The Best Dog Foods For Papillon

Papillons are outgoing, friendly, and elegant little dogs. They are also highly energetic and need a nutritious diet. Owners need to find high-quality dog food to keep their Papillons playful and active throughout their lives. So, how can you find the best dog food for your Papillon?

To make things easier, we’ve developed a comprehensive guide to help you find the best option. Let’s get started!

The Best Dog Foods For Papillon

Top ProductsRatingTop 5 Ingredients
CANIDAE PURE Petite Puppy Small Breed Grain-Free Salmon Dry Dog Food 3.8 Salmon, Salmon Meal, Lentils, Peas, Tapioca
Vital Essentials Chicken Mini Nibs Grain-Free Freeze-Dried Dog Food 4.8 Ground Chicken with Bone, Chicken Heart, Chicken Liver, Herring Oil, Mixed Tocopherols
Stella and Chewy’s Lil’ Bites Chicken Little Recipe Small Breed Freeze-Dried Raw Dog Food 4.7Chicken With Ground Bone, Chicken Liver, Chicken Gizzard, Pumpkin Seed, Organic Cranberrie
Primal Lamb Formula Nuggets Grain-Free Raw Freeze-Dried Dog Food 4.6 Lamb Hearts, Ground Lamb Bones, Lamb Liver, Organic Carrots, Organic Squash
Taste of the Wild Small Breed Appalachian Valley Grain-Free Dry Dog Food 4.5 Venison, Lamb Meal, Garbanzo Beans, Peas, Lentils
Merrick Lil’ Plates Grain-Free Real Chicken & Sweet Potato 4.6Deboned Chicken, Chicken Meal, Turkey Meal, Sweet Potatoes, Potatoes
ORIJEN Puppy Grain-Free Dry Puppy Food 4.7 Deboned Chicken, Deboned Turkey, Eggs, flounder, Whole Atlantic Mackerel
Blue Buffalo Divine Delights Roasted Turkey Flavor Pate Dog Food Trays 4.3Turkey, Potatoes, Turkey Broth, Turkey Liver, Carrots, Peas

CANIDAE PURE Petite Puppy Small Breed Grain-Free Salmon Dry Dog Food

Top 5 Ingredients:  Salmon, Salmon Meal, Lentils, Peas, Tapioca

Nourish your Papillon’s appetite with this healthy, minimally processed meal. This freeze-dried dog food has quality ingredients that you can trust for your dog. It offers immense nutritional benefits for your canine companion. Additionally, this dog food has a mouthwatering flavor and makes feeding your Papillon a breeze!

The freeze-dried chunks use meat sourced from Wild Pacific Sockeye Salmon. The freeze-drying process locks in omega fatty acids and other important nutrients needed for health, growth, and vitality.

Vital Essentials Chicken Mini Nibs Grain-Free Freeze-Dried Dog Food

Top 5 Ingredients: Ground Chicken with Bone, Chicken Heart, Chicken Liver, Herring Oil, Mixed Tocopherols

This low-calorie, protein-rich food is a healthy option for your dog. It features premium protein sourced from chicken. Vital Essentials uses a freeze-drying process to retain important nutrients for your dog’s health. It locks in all the delicious flavors that your dog needs and will love.

Additionally, this dog food contains no artificial additives, grains, fillers, or poultry by-products. It’s a great recipe if your Papillion is sensitive or suffers from food allergies. Plus, this dog food brand only uses USDA-certified animal-based protein. It’s an excellent food choice for your tiny pal.

Stella and Chewy’s Lil’ Bites Chicken Little Recipe Small Breed Freeze-Dried Raw Dog Food

Top Ingredients: Chicken With Ground Bone, Chicken Liver, Chicken Gizzard, Pumpkin Seed, Organic Cranberries

This dog food has up to 95% cage-free chicken, organs, and bones. Other wholesome ingredients include fruits and vegetables like cranberries, carrots, spinach, broccoli, squash, beets, and blueberries. The recipe contains minimal water content and is nutrient-dense to ensure that your Papillion gets optimal nutrition. In addition to being high in protein, this freeze-dried dog food is easy to digest. The kibble is bite-sized, which makes it easy to chew and swallow.

This dog food is completely free of artificial preservatives and GMO ingredients. It undergoes minimal processing to help preserve natural nutrients.

Primal Lamb Formula Nuggets Grain-Free Raw Freeze-Dried Dog Food

Top 5 Ingredients:  Lamb Hearts, Ground Lamb Bones, Lamb Liver, Organic Carrots, Organic Squash

Let your Papillon enjoy the Primal freeze-dried dog food. This lamb-based formula has amazing taste and quality protein. It contains meat, organs, ground bones, and nutritious supplements for a completely balanced meal.

This dog food has no added hormones or antibiotics and contains steroid-free lamb organs for an all-natural protein source. Other ingredients include organic greens, squash, apples, kale, pumpkin, sunflower seeds, kelp, broccoli, and coconut oil. It also has apple cider vinegar, cranberries, and blueberries to support your dog’s urinary tract function. Lastly, this freeze-dried dog food is free of gluten, grains, corn, wheat, and soy.

Taste of the Wild Small Breed Appalachian Valley Grain-Free Dry Dog Food

Top 5 Ingredients:  Venison, Lamb Meal, Garbanzo Beans, Peas, Lentils

This balanced recipe contains a rich blend of proteins and fats to promote overall wellbeing. It has essential nutrients your Papillon needs for a healthy and active lifestyle. Also, the small kibble size is ideal for your Papillon’s mouth and helps avoid choking hazards.  

This recipe has easily digestible ingredients and a probiotic blend for healthy digestion. It features novel proteins such as venison, lamb meal, and duck meal as the primary ingredients. It also contains fruits and vegetables, which are an excellent source of antioxidants and omega fatty acids.

Merrick Lil’ Plates Grain-Free Real Chicken & Sweet Potato

Top 5 Ingredients: Deboned Chicken, Chicken Meal, Turkey Meal, Sweet Potatoes, Potatoes

If you want to nourish your small dog’s big appetite, the Merrick Lil’ Plates dog food is a great choice. The recipe is full of flavor and includes natural ingredients that your Papillon will love. It has deboned chicken as the first ingredient for muscle growth and maintenance. Plus, it has probiotics, prebiotics, and fiber to aid healthy digestion. The small-sized crunchy kibble helps reduce plaque and improve dental hygiene.

ORIJEN Puppy Grain-Free Dry Puppy Food

Top 5 Ingredients: Deboned Chicken, Deboned Turkey, Eggs, flounder, Whole Atlantic Mackerel

If you’ve got a Papillon puppy at home, we recommend Orijen dry dog food. This recipe contains fresh ingredients such as free-run chicken and turkey and cage-free eggs. It provides your developing puppy with the macronutrients it needs for healthy growth. 

Additionally, it has freeze-dried liver for added nutrition and flavor. It has full of flavor, so give your dog something to love! The recipe also has no grains, fillers, and artificial additives to support your pup’s health.

Blue Buffalo Divine Delights Roasted Turkey Flavor Pate Dog Food Trays

Top 5 Ingredients: Turkey, Potatoes, Turkey Broth, Turkey Liver, Carrots, Peas

Give your dog a delicious pate-style meal from Blue Buffalo. The high-protein food has real turkey bites, potatoes, and peas dipped in turkey broth to entice your dog. The formula provides holistic nutrition, so you can freely feed this canned food to your Papillion.

Since the wet food contains broth, it’s also beneficial for your dog’s urinary health. Additional micronutrients such as vitamins, minerals, antioxidants help make your dog look and feel healthier.

Diamond Naturals Small Breed Puppy Formula

Top 5 Ingredients: Chicken, Chicken Meal, Ground White Rice, Chicken Fat, Cracked Pearled Barley

If you’re looking for affordable dog food that offers optimal nutritional quality, try this Diamond Naturals Small Breed Formula. It features real deboned chicken and chicken meal as the top two ingredients with complex carbohydrates and plenty of healthy fats. It also contains fresh fruits and vegetables for nutritional support and dried fermentation products for easier digestion.

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Wellness Toy Breed Complete Health Adult Deboned Chicken, Brown Rice & Peas Recipe Dry Dog Food

Top 5 Ingredients: Chicken, Chicken Meal, Ground White Rice, Chicken Fat (Preserved With Mixed Tocopherols), Cracked Pearled Barley

This recipe gives your Papillon dog the best possible nutrition. The Wellness Complete Health dog food is high in animal proteins and fats with digestible carbs, fiber, and other macronutrients. It also comes in a smaller kibble size for your Papillon’s small mouth and is supplemented with antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables for healthy growth and immunity.

Nutro Natural Choice Senior Lamb & Brown Rice Recipe Dry Dog Food

Top 5 Ingredients: Deboned Lamb, Chicken Meal, Rice Bran, Split Peas, Brewers Rice

If you’re looking for a high-quality natural diet for your senior Papillon, look no further than this Nutro Natural Choice Senior Lamb & Brown Rice Recipe. This recipe features real lamb as the main ingredient and has a natural source of glucosamine and chondroitin. It also has plenty of healthy fats, digestible carbohydrates, and beneficial supplements. If you’re looking for a formula with calcium to support bone health, this dog food is all you need. It’s a complete nutrition solution for small breed dogs like Papillons.

Purina Pro Plan Adult 7+ Complete Essentials Turkey & Rice Entree Wet Dog Food

Top 5 Ingredients: Turkey, Water, Liver, Meat By-Products, Chicken

Purina Pro Plan Complete Essentials wet dog food is rich in animal protein to support lean muscle mass. It also has natural fiber sources to support your dog’s digestive health and immunity. The primary ingredient is real deboned turkey, combined with rice and a blend of probiotics and prebiotics.

This dog food also has omega fatty acids for a shiny coat and skin. It is completely free of artificial colors, flavors, wheat, corn, or soy.

American Journey Active Life Formula Small Breed Chicken, Brown Rice & Vegetables Recipe

Top 5 Ingredients: Deboned Chicken, Turkey Meal, Brown Rice, Chicken Meal, Rice Bran

This recipe focuses on premium-quality and grain-free nutrition. The American Journey dry dog food provides all the nutrients to support your Papillon’s healthy and active lifestyle. The protein-rich recipe has deboned chicken meat to support everyday activity. It provides amino acids that nourish and encourage lean muscle development.

This recipe also has fruits and veggies such as apples, blueberries, spinach, and carrots. It nourishes your dog’s body with vitamins and minerals. Finally, the bite-sized kibble is perfect for the smaller jaws of small and toy breed dogs.

Buyer’s Guide – What to Look for in a Quality Dog Food

The ideal diet for your Papillon contains a high percentage of protein, a good source of fiber, all-natural ingredients, and well-sourced fruits and vegetables.


Papillons require a diet that consists of high-quality protein derived from wholesome sources. Some great sources of protein for Papillons include venison, fish, and turkey. Protein provides essential amino acids that help dogs maintain lean muscle mass and overall wellbeing.

Since Papillons are an active breed, their diet should consist of around 18 – 25% protein for optimal health.


Papillons are playful dogs that need energy for daily activities. Growth, pregnancy, and lactation increase energy requirements. You can fulfill these energy requirements by feeding your dog complex and easily digestible carbohydrates.

Carbohydrates are a vital part of your dog’s natural diet, and most manufacturers use some quantities to enhance the recipe’s nutritional value. Most small dog breeds require limited carbohydrates in their diet because they are prone to becoming obese. Unlike some dogs, Papillons are super-energetic dogs, and they need carbs as an energy source.

You should look for dog food containing complex carbohydrates that are also rich in fiber, such as sweet potatoes and brown rice. Vegetables like peas and regular potatoes are also great options as they’re easier to digest and absorb.


While most dog owners consider fats to be unhealthy, every dog needs healthy fats in its diet. Animal fats provide a concentrated form of energy. Look for high-quality fat sources such as poultry fat or beef tallow. Poultry fat is also a good source of essential fatty acids: linoleic acid (LA), alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), and arachidonic acid (AA). Other essential fatty acids for dogs include Omega-3 and Omega-6. Both of them have anti-inflammatory properties and help in nourishing the skin and coat.  


Vitamins are organic compounds that help sustain life. Your dog’s body needs different vitamins for growth and maintenance. These include:

Vitamin A

Vitamin A is a fat-soluble vitamin that helps promote good vision and is responsible for growth, immune function, and cell function.

B Vitamins for Dogs

The B vitamins are a group of vitamins that play a vital role in your dog’s health.

  • Thiamine helps regulate carbohydrate metabolism and energy.
  • Vitamin B12, riboflavin, and niacin help facilitate enzyme function.
  • Vitamin B6 is responsible for glucose generation, nervous system function, hormone regulation, niacin synthesis, immune response, and gene activation.
  • Pantothenic acid helps boost metabolism.
  • Folic acid plays a role in nucleotide and amino acid and metabolism and protein synthesis.

Vitamin C for Dogs

Vitamin C is an essential antioxidant. It attacks harmful free radicals in the body and can help reduce cognitive aging and inflammation. Dogs can produce vitamin C in their livers, but in some cases, supplementation may be necessary.

