The puppy stage can end anywhere between 6 and 18 months depending mostly on the breed. During this time, the food of your puppy is crucial for their physical and mental development. The best dog food for puppies should be free of (or poor in) controversial chemicals like coloring agents and flavonoids, animal fats, carbohydrates, and anonymous meat ingredients. Moreover, the best puppy foods should be rich in meat protein – without compromising the fat-to-protein ratio, of course. We gathered the best-rated dry puppy foods available for online purchase and ordered them to the highest-rated while analyzing their ingredients and effects on puppies.
11. Orijen Grain-Free Puppy Hood – large breeds
The low-carb, low-glycemic formula incorporates cage-free chicken and turkey and nest laid eggs in their dry puppy food. This ensures a healthy amount of nourishing proteins and fats, as well as steady blood sugar levels, which give puppies the energy they need to develop properly. This product is manufactured in Canada from fresh, high-quality ingredients.
According to online reviews, puppies love this dry food and grow beautifully with it. Owners seem to highly appreciate the protein/carb ratio and its fiber content which helps with digestion. A customer praised this puppy food for how muscular, yet lean and trim his large breed dog grew. Nevertheless, a few customers mentioned this food tends to make their puppies gassy.
10. Blue Buffalo Wilderness High Protein Puppy Food – medium and large breeds
This puppy food is inspired by a young wolf’s diet and contains deboned chicken, fish, peas, tomatoes, flaxseed, potatoes, sweet potatoes, carrots, blueberries, and other natural ingredients. Also, this puppy food from Blue Wilderness also contains fatty acids found in a mother dog’s milk which helps with brain development and eyesight, animal proteins for muscle development, and a secret blend of calcium, phosphorus, and vitamins for bone development. This puppy food also contains omega fatty acids for a healthy and shiny coat and vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants for the immune system.
Most customers agree this is the best dog food for large breed puppies, especially those with a generous coat. Reviews state puppies have a healthy tonus and a beautiful shiny coat after just a month of use. Nevertheless, there are plenty of owners of small breed dogs that are just as satisfied with this product.
9. IAMS Proactive Health Puppy Food – small, medium, and large breeds
The IAMS puppy food is made from real chicken and eggs, omega-3 DHA for cognitive development, antioxidants for immunity, and calcium and essential minerals for bones and joints. This product is free of soy, wheat, fillers, artificial dyes, and preservatives. The rest of the ingredients vary regarding breed size.
Online reviews mention this food is softer than other brands, which makes it great for puppies weaned earlier than normal. The large breed selection seems to be much popular than the small breed, however. Some also note the compliments their pets received from vets regarding the healthy development and attitude.
8. Natural Balance Whole Body Health Puppy Food – small, medium, and large breeds
The puppy food from Natural Balance comes in 4.5, 14, and 28-pound bags and helps puppies develop strong immune systems, a healthy heart, good eyesight, and strong bones and teeth. The formula of this puppy food also helps puppies develop healthy skin and shiny coat. This puppy food contains chicken, brown rice, duck meal, peas, oats, carrots, egg, and colostrum for immunity.
Reviews mention this is one of the best puppy foods for both small and large breeds, noting its only downside is the high price. Even the pickiest eaters devoured this dry food in no time. Customers also appreciate this food contains high-quality proteins and antioxidants and are willing to pay more for it.
7. Taste of the Wild Grain-Free Puppy Food – large breeds
The puppy food from Taste of the Wild contains roasted venison, buffalo, wild boar, and lamb meat, potatoes, sweet potatoes, eggs, peas, and other essential ingredients lie fruits and vegetables in the diet of a high prairie puppy. This formula is inspired by a wolf’s diet and is, therefore, recommended to large breed puppies. This formula is rich in fibers and antioxidants which support digestion and immunity.
Online reviews for this puppy food praise it for how gentle it is to sensitive stomachs; many owners of sensitive puppies with easily irritable stomachs or digestive tracts stat this is one of the few foods their puppies can tolerate. Nevertheless, some also add it might have too much fiber for some breeds or puppies.
6. Purina Pro Plan Focus Puppy Food – large breeds
This dry puppy food from Purina contains high-quality proteins, glucosamine for healthy joints and cartilages, DHA for the brain and eyes, and antioxidants for the immune system. The nutrients come from sources like chicken, rice, dried egg, and peas.
