Friday, June 14, 2024

Best Dog Food Brands For Puppies

Things To Stay Away From

10 Vet Recommended Dog Food Brands (That are Inexpensive) (2022)

Many cheaper dog foods use something called meat meal. Its also called meat protein in some cases. What is it? Simply put, its the scraps from the slaughterhouse. This sounds gross, and it isespecially because theres no way of knowing whats actually in it. Such scraps dont offer optimal nutritional value, especially to puppies, so avoid this ingredient at all costs! Youll also want to avoid things like corn syrup, MSG, and other fillers, artificial flavors, or colors. You want your pup to grow up to be a full-sized best friend, so give them the best!

The Bottom Line On Puppy Food

Choosing a great puppy food is just one of many milestones in your journey with your pet. By focusing on your pups nutrition, youre helping give them a solid foundation.

Investing in your puppys well-being is crucial to their health and happiness, but it doesnt have to be expensive or complicated. Along with plenty of belly rubs, games of fetch, regular vet checkups, and lots of love, your puppy is sure to thrive.

Heres to a beautiful life together.

Healthy Everyday Pets Puppy High Protein Aussie Puppy Food

Its great to see Australian dog foods rivalling some of the big worldwide brands. Healthy Everyday Pets are one such company, putting some of the other Australian brands to shame.

The company was created by Supermans personal trainer , who was baffled about how much grains and carbs were in most dog foods on the shelves. We all know how bad carbs are, right?

The great thing about Healthy Everyday Pets Puppy is the amount of protein from meat, and its grain free to boot. This puppy formula has the most protein at 35%, and 15% fat.

Its a little pricier than the other picks above, at the time of writing $1.11/100g for the 12kg bag. Thats on sale as well, so you may find it a bit more when you check the price.

Although Healthy Everyday Pets Puppy doesnt have the range of meats and fish like you do with ACANA and Taste of the Wild Puppy, it does have added egg, probiotics, and prebiotics , and the wonderful omega-rich green lipped mussels.


  • 35% protein and 15% fat which makes it the most protein of all the recommended affordable puppy foods puppys need protein to grow!

Read the full Healthy Everyday Pets dog food review.

Also Check: Diamond Naturals Dog Food Puppy

Best Puppy Food: Overall Winner

Made with fresh whole foods like chicken, white rice and nutrient-rich fruits and veggies. Its chock full of nutrients like vitamin B5, B6, iron, selenium, zinc and niacin. The fresh, frozen food is a premium alternative to conventional kibble and was designed to provide optimal nutrition and flavor.


  • Contains the optimal amounts of calcium and phosphorus to support the nutritional needs of growing puppies.
  • Made with meat from chicken thighs, which is more nutrient dense than white meat.
  • The recipe underwent feeding trials using AAFCO-designed protocols.
  • Meats are USDA inspected and approved for human consumption.
  • Gluten-free, no preservatives.
  • Vet-trained consultants are available to make recommendations and an online feeding calculator provides portion recommendations.
  • Available via auto-ship deliveries in small, medium and large boxes .

Things to Consider

  • Transitioning from conventional kibble to fresh frozen puppy foods can take up to 10 days to avoid stomach upset.
  • Must be kept frozen and thawed before serving.
  • With prices starting at $55.65 for a small box, fresh frozen dog foods could be cost prohibitive.

Sample buyer review:My dog loves the chicken and rice recipe. I love the fact that he is getting the best food and its convenient with the easy to serve portions. Great food for dogs!

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Putting a good amount of thought to make sure youre giving your dog the best food on the market might seem excessive, but research suggests theres good reason to make the effort. A recent study indicates that one in three dogs in the U.S. are classified as overweight. Scientists say obese dogs have life spans about two-and-a-half years shorter than dogs that maintain an ideal weight.

Research also suggests that a puppys diet influences their risk of developing allergies and skin issues. Processed commercial dog foods, such as canned or sausage-packed foods, appear to cause health issues later in life, scientists say. Puppies whose diets contained more than 20 percent of such processed foods were also more likely to develop allergies or skin issues.

