We are excited to provide you with the top rated and best puppy foods that we can get our hands on. We have spoken with pet parents and experts in pet nutrition to get a list of the best brands for puppy dog food focused on the best dog food for your dog’s health.
Deciding What Puppy Foods to Look For
The best dog foods for puppies are high in fat and calorie intake. However, choosing the wrong dog food for puppies can increase their risk of getting Hip Dysplasia where some puppy breeds are at higher risk than others.
The first 4 weeks of the puppies life stages, they should be drinking their mother’s milk only. After 4 weeks they can start moving weaning off the mother’s milk and towards solid foods whether they are wet puppy food or dry puppy food by week 6 of their life.
When deciding what Puppy Foods to Look For, the AAFCO or American Feed Control Officials posted nutrient guidelines and you can easily check on the ingredients list to confirm that dog food brands meet those guidelines. You want to make sure that the recipe contains human grade food that contains ingredients like brown rice, sweet potato, fresh chicken, whole grain oats and try to avoid chicken by product meal if possible.
Protein – 22% for puppies, 18% for adult dog food
Fats – 8% for puppies, 5% for adult food
On top of looking at the fat to protein ratio, you should also be looking for essential vitamins, minerals for a healthy diet.
This list of vitamins, minerals in dog food will support healthy growth and provide healthy digestion: Phosphorous, Sodium, Magnesium, Copper, Zinc, Potassium, Selenium, Iodine, Riboflavin, Niacin, Vitamin B12, Thiamine and Pantothenic acid.
Finding puppy foods that meet this criteria is very easy and most brands list their ingredients with protein and fat content on their packaging. We have also compiled a list of the best puppy foods for dry food, wet food, bet large breed puppy food and small breed puppy food.
Best Dry Puppy Food – Overall
Dry Food for puppies is very common, easy to find and should be introduced to puppies in weeks 6 to 8 of their life stages. Most dry food for puppies will be smaller in size allowing them to chew and digest easier. Make sure that your puppy gets dry food that they can easily eat.
The Blue Buffalo Life Protection Puppy dog food is not only one of the most common dry dog food but also readily available and has tons of benefits that pet parents can trust in a puppy formula. Blue Buffalo formulated this dry dog food to promote healthy muscle growth and brain and vision development. The small kibble is also easy for your puppy to chew and digest the dry dog food.
Deboned Chicken, Chicken Meal, Brown Rice, Oatmeal, Barley, Fish Meal (source of Omega 3 Fatty Acids), Peas, Chicken Fat (preserved with Mixed Tocopherols), Natural Flavor, Flaxseed (source of Omega 6 Fatty Acids), Dried Tomato Pomace, Dried Egg Product, Pea Protein, Fish Oil (source of ARA-Arachidonic Acid and DHA- Docosahexaenoic Acid), Salt, Potassium Chloride, Choline Chloride, Direct Dehydrated Alfalfa Pellets, Dicalcium Phosphate, Dried Chicory Root, Potatoes, Pea Fiber, Alfalfa Nutrient Concentrate, Calcium Carbonate, DL-Methionine, preserved with Mixed Tocopherols, Vitamin E Supplement, Sweet Potatoes, Carrots, Garlic, Zinc Amino Acid Chelate, Zinc Sulfate, Vegetable Juice for color, Ferrous Sulfate, Iron Amino Acid Chelate, Blueberries, Cranberries, Barley Grass, Parsley, Turmeric, Dried Kelp, Yucca Schidigera Extract, Niacin (Vitamin B3), Calcium Pantothenate (Vitamin B5), L-Carnitine, L-Ascorbyl-2-Polyphosphate (source of Vitamin C), L-Lysine, Copper Sulfate, Biotin (Vitamin B7), Vitamin A Supplement, Copper Amino Acid Chelate, Manganese Sulfate, Taurine, Manganese Amino Acid Chelate, Thiamine Mononitrate (Vitamin B1), Riboflavin (Vitamin B2), Vitamin D3 Supplement, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (Vitamin B6), Calcium Iodate, Dried Yeast, Dried Enterococcus faecium fermentation product, Dried Lactobacillus acidophilus fermentation product, Dried Aspergillus niger fermentation extract, Dried Trichoderma longibrachiatum fermentation extract, Dried Bacillus subtilis fermentation extract, Folic Acid (Vitamin B9), Sodium Selenite, Oil of Rosemary
Best Wet Puppy Food – Overall
Wet Food for puppies is a perfect way to transition them to dog food from their mother’s milk. Wet dog food has a familiar texture to puppies and is typically the first type of dog food that you introduce to them.
