When it comes to eating, are all dogs the same? On the contrary: small dogs have completely different requirements than large breeds. They need a special diet that suits their level of activity and physique. We have summarized the most important questions and answers about the nutrition of small breeds of dogs.
What are Small Dogs?
Small breeds of dogs are small in height with a shoulder height of less than 39 cm and a low body weight of less than 10 kg. Particularly small dog breeds such as the Chihuahua only weigh a maximum of 3 kg. Small dogs are very popular because they have a strong character, are easy to pick up and transport, and take up less space in the house and apartment than large dogs. Some of the most popular small dog breeds include Pug, French bulldog, Boston terrier, Dachshund, Poodle, Pekingese, Miniature pinscher, and Maltese.
Do Small Dogs Need Less Food?
It is a common misconception that small dogs need less food than large dogs.
The food requirement depends not only on the size of the four-legged friend but also on the energy consumption and the level of activity. A small dog that is very active and agile may use just as much or even more energy than larger dogs in their daily frolic and romp. The diet of small dogs, therefore, does not have to be tailored to their body size, but to their individual energy consumption.
What is the Energy Consumption of Small Dogs?
The individual energy consumption and thus also the food requirements of small dog breeds depend on various factors:
- Active, spirited small dogs require more food than calm dogs.
- Small, lean dogs with little fat tissue consume more energy than thick and therefore better-insulated dogs and therefore need more food.
- In cold temperatures, small dogs lose heat more quickly due to their body size and have a higher energy requirement to compensate for the loss of heat.
- Small dogs with short legs and short-haired dogs cool down particularly quickly in cold and wet conditions and therefore lose more energy.
- The metabolism of small dogs is more active in relation to their size than in large dogs, which leads to a higher loss of energy.
What is the Best Food for Small Dogs?
In order to feed even the smallest four-legged friends appropriately, the animal’s energy needs must be met. The minis need high-quality protein from meat as well as high-quality fats and easily digestible fiber. At the same time, the food must contain all the nutrients such as vitamins, trace elements, and minerals that the small dog needs for a healthy life.
Wet Food for Small Breeds of Dogs
High-quality wet food ideally covers the entire nutrient and energy needs of the mini dog. Grain-free food is best because due to the short digestive tract, small dogs are less able to digest grain than large dog breeds. Special food for small breeds is often finer inconsistency so that the small four-legged friend cannot choke on larger chunks.
Dry Food for Small Dogs
Dogs with a smaller snout in particular appreciate the fact that the kibble in the dry food is smaller so that it is easier for them to chew and swallow the food. When feeding small dogs with dry food, ensure that the dog is drinking enough. Dry dog food is low in moisture and small dogs can become dehydrated quickly due to their small size.
Barf for Small Dogs
Many owners of small dogs shy away from raw feeding. There is no need to do this, however, as small dogs can digest raw meat too. However, meat and vegetables must be diced or pureed particularly finely so that small dogs can eat the food without any problems.
Special Food for Small Breeds
Mini dogs need food that provides energy quickly and is easily digestible. However, some small breeds of dogs tend to be overweight. For a small dog that weighs only 5 kilograms, half a kilo more can cause excess weight. For this reason, it is particularly important to keep the animal healthy and give it good feed with just the right amount of energy. Special food such as hypoallergenic or single-origin dog food helps with digestive problems or intolerance.
Snacks for Mini Dogs
The size and weight of the pet must also be taken into account when choosing dog treats, chewing bones, or dog biscuits. Special snacks for small dogs are correspondingly smaller and therefore better suited for small dogs. Nevertheless, it is worth giving the dog a larger chewing bone or snack, because small dogs often enjoy dealing with oversized toys and chewing bones.
How Often Should You Feed Small Dogs?
Small breeds of dogs have smaller stomachs and shorter gastrointestinal tracts than their larger dogs. Therefore, the feed not only has to be easy to digest, but it also has to be fed in small portions. In order to protect the pet’s stomach, it is better to feed small dogs several times a day and keep the individual rations small. So instead of feeding the fur nose only once or twice a day, give your dog three or four times a portion of food. Make sure, however, that the total amount of food distributed over the day is correct and that you do not give the dog too little or too much food.