Home The Best Dog Food The Best Dry Dog Food for Puppies in 2019

The Best Dry Dog Food for Puppies in 2019

So, you have the new little member of your family. Congrats! Your puppy is only a few weeks old, but he gives you the whole bunch of joy and love. There’s no way little doggie’s parents won’t give all their care and attention to him. The most evident way to do it is to feed the puppy the best food that meets the unique nutritional needs which depend on the breed, size, and age.

The main difference between the adult dog food and the puppy dog food is that the latter contains more nutrients and calories intended to provide the growth and the proper development of a young canine. Then, similar to human babies, puppies have more sensitive stomachs, so they need more delicate and easily digestible food. That’s why it’s important to select special puppy food for them until they become mature.

Puppy Food: What To Look For?

Dry dog food for puppiesTo choose the proper nutrition for your puppy, you have to read the labels very carefully. The best dog food for puppies has to be free from artificial flavors and preservatives, anonymous fat, by-products, and junk low-quality fillers. One of the most important information to look for on the puppy food bag/can label is the AAFCO Nutritional Adequacy Statement, which should read either “All Life Stages” or “Growth”.

Well, what should be there on the list of ingredients? First places on the list have to be taken by quality meats and healthy carbs sources. Not every puppy food must be grain free, since not all the dogs have an allergy to grains, but if your puppy is prone to food sensibility, you should avoid corn, wheat, and soy in the contents of the puppy food. Some sources of fiber considered healthier ones are: rice, barley, oatmeal, peas, potatoes, sweet potatoes, beans, and different vegetables. Dog food for puppies usually includes fruits and berries, as well as herbs, greens, extracts, and supplements to bring as many vitamins and minerals as the growing dog requires.

The Best Dog Food For Small Breed Puppies

There is a certain difference between small breed puppies and large breed ones. Their huge size variations cause their completely different nutrition needs while growing up. Small and toy breed puppies need to be fed more frequently than mid-sized and large breed dogs because of their higher metabolism, but simultaneously they have very tiny stomachs allowing them to eat only a small meal at a time. If you have a little breed puppy, keep in mind, that he needs at least 15% fat in his diet and more water content. Wet canned puppy food may be a better solution than kibbles for tiny breed puppies because of their tendency to dehydration.

Wellness grain free puppy foodWellness puppy food has great customer reviews, based on long-lasted experience. There is a wide range of wet and dry dog food recipes by this brand on the market. They are highly preferable by pets and their owners due to health and wellbeing benefits this food brings. Wellness has developed several puppy formulas to satisfy the specific nutrition needs of every little pooch.

The first on our list is the Wellness Complete Health Grain Free puppy dry food made of deboned chicken and salmon. All of these meats are super nutritional and safe for an average puppy (without health issues).

Wellness small breed puppy foodFor smaller breed puppies there is a special Complete Health formula based on turkey meat, oatmeal, and salmon. This recipe is not recommended for large or giant breed puppies because of nutrients ratio tailored for toy and small dogs’ development. Tiny canine babies will be comfortable with this recipe’s extra-small kibble size.

Wellness is known as the pioneer in holistic dog nutrition, which means all its ingredients are taken from trusted suppliers and have human-grade quality and safety. Its recipes are enriched with antioxidants, vitamins, and fatty acid Omega-3 and Omega-6.

Wellness CORE RawRev puppy foodThe next dry puppy food by Wellness is CORE RawRev which is a part of the ancestral diet for dogs developed by the brand. The food contains two different kinds of kibble, one of them is the real dried raw turkey meat. The raw meat, with its natural flavor and enzymes, is what every dog is craving for, even being a puppy. This food contains no less than 38% crude protein and more than 17% crude fat. The calcium is no more than 1,2%, and phosphorus is no more than 1,3%, which is the perfect ratio for all breed puppies.

There is canned puppy food by Wellness too.

Fromm puppy foodFromm Family Gold Puppy food is premium nutrition for young dogs. It is packed with various proteins, such as chicken, duck, and lamb meat, eggs and cheese. This superior dog food is made by the family company claiming the highest quality standards. The cons are the rather expensive price compared to the majority of dog food brands and limited online sellers of this puppy food. You probably would need to search the retailer where the right dog food recipe is available.

