Picking the best puppy food for your new pet is a vital part of responsible doggy ownership. There needs to be a careful blend of nutrition, fats, carbohydrates, protein, and other elements that will keep the puppy strong and healthy as they navigate their new world. It is also advisable to choose an appealing flavor, as a tempting taste will ensure that even the fussiest puppy won't be able to resist.
Choosing between dry and wet food options can be trickier than we imagine. Dry food offers great benefits to the puppy's teeth, while wet food generally ensures better hydration in fussy eaters. There are some products which blend the benefits of both, offering a great balance for our furry friends.
When it comes to puppies, picking the best food is important, as a good diet is necessary to help them grow and develop properly. Balanced meals help them build muscles and strengthen bones, providing the energy they need to grow into big strong dogs.
To help you choose, we have put together a list of the best dog food for puppies. There is sure to be something your pup will love!
Best Food for Puppies: Top Picks
|Blue Buffalo Life Protection||Check on Amazon →|
|Purina Pro Plan ||Check on Amazon →|
|Taste of the Wild High Prairie||Check on Amazon →|
|Iams Proactive Health||Check on Amazon →|
|Purina ONE SmartBlend||Check on Amazon →|
|Nutro Max Natural Puppy Food||Check on Amazon →|
|Blue Buffalo Homestyle Recipe||Check on Amazon →|
|Zignature Turkey Limited Ingredient||Check on Amazon →|
8 Best Puppy Food Brands
In our quest to find the top choice, the best puppy food #1 spot goes to this offering from Blue Buffalo. It combines a nutritious recipe with a delicious taste - designed solely for the overall wellbeing of your puppy.
All of the formulas in the Blue Buffalo Line use real meat as the core of the recipe, ensuring that your pooch enjoys an authentic ingredient as the foundation of their meal. They also include vegetables, fruit, whole grains, and LifeSource Bits, to deliver a nutrient-dense product for healthy puppy development.
A Super 7 package also means that the recipe is rich in antioxidants. The result is a holistic masterpiece, designed to support your pet through the challenges and milestones of puppyhood.
Why We Like This Recipe
- Includes ARA and DHA - both important for healthy brain and visual development.
- Includes phosphorus and calcium to build strong teeth and bones.
- Made from ‘puppy-sized’ kibble designed for smaller jaws, to remove tartar from teeth and prevent a build-up.
- High-quality protein helps to build strong muscles.
- Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids are essential for maintaining a healthy coat and skin.
Purina is a brand well-known in the world of pet food. Here, once again, they have proven how they have earned their sterling reputation. The primary ingredient is top-quality tasty protein, and the recipe includes a wide range of benefits to help your puppy develop.
Antioxidants are a crucial element in helping your puppy's immune system to develop properly and feature heavily within the product. Calcium, phosphorus and a range of other minerals combine to develop healthy bones and strong teeth. Fish oil, which is rich in vital omega elements, is important to developing a clear vision and an active, agile brain. Joints and cartilage are important elements for the support of puppy growth, and glucosamine is included for healthy development, offering strength and flexibility.
Why We Like This Recipe
- Includes a variety of minerals to maintain your dog's internal systems.
- Omegas, from fish oils, are essential for helping your puppy develop a sharper vision.
- Antioxidants are included to help build a strong, resistant immune system which keeps your puppy healthy over the long-term.
- Includes glucosamine to boost joints and protect cartilage.
- Delicious protein is tasty and healthy.
If your dog is suffering from an allergy, or intolerance to grain, it can be hard to find well-balanced dog food, which is also tasty and appealing to your pet. This option from Taste of the Wild is the chance to get your paws on the exception: a delicious, yet nutritious recipe, which is suitable for even the most sensitive gut.
Natural protein is the main ingredient, and your dog will find this option easy to digest. It continues to boost a healthy digestive system thanks to a K9 Strain Probiotic, which is developed specifically for dogs. For every pound of food, there are eighty million live and active cultures, which are designed to aid a strong immune system and a healthy digestive tract.
Smaller kibble pieces mean this is perfect for puppies. It is easy for them to chew while keeping their growing teeth clean and free from unwanted build-up.
Why We Like This Recipe
- An omega-3 fatty acid is essential for developing a healthy brain and sharp, clear vision.
- Dried chicory root offers a natural source of probiotics and fiber, which helps to keep your dog's digestive system healthy and strong.
- Antioxidants are included for a healthy immune system.
Anyone with a puppy knows just how fast they can grow, and this puppy food from Iams is superb. It will help to keep the body healthy and strong during this process.
