5 Best Grain Free Dog Food for Small Dogs

Why should I go grain-free?

Grains, such as corn, wheat, rice, can sometimes cause allergies, digestive problems, and even cause issues with weight management. When switching to grain-free dog food, these grains are replaced with beans or potatoes to give the same nutrients! Consider switching your dog’s food to grain-free to see if it helps your pup’s conditions.

Allergies can also be a big factor to why you should go grain-free. Some dogs have these allergies, and some don’t, but it’s important to check with your vet to see if your pup has grain allergies! Their diet should be changed accordingly, if this is the case.

Grain-free chow is great for smaller dogs, since most small pups tend to deal with weight problems. By switching to grain-free, your pup is less likely to deal with weight problems later in life. However, it may simply be your pup’s diet choice. Some dogs tend to naturally avoid grains, so see if switching to a grain-free diet helps your pup’s appetite!

Should I be worried about my dog’s health?

If you’re worried for your furry friend’s health since carbs tend to be associated with heart disease, have no fear! You just need to check the label on the back of your dog’s food. Grain-substitutes should be lower on the list than the main portion of your puppy’s food, and grains as well.

Not only that, these health concerns actually tend to only affect larger breeds. A grain-free diet only affects your pup if they eat more grains than they need! Overall, grain-free foods shouldn’t cause health problems as long as your pup’s food isn’t full of grain substitutes. Always make sure the first ingredient on the label is a type of meat!

What dog food brands should I consider?

Check out these brands that are healthy and grain-free:

Instinct Original Grain-Free Recipe for Small Breed

This brand advertises that its first ingredient is meat, which is a wonderful plus! It also specifically targets small dogs, meaning it gives the proper nutritions your furry friend needs to grow and stay strong!

The main source of protein in this food is fresh chicken, which balances well with the fatty parts of the food. In total, the ratio of fat to protein is about 56%.

Reviews from dog owners are extremely positive, with many recommendations.

Nulo Freestyle Grain Free for Small Breed

This brand is also made from proteins derived from meat, albeit a different kind. This food is made from salmon, which makes the ratio of fat to protein a slightly lower 55%.

 However, even though the ratio is similar to the Instinct Original brand, Nulo Freestyle is specially made to support smaller dogs with higher metabolisms, consider how much small pups love to wiggle about! 

Many dog owners who’ve bought this product cited that the formula helped their small dog.

Taste of the Wild Appalachian Valley Grain Free Recipe

This brand gets most of its proteins from venison and lamb, with it’s ratio of fat to protein being 56%. It contains no artificial ingredients, and is made in the United States, making it a trustworthy brand for American pet parents. It also contains fruits and vegetables with many valuable vitamins and minerals for your pup!

Clients who’ve tried this brand provided very positive feedback, with many giving the brand praise for its local roots.

Tender and True Premium Grain Free Dog Food Salmon and Sweet Potato

This brand gets most of its protein from salmon, similarly to Nulo Freestyle. However, this brand also includes sweet potato as one of its major ingredients.

This food has a fat to protein ratio of 53%, making it the least fatty food on this list. Customers left glowing reviews for this dog food brand on the buyer’s portal, although there’s fewer reviews published compared to the rest of the more established dog food brands.

Instinct Original Grain-Free Dog Food with Real Rabbit

This brand gets a majority of its protein from rabbit meat, which promotes lean muscle growth in dogs. The food has a fat to protein ratio of 56 percent, making it on par with the other brands talked about here.

Dog owners who buy this for their pets will be pleased to learn that this food is made in the United States, albeit with ingredients imported from other countries. This brand also is healthy for both small and large dogs, so if you feel your pup may have some growing to do, this may be a safe option for the future.

Customer reviews agree with this, being mostly positive and praising the healthiness of the brand. Bags of Instinct Original Grain Free are moderately priced.

Remember that your pup’s health is the most important! If grain-free is something they need, it’s good to switch them to a grain-free diet for their optimal health. Always check with your vet to see if the food you’re feeding your pup is right for them.

For other tips on how to manage your dog’s health issues, visit our Health portal.

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Lovelia Horn

I’m a certified crazy dog mom, a physical therapist (for hoomans), writer, animal rescuer, and foster home provider. Together with my hubby Ryan, I’ve fostered and helped look for forever homes for over a hundred shelter dogs in the Southern Illinois area. I mostly work with Puppy Rescue 911, Inc., a certified animal rescue organization based out of Chester, IL (home of Popeye!)

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