Fromm Heartland Gold puppy food

Another excellent product for puppies by Fromm Family is Grain Free Heartland Gold kibble. The carbs and fiber are provided by potatoes, peas, chickpeas, lentils, and other veggies. It contains red meat (beef, lamb, and pork meal), eggs, and cheese as the sources of high-quality proteins. Because of cheese, which is quite rare in dog food recipes, this formula is not a dairy-free one. There are probiotics added to provide good digestion and rich mix of supplements to sustain the puppy’s healthy growth. What we really like about this food is that it is suitable even for small breed young pups because its kibbles are tiny and easy-to-eat.

Besides, it meets the AAFCO Dog Food Nutrient Profiles’ levels established for growing puppies, pregnant, and nursing dogs.

OUR RATING:

Diamond puppy foodAll kinds of Diamond puppy food contain salmon oil rich with DHA for healthy brain and eyes and a range of dried useful bacillus fermentation products for the proper digestion. The basic dry puppy food by Diamond is good not only for young dogs but for pregnant and nursing ones as well. Its first ingredients are chicken by-products, wheat flour, and whole grain corn. There are 31% crude protein and 20% crude fat in the kibbles, though the main promoted benefit is viable natural microorganisms.

Diamond Naturals puppy food

Diamond Naturals puppy food for small breed dogs, in contrary to the brand’s generic puppy recipe, has real free-raised chicken as the #1 ingredient. As fiber and nutrient sources this small breed puppy kibble has ground white rice, peas, and a bunch of various vegetables and fruits including kale, pumpkin, quinoa, coconut, blueberries, carrots, spinach, and papaya. This cocktail of vitamins and minerals is boosted with healthy microorganisms to provide your pup the proper digestion without additional supplements. The exclusive K9 Strain probiotics formula included in this bag is safe and patented. Diamond Naturals small breed puppy food is sized smaller than the regular kibbles to be more comfortable for little ones to eat it.

All Diamond dry dog food is made in the USA by the family-run company. 

Taste of the Wild puppy foodTaste of the Wild puppy food is one of the top rated dog foods out there due to its balanced formula and unique “wild” tastes. The High Prairie recipe has the flavor of roasted bison and roasted venison meat. The huge number of positive reviews of this puppy food is hard to ignore: even picky little eaters consume this kibble with pleasure. If you have already tried different dry food recipes for your puppy and failed, take a chance on this one. Besides, it’s grain free, so the food and skin allergies risk of is minimal. Basically, the High Prairie recipe is made for all breed puppies, thus it meets all requirements for young pups, including giant breed ones and those having sensitive tummies.

The puppy version of the Pacific Stream recipe based on the salmon and ocean fish is another great option by this brand. Both Taste of the Wild offerings for puppies bring to the young canine’s intestine the naturally occurring microorganisms (probiotics).

Hill's Science Diet small and toy breed puppy foodScience Diet puppy food by Hill’s is among the most vet recommended dog food for young pets. It consists of the easy-digestible chicken meat and barley, along with pork meal and other healthy ingredients to provide your pup’s wellbeing. This kibble is made in the USA, thus meets all the quality standards set for dog nutrition. Hill’s Science Diet Small &Toy Breed Puppy dry food is enriched with natural antioxidants and DHA in the perfect balanced formula that young dogs up to 1 year of age need to support their immune system, skeletal, and brain development.

The reason this top-rated puppy food hasn’t been evaluated higher is that it contains wheat, corn, and soy in its recipe, which some dogs are intolerable to.

Wet Hill’s Science Diet puppy food is also available on the market in various recipes depending on the breed size. The puppy foods are based on the chicken meat which most dogs like the best of all.

Pedigree puppy foodPedigree puppy food is one of the top rated by the customers. All its kibbles and canned dog food are made in the USA or Canada, therefore they meet the quality and safety standards by both countries. This dry dog food is good for all breed sizes, easily digestible, and balanced in nutrients. Nonetheless, the ingredients list cause concerns, as there are corn, wheat, and soybean products. Also, the cons are poultry by-products meal as the main protein source and unspecified animal fat. Growth & Protection Chicken & Vegetable Flavor Pedigree puppy food has average crude proteins and fats levels, but carrots are the only veggies we’ve found in the description.

