Small dogs were initially appreciated for their hunting skills and today they are very well-liked as pets.
The small size of these dogs makes them appear delicate, but they’re usually very strong.
They have unique physiological characteristics (jaw size, bone strength and sensitive digestive systems) which need special thought when it comes to nutrition.
Examples of small and toy breeds are:
- Yorkshire terriers
- Miniature and toy poodles
- Shih tzus
- Boston terriers
- French bulldogs
Smaller dogs have:
- Faster metabolism
- Smaller mouths
- Smaller stomachs, which means that they can’t efficiently digest a lot of food at one time
- Rich in calories
- More protein
- More fat for extra energy
- Easily digestible
- Small kibble size
The best way to avoid fussy eating is keeping to a standard feeding routine throughout their adult lives, and sticking to manufactured foods as the staple diet.
Small dogs mature more quickly and age more slowly.
Small-breed puppies start the weaning process at around three to four weeks old and are considered adult by their first birthday.
Toy and small dogs are known for their long life expectancy, which can span as long as 14 to 16 years.
As small and toy breed dogs age, their nutritional needs change.
In my opinion, some significant attributes of dog food composition for different life stages in small dogs are the follow:
|Life stage||Food attributes|
|Puppy (weaning to 10 months old)||
|Adult (10 months to 8 years old)||
|Mature (> 8 years old)||
Small dog feeding tips:
- Feed your dog in a quiet place
- Always serve food in a clean bowl
- Serve food at room temperature
- Is not advisable to exercise your dog an hour before or after feeding
- Use dry food because it helps remove plaque from teeth
- Ensure your dog have access to plenty, clean and fresh water
- Avoid overfeeding
- Keep an eye on your dog’s body condition
- There is no need to give food supplements, unless advised by your vet
Feeding your dog a good quality, commercially manufactured pet food will ensure he eats everything he needs.