The 7 Best Dry Puppy Foods

By Kevin Myers | 2021 Update

✓ Reviewed by Dr. Sara Redding Ochoa, DVM

This (updated) guide reviews all of the best dry puppy foods available right now.

The nutritional needs of a puppy are quite different from adult dogs. Since they’re in their growth stage, they need more nutrients to fuel up their development. In short, a puppy needs food that’s specifically designed for young dogs.

Other than that, a food that’s suitable for ‘all stages of life’ can also be used as your pup’s primary diet. The best nutrients for pups include protein, fats, carbs, vitamins, minerals, and water.

Using my 40-Point Inspection list, which includes consumer reviews, ingredient analysis and more, I’ve selected the best dry dog food for your pup.

Let’s dive in…

The 7 Best Dry Puppy Foods

Best Dry Puppy FoodsRatingTop Ingredients
1. Purina Pro Plan — Puppy Large Breed Chicken & Rice Formula with Probiotics Dry Dog Food
(Editor’s Pick)
4.9Chicken, Rice, Corn Gluten Meal…
2. Nutro Ultra Puppy Dry Dog Food4.8Chicken, Chicken Meal, Whole Brown Rice…
3. American Journey Lamb & Sweet Potato Recipe Grain-Free Puppy Dry Dog Food4.8Deboned Lamb, Chicken Meal, Turkey Meal…
4. Taste of the Wild Pacific Stream Puppy Formula Grain-Free Dry Dog Food4.8Salmon, Ocean Fish Meal, Sweet Potatoes…
5. VICTOR Select Nutra Pro Active Dog & Puppy Formula Dry Dog Food4.7Chicken Meal, Blood Meal, Whole Grain Millet…
6. Purina ONE — SmartBlend Large Breed Puppy Formula Dry Dog Food4.5Chicken, Rice Flour, Soybean Meal…
7. Blue Buffalo — Life Protection Formula Puppy Chicken & Brown Rice Recipe Dry Dog Food4.5Deboned Chicken, Chicken Meal, Brown Rice…

How to Switch Dog Food Without Getting Your Pup Sick

Dry Puppy Food Reviews

1. Purina Pro Plan — Puppy Large Breed Chicken & Rice Formula with Probiotics Dry Dog Food

Top Ingredients: 1. Chicken, 2. Rice, 3. Corn Gluten Meal, 4. Whole Grain Corn, 5. Poultry By-Product Meal (Source Of Glucosamine)

This dry food option by Purina Pro Plan offers everything you’re looking for in nutrition for your puppy. Large breed puppies need much more than just basic nutrition. These little buddies will grow into large hounds and require high-quality nourishment to build stronger bones and muscles. Maintain your pooch’s optimal health as they grow and develop and help them build sturdy immune and cognitive health with this delicious meal.

2. Nutro Ultra — Puppy Dry Dog Food

Top Ingredients: 1. Chicken, 2. Chicken Meal, 3. Whole Brown Rice, 4. Brewers Rice, 5. Rice Bran

Made with the ideal balance of nature’s finest ingredients, this puppy food  is a relative new addition to the other superfood blends offered by Nutro Ultra. In addition to healthy whole grains and high-quality protein, the recipe is a blend of twelve significant nutrients to help  your puppy thrive. The crunchy kibble is deliciously flavored from salmon and lamb.

3. American Journey — Lamb & Sweet Potato Recipe Grain-Free Puppy Dry Dog Food

Top Ingredients: 1. Deboned Lamb, 2. Chicken Meal (a source of Glucosamine and Chondroitin Sulfate), 3.Turkey Meal, 4. Peas, 5. Chickpeas

American Journey offers one of the best dry foods for your puppies. The top-rated kibble has a great combination of ingredients, including flaxseeds and salmon oil, which enhances the blend’s nutrition value and offers tons of health benefits for the little gentleman. The best part: It is also grain-free and ideal for puppies with special diets.

4. Taste of the Wild — Pacific Stream Puppy Formula Grain-Free Dry Dog Food

Top Ingredients: 1. Salmon, 2. Ocean Fish Meal, 3. Sweet Potatoes, 4. Peas, 5. Potatoes

This extraordinary formula is loaded with an excellent combination of ingredients to provide premium nutrition and digestible energy for your growing hound. The recipe is a natural blend of superior-quality protein sources made with real roasted meat. The added fruits and vegetables feature antioxidants to support and active and healthy puppy.