This is complete, balanced puppy food, which has the added bonus of a delicious chicken flavor even the fussiest canines are sure to enjoy! Chicken is also an excellent source of a natural protein, aiding the growth of strong, sleek muscles, and providing vital energy, which is so important at this age. The inclusion of Omega-3 is also essential in your pup's brain development - resulting in an alert, interested, and curious creature, who will be a pleasure to train.
Why We Like This Recipe
- A tailored, complex blend of fibers aid a healthy digestive process. This includes beet pulp and probiotics for a balanced finish.
- A natural source of tasty protein from chicken is easy to digest and tasty for your pooch.
- It keeps illness at bay by building a strong immune system, thanks to the inclusion of important antioxidants.
- A blend of essential minerals helps to build and develop healthy joints.
Puppies need a well-balanced diet to ensure that they have the support and energy to grow correctly in all areas. Bones and joints are, particularly, in need of help. This is especially true for larger breeds, who find themselves growing at faster rates, with more stress on these parts of the body.
There needs to be a correct balance of minerals, nutrients, and vitamins, and these are a key priority for this Purina blend. Natural sources of glucosamine are an important aspect of this, as is the inclusion of DHA. This is a substance which occurs naturally in the milk of the mother, and adding it to your puppy's diet will help to boost the development of good vision and a healthy brain.
Why We Like This Recipe
- A blend of Vitamins A and E provide vital antioxidants for a strong immune system.
- Zinc and selenium are included to help boost overall health and wellbeing.
- The inclusion of omega-6 is vital for shiny, healthy skin and coat.
- DHA emulates the nutrients offered by the mother and is important for brain development and vision.
- Chicken is the main source of a natural protein.
The ages from one to twelve months are a crucial time in your puppy's life; they will be growing more now than at any other period in their lives. All this, while they are exploring and understanding the world around them using their newfound senses. Part of helping them with this development is making sure they have a balanced diet - and Nutro Max food was specifically designed for puppies of this age.
As an added bonus, everything in their recipes is whole and natural - genuine whole grains are combined with chicken, and the end result is free from any by-products, or potential irritants such as soy, wheat or corn protein. This makes the flavor richer and tastier, resulting in a much more appetizing and appealing option for your puppy.
Why We Like This Recipe
- A balanced mix of essential minerals and vitamins takes care of the overall health of your dog.
- Natural, whole ingredients aid digestion and reduce the chances of allergies or irritation.
- The whole formula is tailored and developed for puppies between one and twelve months, so you know they are getting the benefits they need.
- Natural vegetables and fruit provide energy and nutrition to help maintain a healthy digestive system.
Wet food has a large number of benefits, especially for puppies. It tends to keep them hydrated more easily, and can be gentler on growing teeth, which may be tender. The primary focus with this food from Blue Buffalo is on providing a balanced, wholesome meal for your dog, which focuses on well-rounded nutrition.
Muscle development is an incredibly important aspect of a puppy’s growth, and this brand has chosen to include a high-quality natural protein source: chicken. This has the added bonus of providing a lean form of protein - perfect for helping keep your puppy's weight in check while offering a complete nutritional solution.
Wholegrains are provided as the main carbohydrate source, which is a welcome departure from by-products that do not offer the same health advantages as wholefoods.
Why We Like This Recipe
- It features amino acids, which are vital for growth and strength.
- No cheap fillers or by-products means your pet receives the maximum benefit with every mouthful.
- Includes whole fruit and vegetables as an added source of nutrition.
- The delicious chicken flavor will appeal to finicky eaters!
- It's an excellent source of hydration for reluctant water drinkers.
Finding a comprehensive dog food, which offers the right blends of essentials such as vitamins and minerals, carbohydrates, and protein, is a tough job. This is only exacerbated when you are targeting growing puppies.
The challenge becomes even greater if you have a pooch who has an intolerance or grain-allergy. This fact also massively reduces the range of tasty flavors on offer. This offering from Zignature has removed all these obstacles, offering a complete food option, which is nutritionally balanced and delicious!
The turkey taste is a little unusual, but this may appeal to dogs who are bored with the standard stock-based flavors available. It also offers a great source of lean protein, which is important for the body to properly absorb the nutrients from food. This means you can rest assured that your pup is getting the maximum benefit from every single bite.
Why We Like This Recipe
- Turkey is rich in Riboflavin, which helps the body absorb nutrients more effectively.
- It includes selenium - a powerful antioxidant. This is fantastic for building a strong and healthy immune system.
- It is totally grain-free, so it works if your pup has any allergies or intolerances.
What To Look For In Puppy Food
Our puppies are precious to us, and it is important to ensure that the food you choose has everything they need to stay healthy. When it comes to purchasing commercial food, there are three main categories to consider:
Super Premium Foods
These are the most nutrient-dense of all products. This means that you can feed less, without worrying that your dog will miss out or go hungry. The ingredients contained are of the highest quality, and this means they are usually easier to digest and produce smaller poops.
