What is the Best Dog Food For Papillons? | Herepup
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What is the Best Dog Food For Papillons?

This dog breed can be traced as far back as the 16th century. But what’s the best dog food for Papillons? What do you feed a dog that’s super-active, but also extremely likeable all at the same time? We’ve done the research—and here’s what we found.

Our top dog food choices for Papillons

**There's more info below, but you can also click the links above to see current prices or read customer reviews on Chewy

**Disclaimer: Our dog food reviews are based mostly on (1) our expertise and that of the experts with whom we consult and (2) the information provided by the manufacturers. We do test many dog foods (with our dog's help), but we can't test them all. As such, please remember the above recommendations are our opinions, and you should consult your vet before making changes to your dog's diet.

Calorie Requirements for Papillons

0 Cal
Older Dogs
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Typical Adults
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Active/Working Dogs

**Please note: these estimates are based on an average weight for this breed. Every dog is different. Please talk to your vet before making changes to your dog's diet. 

This is definitely a small-sized canine breed. Papillons generally grow to a height of about 8 to 11 inches at the shoulder, and will only end up weighing between 4 and 9 pounds as an adult.

But make no mistake! Even though the quantity of food that they require might be small, it’s important to remember that the quality is the most important part. And since this dog won’t be getting a ton of food anyway, it’s important to keep it nutritious, diverse, and full of quality, wholesome ingredients.

A less active dog of this breed will require about 200 calories per day, while a moderately active Papillon will need more—somewhere closer to 260 calories.

If your dog tends to be highly active or spends a lot of time exercising, then you might find yourself feeding him/her as many as 400 calories per day or more.

Just make sure to keep an eye on your dog’s activity level. If it seems to get lethargic throughout the day, or acts hungry all the time, you might want to try slowly increasing the caloric intake a bit—just to ensure that he or she is getting enough to eat.

Looking for more information about the Papillon?

This video, from the very-popular Dogs 101 series (created by Animal Planet), does an awesome job of describing the basics of this breed. It even goes in-depth a bit on how versatile the Papillon is, and talks quite a bit about its history.

Papillon Macronutrient and Diet Information

As smaller dogs, Papillons need plenty of high-quality protein and a wide, diverse range of vitamins, minerals, and amino acids.

Since smaller dogs like this can suffer from some joint problems, a diet that’s rich in glucosamine, chondroitin, and Vitamins C and E is extremely beneficial. It’s also important that this dog breed get plenty of Omega 3 fatty acids.

Omega 3s will not only give the Papillon a beautiful, shiny coat—but will also help with inflammation, which can be a major contributor to their predisposition for a collapsed trachea.

A grain-free kibble would be the best bet for any canine pet—and this dog is no exception. The Papillon thrives on a diet that’s filled with sources of lean protein, fruits, and vegetables. Ingredients like carrots and blueberries will help eye health, while plenty of B vitamins will nourish the nervous system and reflexes.

Common Papillon Health Problems

This tends to be a pretty healthy dog breed—but that doesn’t mean that they’re immune to problems altogether.

Of course, finding a reputable breeder who clears the parents with genetic testing before breeding would be the best way to eliminate most problems—but even if this precaution is taken, some conditions and ailments can still arise.

Here are some of the most common problems that Papillon owners might face during their dog’s lifetime.

Not all of these are going to affect every dog—but it’s still good to be aware of what could happen.

Slipped Stifles

This condition, also known as ‘trick knees’ or ‘Patellar Luxation’, is a condition in which the kneecap slides out of place—usually while the dog is running or walking.

It can be extremely painful, and can cause the dog to limp or favor the injured leg until the kneecap slides back in—which can take as little time as a few seconds in very mild cases.

A diet rich in glucosamine and chondroitin can help to promote better joint health. Vitamins C and E can also be beneficial for dogs who deal with these types of problems.


This condition, also known as ‘low blood sugar’, tends to be a problem with many different toy dog breeds. It can be pretty easily treated if it’s caught early enough—but it can be fatal if it’s not dealt with in a timely manner.

Some symptoms of this condition include slowness, listlessness, trembling, and shivering. If not dealt with soon enough, the dog may collapse, go into convulsions, or even die.

Dog’s with hypoglycemia often benefit from meals that are more spread out over the course of the day—which will allow them access to calories over a longer, more spread-out period of time.

It’s also a good idea to feed your dog a food that’s filled with a diverse range of nutrients—which will ensure that the dog is getting proper nutrition and not just ‘empty calories’.

Collapsed Trachea

This is a rather strange condition in which the trachea ‘flattens’ while the dog is inhaling—which can make it difficult to draw in any air. A honking cough may be a sign that this has occurred—though it can also be more serious than this in some cases, and can lead to serious breathing problems.

Never use a regular collar on dogs that may suffer from this condition, as it can put pressure on the trachea and make the problem worse.

Keeping your dog within a healthy body weight range can do a lot to help minimize complications and episodes, and feeding a diet that’s rich in antioxidants and Omega 3 fatty acids can help to reduce inflammation.

How to feed a Papillon puppy

A lot of Papillon breeders like to keep the puppies with the litter until they’re 12 weeks old—just to make sure that they’ve matured and socialized enough to have a good adoption experience with their new family.

With that being said, these early weeks are very important to the puppy. Spending time with his or her mother and littermates will teach the pup a great deal about how to interact with other dogs—and human socialization will also come into play during this phase of the puppy’s life.

Good breeders will spend a lot of time handling the puppies from a very early age—just to make sure that they’re used to humans when the time comes to meet their adopted family.

A typical Papillon puppy will weigh about 2.5 pounds at 10 weeks of age, and will require about 120 calories per day to stay energized.

So, what’s the best dog food for Papillons?


We’ve done quite a bit of research to answer this question—and to be honest, it wasn’t altogether ‘easy’ to narrow the choices. There are a lot of really awesome foods out on the market—and figuring out which one was the best wasn’t necessarily a ‘walk in the park’.

But after researching the ingredients and reviewing what we considered to be the best options out there, we simply felt that Blue Buffalo Freedom Grain Free Dry Adult Dog Food really stood out above most of the others.

It’s packed with healthy sources of everything this breed needs. It contains an optimal balance of Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids (for a shiny coat and to reduce inflammation), contains plenty of Glucosamine and Vitamin C for joint health, and plenty of B vitamins for the nervous system and reflexes.

It’s also grain free, and contains a diverse range of fruits, vegetables, and quality sources of lean protein.

Pros & Cons

  • It’s grain free
  • Contains plenty of Omega3s and Glucosamine
  • Provides a wide, balanced range of vitamins, minerals, and amino acids
  • Contains tomato pomace, which some consider a filler
  • Contains alfalfa, which is a controversial ingredient

If you’re looking for a wholesome, natural kibble for your beloved Papillon and don’t like the idea of using the cheap filler that sells for dog food down at the local retail store, then you should definitely take a look at Blue Buffalo Freedom Grain Free Dry Adult Dog Food.

It’s filled with all of the vital nutrients that your Papillon needs to stay strong, healthy, and happy—and we enthusiastically recommend it.


Throughout his long career, Eric Richard had been working with veterinarians and pet businesses to improve their marketing and increase profits. He particularly enjoys writing about canine care and behavior and he hopes to inspire dog owners to care for their pets by sharing his own experience with them.

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