20 Best Dog Food for Puppies 2020 – A Buying Guide
No puppy deserves bad food. But with hundreds of food brands to choose from, it’s difficult to find just the right one for the job.
You see, puppies are delicate animals plus some of them can be quite choosy. So, when you invest in any product, you want to do so when sure that you’re making a safe choice.
It is for that reason what we have compiled this best dog food for puppies review. Within it, we’ll talk about some of the top-rated food choices.
Besides that, you want to always remember that there are different kinds of pup food. To be specific, there are 3 categories to always keep in mind.
It is worth noting that each one of these food varieties has its pros and cons. In some cases, you might need to give a few of them a try to find one which one works best for your dog breed.
But before you do that we have a detailed buying guide to help you avoid any mishaps. Most importantly, we’ll also talk about when it’s possibly right to switch to dog food.
- 20 Best Dog Food for Puppies 2020 – A Buying Guide
- Top 20 Best Puppy Food in 2020 - Comparison List
- The Best Dog Foods for Puppies (2020 Reviews)
- 1. Purina Pro Plan Dry Puppy Food, All Dog Breeds
- 2. Wag Amazon-Brand Puppy Dry Dog Food All Dog Breeds, Grain-Free
- 3. Nutro-Ultra Dry Dog Puppy Food, All Dog Breeds
- 4. Taste of The Wild- High Prairie Dry Puppy Food High Protein Dog-Venison
- 5. Purina One- Natural SmartBlend Puppy Dog Food, All Dog Breeds
- 6. Iams Proactive Health-Medium Breed Dog Puppy Dog Dry Food – Chicken
- 7. Blue Buffalo-Puppy Dry Dog Food, Natural Wilderness, All Dog Breeds High-Protein Grain- Free
- 8. Merrick Backcountry Grain-Free Dry Dog Food Recipes, All Dog Breeds
- 9. Wellness Core-Natural Grain-Free Dry Puppy Dog Food All Dog Breeds
- 10. Nutro Wholesome Dry Puppy Dog Food Small Breed
- 11. Diamond Naturals-Large Breed Puppy Real Lamb Recipe Premium Dry Dog Food
- 12. Wellness Natural Pet Food- Small Breed Puppy Dry Dog Food Turkey
- 13. Eukanuba Large Breed Puppy Dog Dry Food
- 14. Fromm Gold Puppy Dry Dog Food, 5-Pound Bag
- 15. Nutro Max Natural Large Breed Puppy Dog Dry Food
- 16. Blue Buffalo-Wilderness Wet Puppy Dog Food Grain-Free
- 17. Hill's Science Diet- Large Breeds Dry Puppy Dog Food
- 18. Blue Buffalo Freedom Small Breed Dry Puppy Dog Food Grain Free Natural
- 19. Nature's Recipe Puppy-Dry Dog Food, All Dog Breeds Grain-Free
- 20. Castor & Pollux- Organix Puppy Dry Dog Food, All Dog Breeds Grain-Free
- When Do You Switch To Adult Dog Food?
- How to Choose Puppy Food – Factors To Consider
- Which One Is the Best Pup Food Choice Overall?
- Final Thoughts
Top 20 Best Puppy Food in 2020 - Comparison List
Before we get deeper into the details, we’d like to share the following brief list with you. Within it are our top 20 ideal food for young dogs aged below 15 months depending on the breed.
The Best Dog Foods for Puppies (2020 Reviews)
1. Purina Pro Plan Dry Puppy Food, All Dog Breeds
As your best companion, your pup should also relish their food as much as you do your food. Indeed, the Purina Pro Plan is a special puppy food ideal for pups that are up to 12 months old. The food is formulated with the right protein to fat ratio for a balanced diet.
The nutritious food contains protein, antioxidants, phosphorus, calcium, DHA and other minerals. It is designed to promote the development of your canine friend's vision, bones, teeth, and a healthy brain and body.
While antioxidants support your dog's immune system, DHA promotes vision and brain development.
This food blends chicken, rice and fish oil and it is also fortified with other nutrient-rich ingredients. The food is packed with proteins to build the pup's body. It also has carbohydrates to meet the pup's energy needs.
Other essential nutrients include prebiotic fiber which promotes a healthy digestive system. Most importantly, the food is free from preservatives, artificial colors, and flavors.
