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We Tested the 7 Best Dog Foods for Puppies & Ranked Them

Of all the decisions you’ll face as a dog owner, there are few more important than the type of food you provide for your dog. 

There’s a lot to consider when it comes to finding the right food for your pup, and as fellow puppy owners, we’ve been there. It can be quite a stressful process, and the fact that there are so many options to choose from makes things even more difficult.

So we decided to compile a list of the best dog foods for puppies currently available, that way you don’t have to. Here are our top 7 picks for puppy food!

Need more puppy supplies? We reviewed the Best Puppy Pads in a complete guide.

Our Top Picks

  Product Details    
01 Blue Buffalo Puppy Food Best Overall: Blue Buffalo Puppy Food With Blue Buffalo, you can always know that your dogs’ health is in good hands. This recipe was crafted purely to help sensitive dogs of all ages at a reasonable price.  Check Price
02 Hill’s Science Diet Dry Dog Food Best Recipe for the Money: Hill’s Science Diet Dry Dog Food This alternative is a vet-recommended, AAFCO approved, highly recommended dog food brand that has recipes for dogs of a wide variety of breeds, sizes, and ages. Check Price
03 Purina Pro Plan Large Breed Dry Dog Food For Large Breed Dogs: Purina Pro Plan Large Breed Dry Dog Food Made by a brand known for its meticulously crafted recipes and great ingredients, Purina introduces a recipe specifically for large breed dogs. This food will ensure that your growing puppy gets the nutrients it needs to grow healthily and happily. Check Price
04 Wellness Complete Health Natural Dry Dog Food For Small Breed Dogs: Wellness Complete Health Natural Dry Dog Food Smaller dogs have certain dietary needs too. Wellness Complete Health understands this struggle and has an all-natural and healthy approach to its products. If you have a smaller pup at home, you will certainly want to give this one a try. Check Price
05 Iams Puppy Dry Dog Food Most Affordable Option: Iams Puppy Dry Dog Food This dog food brand always makes sure its recipes are filled with enough nutrients and protein to help your puppy grow as best as it can. Also, being a very affordable brand, some dog owners (and dogs) just can’t say no to this product.  Check Price
06 Nutro Natural Choice Puppy Dry Dog Food Best Holistic/Non-GMO Option: Nutro Natural Choice Puppy Dry Dog Food This recipe will certainly supply your pup with the vitamins and nutrients it needs and is a great option for puppies who don’t like typical dry dog food. Check Price

How We Tested the Different Types of Puppy Food

puppy laying next to food bowl
Puppies need the right nutrition to grow and maintain their health.

When we started our mission, we researched the question, “What does it mean for a puppy to truly be healthy?” We wanted to know what to look for to ensure that our puppies were getting the essential nutrients they needed in their diets.

Our research led us to these 5 main health principles: 

  • Immune Health
  • Healthy Digestion
  • Joint and Bone Health
  • Healthy Skin and Coat
  • Clean Teeth and Mouth

This research method was perfect for helping us answer our questions. It showed us what we should be paying attention to while providing an accurate system to help us record our results. 

From there, we started our search for the best dog foods for puppies. This led us to many different brands, each offering different nutrients, and quality. We also made sure to note the prices and value for each variety. 

Blue Buffalo, a very popular dog food manufacturer, was one that we were very excited to try. Founded in 2002, this company has built up a broad variety of dog food for furry pets of all ages, nutritional needs, and diets.

It was important to us that we find an alternative with widely affordable options as sometimes dog food can be expensive. This led us to Iams. They’re a widely-known and trusted brand that offers quality, consistency, and affordability.

Hill’s Pet Nutrition was a highly popular brand that came up a lot in our research. They’re a vet-recommended brand that offers a well-calculated blend of vitamins and nutrients in their recipes that will 100% meet your pet’s food requirements. 

We also made sure to hear some intake from the dog owner community online, honing in on reviews and recommendations shared on popular shopping sites such as Chewy and Amazon. This information was very helpful for formulating our list.

We came across many different options but eventually settled with 15 different types of puppy food. We fed each of these foods to our puppies for one month each to gain better insight into each product and 7 came out on top.

Here’s what we discovered.

Read our related article on How to Soften Dog Food. Puppies may need a little help breaking down their food — check out this guide to learn more.

