8 Best Dog Foods for Miniature, Toy & Standard Poodles

bored and uninterested Poodle puppy_thamKC_shutterstock

Proper nutrition is imperative for healthy development and coat. That’s especially true for Poodles, and it’s important to buy food with an excellent lineup of nutrients. We look for manufacturers with dedication to quality control with fully traceable ingredients and tailored nutrition for pets with special needs.

Our guide includes the things you should look for when choosing a suitable dog food for your Poodle. We’ve also included our reviews of many popular products to show you the range of what’s available. As you’ll see, dog foods vary considerably in quality, ingredients, and nutritional value. We’ll also discuss how to evaluate your choices that go beyond the marketing on the label.

A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites

Image Product Details
Best Overall
Winner
Royal Canin Poodle Adult Dry Dog Food Royal Canin Poodle Adult Dry Dog Food
  • Formulated for conditions that Poodles get
  • For Toy and Miniature Poodles
  • Matching shape for dentition of canines
  • Best Value
    Second place
    Iams ProActive Health Adult Small Breed Dry Dog Food Iams ProActive Health Adult Small Breed Dry Dog Food
  • Quality nutrition profile
  • Affordable
  • Excellent quality control
  • Best for Puppies
    Third place
    Royal Canin Poodle Puppy Dry Dog Food Royal Canin Poodle Puppy Dry Dog Food
  • Excellent carb and fiber content
  • Taurine additive
  • Royal Canin Toy & Miniature Poodle Adult Dog Food Royal Canin Toy & Miniature Poodle Adult Dog Food
  • Good consistency
  • Added taurine
  • Wellness Small Breed Complete Health Dry Dog Food Wellness Small Breed Complete Health Dry Dog Food
  • Digestive support
  • Good fiber content
  • The 8 Best Dog Foods for Poodles

    1. Royal Canin Poodle Adult Dry Dog Food – Best Overall1Royal Canin Poodle Adult Dry Dog Food

     

    The Royal Canin Poodle Adult Dry Dog Food scores a lot of points because it focuses on the breed. We appreciate this approach because it addresses the issues that plague some dogs with the ability to tweak the formula. It’s an ideal situation for researchers because it eliminates many things that can affect the results of their work.

    The ingredient list includes taurine, an amino acid suspected as a possible deficiency that can cause serious health conditions for some pets. Chicken is the primary protein. It also contains grains, which we’ll discuss later, which is a good thing. It has a decent amount of fat and omega-3 fatty acids to keep your Poodle’s coat looking its best. It comes in 2.5 and 10-pound sized bags.

    Overall, the Royal Canin is the best dog food for poodles in 2020.

    Pros
    • Formulated for conditions that Poodles get
    • For Toy and Miniature Poodles
    • Matching shape for dentition of canines
    • Science-based company
    Cons
    • Expensive

    2. Iams ProActive Health Adult Small Breed Dry Dog Food – Best Value2Iams ProActive Health Adult Small Breed Dry Dog Food

     

    You don’t have to browse the pet food shelves to learn that they are often expensive. That’s part of what makes Iams ProActive Health Adult Small Breed Dry Dog Food the best dog food for poodles for the money. Like our previous product, chicken is the primary protein. The manufacturer was the first one to sell this kind of product. We think that it strikes an excellent balance between nutrition and fat content.

    This food also contains grains, including corn and sorghum. It has a slightly higher calorie count, making it appropriate for Toy or Miniature Poodles. While dogs seem to love it, it might be too rich for some pets to digest. It comes in both 7 and 15-pound sized bags.

    Pros
    • Quality nutrition profile
    • Affordable
    • Excellent quality control
    Cons
    • Too rich for some pets

    3. Royal Canin Poodle Puppy Dry Dog Food – Best for Puppies3Royal Canin Poodle Puppy Dry Dog Food

     

    The Royal Canin Poodle Puppy Dry Dog Food provides an excellent diet for growing Poodles. It has omega-3 and -6 fatty acids to support good coat growth, along with the right amount of fat for skin health. There is also a decent array of carbohydrates and fiber with corn, wheat, and psyllium seed husk. That will ensure that your pup gets adequate energy.

    Some consumers may think that the lack of whole meat as the first ingredient is a problem. As we’ll discuss later, that’s not necessarily the case. The essential thing to remember is that small dogs like the Toy or Miniature Poodle need energy-dense food. This product covers that base well, albeit at a cost.

    Pros
    • Excellent carb and fiber content
    • Taurine additive
    Cons
    • Expensive
    • Lack of whole meat

    4. Royal Canin Toy & Miniature Poodle Adult Dog Food4Royal Canin Toy & Miniature Poodle

     

    For pet owners who prefer a wet food, the Royal Canin Toy & Miniature Poodle Adult Loaf in Sauce Canned Dog Food is an excellent choice that delivers a tasty meal in a convenient size. The pate formula is easy to portion if you’re feeding your Poodle more than once a day. We liked its consistency, which ensures every bite is packed with nutrients.