The food is available in different sized packages including a small pack that can make an ideal test pack of 5lbs.
Worth noting, although not specific to small, medium or large breeds, other products in this review are breed-specific and, therefore, you need to check them as well.
2. Wag Amazon-Brand Puppy Dry Dog Food All Dog Breeds, Grain-Free
The Wag Amazon-Brand Dry Dog Food is specially formulated for puppies. The food is manufactured in California, USA. It is a blend of different ingredients. The food is not only nutritious, but also tasty.
The food was formulated through the recommendations of veterinarians. In addition to the high-quality ingredients used, the food is processed under controlled hygiene standards. On top of that, each batch is tested for quality.
The optimized grain-free diet contains a blend of proteins, vitamins, and fats.
With a protein content of 36%, the main ingredient in this food is poultry, a protein that helps in building your pet's body. The company uses real chicken pieces which gives the food a delicious taste for your canine friend to enjoy.
Additional foods include vegetables and natural sources of oil. Peas and lentils provide the much-needed vitamins, antioxidants, minerals, and phytonutrients needed for your pup to flourish. Salmon oil and flaxseed are rich in omega -3 fatty acids and also contain DHA. DHA is an essential ingredient usually available in the milk of a nursing dog.
The food is free from the following list of ingredients, namely, grains, chemical preservatives, artificial colors, and artificial flavors.
Besides that, there are various ordering packages available for your convenience, namely 5 lb, 15 lb, and 30 lb. You can buy the trial size 5 lb pack to test how well your furry friend will eat the food before ordering a big package that comes with ordering conveniences.
This is not a breed-specific dry food, we have also reviewed breed specific foods for small, medium and large dog breeds in this review.
3. Nutro-Ultra Dry Dog Puppy Food, All Dog Breeds
Formulated with a blend of 15 superfoods, this food is manufactured with a pup's nutrition in mind. The Nutro-Ultra Dry Dog Puppy Food has a trio of proteins, namely salmon, lamb, and chicken with chicken as the main ingredient. Other ingredients include seeds, whole grains, vegetables, and fruits.
This food is unique and includes not very common ingredients like chia. Worth noting, the ingredients are sourced from suppliers and farmers with a good history with the organization.
This food is ideal for puppies weighing less than 70 lbs. The food promotes bodybuilding including brain development. The puppy dry dog food includes other quality ingredients namely chia, Kale, coconut and blueberries.
The food is formed into easy to chew small kibbles. In addition, the food contains various vital nutrients including DHA and antioxidants. The food helps in the development of the puppy's brain, immune system, and a healthy heart.
The GMO-free puppy food is also free from Corn, wheat, artificial colors, artificial flavors, preservatives, and soy protein. There are two ordering packages for your convenience. However, there is no small pack that is usually best used as a test-pack.
You should introduce the new food gradually as you stop the old diet for a period of up to 14 days to give your dog time to adjust.
This is a food ideal for all breeds of dogs, for breed-specific foods, check other products in this review.
4. Taste of The Wild- High Prairie Dry Puppy Food High Protein Dog-Venison
A great food for pups should have all the nutrients their growing body needs. The Taste of The Wild- High Prairie Dry Puppy Food is a unique puppy recipe. As the name suggests, its key ingredients are Bison and Venison which are wild meats
It is specially formulated to meet the nutritional needs of puppies. The kibble is small-sized for your dog's convenience. On top of that, they have an aroma which works as an appetizer attracting even the pickiest eaters.
This is a high protein food fortified with minerals and vitamins. In addition to that, it contains other equally important foods including sweet potatoes, potatoes, egg products, flaxseed, peas, and tomatoes among others.
Besides that, the food is rich in omega fatty acids, vitamins, prebiotic fiber, antioxidants, chelated minerals, among other essential nutrients. Probiotics make the food highly digestible.
On top of that, the puppy food is free from grain like corn and wheat. It is also free from fillers, artificial colors, artificial flavors, and preservatives.
Although not breed-specific as some pet families are not particular, if you want a breed-specific formula, check other products in this review.
5. Purina One- Natural SmartBlend Puppy Dog Food, All Dog Breeds
Although it is hard to make price comparisons because the puppy dog foods come in different quantity food packages, this is a budget-friendly puppy dry dog food. The puppy dry food also boasts various desirable features.
