This (updated) guide lists all of the Best Puppy Foods this year.
When your pup is still growing he needs special nutrition to form stronger joints, muscles, bones, and immune system, to name a few. And, feeding your puppy with Adult dog food isn’t a good idea because pups do need extra calories. You see, puppies grow rapidly within the first 2 years and need twice the amount of nutrients than adult dogs.
Feeding your puppies regular adult dog foods can leave drastic effects on them, especially if you have a large dog breed.
That’s why many top pet food brands are in the race to create the best dog foods for puppies.
After hours of research, ingredients analysis, reader and consumer reviews, I have curated a list of these absolute gems of puppy foods. (Here’s my 40-point inspection list)
Let’s dive in…
The 8 Best Puppy Foods
|Top Picks||Rating||Type||Top Ingredients|
|1. Royal Canin Small Puppy Dry Dog Food||4.8||Small||Brewers Rice, Chicken Fat, Dried Beet Pulp|
|2. Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Small Breed Puppy Food||4.5||Small||Deboned Chicken, Oatmeal, Fish Meal|
|3. Wellness Complete Health Puppy Dog Food||4.5||Medium||Deboned Chicken, Oatmeal, Ground Barley|
|4. Taste of the Wild High Prairie Puppy Food Formula||4.7||Medium||Water Buffalo, Sweet Potatoes, Chicken Fat|
|5. Purina Pro Plan Focus — Puppy Large Breed Food||4.6||Large||Chicken, Rice, Beef Fat|
|6. Nutro Ultra-Large Breed Puppy Dry Dog Food||4.6||Large||Chicken, Whole Brown Rice, Whole Oatmeal|
|7. Diamond Naturals Large Breed Puppy Formula||4.4||Affordable||Lamb, Whole Brown Rice, Chicken Fat|
|8. Natural Balance Original Reduced Calorie Dog Food||4.3||Wet||Chicken Broth, Salmon, Brown Rice|
How to Switch Dog Food Without Getting Your Pup Sick
Small Puppy Foods
1. Royal Canin Small Puppy Dry Dog Food
Top 5 Ingredients: 1. Brewers Rice, 2. Chicken By-Product Meal, 3. Chicken Fat, 4. Dried Plain Beet Pulp, 5. Vegetable Oil
Royal Canin Small Puppy Dog Food is specifically designed to support small breed puppies during their quick growth period. The diet is filled with proteins that digest instantly and promote muscle development. It’s also packed with calories and can fulfill your puppy’s energy needs with relatively less food.
Apart from that, the food contains essential vitamins and minerals to support overall well-being and development of the immune system. The kibbles feature a smaller design for toy breeds and have a crunchy texture that encourages tartar removal. The formula is suitable for small-breed puppies up to 10 months of age.
2. Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Small Breed Puppy Chicken & Oatmeal Recipe Dry Dog Food
Top 5 Ingredients: 1. Deboned Chicken, 2. Oatmeal, 3. Menhaden Fish Meal, 4. Brown Rice, 5. Chicken Fat
Made from a range of natural foods, Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula offers a premium-grade holistic diet for small puppies. From deboned chicken meat to oatmeal, the recipe only consists of foods that digest easily and leave your puppy satisfied. The formula is ideal for sensitive pups since it’s free from common allergens like corn, wheat, and soy.
However, the highlight feature of this formula is its micronutrient content. It contains Blue Buffalo’s proprietary LifeSource Bits that are loaded with vitamins, chelated minerals, and antioxidants. The food is enriched with DHA and ARA sourced from fish oil to promote brain and vision development. It also encourages teeth development with its calcium content and improves coat appearance with omega fatty acids.
3. Natural Balance Limited Ingredient Diets Puppy Formula
Protein 22.5% min, Fat 11% min, Fiber 4% max, Moisture 10% max
Top 5 ingredients: 1. Potatoes, 2. Duck Meal, 3. Duck, 4. Potato Protein, 5. Canola Oil
One of the biggest signs of quality for dog foods is if they use a single-source protein. Thankfully, this formula by Natural balance uses only Duck as its single protein source. With this grain-free formula, your pup would get fewer carbs and as much protein as possible. With added Omega-3, this puppy food helps dogs attain a shiny and smooth coat.
