Lhasa Apso is probably one of the most well-known small dog breeds. It was primarily bred as a guard dog. Therefore, they are not friendly towards strangers but very friendly and loyal to their parents. Lhasas have thick skin to support their thick, long coat, which they are famous for. They need a diet with high levels of protein for their skin and coat health. But there is a lot more to their dietary needs than just that. Since every breed has different characteristics, their needs change accordingly. Therefore, it is crucial to choose the right dog food.
We prepared a comprehensive list of high-quality dog foods for Lhasas. If you are new to small breeds and their nutritional needs, we have a buyer’s guide at the end of this article to provide you with all the information that you might need.
Now, let us take a look at our selections in a quick glance:
- Nature’s Recipe Grain Free
- Wellness Core Natural Grain Free Dry Dog Food Small Breed
- Natural Balance Original Dry Dog Food
- PS Hypoallergenic Dog Food
- ORIJEN Dry Dog Food
Our Top Pick: Nature’s Recipe Grain Free
About: This is a very high-quality dog food that comes with limited ingredients. You can be sure that your pup will have a healthy life on this product.
Features :Lhasa Apsos, as well as many other small canine breeds, suffer from hip dysplasia and elbow dysplasia. Therefore, Lhasa Apso parents need to be extra careful when it comes to their furry friends’ health.
When it comes to such health problems, we can help the dogs to have stronger bones with the help of diet. Reducing inflammation in a dog’s hips, for example, is something we can do by feeding the dog Omega-3 fatty acids. In this sense, Nature’s Recipe Grain-Free is a fantastic dog food option.
Nature’s Recipe Grain Free uses real chicken as its primary ingredient, and it is an excellent source of protein for dogs. Sweet potato and pumpkin are used instead of grains to sustain dogs’ energy and easy digestion.
Sweet potato is rich in Omega-3, which is vital to reduce inflammation as we have already mentioned, while pumpkin is rich in Omega-6, which is important for a dog’s growth, reproduction, immune system, skin, and coat health.
Nature’s Recipe Grain Free is grain-free, which is great for dogs who have sensitive stomachs. It is also free form wheat, soy, corn, artificial colorants as well as flavors. Dogs that are allergic to gluten can safely eat this dog food since it does not contain wheat.
Runner up: Wellness Core Natural Grain Free Dry Dog Food Small Breed
About: Wellness Core Natural Grain Free Dry Dog Food Small Breed is a different dog food due to its ingredients. If you want to change things up a little bit, you can try your dog’s ancestors’ diet: wild game.
Features: Wellness Core Natural Grain Free Dry Dog Food Small Breed offers two options for you to choose from: Turkey & Chicken and Wild Game: Duck, Turkey, Boar & Rabbit.
This dog food contains high-quality protein as well as glucosamine hydrochloride, chondroitin sulfate, and Omega fatty acids. Glucosamine hydrochloride and chondroitin sulfate are important ingredients for healthy hips and joints. Omega fatty acids are not only great for healthy skin and coat, but they are also excellent at reducing inflammation.
It does not contain any preservatives, artificial colorants, artificial flavors, additives, or fillers. It is free from wheat, corn, soy as well as meat by-products, which makes it an excellent option for dogs with sensitive stomachs or allergies. Due to the carefully chosen ingredients, this dog food is also very easy to digest.
If you are especially looking for a dog food that contains high-quality protein and
different flavors, Wellness Core Natural Grain Free Dry Dog Food Small Breed might be the right choice for your Lhasa Apso.
Best for Budget: Natural Balance Original Dry Dog Food
About: Natural Balance Original Dry Dog Food is a fantastic option for those who are looking for a budget-friendly yet high-quality dog foods. What is even better for Natural Balance Original Dry Dog Food is that it is specifically formulated to improve the eye health of dogs.
Features: Natural Balance Original Dry Dog Food contains duck meat, chicken meat as primary sources of protein and duck meal as the secondary protein source. Duck is not only high in protein, but it is also delicious and known to be loved by even the most picky dogs.
Lhasa Apsos tend to suffer from an eye condition called Progressive Retinal Atrophy, which starts with night-blindness, and then the loss of sight during the day occurs. While it cannot be cured miraculously through food, choosing ingredients that support healthy eyes is always a great precaution. Natural Balance Original Dry Dog Food contains taurine, which is an amino acid that supports eye and heart health. Cranberries and blueberries found in the dog food are also known to be important for healthy eyesight in dogs.
It also contains docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), which support healthy brain function.
If you are worried about the eye health of your pup, you can opt for dog foods that are specially formulated for healthy eyes.
Best Hypoallergenic: PS Hypoallergenic Dog Food
About: Like many other dogs, allergic reactions are also a common condition for Lhasa Apso breed. If you also have a dog with food allergies, you might want to check PS Hypoallergenic Dog Food because it contains a single source of protein, eliminating the common allergy sources altogether, such as beef or chicken.