Unfortunately, studies show the majority of dog owners are failing to follow FDA pet food guidelines, whether its for lack of time, effort, or awareness. A recent paper from North Carolina State University points out that nationwide efforts to improve education and implementation may reduce the occurrence of bacterial illness and contamination in dogs considerably.

While its assumed that many dog owners are not intentionally malnourishing their pets, with an infiltrated market full of dog foods advertised as healthy, it can be difficult to assess which products will actually benefit your pet.

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Royal Canin Small Puppy Wet Dog Food

Image courtesy Royal Canin

Royal Canin Small Puppy Wet Dog Food is designed to meet the needs of small-breed puppies. It’s made with high-quality proteins and nutrients, and it’s enriched with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.

This food also has a high protein content to help your puppy build lean muscle mass, and it’s made with high-quality ingredients that are easy to digest.

Puppy Nutrition : What Kind Of Food Does Your Pup Need

Regardless of your dogs breed, protein is the crucial thing you need to look at when choosing the perfect food for your pup. Protein supports your dogs development and growth.

A growing puppy needs a minimum of 22% protein and 8% fat in its diet. This is more than what is required by adult dogs as puppies have specific growing needs and developing bodies that require more calories.

In addition to quality protein, a puppy foods fat content is essential to absorb vitamins and minerals. At the same time, carbohydrates can be a vital source of nutrients and fiber.

Puppy food should also be rich in omega-three fatty acids. These fatty acids are typically found in fish oil or fish meal and help with brain, eye, and heart development and function.

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Best Puppy Food Of 2022

You wouldnt choose a collar, bed or squeak toys for your puppy that are meant for a much larger adult dog, right? Your dog food shouldnt be formulated for adult dogs either.

Puppy foods were formulated to ensure that puppies ranging from diminutive Dachshunds to giant Great Danes receive the essential vitamins, minerals and nutrients to grow from small, wriggling puppies into healthy adults.

Best Dog Food Brands Recommended By Vets In 2022

Top 5 Best Dog Food Brands in 2022

No matter if you have a Great Dane puppy or a senior Chihuahua, you’re sure to find the perfect food for your dog from these top 20 brands.

What you feed your furry friend has a huge impact on his health and longevity. Whether mealtime consists of dry kibble or canned wet food, it’s important that your pup is eating a diet that provides all of the vitamins, minerals, and nutrients he needs to feel his best from the inside out.

The key to deciding if dog food is quality or not is the ingredients label. These labels are created by the Food and Drug Administration and provide important information about your dog’s food, including the name, guaranteed analysis, list of ingredients, and feeding guidelines.

When reviewing a dog food label, pay close attention to the ingredients and the order in which they’re listed. Ideally you want a food that contains whole ingredients, like meat, poultry, vegetables, fruits, and grains. Avoid dog foods that are loaded with fillers and by-products.

But let’s face it, reviewing labels and sorting through dozens of different food brands is easier said than done. If you want help finding the best food for your canine companion, you’ve come to the right place. Below you’ll find a guide of the 20 best dog food brands recommended by vets.

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Holistic Select Dry Dog Food Considered For Holistic/non

We didnt have a single gripe about this brand except for the fact that it was a little more expensive than the Nutro Natural Choice that eventually went on to make our list. Lots of fiber, great for all-around body health, this is a recipe that you cant go wrong with.

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

Best Dry Puppy Foods For Growing Canines

Is fresh dog food a little pricey for your tastes? No worries! There are a variety of high quality kibbles on the market that are tasty, nutritious, and pretty affordable.

While there are plenty of advocates for raw diets and fresh foods, a lot of that hype is due to marketing maneuvers. Make no mistake, there is nothing wrong with feeding your dog dry dog food especially when youre selecting a reliable, AAFCO-certified brand like those listed below.

Just note that while most of these should work well for the average puppy, you need to select one thats designed for your puppys eventual size. So, if you have a great dane puppy, opt for a large-breed puppy food.