Customers most appreciate the high quality and the reasonable price of this puppy food. Most reviews mention the healthy development of their puppies and the upbeat attitude. Moreover, this food seems ideal for puppies with food allergies as all owners of allergic puppies reported their puppies had no reaction. Of course, the list of ingredients is also appreciated by customers.
Note: Since you want to find out more about the best food for puppies, you might also want to look over our article on the best low maintenance dog breeds, as well as the one on the best toothbrushes for dogs of all ages and sizes!
5. Wellness CORE Natural Grain-Free Puppy Food – small, medium, and large breeds
The puppy formula from Wellness CORE is grain-free and rich in proteins from natural sources. Its ingredients include chicken and turkey and is completely free of meat byproducts, wheat, soy, corn, artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives.
According to customer reviews, this puppy food works for all breeds. Some customer reported it’s the only brand that doesn’t disturb their puppies’ stomachs. Another appreciates this product is free of beet pulp which is used by most brands as a filler ingredient and can cause tear coloration and digestive tract issues. All in all, this is one of the best dog foods for puppies that have digestive tract issues thanks to its formula that ensures optimal nutrient absorption.
4. Hill’s Science Diet Puppy Food – small, medium, and large breeds
This puppy food from Hill’s comes in 2 bite sizes: regular and small bites. This makes it appropriate for all dog breeds, no matter how small. It contains chicken and pork meal, wheat, corn, beet pulp, vitamins, and other essential ingredients. The manufacturer promises this puppy food contains at least 26% crude proteins, 16% crude fats, and up to 3% crude fiber. Also, every purchase contributes to feeding over 100,000 homeless pets every day.
Online reviews attest the high quality of this food and note the first improvement they observed was a more upbeat attitude in their dog and a much shinier and healthier looking coat. Customers also noticed significant improvements with their puppies’ digestion.
3. Eukanuba Dry Puppy Food – large breeds
The dry puppy food from Eukanuba is aimed at large breeds and contains fish oil which helps brain development and eases training, omega-3 and -6 fatty acids for healthy skin and luscious coats, and animal-based proteins for strong and lean muscles. These come from chicken, corn meal, dried eggs, fruit and vegetable extracts.
Customer reviews mention this product is devoured by the pickiest eaters. It’s also proven to help with digestive tract issues like diarrhea and has been named the best dog food for Labrador puppies by multiple users. Nevertheless, some others also highlighted this product contains corn and meat byproducts and corn meal, which are not the healthiest options for dogs.
2. Nature’s Recipe Grain-Free Dry Puppy Food – small, medium, and large breeds
The puppy food from Nature’s Recipe contains carbohydrates for energy, protein, vitamins, minerals, and nutrients for healthy brain, bone, and muscle development. This dry food also contains omega fatty acids which help their coat stay soft, shiny, and healthy. In addition, it is completely free of corn or grain byproducts, beef, and other ingredients commonly associated with food sensitivity, allergies, or indigestion.
According to customer reviews, this puppy food is great for sensitive puppies and breeds. One customer noted all of her puppy’s health issues (vomiting, loose stools, digestive tract infections, ear infections, and allergic reactions) came to an end when she switched to this brand.
1. Royal Canin Health Nutrition Puppy Food – small and medium breeds
Royal Canin is one of the best pet food brands of the decade, and their puppy food definitely rises up to their standards. This puppy food from Royal Canin is the best dog food for puppies from small breeds thanks to the formula that maintains digestive health, gives the puppy the energy it needs, takes care of the teeth, and fortifies the immune system. The manufacturer recommends this food for puppies up to 10 months old. This food gets its active ingredients from chicken meal, beet pulp, corn, fruit and vegetable extracts.
Most reviewers acknowledge this food has a few ingredients that are not ideal for puppies or dogs in general; however, they also mention it other ingredients make up for it since it’s one of the few that can be tolerated by puppies with highly sensitive stomachs. Some other customers also noticed their puppies got rid of dry skin bumps and rashes with this food.
These were the best-rated dry puppy foods on the market in 2018; the best dog food for puppies overall is Royal Canin. Nevertheless, Nature’s Recipe and Eukanuba seem to battle for the title of the most natural dog food for puppies. Do you have other suggestions?