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Best Canned Dog Food for Small Dogs — Buyer’s Guide

Dogs have specific dietary needs. All dog foods are not manufactured with equal nutritional value. Small dogs are even more specific with their diets compared to bigger dogs. A small dog or toy dog is any dog under 25 pounds.

Small dogs are a great addition to a home thanks to their cuteness and warmness. They are a favorite for urban dwellers as their size fits perfectly into small spaces and households without a big garden. What makes small dogs unique is their big appetite!

Best Choice
Hill's Science Diet Small Paws for Small Breeds
Hill's Science Diet Small Paws for Small Breeds
This veterinarian-recommended recipe is specially designed for small and toy breed dogs. Crafted with real, recognizable ingredients this wet dog food support your little one’s ideal body weight and ensure optimal nutrient absorption.
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Small dogs have smaller stomachs, but their metabolism rate is higher than that of other dogs. Small breeds, therefore, need a special diet that is tailored for their requirements.

We have prepared a review of the best canned dog foods for small dogs. Stay with us to find out what diet is suitable for your little canine!

Best Canned Dog Food for Sensitive Stomachs in 2022

Best Choise
Hill's Science Diet Small Paws for Small Breeds
  • All-Natural Ingredients
  • With High-Quality Protein
  • Purposeful & Easily Digestible Ingredients
  • Helps Build And Maintain Leans Muscle
  • #1 Veterinarian Recommended

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Hill's Science Diet for Senior Small Breed Dogs
  • Precisely Balanced Nutrition
  • Sustains Mobility And Muscle Mass
  • Supports Ideal Body Weight
  • Helps A Healthy Heart
  • Maintenance Vital Organs

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Also Great
Purina Beneful Small Breed Variety Pack review
Purina Beneful Small Breed Variety Pack
  • 100% Complete And Balanced Nutrition
  • Farm-Raised Beef, Chicken Or Salmon
  • Delivers Protein-Rich Nutrition
  • Made Without Artificial Flavors
  • Crafted In U.S. Facilities

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Best Value
Halo Small Breed Dog Pour Chiens review
Halo Small Breed Dog Pour Chiens
  • Made With Whole Chicken And Salmon
  • Formulated With Premium Protein
  • Supports Strong Muscles
  • For Energy And Skin And Coat Support
  • No Artificial Colors, Flavors Or Preservatives

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Very Well
Blue Buffalo Homestyle Recipe Adult Small Breed review
Blue Buffalo Homestyle Recipe Adult Small Breed
  • Real Chicken To Support Healthy Muscle Maintenance
  • Helps Meet The Unique Energy Requirements Of Small Breed Dogs
  • Not Contain Any By-Product Meals
  • No Corn, Wheat Or Soy
  • Without Artificial Flavors Or Preservatives

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1. Hill’s Science Diet Small Paws — Best Value Dog Food

Hill’s science diet for small paws is our first pick and the best canned dog food for small dogs thanks to the quality ingredients and the value of the products. The canned food is available in a 24 pack 13 oz tins which are enough to feed your small dog for a reasonable length of time. Small dogs require to be fed regularly because of high metabolism.

Protein-rich diet

A protein-rich diet is the first indication of a quality and healthy diet for small dogs. These tiny creatures require more proteins to support muscle growth and maintain lean muscles. The canned food is packed with whole chicken as the single protein source.

The Hill’s Science diet also contains carbohydrates which provide energy for their playful nature. It also contains healthy fats. Vitamins are provided by the carrots and peace included in the recipe to boost the immunity of smaller canines.

Holistic ingredients

Hill’s Science does not contain any fillers such as a bone meal. It is made from pure ingredients free from grain and corn. It contains no artificial additives.

  • Quality ingredients
  • Easily digestible ingredients
  • No artificial additives
  • Costly

2. Hill’s Science Diet Senior Small Dogs — Best Senior Small Dog Food

Hill’s Science has something for every dog! Your senior small dogs are not left out as Hill’s Science comes through with quality canned food designed for their needs. The meal is available in a 24-pack 13.8 oz cans with chicken, barley and vegetable ingredients.

