Once my puppy began weaning off his mother’s milk, I was excited. He was starting to be a big boy now and ready for a ton of treats ahead of him! However, there was just one issue: What is the best puppy dog food?
I was a bit confused at first. After all, with the dozens of brands and types of food out there, you’ll never know which one to choose! That’s why I began doing my research to make sure Fido got the nutrients he needs to grow up to a healthy dog.
I know how it feels to be overwhelmed with all the choices, which is why I show you the top ten best puppy dog food reviews to help you out!
How to Choose the Best Puppy Dog Food
Puppy food is essential for your little one’s health but how will you know if what you select is suitable for him? Like mentioned, there are a ton of choices which can be quite overwhelming! To help you out, here are some tips and factors to consider when investing in puppy food ideal for your growing pet:
1. Choose the Reputable Puppy Food Brand
Make sure that the puppy food you are getting comes from trusted companies that underwent AAFCO feeding trials. This ensures that their food has no risk of deficiencies or issues. I recommend investing in pet food companies which have done scientific research and consulted with veterinarians for the completely balanced meals that help with your puppy’s development.
2. Look Into the Calories and Nutrients
Remember that puppy food needs to be higher in calories for the puppy’s development and compensate the energy used in playing. Consult the veterinarian to get the nutritional needs of your little one and check the labels to see if the puppy food has enough calories per serving to accommodate. That way, they get enough nutrients to develop well.
3. How Big Is Your Puppy? How About Their Food?
There is puppy food that’s specialized per breed size. That’s why it’s crucial to invest in food that’s formulated to your puppy’s size or breed. This is because the bone growth of small and big breeds are different. They shouldn’t be eating the same food as bigger dogs require a specific amount of calcium and phosphorous to help their bones accurately, compared to smaller breeds.
Also, consider the size of the kibbles. It should have a good consistency and not too big for smaller breeds. This is to ensure that your dogs are eating comfortably and without any risk of choking. Be mind fool of any food chunks which may cause difficulty in swallowing for small to medium sized puppies, especially those who are still weaning off their mother’s milk.
4. Look at the Ingredients!
Last but not the least, you must check out what the puppy food contains for the development of your little one. Puppy diets require a right amount of protein and essential nutrients that help them grow. I would recommend that you choose food that contains chicken or other natural protein sources. Do not go for food that includes fillers like corn. Also, there should be a high amount of DHA, an essential fatty acid which helps with the brain, eye, and ear development.
The Top Ten Best Puppy Food Reviews 2018
Based on my research, tests, and overall customer reviews, here are the top ten best puppy food you can invest in today:
When I began feeding my puppy Tuffy’s NutriSource, I was surprised with how easy it was for him to eat. Even the pickiest of puppies will appreciate the flavors, as well as the small kibbles perfect for small to medium breeds.
The dog food itself contains a balance of protein and fat, as well as the easy-to-digest carbohydrates which come from brown rice. Another huge plus is that it contains probiotics to aid in digestion, without any artificial colors or fillers!
While it is a bit more on the expensive side compared to other puppy food brands, I can say that it’s worth the investment for a healthier puppy that requires food packed with the quality protein and ingredients.
- Requires smaller feed portions
- Has excellent nutrition value with protein and probiotics
- Small kibbles for small to medium breeds
- Fantastic quality without any intestinal issues
- Comes at a high price
- Not suitable for bigger sized dogs
Wellness Complete Health Natural Puppy Food is another excellent choice because it contains NO grains at all, only with the complete and balanced nutrients to ensure that your puppy thrives. It includes the good proteins your puppy will appreciate, such as whitefish and deboned chicken with all essential vitamins and fatty acids for better brain health.
Furthermore, the food only contains the premium and natural ingredients without any preservatives or fillers. Backed up by studies and made in the USA, you are assured only the best from this reputable pet company. Specialized for puppies and optimum growth in mind, it’s a less expensive alternative but still with the vitamins and minerals your puppy needs.
- Comes with all-natural and premium ingredients
- Contains delicious proteins such as whitefish and chicken
- No fillers and made in the USA
- It has a balance of protein and puppies like the taste
- Still a bit more expensive than other puppy food
- Some picky eaters may not appreciate the taste unless flavored with broth
Wellness Core is a good choice when you’re looking for dog food, as it contains the grain-free and premium ingredients to ensure balanced nutrition for all puppies. I like the fact that there are choices of flavors to choose from, as I have a picky pet who prefers some flavors over the other.
All of the flavors contain the protein-rich ingredients, with one being able to choose from whitefish, getting and salmon, lamb, or even original turkey and chicken. It includes the all-natural ingredients without the artificial flavors or fillers. Providing all the DHA required for optimum brain and eye development, this puppy food will help improve the way your puppy grows.