5. VICTOR — Select Nutra Pro Active Dog & Puppy Formula Dry Dog Food

Top Ingredients: 1. Chicken Meal, 2. Blood Meal, 3. Whole Grain Millet, 4. Chicken Fat (preserved with mixed Tocopherols), 5. Yeast Culture

The nutrient profile of this super quality puppy food provides significant protein and fat, and a below-average portion of carbs to make digestion easier for your pooch. Ingredients like fish and quality meat options ensure nutrients that are essential for growth. The crunchy kibble is excellent for growing pups that require a lot of energy and have high physical demands.

6. Purina ONE — SmartBlend Large Breed Puppy Formula Dry Dog Food

Top Ingredients: 1. Chicken, 2. Rice Flour, 3. Soybean Meal, 4. Corn Gluten Meal, 5. Chicken By-Product Meal

The nutrition requirements for large-breed puppies are different from small-breed pups, and that’s what makes Purina One’s SmartBlend dry food formula for large-breed puppies a reliable choice. The brand has a thorough understanding of this difference and therefore offers a special blend that perfectly matches the nutritional requirements of your large pups for optimal development and growth.

7. Blue Buffalo — Life Protection Formula Puppy Chicken & Brown Rice Recipe Dry Dog Food

Top Ingredients: 1. Deboned Chicken, 2. Chicken Meal, 3. Brown Rice, 4. Oatmeal, 5. Barley

Formulated keeping the well-being and health of your puppy in mind, the special Life Protection Formula by Blue Buffalo includes high-quality protein-rich chicken, wholesome grains, and a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables. Give your pup the best during puppyhood!

8. Chicken Soup for the Soul — Puppy Chicken, Turkey & Brown Rice Recipe Dry Dog Food

Top Ingredients: 1. Chicken, 2. Turkey, 3. Chicken Meal (Natural Source Of Glucosamine And Chondroitin Sulfate), 4. Turkey Meal, 5. Cracked Pearled Barley

This holistic diet by Chicken Soup for the Soul supports your pup’s health, wellness, and activity during this crucial stage of their life. All the ingredients present in the blend are natural with no fillers like soy, wheat, corn, or animal by-products. The nutritionally balanced formula also has crucial omegas to maintain the exterior of your pup as they grow.

9. Wellness — CORE Grain-Free Puppy Chicken & Turkey Recipe Dry Dog Food

Top Ingredients: 1. Deboned Chicken, 2. Chicken Meal, 3. Turkey Meal, 4. Lentils, 5. Peas, 6. Chicken Fat

Make mealtime count by feeding your precious pooch with food made from high-quality ingredients to support your pet’s long and healthy life. The grain-free formula does not include any fillers or meat by-products. Start your puppy on the path to a long and healthy life by feeding this core meal by Wellness.

10. Instinct by Nature’s Variety — Raw Boost Puppy Grain-Free Recipe with Real Chicken Dry Dog Food

Top Ingredients: 1. Chicken, 2. Chicken Meal, 3. Turkey Meal, 4. Peas, 5. Egg Product

The high-quality protein contained in this Raw + Kibble food from Instinct is extracted from real meat while the grain-free formula is completed with boosted nutrition essential for your little tail-wagger. The bite-size kibble is a delicious treat for puppies, which enables them to thrive and achieve optimal health while growing up. Pick this blend and offer the purest form nutrition to your four-legged friend.

Best Dry Puppy Foods FAQs

1. How’s the nutritional requirement of large breed pups different from small breed pups?

The calorie requirements of larger breed puppies are less per unit of the body as compared to the smaller breed. Smaller dogs have a higher metabolic rate as well. It’s important to keep the calorie requirement in check depending on your puppy breed to prevent excessive weight and accelerated growth.

2. Can I combine kibble with wet food to improve its nutritional value?

If manageable, mixing dry and wet food can have amazing benefits. Not only it boosts the nutritional value of the meal, but it also improves the flavor and aroma of the food, persuading the pickiest eater to gobble it up. It is, however, equally important to keep a check on the nutrients and calories of the diet if you mix up dry and wet food.  

3. How often should I feed dry food to my puppy?

According to an ideal meal pattern, feeding dry food to your puppy in the first year should look like this:

  • 6 to 12 weeks old – Feed exclusively formulated puppy food to your pup 4 to 6 times a day
  • 3 to 6 months old – Support normal development and growth of your pup and feed 3 to 4 times a day.
  • 6 to 12 months old – Decrease the feeding to just twice daily.

You can alter these patterns based on the specific dietary requirements of your breed.