Natural, wholesome ingredients

The entrée is made from wholesome and natural ingredients to cater to all dietary needs of your senior dog. The first ingredient in the meal is chicken. It comes as an indicator of a quality canned dog food for small dogs as they require an increase in protein to match their increased metabolism.

Hill’s science diet also contains other protein sources such as pork and liver, which maintain lean muscles. It is especially suitable for senior dogs since their muscles waste away as they age. The cracked barley and wholesome corn are a source of energy in the meal.

Antioxidants and Omega Fatty Acids

As small senior dogs age mobility may become a problem due to inflamed, painful joints. Hill’s Science diet is packed with antioxidants and omega acids which prevent painful joints. They also boost the canine’s immune functions to avoid infection.

  • Packed with vitamins and minerals
  • Free of gluten and grains
  • Easily digestible ingredients
  • Only suitable for small dogs 7+

3. Purina Beneful Small Breed Dog Food — Best Sensitive Stomach Dog Food

Purina is famous for its credibility and versatility, always providing unbeatable quality for all dogs.

Protein-rich natural diet

Purina Beneful gives you the best way to serve proteins to your small pup. The canned dog food is bursting with protein, containing not one, two, but three protein sources. Purina includes a whole chicken, real meat and salmon in its recipe.

The proteins maintain muscles and perform bodybuilding functions in small dogs. The wild rice in the meal provides energy while the fiber aids in digestion.

The tomatoes and carrots provide vitamins in the diet. They boost the immunity of the small paws.

Holistic diet

The diet is free from grains and corn, and any artificial additives. It does not contain artificial colors, sweeteners or preservatives.

  • Can be used as a meal or top-up
  • Does not contain artificial additives
  • Easily digestible ingredients
  • Minimal fiber

4. Halo Grain Free Dog Food — Best Natural Dog Food

Natural ingredients

The first ingredients in the canned dog food are chicken and salmon. Halo natural wet food is packed with proteins which are essential for building muscles and maintaining the body of small dogs. Small dogs use up food and ingredients faster due to their body metabolism.

The food also contains healthy fats at 5%, which act as energy reserves for the body. The stew is loaded with barley and brown rice for energy. The vegetables used to thicken the wet food are non-GMO peas and carrots, which are a source of vitamins. The veggies improve the immunity of the small dog to be able to fight infections and maintain a healthy body.


The whole grain brown rice and barley promote digestion in small dogs since they are loaded with fibers. The canned dog food comes in small kibble, which is easy to chew for dental comfort for your small canine.

Wholesome ingredients

The veggies used are non-GMO. The meal is also free of grains and corn, which may trouble the digestive system of a small dog.

  • Fresh, non-GMO veggies
  • Whole chicken and salmon used
  • No artificial additives
  • Unsuitable for small senior dogs or puppies

5. Blue Buffalo Homestyle Recipe — Best Adult Small Dog Food

If you are looking for the best adult canned dog food for your tiny dogs, look no further! The first five ingredients are deboned chicken, real chicken meal, brown rice, oatmeal and barley.

Natural ingredients

Small adult dogs need a lot of energy to cater for their high metabolism rate. Blue buffalo understands that, and their meal is therefore packed with complex carbohydrates for energy provision. The oatmeal is a great and healthy source of energy for small adult dogs.

The chicken meal and deboned chicken pieces are palatable for the pickiest dogs. The chicken is the source of protein which is essential for building and maintaining body muscles as small dogs require increased proteins.

Omega fatty acids

Blue buffalo contains glucosamine and chondroitin, which are essential for preventing painful joints and promoting joint health. The fatty acids help healthy skin and a shiny coat for a youthful-looking and healthy small dog.

Blue Buffalo recipe can be served as a meal or added as a topping to other dog serving.