- Picky puppy loves the flavor
- Can choose between many flavors
- Protein-rich and quality ingredients without any artificial preservatives
- Does not upset stomachs, easy on the stomach
- May be a bit too dry and requires moisture
- Some complaints of receiving holes on packages
Nature’s Recipe contains chicken as the number one ingredient, a high-quality protein that supports ultimate muscle development. Also, it includes sweet potatoes and pumpkin to keep your puppy energized but with the easy-to-digest carbohydrates. There are NO grains found in the food, making it healthy and digestible without any intestinal issues.
My puppy appreciates its flavor, and I have noticed better energy after a few days. He even got a shinier coat, which is a huge bonus considering that it looked a bit dull before he began consuming food from Nature’s Recipe. Because of its excellent formula for better brain and coat development, this is a significant investment!
- Puppy likes the taste
- Better and shinier coat
- Great for sensitive tummies, easy to digest food
- Chicken is the first ingredient
- Some severe complaints of wooden skewers in the food
- It’s a bit on the pricier side
Hill’s Science Diet Puppy Food has been known to create the best formulas of dog food to ensure optimum nutrition. Their puppy food is recommended for all puppies of up to one-year-old or pregnant and nursing dogs. This is because it contains the natural DHA thanks to fish oil, as well as the mineral levels that help with the brain, eye, and bone development. It also contains vitamins C and E for a healthier immune system!
The kibbles are smaller to have your puppy eat comfortable and digest the food easier. As for protein, there are no issues as it contains chicken as the first ingredient. Recommended by veterinarians and backed up by science, this is another worthy investment.
- Has given my puppy a shinier and healthier coat
- Puppy is easy to train with better brain development
- Smaller kibbles for easier swallowing and digestion
- Contains natural ingredients and rich in protein from chicken
- Some puppies won’t like the flavor
- May be too dry for puppies, needs some water for moisture
I would recommend Eukanuba puppy food because of the fantastic results I’ve witnessed as my puppy grew! It’s best for large breed puppies, which contains natural fish oil for smarter and better-trained puppies. So I immediately noticed a considerable change in my puppy’s obedience, which I loved.
Also, Eukanuba is made of protein-rich chicken and natural beet pulp with prebiotic FOS. That means better skeletal development as well as improved digestion and nutrient absorption. My puppy had no more problems when excreting. With its all-natural ingredients, this is best if you’re focusing on training your large puppy!
- Maintains a healthy and shiny coat
- Helps with better brain development for training
- Recommended for large breeds
- Protein-rich with fatty acids and probiotics for digestion
- Some dogs aren’t keen on the flavor
- Not recommended for small to medium breeds
When you first look at the package of Taste of the Wild’s puppy food, the first thing in mind is strength and manliness. And that’s what it helps your puppy become! Made with bison and venison, real meat with quality protein, it has helped my puppy grow the lean and strong muscles to become a bit and robust dog he is today. Not only that but it also has superfoods with natural antioxidants to keep him happy and with better digestion.
I appreciate that it comes with the nutrient-rich ingredients and small kibbles for comfort. Plus, the unique flavor makes my puppy love it!
- Small kibbles for easy eating
- Contains real and quality protein from bison and venison
- Delicious flavor for puppies to like
- Affordable price for great value
- Some complaints of dogs getting diarrhea from the new formula
- Doesn’t have a resealable bag
I’m sure you are familiar with the reputable brand Purina Pro Plan, who continues to create the excellent puppy food for better growth and development. I like how it didn’t only help with my puppy’s thinking and obedience, but it also strengthened his teeth and bones. I also noticed that he became even stronger with a shinier coat, to the point people ask me what my secret is!
This is because Purina Pro Plan has an effective formula filled with antioxidants and quality chicken as their first ingredient. Furthermore, it contains phosphorous, calcium, and other crucial vitamins and minerals that build your puppy’s whole body to ensure optimum growth without any digestive issues.
All of the kibbles are well-flavored, and it will take some trial and error to figure out what your puppy wants. Some prefer other flavors over the other, with salmon being my puppy’s personal favorite. Either way, this is a worthy investment I would recommend to anyone!
- Reputable pet food company with an excellent formula for puppy food
- Ideal consistency, not too dry
- Shiny coat and better digestion
- Better brain development and obedience skills
- A bit on the pricey side
- Some dogs prefer other flavors or get used to it quickly
Merrick Puppy Food is another excellent choice and coming at a much lower price. With protein in mind (real deboned chicken), I have noticed that my puppy has become significantly stronger and continues to gain and grow as promised without the issues. He now also has no problems when it comes to digestive health and has healthier stools, as well as the shiny coat to match.
Also contains healthy fatty acids and without any grains, my puppy has experienced better energy with a more obedient mind. He loves the flavor and can gobble it up quickly! Fortunately, the kibbles are small and without any choking hazard. All in all, I can recommend this for picky eaters and pet owners on a budget.
- Affordable price with great value
- Gave my puppy healthier stools and shiny coat
- Better bone and brain development
- Puppies will love the flavor
- Some received kibbles coming in clumps
- May take a few days before puppy gets used to the taste
Last but not the least, we have Pedigree, a popular pet food company brand that doesn’t fail with their quality and affordable puppy food.