Best Dog Foods for Puppies

1. Best Overall: Blue Buffalo Puppy Food

01 Blue Buffalo Puppy Food

Product Ratings

Immune Health4.4/5
Healthy Digestion3.8/5
Joint and Bone Health4.2/5
Healthy Skin and Coat4/5
Clean Teeth and Mouth4.5/5

Type: Dry formula with LifeSource Bits | Design: Puppy | First 3 ingredients: Deboned chicken, chicken meal, brown rice | Best for: Puppies of all breeds | Price: $$$

What We Liked: 

  • Value-sized 30-pound bag
  • Real meat as the first ingredient
  • Packed with vitamins and minerals 

What We Didn’t Like: 

  • Not all dogs like the Lifesource Bits
  • It can cause diarrhea in some dogs

The Blue Buffalo Company is a serious contender in the dog food industry with good reason. This puppy food showed good results in our dogs and provided an all-around healthy, nutritious, and affordable recipe with a great value for the price.

What’s in the Food?

This kibble is filled with proprietary LifeSource Bits. These extra pieces of kibble are rich in antioxidants that ensure your dog’s strong and healthy immune system. They are prepared with all-natural ingredients and no fillers or artificial flavorings.

Real chicken is featured as the first ingredient in this recipe, followed by healthy fruits and grains such as: 

  • Brown Rice 
  • Oatmeal 
  • Barley
  • Cranberries
  • Blueberries 

These foods provide a powerful combination of proteins and omega 3 fatty acids, potassium, and magnesium. Fiber, a crucial aspect of any dog’s diet, is also prevalent in this dog food. 

Health Benefits of This Recipe

The chicken in this ingredient list promotes healthy muscle growth in dogs to grow big and strong. Many essential fatty acids within this recipe help support your puppy’s brain and eye development.  

How Our Dogs Reacted to it 

We found positive results relatively quickly with this brand compared to the other ones we tried. They seemed to really enjoy the flavor of the food and couldn’t get enough of it. The only issue we ran into was some minor diarrhea as they adjusted to the food.

We thought that the size of this kibble was perfect. Some types of dog food we’ve tried in the past have been too big for our dogs’ little jaws. So it was so great to see our puppies of all shapes and sizes able to enjoy it without any trouble.

What Other Customers Had to Say

We found many reviews claiming that the food was fine, but the quality of the kibble wasn’t always consistent. Some dog owners thought that the food was a bit expensive, but all could agree that it was worth it for the price.


2. Best Recipe for the Money: Hill’s Science Diet Dry Dog Food 

02 Hill’s Science Diet Dry Dog Food

Product Ratings

Immune Health4.25
Healthy Digestion4.1/5
Joint and Bone Health4/5
Healthy Skin and Coat4.5/5
Clean Teeth and Mouth4.5/5

Type: Dry chicken and barley formula | Design: Growth | First 3 ingredients: Chicken meal, whole grain wheat, barley | Best for: Puppies of all breeds | Price: $$$ 

What We Liked:

  • Vet-recommended food
  • Made with all-natural ingredients
  • Supports growth and immune system

What We Didn’t Like:

  • More filler than we would have liked
  • More expensive than other options
  • The bag that the food comes in isn’t robust so it tears easily

Hill’s Pet Nutrition is a popular veterinarian-recommended brand known for its nutrient-dense recipes and high-quality ingredients. This is a dog food that you can trust in and confidently purchase, knowing that all your dog’s nutritional needs will be met.  

What’s in the Food?

The ingredient combination of this recipe is one of the main reasons this dog food is so highly-recommended.

Some of the main ingredients include: 

  • Chicken Meal
  • Cracked Pearled Barley
  • Pork Meal
  • Fish Oil

High-quality protein serves as the core essence of this recipe. This dog food has clinically proven antioxidants to help promote a strong and healthy immune system. There are also apples, broccoli, carrots, cranberries, and green peas included as well.

Hill’s Pet values the transition puppies go through as they grow into adulthood, and it shows in the quality of their recipes. The bags of this food that we bought from our local pet store were always fresh and in excellent condition, which was very helpful.

Health Benefits of This Recipe

This recipe was designed with precise nutrition to support your puppy’s shiny coat and healthy skin. The fish oil in this recipe contains DHA, an essential component and a crucial role in developing a puppy’s central nervous system. 

