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Finding the Right Dog Food by Breed Size

Finding the Right Dog Food by Breed Size

Did you know: there are over 100 different dog breeds living in America today; all in a variety of shapes and sizes? With a wide range of individual body types and tastes to consider, finding the right type of food for your dog can seem challenging. That's why we put together this handy checklist of nutritional tips to consider when shopping for the right dog food for your pup - all broken down by breed size.

Small Breed Dog Food

Small dogs need more to be considered in their diet than just smaller-bite-sized pieces of kibble. They have higher energy levels than bigger dogs and generally faster rates of metabolism. Think of it this way: small breed dogs are like distance marathon runners, always on the move. When combined with a more petite body frame, their meals need a higher concentration of calories and necessary nutrients to help them lead a happy, healthy lifestyle.

Because of their high energy requirements, it's important to pick the right diet early on for long-term health benefits. Here are some other tips to check off on when searching for the right small breed dog food:

  • Small and toy breed puppies are also more prone to hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) thanks to their high metabolism and low sugar and body fat reserves, and so require careful feeding
  • Smaller pieces of kibble are recommended, as they're easier to chew and less of a choking hazard
  • When looking at ingredients, choose a food with quality meat protein, such as beef, chicken
  • Fat is important for a healthy skin and coat and energy supply, so make sure the listed ingredients include fatty acids such as omega-3 and omega-6
  • Small dogs also require some grains in their diet as puppies, as their glucose levels rise and fall rapidly, and grains (which are slow to digest) help keep glucose levels stabilized
  • This becomes less of a concern as they mature to adulthood and their glucose levels become more stable

Keep these tips in mind as you browse the many types of dog food available for your pet. Above all though, be sure to consult your pet's veterinarian for any specific questions you might have about their nutrition, including help with determining the best feeding schedule. Here are some of Petco's recommendations for small breed dog foods to get you started in your search:

Medium Breed Dog Food

Medium, or mid-size, breed dogs are among the most common canine companions in the U.S. today. This is mainly due to the wide range in weight standards applied to them; adult dogs between 20-50 pounds are defined as “mid-size”. Because of the large weight bracket, some dogs normally considered small or large breed can fall into the medium category, especially when they're a mixed breed. These can include beagles, basset hounds, and even some husky and pug breeds, depending on their individual weight.

As such, they have their pick of the menu—so to speak—when compared to other breed sizes. Mid-size puppies, for example, should be fine chowing down on foods meant for either small or large breed dogs. Before you rush out to pick up a bag of food, check with your veterinarian for tips on what to look on the label, then browse a list of Petco's recommendations for mid-size breed dog food:

Large Breed Dog Food

Having a bigger body type must they can eat more as well, right? Well, not quite.

A common challenge faced by pet parents of larger breed pups is the risk of overfeeding. Bigger dogs grow at a much faster rate than their smaller counterparts, with some weighing in at over 100 pounds in under a year. Having such a fast rate of growth makes them more susceptible to certain risks that smaller breeds don't have to worry about. These can include deficiencies in their nutritional and caloric intake, meaning their diets need to be closely monitored.

Because the risk of rapid growth is a serious issue larger breed dogs face, Petco recommends working with your pet's veterinarian to develop a meal plan that gets them the nutrients they need for healthy growth. When you're ready to start looking for types of dog food to feed your large canine companion, browse this selection of Petco-recommended large breed dog food: