Top Pick: Purina Pro Plan
Why We Chose It:
- Rich in protein.
- Supports digestive and immune system.
- Good for growing bones and teeth.
- Weight of 34 pounds.
- Dry food.
- High-protein diet.
Becoming the owner of a new puppy means learning more about dogs than you might have ever really wanted to know. You’ll learn all of the little things that make a dog’s lifecycle so special, including what steps you’ll have to take to ensure that your puppy grows up in a healthy way. One of the biggest things you’ll have to keep an eye on is your dog’s diet, especially when he or she is just starting to eat solid food. Caring for a puppy inevitably means spending some time learning about puppy foods.
Wondering which dog food is the best for your little one? The good news is that we’re here to help you with that journey. We’ve researched the various highest-rated brands on the market to find the best kinds of foods that will help your puppy to thrive and point you to the best place buy those same foods. Whether you’re looking for something all-natural or just something that tastes great, this list will help you out.
Best Puppy Foods in 2021
It’s important to remember that while there are a number of really great puppy foods out there, not all of them are going to help your puppy in the same way. We’ve compiled this list of the best dog food options for puppies, each of which has its own unique spin on the same general set of goals. Take a look at all of them to decide which will best fit your puppy’s needs.
Purina Pro Plan Puppy Chicken & Rice Formula Dry Dog Food
- Builds muscle through the use of high-quality protein ingredients like chicken, meal, and more
- Fish oil helps to promote brain and eye health
- Probiotics are great for helping your puppy’s gut health
- Uses several minerals to help promote healthy bone growth
One of the major reasons why puppies need their own special type of pet food is that puppies are still growing. They don’t have the same type of metabolism as their older counterparts and they dedicate an awful lot of their energy towards growing. That’s why it’s important to find a good puppy food that will help your young dog to grow up in a healthy manner. Luckily, Purina has a great dry dog food that really does include everything your puppy needs to stay healthy.
If you take a look at the list of ingredients in this chow, you’ll notice that virtually every ingredient plays a role in a specific type of puppy growth. The high-quality proteins from the chicken, meal, and more help to build muscle, while the probiotics help your dog’s stomach health. There are even ingredients that focus on bone growth and eye health, all working together to make sure that your puppy gets everything that he or she needs. Taken as a whole, this product is clearly one of the better foods on the market for those who are concerned both about the growth of their puppies as well as their overall health.
Great ingredients are always important to dog owners but puppies don’t really care what’s in their food. Instead, your puppy cares more about how the food tastes. The chicken, meal, and rice flavors are formulated to keep your puppy eating, as it is both reminiscent of natural flavors and still mild enough that it’s not going to cause a puppy any harm. This food really does do it all, helping you to feel comfortable with what your puppy is eating while still working as food that your puppy is going to love to eat. That’s why we’ve ranked it as the best dogs food available today.
Blue Buffalo Wilderness Puppy Chicken Recipe Grain-Free Dry Dog Food
- Grain-free, high-protein ingredients with deboned chicken as the primary ingredient
- Helps to encourage lean muscle development
- Great for the development of your puppy’s brain and eyes
- Has a blend of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants to promote a healthy immune system
Blue Buffalo gets a lot of credit for bringing the idea of all-natural ingredients into the mainstream, and it does probably deserve a lot of praise for doing so. While most people tend to look at this Blue Buffalo brand as something for older dogs, the truth is that the company does have some of the best options for puppy food as well. You’ll not only get the kind of quality that you have come to expect from Blue Buffalo but you’ll also get everything that you need to ensure that your puppy gets to grow up to big strong and healthy. This is a grain-free food that does it all.
Like most puppy food, this grain-free product with deboned chicken is formulated to do a lot for your puppy with each bite. It helps to encourage lean muscle development, which is vital for your puppy’s long-term growth. It’s also designed to help your puppy’s eyesight and even his or her brain – the grain-free food has ingredients that support your puppy’s capacity for learning. There are even a variety of ingredients in this mix that will help to support the strengthening of your puppy’s immune system (such as deboned chicken and chicken meal), something that’s going to play a huge role in the quality of life that your dog experiences as he or she grows up.
As far as taste is concerned, your puppy should be quite happy. Since deboned chicken is the primary ingredient, it’s probably going to be harder to keep your puppy away from the food than you might imagine. With that said, it’s still a healthy, grain-free dog food that you’re going to feel comfortable letting your dog eat (who doesn’t like deboned chicken, after all?). This chow manages to do a lot of good all at once, helping your dog to grow while letting you relax at the same time. If you need a good all-in-one food, this might be among the best foods for dog owners and puppies alike.
Hill’s Science Diet Puppy Healthy Development Small Bites Dry Dog Food
- Recommended for puppies under one year old
- DHA from fish oil helps your puppy’s eye development as well as his or her learning ability
- Great for boosting your puppy’s immune system
- No artificial colors, flavors, or other preservatives
If you’ve ever been to a vet, you’ve probably seen Hill’s Science Diet in the waiting room. Food that’s frequently recommended by veterinarians, it’s one of the best-known foods for dogs who have very specific dietary needs. It should come as no surprise, then, that Hill’s does have a special formula for puppies under one year old. This formula, much like the rest of Hill’s other dog foods, really does contain everything that you’ll need to ensure that your dog’s diet is precisely tuned for his or her needs. The best news is that it’s not only food that’s good for your dog, but also a food that your dog will gladly eat.
The ingredients list here is pretty impressive. It has DHA from fish oil to help your dog’s eye development and cognitive abilities, plenty of protein from the chicken meal to boost muscle growth, and vitamins and minerals that will help to boost your puppy’s immune system. It seems like everything in this food is geared towards helping your puppy to grow up as healthy as possible, with an eye towards not only your dog’s puppy years but also its long-term health. This is a food that really does feel like it will give your dog a good start in life.
With that said, it’s also a chow that you can feel comfortable feeding your dog all the time. There are, for example, no preservatives in this food. Nor are there are artificial flavors or food coloring. Despite everything that’s packed into this meal, it’s a food that’s going to be easy on your puppy’s stomach. Your puppy will love the taste of the chicken meal, of course, but you will love the fact that you won’t have to deal with a sick puppy every time that he or she eats.
Royal Canin Small Puppy Dry Dog Food
- Formulated for smaller puppies under the age of ten months
- Designed for maximum nutrient absorption so that your puppy can digest the food easily
- Created to ensure that your puppy’s energy needs are met
- Kibble formula also helps with your puppy’s dental health
What do you feed a pup early on? After your dog has been weaned, you’re going to have to move to dog foods that are formulated for puppies. During the early part of this process, you’ll be specifically looking at dog foods that won’t hurt your dog’s stomach. If your goal is to find something that’s going to meet all of your puppy’s energy needs while still giving the puppy a chance to digest the food easily, you might want to take a look at this product from Royal Canin.
Royal Canin already has a great reputation in the pet food world, but this puppy food is really a step above most of its well-received products. Formulated with chicken meal for maximum nutrient absorption, it’s a food that does a spectacular job of delivering the maximum amount of calories to your dog without creating too much waste. The end result of this is that it’s going to cause your dog less stomach pain and lead to fewer accidents, all while ensuring that your dog keeps growing up to be healthy.
Every bit of this dog food feels like it was designed with puppies in mind. Even the shape of the kibble is made to help your puppy’s teeth, a nice extra that anyone who has ever had to brush a dog’s teeth will appreciate. This is an ideal chow to choose when you’re trying to feed a pup for the first ten months or so of its life and a great first step towards solid food for your pup.
Purina ONE SmartBlend Large Breed Puppy Formula Dry Dog Food
- No fillers – just wholesome ingredients including chicken and chicken meal
- Includes extra protein for growing large-breed puppies
- Crafted to be easy on your puppy’s stomach
- No preservatives, no artificial colors or flavors
It’s easy to forget that puppies of large breeds who have just moved on to solid food are still pretty new at the whole process of eating. While many dog owners understand that this means that they need small bites of dry puppy chow, some forget that it’s a rough switch from milk to solids. As such, it’s generally best to be on the lookout for dog food that’s not only going to help your puppy to grow into a bigger, stronger but one that won’t hurt his or her stomach during this tender time. Fortunately, this PurinaOne blend for large breeds does just that.
One of the big selling points here is that this dog food is easy on your pet’s stomach. Part of that comes from the fact that there are not any preservatives, artificial colors, or artificial flavors in the mix. The dog food is carefully balanced in order to provide the right kind of nutrition for large breeds without causing digestive issues, something that most dog owners will love. If you’ve ever had to deal with a sick puppy, you know that the clean-up process can be a little more involved than most might think so choosing chow that eliminates this problem is always ideal.
In addition to being a great chow for digestive health, this is also one of the great puppy foods for large breeds that are precisely tuned for puppies that are going to grow into the big dogs. It has plenty of protein that will support muscle growth and has enough calories that it will support a growing pup’s needs. While most of the dry puppy foods on this list are intended for puppies of all breeds, this might be the best dog food choice for those who are raising dogs of large breeds. With the right ingredients, you can help your little pup grow up a little more easily.
