5 Best Dog Food for Poodles in 2019 (Buying Guide & Reviews)

In a hurry? Then check out Taste of the Wild Grain Free Premium High Protein Dry Dog Food Pacific Stream Adult – Smoked Salmon as our best pick.

Have you ever wondered why poodles have retained such popularity in the United States? They still reign seventh most popular dog after owning the number one title for years. Loyal, energetic, small and engaged, they make the perfect companions for any number of lifestyles and professions.

Poodles are lively jovial members of the canine family. They are originally working dogs, but their sense of humor is largely unrivaled among their species. Choosing the best dog food for poodles must take into consideration a long list of potential health concerns and the breed’s propensity to easily pack on extra pounds.

In this article, we’re going to review the following top 5 picks:

Poodle’s Background & Diet

Despite their ability to adjust to wearing cute doll’s outfits and their propensity for performance, under its frilly curls is a loyal and active dog. Poodles hail from working dogs and possess the versatility of a German shepherd and the light lean and graceful form of a ballerina. They can even leap into the water with the strength and enthusiasm of a retriever.

As a brief history, poodles originated in Germany. They were developed to the poodle standard in France from curly-coated working dogs and trained to retrieve game from the water.

Royal black poodle jumping in the walter

Poodles must be fed like working dogs due to these considerations. Also, take into account there are two breeds of poodles. The standard poodle is much larger than the two subgroups of miniatures (miniature and toy or teacup), but their breed standards and histories are otherwise the same. The smaller varieties are said to have originated from dogs selected specifically for their size to truffle hunt.

The diet you choose for a working dog turned into a companion animal should be rich in high-quality food ingredients with animal protein as the primary source. It should also be well-balanced with vitamins and minerals added according to AAFCO standards and other nutrients sought out that complement your poodle’s particular issues.

Labels on dog food can give you a lot of information, and learning how to read them will help you make great meal choices for your pet. When in doubt about your poodle’s health concerns, always consult with your veterinarian about particular dog food selections.

Square in shape and with good muscling, poodles need you to moderate their caloric intake. Although active, the metabolism of a poodle is not excessive and the breed is prone to become overweight. With their high degree of intelligence and charm, poodles have an easy time manipulating people into overfeeding them.

Poodle Health Problems & How Dog Food Can Help

Poodles have somewhat of a double-edged sword when it comes to their long life spans. On the one hand, poodles do tend to live longer than other dogs. However, they are also prone to many endocrine ailments, which tend to strike at middle age. If your poodle does have issues like diabetes, for example, you both will live with this for several years potentially.

While it may be difficult to formulate an effective breed –specific dog food, diets that cater to the specific metabolic needs and concerns of poodles can be quite beneficial.

Endocrine Problems for Poodles

  • Diabetes – Researchers have failed to find a link between diabetes mellitus an insulin resistance in dogs. Although the mechanisms may be different than for people, maintenance is fairly similar. Diabetic canines require a diet with components that will help them maintain steady blood sugar. This entails high-quality proteins and sometimes no grains help.
  • Cushing’s disease (hyperadrenocorticism) – a condition where your poodle essentially produces too many steroids and suffers the corresponding symptoms like water and fat retention, elevated blood sugar, and stresses to the heart, liver, and kidneys. Often poodles have Cushing’s and diabetes concurrently, so moderating carbohydrate intake is especially important.

Digestive Considerations for Poodles

Poodles are emotionally sensitive, but sensitivity can extend to their stomachs and small intestines. They should always eat high-quality food with attention to details like amount and type of fats, carbohydrates, and proteins. Some digestive issues can shorten a vulnerable poodle’s life.

  • Pancreatitis – this is an inflammatory condition of the pancreas common in poodles that can earn them a trip to the emergency room. Most need days of critical care with intravenous fluids and medications. Potentially life-threatening, it is characterized by severe abdominal pain and frequent vomiting. Repeated bouts of pancreatitis have been implicated in many cases of diabetes.
  • Bloat and/or gastric dilatation and volvulus – when the stomach swells from too many gasses or fluid, it can rotate and cause devastating cardiac and electrolyte changes. Standard poodles are a breed susceptible to this life-threatening issue. Poodles should be fed moderate amounts of a diet with strictly-regulated ingredients. Some even need limited ingredients.
  • Sensitive stomach – some poodles are nervous dogs. At the very least, poodles are generally highly attuned to their surroundings and any changes with their owners. Dogs often manifest stress through their digestive systems, so expect your poodle to be prone to a sensitive stomach.