Medium Breed Puppy Foods
4. Wellness Complete Health Puppy Deboned Chicken, Oatmeal & Salmon Meal Recipe Dry Dog Food
Top 5 Ingredients: 1. Deboned Chicken, 2. Oatmeal, 3. Ground Barley, 4. Chicken Fat, 5. Tomatoes
As the name suggests, Wellness Complete Health Puppy Formula provides a highly nutritious, all-around diet to fulfill your puppy’s dietary requirements. Although the recipe mainly consists of chicken, salmon meal, and oatmeal, it’s also packed with real fruits and vegetables that deliver numerous micronutrients.
This includes apples, blueberries, sweet potatoes, and other greens rich in antioxidants. Besides that, the diet encourages brain development and coat health through DHA. Probiotics and glucosamine are also present in the food to support digestion and joint health. Lastly, the recipe is free from fillers, artificial preservatives, and GMOs so that your dog only receives the highest quality nutrition.
5. Taste of the Wild High Prairie Puppy Food Formula
Guaranteed Analysis: Protein 28.0% min, Fat 17.0% min, Fiber 5.0% max, Moisture 10% max
Top 5 ingredients: 1. Buffalo, 2. Lamb Meal, 3. Sweet Potatoes, 4. Egg Product, 5. Pea Protein
This is the second “Taste of The Wild” puppy food on this list and we’ve chosen it for the quality of ingredients added. The High Prairie formula is great for dog owners who wish to feed natural and protein-rich sources of food to their pooch.
6. CANIDAE Grain-Free PURE Puppy Limited Ingredient Chicken, Lentil & Whole Egg Recipe Dry Dog Food
Top 5 Ingredients: 1. Chicken, 2. Menhaden Fish Meal, 3. Lentils, 4. Peas, 5. Chicken Fat
If your puppy is sensitive or allergic to most dog foods, Canidae’s Pure Puppy LID Formula is an excellent choice for them. The entire recipe consists of nine real, wholesome ingredients that are guaranteed allergen-free and easy on the stomach. Some of those ingredients include chicken, lentils, and potatoes, all of which promote muscle growth and fuel your puppy throughout their day.
Besides that, the recipe is enriched with probiotics, antioxidants, and omega fatty acids to promote gut health and improve coat appearance. Since the diet is built with limited foods, it’s also free from fillers and artificial ingredients that often cause diarrhea and digestive upsets.
7. Hill’s Science Diet Puppy Chicken Meal & Barley Recipe Dry Dog Food
Top 5 Ingredients: 1. Chicken Meal, 2. Whole Grain Wheat, 3. Cracked Pearled Barley, 4. Chicken Fat, 5. Chicken Liver Flavor
Hill’s Science Diet Puppy Dog Food packs a ton of flavor and nutritional value, perfect for puppies of all sizes and breeds. The main recipe list comprises chicken meal for muscle nourishment and barley to keep your pup energized and active. Fish oil acts as a source of omega fatty acids and DHA to promote brain development and better coat health.
Additionally, the formula consists of antioxidants and vitamins that strengthen your puppy’s immune system. Both natural ingredients and tasty liver flavors make the food highly appetizing and a favorite of stubborn puppies. The dog food is manufactured exclusively in the USA and offers complete nutritional support for puppies up to 1 year-old.
8. ORIJEN Puppy Grain-Free Dry Puppy Food
Top 5 Ingredients: 1. Deboned Chicken, 2. Deboned Turkey, 3. ﬂounder, 4. Eggs, 5. Turkey Liver
If you want to go for a premium diet, there’s no better option than Orijen. The Grain-Free Puppy Food features a range of premium proteins, including chicken, turkey, mackerel, flounder, and more. Almost 85% of the food’s protein content is sourced from animals, and contains loads of amino acids and micronutrients that build lean muscle.
We would also recommend this diet for sensitive pups since it’s free from grains. Instead, the brand uses lentils and peas, both of which are simple carbs and digest easily. Apples, pumpkins, carrots, and other produce act as a source of antioxidants to strengthen your puppy’s immune system. And the best part? Each kibble is coated with freeze-dried liver, which gives the food an irresistible aroma and taste.
