When it comes to feeding your puppy, you should be thinking about the first few years, because what you put into your dog now will impact his health later, including his teeth, joints, metabolism, and more.
As a result, choosing the best dog food for puppies (or for large breed puppies) may seem like a challenging task.
But fortunately, we’ve done the hard work for you! We’ve carefully reviewed the best puppy food on the market, and we only included the highest-quality products that your precious pooch will love to eat.
|Wellness CORE Natural Grain Free Dry Dog Food||Best Overall|
|Rachael Ray Nutrish Bright Puppy Chicken & Brown Rice Dry Dog Food||Budget Pick|
|ORIJEN Puppy Large High-Protein||Upgrade Pick|
1. Wellness CORE Natural Grain Free Dry Dog Food
- Made in the USA
- A full 24% fiber
- No chicken or poultry by-product meals
- Only 2 ingredients: Deboned Beef and Sweet Potatoes
- Can be hard to find
- Small kibble can cause dental issues
2. Blue Buffalo Wilderness High Protein
- The top-quality materials and ingredients used
- Ultra-premium protein sources and plenty of whole grains make it a nutritious meal for your puppy
- Includes other beneficial ingredients like omega fatty acids, probiotics, and antioxidants
- Also contains L-Carnitines, which are important for weight management
- Comes in a resealable package and includes a scoop, making the feeding process a breeze
- The kibble is of reasonable size, so you can save your puppy’s teeth and gums from unnecessary wear and tear
- A good source of protein , as well as calories, making it a nutritious meal for your growing puppy
- Some dog parents have complained about the kibble being too hard (though this should not cause any harm)
- One reviewer pointed out that it seemed to upset her puppy’s stomach a little bit, however, this may be a result of overfeeding it
Meal & Salmon Meal Recipe, Small Breed, 16 LBS.
Feeding your puppy the best dog food can sometimes be a challenge, but it doesn’t have to be. With the Blue Buffalo Wilderness High protein, Natural Puppy formula, it’s definitely not. This puppy food is specifically formulated to meet the nutritional needs of smaller dogs.
3. Fromm Family Foods 727050 Gold Large Breed 33 Lb Puppy Dry Food
- Contains no grains or potato
- Gentle on dog’s stomach
- Nutrient-packed and doesn’t have too many fillers
- Gives dogs the energy they need for physical development
- Tastes great, even for puppies with discriminatory palettes
- Many dogs love this food
- Meat-based protein source
- A bit pricey
- May cause gas, constipation, and/or diarrhea in dogs
Fromm Family Foods 727050 Gold Large Breed 33 Lb Puppy Dry Food is a high-quality dog food that provides the proper nutrition at the proper time of development. Perfect for large-breed puppies who need an array of nutrients in order to grow into healthy adults.
This easy-to-digest formula also includes glucosamine and chondroitin that aids in healthy tissue growth while promoting healthy joint mobility. The first five ingredients are chicken, chicken meal, chicken liver, whole oats, and egg. The middle ingredients consist of flaxseed, oatmeal, millet, chicken fat, and dried beet pulp, while the last two ingredients are salt and potassium chloride.
4. Nature's Recipe Grain Free Puppy Dry Dog Food
- Plenty of Protein
- Great for sensitive stomachs
- No artificial colors
- Great price
- No vitamins or minerals are supplemented in this food
- Not suitable for puppies who are rapidly growing
- Needs to be supplemented with additional hard food
Our top pick is the all-natural dry food for puppies by Nature’s Recipe. It comes with a whopping 30% protein with rice as a natural source. Both of which are great for puppies and adult dogs alike. The kibble is also oat-free.
This food is also grain-free. Which is ideal for sensitive digestive systems. Plus, it’s a great source of fiber, which will help your pet remain regular and healthy.
The oatmeal is replaced with sweet potato and pumpkin. Both of which are great antioxidants and extremely tasty. As for its protein source, it’s chicken meal.
