Choosing The Right Dog Food By Breed Size

Not all dogs are the same in size, and therefore their nutritional needs will differ. In America alone, there are more than 100 different dog breeds, and today there is a bewildering array of dog food available on the market to cater for all sizes of dogs, from puppies to full-grown Great Danes.

It stands to reason that puppies and small dog breeds need smaller sized pellets compared to larger breeds. Smaller dog breeds may find it difficult to chew large kibble, and there is a risk of choking if swallowed whole by a hungry dog.

Different dog breeds have different energy requirements that should be considered when choosing the best dog food for each breed’s unique biological makeup, body size, and nutritional needs.

Generally, a dog’s size is determined by its breed. Small dogs like Jack Russel Terriers weigh between 1Kg to 10Kg are considered small breeds while medium-sized dogs like Dalmatians that weigh between 11Kg and 26Kg are considered medium-sized. Large dogs that weigh more than 26Kg are considered large breeds, such as German Shepherds and Great Danes.

Small Breed Dog Food

Apart from small pieces of dry food, small breed dogs generally have faster metabolism rates and much higher energy levels than larger breeds. Small breed dogs are constantly on the move and cover a much larger territory for their size than larger breeds.

Combined with a small, petite frame, their food needs to have a much higher concentration of essential nutrients and calories to supply their energy needs and keep them healthy and happy. Therefore, it is crucial to start a small breed dog on the right diet early to ensure long-term health benefits. Here are some additional factors to consider when choosing the right dog food for a small breed dog:

  • Due to their high metabolism and low body fat reserves, small dog breeds are more prone to low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) and require careful monitoring of their feeding routine.
  • Smaller sized kibble designed for small dog breeds is easier to chew and reduce choking risk.
  • Check that the ingredients include good quality meat protein such as chicken or beef.
  • Ingredients should also include healthy fats such as fatty acids that contain both Omega-3 and Omega-6 oils for good skin and coat condition and energy supply.
  • During the puppy stage, they also need grains to combat the rapid rise and fall of their glucose levels. Grains are digested more slowly, which helps to stabilize glucose levels. This will become less of a concern when they mature, and their glucose levels become more stable.

When in doubt, it is best to consult your local veterinarian for advice about your pet’s specific nutrition needs and recommendations for a suitable feeding schedule.

Medium Breed Dog Food

Medium-sized dogs are the most common canine companions, mainly due to the large weight bracket assigned to them. Some dogs normally considered small or large breeds sometimes fall into the mid-sized bracket, especially if they are of a mixed breed. These include breeds like basset hounds, beagles, and even certain pug or husky breeds depending on their weight.

Medium breed dogs are the easiest to feed as they can adapt to either small or large breed dog food, depending on their size. However, many dog food manufacturers have medium-sized kiddle available for mid-sized dogs. Even medium breed puppies should be fine with foods meant for either large or small dogs.

Medium dog breeds need enough exercise to burn off calories, it is important to avoid energy-dense, high-calorie food, or they will quickly gain weight. Choose grain-free formulas to control weight as excess weight can strain their bodies, leading to health problems.

Large Breed Dog Food

It is easy to make the mistake that a large breed dog will need more food because of its body size. However, this is not entirely true, and many dog owners are faced with the risk of overfeeding their dogs for this reason. It is highly recommended to consult a Vet to help develop a suitable meal plan for your large breed dog that will give them the right amount and type of nutrition they require as these dogs grow faster than other breeds.

This faster growth rate makes them much more susceptible to certain health risks that don’t affect smaller dog breeds, including deficiencies in caloric and nutritional intake. Thus, it is extremely important to closely monitor their diet as rapid growth is considered a serious problem among large dog breeds.


Feeding your beloved dog the wrong type of food for its weight and size could pose a health risk. Feeding guides should not be based exclusively on breed but, more importantly, on the dog’s size and weight.

Feeding portions are also important as excess weight in dogs can cause problems, especially for breeds whose bodies are not built to carry it. Kibble size is important as small breeds like toy poms may not be able to chew large pieces of kibble and even choke on it. Therefore, feeding for the breed and the size and weight of the dog are important.

Alex is a professional writer at PFO and a fitness enthusiast. He spends most of his time writing about pets and sipping coffee.

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