9. Merrick Classic Healthy Grains Puppy Recipe Dry Dog Food
Top 5 Ingredients: 1. Deboned Chicken, 2. Brown Rice, 3. Barley, 4. Oatmeal, 5. Chicken Fat
Filled with healthy grains and wholesome proteins, Merrick’s Classic Healthy Grains Dog Food offers a holistic diet that keeps your puppy on their paws. While the recipe consists of turkey and chicken for protein, it includes a variety of fibrous grains like brown rice, oatmeal, and quinoa to improve digestion and fuel your puppy with energy.
In addition, the diet is enriched with omega fatty acids and DHA for brain and vision development. The formula is also fortified with glucosamine and chondroitin, both of which are essential for good joint health in breeds with skeletal issues. Each batch of Merrick is prepared at the brand’s USA facility to ensure your puppy only receives the best diet.
10. Holistic Select Adult & Puppy Grain-Free Salmon, Anchovy & Sardine Meal Recipe Dry Dog Food
Top 5 Ingredients: 1. Salmon, 2. Anchovy and Sardine Meal, 3. Potatoes, 4. Menhaden Fish Meal, 5. Flaxseed
Holistic Select’s Adult & Puppy Grain-Free Dog Food is a treat for pups that love seafood but suffer from grain sensitivities. Salmon, anchovy meal, and sardine meal are the main protein sources, all of which are rich in amino acids and encourage lean muscle growth in puppies. Fish meat naturally contains omega fatty acids and provides nourishment to their coat and skin.
Instead of grains, the dog food uses potatoes and peas to keep your puppy fuelled and prevent digestive upsets. Antioxidants are also present in the formula, thanks to fruits like apples, blueberries, and cranberries. Apart from that, the food contains probiotics to promote gut bacteria and glucosamine for better joint health.
11. Go! Solutions Carnivore Grain-Free Chicken, Turkey + Duck Puppy Recipe Dry Dog Food
Top 5 Ingredients: 1. Chicken Meal, 2. Turkey Meal, 3. Salmon Meal, 4. De-Boned Chicken, 5. Chicken Fat
Go Solutions Carnivore Puppy Food is a protein-focused diet filled with micronutrients essential for a canine’s steady growth. Chicken, turkey, trout, duck, and salmon are the five main protein sources used in the formula. All of them promote lean muscle growth and keep your puppy energetic all day long.
Most of the food’s micronutrients are sourced from real fruits and vegetables like carrots, pumpkins, blackberries, and more. These antioxidant-rich greens strengthen your puppy’s immune system and fulfill their micronutrient requirements. Moreover, the food is grain-free and uses potatoes, lentils, and peas as an easily digestible alternative.
12. Taste Of The Wild — Pacific Puppy Food Formula (Grain-Free)
Protein 27.0% min, Fat 15.0% min, Fiber 5% max, Moisture 10% max
Top 5 ingredients: 1. Salmon, 2. Ocean Fish Meal, 3. Sweet Potatoes, 4. Peas, 5. Potatoes
Looking for a top-of-the-line, made in USA, grain-free option? This might just be it. Taste of The Wild has specially added antioxidants and vitamins from fruit and vegetable sources so your pal can get the best of puppy nutrition.
Not only is this one of the best grain-free puppy foods, but it’s also completely manufactured in the USA.
13. Dr. Tim’s Grain-Free Kinesis Formula Dry Dog Food
Protein 32.0% min, Fat 18.0% min, Fiber 4.5% max, Moisture 10% max
Top 5 ingredients: 1. Chicken Meal, 2. Dried White Potatoes, 3. Dried Field Peas, 4. Chicken Fat, 5. Tapioca
It’s no secret that puppies need food with high protein content. However, few dog food companies own up to their claims of having protein-rich formulas for puppies.
But not Dr. Tim’s!
With 87% animal protein, this food for puppies is packed with meaty goodness that would make for a nutritious diet for your pup. Not just that, Dr. Tim’s uses fish oil as a source of Omega-3 fatty acids, which helps in maintaining a lustrous coat for your furball.
14. Instinct By Nature’s Variety Raw Boost Puppy Food
Crude Protein 34.0% min, Crude Fat 21.5% min, Crude fiber 3.5% max, Moisture 9% max
Top 5 ingredients: 1. Chicken, 2. Chicken Meal, 3. Turkey Meal, 4. Peas, 5. Egg Product
Are you one of those dog owners who’s always looking for raw, natural diets for their dogs? If so, then this is the puppy food for you!
Instinct By Nature uses real, cage-free chicken in their new formula which contains a high-calorie content. The manufacturer uses no grains, wheat, soy, or corn in this product.