Potential Problems of Other Body Systems in Poodles?

Besides endocrine and digestive issues, poodles have their host of problems like any other breed. Many can be headed off by paying attention to the diet.

  • Urinary bladder stones – Bladder stones can be linked to the acidity of your dog’s diet. They are common in many toy breeds, and some poodles with frequent incidents of urinary stones need prescription diets.
  • Collapsed trachea – this is a condition mainly of toy and miniature poodles characterized by the windpipe flapping closed during respiration due to weak tracheal rings. Although not directly related to diet, obesity can exacerbate symptoms. The video shows a mild form in a slightly rotund poodle at the end of the exercise. That regurgitation you see after coughing is common.
  • Hip dysplasia – poodles are not oversized dogs, but heredity puts them at risk for this orthopedic condition. Again, keeping your poodle lean, especially as a puppy, will potentially lessen risks and symptoms if it does develop.
  • Sebaceous adenitis – more common in standard poodles, this skin condition may improve if you ensure your poodle has additional omega fatty acids in his or her dog food. Also, eliminate any foods your poodle may be sensitive to.
  • Skin allergies and ear infections – Poodles have long hanging ear which along with their immune system and endocrine problems makes them prone to yeast infections. Yeast overgrowth can lead to bacterial infections. Poodles also have a tendency to develop skin allergies. Both issues can improve or even resolve with certain diets. Some of these dogs respond particularly well to a grain-free diet.

Review of 5 Best Dog Food for Poodles

1. Royal Canin Breed Health Nutrition Poodle Puppy Dry Dog Food

Royal Canin relies on the advice of several pet experts, including veterinarians, in the manufacturing of their formulas. In fact, many of their dog foods are prescription diets. This poodle food was developed for toy and miniature puppies up to 10 months old.

Royal Canin has implemented breed-specific formulas in their food line-ups for a long time. It is easier with particular breeds with a rather specific problem or concern, but they can be even better for groups of dogs with similar categories of issues. For example, a diet might be poodle-specific but add omega fatty acids that would potentially benefit any dog with skin or joint problems.


  • It helps regulate growth rates, perhaps helping with orthopedic problems like hip dysplasia.
  • The food has extra omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids to help the poodle’s unique coat structure.
  • The kibble is uniquely designed with shape and size specific for the poodle’s jaw.
  • An exclusive blend comprised of antioxidants and vitamin E supports the problematic immune system of a growing poodle pup.
  • The diet is backed by 50 years of research.
  • It has good palatability.


  • Chicken by-product meal is the first ingredient.
  • The ingredients may not be optimal for dogs with sensitive stomachs.
  • There is quite a bit of corn and the fat is vegetable oil rather than originating from an animal source.

2. Royal Canin Breed Health Nutrition Poodle Adult Dry Dog Food

This poodle food, of course shares many features with the poodle puppy food. The kibbles are formulated specifically for the poodle’s straight muzzle and medium jaw strength. This diet addresses concerns specific to miniature and toy poodles.

You can water the kibbles down and provide s viable option if your poodle has dental challenges. Surprisingly, I have experienced some dog food that seems almost waterproof, remaining hard in liquid.


  • Exclusive breed-specific kibble to make it easy for poodles to grasp and chew.
  • Royal Canin puts much focus into protein levels to account for continuous hair growth and the muscling of poodles.
  • The food addresses specific age concerns that a poodle may potentially undergo for longer periods than other breeds.
  • The food has extra DHA and EPA (two omega-3 fatty acids) to support healthy hair and skin.
  • Can add water for easier chewing.


  • Corn is the first ingredient.
  • The presence of both wheat and corn may present a problem to some sensitive poodles.
  • Chicken by-product meal is a top ingredient.
  • There is fish oil, but the primary fat seems like it could still be vegetable oil. Dogs utilize animal fats more efficiently than vegetable oils.