4. Is dry food a better option than wet food?

Both dry and wet food options have their pros and cons. However, dry dog food does have an upper hand when it comes to dental health. The solid texture is known for maintaining great dental hygiene and is considered less messy as well. Kibble is also more energy-dense as it is packed with protein and carbs as compared to wet food. But if you pick cheaper quality, dry dog food can contain a lot of artificial ingredients, flavors, and preservatives.  

5. What’s the right time to feed my puppy?

In general terms, a pup’s meal pattern should at least have three measured meals during the day. It’s best if the meal is served at the same time every day. The first meal should be served early around 7 am in the morning, noontime for lunch, and 6 pm for dinner. You can adjust the meals and mealtime as per your own preferences. Just make sure there’s enough time between the meals for your pup to digest the food to avoid health complications.  

6. What healthy leftovers can I feed my little puppy?

Minced meat, chicken, and fish are rich in protein and can be fed as a treat to little pups. Other healthy table leftovers are potatoes and other fruits are vegetables. Boiled eggs are also a healthy option.

7. Can I exclusively feed kibble to my pup?

Most high-quality kibble available today offer complete and balanced nutrition. If you’re picking the right food, you can definitely rely on kibble alone to support your pup’s growth, development, and great health.

Best Dry Puppy Foods Buyer’s Guide

Congratulations! You’ve just brought home your new four-legged best friend.

But are you really ready to own a pup? Having a furry buddy comes with many great experiences but if you’re a first-time dog owner, being absolutely clueless about the right diet is normal.

It’s okay to be too conscious about feeding him the wrong diet and at the same time, you could be afraid of overfeeding him as well. Yes, these are all absolutely genuine concerns. After all, there’s so much you need to know about this little fella before you’re ready to raise him into a big, beautiful dog.  In this article, we have a complete guide for you that you will definitely benefit from.

So let’s begin.

Healthy Puppy Food 101

So you want your little pup to grow well and have a healthy, happy, and long life. All of these concerns are associated with what you’re going to feed your puppy. There are several factors to ponder over. In addition to the overall dietary requirements, you should consider the breed size, breed type, and the regular activity level of the dog. Here are a few things you need to know.

Understanding Puppy Nutrition

Your puppy needs to get complete nutrition in order to grow up into a healthy beautiful adult. You need to pick a food option that’s exclusively designed for puppies or is suitable for all life stages. That’s the best way to ensure your puppy is getting a complete and balanced diet.

Manufacturers who craft the recipes under expert supervision know exactly how to put a diet that’s suitable for a pup’s overall growth and development. These foods are formulated with a balance of healthy nutrients. Look for options with optimal levels of protein (for muscle growth), carbs (for energy), calcium (for the development of bones and teeth), and DHA (to support the overall cognitive function).

Feeding Large and Small Breed Puppies

Now that you understand the importance of feeding puppy food to puppies, considering the food that’s also suitable for their breed or size can also be particularly beneficial.

For large breed pups, a formula that’s suitable for large breeds will hold more benefits. The nutrient content of these diets is customized according to the breed-specific requirements of the dogs. The only thing you need to be sure about is that the food should be complete and balanced to help your little buddy grow well and healthy.

The different formulas specific to breeds will also cater to the unique requirements of small and large breeds. For instance, food that’s designed for large breed puppy will have additional nutrients to reduce the risk of joint or bone-related problems in growing pups.

Similarly, food that’s suitable for a small-breed pup will have smaller kibble to allow easy consumption without compromising on the nutrients. Paying attention to these little details can make all the difference for your puppy.  

Dry vs. Wet Puppy Food

Not only there’s a wide selection of dry food options but also a huge variety of wet foods. This has made choosing the right puppy food even more difficult. And even though dry kibble is more popular, you can check both the varieties to see what your dog likes more.

The key to the right food is not really the structure of it but how complete and balanced it is for the growing pups. Dry kibble, however, is more preferred for taking care of your dog’s dental health. Kibble is also more affordable and less messy.

Naturally, your puppy will have a preference when it comes to the food form. You also have the option of feeding the combination – if that’s the way your pup likes it!  

Setting Up a Puppy Feeding Schedule

You must establish your puppy feeding schedule. Ideally, take out the amount of food your pup requires in a day and divide it into equal portions. Now serve one portion each as breakfast, lunch, and dinner (or more if required).  Make sure you give your pup an early dinner so that he gets enough time to digest before sleeping.

 Remember, consistency is the key. If you want your pup to be healthy you should feed him every day at the same time to set up a proper routine. After all, you don’t want him to jump onto your table every now and then, do you?

