What is the difference between large and small breed canned dog food?

January 10, 2022
Dog Food Expert
best dog food brands

Many dog lovers wonder what is the dog food brands will be better for their large and small dogs. When buying any dry and canned pet food, we need to understand that every dog breed has its own nutritional needs and pet’s age, weight, health conditions should be accounted here.  Let’s research the matter of the superior dry and canned dog food.

The food made for pets is a quite new invention. Probably lots of people still remember how they used to feed their pets with leftovers from a dinner table. The pet food was made to feed pets and it is not intended for people or other pets such as cats and so on.

All dog lovers want to see their pets well and happy and the top-quality pet food would help them to keep their companions in a good condition. Today many supermarkets and online shops offer the dog owners a big variety of the pet food, and here comes a fair question, are there any differences between the pet foods?

How to find the best dog food for your pet?

There is a common saying, you get what you pay for and it is true when we talk about dry food for the dogs. As we all know that poor quality dog food costs much less than high quality food, as it contains more fillers like grains and less nutrients. We have studied the reviews of dog owners and present a ranking of the best brands that produce high-quality and healthy dog food:


All of the pet food brands featured can be purchased through Chewy’s online retailer.

Roasted Venison & Bison

In this review we are going to give you some tips on choosing a tasty and good food for your companions, explain which is best for them at various life stages and look at the most affordable pet products in the market.  Moreover, we give you some advice on right food for Pit Bulls and German Shepherds as well as explain how their diets differ from other dog breeds. 

Let’s find out which pet food is good for your dog

There is not a clear-cut answer, as every dog requires special nutritional needs. If you have no idea which food is good for the pet, it is better to ask the vet for some advice.

Above all, whatever the case you should always use your common sense when choosing the dog food. Good dry food should contain all essential ingredients to keep your pet healthy. Let’s say the food has lots of fat, you feed your dog too much treats and the pet doesn’t get enough physical activity, so what happens is he gains some extra weight.

What should you do if you don’t trust the product they produce?

What is good homemade pet food? Making a good diet for your pet can be tough, but it’s important. It isn’t something you should take lightly. At all times you do not give the dog the same meal you eat yourself, as the food you like to eat may not be that healthy for your companion. Therefore, when preparing the food for the pet never forget to include the following ingredients:

  • Top quality proteins such as beef, poultry and fish
  • Fats in small amounts
  • Vitamins and minerals like iron, calcium, zinc, magnesium, folic acid

When including these elements into the dog’s diet it is essential to have in mind such things as pet’s age, breed, weight as well as genetic conditions. Puppies and elder dogs have different nutritional needs, so the well-adjusted food should be prepared for their stage of life. For example, milk is good for puppies up to 4 months of age, but it is not healthy for adult dogs as milk affects their gastrointestinal system. But the vets would always advise to make the perfect and healthy food for the pet.

What should you know about the best grain free dog food?

First of all, dogs are meat eating animals and they have sharp teeth that are used to tear meat apart. Modern dogs are closely related to predatory wolves, so initially they hunted for their prey to eat. Naturally, the meat was the main element of their diet and not the grains. Consequently the dog’s digestive system is better adapted for the meat. Some vegetables, grains and fruits can be added to their diet to keep the right balance of proteins and carbohydrates in the body, but they cannot be used as the main element in the diet of dogs.

Most noteworthy, keep in mind that corn, soy and wheat are not good for the dogs, the pet food producers use them to cheapen the production of the pet foods. The fillers don’t add any richness to the food and could affect a dog’s stomach and intestines. Hence, the best grain free dog food is good for the dog’s digestive system. You can also buy the pet food with rice, buckwheat and whole-grain cereals, but we don’t recommend choosing other cereal crops for your dogs.