15. Eukanuba Puppy Medium Breed Chicken Formula
Protein 29.0% min | Fat 18.0% min | Fiber 3.4% max | Moisture 10.0% max
Top Ingredients: Chicken, Chicken By-Product Meal, Corn, Chicken Fat, Wheat, Ground Grain Sorghum
This formula by Eukanuba might seem pretty normal to you at first. But it’s worth noting that this is one of the only puppy food formulas that is specifically made for medium breeds. Eukanuba believes in feeding puppies to be active and highly trainable, which is why they add DHA and natural fish oil for mental growth. What’s more, This formula contains beet pulp which helps puppies digest this food easily as you change their diet.
Large Breed Puppy Foods
16. Purina Pro Plan Focus — Puppy Large Breed Food
Protein 28.0% min, Fat 13.0% min, Fiber 6% max, Moisture 12% max
Top 5 ingredients: 1. Chicken, 2. Brewer’s Rice, 3. Corn Gluten Meal, 4. Whole Grain Corn, 5. Poultry By-Product Meal
Large breed puppies are the most prone to crippling bone diseases. But here’s the answer: Buy a puppy formula that’s specifically manufactured and tested for large breeds; just like Purina Pro Plan!
With lean, high-quality protein and Omega-6 fatty acids, this puppy food is bound to meet your large pup’s nutritional requirements.
17. Hill’s Science Diet — Puppy Large Breed Chicken Meal and Oat Recipe Dry
Protein 26.0% min, Fat 16% min, Fiber 3% max, Moisture 10% max
Top 5 ingredients: 1. Chicken Meal, 2. Whole Grain Wheat, 3. Whole Grain Oats, 4. Whole Grain Sorghum, 5. Corn Gluten Meal
This formula makes for one of the best puppy food for large breeds. Hill’s specifically takes note of the amount of calcium in their formula to ensure that it is within safe limits for large breed puppies. What’s more, this formula contains chondroitin and Glucosamine for optimum growth and muscle strength. Not just that, the vitamin E and C in this food for puppies helps greatly in supporting the dog’s immune system.
18. Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Large Breed Puppy Dry Dog Food
Protein 26.0% min, Fat 15% min, Fiber 5% max, Moisture 10% max
Top 5 ingredients: 1. Deboned Chicken, 2. Chicken Meal, 3. Brown Rice, 4. Oatmeal, 5. Barley
Here’s a large-breed puppy food that’s easy on your pocket and your puppy’s stomach. With a regulated calorie content and L-carnitine, this formula helps puppies grow in an optimum manner. Also, this dog food uses no by-product meals, which is not as common as one would imagine. It contains Omega-3 & 6 fatty acids for a well-maintained coat.
19. Nutro — Ultra-Large Breed Puppy Dry Dog Food
Protein 26.0% min | Fat 13.0% min | Fiber 4.0% max | Moisture 10.0% max
Top Ingredients: Chicken, Chicken Meal (source of Glucosamine and Chondroitin Sulfate), Whole Brown Rice, Brewers Rice, Whole Grain Oatmeal, Rice Bran
Last, but certainly not the least, is Nutro’s Ultra-Large Breed formula. Even though this pet food is specifically made for puppies, it meets all the AAFCO’s requirements for adult dog foods as well. It contains whole grains for a high-performance diet along with glucosamine and chondroitin for joint development. It contains Linoleic Acid from Sunflower Oil which improves the quality of your pup’s coat. This formula for puppies contains taurine which has a massive positive impact on eyesight and hearing.
20. Authority Chicken & Rice Formula — Large Breed Puppy
Protein 26.0% min | Fat 13.0% min | Fiber 3.0% max | Moisture 10.0% max
Top Ingredients: Deboned Chicken, Chicken Meal, Brown Rice, Corn, Oat Groats, Corn Gluten Meal
The best part about Large-Breed specific puppy foods is that they’re formed keeping bone crippling diseases in mind. For that purpose, Authority adds chondroitin and glucosamine in its formula for joint development in pups. It also contains DHA and EPA which help in vision and brain development.
