Feeding Dogs: 
Guide to the Small Dog Diet

By Janice Jones     |Last Updated 04-03-2024

When you think about feeding dogs, what pops into your head?  Money?  Good Nutrition?  Health Problems?  Food Recalls?  Too many choices?

If you are concerned about your own healthy lifestyle, chances are you will also worry about what you offer your small breed dog. If you want to provide the best nutrition for your dog, you're in the right place. 

But, let's face it, it seems that everyone has an opinion on the subject. But do they back up those opinions with facts?  We hope they would, but that's not always the case.

One of the first things that people ask when they get a new puppy is, what should I feed him.  That's an excellent question because you don't want to pick the first bag of kibble you arrive at and say your done.  You wouldn't do that for your human family and your fur family needs the best food you can afford.  Why?

Two young Maltese-Shih Tzu hybrid puppies are trying to eat from a large bowl of food.Feeding Dogs: The Ultimate Guide to a Great Small Dog Diet

Sadly, dogs only live a fraction of the time we enjoy.  If they eat the same thing for 15 years, chances are they aren't going to be very healthy.  

On this page, you will find an abundance of articles about feeding dogs.  Now, I know you aren't going to have time to read them all, but consider bookmarking this page and come back to check out those you are most interested in learning more about.  

Ready to dive in?

Feeding Dogs: Table of Contents

Pros and Cons of a Raw Dog Food Diet?

8 Free Homemade Dog Food Recipes for Small Dogs

What are the Nutritional Needs of Small Dogs?

Pet Food Trends for 2020

Healthy Dog Food:  7 Secrets to Help You Choose the Best

Types of Commercially Prepared Dog Food

Homemade Dog Food

Raw Meat Dog Food:  Storage and Prep Tips

Rating Your Dog Food:  How Good is the Food You're Feeding Your Dog?

How to Choose the Best Dog Foods

6 Types of Plant-based Milk for Dogs

The Surprising Benefits of Soy Protein for Small Dogs

Pros and Cons of a Raw Dog Food Diet?

This raw dog food diet consists of raw beef, eggs, and vegetablesPros and Cons of a Raw Dog Food Diet

If you want to provide something different for your dog and try raw food, read this article to understand the positives and negatives of feeding raw food.

Pros and Cons of a Raw Dog Food Diet

8 Free Homemade Dog Food Recipes for Small Dogs

Love to cook?  Why not try a recipe or two especially formulated for your small dog.  Here are 8 free recipes for you to try.

Feeding Dogs:  What are the Nutritional Needs of Small Dogs?

It might surprise you to know that small dogs have different nutritional needs than large dogs.  The nutritional needs of all dogs are different from ours.

All dogs need a balance of protein, fats, carbohydrates, minerals, vitamins and trace elements.  Beyond that, it gets a little more complicated.  

Healthy Dog Food:  Seven Secrets to Help You Choose the Best

Do you really know how to choose a dog food?  Chances are you picked one based on the recommendations of a friend or even an acquaintance on Facebook.  Neither may have any or all of the answers.  Learn to select a healthy dog food based on sound scientific reasons.  These seven tips will help you make an informed decision.

Are Foods With Ancient Grains Beneficial to Your Dog?

Ancient grains are a group of grains that haven’t been changed by agriculture like the ones that we routinely eat today, so they have exactly the same makeup as they did thousands of years ago.

They are dietary staples in places like China, Africa, India, and the Middle East and have been for hundreds of years.

Read about Dog Food with Ancient Grains

Feeding Dogs:  Types of Commercially Prepared Diets

If you make the decision to go with a commercially prepared diet, you will then need to choose which one to buy. 

Commercially prepared dog foods come in several types including dry kibble, canned, (moist or wet) semi-moist and raw (frozen).  Each type has its pros and cons.  Which one is best for you?

Feeding Dogs:  Types of Foods Dogs Eat

Homemade Dog Food Diets:  Are They Nutritious?

Can one prepare a homemade dog food diet that is complete and balanced for the nutritional needs of a dog?  

You may be able to, but before you take your dog off of his commercial kibble, read this study, and learn what you should do to assure a quality well balanced diet for your dog.