Here are some top dog food of our ratings

Allergy safe grain free dog food

  1. “I and love and you” Cluckin’ Good Stew
  • Nutrient rich sweet potatoes instead of grains
  • Contains only natural sources of protein, no by-product meals, non-artificial preservatives, flavoring or colors
  • Omegas 3 & 6: flaxseeds & fish oils that can help enhance a soft coat and encourage healthy skin
  • Allergy safe grain free dog food
  • Cooked in the USA
  1. “I and love and you” Naked Essentials
  • Pasture raised lamb is the main ingredient
  • Nutrient-dense lentils, chickpeas and sweet potatoes for easy digestion
  • No fillers, by-products and grain free
  • Omegas 3 & 6: flaxseeds & fish oils that can help enhance a soft coat and encourage healthy skin
  • Cooked and made in the USA

The superb and right food for puppies

Here are some good food for puppiesMost dog lovers use the identical food to feed the big dogs and puppies. However, we recommend using other foods that are intended for the puppies. As the pets have different nutritional needs and require diverse food at their various stages of life. Use the following tips:

  • The puppies need much less calories, so the size of portions should be much smaller.
  • An average dog in the middle age requires about 2400 calories per day. And a small puppy may need only 300 calories. Here you should keep checking on how fast your puppy grows and choose the right food for him.
  • Pick up the right food for puppies. If you decide to buy dry food, it is essential to choose the special food that is intended just for the puppies. The pieces of food for them are made much smaller in the package, so your pet would not choke and could easily chew the food.
  • The growing body of the puppy needs to get enough nutrients to grow properly. To make certain that an immune system of the puppy functions well and your puppy gets all he needs you should buy the right pet food for him.

Here are some good food products for puppies:

  1. Merrick Lil’ Plates, Size Puppy Plate (for small breed)
  • Only organic ingredients: Deboned chicken meat as the main ingredient
  • Contains a variety of small portions ready to eat
  • Grain-free nutrition with no gluten ingredients for easier digestibility
  • Cooked in the USA.
  1. Nutro Wholesome Essentials (for all breed puppies)
  • Pasture raised lamb is the main ingredient to help maintain lean muscles
  • Enhanced with vitamins and minerals to support the immune system and overall health
  • Calcium guarantees strong bones
  • Non-GMOs

Which canned food is the best for large and small dogs?

Once a puppy grows into an older dog it is a time to pick up another pet food as the needs of a dog have already become different. The adult dogs need more proteins and vitamin supplements in the food. For the big breeds you should choose the food rich in calcium to keep their bones strong and maintain lean muscles. The small breed dogs eat more often but in small portions, so they require to pick up the right package size of the food rich in antioxidants to support their overall health. Finally, keep in mind that you need to feed the small breed dogs at least two or three times per day, giving them easily digestible food.

Here are canned foods that can fit within any budget:

Which canned food is the best for medium and large breeds

  1. Purina Beyond Wild Grain Free, Natural, High Protein Adult (for medium and large breeds)
  • Real beef as the first element
  • High proteins help maintain lean muscles
  • Enhanced with vitamins and minerals to support the immune system and health
  • All traceable ingredients.
  1. Fromm Family Chicken and Duck Pate (for small breeds)
  • Special formula meets all AAFCO quality standards
  • Top quality poultry meat is the main recipe ingredient
  • Grain free
  • Cooked and made in the USA.

The best food for older dogs to maintain activity and health

Seems like many things will begin to change when your dog reaches senior years, namely a jawbone structure and teeth get weak and an elder dog can hardly chew the dry dog food. Due to that many vets advise owners to use the canned senior food for feeding their lovely companions. Hence, it is important to adapt their diet to the unique needs and keep up with nutritional requirements of your pet. Here is the right food for your dog that can help your pet to age gracefully and stay healthy for many years to come.

The best food for older dogs to maintain activity and health

  1. Wellness Complete Health Natural Senior Chicken & Sweet Potato (canned food)
  • Complete and balanced formula to keep senior dog healthy and happy
  • 100% natural ingredients
  • Low calorie and high fiber
  • Cooked and produced in North America
  1. Wellness Core Natural Grain Free Dry Senior (dry food)
  • 100% grain free
  • Balanced formula added with minerals and vitamins to keep senior dog healthy
  • Rich with natural proteins, including fresh vegetables
  • All natural
  • Cooked and produced in the USA

Top pet food for the small breeds

Top dog food for the small breeds

It is obvious that the small dogs eat the food in small portions and the larger ones require bigger meals a day. As we all know the small dogs have shorter jaws, so they eat the small pieces of food that are easy to chew. Likewise, the small bits of food will not damage the throat and will not cause the dog to choke. There is another important thing the digestive system of small pets is much shorter than the larger dogs have, for that reason you need to feed them with the food that contains easily digestible proteins. It is also important not to feed the small and toy breed dogs from your dinner table, as it may cause some digestion problems such as diarrhea and even could lead to more serious illnesses.