This food is prepared to provide your pup with essential nutrients needed for their growth. It has DHA a nutrient that is usually found in its mother's milk and promotes brain and development vision.
This food's key ingredient is chicken. Actually, it contains real morsels of meat. Other key ingredients include oatmeal and rice, which are carbohydrate food sources supplying the energy your puppy needs. The food also contains minerals, vitamins, antioxidants, and prebiotics.
While antioxidants promote a healthy immune system, prebiotics enhance digestion which result in high nutrient absorption.
What's more, there are other models with different key ingredients for example lamb to choose from. In addition, there are various packs including a small pack that can serve as a test-pack. This food is formulated for all breeds of dogs if you want a breed-specific brand, other products in this review are.
6. Iams Proactive Health-Medium Breed Dog Puppy Dog Dry Food – Chicken
Prepared with a puppy's nutritional needs in mind, the Iams Proactive Health-Puppy Dog Dry Food mimics 22 nutrients in a puppy's mother's milk. In this regard, it contains DHA, which is usually available in a puppy's mother's milk. It also contains omega 3, an essential fatty acid.
The Iams Proactive Health-Puppy Dog Dry Foodis formulated for puppies of medium breed dogs. Worth noting, there are other foods for other breeds of dogs.
This is a vegetarian recommended puppy dry food and includes ingredients that are easy to digest. Worth noting, the manufacture sources ingredients from reputable sources.
The key ingredient in this puppy food is Chicken, which is a protein. The food also contains whole grains and vegetables. The food is designed to promote the puppy's overall health. Supporting growing bones, strong teeth, promoting a healthy skin and fur, and developing the puppy's immune system.
What's more, there are special formulations for different breeds of dogs. The food contains real and whole-food ingredients with no fillers, artificial flavors, or artificial preservatives.
There are various ordering packs for your convenience, with a very small pack of 3.3lbs available. You can start with the smallest pack to test how well your pup will love the food, before ordering the big convenient packs.
7. Blue Buffalo-Puppy Dry Dog Food, Natural Wilderness, All Dog Breeds High-Protein Grain- Free
If you are looking for a grain-free food for your canine friend, you can consider buying Blue Buffalo-Puppy Dry Dog Food.
The food is prepared using the manufacturer's formula called LifeSource Bits. Lifesource Bits blend was developed by animal nutritionists and holistic veterinarians for different types of pets. The food combines various ingredients to come up with a well-balanced food to meet the nutritional demands of a pet.
Some of the nutrients in the blend include vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.
This is a high protein puppy dry food. Its key ingredient is chicken which promotes the overall body health including healthy and strong bones, healthy muscles and a healthy skin and coat. Additionally, the food contains ARA and DHA, essential fatty acids usually available in the milk of a nursing dog.
ARA and DHA are important for retinal and cognitive development which contribute to a healthy brain. Just as importantly, the food is all-natural. The following ingredients are not included in this food, namely no poultry by-product foods, wheat, soy, corn, artificial flavors, and preservatives.
You can use this pet food for all breeds of dogs, however, if you need a breed-specific brand, check other products in this review.
8. Merrick Backcountry Grain-Free Dry Dog Food Recipes, All Dog Breeds
Your furry friend is the baby of a canine and will most likely delight in both raw and cooked meat dishes.This food is prepared uniquely with raw-freeze-dried poultry meat and well packaged to preserve the fresh taste of the poultry.
Additionally, it is grain-free and ideal for animals that have sensitivity to grains. Worth noting, even dogs without grain-sensitive can use it.
Since the food is for your canine friend, their digestive system is different from our human system and therefore, no worries, they will digest the raw meat appropriately.
This food is formulated to meet the nutritional demands of puppies of all dog breeds including small and large breeds. With deboned chicken as the key ingredient, the protein content is about 30%.
The nutrients in the puppy dry food meet the growing and energy needs of pups. The food is prepared for optimum digestion and nutrients absorption in a pup's body.
In addition, the diet comes in easy to eat small kibble sizes. Besides, there are various order packs. You can order a small pack that you can use to test and see how well your pup takes the new recipe. This is especially so if your pup is a picky eater.
Formulated for all dog breeds, for pet parents who want a breed-specific food, you can evaluate other products in this review.
