Best Dog Food for Small Dogs
OK, my dog thinks, barks and runs like a big dog. As it is, my Mastiff at heart fits comfortably on my lap. But what’s the best dog food for small dogs? Well, let’s start by defining what might be a small dog. There has to be a dividing line somewhere.
That would be right at the 20-pound mark. A lap dog any larger than that will spill off your lap and take up half the next pillow on the couch. A large dog will have a head in your lap and take the whole of the pillow next to you and maybe more.
The Chihuahua is seen as the mighty warrior of the small dog set. In fact, the only dog to bite me was a Chihuahua in Southern California, right in his own backyard, figuratively and literally. (Chihuahuas were first bred in Mexico and I was standing in a stranger’s yard at the time.)
They grow to a ferocious, fighting weight of a little over two pounds. (The one who bit me, jumped up and bit me on the back of my ankle, while I was standing flatfooted.)
The typical Brittany Spaniel, on the other hand, weighs in at 25 to 35 pounds – and that’s too large for a small dog.
So, obviously, that dog food bowl that would fit a Chihuahua would not be the right size for a small dog’s dish. On the other hand, a big dog, like a Newfoundland or a St. Bernard, can live a very sedated lifestyle. Sleep, wake, amble along, go back to sleep. A small dog – just to pick on the Chihuahuas again – can act like a Mexican jumping bean, constantly in motion and often chattering away like a hyperactive nut case.
Do you feed a small dog a very tiny amount of rocket fuel every two hours, while feeding a large dog massive amounts of concrete? Based on their behavioral differences, that might seem to be the case.
But, the truth is, with variations depending no age, mostly, all dogs share the same nutritional needs with the exception that large dogs eat larger amounts.
The basic formula is to find foods in which meat is the main ingredient – try to find one with some form of meat very high on the ingredient list – that is 30 percent protein, 18 percent fat. You can’t go very wrong with that, except that old dogs require less calcium and growing dogs require more protein.
Because these variations are very important to a dog, it is best to talk to your veterinarian at every stage of their life and at every time there is a health issue with your pet.
Once you figure out what your small dog should eat, you should also find out how much and how often to feed the dog.
You’ve noticed, of course, that dogs don’t sit around chewing their food. Most carnivores don’t do a lot of chewing. They take bites that fit their hunger and leave it at that, swallowing large chunks of meat at a time.
This type of eating coupled with the point that animals sleep far more than humans do, tells you that you can get away with feeding your dog once a day. When they have large pieces of meat to digest, there is nothing more than a comfy nap to sleep while you digest. Their metabolisms slow down, the same as any animal in repose.
But, you can also feed them more often, depending on your life style. And it’s easy, what with the possibility of snacking on a few scraps here and there, that your dog can grow pretty chubby.
Yes, I guarantee there is a larger percentage of chubby people than chubby dogs, but obesity has been on the rise in both species, as it happens.
My 17-pound West Highland terrier cross with poodle eats an overflowing cup of kibble once a day. I scoop with the cup, but allow a small overflow, which can be held in the same hand as the cup. Call it a cup and a quarter to a cup and a half.
Snacks? Oh, yes. Walter (the small one) gets snacks on occasion, usually fat that I’ve trimmed from the human menu. And this is only given with no begging behavior allowed. Still, who doesn’t love a little snack once in a while?