The balanced array of minerals in this dog food encourages healthy bones and teeth in your puppy.

How Our Dogs Reacted to it

After about a week and a half of feeding our dogs this food, we noticed that their coats did become more shiny and glorious. Their stools were also solid and healthy, which was a relief.

Our dogs enjoyed this food so much that even the leftover crumbs had them vying over the last bite. We like this brand because there isn’t a strong smell to it, which has deterred some of our more sensitive puppies in the past.

What Other Customers Had to Say

We found most customers appear happy with this food’s results for their dogs. Many dog owners were happy with the lack of dyes and preservatives in this recipe. The main issue most had with this food was that it was a bit expensive.


3. Best for Large Breed Dogs: Purina Pro Plan Large Breed Dry Dog Food

03 Purina Pro Plan Large Breed Dry Dog Food

Product Ratings

Immune Health4.4/5
Healthy Digestion4.4/5
Joint and Bone Health4.5/5
Healthy Skin and Coat4.3/5
Clean Teeth and Mouth4/5

Type: Dry chicken and rice formula | Design: Large breeds | First 3 ingredients: Chicken, rice, corn gluten meal | Best for: Large breed puppies | Price: $$

What We Liked:

  • Protein from real chicken
  • Fish oil for brain and vision
  • Supports joint health

What We Didn’t Like:

  • Occasional issues with consistency
  • For large breed puppies only
  • Not all puppies like it

Every dog has unique dietary needs, especially large breed dogs. For this essential requirement, we looked to Purina, an established and beloved dog food brand that has been on the market for more than 80 years. 

What’s in the Food?

This recipe features a dry chicken and rice formula, the main source of protein in this dog food.

There’s also plenty of: 

  • Vitamin A 
  • Omega 6 
  • Fish Oil 
  • Pea Fiber

Each serving of this food contains 26% protein and 12% fat, which will most certainly support an appropriate growth rate in your puppy. We also liked the addition of live probiotics in this recipe, which is always great to see in dog food recipes.

Health Benefits of This Recipe

The ingredients in this list are great together and individually, making this dog food stand out. This product is fortified with minerals like calcium and phosphorus to help your dog develop strong bones and teeth.

This dog food is high in protein, with chicken being the first ingredient. There is also glucosamine added which supports your pup’s developing joints. The live probiotics and antioxidants in this recipe promote digestive and immune health. 

How Our Dogs Reacted to It

Our puppies really enjoyed this food and didn’t have any issues getting used to it. By the end of the month, we noticed their coats became quite soft and that they were thriving. They were active, happy, full of energy, and had no stomach issues either.

We actually ended up using individual pieces of this kibble as training treats because our dogs loved this food so much. 

What Other Customers Had to Say

Many customers claimed that this food helped with their dogs’ stomach problems. Many liked how Purina is open about its ingredients and guaranteed analysis of its products. Most reviewers raved over the affordable price of this food, as well. 


4. Best for Small Breed Dogs: Wellness Complete Health Natural Dry Dog Food

04 Wellness Complete Health Natural Dry Dog Food

Product Ratings

Immune Health4.1/5
Healthy Digestion4/5
Joint and Bone Health3.9/5
Healthy Skin and Coat4.5/5
Clean Teeth and Mouth4/5

Type: Dry formula with super nutrients | Design: Puppy | First 3 ingredients: Deboned turkey, chicken meal, oatmeal | Best for: Small breed puppies | Price: $$

What We Liked:

  • Promotes skin and coat health
  • Non-GMO ingredients
  • High quality Protein
  • Great price

What We Didn’t Like: 

  • Some dogs had an issue with the kibble size
  • Strong fishy smell
  • Some dogs needed more food than recommended on the bag

If you have a small breed puppy at home, you’ll definitely want to check out this dog food. All dogs must get the proper nutrients they need in their diet, regardless of size or breed. 

Wellness Complete Health Natural is a brand that understands the importance of nutrition. Since 2000 they have worked hard to provide and supply a healthy and natural array of recipes for all dogs, even the little guys.

What’s in the Food?

This food mainly consists of deboned turkey, chicken meal, and oatmeal. Which provides an excellent source of protein and fiber.