9. Wellness Core-Natural Grain-Free Dry Puppy Dog Food All Dog Breeds
This is also another grain-free puppy diet. Its key ingredients are turkey, deboned chicken and chicken meat which are proteins. Proteins are vital for the overall growth of the body of puppies. Proteins help in the development of a healthy skin, shiny coat, strong bones, and teeth. Additionally, proteins are tasty enhancing the taste of food.
It also contains salmon oil, various vegetables, and fruits, which are equally important food sources. The kibble is sized reasonably for a puppy. The food is rich in probiotics, various minerals like calcium and phosphorus, vitamins, DHA fatty acids, and antioxidants. Probiotics are essential for food digestibility while DHA promotes visual and brain development.
All the ingredients in the food are optimized to meet the energy and growth needs of your canine baby and other nutritional needs. The food balances fats, proteins, and carbohydrates. Worth noting, the food is grain-free and contains no soy, meat by-products, fillers, GMO foods, artificial colors, and artificial flavor.
There are three packs available, a 4 lb, 12 lb, and 26 lb. The small pack may not be convenient and works best as an initial test pack. After that, you can order the medium or big packs which basically ensures that you don't run out of the puppy food too quickly.
This is not a breed-specific brand, check other products in this review for puppy food for small, medium and large dog breeds.
10. Nutro Wholesome Dry Puppy Dog Food Small Breed
This is a small puppy breed dry dog good diet. With the key ingredient being chicken or lamb, this is a protein-rich food. What's more, you have a choice between chicken and lamb.
Most importantly, there are packs specially formulated for small breeds and large breeds, which enables you to select a breed-specific pack. Other foods included in the food are sweet potatoes and brown rice.
The chicken is sourced from farms. The food is fortified with minerals like calcium, vitamins and other essential nutrients. It is also fortified with DHA fatty acids. DHA and calcium are vital and are usually available in the milk of a nursing dog.
Calcium is essential for building the body of your pup including promoting the development of strong bones, teeth, and joints. The food is GMO-free, and also free from chemical preservatives and artificial ingredients.
Small, medium and large packs are available to meet different ordering needs. Worth noting as much as the big packs are convenient, you can start with the small pack to see how well your canine baby will love the food. Like humans, even dog's have a particular liking for some foods.
11. Diamond Naturals-Large Breed Puppy Real Lamb Recipe Premium Dry Dog Food
This is a breed-specific puppy dry dog food. It is a holistic diet for your large breed canine baby. The ingredients are sourced from reputable suppliers for your dog's safety and good health.
The food is prepared in small kibble sizes to make it easy for your pup to eat it. The ingredients in this food promote the general growth of your large breed puppy while supporting his energy needs and boosting his immunity.
It is also enriched with probiotics for digestibility. The food is free from fillers, wheat, corn, preservatives, artificial colors, and artificial flavors.
The main ingredient in this puppy dry dog food is lamb. In addition, it has brightly colored fruits and vegetables including blueberries, carrots, kales, and papaya to supply vitamins to your pup. It is also enriched with minerals, vitamins, antioxidants, and fatty acids.
It has various fatty acids. DHA fatty acid occurs naturally in a nursing dog's milk and is one of the ingredients in this food. DHA promotes eye and brain development. Additionally, it contains l-carnitine, Chondroitin, and Glucosamine.
Most importantly, the food is packed with enough amino acids which are needed for muscle and bones development.
12. Wellness Natural Pet Food- Small Breed Puppy Dry Dog Food Turkey
This food is manufactured in the USA and it is backed by the company's product guarantee for your peace of mind. The food is prepared to meet the nutritional needs of a small breed puppy.
The key ingredients utilized in making the food are deboned turkey which is a protein, oatmeal for providing energy and salmon which is rich in natural oils and fatty acids. Additional ingredients include blueberries, flaxseed, peas, whitefish among others.
The composition of this food is to meet small dog breed puppy's nutritional needs. Which is promoting a healthy skin and coat, bones, brain development, strong teeth, and muscles development. In addition to that, it promotes a strong immune system while providing the puppy with energy. What's more, it is highly digestible.
The food is prepared in small kibble sizes making it easy for your pup to eat it. It contains only natural ingredients that are not likely to cause allergies. It is free from soy, corn, wheat, meat by-products, preservatives, artificial flavors, artificial colors,
13. Eukanuba Large Breed Puppy Dog Dry Food
You can buy the Eukanuba Large Breed Puppy Dog Dry Food if you are looking for a large-breed puppy specific diet. The food meets the nutrition needs of large breed puppies that are below 12 months old. It combines various nutrients to provide an active large breed with a complete and well-balanced diet.