Homemade Dog Food

Raw Meat Dog Food:  Storage and Prep Tips

If you have decided you would like to start feeding your dog raw food, it is essential to follow specific steps when it comes to storing, handling as well as serving this type of food.

There are health concerns you should be worried about for not only your dog but your family members should the raw food contain microorganisms that cause illnesses. Yet it is possible to avoid these situations. 

Raw Meat Dog Food Primmer

Read all about Raw Dog Food Myths

Rating Your Dog Food:  How Good is the Food You're Feeding Your Dog?

Is it possible to evaluate one dog food over another to get an idea whether you are feeding an adequate diet?  YES. 

There is a scale developed by Sarah Irick, a Great Dane owner, dog rescuer and engineer who wanted a way to evaluate dog foods based on a set of quality measures. 

Learn how you can use this scale to determine where your dog food rates for quality.

Dog Food Rating Scale

How to Choose the Best Dog Foods

There is an enormous difference between a high quality commercially available dog food and a poor substitute for food.

Find out which foods are the best, which are OK, and which ones you should avoid. 

A growing list of dog foods and how they are rated. 

What are the Best Puppy Foods?

Do you know how to evaluate puppy foods?  There are both excellent products on the market and some that you should never feed your puppy. 

Find out how to look at food and determine if it is going to provide your puppy with all the nutrition he needs for a healthy start in life.

Best Puppy Foods

Feeding Your Puppy:  What, When, and How Much?

Feeding your puppy can be a wonderful way to bond, but there is more to it than that.  Experts agree that there are some "best practices" when it comes to feeding a puppy. 

Start off right so you will not need to correct mistakes later on.  Learn when to feed and how much to serve. 

Learn about nutrition and what treats to offer your small puppy.

Foods Dogs Should Never Eat

Dogs have unique requirements, and many of the foods we eat are very dangerous to your dog, even lethal.

You might think a sip or a bite will not hurt, but remember the size of your small dog and please refrain.

Never feed your dogs these foods.

What Foods Can a Dog Eat?

Feeding Dogs:  How to Read a Dog Food Label

Labels can be so confusing, but you can become an expert in no time by reading a few simple tips on what to look for in the order and way of ingredients.

Fortunately, you do not need to understand every word but you should be aware of what you are putting in your little dog’s stomach. This quick course will help you better understand what ingredients are in your small dog’s diet.

How to Read a Dog Food Label

Ten Dog Food Company Claims They Hope You Will Believe

Reading claims on some dog food packaging, one might assume that the food is highly superior to everything else on the market. 

Superfood, Natural, Real Chicken, Farm Raised Fruit. However, what do those claims actually mean?  Clever advertising can trick even careful consumers.

Don't be fooled by clever dog food advertisements

Feeding Dogs:  Allow Grazing or Offer Scheduled Meals

Should you feed a meal or let your tiny dog snack all day.
If you choose to serve meals, just how many are we talking about and when should these meals be served? 

There are pros and cons to Free Feeding as opposed to Scheduled Feeding. 

Feeding an Organic Dog Food?

Should you be choosing an organic or natural dog food for your small dog?  Are there benefits or downfalls to this type of diet?  What exactly is an organic pet food and how can you determine if the food you are serving is organic?

A quick but thorough review of organic dog foods.

Grain-Free Dog Food?  Myths - Realities

Is a grain-free dog food diet better for your dog?  Many people think so and many of the premium dog foods offer one if not many different formulas of grain-free foods from which to choose. 

What exactly does it mean to and why should you even care.

What You Should Know About Grain-Free Dog Foods

Feeding Dogs:  What Vegetables are Safe for Dogs?

Dogs are omnivores meaning that they eat meats and vegetables. 

Not all vegetables are good for dogs, but many add nutrients to the diet and provide a tasty treat. 

Find out which vegetables you should be feeding your small dog.

What Vegetables Can My Dog Eat?

What Fruits are Safe for My Dog to Eat?

We may make the mistake of thinking that a fruit that we love will also be safe for our dogs. 

While most fruits are safe and nutritious, there are some that can be harmful if not dangerous to dogs. 

Find out which ones are safe and which ones to avoid before you make a lethal mistake.

