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What are Qualities of a High-Quality Small Dog Food?

written by Freshpet

At Freshpet, we recognize that our furry friends need diets that fully address their needs both on an individual and breed basis. This means that we need to select high-quality dog food recipes that are specifically formulated for our dogs based on their breed, size, age, and activity level.

One thing that many pet parents do not realize about smaller dogs is that their foods have to be tailored to their needs, and these factors can go far beyond what most may consider. Below, we address just a few of the qualities of a great small dog food that is sure to offer everything your furry friend needs to remain happy and healthy.

Nutrient Density

There are many reasons why a small dog food recipes must be nutrient dense. Something that is surprising to some pet parents is the fact that smaller dogs actually have higher energy requirements per pound than their larger counterparts due to their higher metabolic rates. When combined with their smaller stomachs capable of holding less food, small dog recipes tend to be more packed with essential vitamins, minerals, protein, fat, and carbs per serving to give them all that they need to maintain their health. Freshpet acknowledges that it is important for pet parents of small dogs to remember that small dogs can be prone to weight issues, which necessitates a strict adherence to serving sizes recommended by the nutritional label or a trusted vet.

Quality Ingredients

Smaller dog food recipes often feature high-quality, human-grade, whole food ingredients that are immediately recognizable when reading the ingredient label. Our products formulated for small dogs such as our Freshpet Select Small Dog line features ingredients such as chicken, turkey, sweet potatoes, blueberries. cranberry, and spinach to provide a diverse range of nutrients. We want our dogs to have products made with the best ingredients and, because dogs need nutrient rich meals, real world foods that are proven to have a strong impact on continued health play a vital role in the best small dog food recipes.

Lack of Harmful Preservatives

The highest quality dog food recipes will not have harmful fillers and preservatives that can have a negative impact on our dogs’ health over time. Ingredients such as BHA, BHT, ethoxyquin, among others are often used by lower quality manufacturers, which is why many pet parents have made the jump to exploring products made with fresh meat and ingredients. Some of the fillers and artificial ingredients featured in lower quality recipes simply offer little to no nutritional value, and others can cause issues such as skin irritation, high blood sugar, and obesity that can be especially harmful for smaller pets.

Addresses Health Conditions

It is always a good idea to consider the health conditions and specific needs of our dogs when we explore small dog food options. Many small dog foods were developed with common issues faced by smaller pets in mind such as dental, skin and coat, and weight concerns as they age. It is possible, however, that our dogs may develop conditions that are not usually addressed by a majority of small dog food brands available on the market. For example, some health conditions can affect how our dogs break down food, receive nutrients, and carry about their day to day lives. Careful research combined with insights from a vet can go a long way towards ensuring that your small dog has a food that properly promotes their continued health regardless of the conditions they may develop.

Smaller Pieces

Pet parents may not think about how the size of a dog food impacts the eating experience for our furry friends. Small dogs typically have smaller jaws, which can make breaking down large pieces of food much more difficult. For this reason, high-quality small dog foods are usually in the form of smaller kibble that makes it easier to chew and process. At Freshpet we address the issue of small dogs needing smaller pieces of food through rolls that can be cut for customizable sizes and easy-to-eat paté that is designed for smaller mouths.

How Can Pet Parents Choose the Best Small Dog Food Options?

Exploring the multitude of products available for our small dogs can be daunting for any pet parent who simply wants to provide the best options possible. Naturally, it can help to consider the factors above, however, there are many other steps that can be used to find the best fit as well.

Freshpet recommends researching your favorite options to better understand their ingredients and processing methods when looking at new brands. Reviews can also be excellent for getting an idea of other pet parents’ experience with the foods you may be considering. When in doubt, veterinarians are great resources for helping you select a vet recommended pet food that properly addresses the various needs of your small dog as well. By growing your understanding of what makes small dog food recipes fit for our furry friends and the methods available to us for evaluating them, you will be well on your way to choosing the best products possible!

A person holding a black and white dog reaching for a Freshpet recipe.

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