Some other ingredients we found were:

  • Salmon Meal
  • Barley
  • Carrots
  • Spinach
  • Blueberries

One of our favorite parts of this recipe was the lack of meat by-products, fillers, or artificial preservatives. Another ingredient in this food we appreciated was ground flaxseed, which contains several key nutrients your dog needs to stay healthy.

Health Benefits of This Recipe

This dog food was designed to support the unique dietary needs of smaller dogs with nutrient-rich, high-quality ingredients. Thanks to the turkey and various grains in this ingredient list, there is plenty of good protein in this recipe.

The spinach and blueberries in this food variety are rich in antioxidants that help promote a strong immune system in your dog. The ground flaxseed is also omega-rich and enables your dog to grow a more shiny and healthy coat.

READ MORE: Best Dog Foods With Grains. We tested the top dog foods that include grains for a well-balanced canine diet!

How Our Dogs Reacted to it

Our smaller breed puppies loved the food, and while it did have a potent fishy-smelling odor, they didn’t seem to mind. This dog food was gentle on their digestive system, some of our puppies have sensitive stomachs, but we had no issues with this food.

Our puppies’ fur coats did get quite shiny and luxurious through our test trials with this food. We noticed their state of well-being had improved, and they were very happy, especially when it was dinner time.

What Other Customers Had to Say

Most found that the size of the kibble was a great size for their dogs, while some found that the kibble was too small. It seemed to be an issue that some dogs had while others didn’t, but our dogs were happy with the kibble size.

This product has a lot of good reviews based on the wholesome ingredients and the consistency of the food quality. A few people said their dogs had an issue with the smell, but generally, most dogs seemed to enjoy it.


5. Most Affordable Option: Iams Puppy Dry Dog Food

05 Iams Puppy Dry Dog Food

Product Ratings

Immune Health3.9/5
Healthy Digestion3.7/5
Joint and Bone Health4/5
Healthy Skin and Coat4.3/5
Clean Teeth and Mouth4/5

Type: Dry formula with chicken | Design: Puppy | First 3 ingredients: Chicken, whole grain corn, chicken by-product meal | Best for: Puppies of all breeds | Price: $$

What We Liked:

  • Turkey meals sourced in USA
  • Minimal ingredient list
  • Great results in a short amount of time
  • Helps with sensitive tummies
  • Promotes healthy, shiny fur 

What We Didn’t Like:

  • Not good for dogs with sensitive stomachs
  • Contains chicken byproduct 
  • Also contains preservatives

Iams is one of the most well-known dog food varieties, the nutrient profiles in their recipes are pretty good. They’re known for their affordable options and their brand is recommended by vets all over the U.S. 

This product was one that we heard a lot about and it had some great reviews so we were very interested to give it a try. 

What’s in the Food?

The first ingredient of this food is real, farm-raised chicken followed by whole grain corn. This recipe is made with 22 key nutrients found like those in mother’s milk.

We also found:

  • Fish Oil
  • Carrots
  • Ground Whole Grain Sorghum

As you can see, this dog food variety doesn’t have many ingredients in it compared to the other options on this list, but it still has the necessary protein and nutrients to help your puppy on its journey to becoming an adult.

Health Benefits of This Recipe

We loved to see fish oil in this ingredient list because it can provide healthy eye development for a growing puppy. The omega-3 DHA in fish oil also promotes neural growth and healthy cognition, leading to smarter, more trainable puppies. 

There’s plenty of chicken within this recipe to help supply your dog with the protein it needs. This food is designed to meet the nutritional needs of all dog breed types. 

How Our Dogs Reacted to It

Our dogs seemed to enjoy this food, but they didn’t seem as excited about eating like they were with the other alternatives on this list. Nonetheless, they enjoyed the food and didn’t have any issues eating it.

The only issue we ran into was that it gave some of our more sensitive dogs diarrhea and seemed to be upsetting their stomachs. Only a couple of our dogs had this problem, while all the other puppies were in good health and energetic. 

We liked this food because it helped some of our more underweight puppies get up to speed. It seemed that they were growing up right before our eyes throughout our trial.

What Other Customers Had to Say

This food is well respected by many customers, and many people love this product, especially for the price and value. While most reviews were good, some had issues with the ingredients on this list, such as chicken by-products, preservatives, and corn filler.