Nutro Wholesome Essentials Large Breed Puppy Farm-Raised Chicken, Brown Rice & Sweet Potato Recipe Dry Dog Food
- Designed to help large-breed puppies joint health
- The first ingredient is farm-raised chicken, other ingredients include chicken meal, brown rice, and sweet potato
- Helps to build strong bones thanks to extra calcium and fatty acids
- Contains no artificial colors or flavors, no chicken by-products, no preservatives, and no GMOs
Large-breed puppies aren’t the same as other puppies. While everyone loves a cute newborn, it’s important to remember that these dogs get big quickly. Unfortunately, this means that these puppies need a lot more energy in order to grow to their full potential – that’s where the brown rice and sweet potato come in. If you have a large-breed puppy, it is vital that you choose a large-breed puppy dog food. One of the best on the market comes from Nutro and gives your puppy everything he or she needs to grow in a healthy manner.
A huge focus of this food is on joint health and for good reason – bigger dogs tend to have joint problems as they get older, so ensuring they have strong joints early on is a good way to head off problems later down the road. With this said, it’s not just joint health you have to worry about so this chow does go a long way towards working on other potential problems like general bone health and the basic caloric needs of large-breed dogs.
Though this is very focused food for puppies, it’s still a food that’s focused on providing healthy eating experiences. That means that the primary ingredient is meat and that all of the secondary ingredients (such as chicken meal, brown rice, and sweet potato) are still incredibly nutritious. There are no fillers, no preservatives, and no artificial flavors or colors in this dry puppy food. There are just the ingredients that are going to help your puppy make it through its awkward puppy years and into adulthood.
Taste of the Wild Pacific Stream Puppy Formula Grain-Free Dry Dog Food
- Made with real salmon as the primary ingredient, followed by other whole foods
- Supports puppy health, including muscle growth
- No preservatives, artificial color, grain, corn, wheat, or other fillers (grain-free)
- Uses a proprietary probiotic blend to help with puppies’ digestion
It’s never a bad idea to make sure that your puppy gets a more natural diet. Not only will this be great for your dog’s health in the long-term, but it will also go a long way towards ensuring that your puppy grows up to be big and strong. If you are in the market for a grain-free food that’s going to really promote your puppy’s growth while still having natural ingredients, you’ll love this puppy recipe from Taste of the Wild.
Taking a look at the ingredients list is going to tell you a lot about this grain-free dry puppy food. The easiest thing to see from both the name of the chow and the ingredients list is that this is a grain-free dog food for puppies based around salmon. That means that the chow is full of antioxidants and amino acids that aren’t terribly common in dry food but that can do your pup a lot of good. You’ll also notice that there are a lot of things that you won’t find in this grain-free food – there’s no wheat or grain, nor are there any artificial colors or flavors. This is a natural dry puppy food that is great for your growing hound.
With all the marketing in this product going towards how it helps your puppy’s health, you may wonder if it’s actually a chow that your puppy will eat. The best news is that the use of foods like salmon as the primary ingredient actually means that puppies prefer the taste of this grain-free chow. Though it’s a bit different than some of the other dry foods on the market, it’s one that puppies have consistently eaten when given the opportunity. Consider this Taste Of The WIld product a grain-free food that tastes great and that will be great for your puppy.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the best dog food for puppies?
The best dog food for puppies is going to vary by the individual puppy. General puppy foods are the best place to start, of course, but you’ll want to go a little farther than that if you’re looking for the best dog food (for example, something specifically formulated for large breeds or small breed puppies). Find something that has a good mix of great ingredients, the right vitamins and minerals, good taste, and the extra ingredients needed to promote growth and health. If you are willing to do your homework, you should be able to find a dog food that’s not only going to keep your puppy full but that will help him or her to stay healthy.
What puppy food do vets recommend?
There are as many different dog foods recommended by vets as there are vets, so it’s hard to pin down one that is going to be recommended by everyone. The general consensus, though, is that those foods that promote healthy growth and immune systems tend to be better for puppies than those that are just focused on the calorie count. Many vets like foods that have all-natural ingredients, though there are some that are simply more concerned with vitamin and mineral content. You can also find food that are specifically formulated for large breeds or small breed puppies. It’s always best to ask your vet what he or she thinks before shopping.
What baby food is good for puppies?
The best foods for puppies are those foods that are specifically made for puppies. While there are quite a few fantastic dog food brands out there, you definitely need to find something that’s meant for puppies. In fact, it’s even better to find a puppy food that is specifically meant for puppies that are in your dog’s age bracket and that are of a similar size – large breeds and small breed puppies alike. The more specific you can get with your puppy food, the better the chance you’ll have of ensuring that your puppy grows up to be healthy.