    Interestingly, this food contains pork, which we don’t see as often as beef or chicken. The glaring downside with this product is that it’s expensive, especially if you follow the manufacturer’s feeding instructions. We think the best use for this dog food is as a mixer with dry food, instead of a complete diet.

    Pros
    • Good consistency
    • Added taurine
    Cons
    • Low protein content
    • Expensive

    5. Wellness Small Breed Complete Health Dry Dog Food5Wellness Small Breed Complete Health Adult Turkey

     

    The Wellness Small Breed Complete Health Dry Dog Food uses a mix of turkey, chicken, and salmon as its protein base. We liked the fact that it includes brown rice in the mix. That provides extra bulk and can make it more digestible for Poodles with sensitive stomachs. There is also Lactobacillus bacteria, which also helps.

    The ingredient list also contains other items that aren’t necessarily of high nutritional value but serve more to sell the product. The calorie count is also a bit high, making monitoring your pet’s weight imperative. It comes in a 4 or 12-pound bag.

    Pros
    • Digestive support
    • Good fiber content
    Cons
    • Obvious marketing appeal with green tea and spearmint extracts
    • High calorie count

    6. Nature’s Recipe Small Breed Grain-Free Dry Dog Food6Nature's Recipe Small Breed Grain-Free Chicken

     

    Nature’s Recipe Small Breed Grain-Free Dry Dog Food is one of many specialty products that try to make a case for grain-free diets for canines. The debate about whether dogs are true omnivores or carnivores still rages. However, this option isn’t necessarily the best choice for Poodles or any breed. While the food contains pumpkin to make digestion easier, it has ingredients that are less so, such as garbanzo beans.

    While there is no dietary minimum for taurine, this food has less than we’ve seen in comparable products. On a positive note, the recipe sounds appealing, even for us. Consumers looking for a food with an easy-to-read ingredient list will appreciate this item. It comes in a 4 or 12-pound bag.

    Pros
    • Tasty blend
    • Affordably priced
    Cons
    • Grain-free
    • Lower taurine content

    7. Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Small Breed Dry Dog Food7Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Small Breed

     

    Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Small Breed Dry Dog Food has a chicken and fish-based fat source that provides omega-3 fatty acids to keep your Poodle’s coat looking its best. The product has less fat than we’ve seen in comparable foods, but it is still within the dietary recommendations. The ingredient list contains a lot of marketing, with items like blueberries and turmeric.

    This food contains a decent amount of brown rice, which supports digestive health. It is also in a kibble form that helps keep your Poodle’s teeth clean. The big red flag for us is that it contains garlic, which is toxic to dogs. Granted, it’s probably in such low qualities that it’s harmless, but why have it in there, anyway?  It comes in a 6 or 15-pound bag.

    Pros
    • Dental health support
    Cons
    • No by-products
    • Ingredients with little nutritional value
    • Contains garlic

    8. Purina Bella Natural Bites Small Breed Dry Dog Food8Purina Bella Natural Bites with Real Chicken

     

    The Purina Bella Natural Bites Small Breed Dry Dog Food contains a protein base of chicken and beef that delivers a decent amount of fat. The grain and fiber content is in line with the nutritional guidelines. While it contains dried ingredients like spinach, they don’t add appreciably to its value and seem more like what veterinary nutritionists refer to as “fairy dust.”

    The food is value-priced because it doesn’t contain whole meat. Instead, it has other protein sources like soybean to ensure that it’s complete. While it includes grains, there is no added taurine for heart health. It comes in 3 or 12-pound bags.

    Pros
    • Affordable
    Cons
    • Lack of whole meat
    • Low-value ingredients
    • No taurine

    Buyer’s Guide

    The essential thing to understand about dog food for any pooch is that they are not all the same. Sure, there are various flavors and formulas, but it goes much deeper than that. Let’s start with the breed. Poodles are relatively healthy when it comes to health conditions that may affect which food you choose.

    Diseases like diabetes or allergies may influence which product you give your pooch. In these cases, you can get a prescription diet to feed your Poodle. Your dog’s dietary needs will likely change during his lifetime, just as it does in people. The primary considerations for choosing the right one:

    • Breed size
    • Life stage
    • Wet or dry
    • Nutritional value

    You may notice that ingredients aren’t on this list of criteria. That’s because they often provide the least important information and may end up confusing pet owners. We’ll discuss the facts in detail later in this section. We’d be remiss if we didn’t mention the fact that dogs and cats have different dietary needs. You should only feed your pet the food meant for the species.

    Breed Size

    Poodles come in three sizes: toy, miniature, and standard. They vary in size from 4–70 pounds. However, even within the breed, there are differences in what you should feed your dog. The reason rests with metabolism. Smaller pups mature much faster than large ones. Whereas the Toy Poodle is an adult at 12 months, the Standard Poodle may take up to 16 months to develop fully.