Although Pedigree dry puppy food is not on the top of our recommended nutrition, we’d like to mention the brand’s different kinds of canned puppy recipes. Their contents seem to have more quality meat ingredients, such as beef, chicken, and lamb.

The medium breed puppy is the one that will reach 20-50lbs weight as an adult dog. Such canine babies need to get approx. 22-25% protein with nutrition; the perfect share of fat for them is between 8 and 10%.

Vet Recommended Dog Food For Puppies

Royal Canin Yorkshire Terrier puppy foodThere are different kinds of Royal Canin Puppy food specified even for particular breeds, not only general size groups. Puppy food tailored for purebred pets is a step to the vet recommended dog food available for every pup here and now. You don’t have to wait until your beloved canine youngster gets issues, just feed him with Royal Canin puppy food cooked specifically for his breed needs and be sure your pooch has all for healthy growth! Seriously, this is a great idea to create the ideal recipe for every breed, and many puppy owners, in particular, feel the same.

The reason, why this top-rated puppy food has got only slightly more than 4 stars from us, is it’s not grain free as all the recipes contain wheat and corn products. Thus, it’s not suitable for pups with food sensibilities. The other ground is its protein ingredients which are poultry by-products, not the lean meat.

Royal Canin Dachshund puppy foodIf your puppy is a typical one of a breed, try the corresponding puppy food recipe by Royal Canin. There are formulas of Royal Canin puppy food made to perfectly fit the purebred French Bulldog puppies, Poodle, Dachshund, and Bulldog puppies, as well as small breeds like Yorkshire Terriers and Miniature Schnauzers.

Royal Canin medium puppy foodFor mixed breed puppies which are going to grow up into medium-sized dogs, there is the best dry dog food by Royal Canin as well. Its recipe is composed of chicken by-product meal and fat, rice, corn, and wheat products. The balanced formula of Royal Canin Medium Puppy dry dog food perfectly fits the needs of almost every puppy between 21 and 55lb as an adult canine. This kibble is among the most often vet recommended puppy foods. Try this one if there’s no specific recipe for your canine’s breed.

The brand also has a range of moist puppy food for different breed sizes. Some dogs, especially the tiny breed puppies, may prefer the pate better than any dry kibbles, so there are small trays (3,5 Oz) with chicken, pork, and rice-based wet recipes. If your canine baby is not happy to eat dry dog food instead of mother milk, you can stimulate his interest by adding some soft canned food to his kibbles.

Grain Free Puppy Food

Grain-free dog foodAlmost every dog food manufacturer these days has grain free formulas in its range of products. Grain free means that the food doesn’t contain any fillers made of soy, wheat or corn. It’s believed that they often cause allergies, and assumingly, other health issues. The latter is dubious, though. Moreover, some recent investigations by FDA (U.S. Food & Drug Administration) have revealed the suspicious connection between grain free diets and canine heart disease which started to affect dog breeds typically not prone to it. Previously, the disease known as DCM (dilated cardiomyopathy) was related to genetics; it had happened to larger breed dogs such as Boxers or Great Danes. But the latest reports show that the condition is observed more often on dogs like Bulldogs, Labradors, Golden Retrievers, Shih Tzu and other smaller breeds including mixed ones – the dogs are reported to be fed with different grain free dog foods.

There is no evidence that grain free dog food can cause DCM like there is no evidence that grain free kibble food is better. We believe that any canine owner should make an informed choice regarding his/her pet’s nutrition, based on the dog’s individual reactions and veterinarian recommendations. If your vet advises you to feed your little doggy with grain free puppy food, you definitely should do it. Choose trusted brands and check the label information carefully anyway.

Merrick beef and sweet potato puppy foodMerrick puppy food has a variety of grain free nutrition for puppies. All of them are made in the U.S. from the quality ingredients and meet the industry standards in safety. There are grain free recipes for large breed puppies, small breed puppies and not breed-specified puppy kibble food. The main fiber source in all of them is sweet potato.