Depending on the breed there will be trial and error to find the right variety of dog food for your puppy. It would be best to try a brand that doesn’t have much texture for the first time.
The Nutro Wet Puppy Food is grain-free and made with Non-GMO ingredients that makes it a great first choice for puppies. There is no by-product, wheat, soy or corn which makes it a really high quality choice. It also comes in a convenient size that helps with portion control.
Chicken, Chicken Broth, Pork Broth, Sweet Potatoes, Chicken Liver, Peas, Animal Plasma, Tapioca Starch, Pea Fiber, Potassium Chloride, Salt, Calcium Carbonate, Dried Tomatoes, Choline Chloride, Xanthan Gum, Fish Oil (preserved with Mixed Tocopherols), Sodium Acid Pyrophosphate, Tetrasodium Pyrophosphate, Magnesium Proteinate, Sodium Hexametaphosphate, Manganese Sulfate, Zinc Sulfate, Vitamin E Supplement, D-Calcium Pantothenate, Biotin, Copper Sulfate, Thiamine Mononitrate, Riboflavin Supplement, Potassium Iodide, Vitamin A Supplement, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Vitamin D3 Supplement.
Best Puppy Food for Large Breeds – Overall
When determining what is the best puppy food for large breeds, be conscious of the amount of calories and fat that it has. Large breed puppies is at risk of Hip Dysplasia if it gains too much weight. Virtually all puppy food is rich in fat and calories so look for an option that has high protein for a large breed puppy.
The Purina Pro Plan High Protein Puppy is a great option for large breed puppies. This variety from Purina has been formulated with live probiotics for digestive and immune health which ideal for a large breed puppy. It is also rich in antioxidants and minerals that are essential to their health.
Chicken, Rice, Poultry By-Product Meal, Corn Gluten Meal, Beef Fat Preserved With Mixed-tocopherols, Soybean Meal, Whole Grain Wheat, Whole Grain Corn, Corn Germ Meal, Dried Egg Product, Natural Flavor, Dried Yeast, Glycerin, Fish Meal, Fish Oil, Calcium Carbonate, Soybean Oil, Mono And Dicalcium Phosphate, Salt, Potassium Chloride, Minerals [Zinc Proteinate, Manganese Proteinate, Ferrous Sulfate, Copper Proteinate, Calcium Iodate, Sodium Selenite], Choline Chloride, Vitamins [Vitamin E Supplement, Niacin (Vitamin B-3), Vitamin A Supplement, Calcium Pantothenate (Vitamin B-5), Thiamine Mononitrate (Vitamin B-1), Vitamin B-12 Supplement, Riboflavin Supplement (Vitamin B-2), Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (Vitamin B-6), Folic Acid (Vitamin B-9), Vitamin D-3 Supplement, Menadione Sodium Bisulfite Complex (Vitamin K), Biotin (Vitamin B-7)], Dried Bacillus Coagulans Fermentation Product, Garlic Oil.
Best Puppy Food for Small Breeds – Overall
So, what is the best puppy food for small breeds? Typically small breed puppies would have food that is a little richer in fat and calories than for a large breed puppy. When determining what puppy food is best for small breeds, make sure and choose a formula that builds their immune system and brain or eye function. Small breed puppies are fragile and need to develop quickly.
The Blue Buffalo Small Breed Puppy is the perfect dry option for a small dog’s breed. This formula is made with real chicken, veggies, fruit and whole grains. All of these ingredients are ideal for a small dog breeds growth and development. Choosing a more natural dog food is an ideal choice for small breeds and the slightly higher cost is worth it in the long run for their health.
