Can Large Dogs Eat Small Breed Food?

I want to show you that there are many reasons why so many kinds of foods for dogs are existing.

During the lifespan of dogs they get through three stages:

  • puppyhood
  • adulthood
  • senior stage

During these phases, all they need is love from their owners/ parents and proper food. Proper food means the proper amount and proper nutrients that are needed for the functionality of all organs and systems.

The food dogs are eating is different in these stages. The food depends on the needs of the body and the organism of the dog at all ages of life. The amount of nutrition is different for the stages of life.

But here comes something else. Small breeds, medium breeds, and large breeds need different food too.


Find this and the answer to the question that is interesting to you: can large dogs eat small breed food?

Differences In Food For Small Dogs And Large Dogs

Tell me, do you think that a 3-5 kg dog and a 70-100 kg dog will eat the same food? It’s impossible, as they will not get what their body actually needs to function properly.

Let’s start with the most obvious difference:

1. Food size

The size of the dry food for small breeds is much smaller than the size that is for large dogs.

Small breeds need smaller pieces of food as first of all their jaws are a lot smaller and food should be easily eaten. Then smaller pieces are better for dental health and they are easily digestible after good chewing.

Large dogs need bigger pieces as their jaws are much bigger. If you give them small pieces they can easily choke as they are already used to the bigger size of their food. And sometimes it’s scary because they are eating fast and they may skip a few of these small pieces, which may cause problems for the digestive system.

Signs of problems with the digestive system because of small kibble can be:

  • vomiting
  • choking
  • bloat
  • swollen abdomen
  • hiccups
  • food aggression

2. Calories and Amount of Food

During the stage when dogs are still babies they need more calories because this is the time when they are the most active. Then with time calories get less and less.

But let’s see if large dogs need more calories than small breeds.

Small breeds don’t need a big amount of food. But large dogs need more food.

Maybe large dogs need more calories?


Small breeds need more calories because their metabolism works really fast, they are very active, and they are small. As their tummies are smaller they need to eat thrice a day to get all the calories they need. But the amount of food should be small.

Large breeds need fewer calories because they can gain weight easily and they don’t need that as they are enough heavy for their bones. Large dogs need bigger amounts of food as they eat twice a day.

So, if you want to give the food of small dogs to large dogs what will happen?

The large dog will eat it. No problems with that. But the dog needs a bigger amount, so it will get more calories as this new food is containing more calories.

It’s okay if it happens only a few times. But if you want to do that regularly then it’s a huge problem as this food will be the reason for the weight gain and maybe even obesity problems.

Did you know that obesity can take up to 2 years off the dog’s life?

3. Nutrients

Dogs need different nutrition based on their size, age, and needs.

The best choice for large dogs is food that contains glucosamine. This nutrient is needed for maintaining healthy joints. The food also needs to contain a good and proper amount of fiber – it prevents diarrhea and constipation.

After all this, you should be very careful as small-breed food contains much more calcium and phosphorus which can cause rapid growth. Rapid growth will have an effect on joint health in the future.

Another thing that should worry you is that small breed food contains more fat and protein than the food of large dogs – it directly can cause weight gain and health problems.

4. Age

This may be more helpful for you to understand around what age your dog will get into a new phase and as you can see stages depend on the size of breeds.

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If you have a small puppy and a large adult, how do you think it will be okay to give a large dog, food that is very very rich in calories, proteins, fat, and calcium? It will not be good for their health and digestive system. It will stress the dog.

Can Large Dogs Eat Small Breed Food?

If you have bought the wrong food for your dog I highly suggest returning it or exchange with someone who has both a small and large breed of dog.

You can feed large dogs small breed food only if it is really urgent situation and will not do it more than once.

You should be careful when small and large dogs eat together as they might be stealing some food, you should be careful of choking hazards, and don’t let them have a lot of the other food.

Do you want to feed large dogs regularly with small-breed food?

Please, don’t even think about that. There are reasons why so many types of dog food exist and that is not just because of variety. Large dogs need less protein, fat, calcium, and calories than any small breed dog.

So, large breeds shouldn’t eat small breed food.

Let large dogs eat food that is specifically for them and let small breeds have their food too. It’s just not worth adding so much tension and stress to dogs’ bodies because of food. All this plus missing or excessive amounts of nutrients will give many health problems to them.

Let us know in the comments what breed your dog is and what food you give to it.

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Desislava Asenova
Desislava Asenova

Desi is a dog-lover and proud parent to Daisy, her sweet and sassy Chihuahua. She's always been fascinated by the different diets and eating habits of different animals, and she's especially interested in how food affects a dog's overall health and happiness.

When she's not busy writing about dog food, Desi enjoys pampering Daisy with long walks and playtime in the park. She's also an avid home cook and loves coming up with new recipes for her and Daisy to try out together. She's excited to share her passion for dog food and help other pet owners find the best food for their fur babies.

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