Features: PS Hypoallergenic Dog Food uses either 90% New Zealand lamb or turkey meat. You can choose whichever flavor you wish, depending on your dog’s condition and preferences. We recommend you to stick with one flavor for a period of time to see whether your dog will have any allergic reactions to it or not.
Due to the ingredients used in PS Hypoallergenic Dog Food, it reduces paw licking and skin itching problems that dogs with allergies tend to have. It is also grain-free, which is excellent for dogs with sensitive stomachs.
PS Hypoallergenic Dog Food is rather pricy. Since it is recommended that you feed your dog with only this dog food for 8 straight weeks, make sure that you can afford to do so.
Best with Fish: ORIJEN Dry Dog Food
About: ORIJEN Dry Dog Food is a great option if you prefer a fish-based diet for your pup, and the other dog food we have listed did not really satisfy you.
Features: Unlike the majority of dog foods, ORIJEN Dry Dog Food contains wild-caught ocean and freshwater fish as its primary ingredient and protein source. Fish is not only a fantastic source of high-quality protein, but it is also a great source of Omega-3 fatty acids. Since Lhasa Apso tends to suffer from hip and elbow dysplasia, Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids are important elements in reducing the inflammation in their joints.
In addition to fish, ORIJEN Dry Dog Food contains many vegetables, fruits and herbs to further improve the recipe such as spinach, blueberries, pumpkin, butternut squash, pears, cranberries, kelp, chamomile, fennel, dandelion, and rosemary.
This dog food is not advertised as hypoallergenic. However, it does not contain beef or chicken, which are common sources of allergies in dogs. Also, ORIJEN Dry Dog Food is grain-free. Many dogs that have sensitive stomachs seem to enjoy it with no problem, according to the pet parents.
The only downside to this dog food seems to be its price, but if it seems to be just what you have been looking for, it may worth the price.
Nutritional Needs for Small Breed Dogs
While there are basic, fundamental nutritional elements that all kinds of dogs need, every breed comes with different characteristics as well as health issues. Some breeds might be prone to suffer from certain illnesses and diseases, some breeds might need more of a certain nutrient due to their genetics.
Let us take a look at certain needs of small breed dogs, both puppies, and adult dogs.
Nutritional Needs of Small Breed Puppies
As we have already mentioned above, small dog breeds need more calories per day compared to big breed dogs due to having faster metabolism. Dog foods that are specifically designed for small breeds have more calories per ounce to make up for their needs.
However, while a small breed dog needs more calories each day, pet parents need to be careful about their pup’s weight. When dogs eat more than necessary, they can become overweight and suffer from obesity.
Obesity comes with lots of other problems for dogs such as diabetes, heart disease, arthritis, kidney disease, urinary bladder stones, cruciate ligament injuries, and even cancer. Even though small dog breeds have a longer estimated life span than big breed dogs, obesity shortens their life span about two years.
Some pet parents are huge lovers of snacks. However, we advise you to be careful about feeding your small breed dog snacks as it means extra calories.
Nutritional Needs of Small Breed Puppies
Unlike the toy breeds, small breeds do not seem to have hypoglycemia early on in their lives, yet, it is still a possibility. Small breed puppies, much like the toy breed puppies, have high metabolic rates. It is crucial to keep their blood sugar levels balanced as it can lead to low blood sugar or even hypoglycemia.
If you are concerned about your puppy having hypoglycemia, some of the symptoms are weakness, seizures, lethargy, and muscle tremors.
Similar to other breeds, small breed puppies also need to have meals in small portions multiple times throughout the day. You might consider giving snacks in between meals to avoid hypoglycemia as well. If your puppy seems to suffer from low blood sugar, do not worry as it is usually balanced once they are a couple months old.
One thing you might not know is that small breed dogs, and puppies use up more calories compared to big dog breeds, and therefore, they need to consume more calories each day. This is why you should especially prefer puppy foods specifically designed for small breeds to meet their calorie needs.
Puppy foods for small breeds also have more nutrients per ounce because they can’t eat much food at a time since they have small stomachs. Puppy foods for small breeds also have smaller kibble sizes for them to eat food easily without the danger of choking.
Small breed puppies mature much sooner than big breed puppies. Their physical maturity happens before one year of age, which is a great time to switch from puppy food to adult dog food for small breeds.
What Are Important Ingredients to Look for in Dog Foods for Small Breeds?
Even though every dog more or less needs a similar diet, some details need to be taken into account when looking for high-quality dog food for small breeds.
Protein is the most essential nutrients for dogs, whether they are small or big breeds. High-quality protein usually comes from real animal meat such as beef, chicken, lamb, duck, or fish in dog foods. Dog foods need to list meat as their first ingredient. Secondary protein sources are usually identified as meat meals such as chicken meal.