Deboned Chicken, Chicken Meal, Oatmeal, Barley, Menhaden Fish Meal (source of Omega 3 Fatty Acids), Peas, Dried Egg Product, Brown Rice, Chicken Fat (preserved with Mixed Tocopherols), Dried Tomato Pomace, Flaxseed (source of Omega 6 Fatty Acids), Natural Flavor, Pea Protein, Fish Oil (source of ARA-Arachidonic Acid and DHA-Docosahexaenoic Acid), Dicalcium Phosphate, Salt, Direct Dehydrated Alfalfa Pellets, Potassium Chloride, Potatoes, Dried Chicory Root, Choline Chloride, Pea Fiber, Alfalfa Nutrient Concentrate, Calcium Carbonate, DL-Methionine, Preserved with Mixed Tocopherols, Vitamin E Supplement, Sweet Potatoes, Carrots, Garlic, Zinc Amino Acid Chelate, Zinc Sulfate, Vegetable Juice for color, Ferrous Sulfate, Iron Amino Acid Chelate, Blueberries, Cranberries, Barley Grass, Parsley, Turmeric, Dried Kelp, Yucca Schidigera Extract, Niacin (Vitamin B3), Calcium Pantothenate (Vitamin B5), L-Ascorbyl-2-Polyphosphate (source of Vitamin C), L-Lysine, Copper Sulfate, Biotin (Vitamin B7), L-Carnitine, Vitamin A Supplement, Copper Amino Acid Chelate, Manganese Sulfate, Taurine, Manganese Amino Acid Chelate, Thiamine Mononitrate (Vitamin B1), Riboflavin (Vitamin B2), Vitamin D3 Supplement, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (Vitamin B6), Calcium Iodate, Dried Yeast, Dried Enterococcus faecium fermentation product, Dried Lactobacillus acidophilus fermentation product, Dried Aspergillus niger fermentation extract, Dried Trichoderma longibrachiatum fermentation extract, Dried Bacillus subtilis fermentation extract, Folic Acid (Vitamin B9), Sodium Selenite, Oil of Rosemary.
Other Great Options for Puppy Food
While these dog foods weren’t the best overall, they are still very popular and also a great choice for your puppy. They are packed with essential ingredients and work for the majority of dog breeds.
The Hill’s Science Diet Puppy Food is a great option for your young pet. The Hill’s Science Diet formula is focused on high quality protein that helps build strong and lean muscle. Recommended by Veterinarians, this Hill’s Science Diet recipe promotes strong teeth and strong bones with the added vitamins and minerals. Puppies are also in love with the flavor and cannot get enough.
Chicken Meal, Cracked Pearled Barley, Pork Meal, Whole Grain Wheat, Whole Grain Corn, Whole Grain Sorghum, Corn Gluten Meal, Pork Fat, Chicken Liver Flavor, Dried Beet Pulp, Fish Oil, Flaxseed, Lactic Acid, Pork Flavor, Soybean Oil, Dicalcium Phosphate, Iodized Salt, Potassium Chloride, L-Lysine, Choline Chloride, vitamins (Vitamin E Supplement, L-Ascorbyl-2-Polyphosphate (source of Vitamin C), Niacin Supplement, Thiamine Mononitrate, Vitamin A Supplement, Calcium Pantothenate, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Riboflavin Supplement, Biotin, Folic Acid, Vitamin D3 Supplement), minerals (Ferrous Sulfate, Zinc Oxide, Copper Sulfate, Manganous Oxide, Calcium Iodate, Sodium Selenite), Taurine, Oat Fiber, Mixed Tocopherols for freshness, Natural Flavors, Beta-Carotene, Apples, Broccoli, Carrots, Cranberries, Green Peas
The Royal Canin Small Breed Puppy dog food has the precise amount of nutrition needed for them at this stage in their life. This particular formula was made to build immune support, give them a healthy weight and maintain kidney health which is so important at this stage. The kibble size is perfect for puppies and has a satisfying texture for them as well as savory aroma.
Brewers rice, chicken by-product meal, chicken fat, wheat gluten, corn gluten meal, corn, dried plain beet pulp, natural flavors, fish oil, vegetable oil, sodium silico aluminate, monocalcium phosphate, potassium chloride, fructooligosaccharides, sodium tripolyphosphate, hydrolyzed yeast (source of betaglucans), calcium carbonate, salt, Yucca schidigera extract, DL-methionine, vitamins [DL-alpha tocopherol acetate (source of vitamin E), L-ascorbyl-2-polyphosphate (source of vitamin C), biotin, D-calcium pantothenate, vitamin A acetate, pyridoxine hydrochloride (vitamin B6), niacin supplement, folic acid, thiamine mononitrate (vitamin B1), vitamin B12 supplement, riboflavin supplement, vitamin D3 supplement], L-lysine, choline chloride, taurine, trace minerals [zinc proteinate, manganese proteinate, ferrous sulfate, zinc oxide, manganous oxide, copper sulfate, calcium iodate, sodium selenite, copper proteinate], marigold extract (Tagetes erecta L.), L-carnitine, carotene, rosemary extract, preserved with mixed tocopherols and citric acid.
The Rachael Ray Puppy Food is a nutritious and high quality recipe for puppies. It does not contain any poultry by-product, artificial flavors, artificial colors or preservatives. It is a natural food recipe with tons of vitamins and minerals that essential to dogs in this stage of their life. This is a complete and balanced meal that your puppy will love.