5. Taste of the Wild High Protein Real Meat Recipe Dry Dog Food
- Protein is one of the highest rated dog foods for puppies
- No grains, so more digestible
- Your puppy will love the taste
- Affordable compared to many high-end brands
- May cause diarrhea in puppies that are sensitive to other ingredients
- May be a bit pricy for some people
Taste of the Wild High Protein is one of the most popular dog food picks for puppies and it seems to be a good choice if you want to properly nourish your dog.
It only contains real meat, salmon meal, sweet potato and peas, as well as some fruits and veggies and certainly doesn’t contain any corn, wheat, or soy.
All of the ingredients come from a controlled source in the United States and Canada so you don’t need to worry about your dog getting sick from any of the ingredients and won’t have to worry about a recall on your dog’s food.
6. ORIJEN Puppy Large High-Protein
- High protein ratio
- Grain-free formula
- Added probiotics to aid digestion
- Complete holistic nutrition
- High quality ingredients
- Single source animal proteins
- Available in various healthy and natural flavors
- Not GMO
- Highly digestible
- Sweet potatoes, salmon, and wild Alaska fish
- Higher upfront cost
- Large kibble size
- Small dogs often can’t chew it
ORIJEN is use large meaty ingredients and regional fruits and vegetables in their all-life stages formulas. They are built for your active & sporty lifestyle. And for the times you just want to give the pet the treat for the both of you.
ORIJEN Large Breed Plus is a peanut buttery brown kibble, designed to meet the requirements of a dog's dental anatomy, with the right size and texture for Mastiff breeds.
This dog food still contains high-quality protein from deboned chicken & turkey, brown rice, peas, and tomatoes. It is a quality, complete nutrition at a reasonable price.
7. Rachael Ray Nutrish Bright Puppy Chicken & Brown Rice Dry Dog Food
- Developed for a puppy’s unique nutritional needs
- Grain-free formula and whole food ingredients
- Made with Omega 9 Fatty Acids
- Contains real sweet potato and carrots
- All life stage program
- More expensive than other puppy dry dog foods
- Reduced Calorie formula for a pup with a very high energy level
Just like cats, but to a lesser extent, dogs have super smelling abilities. You can take advantage of this. Usually the first thing they will notice in a new or strange food is the smell. If you grocery shop with your dog, remove the bag from the cart. Bring your dog to the outside of the store and give him the scent of the new food. This will excite your dog and he will want to eat it right away.
The puppies need to eat frequently. They need between three and six small meals a day. The young puppy’s body is making a lot of calcium for his bones which is why he needs more calcium. So feeding him more frequently will allow the calcium to get to his bones. This way his bones will grow strong rather than weak.
8. Iams Proactive Health Puppy Dry Dog Food
- Gluten free
When it comes to dog foods, the brand Iams is a name you can trust. This dog food is a great choice for puppies, as it helps establish lifelong healthy habits and can help your dog live a longer, healthier, and happier life.
The ingredients in the Iams Proactive Health Puppy Dry Dog Food include health-enhancing antioxidants like vitamin E and beta-carotene and essential vitamins and minerals, including calcium, that are necessary for healthy bone growth, strong teeth, and a good immune system. These antioxidants are especially beneficial for older dogs, as they prevent the aging of cells, which can lead to health issues.
In addition, this grain-free recipe includes highly digestible, core ingredients like chicken and whole grains which offer nutritional benefits and energy. It also contains ingredients like brown rice, oatmeal, and barley which help promote digestive health.
9. Royal Canin Giant Dry Food
- Rich in proteins
- Available in different sized packages
- No artificial preservatives
- Developed in collaboration with veterinarians
- Puppy food is good for small breeds
- Contains gluten
- Can be quite pricey
When it comes to nutrition, you can always expect that any Royal Canin product will focus on one thing, and that’s the quality of your dog’s health. This is one of the best dry dog foods you can get for high-performance dogs with giant breeds. It is specially formulated to make their giant body well-balanced. The brand is so well-known for their top quality products that a royalty command it in the form of their name.