Adult dogs need 18% protein in their diet, according to the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO). Puppies and pregnant dogs need 22% protein in their diet. However, these are the minimum protein needs of dogs, and most dog foods in the market exceed these percentages.
Small breed dogs usually need more protein than usual due to having fast metabolism. About 25% to 32% protein is the ideal amount for them. When looking at the protein levels provided in dog foods, consider the dry matter basis figures as they are more accurate.
When it comes to the sources of protein, animal protein is much better for dogs. They provide all the amino acids needed for dogs, while most plant proteins do not. Soy is known for providing all the amino acids the dogs need; however, it is very difficult for dogs to digest soy. Some vegetables can be used as secondary sources of protein in dog foods however, the primary protein sources should be identified as animal meats and meals.
Energy is important for dogs, and the majority of the energy they need comes from fat. Similar to protein, the source of fat is also very crucial. Some great fat sources are chicken fat and fish oil.
Fish oil is a much-preferred source of fat due to containing Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids. They support healthy skin and coat in dogs while also having many benefits such as reducing inflammation, help fat-soluble vitamins to be absorbed, and promote healthy growth.
The Association of American Feed Control Officials recommends at least 5% fat in an adult dog’s diet and at least 8% fat in a puppy’s diet. Since these are the minimum percentages that dogs need in their diet, many dog foods contain more fat.
Similar to the calorie count we have done above, small breed dogs need more fat compared to the big dog breeds. However, the fat percentage should not also be too high to avoid obesity in the long run, which causes many other health issues. 17% to 18% fat is the recommended percentage for small breeds, and this is based on a dry matter basis.
When it comes to carbs, pet parents usually have two main options: dog foods with grains and dog foods that are grain-free. If your dog has allergies or has a sensitive stomach or both, we recommend you choose grain-free dog foods.
Grains are not all bad, as some might think. There are healthy grains such as oatmeal and barley, and not-so-healthy grains such as corn and wheat. If you are planning to go with dog food with grains, you should opt for oatmeal and barley instead of wheat and corn.
Most of the dog foods need to be made of protein, not carbohydrates. Some dog foods have 40% to 50% carbohydrate, which is not healthy for dogs as they need more protein. Avoid dog foods that have grains as the first ingredient.
What to Avoid in Dog Foods for Small Breeds?
Fillers are used to boost the contents of dog food without adding any nutritional value at all. Therefore, dog foods may be high in protein in terms of percentage; however, it does not mean your dog will benefit from that protein because of its poor quality.
While some vegetables can be used as additional protein sources, they should not replace the animal proteins in dog foods. Corn gluten, wheat gluten, and rice protein concentrate are usually among those unnecessary fillers that have no benefit or nutritional value for your dog.
The one thing you should really pay attention to in dog foods is unidentified ingredients, especially meat and meat meals. In the ingredients list, animal meat needs to be identified, such as “chicken meat” or “lamb meat.” Similarly, instead of “animal fat,” it should be identified, such as “chicken fat”. Meat meals also need to be identified, such as “chicken meat meal”.
Any ingredient that is not identified in the ingredients list opens the way for manufacturers to use any parts of animals, animal carcasses, diseased organs and lots of other undesirable situations.
High-quality dog foods do not contain any additives, preservatives, artificial flavors, colors, and sweeteners. BHA, BHT, TBHQ, propyl gallate, and ethoxyquin are some of the harmful preservatives that you need to avoid at all costs. High-quality dog foods tend to use natural preservatives such as vitamin E and C.
Is the Packaging of Dog Food Important?
When you are searching for the right dog food for your pup, you need to be careful about the labels. Some labels include “complete and balanced”, “all life stages”, “maintenance” and “growth and reproduction”. Try to choose the dog food labeled as “complete and balanced”. For adult dogs, “all life stages” and “maintenance” are usually adequate. For puppies, choose “growth and reproduction” labeled dog foods. These are important as they indicate different formulation for different dogs.
Quality dog foods should have AAFCO nutritional adequacy statement on the bag, which is the minimum standard that dog foods need to meet. If it does not have the statement on the bag, you can assume that the dog food fails to meet the minimum requirements and avoid it altogether.
Conclusion: Best Dog Food For Lhasa Apso (2020 Reviews)
If you are a Lhasa Apso parent, then you are very lucky to be bombarded by affection and loyalty. We know how much you love your furry friend -lots of fur indeed-, so we know how much you care about their well being.
All of our selections are carefully chosen high-quality dog foods. Depending on your dog’s condition, you can choose any one of them and give it a try, see if your pup likes it. After all, they are the ones who decide which food is better!
If you are thinking about adopting a Lhasa Apso and have no idea about dog nutrition, we hope that the buyer’s guide gave you some basic information about the subject. In any case, we highly recommend you consult your veterinarian before choosing a dog food if you are confused and have further questions about dog nutrition.