Every dog is different (and special!) and this needs to be reflected in their diet. Here’s a look at some of the key differences between small breed and large breed dog food and the reasons for each.

Small and large breed dogs need different food

Every single dog has different nutritional needs, but even broadly speaking, the requirements of small breeds are vastly different to those of large breed dogs. Using our Dog Food Finder Tool to ensure that you’re feeding your pet breed-specific foods ensures they will receive the nutrients best suited to them.

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Small breed dogs

Our four-legged friends on the smaller end of the spectrum have very fast metabolisms. From their puppy stage, through to when they’re fully grown, small breed dogs require a diet that accommodates their need for higher calorie foods. But despite these fast metabolisms, you should take great care when portioning your dog’s diet, as they can gain weight quickly. Follow the feeding guide on the food’s label or check in with your local Greencross Vets to be sure you’re giving your dog the optimum amount for good health.

It’s also important to take into account the size of the kibble. In order to minimise waste and help smaller breeds gain the most from their diet, the size of the kibble must also suit the size of the dog. Kibble formulated for small breeds will be smaller than kibble for larger breeds as it is made with the size of the dog’s jaw in mind. Smaller breeds can be more prone to gastrointestinal upsets and poor dental health, so feeding a diet specific to them can help manage these issues. This is why choosing a pet food tailored to your pet’s size, life stage and breed is the best choice, as it offers them a balanced diet with all the nutrients they need to stay happy and healthy.

Large breed dogs

Dog breeds that grow to be bigger need pet food that supports strong, healthy bones. Food formulated for these dogs, especially moving into the giant breeds, includes optimal levels of calcium for controlled bone development. High-quality puppy food designed for large breed dogs is a little less energy dense so they can grow at a rate that supports their bones and joints.

Large breeds are also more prone to joint issues, so feeding a diet specific to their breed will help keep joints healthy and mobile. Glucosamine helps maintain healthy joints and fibre blends and prebiotics can boost the levels of gut bacteria for optimal digestion. The right balance of protein, minerals and vitamins will benefit large breeds at all life stages, so finding a high-quality pet food that is formulated with these needs in mind is an easy way to keep them healthy.

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Senior pets

No matter their size, every dog breed needs a change to their diet once they’ve moved into the senior stage of their lives. While large breed dogs are often considered senior at 5 years old, small breed dogs may not reach this level of maturity until they are at least 7 years of age.

To give your pet the best food for senior dogs, we recommend sticking with a size-specific Super Premium pet food, but simply choosing one that caters to senior pets. Any changes to your pet’s diet should be gradual, so as not to upset their stomachs. For more information, feel free to talk to a friendly Petbarn team member or your local Greencross Vets.