The diet's first ingredient is chicken, which is a protein food to meet the puppy's need for bodybuilding nutrients. In addition, it contains fat and carbohydrates which help supply energy to your pup.
It is optimized with various nutrients including phosphorus, calcium, DHA fatty acids, fats, and carbohydrates. It also packs antioxidants for your dog's immunity system and prebiotics which aid digestion.
DHA occurs naturally in the milk of a nursing dog and supports the development of a healthy brain. On the other hand, calcium and phosphorus support bone, teeth and muscle growth.
When ordering, you have a choice between a small 5 lb pack, a medium 16 lb pack and a large 33 lb pack. Worth noting, it is advisable to first order the small 5 lb pack and use it as test-pack before ordering the big convenient packs.
This is especially so if your canine baby is a picky eater.
14. Fromm Gold Puppy Dry Dog Food, 5-Pound Bag
This is a dry food manufactured specifically for all breeds of puppies. It is manufactured in the USA, by a fifth-generation family-owned organization that was started in 1904. The food is branded as a gold puppy dry food and more expensive than regular brands.
The good thing is, the food is well-balanced and a complete diet for a puppy. The food contains about 27% proteins, about 18% crude fat, a maximum of 10% moisture and a maximum of 3.5 % crude fiber. In addition, it has about 0.6% omega 3 fatty acids and about 2.6 % omega 6 fatty acids.
This food contains the following key ingredients, namely, chicken, duck, lamb, and cheese and eggs. It comes in a 5 lb pack. Additionally, it is fortified with vitamins and minerals.
It is rich in calcium from cheese for the healthy development of your pup's bones and teeth and other body functions. It is a balanced diet for your puppy, additionally, it has 3.5% crude fiber which enhances digestion.
15. Nutro Max Natural Large Breed Puppy Dog Dry Food
This is the second product we are reviewing from Nutro. Nutro is a company based in the USA that has been in business since 1926. The main difference between this product and the one we reviewed earlier, this is breed-specific.
This puppy dog food is manufactured for large breed puppies. The product is covered by the company's satisfaction guarantee. It is developed for puppies from birth and up to 12 months. Some of the nutrients in this food include calcium, phosphorus, DHA, EPA, fat and proteins.
This is a natural puppy dry food made with ingredients sourced from trusted sources. Its key ingredient is chicken, which makes the food not only nutritious but tasty. Apart from the chicken, the food contains whole grains which supply your pup with fiber for a healthy digestive system.
This puppy food is fortified with vitamins and minerals, it contains various nutrients that are essential for the internal and external body development of your pup. For supporting healthy bones, brain development, teeth, a healthy skin, and coat. In addition, it energy-packed.
Most importantly it contains no unnatural ingredients. It is free from GMOs, preservatives, artificial colors, corn, soy, wheat, chicken by-products, and artificial flavors.
16. Blue Buffalo-Wilderness Wet Puppy Dog Food Grain-Free
For dog owners, who seek a wet dog puppy food diet for their canine baby, we have the Blue Buffalo-Wilderness Wet Puppy Dog Food discussed in our review. It is a high protein, grain-free food.
The nutrients in this canned puppy dog food have been optimized for a complete nutrient source. An order contains 12 packs, which is a sufficient ordering quantity for a wet food.
This wet dog food is manufactured with grilled chicken and turkey as its protein source.
Additionally, it contains DHA fatty acid, which promotes cognitive and retinal function development. DHA is essential and that is why it is one of the key ingredients found in the milk of a nursing dog.
Free from poultry by-product foods, it is a natural food with no artificial ingredients and chemicals like artificial flavors and preservatives. Additionally, it has no allergen ingredients like wheat, soy, and corn.
The food is complete requiring no additional supplementation.
17. Hill's Science Diet- Large Breeds Dry Puppy Dog Food
This is a veterinarian-recommended puppy food. It is a dry puppy food prepared specifically for large breed puppies. Therefore if you want food for a small or medium breed of dog, check our other review products.
The food is a product of Hill's Science Diet. The company uses part of its profits to support dogs that are in need.
The key ingredients used are lamb and brown rice. There are additional ingredients included namely fish oil.
