  • AAFCO Profile: Growth
  • Grain-free: Yes
Crude Protein 38.0% min
Crude Fat 18.0% min
Crude Fiber 4.5% min
Moisture 10.0% max
Omega-3 Fatty Acids1.5% min
Omega-6 Fatty Acids5.0% min
Omega-6 To Omega-3 Ratio3.33, healthy

The first ingredient in this formula is deboned turkey to help dogs build muscle, followed by a chicken meal, turkey meal, peas, and chicken fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols).

Each of the top five ingredients is carefully selected to provide the best for growing puppies.

For richer flavor, this formula offers salmon oil, natural chicken flavor, and pomace.

For extra protein support, the salmon meal is included in this formula. To help puppies maintain their energy levels, sweet potatoes are included, while blueberries are a great source of antioxidants.

To deliver a proper amount of fiber, this dry food cotnains kale, carrots, broccoli, and apples. For easy eating, this formula is crafted in a small kibble size.

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9. Iams Small Size Breed Puppy Food

Top five ingredients in this formula: Chicken, ground whole grain corn, chicken by-product meal, corn gluten meal, dried beet pulp

  • Price: $$
  • Energy: 3,762 kcal/kg, 445 kcal/cup
  • AAFCO Profile: Growth
  • Grain-free: No
Crude Protein 30.0% min
Crude Fat 18.0% min
Crude Fiber 4.0% min
Moisture 10.0% max
Omega-3 Fatty Acids0.5% min
Omega-6 Fatty Acids2.7% min
Omega-6 To Omega-3 Ratio5.4, healthy

Chicken is the first ingredient in this formula for a richer taste and better nutrition, followed by ground whole grain corn, chicken by-product meal, corn gluten meal, and dried beet pulp.

For extra protein sources, this formula is enriched with dried egg product, while carrots and fish oil support strong digestive health.

This puppy formula with the grain is carefully crafted to support the nutritional needs of small size puppies.

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10. Royal Canin Small Size Breed Puppy Food

Top five ingredients in this formula: Brewers rice, chicken by-product meal, chicken fat, wheat gluten, corn gluten meal

  • Price: $$
  • Energy: 3,891 kcal/kg, 354 kcal/cup
  • AAFCO Profile: Growth
  • Grain-free: No
Crude Protein 29.0% min
Crude Fat 18.0% min
Crude Fiber 3.3% min
Moisture 10.0% max
Omega-3 Fatty Acidsnot disclosed
Omega-6 Fatty Acidsnot disclosed
Omega-6 To Omega-3 Rationot disclosed

Brewers rice is a good source of carbohydrates that is easily digested and as such, it is the first ingredient in this formula.

This rice is also packed with potassium, iron, and vitamin B6, which makes it great for the growing phase, and as such is followed by chicken by-product meal, chicken fat, wheat gluten, and corn gluten meal.

The top five ingredients are carefully mixed to provide certain features that are beneficial for the dog’s health.

Fish oil and vegetable oil are added to support better digestion and make the intestinal tract strong.

Dried plain beet pulp is present to enrich fiber presence.

This formula is carefully made to support puppies up to 10 months of age with an expected adult weight of 9-22 lb.

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Canine Nutrition Basics

Experienced dog owners know that when it comes to great dog food you should focus on finding a food based on a high protein percentage.

Protein is mandatory to support the growth and development of all dog breeds, especially when the dog is just a puppy.

As a general rule, puppies don’t have any specific requirement for carbohydrates and they need sources that can provide them with enough vitamins and minerals.

This is why choosing the food that is recommended by the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) is always a great choice.

AAFCO recommends that dog food should have a minimum of 22% protein and 8% fat for dogs to have proper growth and later on proper reproduction (if planned).

To meet these requirements, always fed your puppy high-quality puppy food made with a whole-food source of protein, calories, and other nutrients that puppies needs.

AAFCO’s labels may be found on every package of dog food, which is why it is always handy to learn how to read pet food labels.

This simple skill will help the dog owner find the best food in a short period of time. This is also a skill that will help you in the long run when it comes to your dog’s health.