The 5 Best Grain Free Puppy Foods

By Kevin Myers | 2021 Update

✓ Reviewed by Dr. Sara Redding Ochoa, DVM

This (updated) guide reviews all of the best grain free puppy foods available.

A grain-free diet is a great option for pets with sensitive stomachs because it doesn’t include common allergens like corn, rice, and wheat. Don’t assume that grain-free lacks carb, quality grain-free puppy foods have high-quality carb sources such as peas, apples. and potatoes. Puppies on a grain-free diet get more protein and better carbs so they stay more active and energetic, with lower risks of allergies.

After several weeks of research, ingredient analysis, customer reviews, and using my 40 point inspection checklist, I’ve come up with this list of high-quality, grain-free foods for your puppy.

Let’s dive right in…

The Best Grain Free Puppy Foods

Best Grain Free Puppy FoodsRatingTop Ingredients
1. Taste of the Wild High Prairie Grain-Free Dry Puppy Food
(Editor’s Pick)
4.9Buffalo, Lamb Meal, Sweet Potatoes…
2. American Journey Grain-Free Puppy Food4.9Deboned Lamb, Chicken Meal, Turkey Meal…
3. Blue Buffalo Wilderness Rocky Mountain Recipe Red Meat Grain-Free Puppy Food4.8Beef, Beef Broth, Turkey…
4. CANIDAE Grain-Free Puppy Food4.7Chicken, Menhaden Fish Meal, Lentils…
5. Purina Pro Plan Grain-Free Puppy Food4.7Turkey, Liver, Meat By-Products…

How to Switch Dog Food Without Getting Your Pup Sick

Top Grain Free Puppy Food Reviews

1. Taste of the Wild — High Prairie  Grain-Free Dry Puppy Food

Top 5 Ingredients: 1. Buffalo, 2. Lamb Meal, 3. Sweet Potatoes, 4. Egg Product, 5. Pea Protein

Give your puppy a protein-packed treat made with buffalo as the first ingredient. It contains quality carbs to fuel your puppy’s high energy level, and also contains a proprietary probiotic to support your pups digestive health. Add a superior blend of antioxidants for immune system support and you have a healthy, tasty option that belongs at the top of the list of best grain-free puppy foods.

2. American Journey — Lamb & Sweet Potato Grain-Free Puppy Food

Top 5 Ingredients: 1. Deboned Lamb, 2. Chicken Meal, 3. Turkey Meal, 4. Peas, 5. Chickpeas

With deboned lamb as the first ingredient, American Journey Lamb & Sweet Potato Recipe is a great option for the lean muscle development of your four-legged friend. Aside from a healthy amount of quality proteins, this formula has a good percentage of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Your puppy will also get their essential Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids with every meal. In short, your pup will look good, feel good, and act healthy. American Journey is one of the most reputable brands and this dog food is among the best grain free puppy food options available.

3. Blue Buffalo — Wilderness Rocky Mountain Recipe Red Meat Grain-Free Puppy Food

Top 5 Ingredients: 1. Beef, 2. Beef Broth, 3. Turkey, 4. Beef Liver, 5. Potatoes

For those of you who want to feed and ancestral diet to your prodigal pup, this Red Meat Dinner from Blue Buffalo Wilderness is a perfect option. Based on a wolve’s diet, this meaty meal contains Vitamin B12 for digestive health, minerals for a strong immune system, and complex carbs for fuel. Real meat, real fruits, real vegetables, real good! Free of by-products and fillers, this Rocky Mountain Recipe should be high on your list of grain-free foods to feed your pup.

4. CANIDAE —  PURE Puppy Real Chicken, Lentil & Whole Egg Recipe Grain-Free Puppy Food

Top 5 Ingredients: 1. Chicken, 2. Menhaden Fish Meal, 3. Lentils, 4. Peas, 5. Potatoes

If you are looking for a grain-free diet for your sensitive puppy, you need a limited-ingredient recipe that doesn’t compromise on nutrients. With a can of CANIDAE Grain-Free PURE Puppy Real Chicken, Lentil & Whole Egg Recipe, you get a healthy amount of lean protein from chicken and other essential nutrients from just eight more ingredients. While it is a gluten-free formula, you still get a blend of whole foods like peas and lentils to fulfill your little pup’s daily nutritional requirements. This recipe also includes probiotics for the digestive support of your sensitive baby.