It is a high-quality protein diet that promotes the development of various functions in the puppy's growing body including muscle growth, bones, and teeth development. It is a calcium-rich diet which supports the development of the puppy's bones, and teeth.
It also contains DHA that comes from fish oil to promote brain and visual development. Worth noting, DHA is one of the fatty acids usually available in the milk of a nursing dog.
Besides that, it has vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants
Just as importantly, it is all-natural with no artificial preservatives and colors, preservatives and no chicken by-products.
18. Blue Buffalo Freedom Small Breed Dry Puppy Dog Food Grain Free Natural
This is our third review product from the company Blue-Buffalo. This brand is for small breed puppies. It is well-balanced food with proteins, vitamins, and carbohydrates. It is all-natural and grain-free.
Therefore if you are looking for a grain-free diet for a small breed dog, you can consider this brand. If, on the other hand, you want a food with whole grains or for medium or large breed dog puppies, you can check out other products we have discussed in this review.
The key ingredients in this food are chicken, sweet potatoes, carrots, peas, cranberries, and blueberries. The food supports muscle, teeth, bones and brain development while supplying energy to your puppy.
Most importantly, the food contains DHA and ARA. These are vital nutrients usually available to breastfeeding puppies and as such very essential. They support healthy eyes and brain development.
The food is enhanced with the company's LifeSource Bits formula. LifeSource combines various ingredients recommended by animal nutrition experts that are composed of minerals, vitamins, and antioxidants. These are to enhance the overall health.
Worth noting, it is free from wheat, corn, poultry by-products, soy, artificial flavors, and preservatives.
19. Nature's Recipe Puppy-Dry Dog Food, All Dog Breeds Grain-Free
This is another affordable puppy dry dog food. It is a bit different from the other reviews we have covered here because it includes pumpkin as one of its key ingredients. The key ingredients in this meal are chicken, which is a protein and sweet potatoes and pumpkin as carbohydrates.
It is a grain-free puppy dry food, using pumpkin and sweet potatoes as energy sources instead of grains. Pumpkin also increases its digestibility. Worth noting, some dogs have sensitivity to gluten. As such, if your vet has established that your pup is gluten-sensitive, then you should give them gluten-free meals.
This meal is specifically prepared to meet the nutritional needs of pups of all breeds. As such, it is fortified with DHA ingredients. DHA is a key nutrient for a growing puppy and it is usually available to nursing puppies.
Additionally, it is also boosted with other nutrients including minerals and vitamins. It is also tasty and comes in small kibble sizes.
Most importantly, it is all-natural with no wheat, corn, soy or chicken by-product. There are two ordering packs, a 4 lb and a 12 lb bag. A 4 lb pack is perfect and works as a test pack. Though pet homes with multi-dogs need bigger ordering packs, but they can always order several packs of whatever pack is available.
Since this is not a breed-specific food, for small, medium or large breed diets, you can check other products in this review.
20. Castor & Pollux- Organix Puppy Dry Dog Food, All Dog Breeds Grain-Free
The Castor & Pollux- Organix Puppy Dry Dog Food is quite unique from the other products we have reviewed here. It is an organic puppy dry dog good. Besides, it is also grain-free.
This puppy dog food is prepared for pups for all breeds.
The key ingredient in this recipe is organic free-range chicken. Carbohydrate and oil sources are also organic. They include organic flaxseed and organic coconut oil. For vitamins, organic blueberries are included.
The meal is fortified with DHA fatty acids to make it similar to a puppy's mother's milk. DHA is vital for the development of the brain and other functions in the pup's body.
What's more, it is prepared in an organic certified Kitchen in the USA. Besides, it contains no artificial preservatives, synthetic fertilizers, chemical pesticides, growth hormones, antibiotics or artificial preservatives.
However, this puppy dry organic dog food is more expensive than other brands in this review and in the market. Worth, noting, it is more expensive because it is made with all-organic ingredients.
There are two ordering packs, a small 4 lb pack and a medium 10 lb pack. Although there is no big pack, if you are a multi-pet family, you can order several 10 lb packs.
When Do You Switch To Adult Dog Food?
To answer this question, we’d like to raise another one “at what age is a dog considered a puppy or adult?”