The Royal Canin Giant Adult Dry Food is a great source of energy and nutrients and is specially formulated to meet the nutritional needs of giant breeds. It is one of the best dog foods which your dog will love. This product is enriched with a special blend of carbohydrates, which provides required energy during growth and training. Moreover, the unique breed-specific kibble design helps to reduce the risk of bloat in dogs.
10. Blue Buffalo Wilderness High Protein Grain Free Natural Puppy Wet Dog Food
- Grain free formula
- No additives/preservatives
- Easy to digest
- Reliable manufacturer, available in local stores
- Good rating
My pick for the best overall dog food for puppies comes from Blue Buffalo, a company that is trusted by many dog owners. This particular formula is made with all natural ingredients that are easy on the stomach of a notoriously sensitive dog breed.
Blue Buffalo doesn’t use any artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives, unlike so many other brands.
The 12.5-ounce cans are easy to carry around, and at $.11 per ounce, it’s not too expensive per can either.
11. Purina Pro Plan Dry Puppy Food
- Has natural features
- The comparatively high meat content promotes strong growth
- It has natural ingredients
- Provides nutrition for growth and digestion
- Has artificial colors
- Has artificial flavors
- Overly processed
There has been one common question asked by the pet industry about the best dog food for puppies: Purina Pro Plan or Royal Canin?
The answer is that there is no definite answer.
This is because while there are dog owners who think that the food that their pet is eating is the best since it is the best selling. This is because they do not have the same nutritional requirements as pets with other breeds.
12. NUTRO ULTRA Puppy Dry Dog Food
- Quality ingredients
- Excellent packaging
- Affordable price
- Best prices for top quality food
- Mulit-step feeding process
- Hard to find in stores
- Not very popular among consumers
NUTRO ULTRA dry dog food was designed specifically to meet the nutritional needs of a giant breed puppy. It packs plenty of protein, to help promote skeletal, cardiac and lean muscle growth while offering a delicious taste that makes it a perfect food for your beloved pooch.
It comes with NUTRO SELECTS DE-Boned Chicken, a first ingredient that helps nourish muscles. It also contains oatmeal, an excellent source of fiber to help your puppy feel full after eating, as well as rice, an easily digestible grain that is full of antioxidants. The large kibble makes it easier for smaller mouths to eat while giving your puppy the chewing exercise he needs.
13. Eukanuba Puppy Dry Dog Food Chicken
- Very dense, high quality ingredients
- No by-products, fillers, or artificial flavors
- Simple formulation – all the nutrients your dog needs for growth and development are right there on the label
- A great choice for dry food in general, especially for sensitive tummies.
- No protein sources (meat) except chicken.
Eukanuba is one of the most trusted brands when it comes to quality pet food, and for good reason. The Eukanuba Puppy Dry Dog Food is a great example of why. The important nutrients are here in wholesome form, while the unnecessary fillers and ingredients are gone. The high protein level will ensure a strong and healthy development of your pup. The Chicken recipe also has glucosamine and chondroitin, which help your dog develop strong bones. As an added bonus, it’s made with chicken, which dogs love. There are no artificial flavors or by-products, which is a big plus when it comes to sensitive tummies. Make sure to choose the right size for your pup; they vary in size from small to extra large, ranging from 18 to 57 pounds.
14. Amazon Brand
- 35% protein
- No added grains
- Sweet potatoes
- Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids
- Smaller kibble
- Small can
- No info about what to feed your dog
Feeding your dog properly is important since poor nutrition deprives your dog of important nutrients. This, in turn, can lead to serious health problems and even shorter lifespans that your dog doesn’t deserve!
That’s why it’s important to feed your dog the right dog food. Dogs are omnivores and can survive equally well on both plant and animal products. But, what’s the best dog food for puppies?
This is a question I’ve frequently been asked by a lot of dog owners. It’s really tough to answer, as there are so many dog foods that available in the market in different forms.