3. Hill’s Science Diet Adult Small Paws Chicken Meal & Rice Recipe Dry Dog Food

While Hill’s Science Diet is not specifically for poodles, it does cater to small dogs. Again, this is not an ideal food for standard poodles. Hill’s is another company that formulates its dog food based on veterinarian recommendations.

In this diet, Hills’ has added clinically-proven blend of antioxidants and vitamins C,A, and E. They also provide anticipated immunity needs from one year of age to the senior years.


  • Chicken is the first ingredient.
  • The kibble is very small which is enticing for many poodles and other diminutive breeds.
  • Ingredients are easy to digest.
  • This diet utilizes natural food sources.
  • Hill’s helps many pet shelters find homes for animals.
  • The food is backed by extensive scientific research by licensed nutritionists.


  • Although easy to digest, this food contains many grains. Particular grain-sensitive individuals may not tolerate this food.
  • The most common complaint was dogs did not like it. However, many did like it and this serves a potentially picky group in small dogs.

4. Taste of the Wild Grain Free Premium High Protein Dry Dog Food Pacific Stream Adult – Smoked Salmon

Taste of the Wild takes pride in supplying an optimal amino acid profile in all their dog foods. They base their ingredients and proportions on species-specific sources of proteins and carbohydrates and on a lifestyle that would be compatible with a dog living in the wild.

The high protein and correspondingly lower carbohydrate configuration of Taste of the Wild dog food supports the naturally lean muscular structure of poodles. Not only are the ingredients species-appropriate, but they also feature species-specific probiotics.


  • The company family owned and run.
  • Probiotics are proprietary and made to survive harsh conditions in the gastrointestinal tract that many supplemental sources cannot.
  • The food uses whole fruits and vegetables.
  • No grains (including wheat, corn, or soy) or artificial colors go into making this dog food.
  • The food focusses on sustainable sources of food, beneficial for the future of resources.


  • Potatoes are among the top five ingredients. Potatoes can be controversial fare for some diabetics.

5. Natural Balance Limited Ingredient Diets Dry Dog Food – Sweet Potato & Fish Formula

Limiting the number of ingredients in their dog food remains highly effective in helping pets with food allergies, hypersensitive skin, and food intolerance. Natural Balance features fish and sweet potatoes as the only sources of protein and carbohydrates respectively.

Vitamins and minerals along with salt and fats round up the remainder of the ingredients.


  • Good quality sources of proteins.
  • Sweet potatoes are super foods, beneficial for stabilizing blood glucose, supporting the eyes, and providing additional sources of protein.
  • There are no grains in this dog food.
  • It is balanced for dogs of all ages, so there is no necessity to change dog food from the months into adulthood.
  • It really seems to help itching.
  • This food may be good if your dog struggles with weight gain.


  • Sweet potatoes is the top ingredient rather than an animal protein.
  • The protein content is on the low range for canines at 21 percent. Working dogs or highly active canines may not maintain weight on this diet.
  • We thought it strange that salt was listed so high up in the list of ingredients for dog food. Dogs are more sensitive to salt than people, so an exact quantification may be reassuring.


Feeding a poodle can be a bit of a juggling act. It necessitates a balance between an active breed and a working background with multiple serious health concerns and long life in the dog world. We did not find many dog foods that could legitimately compete with Taste of the Wild Grain Free Premium High Protein Dry Dog Food. That being said, all the food we reviewed saw dogs that thrived.

There were several reasons we ultimately chose Taste of the Wild Grain Free Premium High Protein Dry Dog Food Pacific Stream Adult – Smoked Salmon. The ingredients it uses are high-quality premium whole food sources. Blueberries and raspberries are comparable to what a coyote might eat if hunting was scarce. There are no grains, which fact is ideal for any dog who suffers from a sensitive stomach. Finally, you can feed it to small and large dogs alike.

We were a little disappointed with the first ingredient in both the Royal Canin diets. We feel corn and by-products do not really have a place at the top of a premium dog food recipe. Natural Balance is a great choice but low in protein. We like to see protein in dog food at about 23 to 25 percent or higher. Hill’s was our second choice. We think they have an excellent formulation of ingredients but too many grains for sensitive dogs.

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