  • Grain-free recipe
  • Single protein source
  • Real chicken without fillers
  • Flavor may not please all dogs

Buyers guide

Dogs are some of the most variable breeds when we talk of sizes. Small dogs are the most charming and adorable. For a dog to be considered a small breed dog, they need to fall into the category of toy dogs, small, medium-sized dogs or larger smaller.

Toy breed dogs are the smallest of tiny dogs and the canine family. Toy dogs weigh 12 pounds at most and are usually shorter than 12 inches. It’s rare to find a toy dog who weighs ten pounds as most fall between 5 and 7 pounds. Chihuahuas, Pomeranians and Maltese are good examples of toy breed dogs.

On the larger end, we have the Havanese who typically weigh more than 12 pounds but are shorter than 12 inches. Other breeds like the Shih weigh up to 20 pounds and are at least 12 inches.

Looking for a small dog to fit a family setting? A pug will be a perfect breed while a Boston Terrier will do great with kids. You are spoilt for choice with small breed dogs. Whichever small dog you choose, remember their diet is very demanding.

What are some of the critical considerations to make while choosing an appropriate canned food diet for your small canine?

Nutritional needs

A good meal is a way to the heart, even for a small dog. considering these adorable animals are significant on a diet. There are several considerations when talking about small dogs since these canines do not have the same nutritional requirements as big dogs. Take a look!

Animal proteins

Proteins should be the main element in any canned dog food for small dogs. These tiny canines require more animal protein than other dogs since they have a higher metabolism and their bodies tend to use up food faster.

You should take note to feed them with animal protein such as chicken, turkey, lamb, salmon and meat other than plant proteins. Proteins are necessary because of their bodybuilding nature. Proteins are vital to keep up with the small stature of these pups and support lean muscle mass and energy levels.

Carbohydrates and fats

In the recent past, fats were demonized to cause health problems, and many dog owners were very skeptical about fats. Thanks to research, we now know that there are some good fats.

Fats are a store of energy which is a key requirement for small dogs. You should be keen to ensure the canned food you choose is made of a higher percentage of fat. Canned food should contain at least 3-5% of fats while dry food should not be anything less than 10-20%.

Carbs contained in the canned food should be complex carbohydrates since they are packed with more energy. Canned foods should contain whole grains as carbohydrates to avoid high blood sugar levels which are brought about by simple carbohydrates. Remember, small dogs need all the energy they can get to power their small bodies.


Feeding your smaller dogs with fiber-rich foods maintains the optimality of the digestive system functions. Fiber helps in digestion by promoting healthy stools and preventing constipation. Fiber can also prevent the growth of harmful bacteria in the colon, which can cause indescribable damage. Fiber can potentially repair the colon after an injury or illness.

Quality canned dog food should contain high-quality fiber. Avoid excess fiber as it could also lead to stomach issues.

Vitamins and minerals

Vitamins are the key to immunity, which essential to small dogs. Vitamins also promote healthy skin and a shiny coat for your smaller dogs. If you are a dog parent to a small senior dog, vitamins will go a long way in ensuring they have stronger immunity against diseases.

Minerals promote healthy and stronger bones which are vital for senior small dogs. Dogs who suffer from painful joints need additional minerals to help in regenerating tissues and encouraging joint health. They promote activeness and playfulness, which is typical for small dogs. Minerals also promote tooth health.

Fatty acids and omegas

Any quality canned dog food contains DHA, ETA and omega fatty acids or any other fish oils. These oils are essential for the optimal functioning of the nervous system. They promote the growth of cells in the body.

Fatty acids have anti-inflammation and antioxidant properties. They also increase the body’s immunity to prevent infections. If your dog ever gets hurt, count on omegas to assist in quicker blood clotting.

Calories needs

Smaller dogs need more calories in their meal than standard or bigger dogs do. Although you may think fewer calories to prevent weight gain, small dogs burn more calories and faster. The high metabolism rate and activity level contribute to this.