Vitamin D for Dogs

Vitamin D helps your dog’s body to balance minerals like calcium and phosphorous for healthy bone growth. Dogs with vitamin D deficiency can’t develop properly or maintain healthy muscles and bones.

Vitamin E for Dogs

Vitamin E helps prevent oxidative damage in your dog’s body. This fat-soluble vitamin is also vital for fat metabolism and cell function. Deficiencies can lead to reproductive problems and muscle degeneration.

Vitamin K for Dogs

Vitamin K is a fat-soluble vitamin that helps improve your dog’s liver and blood health. It also assists calcium to strengthen bones, teeth, and other biological processes. 

A variety of dog-friendly foods like cabbage, egg yolks, broccoli, and spinach contain this vitamin. 

Choline for Dogs

Choline is a component of the cell membrane. It supports healthy brain and liver function and is a part of a treatment plan for dogs with epilepsy.


The best dog foods for Papillons have powerful minerals to keep your dog healthy. These include:

Iron: This is vital for bodily function and helps provide oxygen to muscles and organs.

Selenium: This antioxidant helps prevent oxidative damage that can cause premature aging, cancer, and inflammatory diseases

Zinc: This helps boost the immune system and the quality of your Papillion’s fur and skin.

Copper: This mineral helps absorb iron to stop anemia.

Manganese:  This is essential for bone growth and thyroid hormone production. It improves the quality of bone and cartilage and plays a significant role in the mitochondria function.

What Are Good Sources of Trace Minerals?

Nutrient-rich proteins

  • Chicken and turkey are high in zinc.
  • Sardines, beef, and halibut are great sources of selenium.
  • Kale and broccoli are rich in iron.
  • Spinach and flaxseeds are great sources of copper.
  • You can find manganese in egg, rabbit, and pumpkin seeds.
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Spirulina, alfalfa, chlorella, and kelp provide concentrated sources of a range of trace minerals.


These are great sources of multi-vitamins for carnivores. Add 12% to 15% organ meats into your Papillon’s diet. Find as many raw organs as possible and add them to your dog’s diet. These can include the liver, lungs, brain, skin, eyes.


Herbs can boost the trace minerals in your Papillons’s diet. Alfalfa, catnip, burdock root, and chamomile are good sources of manganese, selenium, and zinc. Plus, sheep sorrel is good for copper, and you can use parsley or fennel seed for iron.

Choosing Dog Food Based On Type

Dry Dog Food

A Budget-friendly Option

Dry dog food is budget-friendly and comes in the form of small pellets that you pour into your pet’s food bowl. It has a long shelf-life and is safe from spoilage. Also, if you buy dry dog food in bulk, you may not need to visit the pet store that often.

No Refrigeration Needed

Dry dog food is ideal if you don’t have ample fridge space to store your Papillon’s food. Unlike canned dog food, you can roll up the bag of dry dog food and store it on a shelf. You don’t need to worry about finding space in the fridge to keep the food cold.

A Perfect Option For Busy Dog Owners

Dry dog food is ideal if you can’t keep an eye on your dog’s food bowl. You can leave out dry food in your Papillon’s bowl without the risk of it spoiling. You may fill the bowl with enough food for an entire day or several days, depending on your dog’s appetite.

This could be very convenient if you take brief trips away from home and don’t want to worry about your dog’s food spoiling. This may also work well if you work long hours and don’t have the time to check on your dog’s food during the day.

Note: Keep in mind that dry dog food can go rancid sometimes because of the fat content.

Health Benefits

Dry dog food has many health benefits. Some dry dog food can also maintain your dog’s oral health and clean your dog’s teeth. You may want to choose a dry dog food with these qualities, especially if your Papillon has dental issues.

Canned Dog Food

A Perfect Option For Dogs with Health Issues

Give your dog canned dog food if it has health issues. Canned dog food has lower carbohydrate content and higher water content. This can be beneficial for dogs with urinary tract and digestive disorders. Canned food can also be good for dogs with delicate gums and missing teeth. Dogs with smaller mouths or jaw issues may find it easier to consume canned dog food. Lastly, if your dog has lost its appetite due to age or illness, the aroma and taste of canned dog food can encourage it to eat more.

High Protein Content

Your dog may benefit from high-protein canned dog food. It contains more meat protein and natural fats than dry dog food. It’s also a great choice if your dog is overweight. That’s because obese dogs need high-protein diets. It can make them feel full for longer and make them consume less food.