15. Wellness Complete Health Natural Dry Large Breed Puppy Food
- Contains a single ingredient for each protein
- Great for picky eaters
- Provides a healthy alternative to natural dog foods
- Can be converted to adult dog product
- Superb customer service
Picking the best puppy food is hard when you’re so excited to start feeding your little furry friend and then realised you don’t actually know what you’re doing. Puppies need higher levels of protein than adult dogs so you have to keep that in mind when buying a food for them.
So, why am I only recommending Wellness Complete Health Natural Dry Large Breed Puppy Food, Chicken, Salmon & Rice Recipe? Well, this formula contains just one ingredient for each of the protein options – chicken, salmon and rice. The lack of alternative ingredients simply means your puppy isn’t going to be exposed to too many things at once. This is perfect for picky eaters who tend to turn their noses up at other food options.
Now, although this puppy food is more expensive than other options on the market, it’s worth the cost. The fact that you can transition this food into the Wellness Complete Health Natural Large Breed Dry Dog Food, Chicken & Rice Recipe to save even more is a huge plus. Great quality dog food that your pup is going to love!
16. Canidae Life Stages Canned Dog Food
- Available in small and large cans
- Features an optimized nutrient profile for small, medium, and large breeds
- Non-GMO and made in the USA
- Easy to feed formula
- Doesn’t come with resealable lids
- Can be too chunky for smaller stomachs
- Some dogs don’t like the food or have digestive issues after consuming
15 oz. Can (Puppy)
A lot of pet owners find buying the right formula for their puppy a bit confusing. And very often they end up spending more than they expected.
But there’s no need to worry; the Canidae Life Stages line of pet food is there to help you find just the right formula for that cute little guy or girl.
17. Holistic Select Natural Dry Dog Food Large & Giant Breed Puppy Lamb
- Formulated for Large & Giant breed puppies
- Holistic Select’s No. 1 recommendation for healthy nutrition
- Easy to digest food with high quality protein
- No artificial colors
- No artificial flavors
- No preservatives
- No wheat, corn, or soy
- Available in 5lb, 12lb, and 28lb bags
- Both the kibble and powder formula are grain-free
- Made in the USA
- This formula features 10% of animal protein, which is great for dogs with allergies. However, if your dog is allergic to one type of animal protein, he may not tolerate this food.
- This food does not whiten dog’s teeth
- Some purchasers complained about the small size of the dog food kibble
This food is suitable for medium to large sized dogs, however, in my opinion large dogs have difficulty in eating this food because the kibbles are too small for them.
It was nice to see that this product is made in the USA, however, it is not GMO-free.
Many dog owners have complained that their dogs refused to look at it, however, this food was not formulated with dog’s taste in mind, but rather its nutritional needs.
18. Holistic Select Natural Wet Grain Free Canned Dog Food
- Grain Free
- No Chicken or Pu
- No Artificial Preservatives
- A High Nutritional Content
- Not Suited For Large-Breed Dogs
- No Variety in Flavors
- Small Chunks are Easy To Chew
This is high quality dog food and an excellent choice for any dog with a sensitive stomach.
It is grain free and the 13 Ounce cans contain natural ingredients.
Sourced from free-range chickens, Lamb and Salmon, you can be sure that your dog will enjoy the flavors.It also has a mixture of other ingredients such as spinach, beets, potato, peas and carrots which makes it highly nutritional.
19. Wellness Core Natural Wet Canned Grain Free Puppy Food
- Grain Free. All Wellness recipes are grain-free to promote good health and the turkey, chicken, and herring formulas are highly digestible.
- Natural, Fresh, and Wholesome. The first ingredient in all Wellness Core recipes is always 100% fresh meat, fish, or poultry.
My top pick is the Wellness Core Natural Wet Canned Grain Free Puppy Food, which is available at a great price for a pack of 12 cans. It’s a formulation designed to support the growth and development of your puppy (1-year+) on a diet of frozen raw food.