5. Purina Pro Plan — Focus Puppy Classic Turkey Entree Grain-Free Puppy Food

Top 5 Ingredients: 1. Turkey, 2. Liver, 3. Meat By-Products, 4. Beef, 5. Chicken

If your puppy isn’t fond of dry food, then Purina Pro Plan Focus Puppy Classic Turkey Entree is one of the best grain-free wet recipes you can find. The high moisture content of this wet food makes it a good choice for puppies who don’t drink as much as they should.  But this isn’t just a can of water; you get quality proteins needed for healthy muscles and a good amount of Omega-6 fatty acids to promote a healthy coat and better cognitive development. It is, indeed, a great option for a smart, strong puppy.

Grain-Free Puppy Foods FAQs

What Does Grain-Free Diet Mean?

Grain-free means that the formula does not contain ANY grain. This includes wheat, rice, barley, soy, corn, and most sources of gluten. On the contrary, a gluten-free diet is not necessary grain-free. Puppies with gluten intolerance can eat grains such as oat as they do not contain gluten.

Why Should I Choose Grain-Free Diet for My Puppy?

A grain-free diet is usually suggested for puppies with grain allergies. However, it can be good for puppies with sensitive tummies as well. Ancestral canine diets don’t include grains and that is one reason grain-free is often suggested for puppies. Moreover, grains such as corn and wheat are often used as fillers and have little nutritional value.

What to Look for in a Grain-Free Puppy Food? 

Always choose a grain-free puppy food that has natural ingredients that can offer balanced nutrition. Since there is no grain, look for other, healthier sources of carbohydrates such as peas, potatoes, and lentils. There should be a high percentage of quality proteins, preferably from lean sources.

More Grain-Free Puppy Food Options…

6. Merrick — Grain-Free Puppy Real Chicken & Sweet Potato Recipe Puppy Food

Top 5 Ingredients: 1. Deboned Chicken, Chicken Meal, Potatoes, Peas, Sweet Potatoes,

There are very few recipes that can deliver on their promise of complete physical and mental development for your pup.  Merrick Grain-Free Puppy Formula is one of those recipes that can; it is highly recommended for breeds with higher nutritional needs. You get lean protein from deboned chicken and essential vitamins from fruits and vegetables. I like the fact that it has additional DHA to maintain good cognitive development in puppies. Puppies simply love the way it smells and come running when they hear it hit the bowl. This makes it an excellent choice for picky pups.

7. Blue Buffalo — Wilderness  Chicken Recipe Grain-Free for Large Breed Puppy

Top 5 Ingredients: 1. Deboned Chicken, 2. Chicken Meal, 3. Peas, 4. Pea Protein, 5. Tapioca Starch

Large breeds have large nutritional needs. They need a higher dose of quality proteins, and that is exactly what they get with Blue Buffalo Wilderness Large Breed Puppy Chicken Recipe. A grain-free meal full of proteins and loaded with nutrients such as calcium and phosphorus. It is a perfect meal for muscular, athletic breeds. While it enhances physical growth, it also improves brain and vision development in growing pups. Peas and sweet potatoes add the much-needed carbs to keep the energy levels high even for the most active babies.

8. VICTOR — Grain-Free Active Dog & Puppy Formula  Puppy Food

If your puppy has a sensitive tummy bring home a bag of VICTOR Purpose Grain Free Active Dog & Puppy Dry Dog Food. It is a wholesome meal with carefully selected protein sources like premium quality beef and pork. The formula is further fortified with higher amounts of vitamins, minerals, and fatty acids. It isn’t just a puppy meal; it is a complete meal for dogs with high nutritional needs such as athletic breeds and lactating females. Overall, a power-packed meal for puppies with tummy troubles.

9. Blue Buffalo — Freedom  Chicken Recipe Grain-Free Small Breed Puppy Food

Blue Buffalo Freedom is a delicious and nutritional meal option for small and toy breeds. It is exclusively created for sensitive tummies, with no gluten or grains.  The protein in this kibble is sourced from quality chicken and turkey meat so it is less likely to cause any trouble for little tummies. What I love about Freedom is that it is full of DHA and ARA, which means it supports better cognitive and visual development in smaller and toy breeds.