    That fact affects the food you should give your pooch.

    Products for small breeds have more calories to support this rapid growth. The ones for large dogs, on the other hand, have less since they mature more slowly. Feeding your Standard Poodle a diet meant for a Toy Poodle may cause him to gain weight and become obese. Many commercial diets will have this information on the label to help you choose the right one.

    Life Stage

    The Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) regulates pet food production. They recognize four life stages:

    • Growth, i.e., puppies
    • Maintenance
    • Gestation-lactation
    • All life stages

    You’ll see this information on the product’s label. This factor pivots on nutrition and calories since they will vary, depending on your Poodle’s age and fitness. Suffice to say that the growth and gestation-lactation stages represent the highest needs for both.

    Wet or Dry

    Several things come into play when considering this choice. Convenience and cost-saving probably top the list for most pet owners. Over 96 percent of new dog owners opt for dry food over canned. You can also make a strong case for the fact that dry diets are eco-friendlier with a fraction of the waste. Unless your veterinarian recommends otherwise, choose the food that you prefer to offer your Poodle.

    Nutritional Value

    Nutritional value is the single most important criterion when choosing the right food for your pooch. It sites squarely in the dealbreaker category. The chances are that you feed your Poodle one diet as opposed to different foods each day. What you give him must provide all the essential vitamins and minerals.

    The gold standard for dog food is that it is both complete and balanced. The AAFCO defines the former in terms of its nutrient content. The latter refers to the ratios. A product that meets these criteria will state that it satisfies the organization’s nutrient profiles. The manufacturer may also state that they have completed the appropriate animal feeding trials. In either case, the dog food is suitable for your Poodle.

    Poodle puppy eating kibbles_thamKC_shutterstock
    Credit: ThamKC, Shutterstock

    While there are not required, we like to see dog foods that include omega-3 fatty acids to ensure a healthy coat for your Poodle. A decent fat percentage is also essential. The AAFCO’s nutritional requirements for adults are 18 percent for protein and 5 for fat. They are 22 and 8, respectively, for puppies.

    However, what about the other ingredients?

    What’s in the Product?

    The AAFCO has summarized what vitamins and minerals your puppy or adult dog should receive as a guide for choosing a product. When you look at a dog food label, find the nutritional adequacy statement and a guaranteed analysis of what’s in the can or bag. The former tells you that it’s complete, and the latter provides the details about amounts. This information is what you need to know.

    Let’s face it. Marketers are trying to sell you the dog food, not your pet. They’ll add ingredients that sound good to you. After all, who doesn’t like blueberries? The fact remains that foods like this one contribute little if anything to the nutritional value of the product. Instead, that’s marketing in action. The other red flag is the meat content.

    Understanding the Ingredient List

    Bear in mind two things. The ingredient list must put the one with the most weight first. Whole meat, whether it’s chicken, salmon, or beef, is mainly water. That gets them the high rankings but may not add a lot of nutritional value. Ironically, by-products or meals are denser and provide more protein per serving. However, they have an image problem, created, again, by marketing.

    We also have to address the elephant in the room with buzzwords that are not regulated by the FDA. They include things like human-grade and natural. These are part of the marketing schemes that try to lure consumers into buying their products. They are meaningless without a clear definition. The other critical issue is the use of the term, grain-free.

    What Does Grain-Free Really Mean?

    Preliminary evidence suggests that dog foods that substitute grains for other ingredients like lentils are responsible for diet-associated dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM), a serious and sometimes fatal form of heart disease. You’ll see this description most often with the so-called boutique—and expensive—pet foods.

    The essential thing is that the dog’s diet has evolved with its association with humans and grain-based food. He needs it in his diet.

    Is a Raw Food Diet Safe?

    So-called raw food diets are not a safe substitute, either, because of the risk of salmonella and other foodborne illnesses for both your Poodle and you. Our advice is only to give your dog foods produced by manufacturers that have certified nutritionists on staff. That way, you can be ensured that they are appropriate and that you’re giving your pooch a diet safe for both of you.

    Divider 2Conclusion

    For our money, the Royal Canin Poodle Adult Dry Dog Food is the best food for this breed based on our reviews. It provides a full slate of nutrients in a palatable form that your pup is sure to enjoy. Our best value pick, the Iams ProActive Health Adult Small Breed Dry Dog Food, packs a lot of quality into an affordable package, and a great choice for pet owners on a budget.

    Our research taught us a valuable lesson. These products vary considerably. Therefore, it’s worth your time and effort to learn the facts to make the right choice for your canine companion.

    A proper diet, after all, is the foundation of good health. It will support your dog’s development and ensure that he has the nutrients he needs. For a pet owner, it’s the single most important thing you can do to give your pet an excellent quality of life. It’s one part of pet care on which you should never skimp.