Chicken, Chicken Meal, Brown Rice, Soybean Meal, Whole Corn, Chicken Fat (Preserved with Mixed Tocopherols), Dried Peas, Fish Meal, Flaxseed, Carrots, Natural Flavor, Salt, Sunflower Oil, Menhaden Fish Oil (Preserved with Mixed Tocopherols), Dried Plain Beet Pulp, Taurine, Dicalcium Phosphate, Vitamin E Supplement, Choline Chloride, Ascorbic Acid (Source of Vitamin C), Ferrous Sulfate, Zinc Sulfate, Niacin, Vitamin A Supplement, Citric Acid (preservative), Copper Sulfate, Sodium Selenite, Thiamine Mononitrate, d-Calcium Pantothenate, Manganese Sulfate, Riboflavin Supplement, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Rosemary Extract, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Folic Acid, Calcium Iodate, Biotin, Vitamin D3 Supplement
Knowing When and How Often to Feed your Puppy
It is very important to establish a consistent routine for your puppy so that it can have proper time to digest it’s food throughout the day and night. Dog Owners typically agree that feeding you should feed your puppy 3 times per day.
Early Morning Feeding
Try to establish a time that suits you and your family schedule best. We recommend the early morning feeding to happen between 6:30am and 8:30am.
Mid Day Feeding
A mid day feeding time should be between 11:00am and 1:00pm. This should give 4-5 hours for your puppy to digest it’s morning feeding and work off some of those morning calories.
The evening feeding time should be between 4:00pm and 6:00pm. It depends on your schedule but it will give your puppy about 4 hours to digest before bedtime.
A good rule of thumb of when to feed your puppy is 4-5 hour intervals. That gives them ample time to digest their puppy food and work off some of the calories. Large breed puppies especially need time to work off the high fat diet they get as a puppy to avoid long term health concerns like Hip Dysplasia.
Consistent feeding times also help with early training and is important to establish while your puppy is young.
Understanding Which breeds are at greatest risk for Hip Dysplasia
As mentioned earlier, large breed puppies are at a greater risk of getting Hip Dysplasia. While Hip Dysplasia is heredity and could happen with most dog breeds, large breeds are at a greater risk. Here are the most common dog breed puppies at risk of getting Hip Dysplasia:
Making sure that you aren’t over feeding your puppies, especially large breed, will lower their risk of getting Hip Dysplasia.
When should I switch my puppy to adult food?
Adult dog food can start being introduced around 6-9 months. Some breeds should wait up to 1 year before moving to adult dog food. The most important factor in switching from puppy food to adult food is making sure that there is a transition. You want to slowly introduce healthy adult dog foods and make sure that your puppy is digesting it properly.
Adult Dogs are determined when your puppy has fully developed bones. Depending on the breed, it takes anywhere from 6 months to 2 years before puppies are considered adult dogs. Keeping that in mind will help you know when to transition the puppy to adult food.
Frequently Asked Questions
Which food is best for puppies?
Determining which is the best food for puppies depends on multiple factors like breed size and your puppies tolerance for certain brands and ingredients. It is very important to introduce new foods to your puppy gradually over time and make sure they are digesting properly.
What brand of puppy food do vets recommend?
Vets recommend the brand of puppy food that has the highest quality of ingredients and least amount of “fillers”. The best food for puppies include ingredients like fresh chicken instead of by product.
What’s the best dry food for my puppy?
We recommend the best dry food for your puppy to be Blue Buffalo Life Protection Puppy. Most puppies can digest this food easily, it is easy to chew and has the right puppy formula that they love.
What should I feed my 8 week old puppy?
An 8 week old puppy should be almost fully weaned off of their mother’s milk and introduced to either a wet food or dry food that their stomachs can digest easily. No matter the age of the puppy, they need to be introduced to new foods gradually.
What is best puppy food?
The best puppy food is what their digestive system can handle best. Finding the right puppy formula can vary based on their size, breed and individual tolerance. Pet parents should be aware that certain breeds cannot tolerate certain brands and should always be looking for what their puppy digests the best.
We need to make sure our puppies eat the best food so they can grow up healthy. In 2023, puppy food is getting better. There’s more natural food, and many puppies are eating food without grains. Our article talks about the best food choices we found.
These foods have good stuff like vitamins that help puppies grow right, make their tummies feel good, and keep their bones strong. But remember, every puppy is different. So always ask your vet what’s the best food for your puppy. This way, your puppy can be happy, healthy, and full of energy.