Merrick Backcountry puppy foodIf you’re raising a little domestic carnivore, you definitely should offer him some Merrick Backcountry Raw Infused puppy food. It’s suitable for all breeds and contains dried bits of raw lean meat.

Merrick Classic puppy recipeThe Classic Puppy Recipe by Merrick isn’t claimed grain free but still contains no soybean, wheat or corn among its ingredients. Thus, this top-rated puppy food is one of the best choices for all little ones prone to sensibilities, as it is free not only from the unhealthiest grains but from potatoes too. The carbs and healthy fiber in the puppy version of the Merrick Classic formula are delivered by brown rice, oatmeal, peas, and barley instead. The chicken meat is #1 ingredient, while the other beneficial components are fruits, veggies, herbs, and berries as a source of antioxidants. Highly-recommended.

The Best Large Breed Puppy Food

The main issues large breed puppies can have because of improper kind of nutrition are skeleton and joint diseases. That’s why large breed puppy parents should pay greater attention to what they are feeding their pets with. The crucial thing is calcium and phosphorus contents in the puppy food. Too much of these minerals cause such disorders as canine hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, osteochondrosis, and other orthopedic issues. This way, large breed puppy food has to contain from 1,2% to 1,8% of calcium and from 1% to 1,6% of phosphorus to prevent health problems. Even the calcium-to-phosphorus ratio makes sense: the healthy proportion lies between 1:1 and 1,8:1 accordingly. Proteins should be around 23-25% and fats should be approx. 12-15% – less than regular dog food for small breed puppies has. The aim is to prevent large breed puppies from growing too fast.

As usual, the best dog food brands develop special formulas for large breed puppies which is stated on the puppy food bags. Some brands, however, don’t mention the dog size/breed their food is suitable for, therefore customers should check the nutrition value of such food by reading the ingredients list. When there are a variety of puppy food brands, it can be really hard to understand whether the particular food is good for your pup or not. Here is our review of the best large breed puppy foods produced by the top rated dog food brands. There are, of course, individual preferences and sensibilities, though.

Blue Puppy Food

Blue puppy foodBlue puppy food has several formulas of kibble food created for large breed pups particularly. First, there’s the classic Blue Buffalo Large Breed Puppy food based on the Life Protection Formula. This dry dog food is made of lean chicken and brown rice, with no soy, wheat or corn in any form. The secret ingredient of this kibble is L-carnitine, which promotes muscle growth without gaining excess weight.

Blue Freedom puppy foodFor those pups of large and giant breeds who have sensitive stomachs, Blue has the Freedom Grain-Free formula. It is more expensive than the ordinary recipe, like all grain free dog food varieties vs. classic recipes, but this quality product is worth its price. There are turkey meal, cranberries, blueberries, and flaxseed among the ingredients.

Blue Wilderness puppy foodBlue Wilderness puppy food for large breeds is another special 100% grain free recipe. It contains DHA and natural dried chicken meat (as Lifesource bits among the generic kibbles) to satisfy the dog’s need for raw. This recipe of Blue dog food offers an evolutionary diet for your large breed carnivore tail-wagger. The main ingredients are quality poultry meats, fish meal, peas, and healthy vegetables. Several wild berries are presented to complete the ancestral dog food formula. We’d like to mention that Blue Buffalo Wilderness Large Breed Puppy kibble is the champion among dog food by the crude protein content: it’s 35% min! The fat and caloric contents are at the average levels, though.

Orijen puppy foodOrijen puppy food for large breed dogs is considered one of the best choices by the customers and professionals. The kibble is made of 80% quality proteins (turkey and chicken meats, liver, and hearts, ocean fish and eggs), and 20% vegetables and fruits; all are grown locally in Canada, the land of the brand’s origin.

This puppy food is enriched with probiotics and prebiotics for healthy digestion and only one mineral, according to the list of ingredients. Having only high-quality holistic ingredients in its content this dog food may seem expensive but it’s worth every penny when it comes to puppy health benefits.