10. Merrick — Backcountry Raw Infused  Recipe Grain-Free Puppy Food

Did you know that the ancestral diet of your canine buddy was actually grain-free? It was also full of quality proteins and numerous nutrients from fruits and vegetable sources.  Merrick Backcountry Raw Infused Puppy Recipe Grain-Free takes clues from nature and gives your puppy all the required essentials in every meal. You get quality proteins from multiple meat sources including freeze-dried poultry and deboned chicken. Your pup will also get a good amount of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Plus, each meal contains an essential level of carbs to keep your puppy active all day. Since it contains fatty acids from salmon, there is a visible difference in the shine and quality of coat.

11. Castor & Pollux — Organix Grain-Free Organic Puppy  Food

If you prefer organic formulas for puppies, bring home a bag of Organix. This is one of the few organic recipes that don’t compromise on nutritional value. Your little one gets a balanced meal every time. It contains quality protein sourced from free-range chicken. Included in this blend of healthy ingredients are flaxseed, alfalfa, and blueberries which act as powerful antioxidants. Your puppy gets a high dose of DHA and omega-3 fatty acids as well. It is a formula suitable for all breeds; even those with the most sensitive tummies.

12. Wellness — CORE Grain-Free  Deboned Chicken Recipe Large Breed Puppy Food

A safe and tummy-friendly option for larger breeds, Wellness CORE Grain-Free Large Breed Puppy Deboned Chicken Recipe contains just the right amount of quality proteins. With deboned chicken as the first ingredient, this is a tasty option that will entice even the pickiest of puppies. With each bowl, your pup will get a high dose of the nutrients needed for optimal muscle development and better brain function.

13. Solid Gold — Love At First Bark Chicken, Potato & Apple Grain-Free Dry Puppy Food

Aptly named, Love at First Bark this holistic recipe from Solid Gold seems to hit all the right notes. With cage-free chicken as its primary source of protein, it delivers a blend of superfoods and nutrients, everything a growing pup needs. Top it off with probiotics for good digestive health, and you have a unique grain-free food that any puppy a lucky dog.

14. Nulo Freestyle Limited — Grain-Free Salmon Recipe Dog Food

If your pup prefers fish over poultry, Nulo Freestyle Limited+ recipe is the best you can find. Unlike most options, this one has deboned salmon as the main ingredient, followed by a salmon meal. Plus, you get additional benefits of Canola oil which enriches the meal with nutrients essential for a healthy coat and skin. Since it is a limited ingredient recipe, it is easy on the tummy. Speaking of tummy there is a special blend of probiotics, GanedenBC30, to keep their guts healthy. This  “fish first” recipe has a savory flavor and the smell alone will make sure your picky puppy doesn’t miss a meal.

15. Holistic – Select Adult & Puppy Health Salmon, Anchovy & Sardine Recipe Grain-Puppy Food

For my pups, I prefer formulas that contain fiber from fruits and vegetables in addition to quality meat proteins. Holistic’s grain-free recipe is a special fish-based recipe that provides your puppies a balanced diet with all the essential nutrients and then some. It includes probiotics and digestive enzymes to support healthy digestion. There is enough natural fiber to ensure optimal absorption of all the nutrients in this bag. Your puppy will be visibly healthier and gleefully active.

16. Authority – Chicken & Pea Grain-Free Formula Puppy Dry Food

If chicken is your puppy’s favorite source of protein, then you need to give them Authority. Authority’s grain-free chicken and pea recipe is exclusively created for sensitive tummies. It is a limited ingredient formula but packed with all the nutrients your puppy needs in its growing years. It has flaxseeds that not only support digestion but offer numerous health benefits as well. Another thing I love about this puppy food is the exclusive Ora-Shield System that supports good oral health. It contains a healthy blend of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.

17. Nutro – Puppy Grain-Free Tender Chicken & Sweet Potato Recipe Puppy Food

Nutro Tender Chicken and Sweet Potato recipe is a drool-worthy, delicious meal for puppies who prefer wet food. Every can is a meal full of balanced nutritional value. The protein comes from quality lean sources such as actual chicken, not the by-products. Chicken bites are cooked in a savory broth. I personally recommend wet food for puppies who don’t drink much water. It will keep them from dehydration. Overall, this is a balanced meal cooked to perfection. It is free of GMOs, grains, and fillers that usually cause tummy problems.

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