This might seem like an obvious question but it matters a lot especially when it comes to selecting the right food and gear for your pup. In general, large breed dogs are considered pups for as long as they are below 15 months old. If you have a small breed dog, they’re considered puppies for as long they’re below 9 months or so.
As such, if you own a large breed dog, you need to be prepared to feed them with puppy food for longer than if they were of a small breed family.
Please also note that as they mature, dogs undergo many different changes. On the physical front, their bone structure tends to change over time. In particular, their bones grow longer and harden.
Over time, you’re also likely to note that the coat of the dog will change from a fluffy and soft one to a denser one.
Another remarkable change happens in regards to their dental health. Their baby teeth fall out over time and are gradually replaced with permanent ones.
And lastly, the biggest change of them all is that their immune system becomes much stronger with age. It is for this reason that you need to be extremely choosy with the food that you get them. The last thing you want to get them is some cheap food which might affect their sensitive digestive systems.
Leading Puppy Food Brands
We have, time and again, mentioned the fact that quality is a huge factor to consider when buying food for your young dogs. And as far as that goes, your best bet is to go for food that’s made from a brand that’s trusted by many.
You see, well-known brands have a name to keep. And so, they’ll go to great lengths to just to keep that going for long. They’ll invest in measures that even ensure that all the ingredients used are traceable.
Another thing, the big brands are also always keen to invest in research and development. So, they often come up with food that tackles problems that are unique to pups since their digestive system aren’t fully developed.
With all that said, some of the top best brands that we’d recommend are as follows:
This is probably the leading brand currently. It has been there since the 60s. The Kansas-based science diet brand is reputed for bringing good, clean ingredients on the market. It’s no wonder they’re vet-approved.
This company has been around since 1989. They are headquartered in LA and are particularly known for their limited ingredient diets or LIDs.
Known in full as Nestle Purina Petcare, this is a Missouri-based pet food manufacturer. They’re behind some of the top dog food products and treats. They’ve been in this industry for more than 8 decades and currently have 400 scientists as part of their team.
This is a company with an outstanding reputation for selling US-made natural foods for dog. Their foods are known for being rich in protein e.g. real chicken, fish, and lamb.
Known in full as Nutro Company, Inc., this is a subsidiary of the Mars Incorporated. They’ve been around since 1926 and are reputed for produce wholesome dog and cat food. If you’re looking for the Greenies treats, this is your go-to brand.
Taste of the Wild
They have the coolest name in the industry. And as their name suggests, they perfectly understand that dog’s just like their cousins who live in the wild have unique needs. They provide grain-free food with added probiotics for better digestion.
If there’s one manufacturer who seems to tick all the right boxes as far as quality is concerned, that has to be Orijen. It’s a well-known brand and although its food doesn’t come cheap, they’re sure bets for delicate pups.
This is a Texas-based company that has carved a niche in the competitive world of dog food manufacture. Again, they have a reputation of using top-quality ingredients and there are numerous positive reviews to back them.
Wellness Pet Food
This is a fast-growing brand that has been around since the 1990s. They are known for their partnerships with non-profit organizations under the Wellness Foundation which is meant to make the world a better place for pets.
So, there you have it – a complete list of some good brands. Please note that each one of them has their fair share of merits and demerits. Plus they provide many different products some of which might not prove popular with you.
And that’s where the next part of this article begins. We’d now like to talk about the specific factors you need to consider so that you can select the best dog food for puppies without compromise.
How to Choose Puppy Food – Factors To Consider
Since your pup has a lot of growing up to do, their good progress starts with you selecting the right food for them. It is important that you find a balanced diet for them because they need to develop muscles and strong bones.
You want to ensure that your puppy’s food closely matches their nutritional demands. At this point, we’d like to clarify that puppies should never be given adult dog food.
Unlike adult dogs, pups have great requirements of nutrients because they’re in the active growth phase. What’s more? Much as they’re smaller in size, they need lots of energy per pound of their body weight!
For this reason, we specifically recommend settling for food that’s rich in protein, iron, and fat. Again, you don’t want to end up with food that comes with too many fats or carbs. That kind of food can easily make your dog overweight.
Don’t cut corners. Your best bet is to only buy food that meets the strict FDA standards. This way, you can rest assured that the food you opt for has the right mix of nutrients.
Plus if you can find a formula that’s specifically made for particular breed sizes that would absolutely be great. For instance, Beagles and Dachshunds are smaller than Golden Retrievers and Boxers. If you can find a company that makes formulas that are specifically tailored to your doggie’s breed size; that would be a major win for you.