OUR RATING:

Nutro lamb puppy foodNutro puppy food is available in several variations created specifically for larger dogs. Nutro Wholesome Essentials Large Breed Puppy chicken recipe has farm raised chicken meat as the #1 ingredient; lamb meal, sweet potato, peas, and whole brown rice are there in its contents too. The other option for large and giant breed puppies is the Lamb recipe by Nutro, which is made of premium New Zealand or Australian lamb meat as #1 ingredient, brown rice, whole grain oatmeal, and peas. All of them are claimed to be non-GMO.

Nutro Max puppy foodThe Nutro Max Large Breed Puppy Recipe is a grain free one too, it contains no added calories, only the sources of healthy protein, fat, fiber and vitamins providing the proper development of large breed canine babies. Its main meat ingredients are farm-raised chicken and chicken meal along with soothing oatmeal and sorghum. This particular formula is free from poultry by-products.

Nutro Ultra puppy foodThe Nutro Ultra dry puppy food is designed to satisfy all the needs of large breed puppies: its formula is boosted with superfoods such as chia seed, kale, spinach, blueberries, and apples. Sunflower oil is the additional source of vitamin E. This recipe follows the brand new modern eating philosophy – now the latest trends in nutricion can be shared with pets.

Although dry puppy food is more preferable by dog owners, many pups like soft wet foods as well. For such case, we can recommend the canned bites in gravy by Nutro. Its lamb recipe is tailored for large breed puppies. It can be offered to your pup as the main dish or mixed with kibbles.

Royal Canin German Shepherd puppy foodThe special series of Royal Canin puppy food consists of recipes “tuned” for different specific breeds to provide any pup the complete pack of nutrients for his needs.

The best food for German Shepherd puppy between 8 weeks and 15 months of age is the kibble by Royal Canin, of course. The purebred dogs of this breed have alkaline skin, and so they do being puppies. Despite all the cuteness and joy they bring into their parents’ life, they also tend to have different unhealthy conditions like digestive issues, allergies, joints and bones problems. This puppy food for German Shepherds can reduce them without additional treatment.

Royal Canin Rottweiler puppy foodAs it was already mentioned, there are puppy food recipes created by Royal Canin for some popular dog breeds: Boxers and Rottweilers are among them.

The best food for a Rottweiler puppy, in the brand’s opinion, is kibble reach in crude fat (18% min), fiber and L-carnitine to provide the proper development of bones and muscles. The formula is enriched with nutrients to support young Rottie’s immune system all through his 18 months of puppyhood.

Royal Canin Labrador Retriever puppy foodRoyal Canin’s Labrador Retriever kibble is one of the best puppy food for Labs. Its microelement content is accurately tailored to prevent the specific issues Labradors are prone to, like gaining weight and hip dysplasia. Even the kibble shape is designed to be easy for young Labs to chew.

Royal Canin Golden Retriever puppy foodThe best food for Golden Retriever puppy is certainly the one which is scientifically designed and cooked for this breed only. Royal Canin has made it for purebred Goldens as well. Try the tailored recipe created to sustain the genetically vulnerable heart of these wonderful dogs, improve their coat and fur, and provide healthy digestion.

Royal Canin large breed puppy foodFor those puppies who are mixed breed offspring, but are anticipated to grow up to 42 inches we recommend the general recipe of Royal Canin puppy food for large size canine youngsters. The other criterion is the supposed adult dog’s weight: if it’s 50-100lb, the dog is considered the large breed one, even though he doesn’t belong to the specific pure breed. The Royal Canin Large Puppy kibble contains the best formula for large breed puppies from 8 weeks to 15 months of age.

Royal Canin giant breed puppy foodThe brand has the Giant breed puppy food in its product range as well. Although extra-large breed puppies may be fed with the large breed puppy general recipe, there’s the special formula created by Royal Canin for giant breed puppies up to 8 months old. These dogs often suffer from a sensitive stomach, so this food contains balanced mineral and energy content to help their digestion and support intensive growth.

The Royal Canin Giant Puppy kibbles are quite big but soft enough for a puppy’s teeth. This recipe can act like the perfect Great Dane puppy food, as well as the ideal nutrition for Bernese Mountain Dog puppies, Newfoundland puppies, Bullmastiff puppies, etc.