Don’t just grab any puppy food, though. You definitely want to find something that’s meant to promote better health and growth. Some foods that are marketed as puppy foods are just dog foods cut into smaller bites, which will give your dog a basic level of nutrition but might not give him or her everything that he or she really needs to grow.
What is the best puppy food for small breeds?
The best puppy foods for smaller breeds tend to be those foods that are geared towards building strong immune systems, good metabolisms, and healthy cognitive functions. Most small breed dog food does tend to have less of a focus on building up lean muscle than those foods meant for larger breeds, but most of these foods do still pack in more calories per bite in order to ensure that small breed puppies have everything they need to grow.
It’s never a bad idea to look at a chow that’s specifically made for puppies of your breed’s size. These foods generally tend to be more focused on what your pup needs to get to his or her appropriate size without packing in too many extras. If you can’t find a size-specific chow, look for something that’s generally focused on puppy health instead.
Puppy Food Buying Guide
What makes a good puppy food? There are enough commercials out there touting healthy, high-quality ingredients and special formulas to confuse anyone, especially when so many of the preferred puppy food brands don’t actually get all that much press. This buying guide is designed to help consumers figure out what’s actually important in puppy food, with an eye towards helping individual pup owners figure out the factors that separate the best foods on the market from those that should be left on the shelf. If you’re trying to figure out which food is best for your puppy, you definitely need to take a look at this guide.
The best place to start with your puppy food is with the ingredient list. You always want to get something that’s wholesome for your pup, especially when you are trying to get through the difficult puppy months. The great news is that most foods geared towards puppies have high-quality ingredients that are specialized for growth like chicken meal and brown rice, but you want to also make sure that you’re looking to avoid those ingredients that aren’t great for your dog.
For most dog owners, this usually means trying to get as far away from useless fillers as possible. Look for foods that are low on byproducts and things like wheat or corn. While there is usually a certain amount of filler in any dog food, doing your best to find something that lists real meat as the primary ingredient will usually give your puppy a better experience.
Another large thing at which you should look is the purpose of the dog food. Simply put, every puppy needs to be put on a diet that is specifically geared for puppies. While they can definitely get nutrition from regular dog food, puppy-specific foods are usually going to be much better for their development. Every puppy food we discussed on our list of the best puppy foods is specifically geared towards puppies, but you may want to go even further by seeking out foods that might be more specifically tailored for your dog.
There are dozens of different specialized puppy foods out there. If you are looking to feed a big breed puppy, you can find foods that are perfect for him or her by getting a puppy food tailored for large breeds. If you’re worried about your puppy’s digestive health, on the other hand, you can track down chow that is easier to digest. If your pup has any specific needs when it comes to nutrition, you might also want to talk to your vet to figure out if there are any foods that can do more to help your puppy.
While specialized foods are great at helping you figure out how to do something positive for your dog, you’re going to need to put in a little extra work to figure out how to avoid doing harm. At a basic level, this means that you’re going to have to read the lists of ingredients on the back of the can or box to figure out if there’s anything in the chow that might hurt your puppy. The average pup is going to be fine with pretty much anything that has a puppy food label, but those with specific dietary restrictions are going to take a little more effort to feed.
It’s also best to make sure that you are buying the right kind of puppy food for your specific pup. There are certain foods that are made for puppies that are just weaned and these foods might not be great for older puppies. Similarly, feeding a large breed dog food that’s meant for smaller breeds really won’t do as much to help your pup to grow up big and strong. Try to match the type of dog food your buy with your puppy’s needs so that you don’t feed him or her something meant for another kind of dog.
This is a big one, especially for those dog owners who aren’t all that fond of dealing with specific kinds of chow. Most puppy food is softer than what big dogs eat but you’re still ultimately going to have to make a choice between dry food and wet food. Both have some great selling points, but this one is going to have to come down to what you feel comfortable feeding your dog and what your dog is actually going to eat. Remember, what you start your pup with is likely going to have an impact on the rest of your dog’s life.
Kibble is a great choice if you know that you’re going to stick with it going forward, but try to find smaller bites that are specifically formulated for puppies. Wet food or canned food can be a little harder to serve, but you’ll often find a better ingredient list. It’s not a bad idea to get your pup on a mix of the two early on so that you can figure out which way to go as he or she makes the transition over to chow meant for adult dogs.
Taste and Comfort
Finally, try to think about the food that’s easiest for your pup to eat and that he or she will actually enjoy. Puppies will generally start off eating just about anything but most develop some particular tastes as time goes by. If your pup won’t eat specific chow, don’t try to force it – instead, switch to something else and see if there is a change in your dog’s behavior. It’s always important for dog owners to keep the preferences of their furry friends in mind, especially when it comes to things as important as a dog’s diet.