In addition, some experts recommend including the dry food in the diet, as this helps prevent the plaque buildup on the dog’s teeth. Lots of the small dogs may be picky in their diet, so we advise you to choose for them tasty and healthy dog food.

Here are good pet food products for small pets:

  1. Nutro Wholesome Essentials Adult Dry Dog Food for Small & Toy Breeds
  • Prepared for adult and small dog breeds
  • All natural ingredients: salmon and lentils, no wonder that this food is popular
  • Grain free and no fillers like wheat, corn and soy
  • Rich in vitamins and minerals to support the immune system and overall health
  • Salmon is the main ingredient and non-GMOs
  1. Merrick Lil’ Plates Small Breed Mini Medley Pack
  • Contains a variety of small portions ready to eat
  • Grain-free nutrition with no gluten ingredients for easier digestibility
  • Deboned meat as the first ingredient (there are different types)
  • Cooked in the USA

Best pet food for Pit Bulls

Best pet food for Pit BullsThe Pit Bulls have their own specific nutritional needs, so they require specialized nutritional products. As a matter of fact, they are athletic, fast, and very energetic dogs. Certainly they should have a nice muscular appearance, a thin layer of fat over the rib cage and a dip inward at the waistline below the ribs. As a result this muscular breed requires the proper nutritional food and regular exercises to develop its muscles and keep them in a good condition. You can feed the Pit Bulls the dry dog food or combine it with the homemade food. Whatever the case you need to talk with a veterinarian and get some advice on that.

1. Natural feeding

The feeding for the Pit Bull consists of animal proteins and vegetables, and there is no need for cooked whole grains, otherwise the dog will gain extra weight. You can also feed the dog raw eggs 1 egg 3-4 times per week, dairy and vegetables, but then you need to rotate them all the time. Hence, you can mix all the raw products with meat and feed your dog. For better digestibility you may also add 1 tablespoon of any vegetable oil, but olive oil would serve the best. If you want the dog to lose some weight, you may feed it with fish in combination with vegetables. If you want your dog to be healthy don’t feed it with bread or crackers. Most vet experts advise to feed the dog twice per day.

2. Dry dog food

You can feed your pet any premium or super premium dry dog food. It is better to avoid choosing the cheaper dog food, because cheap dry dog food contains artificial fillers, coloring, gluten ingredients and so on. To keep you dog healthy you should feed your dog 1 or 2 times a day, a portion size is set separately for each pet. Don’t forget to fill a water bowl for your pet, especially in the summer.

3. Mixed feeding

This feeding fits the dog lovers who have the busy schedule. Bear in mind some Pit Bulls may not like this one. Mixed feeding means that your dog will eat dry food as well as the natural one. Before going to work, you fill a bowl with the dry food and after work you can also give your dog natural food, mixing the vegetables, meat and oil. Seems like most dogs like that type of feeding.

Best dog food for German Shepherds

The best dog food for German ShepherdsFor that dog breed the dog lovers might use the same variations in the feeding like for the Pit Bulls. Likewise they can feed the German Shepherds in combination with dry food and the homemade one. However, today it is better and more efficient to buy the specialized pet food in stores than cook yourself at home. Just before buying the dog food in supermarkets make sure that all proteins should not be over 26%. If not, it may have negative impact on the pet’s health, the pet’s coat could lose its shininess and the high quantity of proteins could cause protein poisoning. If you still decide to prepare the homemade food for your dog, you should use rice and buckwheat, we do not recommend adding to the food cereal crops, river fish, pollock, pork, lamb and other fatty meat.

Despite that you can still use for preparation of the homemade food fermented dairy, cottage cheese, cod fish, fruits and vegetables. Find out here can dogs eat bananas or not. While most vet experts recommend adding various minerals and vitamins to the homemade food, as the puppies need them for proper growth of bones.

First of all there is no need to boil water for the dogs. They have a very strong immune system, which is resistant to all usual bacteria in the water. Sometimes the puppies stop growing, their coat loses its shininess and that could be caused by poor quality of the water. Therefore, you need to keep an eye on the water quality report that is provided by the officials. Keep in mind that you need to refill the dog’s bowl with the fresh water on daily basis.