Affordable Puppy Foods
21. Purina ONE — SmartBlend Healthy Puppy Formula Dry Food
Protein 28.0% min, Fat 17.0% min, Fiber 3% max, Moisture 12% max
Top 5 ingredients: 1. Chicken, 2. Rice Flour, 3. Corn Gluten Meal, 4. Chicken By-Product Meal (Source of Glucosamine), 5. Whole Grain Corn
If your puppy has a hard time digesting other high-protein formulas, then try Purina ONE Smartblend. With added rice and oatmeal, this food for puppies is easy on the stomach and high in healthy caloric intake.
22. IAMS Proactive Health Smart Puppy Large Breed Dry Dog Food
Protein 26.0% min, Fat 14.0% min, Fiber 4.0% max, Moisture 10% max
Top 5 ingredients: 1. Chicken, 2. Ground Whole Grain Corn, 3. Ground Whole Grain Sorghum, 4. Chicken By-Product Meal, 5. Corn Grits
IAMS has specifically formulated this large breed puppy food for breeds that have an adult weight of 51-90 pounds at maturity.
So, if your dog lies in that range, this dry puppy food would be a great option for you. It also contains DHA which helps maintain brain function and growth.
23. Diamond Naturals Large Breed Puppy Formula
Protein 27.0% min, Fat 15% min, Fiber 4.5% max, Moisture 10% max
Top 5 ingredients: 1. Lamb, 2. Lamb Meal, 3. Ground White Rice, 4. Peas, 5. Pea Flour
Diamond Naturals is a revered name in the dog food industry for good reason. In this formula, they provide a healthy balance of proteins and fat, with lamb as their primary meat source. With Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids, their formula is perfect for maintaining coat health in pups.
24. Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Puppy Chicken & Brown Rice Recipe Dry Dog Food
Protein 27.0% min, Fat 16% min, Fiber 5.0% max, Moisture 10% max
Top Ingredients: Deboned Chicken, Chicken Meal, Brown Rice, Oatmeal, Barley, Menhaden Fish Meal
Blue Buffalo makes it onto our list yet again with another of its puppy food products. This one, however, isn’t a large-breed formula and can easily be fed to all sizes of puppies.
With added DHA, ARA, and choline, this dog food helps puppies in developing cognitive functions. This formula contains L-carnitine which builds lean and healthy muscle for pooches.
25. Chicken Soup For The Soul — Large Breed Puppy Food
Protein 27.0% min | Fat 13.0% min | Fiber 5.0% max | Moisture 10.0% max
Top Ingredients: Chicken, Turkey, Chicken Meal (Natural Source Of Glucosamine And Chondroitin Sulfate), Turkey Meal, Cracked Pearled Barley, Whole Grain Brown Rice
As all large-breed puppy foods should do, this one contains chondroitin and glucosamine for the healthy development of joints in dogs. It also contains no soy, corn or wheat and is completely made in the USA. The calcium content also seems to be well-regulated in this formula.
26. Nutro Natural Choice Puppy Chicken & Brown Rice Recipe Dry Dog Food
Top 5 Ingredients: 1. Chicken, 2. Whole Grain Barley, 3. Brewers Rice, 4. Potato Protein, 5. Chicken Fat
It’s rare to find an affordable dog food that offers as much quality as Nutro Natural Choice Puppy Dog Food. The formula primarily consists of real chicken meat and whole grains like barley. These foods provide muscle-building amino acids and fibrous carbohydrates that lead to better digestion.
Unlike other cheaper formulas, Nutro Naturals uses expensive and high-quality non-GMO ingredients. The food also contains essential micronutrients needed by puppies for steady growth. This includes omega fatty acids and DHA for healthy brain development, calcium for good bone health, and antioxidants for stronger immunity. Yet still, the recipe is free from corn, wheat, and soy.
Also check out these specific puppy food guides:
- Best Large Breed Puppy Foods
- Best Small Breed Puppy Foods
- Best Wet Puppy Foods
- Best Dry Puppy Foods
- Best Grain Free Puppy Foods
Each and every food option listed in this article addresses the special dietary needs of little puppies. The nutrition present in these foods ensures your pup gets everything he needs after weaning off from his mother’s milk. In addition to offering a higher level of protein, the best puppy foods should provide everything that works as a fundamental building block for your dog’s development and growth.
Here’s good news:
This guide contains all essential information you need to make the right choice.
Good ingredients in puppy food
- Real meat: Puppies need high amounts of lean protein to fuel muscular growth. And there’s no better source for it than real, whole meat. The best protein sources for puppies include chicken, beef, and salmon, with rabbit and duck being ideal for sensitive pups.