Just like your typical puppy food, it contains all the vitamins and minerals one needs to develop healthy bones and teeth, as well as a better mind and body. It has the chicken flavor my puppy can’t get enough of!
Another thing I like is that it’s like the complete package- My dog doesn’t only have a healthier coat, but a better mind, bones, and even the energy needed when training. And coming at an affordable price from a reputable company, I can’t ask for more.
- Comes at an affordable price
- Puppy loves the pure chicken flavor
- Better coat, bones, and brain development
- Big kibbles take time to chew
- A bit too dry and may require some water
What’s The Difference Between Adult and Puppy Food
You’re probably wondering: What makes puppy food different from adult dog food? If you have an adult dog with your puppy, it may have had you think about merely sharing their food to save money. Sure, your puppy can have a bowl of adult dog food once in awhile, as it isn’t toxic. However, there may be long-term damage!
That’s why it’s best to feed your puppy food specialized for puppies. But why, exactly?
It’s all because puppies and adults have different nutritional needs from their biological differences. After all, would you feed your baby the typical steak and potatoes you have? Because our bodies work differently when we are either young or old, your puppy needs a different type of fuel.
Because of a puppy’s small size, they would lose body heat faster compared to adult dogs. They have to work harder to maintain their body temperature, resulting in them burning more calories. With that being said, puppies require more calories compared to non-pregnant and non-lactating adult dogs do.
Also, since puppies grow rapidly during the first two to three years of their life, they also require more amino acids (protein) and nutrients compared to adult dogs.
So you would expect that puppy food will contain more calories and amount of protein. While adult dogs can tolerate the higher amount of protein from puppy food, puppies can suffer from developmental problems if they continue consuming adult dog food, as it deprives them of the calories and protein needed to grow.
Basically, puppy food has more protein, calories, and a different blend of nutrients that allow them to grow to adults!
How Long Should I Feed Fido Puppy Food?
Now that you know all about how your puppy needs their specialized food, when should they start transitioning to the “big dog” food?
It’s best to consult your dog’s veterinarian for them to determine when is the best time to change. Usually, most dogs are ready when they are about two years old. There is no exact age as to when your puppy becomes a dog, as this varies from your puppy’s size and breed. Small breeds would mature at young ages while bigger breeds need two or more years before they develop fully.
Once they hit that point where it’s time for them to eat adult food, make sure to make the transition gradually. You can do so by replacing about 20% of their food for the first few days, then double the amount once you see that your puppy-turned-adult is tolerating the food well. It would take about a week or so to make the full transition. This is to ensure no intestinal distress.
Effective Tips on Feeding Your Puppy
Now, let’s tackle about how you should feed your puppy! For first-timers, you’ll probably feel a bit overwhelmed with all the scheduling and the exact amounts of food you should feed them. Not to worry, it all takes a few days to understand the way your puppy eats. You can follow these tips to help you out:
- Puppies should begin getting solid food one they hit four weeks old, as they aren’t able to get calories required from their mother’s milk. By six weeks, they should be eating wet or moistened dry food.
- It’s best to stick to a daily routine when feeding your dog. For puppies under 12 weeks old, they should eat around three to four times a day. Once they hit there months old, it’s recommended to feed them two to three times a day.
- You will know how much your puppy needs to eat based on the guidelines from the specific puppy food brand you purchase. However, this is a starting point and can be adjusted after observing the way your puppy eats. Take note that there isn’t a one-diet-fits-all.
- Besides feeding your puppy regularly, regular weigh-ins and vet visits will help determine if you are feeding him just right. Acquaint yourself with the proper weight your dog should be (depending on his breed) and ensure that his food isn’t causing any intestinal issues.
- If you’re dealing with a fussy eater, then you can try adding warm water or no-salt chicken broth for better consistency and to improve the aroma, which will entice your puppy’s appetite.
- If you are still weaning your puppy off mother’s milk, make sure to start with wet or moistened dry food for comfort until he gets used to the dry food.
Wrapping It Up
And there you have it! With the right type of puppy food, your puppy will grow into the healthy and robust dog you want him to be. As long as you do your research and make the right investments for his breed, then there’s nothing to worry about with his food intake.
Out of all the puppy food tried and tested, I can vouch that the Eukanuba Puppy Food is one of the best out there. Not only is it highly digestible with its beet pulp formula but you are assured that your puppy is eating quality chicken with all the nutrients that keep your dog healthy. It is affordable, easy to eat, and even the pickiest pets will love its flavor and appreciate the small kibbles for easy chewing. Plus, it has helped improve my puppy’s brain and skeletal development, making him smarter and more obedient!
Hopefully, this article on the best puppy food gave you an idea of what you need to begin investing in for your little one today. So don’t wait any longer and check any of these excellent puppy food out for your growing pet now!
For those who have any questions or would like to share their reviews and tips on feeding their puppy, comment below. Your comments are much appreciated.