What is the Best Dog Food For West Highland Terriers?

The West Highland Terrier, also affectionately known as the ‘Westie’, is a small, lovable, energetic dog breed that doubles as a nightmare for small rodents. But what’s the best dog food for West Highland Terriers? Luckily for you, we’ve done the research—and here’s what we’ve come up with.

Our top picks for West Highland Terrier dog food

**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 the West Highland Terrier

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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. 

The West Highland Terrier is definitely a smaller-sized dog. They tend to grow to a height of about 11 inches at the shoulder, and generally only weigh between 14 and 22 pounds.

But with that being said—this is definitely not an animal with ‘small’ caloric or nutritional requirements! Like any other dog breed, Westies require a well-rounded diet of essential nutrients to keep him/her fueled and energized.

A less active Westie will need about 400 calories to stay fueled and energized, while a more moderately active dog of the same breed will need closer to 500.

If your West Highland Terrier tends to be highly-active or takes part in any kind of sports or training, then you might find yourself feeding him/her closer to 800 calories per day—or even more!

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Learn more about your West Highland Terrier

As I was researching the West Highland Terrier, I found this video—and thought that it did an awesome job of explaining the basics of this breed.

It’s from the Dogs 101 series, which was a video series about dogs created by Animal Planet. If you’re in the market for a new puppy and are considering a Westie, then I would definitely recommend checking it out.

Macronutrient Information for the West Highland Terrier

The West Highland Terrier requires a food that’s protein rich and carbohydrate light. This will give them plenty of energy, but will also keep them from filling up on empty calories.

A diet that’s rich in Omega 3 fatty acids is also very good for the Westie, as is a dog food that contains plenty of antioxidants and a quality range of fresh fruits and vegetables.

Ingredients like wild-caught salmon, chicken, or turkey will help to provide many of the meat-based proteins that this dog breed needs, while fruits and vegetables will help to improve metabolism and also support a healthier digestive tract.

Ingredients like kelp, blueberries, carrots, and pumpkin are also good for Westies—as they’re awesome at protecting the breed from some of the more common eye problems that they tend to deal with.

A grain-free food is probably the way to go with this breed, as it will help with digestion and serve their need for a healthy, high-quality diet that’s low on fillers and high in real nutritional value.

Common Health Problems

The West Highland Terrier is a smaller dog breed—but they don’t tend to suffer from a lot of different diseases and conditions. Normally, they’re pretty healthy.

So in this section, we’re going to discuss health problems that might end up afflicting your dog. None of these are a sure-thing—but it’s always a good idea to know what the risks are so that you can be more informed about your dog’s health in the long-run.

This might also help you to recognize a problem if one were to arise.

Craniomandibular Osteopathy

This condition is believed to be hereditary, and usually shows up between the ages of 4 to 8 months in this dog breed. It basically affects the skull bones, and causes them to be irregularly enlarged.

The puppy will often ‘catch up’ with the growth, but the mean-time may be painful. Proper nutrition is a must for a puppy afflicted with this condition, and sometimes a feeding tube might be required.

Legg-Calve-Perthes Disease

This condition affects the thigh bone of your pet. Basically, a decreased blood supply will cause the head of the femur to begin to disintegrate where it would attach to the pelvis.

The dog may limp and experience muscle problems as symptoms, which show up between the ages of 4 to 6 months of age in most cases. A diet healthy in antioxidants, turmeric, and Omega 3 fatty acids can help the dog to deal with the condition, though surgery is needed to correct it altogether.

You can learn more about this condition here, in a very informative article on the subject that was published on petmd.com.


This eye condition manifests itself as one or two ‘cloudy eyes’ that might look grey or bluish. They’re more likely to appear in older dogs, and may or may not actually affect your dog’s vision.

A diet that’s rich in antioxidants can help to prevent cataracts—though once they progress to a certain point, your dog might need surgery to correct the problem altogether.

You can learn more about this condition here.

How to feed a West Highland Terrier Puppy

A lot of breeders begin providing their puppies with water or puppy milk-replacer and kibble at about 3 weeks old—though realistically, the pups probably won’t start partaking of it until weeks 4 or 5. Be careful, however, of getting them started on solid food at too young of an age.

Try to take weaning cues from the mother, as she will probably know instinctually when the best time for weaning is.

It’s super-important to begin human socialization with West Highland Terriers by week 5. Often, the adopting family will come and visit the pup a few times per week around this time—which will give the puppy time to get to know it’s new family.

Westie pups are typically ready to be taken home by their adopted family around the 8th week of life.

Puppies of this breed will generally weigh somewhere between 4 and 5 pounds by the time they reach the 6-week mark—at which time they’ll need somewhere around 245 calories per day to stay fueled and energized.

So, what’s the best dog food for West Highland Terriers?

There are actually a lot of different dog food blends on the market today—and there are definitely more than a few that are high in quality. But in our opinion, the dog food formulation that stood out as one of the best for this breed was Wellness Grain Free Small Breed Original Formula Dog Food.

This dog food (you can find the ingredient list here) is packed with the nutrients and ingredients that Westies love and need. West Highland Terriers need a well-rounded diet to stay agile and happy, and Wellness Grain Free Small Breed Original accomplishes this in a number of ways.

It’s grain free, protein-rich, delivers optimal calories in a smaller kibble-size, and contains no meat by-products or fillers.

It’s also packed with glucosamine and Omega 3 fatty acids—which are awesome for the Westie’s need for healthy joints. Antioxidants also help to protect the breed from cataracts—which can be a big problem for this little, lovable canine.

Add to this the fact that it’s packed with calcium (for added bone health), fish (for extra Omega 3 fatty acids) and flax (another source of Omega 3s), and it’s no wonder why we picked this formula as our number-one choice for the lovable West Highland Terrier.

Pros and Cons

  • Packed with glucosamine and Omega 3 fatty acids
  • Contains plenty of antioxidants
  • Grain, corn, soy, and wheat free
  • Contains tomato pomace, which some consider a filler
  • Might be difficult to find at your local supermarket—though you can order it online

If you’re in the market for an awesome food for your West Highland Terrier that meets the mark in just about every category, then we would definitely recommend that you check out Wellness Grain Free Small Breed Original Formula Dog Food.

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