Transitioning to Adult Dog Food Tips

As your pup grows,  you will not only have to reduce the feeding frequency but also have to change the formula from puppy food to adult dog food. So what’s the right time for this transition?

This is an important point that you should be clear about. Different breeds reach maturity at a different age. You must take this factor into account to find out if your pup’s transitioning into adulthood. Once that’s sorted, look for a good adult food option and gradually transition your newly grown dog to his new food.

Ideally, you should be making this transition between the ages of 1 and 2. But its best to take your veterinarian’s advice just to be sure.

What about Puppy Treats?

After all the training and love that you give to your dog, you would naturally want to treat your dog every now and then. Treating your dog is very healthy and it’s an important part of the training as well. Treating your dog with healthy and delicious snacks is also a great way to keep your dog happy.

But how much treat is okay?

The ratio is very simple. 90/10. It means the daily food that is balanced should constitute 90% and the remaining 10 % should be his treat.

Mind it! Do not share unhealthy or junk table scraps with your dog! Many ingredients in human food are toxic to dogs. Establishing a great eating routine will also keep your dog from begging for food at your mealtimes. Remember! you are “training” your dog for a healthy and happy life with you. And while you can occasionally share some healthy leftovers with your dog, you can also find tasty dog treats that he will love.

Related Guides:

More Top Rated Dry Puppy food options…

11. Holistic Select — Adult & Puppy Health Salmon, Anchovy & Sardine Meal Recipe Grain-Free Dry Dog Food

The specially formulated dry food for puppy by Holistic Select includes active probiotics for support of maximum digestive health. Combined with a variety of other premium quality ingredients, the recipe is an ideal blend to support the utilization and absorption of vital nutrients throughout your pup’s body. Fill up your darling dude’s bowl with holistic goodness!

12. Nulo — FreeStyle Grain-Free Turkey & Sweet Potato Recipe Puppy Dry Food

Nulo Freestyle offers a complete meal for your bowwow, with quality  animal-based protein and natural sources of DHA to support optimal growth and development. The grain-free turkey and sweet potato recipe is lip-smacking delicious for your pup.

13. Solid Gold — Wolf Cub Bison & Oatmeal Puppy Formula Dry Dog Food

This all-inclusive balanced meal by Solid Gold is carefully crafted, keeping the nutritional requirement of your large-breed pup in mind. Every bite is loaded with a unique blend of twenty nutritious superfoods, which play a crucial role in the health and overall development of your large breed pooch.

14. Pro Pac — Ultimates Chicken Meal & Brown Rice Puppy Dry Dog Food

The ultimate formula made from brown rice and real chicken meal is fortified with essential nutrients and appropriate levels of omegas to craft a rich and nutritionally balanced meal for your adorable little tail-wagger. The superfoods in this blend include cranberries, blueberries, and beets for additional fiber and are great for a healthy digestive system.

15. Go! Solutions — Carnivore Grain-Free Chicken, Turkey + Duck Puppy Recipe Dry Dog Food

The low-carb and protein-rich diet is an excellent source for optimal fitness and overall strength for puppies in their growing stage. The supreme quality protein is derived from chicken meal, turkey meal, and salmon meal among others. The boosted nutrition in this recipe has a significant impact on your pet’s overall health and well-being.

16. Adirondack — 30% High-Fat Puppy & Performance Recipe Dry Dog Food

This high-protein, high-fat diet is ideal for puppies and performance dogs alike. It contains  the high level of nutrition they need for optimal maintenance. Fill up your buddy’s bowl with a delicious meal free of artificial flavors and colors for the real goodness that Adirondack has to offer.

17. Dr. Gary’s Best Breed — Holistic Puppy Diet Dry Dog Food

The premium quality diet by Dr. Gary’s Best Breed is enhanced with minerals and vitamins that support maximum absorption for great digestive health. Fortified with balanced levels of key nutrients, the formula has everything you need to support your precious pooch’s optimum health, fitness, and development. The best part: it includes natural DHA nad EPA for nervous system development.


The guidelines you will find on the dry dog food packages are just basic information. You can’t blindly follow these rules if you really care about your puppy. Your job is to figure out the specific requirement of your puppy – according to his breed and size – to be able to make a more informed decision regarding his best food options.

It’s essential to keep in mind that the pup you own does not only need attention, love, and support, but also a healthy diet that keeps him happy. If dry food is a preferable option for both you and your dog, then don’t forget to check out our list of the best dry puppy food we have finalized for you. Use the information shared in this article in the best interest of your beloved dog and choose the best diet for your growing pup.

Still have question? Here, check out our frequently asked puppy food questions.

Further Reading:

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