When It Comes to Nutrition, Breed Size Matters

Both small breed and large breed dogs require targeted nutrition to support their unique needs. Learn how developing feeding habits tailored specifically to your dog’s breed size can benefit your pet.

Toy Breed and Small Breed Dogs

Balanced Nutrition for Each Life Stage

Toy breed and small breed puppies grow very quickly, reaching full physical maturity at about 8 months of age. This is much earlier than larger breeds, which might not reach maturity until about 18 months.

The average life expectancy of small breed dogs is about seven years longer than larger breeds. Because of their longer life spans, these breeds spend the majority of their lifespans as adult and senior dogs. Feeding diets formulated for the correct life stage (puppy, adult and senior) is recommended for optimal health. The diet for small breed dogs should include an optimal proportion of proteins and fats to help meet their higher energy needs and metabolisms. We formulate our NUTRO Small Breed Dog Food to include this optimal proportion.


Look for vitamin E, vitamin C and taurine in small breed and toy breed dog food. These protect cells against the damage caused by aging and the environment and help promote a healthy immune system.

Great Taste

The Waltham Centre for Pet Nutrition has determined the optimal kibble size, shape, moisture level and nutrient profile to provide toy breed and small breed dogs with highly palatable kibble. Research shows that these breeds are more likely to refuse a meal and are more inconsistent in the amount of food they consume daily. As a result, owners of small breed and toy breed dogs often offer a variety of highly palatable foods, such as table scraps, which increase the potential for small breeds to experience a nutrient imbalance or to become finicky eaters or overweight. Our high-quality ingredients, with chicken as the first ingredient, enhance the taste of our dry kibble. This encourages smaller dogs to enjoy the taste and get the right nutrients they need.

Designed for Oral Health

Due to their smaller, crowded mouths, dental health issues are more common in small breed and toy breed dogs. Approximately 53% of small breed and toy breed dogs ages 8 to 15 years old have dental calculus (tartar) present, and about 18% have periodontal disease.* Our unique kibble design can help to naturally clean teeth, reducing the buildup of plaque and tartar around teeth.

Omega-6 Fatty Acid and Zinc

Many small dogs are prone to unhealthy skin and a dull coat due to frequent grooming and dry air from indoor heating and cooling. The Waltham Centre for Pet Nutrition has shown that a combination of an omega-6 fatty acid (linoleic acid) and zinc improves coat shine and improves dogs’ skin moisture barrier.

Try NUTRO Toy-Small Breed Adult Chicken, Rice & Vegetables for dogs up to 25kgs at maturity. This specialised formula is made especially for smaller dogs to suit their unique needs.

Large Breed Dogs

Balanced Nutrition for Each Life Stage

As in smaller breeds, the nutritional needs of large breed dogs change with age. So, it also is important to feed large breed dogs according to their correct life stage. Large breed puppies finish growing at an older age and need controlled growth to prevent growth abnormalities.

Because of their unique growth rates, it is critical that young adult large breed dogs between 6 months and 2 years old get the balanced nutrition they need for growth without excess calories.

Ideal levels of protein and fat help balance growth in puppies and help maintain an ideal weight in young adult and adult dogs. Quality, natural proteins help with lean muscle development, and promote healthy digestion. Plus, controlled feeding with appropriate calcium and phosphorus levels will help support optimal bone strength and growth in large breed puppies.

Joint Care

Special attention needs to be paid to the joints of larger breed dogs due to large dogs’ size and the amount of stress they put on their joints. Naturally sourced glucosamine and chondroitin, natural sources of omega-3 fatty acids, and the antioxidants vitamin E, zinc and manganese all help to nourish healthy cartilage and connective tissue.

Digestive Care

Compared to smaller dogs, large breed dogs have increased gut permeability and decreased digestive tract transit time. These lead to an increase in fecal moisture, contributing to loose stools. The right balance of fiber, from natural sources such as whole brown rice, whole grain oatmeal, rice bran and beet pulp, is critical to help maintain digestive health and stool quality for large breed dogs. Additionally, highly digestible protein sources, such as real chicken, help limit the amount of undigested protein that reaches the large intestine.

Try our NUTRO Large Breed Dog Foods. These natural dog foods are formulated with optimized fat and protein levels specifically for large breed dogs.

* Data on file at The Nutro Company, 2011

Source:The Waltham Centre for Pet Nutrition

Furry features

Switching Dog Food

If feeding NUTRO™ Dog Food for the first time or changing formulas, we suggest you blend increasing amounts of the new formula with your old dog food for six days.


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