Every dog (regardless of breed) is unique and wonderful in its way, and its diet should be determined according to its body’s needs. Every dog has a unique set of dietary requirements, but generally, the nutritional requirements of small breed dogs are drastically different from those of large dogs.
If you have accidentally bought large breed dog food for your small dog and returning the bag is not an option, you can continue to utilize the food. Adjust the serving size according to the dog’s body weight, and you may also want to include different supplements specifically for small dogs or simply add home-cooked food from time to time (like rice, chicken, etc.) that’s most appropriate for your dog’s breed. Also, be sure the crush up any large pieces since large breed food typically accommodates those breeds having much larger mouths—little dogs may potentially choke on these pieces.
You will also want to be careful while giving large breed dog food to small dogs because the large dog food contains nutrients, enzymes, and occasionally even specific supplements that are not suitable for small dogs, and these may trigger a hyperactive response.
Sometimes, certain dogs may have responses to inappropriate food choices that become severe or even lead to an inflammatory response (such as inflammation of the joints). In that case, visiting a vet for more serious reactions or giving your dog some calming chews in less concerning instances may help.
Tip: Immersing the larger kibble in water for 10–15 minutes can help soften the kibble and make it easier for the small dogs/pups to consume.
To meet the nutritional requirements of both puppies and adults, a complete and balanced meal that is appropriate for your dog’s life stage as well as specific breed and size should be fed to him.
Which Adult Dog Foods Are Okay For Small Dogs?
Adult dog foods with labels stating “all life phases” are acceptable for dogs of any age. This label indicates that the food’s ingredients cover the nutritional requirements for both growth and reproduction as well as adult maintenance. The “all life phases” foods provide a diet that has all of the nutrients your growing puppy needs, and you won’t have to switch to a different food when your puppy grows up to be an adult canine.
When Can Small Dogs Begin to Consume Commercial Dog Food?
Puppies often begin transitioning to adult food after attaining the appropriate level of maturity for their breed size. It is critical not to hurry into feeding a puppy adult food since it will still be developing its bones, teeth, organs, and other internal structures. He needs to have the finest possible start in life; therefore, you want to make sure he has the best possible nutrition suitable for his age and breed.
If you are feeding your puppy an adult maintenance dog food, he may not be getting all of the necessary nutrients that he needs during the critical early months of his life. Additionally, the adult size of the dog determines their specific nutritional needs (such as small dogs needing more calories and large dogs needing a diet that supports joint health), and this must be taken into account as well.
Nutritional Differences Between Small, Medium, and Large Breed Dog Food
Dogs’ dietary needs should be tailored to their genetics and the body’s demands. Here are some of the most significant differences between small, medium, and large breed dog food, as well as the explanations behind each.
Small Breed Dog Food
Our four-legged pals on the smaller end of the range have extremely quick metabolisms. Small breed dogs are those that weigh less than 18-20 pounds, and they require a diet that suits their need for higher-calorie meals throughout their lives.
Despite their rapid metabolisms, you still need to exercise extreme caution while portioning your dog’s food because these small breeds tend to gain weight more quickly than medium and large breed dogs.
Providing food specifically engineered for smaller breeds can help control stomach problems and poor dental health, both of which are particularly problematic in older dogs. This is why picking a pet food suited to your pet’s size, life stage, and breed is the ideal option since it provides them with a well-balanced diet that has all of the nutrients they require to be healthy and happy.
Medium Breed Dog Food
Dogs that weigh between approximately 20 and 50 pounds as adults are generally regarded to be medium-sized. Dogs that are bigger or smaller than the average size for their breed will be included in this category—such as large breed dogs on the smaller side of the spectrum and small breed dogs that are considerably larger than their breed’s average size—as will the breeds that simply fall perfectly within this size range.
These medium-sized dogs demand a diet that is high in protein and has a high nutritional value. Generally speaking, puppies from medium-sized breeds should not require special nutrition. They can consume high-quality puppy diets as well as adult dog foods for all life stages.
Large Breed Dog Food
Dog breeds that fall into the large-sized category based on their adult sizes require pet food that promotes strong, healthy bones. These breeds are those that typically weigh more than 50 pounds. It is significant to note that the food produced for these dogs has ideal quantities of calcium to ensure regulated bone growth since this is essential to support their increased size and weight as large (or even giant-sized) adult dogs.
High-quality puppy food intended for big breed dogs has a lower energy density than regular puppy food, allowing them to grow at a healthy rate for their bones and joints. Since large dog breeds are also more prone to joint issues, feeding them a diet tailored to their breed and eventual adult size can help maintain the health of their joints and keep them agile.
Providing large breeds with a proper mix of protein, minerals, and vitamins throughout their lives is a simple way to keep them healthy. Unfortunately, finding high-quality pet food that is created with these requirements in mind is difficult to find.
Most large-sized dog breeds will need the benefits provided from additional joint supplements—regardless of age—to help support their mobility and prevent serious hip and joint conditions in the adult and senior phases of life.
Family Dog Expert Author
Hi there! I’m Stuart, a devoted dog lover and family dog expert with over a decade of experience working with our furry companions. My passion for dogs drives me to share my knowledge and expertise, helping families build strong, loving bonds with their four-legged friends. When I’m not writing for SirDoggie, you’ll find me hiking, playing with my beautiful dog, or studying music.