nutrition fit for
the small & mighty


Small dog outside in green grass

What is considered a small dog breed?

From dachshunds to Yorkshire terriers, small breeds are generally defined as dog breeds that weigh 10 kilograms or under as adults. Commonly classified as “toy”, “miniature”, or “companion” dogs, they share some unique needs based on their biology, breed, and disposition.

Happy dog waits for dinner

Small breeds have their own nutritional needs


A unique biology

Small breed dogs have their own biology compared to large breed dogs, and tailored nutrition food can help promote balance for your furry little friend.


Energy needs

Small dogs have a higher metabolism and their unique physiology means they require more energy per kilo per day to maintain body weight than larger dogs. Ask your veterinarian how much food your dog needs to maintain an ideal weight.


Longer life expectancy

Due to their longer lifespans, small dogs may benefit from high levels of antioxidants.

Collection of Hill's Science Diet Small Breed Dog Food

Hill’s offers small dog nutrition for a variety of needs and every stage of life.

We formulate our small breed dry foods and wet foods for their unique calorie requirements and lifestages. Small & Mini formulas contain at least 8x more antioxidants than AAFCO requirements with vitamins C + E to help support a healthy immune system.

Small dog outside in green grass

Minimizing plaque for 
mini dogs.


Support your small breed dog’s dental health with our Small & Mini Oral Care pet foods.

Woman giving her small dog love

Caring for a small-breed dog

Small and toy dog breeds might be little, but they're all dog, with all the diverse traits you can find in larger breeds all wrapped up in a tiny 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
  • Loud noises
  • Changes in routine
  • Invasion of space

DID YOU KNOW? A small dog should have their own space. 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 them 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 detangler 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 is a valuable time to bond with your dog and give them some physical and mental exercise.

  • Give the right size toy: Too-big toys can be hard to hold and too-small toys can be choking hazards
  • Closely supervise bigger playmates: Large dog breeds — especially puppies — can mistake small dogs for toys
  • 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 around and play

Want to learn more about small breed dogs?

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Dedicated to your small dog’s livelihood

To better understand the nutritional, social, emotional and behavioral needs of small breed dogs, Hill’s has created a dedicated Small Paws center. Part of our global Pet Nutrition Center, 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 Center is home to around 80 small dogs under 12 pounds — each receiving exceptional veterinary care and a variety of indoor and outdoor enrichment activities throughout the day, including an outdoor Bark Park.

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Changing lives through food

With a team of vets, nutritionists and food scientists, we develop nutrition driven by pets’ needs.

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Committed to innovation

Our forward-thinking approach is driven by science-led nutrition, sustainability & love.

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Giving the best again and again

We are currently working on making Hill’s packaging 100% recyclable. Check to see if your pet’s food packaging qualifies here.

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