Allergy friendly best dog food

Choose the right allergy friendly canine

Every dog owner wants to find the best dog food for their beloved pet, but if your dog is allergic it can be tricky. If you notice that your pet got some kind of allergy, such as itchy skin, you should consult with a veterinarian what kind of pet food you need to choose.  In the most cases the vets recommend buying the holistic food for the pets. Let’s see what could cause the allergies. A food allergy is very common, namely it happens when the dog’s immune system is sensitive to certain ingredients of the pet food. Probably any pet food ingredient can cause the allergic reaction, but most often corn, soy, protein, and grain trigger the food allergies.

Generally, that type of allergy affects two things the skin and the digestive system. Here it is important to diagnose which one got your pet.  Here are common symptoms for the digestive system: diarrhea, stomach, ear and digestive problems. When the allergy affects the skin, the symptoms could be as itchy skin, poor skin and coat, ear infections and so on.

In all cases of the food allergy, treatment and diagnostics should be carried by the vet experts. Consequently the only effective way to cure the food allergy is to find the ingredient that triggers the allergy and eliminate it from the dog’s diet. The veterinarian will help to choose the right pet food for your dog.

Best food for dogs with digestive problems

Many things could cause your dog to suffer from gastroenteric problems, but if you notice that your pet does not eat a regular food or his behavior changes, you will simply need to talk to a veterinarian who can determine a cause of your pet’s digestive difficulties. In such case, here is a gastroenteric dog food containing special ingredients:

Purina EN meal for dogs with digestive problems

  1. Purina EN Gastroenteric Dog Food
  • Low fat and fiber
  • Gentle, highly digestible and good tasting
  • Available in dry and canned forms
  • Dogs love that food

High fiber rated dog food: pros and cons

Before you feed your pet food rich in fiber make sure it does not have any contraindications, for this you better need to consult with the veterinarian. On one hand, this kind of food could improve the functioning of digestion system and help to drop the level of sugar in the blood. On the other hand, the high fiber food may cause diarrhea and vomiting.

If you decide to feed your dog the high fiber food, you should do that in a gradual way. That rated food should contain organic ingredients, you can check that information on the label of a packaging.

Here is the best high fiber food:

  1. Purina Pro Plan Weight Management 
  • Top quality proteins and chicken breast is the main ingredient
  • Prebiotics and fiber for easy digestion
  • Reduced fat for weight loss

Best available and affordable dog food

When it comes to buying the affordable dog food just keep in mind the following tips:

  • First of all, you get what you pay for. While some pet food is overpriced, but overall the price corresponds to the quality of products. Mostly, the cheapest food contains a little amount of protein, but there are lots of grain, artificial fillers and coloring, gluten and other harmful ingredients.
  • Always check the packaging and avoid buying cracked, bent or badly damaged cans. This food may contain harmful bacteria, mold, etc.
  • Always check a shelf life of products and never buy the expired food for your pets, for the reason that it could cause long-term diseases. Sometimes large supermarkets sell the almost expired food at very cheap price. Most experts don’t recommend buying such pet food.
  • Above all use common sense, because you want to spend many happy years together with your pet.

Here is affordable dog food:

Pedigree available and affordable pet food

  1. Pedigree – Grilled Steak & Vegetable Flavor
  • Natural ingredients: protein, fiber, vitamins, amino acids and antioxidants
  • No artificial coloring and corn syrup
  • Low sugar
  • Cooked and prepared from local ingredients in the USA


There are lots of good pet food to buy in the market, but that most important thing that your dog would receive the good food that fits its nutritional needs, considering pet’s age, breed, weight, and genetic resources. Another vital thing to read some labels on the food bags and cans, generally people don’t do it, but there is a list of elements. Therefore if you see some strange things on the label that you are not able to pronounce or understand, you should not buy that product, as it probably has artificial fillers and other harmful ingredients.

Finally, make certain that the main ingredients are high quality proteins, fruits and vegetables, and the pet food product is low on sugar and fat. Meeting the nutritional needs of your pets will most likely make them healthy and you will enjoy a long and happy life together.

Shanna Derrick About Author

Author of dog food articles with a deep understanding of healthy dog nutrition.

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