6. Best Holistic/Non-GMO Option: Nutro Natural Choice Puppy Dry Dog Food

06 Nutro Natural Choice Puppy Dry Dog Food

Product Ratings

Immune Health4.2/5
Healthy Digestion4.5/5
Joint and Bone Health4.1/5
Healthy Skin and Coat4/5
Clean Teeth and Mouth4/5

Type: Dry formula with chicken | Design: Puppy | First 3 ingredients: Chicken, chicken meal, brewer’s rice | Best for: Puppies that will grow to less than 70 pounds | Price: $$

What We Liked:

  • Farm-raised chicken is the main ingredient
  • Non-GMO Ingredients
  • Packed with fatty acids for coat and skin
  • Great source of fiber for healthy digestion

What We Didn’t Like: 

  • Picky eaters tend to dislike this food
  • Occasional quality control issues
  • A bit expensive 

Nutro produces an impressive and nutritional puppy food, implementing a dry formula loaded with high-quality ingredients worldwide. You can rest assured with this brand when it comes to providing your dog with the nutrients it needs.

What’s in the Food?

This recipe strictly consists of all-natural and Non-GMO ingredients. There is no chicken by-product meal, corn, wheat, or soy added here.

High-quality protein is the main ingredient here, with chicken and brown rice as the first two additions to this recipe.

We also liked how this recipe provided a great source of fiber through ingredients like:

  • Whole Grain Barley
  • Brewers Rice
  • Rice Bran

Your dog must have a good source of fiber in its diet. The more research we did on this product, the more we couldn’t wait to give it a try. We also noticed there was dried pumpkin, kale, and spinach too.

Health Benefits of This Recipe

This brand is great for a developing puppy because there are plenty of omega-3 fatty acids and DHA, which is great for brain and eye development. 

There is plenty of fiber here from the rice and dried pumpkin, which is excellent for digestion and stomach health. The kale and spinach provide healthy antioxidants for optimum immune and nervous system health.

How Our Dogs Reacted to It

About 90% of our puppies absolutely loved this food, while the other 10% (the picky eaters) couldn’t seem to develop a taste for it. We couldn’t believe that they didn’t like it as the ingredients were so high-quality and the food was always fresh. 

Nonetheless, most of our dogs had a great experience with this food, and it helped them develop more firm and healthy stools, which was a great sign of the fiber doing its work. We loved to see the energy it gave them and how fast it got their tails wagging.

What Other Customers Had to Say 

Many owners of puppies with sensitive stomachs love this brand. Many customers said this food helped with their puppies’ tummy problems. The only common gripe with this product was that picky eaters weren’t fans of this food, which we can vouch for.


7. Best Wet Food Variety: Blue Buffalo Wilderness Wet Dog Food

07 Blue Buffalo Wilderness Wet Dog Food

Product Ratings

Immune Health4/5
Healthy Digestion4.2/5
Joint and Bone Health3.9/5
Healthy Skin and Coat4/5
Clean Teeth and Mouth3.8/5

Type: Wet food with turkey and chicken | Design: Puppy | First 3 ingredients: Turkey, chicken broth, chicken meal | Best for: Puppies of all breeds | Price: $$$

What We Liked:

  • No artificial colors or preservatives
  • Made natural ingredients
  • Loaded with vitamins and minerals

What We Didn’t Like:

  • Expensive
  • Not all dogs like wet food
  • Can get very messy

Once again, Blue Buffalo makes an entry on our list. We decided to add a wet food option to this list because some dogs can be extra picky when it comes to dry food. 

There isn’t a significant difference in the nutrients provided by either dry or wet foods, but all dogs have unique preferences. 

Our research on wet dog food led us to this product because of its wide array of all-natural and wholesome ingredients. 

Read our related article on How to Turn Dry Dog Food into Wet! If you have extra dry food around, you can still use it for your puppy with these tips and tricks.

What’s in the Food?

This grain-free recipe is packed with chicken and turkey as the first two ingredients. There is also plenty of potatoes, flaxseed, fish oil, and vitamins featured in this dog food.

We were glad to see none of the following ingredients included in this product:

  • Chicken (or by poultry) byproduct meals
  • Corn
  • Wheat
  • Soy
  • Artificial flavors or preservatives

Blue Buffalo wet puppy food is great because it can be given to your dog as a tasty snack, delicious addition to a dry food meal, or even as a meal on its own.

