Feeding your dog a high-quality, well-balanced dog food is one of the best things that you can do to keep your dog healthy. Keep in mind that nutritional needs will vary by age and breed.
Dog food regulations are loose, so be careful not to fall for the marketing ploys of "all-natural" and "organic" when there is generally better quality food out there. With that being said, here are some nutritional content that your toy breed needs as well as recommended brands.
Any food you purchase should be grain free. Most dogs, regardless of breed, are allergic to or intolerant of grains, and the number of carbohydrates in them can make toy breeds bloat and gain weight. Obesity can decrease your dog’s life expectancy by two years, so keep your dog's diet balanced and healthy.
Always be sure to consult your vet. Especially if your dog is a rescue, older, or has a history of health problems, you should inform your vet if you change your dog’s food. You don’t always have to take a vet’s specific food suggestions, but make sure they know your dog's food and it's ingredients if they aren’t already familiar. For additional guidance, read the aforementioned guide to best dog food for Shih Tzus from Shih Tzu Expert.
Being so small, toy breeds have high metabolisms. They need a surprising number of calories for their size, 40 per pound/per day. Toy breeds tend to live longer than larger dogs, but if they’re obese or have diabetes, that won’t be true. Therefore, it is important to keep the edible treats to a minimum, and no matter how cute their begging is, don’t feed them from your plate!
Your toy breed needs a lot of calories but can’t stomach or chew much at one time. That’s the important distinction in how dog food companies brand each item to fit your dog’s size; the size of the kibble. Tooth health is important to your dog’s overall health, and keeping the bites manageable is good for their teeth, breath, and digestion.
Pay attention to every ingredient in the bag. Sometimes companies put “fillers” in their food; these don’t provide any nutrition, they simply boost the protein content. You want your dog’s protein coming from the meat, not some artificial additive.
In terms of fatty acids, Omega-3s are extremely good for your dog (and for you!). A good source of this would be to get Salmon in your dog’s food because it is both nutrient-rich and light on the stomach. Protein isn’t a major concern for toy breeds because their muscle mass is much lower, so they don’t need as much as larger breeds. Salmon-based foods provide more than enough. Salmon oil and salmon skin are particularly good for a dog’s skin and coat, so if your toy breed is long-haired, try finding food or treats with Salmon in it.
If you have a puppy, you need to provide your dog with puppy-specific food because as their bodies are developing, they need more nutrient-rich foods. They can handle more calories and fatty acids than older dogs because they are growing and burn it off so quickly.
Specific food suggestions are:
All in all, good dog foods are balanced with fatty acids, veggies for minerals and vitamins, and proteins with no artificial colors, preservatives, or flavors. What makes a dog food the best option is to also have immune health through something like blueberries, as well as ingredients that promote healthy skin and fur, all while being easy to digest. A starting point is to look specifically for salmon, peas, and blueberries.
Adam Conrad is the writer at shihtzuexpert.com where he enjoys spreading his research for the best dog food for Toy breeds.
He is very keen on eradicating canine distemper and in his spare time away from researching these topics, is an avid sports enthusiast, and a lover of canine companions.