Also, as always, keep your vet in the loop and make sure he or she is onboard with your choice.

Read Also: What Dog Used To Eat Before Dog Food

Nature’s Variety Instinct Raw Boost Puppy Blend

Ingredients: Raw Boost is a premium blend with high-protein kibble and real, raw, freeze-dried meat ingredients to lock in nutrients and keep your puppy growing healthily. Youll find all of the nutrients you need, with a raw taste puppies love.

Price/Where To Buy: You can purchase a bag of Nature’s Variety Instinct Raw Boost Puppy Blend for $39.99 on You can buy either a 4-lb. or 10-lb. bag.

The Difference: Natures Variety blends premium ingredients with a commitment to pet health and making a difference in the pet food industry. Its safe to say we can all get behind a cause like that!

American Journey Senior Chicken & Sweet Potato Recipe Grain

Freshpet Healthy &  Natural Food for Small Dogs/Breeds, Grain Free ...

This is a grain-free senior dry dog food that helps support healthy aging with real chicken as the first ingredient, plus a blend of targeted nutrients. Its antioxidant blend helps support a healthy immune system while omega fatty acids help maintain skin and coat health and medium chain triglycerides naturally occurring in coconut oil help support brain health in aging dogs to encourage cognitive wellness, said Dr. Nelson.

No need to journey to the store, either, as Chewy can ship this 24-pound bag of kibble right to your home. You can also set up an Autoship subscription, saving more time and money when you need a refill.

Read Also: What Foods Are Dogs Allergic To

Our Favorite Puppy Food Is Purina Pro Plan Puppy Chicken & Rice Formula

We independently research, test, review, and recommend the bestproductslearn more about our process. If you buy something through our links, we may earn a commission.

Getty Images / dageldog

There are a lot of choices to make when it comes to taking care of a new puppy, and one of the most important is selecting a food that fulfills your pets nutritional requirements. Puppies have specific needs, requiring a blend of protein, fat, and calcium to encourage immune system strength, uniform skeletal development, and optimal growth.

Puppy food, as compared to adult maintenance food, is more nutrient-dense, to complement a puppys higher nutrient requirements as they grow, Megan Shepherd, DVM, PhD, DACVIM , a board-certified veterinary nutritionist at Veterinary Clinical Nutrition, told The Spruce Pets.

We found the best puppy foods with guidance from Shepherd and other veterinary sources, including dry, wet, and snack options, plus food specific to large breeds. While it’s always advisable to check with your veterinarian before starting your puppy on a new diet , our recommendations provide complete nutrition for the first year of your puppy’s life.

These are the best puppy foods.

Evolve Classic Deboned Chicken Puppy Recipe Dry Dog Food

Ingredients: A grain-free diet can help your puppy grow up strong and healthy, but you need premium ingredients like whole vegetables and high-quality meats to make up the difference. Thats where Evolves classic deboned chicken puppy recipe comes in, with premium chicken, sweet potatoes, and berries.

Price/Where To Buy: This blend is available from, and is not eligible for free shipping. A 14-lb. bag costs about $26.

The Difference: Evolve is a brand dedicated to helping dogs grow up happy and healthy with premium grain-free options like this tasty chicken blend. Your puppy will love it, and your wallet will, too.

Recommended Reading: How To Switch From Dry Dog Food To Raw

Rachael Ray Nutrish Bright Puppy Natural Real Chicken & Brown Rice Recipe Dry Dog Food

Image courtesy Rachael Ray

Rachael Ray Nutrish Bright Puppy Natural Real Chicken & Brown Rice Recipe Dry Dog Food is made with real chicken as the first ingredient, and it’s enriched with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.

This food also has a high protein content to help your puppy build lean muscle mass, and it’s made with ingredients that are easy to digest.