- Whole grains or simple carbs: It’s crucial to select the right carbs for your puppy to prevent stomach problems. Whole grains like barley, oatmeal, and brown rice are some of our recommended choices since they’re rich in fiber and promote better digestion. But if your puppy is sensitive to grains, choose a recipe with easily digestible carbs like sweet potatoes, lentils, and peas.
- Natural fats and oils: Fats play a vital role in fueling your puppy’s body and nourishing their coat. The best fats for puppies are natural fats that are either animal-based or vegetable-based. Animal-based fats like salmon oil, chicken fat, and fish oil are excellent sources of fatty acids and DHA. Similarly, vegetable-based oils like sunflower oil, flaxseed oil, and canola oil are also loaded with omega fatty acids and nutrients.
- Natural preservatives: When buying puppy food, make sure it doesn’t contain artificial preservatives, especially BHA and BHT. Instead, look for natural ones such as vitamin E (mixed tocopherols) and vitamin C (ascorbic acid) that are much healthier and non-harmful.
Bad ingredients in puppy food
- Meat by-products: To cut costs, some dog food manufacturers use meat by-products as a protein source. These by-products usually consist of scrap parts such as bones and waste organs, and offer little nutritional value compared to real meat.
- Corn and wheat: Both corn and wheat are dense grains that are difficult to digest for puppies with undeveloped digestive systems. They’re typically used as fillers and provide empty calories that don’t contribute anything to your puppy’s growth.
- Rendered fats: Many dog food manufacturers slip in poor-quality fats with generic names like ‘animal fat.’ In reality, these rendered fats are obtained from diseased or dead animals whose fat usually contains traces of toxins.
The Difference Between Puppy Food and Adult Dog Food
Puppies grow up really fast, building muscles and bones, and developing organs. Adult dogs, on the other hand, are maintaining their health and bodies. To ensure you fuel your little pup’s growth with adequate nutrition, it is important to offer them the right food.
In simple words, a puppy’s nutritional requirements are way more expansive as compared to an adult dog. Puppies have a lot more energy and they require the additional calories to support their bones and growing bodies. As a puppy owner, it is your responsibility to ensure that every single calorie is packed with healthy nutrition.
The Association of American Feed Control Officials has set regulations and standards that clearly states what goes into puppy food and adult dog food. AAFCO has guidelines in place to make categorizing the food easier. This is usually based on the nutritional aspect and the main ingredients present in the food.
Here’s a list of the nutrients according to AAFCO and how they differ according to puppy food and adult dog food:
Protein: 22% or higher for puppies and 18% for adult dogs
Fat: 8% for puppies and 5% for adult dogs
Calcium: 1% for puppies and 0.6% for adult dogs
Phosphorus: 0.8% for puppies and 0.5% for adult dogs
Sodium: 0.3% for puppies and 0.06% for adult dogs
Please note that these general calculations for puppies and dogs. These numbers can significantly vary depending on the breed and/or size of your dog.
Should you feed your puppy grains or not?
Before even entering the market, most puppy owners are faced with the dilemma of choosing a grain or non-grain diet. And it isn’t your fault, considering the number of grain-free options available in the market.
The truth is that your puppy doesn’t necessarily need a grain-free diet. In fact, whole grains like oatmeal and brown rice are actually beneficial for their digestive system since they’re rich in fiber.
But if your puppy suffers from allergies or sensitivities, then you should consider picking a grain-free dog food. Puppies that are allergic to grains will experience symptoms like itching, skin rashes, diarrhea, and vomiting. If you suspect any such signs, contact your veterinarian and discuss whether a grain-free diet would be appropriate for your puppy.
Buying the Right Puppy Food – Factors to Ponder Over
In order to buy the right puppy food, it is important to ensure it has the essential nutrition and other features that your little pup will thrive on. Here are some factors to help you decide:
Wet Food vs. Dry Food
Wet food may be essential when your little puppy is making the initial transition away from his mother’s milk. Wet food is softer and makes eating solid less of a struggle. Introduce wet food to your puppy when your puppy is under a few months old. Since the dietary needs will continue to change too, you can now introduce dry food too. Most food options for puppies are not particularly hard but you can further soften kibble by mixing it with wet food or by adding a little water. You can completely switch to dry food when you think your pup is ready after the 3-month mark.