What Fruits Can My Dog Eat?

What is the Best Dog Nutrition?  
7 Signs Your Pup's Diet is Not Ideal

There are at least seven signs your dog could be suffering from a poor diet. 

Many of these symptoms may also be due to other illnesses, but if you notice one or more of these signs, it is important to consider nutrition as a possible cause. 

What is the Best Dog Nutrition?

What are the Best Nutrients for Dogs?

What is the Best Food For Your Elderly Dog?

The aging process is a reality that (unfortunately) all beings have to face.

For everyone, the diet you consume as you age is going to evolve to reflect the changing needs of your body.

Especially for dogs, their increasing age has a significant influence on their nutritional needs.

Best Foods for Your Elderly Dog

Feeding Dogs:  Problems You Might Face

Tiny dogs can also become picky eaters and finding a diet that they will enjoy becomes a frustrating task.  Of course, the opposite is also true—those dogs that like to eat too much becomes overweight and even obese.  Some eat odd things and some eat fine but then react poorly to their diet.

Many small breed dogs seem to have their fair share of feeding problems. Knowing how to prevent them is the easiest route to take, but what if you have a dog that develops problems as they age?

Refusing to Eat

Is your puppy or dog refusing to eat?  Some dogs are more picky than others, but not eating at all is a sign of illness.  If your dog is not eating, you may want to check out this article to find out whether it is a health or behavior problem.  

Is Your Puppy Not Eating?

Feeding an Underweight Dog

Some dogs tend to be underweight for various reasons. An underweight dog is not a healthy dog.  Learn what it takes to turn an underweight dog into one with a healthy weight.

Dogs that Eat Poop

Still others will find strange things to eat if given the opportunity, some of which can be harmless, but others that can be potentially deadly.

One example of a bad habit some dogs develop is that of eating feces or to use the technical term, coprophagia.

Food Allergies in Puppies (and Dogs)

If your dog is showing signs of allergies such as scratching, chronic ear infections, skin problems or upset stomach, they could be suffering from a food allergy or sensitivity.  But there is hope for conquering these symptoms.

Benefits of Spinach for Dogs

You might be astounded to learn that Spinach is a major punch on the health benefits of pups, and especially special in its variety of basic (but still great) nutrients. Know why you should consider sharing spinach with your pup and how to do so in a healthy and delicious way.

Learn the benefits and precautions of serving spinach to your dog.

6 Types of Plant-Based Milk for Dogs

A dog is lapping milk from a shallow bowl.

We all know that cow's milk is not suitable for dogs, but what about all the other types of milk on the market today such as coconut or soy milk?  Are they safe to give dogs? Find out what types of plant-based milk you can give your dog.

Can Dogs Eat Popcorn?


Before sharing your popcorn with your favorite furbaby, check out this article to see if popcorn can be safely given to dogs.

Can Dogs Eat Popcorn?

The Surprising Benefits of Soy Protein for Small Dogs

A litter of puppies eating food out of a stainless steel dish

Soybean, also known as soya bean or simply soy, is widely considered a superfood. That’s due to its abundance of essential nutrients.

But can these nutrients benefit our canine friends too? Can dogs eat soy?

Find out if Soy Protein is good for Small Dogs.

Pin for Future Reference

Feeding Dogs Pin

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About Janice (author and voice behind this site)

Having lived with dogs and cats most of her life, Janice served as a veterinary technician for ten years in Maryland and twelve years as a Shih Tzu dog breeder in Ohio.

Her education includes undergraduate degrees in Psychology with a minor in biology, Early Childhood Education, and Nursing, and a master's in Mental Health Counseling.

She is a lifelong learner, a dog lover, and passionate about the welfare of animals. Her favorite breed for over 50 years has been the Shih Tzu, but she has also lived with Poodles, Maltese, Yorkshire Terriers, Beagles, English Bulldogs, Carin Terriers, and a Cocker Spaniel.

When not writing, reading, and researching dog-related topics, she likes to spend time with her eight Shih Tzu dogs, husband, and family, as well as knitting and crocheting. She is also the voice behind Miracle Shih Tzu and Smart-Knit-Crocheting

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