Health Benefits of This Recipe

Like their ancestors in the wild, all dogs love to eat meat. This recipe stays true to this legacy while providing high-quality protein, improved cognitive learning, enhanced retinal function, and a healthy coat all in one tiny can.

How Our Dogs Reacted to it

Most of our puppies love wet food, we usually feed it to them as a special treat, so they were more than excited to be eating this food every day. After every meal for the entire month, they would eat all their food and then give us that puppy face asking for more.

Our puppies got such an energy boost from this food that we couldn’t even remember what they were like without it by the end of the month. This food was great on their digestive systems, and it had a positive effect on their skin and coats as well.

What Other Customers Had to Say 

Many dog owners like this food because of its consistently high quality. Several customers claimed that this food was always fresh and delicious to their dogs. The only issue some had was how expensive this food can be.

Read our related article, How Many Cans of Dog Food Per Day Should You Feed? Avoid overfeeding with this quick-read guide.


Comparison Chart

ProductsBest OverallBest for the MoneyFor Larger Breed DogsFor Smaller Breed DogsHolistic/Non-GmoWet Food Variety
Immune Health4.4/54.2/54.4/54.1/54.2/54/5
Healthy Digestion4/54.1/54.4/54/54.5/54.2/5
Joint and Bone Health4.2/54/54.5/53.9/54.1/53.9/5
Healthy Skin and Coat4.4/54.5/54.3/54.5/54/54/5
Clean Teeth and Mouth4.5/54.5/54/54/54/53.8/5

The Winner

Overall, our favorite option off this list is Blue Buffalo Puppy Food. It’s filled with top-quality ingredients designed to supply your puppy with the energy it needs to grow. Being such an affordable price, this option just couldn’t be beaten.

READ MORE: The Best Slow Feeder Bowls. Puppies of a tendency to inhale their food. Slow your puppy down with these tried and true slow feeder bowls!

Q: What’s the Most Healthy Dog Food for a Puppy?

A: The most healthy food for puppies all comes down to the individual health requirements of the dog itself. Most dry and wet food varieties supply many nutrients, which should be enough to supply your pup with the nutrients it needs.

This option isn’t usually available to all dog owners, but organic and all-natural products tend to have a much higher quality than generic brands do. 

Q: What’s the Difference Between Wet and Dry Dog Food?

A: Many new (and experienced) dog owners find themselves wondering what kind of dog food is best.

Dry dog food is generally thought of as the best form of dog food because it: 

  • Can last for a long time
  • Is cost-effective
  • Has a higher source of protein than wet food
  • Is also great for dental health

On the other hand, wet food spoils much quicker and is usually more pricey than dry food. Dogs tend to prefer wet food because it is much more palatable and tasty. 

There is also a higher water content in wet food, which means that it contains fewer nutrients than dry food. 

Q: Can I Give a Puppy Regular Dog Food?

A: It’s highly recommended that you do not feed your puppy regular dog food, especially if you have a larger breed dog. Puppies need twice the amount of calcium in their diets than adult dogs do.

A puppy that isn’t getting the calcium it needs can end up with fragile bones or even a range of different bone-related diseases. So your pup must be getting the proper amount of essential proteins and minerals.

Q: How Long am I Supposed to Feed My Dog Puppy Food?

A: You should generally be feeding your dog puppy food until it has grown up to about 80% of its adult size, which differs for all dog breeds. Puppies usually grow this big within about 12 months

Worst case, if you feel confused, it is okay to feed your dog puppy food for a little longer than this time. You wouldn’t want your puppy to be missing out on important nutrients. 

Read more about When to Switch to Dog Food in this complete guide. You’ll learn everything you need to know about puppies moving into doghood. 

Q: How Often Should I Feed My Puppy?

A: The number of times you feed your puppy should be measured by its age. Your pup should be allowed to eat freely until it gets to be about 3 months old. At this age, your furry friend should most likely be able to diet itself without needing your help.

You may need to take more control of when your dog gets to eat from then on. Here is a list to show you approximately how much you should be feeding your puppy as it grows.

  • 0 Months – 3 Months: Allow it to eat whenever it needs to
  • 4 Months – 6 Months: Feed your pup 3 times a day
  • 6 Months – 12 Months: Bring down your dogs daily meals to twice a day

A puppy must be able to get the proteins it needs, especially in those first three months. A growing puppy needs all the healthy nutrients, love, attention, and treats it can get during this time.