Puppies need essential omegas, particularly omega-3 fatty acids for fur and otherwise. In addition to keeping the coat healthy, it also helps with vision development.
If you have a puppy with a sensitive stomach, a grain-free food option is best. While whole grains do offer calcium and vitamins, it is primarily used in puppy food as fillers. Therefore, opting for a diet that’s based on vegetables, fruits, and meat will offer a higher percentage of healthier nutrients that your little puppy in his growing stage would need the most.
The Right Serving Size
It’s best to set up a schedule and divide the daily calorie and nutrition requirements into several small meals. Check out the serving size recommendations on the package of the food for better understanding.
Consider your puppy’s specific needs when looking for the right food. Depending on the breed, the transition period is anywhere between nine and thirteen months. Introduce adult food to your puppy once a day to make the transition easier.
1. When can I give solid food to my puppy?
Puppies are ideally weaned off their mother’s milk between four and six weeks. This is when you introduce solid food to your pup as their nutritional and caloric requirement are not fulfilled by the milk alone.
2. How do I know if I am feeding the right food to my puppy?
Following the AAFCO guidelines can help you determine if you’re providing complete nutrition to your puppy. Also, make sure the food you choose states that it is formulated to match the AAFCO nutrient standards.
3. How much food should I feed my puppy?
Puppies require higher calories to fuel their rapid growth and development. The quantity of food, however, will vary depending on your puppy’s breed. According to Petfinder, an average 10-pound puppy would require 990 calories in a day.
4. Do I need to feed a special diet to my large breed pup?
Large breed puppies are more likely to develop joint and skeletal problems, which can worsen due to overfeeding. These dogs require controlled growth and thrive on food with higher levels of calcium, fiber, and phosphorous. A large breed puppy should only be feed controlled calories and a balanced diet.
5. Is organic puppy food better than the regular one?
Organic puppy food mainly indicates that the formulation included organic ingredients. But this doesn’t guarantee if it is better than regular food. The quality and completeness of puppy food can only be determined with the quality and amount of nutrients it offers your dog.
6. What are the best treats for my puppy?
While you can treat your pup to show love or to train, it is best to limit them to keep their diet balanced and complete. There are many delicious treats available for your dog to choose from. However, it is best to aim for no more than 5% of calories from treats. Avoid table scraps completely!
7. Are there any dangerous foods for dogs that I should steer clear of?
While it is okay to offer certain human foods to your pup, some can be extremely harmful to them. Keep your pup away from chocolate, avocados, macadamia nuts, raisins, grapes, bread dough, onions, garlic, chives, and large amounts of dairy products, alcohol, caffeine, and other salty and fattening foods.
8. Can I offer my adult dog’s food to my puppy?
It is not recommended to give food intended for adult dogs to your pups. Your puppy requires more nutrition for healthy development of bones and organs. Offering them adult food can deprive them of essential nutrients.
9. What human foods are great for feeding pups?
- Cooked chicken
- Peanut butter
- Baby carrots
10. What snacks can I give my puppy?
Some favorite snacks of pups include:
- Green beans
11. Can I offer raw food to my large breed pups?
Raw food works great for growing pups, especially large breed dogs. It is best to stick to high-quality raw food only that’s rich in protein and low in fat content.
12. Should I offer wet food to my pup as well? How often?
Puppies between the ages of four and six months should be fed three to four times. After six months, reduce the frequency to two times a day. The key is to divide the food into meals and make sure you meet their daily caloric requirement according to their age.
13. How do I know if I am feeding the healthiest food to my pup?
The best and the healthiest food for a puppy mainly depend on their individual requirements, breed, and health condition. You can pick any high-quality food from the list shared in this article as a great food option for your pooch.
14. Should I also offer water to my puppy during the day?
Experts suggest giving half a cup of water to your pup every two hours once they are weaned off. After transitioning to solid food completely, your pooch will require 0.5 to 1 ounce of water per every pound of their body weight.
15. What are the common health problems in puppies that lack complete nutrition?
Proper nutrition is crucial for canine health despite of their age. Poor nutrition can lead to a number of health problems and disorders including obesity, organ development, heart health, brain function, and skeletal problems.
Choosing a dog food for your puppy is not easy. And that’s why I’ve spent weeks on curating this list of the best puppy foods.