Does Dog Food Size Matter To Your Dog?

Dog food size does matter when you’re talking about kibble. If you let your dog choose, you may find that their choice is different from what your choice would be for them…

As an Independent Field Representative (affiliate) for a pet product company, I am always learning about why people choose different foods for their dogs.  Some people choose based on price, others on quality of the ingredients and still others based on the size of the kibble.  I ran across an article in the April 2018 Petfood Industry magazine that talked about the size of kibble so I will share this research with you.


The Research Behind Dog Food Kibble

dog food
Kibble Size Does Matter


Kristopher Figge, James Lindmeier and Mary Grodie of AFB International are associated with some research on kibble size and palatability. The machinery produced 3 kibble sizes; small, medium and large.

Each size of kibble had the same moisture and bulk density. All of the kibble was coated with the same lot and amount of poultry fat and with the same lot and amount of liquid palatability enhancer.

The taste testers consisted of 40 small breeds under 30 pounds; 40 medium breeds from 30 to 54 pounds and 40 large breeds above 54 pounds. The age of the dog was not a factor.

The trial only lasted two days. Two bowls with different size foods were presented to the dogs for comparison.

All of the dogs seemed to like both the small and medium-sized kibble dog food equally.

A term used in the research was Specific Surface Area (SSA) which showed that a higher SSA did not make the food tastier…but they go on to say that although the large kibble had a lower SSA value, it had the highest overall palatability.

dog foodThe researchers conclude that each group of dogs preferred the large-size kibble over the medium and small sizes during comparison testing.

Kristopher Figge, senior technical sales and service representative for AFB International, presented these surprising findings at the Petfood Forum 2018 in Kansas City, Missouri.




Marketing Dog Food

From a marketing standpoint, pet food manufacturers may be able to cut the number of SKUs they produce because they can focus mainly on large kibble. In turn, pet retailers can focus on offering more brands of food.

How Pet Parents Feel About Dog Food Size

While perusing the Dog Food Advisor Forum,  I read of concerns about small, older dogs possibly breaking their teeth on hard pieces of round and thick kibble.  This pet parent wanted to find a thin, small kibble for her dog that was easier to chew.  Responses to these concerns included taking the dog to the vet for a dental checkup if a tooth was in pain and secondly, to presoak the food to make it softer.

Another Small Dog blogger tells you that small dogs will choke on large kibble unless it’s soaked and who has time for that? Small dogs have small mouths and so they eat smaller kibble.

The truth is, how consumers feel about pet food drives their choices, not the research behind the dog food…or cat food. I covered that topic in this post.

My American Eskimo prefers to have a base of kibble with his canned food or home-cooked food or dehydrated raw food added. Gusto likes to have something that he can actually chew and enjoy and not just inhale as some other breeds appear to do…lol.

Come back for more Miracle Living With Gusto!



P.S. Does your dog eat kibble and does size matter to you or your dog? Join in the conversation by leaving your comment below.

7 Replies to “Does Dog Food Size Matter To Your Dog?”

  1. Interesting post. My dogs don’t eat kibble, but size of other food does matter for one of them. I have 2 small dogs and one was always happy to munch away on a huge cookie or bone (when she was allowed to), but my other dog won’t even eat a piece of canned dog food if the piece isn’t small enough. Interesting!!

  2. Although my dogs are on the small side, they don’t seem to have a preference regarding kibble size. The small kibble seems to be more expensive, so we often get the regular kibble. The brand we prefer just seems to have two sizes, and I think they are small and medium.

  3. I don’t think kibble size matters to Ruby. She pretty much eats anything. In fact, she will (if given the opportunity) even eat cat kibble (which is pretty small). That’s interesting that this study found dogs prefer larger kibble.

  4. Does food size matter to Cookie? Yes and no. She likes her treats to be small for some reason. But then she’s happy to go at a bone which is quite huge. So it all depends on circumstance and which food it is.

  5. Kibble size is such a good question! I have a small dog, Phoebe 11lbs and my larger Husky, Icy is 50lbs. I really wanted to feed them the same thing but they have different needs so I can’t: Icy is so active & athletic I feed her a higher protein food. Both dogs like small and large size kibble, neither had a preference. I was concerned that the size was really important from an eating/health standpoint but it looks like it’s not. I’m glad!
    Love & Biscuits,
    Dogs Luv Us and We Luv Them

  6. This was such an interesting topic! With Huskies, you’d think they’d like large dog kibble, but they actually prefer a mixed medium size kibble. Well, I have one always hungry-mungry Husky who will eat either, but for the most part, the others prefer a smaller size. My one Husky eats so dainty (a far cry from Miss Hungry-Mungry who inhales her food), that being so dainty, she prefers the smaller and she literally eats it one piece at a time! Like you, I top it with some moist or home-cooked meat, veggies, and fruit, and mix it all up.

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