Dear Good Dog!

I have a four-year-old dog who is a  very small dog … about four pounds. Since she has very crooked teeth, she can’t chew large kibble. So she eats four pieces of kibble and goes away hungry. To complicate things, my larger Chihuahua eats whichever brand food I give the little one. So I’d like to feed something that isn’t too high in fat, and that has little or no lamb.

toy dogs in basket

I spoke to the people at Eukanuba and they told me to feed puppy food. But it’s so rich and high in protein that I’m not sure.

I’ve already tried Science Diet Small Bites, Purina O.N.E., Bil-Jac Select, Nutro’s OptiChoice and Mini Chunks, Iams Mini Chunks, Precise and a host of others.

Could you possibly give me some sort of a list? I figured you were the best people to ask since you’ve tested a zillion kinds of foods! Please let me know as soon as possible as I am now getting a headache over this decision.

Thank you in advance, Jennifer

Dear Jennifer,

Take an aspirin and then take a deep breath. There are a couple of solutions to your mini-mouth problem.

maltese toy dog

1. One solution is, as the Iams people suggested, to feed a puppy food. I would add that you’d need to control the portion you give a bit more tightly. For example, Iams Puppy has 402 calories per cup, compared to Iams Mini-Chunks at 359 calories per cup. At the Iams-recommended level, you’d be feeding between 1/3 and 1/2 cup of Mini-Chunks per day (0.4 cups or 144 calories).

To get the same number of calories with Iams Puppy Food, you would feed exactly 1/3 cup of food. The puppy food has all the nutrients your adult dog needs, and, as long as you don’t overdo the calories, you’ll be fine. If your dog has any kidney or liver problems, then I would reconsider due to the protein level. Otherwise, no problem.

2. Canidae, reviewed in this issue, has a very small kibble size, about 3/8” in diameter by 1/4” thick.

3. Cat food usually comes in smaller kibble sizes than dog food. There’s no big problem in feeding cat food to a dog, except that it has an even higher protein level – about equivalent to Performance level foods for dogs. Again, careful on the calories.

4. The Cuisinart trick. Get a little electric coffee mill (about $20) or pull that old Cuisinart food processor out of the cupboard. Measure out the quantity of food, and coarsely grind it into smaller chunks. Just be careful; the measurements on feeding instructions are for chunks in a cup. When you grind it up, the chunk size is smaller, and more will fit in the cup. So measure before you grind … at least the first time. Then you can tell how much of the ground food to feed and you can use the big Cuisinart for a bigger batch.)

Ross Becker

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