Honorable Mentions

Here’s a quick look at 8 other best dog foods for puppies that didn’t quite make our list.

Though they didn’t make our top picks, these foods are still great options to try and can play a part in keeping your dog happy and healthy.

1. Canidae Pure Puppy Recipe  – Considered for Overall Best Recipe

Though this option has great ingredients and no artificial flavorings or ingredients, it didn’t quite make our list because of how expensive it was. We really like this dog food, though, and would recommend you give it a try if you have the money for it. 

This product is filled with authentic ingredients that will sustain and nourish your puppy as it grows. Also rich in antioxidants, this one would have made the list if it was more applicable to all dog owners, so we chose Blue Buffalo instead.

2. Eukanuba Puppy Food – Considered for Large Breed Dogs

Once again, this is another very high-quality food that is just a bit too expensive to make our list so we went with Purina Pro-Plan. We were very impressed by the ingredient list on this recipe and still thought it was a great product.

Real food ingredients, as well as a balanced diet perfect for any young puppy who’s growing into its adult body? Sounds like a recipe for success.

3. Orijen Puppy Food – Considered for Best Overall

This dog food is probably the best you can find out there in terms of the amazing ingredients such as:

  • Free-run chicken and turkey
  • Wild-caught fish
  • Cage-free eggs

Just those 3 starting ingredients alone are some very, very impressive additions to a dog food recipe. It really doesn’t get much better than that folks. 

This brand, however, is extremely expensive, with the food being almost $100 for 25 pounds. Compared to some of the other options, like Purina Pro-Plan, this one is probably the most expensive.

4. Victor Purpose Nutra Pro Dry Dog Food  – Considered for Best Overall

This is a very well blended dog food recipe and we had no issues with it other than the fact that it couldn’t compare to the Blue Buffalo and Hill’s Nutrition dog foods at the top of our list.

This is a great brand though and we would recommend it to those who are willing to try. We liked the recipe but it was simply a little too pricey compared to the other options featured on our list.

5. Royal Canin French Bulldog Puppy Food  – Considered for Smaller Dogs

While this is high-quality dog food, it is only really suited for one type of dog breed, French Bulldogs. If you happen to own one and are reading this right now, today is your lucky day.

This food is great, and we always know that we can trust Royal Canin to have our backs with the highest quality protein and nutrition. Ultimately we chose Iams because it is available for all dog breeds.

6. Merrick Puppy Dry Dog Food – Considered for Best Overall

A great dog food, but many owners had a common gripe; too much of the protein in this dog food comes from the peas. Dog metabolism and growth are dependent on animal protein, not plant protein.

Nonetheless, great ingredients and a very reliable vendor. If you are willing to put in a little extra work to add to your puppy’s diet, then this would be a great option. We ultimately again went with Blue Buffalo instead.

7. Holistic Select Dry Dog Food – Considered for Holistic/Non-GMO Option 

We didn’t have a single gripe about this brand except for the fact that it was a little more expensive than the Nutro Natural Choice that eventually went on to make our list. Lots of fiber, great for all-around body health, this is a recipe that you can’t go wrong with.

The omission of allergens and byproducts in their recipes proves to be very helpful for our sensitive and allergy-prone dogs that need some extra dietary attention.

8. Merrick Grain-Free Wet Dog Food – Considered For Wet Food Variety

This was up against Blue Buffalo Wilderness for the wet food variety, but we weren’t sure how to feel about grain-free. A grain-free diet is only recommended for dogs with specific grain allergies that none of our puppies have, so we went with Blue Buffalo.

This recipe would be of great use to a puppy who is a sensitive eater and has a grain allergy. We love Merrick and know that they always produce the highest quality products. This food also apparently has a flavor that many dogs can’t get enough of.

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Jesse Hopping, CCDT

Jesse is a natural-born dog-lover certified dog trainer (CCDT), dog foster, and former volunteer at Richmond SPCA and surrounding dog shelters for over 10 years. Her pack includes a Bernedoodle and 3 Boston Terriers. She’s sipping caramel coffee and watching her pack play in the sun when she’s not writing blogs. Jesse has her Certified Dog Trainer designation from CATCH Canine Trainers Academy since 2018 and and majored in English from the University of Virginia.

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