More food can also be absorbed and used by the body, so there is less wastage. Owners should be aware that these premium foods tend to have a slightly higher fat content. This is perfect if your pup is struggling to put on weight but might be an issue if you have a puppy prone to guzzling.
These are another popular option and can be a good alternative to the pricey, top-end dog foods. The cost is a little lower, but the ingredients still tend to be of good quality, containing more whole ingredients, and products. A premium food can be a fine choice for the average puppy who just needs a balanced diet.
Store brand generic foods
These are the cheapest, lowest-quality options, which are most commonly found in grocery stores. The lower price tag is due to a lower-grade mix of ingredients, and these are usually harder for dogs to digest, and less tasty.
The fillers usually mean more poop output and can lead to gas and uncomfortable bloating. These are not usually recommended for puppies, as they tend to lack the support and extra nutrition needed during this time of your dog's life.
Most specialty brands on the market will be either premium or super-premium. The price on both will be higher due to the smaller quantities needed, and the better quality of ingredients incoporated. They may be found in grocery stores, too, but are more common in specialist pet supply outlets.
How Much Food Does A Puppy Need?
The amount of food that your puppies need is dependent on a wide range of factors, including size, weight, activity level, and age.
Larger breeds will need higher quantities of food to provide them with the energy they need to carry out daily puppy essentials - such as sniffing, dashing about, and leaping from room to room.
This is the most common factor in deciding how much to feed your puppy and goes hand-in-hand with their size. A heavier dog will need a higher quantity. This can be predicted if you have an idea of the size of the parents, which gives you some indication as to the size and weight to which your puppy will grow. It should also help you determine how much food they will need.
Active, working dogs will need larger quantities of food than those sedentary types.
The age of your dog is also a factor in how much they will need to be fed. From birth to weaning, most pups need four to six meals a day. This decreases to four meals at two to three months. Four- to six-month-old puppies will need two to three meals a day. Once the puppies have reached six months old, they may only need two meals a day, depending on the breed.
How Long Should I Feed Puppy Food For?
Puppy food is recommended for younger dogs for several reasons; it has high levels of protein, carbohydrates, and healthy fats, and the formulas are often specially formulated to fully support a growing pooch. They also tend to be calorie-dense, which ensures your dog will grow well and have all the energy they need to function.
Dogs which are over a year old are considered adults, but this does not necessarily mean this is the right time to take them off the puppy food. The breed is a better factor to consider than age when determining adulthood, and larger dogs or giant-breeds take longer to mature. This means they can benefit from puppy food for a far longer period than small-to-medium breeds.
As a general rule, toy or small-breed dogs who weigh under thirty pounds may reach their full maturity between the ages of nine and twelve months. A medium-breed which weights between thirty and eighty pounds can take twelve to sixteen months to mature fully. Large and giant breeds - those weighing over eighty pounds - can take anything up to twenty-four months to reach their full maturity.
Your vet can help you to decide the weight and size of your dog and are a useful source of advice if you are considering making the switch to adult food. Ultimately, your dog is your best guide - by getting to know their traits and preferences, you will get a good indication of when they are ready to switch to adult food.
How To Stop Feeding Puppy Food
Switching your dog's food is always a process which needs to be taken slowly, and can take anything from 7-10 days to complete. If you rush it, your dog may be put off the food, and this can make switching to adult food far less successful.
In the simplest terms, food is switched by gradually and carefully introducing a little of the new food each day, reducing the amount of old food until you are only feeding the new option. This will help your dog get used to the texture and flavor, reducing the risk of any dietary issues or upset stomachs.
For the first couple of days, you should only be feeding the old, familiar food (almost exclusively at first). Then, adding in increasing increments of the new food each day, the gradual change will prepare your dog for the final switch.
It is a good idea to measure the new food you are adding, and switch out the equivalent of the old product. For example, if you are adding a quarter cup of new food, you will remove a quarter cup of the old food from the batch.
By the third to the fifth day, you should be regularly adding in a little more of it at a time, and the new food should be the bulk of the meal by the end of the first week. At this point, the balance tips and there will be more adult food and less puppy food.
This gradually decreases until you are exclusively feeding the new, adult food.
Patience is an essential part of the process, and it is a good idea to use the same flavor when transitioning from the puppy food to adult food. Your dog will still like the taste, no doubt, and is less likely to react to the change with adverse effects. This is also an effective way to reduce the chances of an allergic reaction or an upset stomach, which can sometimes make an appearance in sensitive breeds.
This makes the whole learning process less stressful for your pet (and for you), which certainly increases the chances of making a successful switch to adult food. Don't worry! Many have gone before you in this momentous moment in your dog's life.