The first ingredient in all of the Wellness Core recipes is 100% fresh meat, fish, or poultry. The Turkey, Chicken, and Herring flavor is a perfect combination for your puppy and the wild-caught salmon is an excellent alternative.
The Wellness Core Natural Wet Canned Grain Free Puppy Food is made with fresh farm-raised chicken, turkey, and herring, and is grain free for your puppy’s health. It’s also fortified with vitamins and minerals and contains limited ingredients to make the food easy to digest.
20. Whole Earth Farms Puppy Recipe
- Grain-free, low carb formula
- Complete and balanced nutrition to support healthy growth and development
- Great taste your puppy will love!
- The food contains Omega-3 and 6 fatty acids to promote healthy skin and coat
- Suitable for puppies and adult dogs
- No chicken or poultry by-product meal
- Fewer reviews available compared to other foods
- Can be a little expensive depending on the size you buy
Whole Earth Farm Dog Food Puppy Recipe contains the natural ingredients your puppy needs to thrive … a 100% complete and balanced diet that promotes healthy growth and development.
Many other options claim to be natural, non-GMO, single source protein, and/or grain-free, but not all of them can deliver the right source of vitamins and minerals.
We took important lessons from mother nature, to make Whole Earth Farms dog food with top quality meat proteins and rich in omega 3 and 6 fatty acids. These Omega’s contribute to your puppy’s healthy skin and coat, plus the reduced fat formula is easy on the tummy.
21. Purina ONE SmartBlend Natural Puppy Dog Food
- High protein content
- Great for growing puppies
- Non-GMO formula
- Optimal Health for Growing Puppies
The Purina One SmartBlend Natural Puppy food is specially formulated to meet a dog’s nutritional needs at every stage of his life. The combination of protein and essential nutrients make this food a perfect choice for baby dogs.
This puppy food is gluten-free and also has great taste. That’s why almost every dog in your neighbors’ house will walk away with an empty bowl!
Unlike other products of its price range, this product doesn’t have corn, wheat or soy. It uses only real pork as the main protein ingredient and is specially designed to satisfy a dog’s hunger on demand.
22. NUTRO MAX Puppy Dry Dog Food
- Great reviews
- More premium priced formula
- High protein and fat content
- No grains, wheat or corn
- Vegetable-based protein sources
- Accredited by the AAFCO
- Not made in the USA
Dry Dog Food, 30 lb bag.
The AAFCO, or the Association of American Feed Control Officials, is the governing body that sets the standards for pet food ingredients. Their guidelines only allow companies to enter their products into their pet food database.
The reason I mention this is because when a pet food does not have a seal of approval from the AAFCO, you want to know where it is from and who the manufacturer is.
23. Petcurean Go Fit + Free Puppy Food Chicken Turkey + Trout
- High protein content of 40%
- Very palatable
- Free from BPA and phosphates
- Easy to store
This food formula is made for dogs of all ages including large breed puppies.
If there is one thing I like in this food, it is that the kibbles are small. This is great for dogs with smaller mouths.
The protein content of this product is very high. It contains chicken meal and chicken. In addition, there are many other components like potatoes or fish meal.
24. Canidae All Life Stages Large Breed Puppy Dog Wet Food Made
- Delicious food for dogs
- Small breeds
- Large breeds
- The dry food also is of great quality
- Can be a bit fatty for large breeds
- Ingredients can sometimes be too much for sensitive dogs
- Can be rather expensive
The Canidae All Life Stages dog food is great for all breeds, being especially good for small breeds. It is great for puppies to get them started off eating good quality food, it has always been good for our dog as opposed to the foods that the breeder got us started with.
The Canidae All Life Stages Large Breed Puppy is probiotic because it contains prebiotics and all of that has great impact on a dog’s quality of life. All that is in this food has been selected by Canidae to grow a top rated food.