Fewer Preservatives

High-quality canned food contains fewer preservatives and by-products than dry dog food. If your Papillon is sensitive to these ingredients, you may want to choose canned food.

A Great Option For Puppies

Go for canned dog food if you have a Papillon puppy. Puppies do better with canned dog food because it keeps them hydrated and is easier on their small teeth. You may consider giving your pup mostly canned food and some dry food.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can Papillons can go vegetarian?

Yes. Papillons can be healthy on a vegetarian diet. Sometimes pet owners choose this option if the dog has allergies to chicken or other animal-based proteins. But it can be tricky to find the right balance of fat, protein, carbohydrates, and nutrients for vegetarian dogs. It’s a good idea to stick with a commercial meatless dog food rather than trying to feed your dog a homemade diet.

Is cheese unhealthy for Papillon dogs?

Cheese isn’t a natural part of a dog’s diet. Dogs are carnivores, meaning they get essential nutrients from meat. Cheese is high in protein, but it can upset your dog’s digestive system. That’s because some dogs can’t tolerate dairy products.  

What is Papillon’s favorite food?

Papillons enjoy eating high-quality dog food. They need lean protein from meat to support good vision, heart, and reproductive health. Cooked chicken, turkey, beef, and lamb are some of their favorite foods.  

Is canned tuna good for Papillons?

No. Excessive canned tuna can cause mercury poisoning.

What is the healthiest food for Papillons?

Look for dog food with natural ingredients such as animal protein, fruits, vegetables, and highly digestible carbohydrates like rice, oats, or sweet potatoes.

Is pork meat good for Papillons?

Yes. Papillons can eat a small portion of cooked pork without bones. It’s a great alternative to chicken, turkey, or beef.

Is olive oil bad for dogs?

Olive oil isn’t poisonous to dogs, but consuming excessive olive oil may cause diarrhea and vomiting.

Are Papillon dogs expensive?

Yes. The average price of Papillon dogs is around $1000-$2000, while a top-quality Papillon puppy can cost as high as $4000 and upward.

Is boiled egg safe for Papillons?

Yes. Boiled eggs are a safe snack for Papillon dogs. Just remember to offer boiled eggs as an occasional treat and as a part of a balanced diet plan.

Why is my Papillon dog skipping meals?

Loss of appetite in Papillon dogs can be a sign of an underlying disease. The list of potential causes for canine appetite loss includes dental disease, diabetes, viral infections, fever, hyperthyroidism, and pancreatitis. Consult your vet if your Papillon skips meals and appears lethargic.

Can Papillons eat peanut butter?

Papillon dogs cannot eat peanut butter. It can stick to your dog’s throat and make them choke.

How many boiled eggs can a Papillon eat?

Dogs should eat eggs once or twice a week in small quantities. You should never give your Papillon a whole egg!

Is exercise important for Papillon dogs?

Papillons are a highly energetic and active dog breed. Therefore, exercise and regular playtime where they get to stay active is a must for Papillon dogs.

Can I feed homemade food to my Papillon dog?

Papillon dogs require a rich and high-protein diet. If you can meet the unique dietary requirements with the food you prepare at home, you can feed homemade food to your Papillon dogs. However, it is best and less work to get the best dog food for Papillon dogs from the store. We’ve reviewed some of the best dog food options in this article for your ease.                 

How long do Papillon dogs live?

The average lifespan of a Papillon dog is between 10 to 15 years, depending on their health condition, environment, and overall diet.

Do Papillon dogs shed a lot?

No. Papillons are easy to care for, and their coat doesn’t shed excessively.

Can Papillons eat grapes?

Dogs cannot eat peeled or seedless grapes. They are highly toxic and are not safe in any amount.

What’s the best way to store dog food?

Dog food storage is an important part of food safety. Proper tips for storing dog food include checking the packaging for damages before buying it, keeping bags and cans of dog food in a dry, cool location off the ground, and keeping it out of reach of children and pets.

What are the nutritional needs of Papillon puppies?

Papillon puppies have different nutritional needs than adult dogs. Puppies should eat more energy-dense food that’s higher in calories to support their growth. They also need essential nutrients that support proper development.

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Nadine Oraby

My name is Nadine; I am a passionate writer and a pet lover. People usually call me by the nickname “Joy” because they think that I am a positive and joyful person who is a child at heart. My love for animals triggered me to create this blog. Articles are written by vets, pet experts, and me. Thanks for visiting. Your friend, Nadine!

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