Do Vets Recommend Grain

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So long as a dog is getting all the nutrients they need, there is not one specific type of ingredient or protein source that is superior to others, Dr. Kimmelstiel says, with the caveat being if your pup has a sensitivity or allergy . He adds that, while grain-free dog foods are trendy among some dog owners, they arent necessarily healthier than ones that follow a grain-inclusive diet. In fact, the FDA announced in 2018 that its investigating a potential link between grain-free diets and a certain type of heart disease in dogs . Many vets would recommend avoiding grain-free diets for the time being, unless a dog has a specific medical need for that type of diet, Dr. Kimmelstiel says.

Below, weve highlighted some of the best dog food brands currently available, based on the guidelines outlined by Dr. Kimmelstiel and Dr. Prantil, plus enthusiastic reviews by proud pet parents. This is by no means a comprehensive list, and itll probably take some trial and error before you settle on a go-to pet food, but it should provide a jumping-off point for the next time you discuss dog food options with your vet.

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Puppy Nutrition : What Kind Of Dog Food Does Your Pup Need

The Association of American Feed Control Officials recommends two different nutritional profiles for dog foods one set of recommendations applies to adult dogs , while the other applies to growing puppies and reproductively active females .

Among other differences, growing puppies require more protein and amino acids than the adults do, as well as more fat, calcium and phosphorus.

Specifically, at least 22% of a puppy foods calories should come from protein, while protein only needs to provide about 18% of the calories in an adult dogs food . In practice, many of the best puppy food recipes provide even more protein 22% protein content represents the minimum daily requirements needed to keep a puppy healthy.

More is even better for growing pups! Accordingly, most common puppy foods draw about 30% of their calories from protein.

Additionally, most high-quality, best puppy foods with balanced diets are fortified with additional vitamins and minerals. Some even include immune-system-boosting antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids to ensure your new puppys brain develops properly.

AAFCO nutritional guideline chart from .

About Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Dry Puppy Food

Blue Buffalos Chicken and Brown Rice Life Protection Formula leads its ingredients list with deboned chicken.

This recipe also contains whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and key fatty acids such as DHA and ARA that are found in mothers milk and are important for cognitive and retinal development. No byproducts, artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives in this bag!

Merrick Classic Healthy Grains Dry Dog Food Puppy Recipe

The primary ingredient of this nutrient-rich recipe is deboned chicken. Get all of the protein without the fillers.

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Iams Proactive Health Smart Puppy Food

Image courtesy Iams

Iams Proactive Health Smart Puppy Food is designed to meet the needs of growing puppies. It’s made with high-quality proteins and nutrients, and it’s enriched with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.

This food also has a high protein content to help your puppy build lean muscle mass, and it’s made with high-quality ingredients that are easy to digest.

What To Avoid In Dog Food

Pedigree Small Breed Kibbles Dry Dog Food

Dogs are usually not picky eaters, but that does not mean they can safely eat anything and everything. Certain ingredients should be avoided in dog food to keep dogs safe. Dr. Shepherd provided insight on which toxic ingredients dog owners should look out for, and avoid, when selecting a dog food:

  • Garlic powder: Garlic enhances the flavor of food but can damage red blood cells, leading to anemia. Signs of anemia in dogs include lethargy, pale gums, and weakness. Dr. Shepherd recommends avoiding any dog food that contains garlic powder.
  • Raw meat: Although raw food diets have become increasingly popular for dogs, raw meat may contain disease-causing bacteria, such as E. coli and Listeria monocytogenes, and genes that promote antibiotic resistance. Both the CDC and FDA advise against feeding raw meat. Dr. Shepherd points out that freeze-dried meat products should still be considered as raw food, and thus avoided, because their manufacturing process does not get rid of disease-causing pathogens. Read more about the harmful effects of feeding your dog a raw diet.
  • Specific allergens: For dogs with food allergies, certain ingredients should be avoided to prevent triggering an allergic reaction. For example, if a dog is allergic to chicken, their diet should not contain any form of chicken a diet containing a novel animal protein source, such as duck or kangaroo, would be a good choice. A food elimination trial is typically used to determine which particular ingredient to avoid.

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