How the ingredients are sourced is also very important if you really want a high-quality dog food for your dog. You can know that Canidae has their ingredients chosen from farmers that are free from animal cruelty, which is of great importance.
25. Chicken Soup
- Lots of protein
- Can be used as a complete diet for puppies
- Website has a recipe section with numerous ideas
- No grains
- 8% calcium per serving
- Available at several sizes
- A bit of a pricey
- It’s a bit runny
- Can only be used for puppies and periodical mature dogs
This Chicken Soup For The Soul® puppy formula is my pick as the overall top dog food for puppies. It’s got a perfect balance of vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and quality protein that will build your puppy’s body from the inside out.
This puppy food can be used as a complete diet, so you won’t need to add anything else to it.
The Chicken Soup For The Soul formula is not recommended for adult dogs.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
What is the healthiest dog food for puppies?
For a healthy puppy, start your puppy on a premium puppy food after they are weaned. If the puppy was fed mother's milk, we recommend adding a bit of raw, natural food to the first meal or two they eat. You can also give raw meaty bones to chew on as they will help with their teeth and dental health.
When your puppy is between 15-20 weeks old, they will be ready to eat adult dog food, but you will want to transition slowly. The first food you offer them should be about 75-80% adult food and 20-25% puppy food. The second day the food should be about 90% adult food and 10% puppy food and so on.
What’s the healthiest dog food for adult dogs?
Adult dogs may eat either dry or wet food. Here are the 4 main guidelines to choosing the healthiest dog food for your adult dog:
What's the best dog food for puppies?
Picking a good dog food is one of the single most important decisions you'll make for your puppy. The wrong food can put your dog's health at risk, and it will likely ruin your dog's appetite.
Yet, picking the right dog food isn't easy. And it can be expensive. It's something to consider when getting a puppy.
There are plenty of foods that are suitable for puppies and some have added vitamins and nutrients for faster growth. However, there are several things to keep in mind when picking the right puppy food.
As mentioned above, the first step in picking the right food is to find a balanced food. Read the ingredients to find a food with a similar fat content to your puppy's ideal. Another important thing is that even if it's a high quality dog food, if you have a picky puppy, they will likely select out certain foods as their favorites. And that could be the difference between loving their food and not.
What puppy food do vets recommend?
When it comes to buying a puppy food, the right choice will depend on several factors; but in general, they will always recommend premium, specially formulated puppy food with high-quality protein.
Protein is important to your puppy because it provides the building blocks for healthy growth and development. Your puppy needs protein to build and maintain muscles, organs, hair, skin, and bones.
When shopping for puppy food or deciding how much you should feed your puppy, you will need to consider several things. First, is your puppy a growing pup? Secondly, how many times a day and for how long is your pup eating? Thirdly, how old is your puppy?
You want to give your pup plenty of healthy protein to support growth and development while you limit the amount of proteins to avoid overfeeding and weight gain.
Is it OK to give a puppy regular dog food?
The answer is no, you cannot just give a puppy regular dog food. It’s not that it isn’t healthy, but pups have different nutritional requirements than adults. Yes, the nutritional requirements of adult dogs are different than puppy dogs too. It’s important for you to understand that there are many benefits to providing your puppy with a specially formulated puppy food.
Puppy specific diets are formulated to have the correct nutrients to promote their healthy growth. They contain more protein and are generally designed to help them grow and gain weight. This is a big reason why it’s important to not switch to regular dog food. This change in diet could have a negative impact on your puppy’s growth.
Buying the best dog food for puppies is all about reading reviews, defining your dog’s individual nutritional needs, and deciding how much to spend. Having the three of those in place will ensure that you can easily find a food that will complement your pet’s life and ensure a long and healthy life for them.
|Wellness CORE Natural Grain Free Dry Dog Food||Best Overall|
|Rachael Ray Nutrish Bright Puppy Chicken & Brown Rice Dry Dog Food||Budget Pick|
|ORIJEN Puppy Large High-Protein||Upgrade Pick|