Iams large breed puppy foodIams puppy food is the next on our rating with its chicken recipe for large breed puppies. It’s not grain free but contains only corn products (no wheat or soy) along with a wide range of vegetables as a source of fiber. Also, the list of ingredients reads fish meal, egg product, apple, and blueberry pomace.

Iams Smart Puppy Large Breed dog food is a great choice for all pups of 1-24 month of age which will weight from 50 to 90lb at maturity. This recipe promotes the proper development of brain and body systems to give your fur buddy more energy and joy.

Purina One large breed puppy formulaPurina puppy food is our next pick on the list of the best large breed puppy foods. The brand had plenty of different formulas to satisfy the needs of almost any dog. The dry dog food designed for large breed puppies is much appreciated by the customers, although the most popular Purina kibbles are not grain free.

Purina One puppy food is made of chicken meat and rice flour as the first ingredients; it contains 28% of crude protein and no less than 13% of crude fat. The ideal balance of nutrients, including antioxidants, provides a healthy immune system and digestion.

Purina Puppy ChowThe Puppy Chow dog food by Purina is also top rated by the customers for its balanced formula and health benefits it brings. The large breed puppy recipe contains real chicken meat, tasty and easy to digest. The nutrient ratio is customized specifically for pups which will grow literally big.

Purina Pro Plan focus large breed puppy foodThere are specific recipes by Purina which are suitable for allergic puppies too. If your canine babe suffers from sensibilities, we suggest you try the Purina Pro Plan Focus Chicken & Egg completely grain free dry dog food tailored for large breed puppies. This particular kind of puppy food meets the most requirements for feeding dogs prone to allergy. First, there is a limited amount of main ingredients with chicken meat as the first one on the list. Second, the healthy fiber sources are pea starch and cassava root flour, no other grain fillers are included. Plus, this puppy food’s unique formula contains the rich blend of vitamins and minerals to support your large breed doggie’s brain and immune system development.

Frequently Asked Questions

How much food should I feed my puppy? – An average recommended feeding frequency for puppies is 3-4 times a day. The total amount of food per day should be divided equally between several meals. This is the perfect way to nurture your puppy, it’s good for a young dog’s sensitive digestion and overall wellbeing too. Small breed puppies can be switched to the 2-times a day feeding at the age of six months old. The amount of each meal would be increased respectively to keep the proper caloric intake. The larger is the dog breed, the longer the puppy should be kept on the frequent nutrition scheme. What comes to the food volume, the basic rule is that growing puppy needs almost twice as much food per pound of his weight than the adult canine. There are always calculations on the dog food bags, which state how much food should be given to a canine of a certain age and weight – if in doubt, use them.

When to switch your puppy to the dog food for adult canines? –  The general answer is when a puppy is grown up (in other words, when he stops to grow taller). The specific terms depend on the breed and size of the particular dog. The little breed pups should be gradually switched to the regular dog kibble at the age of approx. 1 year. The larger breed ones are considered puppies longer – up to 18 months or even 2 years old (giant dog breeds).

Is homemade puppy food better or worse for canine health than dry puppy food? – It is well-known that too little or too much of different microelements in puppy nutrition may cause dangerous health issues, sometimes even life-long harm for a dog. The lack of nutrients is not always the main problem. You see, too much calcium and phosphorus is not good for large breed puppies because they can suffer from joint and bone problems. Besides, if you own a large breed puppy you should avoid too much fat in her food also, for the same reasons. You can cook the tastiest food for your canine baby, from the best fresh human-grade ingredients you can have, but it’s impossible to meet the accurate recommended standards in nutrients at the home kitchen. You can’t be sure that you are not exceeding the safe level in this case. For more information on the topic ask your veterinarian.

Conclusion

Choosing the right puppy food for the new member of your family can be a really tough task even for experienced dog parents. If you’re new to this use our guide to canine nutrition to learn the main principles of feeding a dog. It will clear things for you pretty well. Then, try some of the top rated dog food mentioned in this review to find out what’s the best puppy food for your little one in particular. Just like humans, dogs have an individual taste, which eventually will be the last word.

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