Even with small dogs, the calories need vary from dog to dog. The general rule of thumb is that a tiny dog needs 40 calories for each pound of their weight. Inactive older small dogs may need slightly fewer calories while very active ones will require additional calories.

Kibble size

You should aim to provide dental comfort for your small dogs by providing small kibbles. Small dogs may have a hard time trying to chew kibble meant for regular dogs since they have smaller mouths and teeth. Canned dog food designed for smaller dogs has smaller kibble for that purpose.

Regular kibbles are about half an inch wide. It may sound small, but it’s still too big for tiny pups. Kibble for small canines is a quarter-inch while those meant for toy breeds is even smaller.

Check on sugars

Small breeds, especially the toy breeds, are at a higher risk of hypoglycemia, a condition where there is low blood sugar in the blood. You should ensure to check for substantial sugar content in the canned dog food.

Calorie dense foods are a must-have, and the dog should be fed adequately. Small dogs also need to be fed several times a day to keep health conditions at bay.

Consult your vet!

Your vet should be your best friend as these adorable pups are very demanding to care for. Whether you need health to advise or pet food recommendations, the solution is always a vet call away.

Before making any dietary changes, you should visit the vet. The vet should be able to advise on the best canned dog food for your small best-friend while also treating any underlying conditions.

Wet vs dry food

If you are a newbie at dog parenting. you must be torn between the two canned dog foods. Dry dog food is excellent if you are on a budget. It is affordable and valuable for dogs that pick at their food all day since it stays fresh all day. Dry dog food also doesn’t need any refrigeration once opened.

What is the best wet dog food for small dogs?

Wet dog food is costly, but it’s healthier as it contains fewer fillers and whole meat and grains. It’s also more palatable for dogs who find it harder to enjoy crunchy kibble such as small senior dogs. It is of great value for small dogs since they do not overeat.

The wet food should contain all the necessary ingredients to make it a balanced diet for your small canines.

What is the best dog food for small senior dogs?

We cannot dictate any one dog food for your older small dog. We can only recommend the must-haves of all the canned dog foods for seniors, and you pick what is suitable for your canine. Seniors have more needs than other small dogs because of their reduced mobility and weakened systems.

Dog food for small elderly dogs should contain ingredients that are easy to digest to avoid taxing the digestive system. The dog food should also contain fewer calories and carbohydrates as the small dog is in his golden days and inactive. It should contain more vitamins and minerals. Probiotics and omegas will go a long way in improving their health!

What is the best canned dog food for small breeds?

There are many canned dog foods for small dogs that can be daunting to choose. There bottom line is all the ingredients should be geared towards increasing energy for the small canine. These breeds have a higher metabolism than regular dogs.

The ideal canned food should contain more proteins for bodybuilding and maintaining the muscles. It should also contain fats and a source of carbohydrates. Vitamins and fatty acids should also be among the ingredients.

What is the best dog food for small dogs?

The best dog food for small dogs narrows down to a matter of choice. It also depends on the specific needs of your small canine, like health conditions and tastes and preferences. Some small paws may have a liking to one dog food and not another.

Bottom line is the dog food you choose for your canine should contain all the necessary ingredients. It should contain more proteins and carbs for calories, and also contain vitamins, minerals and fiber content. Omegas would be a great addition to the diet.

How much wet dog food should a small dog eat?

It is not easy to dictate the exact amount of food you should feed your small dog. The needs and requirements of each dog breed differ. Good news is that every canned dog food comes with instructions and measures for every dog size and breed.

Since it is impossible to say the amount of wet food to feed your small dog, it is best to start with the prescribed amounts on the packaging instructions. You can then follow up by taking the weights every month to check for weight gain or weight loss. Once you have assessed the ideal weight of your dog, you can increase or decrease the wet food quantity.

The Final Words

Increased proteins, Carbohydrates and vitamins are a must-have for every diet of a small dog! What are you waiting for? Our review will guide you in making the right choice for your small dog today!

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