Feeding pup food meant for large dog breeds to small dog breeds might cause them to grow up too fast. And that would make them susceptible to elbow and hip dysplasia once they mature.
So, it’s important that your pup’s food is produced keeping their unique requirements in mind.
Wet vs Dry Food
This is yet another common issue that you need to pay close attention to when making a choice. Right off the bat, wet food is more attractive to dogs than dry food. As such, if given a chance, dogs typically choose it over dry food and that’s because of its appealing taste and smell.
A quick note about wet dog food would be that it is usually made up of 80% moisture. So, your dog gets enough water even if they don’t like drinking water directly from the bowl.
Another thing with wet food is that it is made up of about 20% nutrients. As such, your pup gets fuller faster which also reduces the likelihood of them overfeeding.
On the flipside, though, wet food can be a bit messy to eat. And so you’d be better off armed with an under dog bowl mat as well.
If you opt for the dry food of kibble, you’re likely to get better value for money since 100% the food is made up of nutrients and no water. And because this food is dry, it’s easy to keep the feeding area clean. On top of that, you can buy it in bulk as it’s easy to transport.
On the flipside, though, dry dog food can lead to dehydration especially if the pup doesn’t get adequate water.
Semi-Wet (Combination Diets)
This is a special diet whereby wet and dry food items are combined. This helps merge the benefits of these two types of food. However, it might lead to a compromise in terms of quality and the nutrient composition of the food.
So, if you have an extremely choosy or delicate pup; that might not necessarily be the best route for you to take.
Choosing the Right Flavor
Pup food comes in different flavors. The problem is that with such sheer variety, you might have a difficult time deciding on which food is best suited for your pet.
So, you want to ask yourself whether your doggie will like the flavor and whether they can easily digest the meal or not.
If this is your first time making this choice, we’d recommend going for the chicken flavor. It is quite popular and is loved by many because it’s gentle on the digestive system. Turkey is also not a bad choice.
Puppy Feeding Guidelines
To feed a dog, you need to make sure that you provide them with just enough nutrients to support their growth. If you underestimate their eating habits, you’ll most likely leave them starved. And likewise, if you overestimate their feeding demands, you’re bound to have them overweight.
So, just how much food is enough for your puppy?
0 to 8 Weeks Old
At this age, you should leave the pup with its mother so that they can nurse ad-lib. The mother’s milk provides the best nutrition during those first few days of their life.
It takes time to wean a pup to solid food. Therefore, you should be patient. That journey should always begin by selecting the right dog food for puppies.
As we have mentioned in this buying guide, the best choice at this stage of life is food that meets high caloric and nutritional needs. It should be rich in protein and also calcium.
If you’re weaning them at 8 to 6 months of age, consider blending their food with a milk replacer. However, you should keep reducing the amount of the food replacer in the food over time. At 8 to 9 weeks of age, your pup should comfortably eat solid food.
Note: Pets should enjoy at least 3 meals per day. But you can make them 4 if your pup likes to eat smaller meals.
Frequently Asked Questions
Your new four-legged friend has quite a few unique needs. And in the following section, we’d like to walk you through some frequently asked questions to help you understand them better.
When is the right time to move on from puppy food?
This entirely depends on the kind of breed your dog is. Large breeds take longer to leave “puppyhood” than smaller dog breeds. For example, most small dog species are considered adults by the time they turn 10 months while large ones are considered adults at 15 months of age.
What are some of the dog foods to avoid?
We’d generally recommend steering clear from foods that contain meat by-products and corn as their key ingredients. Protein, and particularly meat protein, should always be the first ingredient.
How often should puppies be fed?
The younger the pup, the more you need to feed them frequently will small meal portions. You may use the following feeding chart/table for guidance.
Below 10 weeks
Below 6 months
Below 12 months
Meals (per day)
Which One Is the Best Pup Food Choice Overall?
The Purina Pro Plan is, to this end, our top favorite food choice for puppies. We like the fact that it contains gut-friendly ingredients and that it is packed with omega-rich fish oil. Highly recommended.
To this end, we’d like to say congratulations on your four-legged addition to the house. Feed them with the right kind of food and they’ll not let you down. May they grow up into strong, healthy and playful little fur balls of joy!