big benefits
for small dogs


What is considered a small dog breed?

From dachshunds to Yorkshire terriers, small breeds offer an abundance of personality and companionship. They are generally defined as dog breeds that weigh 10 kilos or under and can be found in almost every group. Famously classified as “toy”, “miniature” or “companion” dogs, they have special needs according to their biology, breed and disposition.

Dog standing in a sweater

Small breeds have their own nutritional needs

Small breed dogs have their own biology compared to large breed dogs, and the right nutrition can help them live their best lives. Some nutritional needs to consider include:

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Caloric intake

Small breeds, whose metabolisms are faster than those of large dogs, require about 88 calories per kilogram per day, whereas larger dogs need just over half that amount.1 Ask your veterinarian what your dog’s ideal weight is.

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Oxidative stress

Due to their longer lifespans, small dogs also benefit from food containing high levels of antioxidants, which can help neutralise free radicals throughout their long lives.


A small dog sitting in front of empty food bowls

Combine wet & dry food

Mixing wet food with dry food is a great way to add texture and flavour to your pet's mealtime.

Mix Option Dry Food Wet Food
A Bit of Crunch 95% 5%
Soft n' Crunchy 90% 10%
A Delicious Topper 80% 20%

Hill’s small breed dog foods are designed for lifelong health

At Hill’s, we go beyond kibble size to ensure that the nutritional needs of small breed dogs are met with every dedicated recipe. We formulate our small breed dry foods and wet foods for their unique calorie requirements and ageing needs.

Our wet foods are made up of a soft texture and a mouthwatering taste they’ll love, while giving small breed dogs the energy they need.



DID YOU KNOW? A healthy small breed dog can live up to 20 years of age. It is important to remember that your little dog’s lifespan can vary widely depending on several factors.

Woman holding a white dog outside

Caring for a small breed dog

Small and mini dog breeds wrap all the diverse traits of larger breeds up into a fun little package, along with some unique personalities and characteristics

Many small dogs can be easily stressed

The big world can be overwhelming for a small dog, but you can help by reducing common stressors and providing familiar human company.

Common stressors include:

  • Separation: Dogs love having a comfortable personal space to retreat to
  • Loud noises:  Consider playing soft music to help mask the sounds
  • Changes in routine: Create a predictable daily routine with regular feeding, walking and playtimes
  • Invasion of space: Children, especially, may need guidance on handling pets and letting them relax

DID YOU KNOW? Like larger dogs, small dogs should have their own space, such as a crate, carrier, basket or mat, where they can feel safe and calm.

Many small dogs need special grooming

Small, long-haired dogs — whether they’re fluffy poodles or silky-haired yorkies — should be brushed daily to keep their coats in good condition and to prevent knots and tangles, which can be painful to remove.

Good grooming habits are important for small breed dogs:

  • Be sure to use lukewarm water that feels comfortable for your pet
  • Use a specialised shampoo made for dogs
  • Use a detangling brush designed for long-haired dogs
  • Brush gently in the direction the hair grows
  • Rinse well to prevent skin issues
  • Dry your dog by snuggling them with a warm towel

Small dog breeds need playtime

Playing with toys can strengthen the bond with your little dog and give them physical and mental exercise.

  • Give the right size toy: Toys that are too big are hard to hold – toys that are too small can be choking hazards
  • Watch for bigger playmates: Large breed dogs may play too rough for their small playmates
  • Keep an eye on children: Make sure your kids know how to play gently with a little dog
  • There’s no need to baby them: Your little dog is still a dog, so give them lots of opportunities to run wild
small paws center

Dedicated to your small dog’s livelihood

To better understand the nutritional, social, emotional and behavioural needs of small breed dogs, Hill’s has created a dedicated Small Paws Centre. Part of our global Pet Nutrition Centre, or PNC, this new facility uses state-of-the-art technology to create specially-formulated nutrition developed for the unique needs of small dogs.

The Small Paws Centre is home to 80 small dogs under 6 kg — each receiving exceptional veterinary care and a variety of indoor and outdoor enrichment activities throughout the day, including an outdoor Bark Park.

1 Coates, Jennifer. “Nutritional Differences for Small, Toy, and Large Breed Dogs.” Petmd.Com, PetMD, 3 Feb. 2012, Accessed 26 Oct. 2020.