Best Puppy Food: Not All Puppy Foods are Equal – Here’s What You Need To Know

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So you just got a small fluffy friend in your household, and you cannot wait to do all the exciting things with it. Puppies are little creatures that have so much cuteness overloaded into them. One cannot get enough of them just by playing or petting them. However, raising a puppy is not just about playing or taking them to parks. You must feed your four-legged friend the best puppy food to channel its health towards betterment and growth.

A puppy’s diet is essential to be active, responsive, and in good health overall. If you are wondering about training your puppy in the future, giving it the best food to boost its ability to learn new things is crucial. As new puppy owners, people confuse what food is best for their dogs. There are innumerable options, and choosing the best product seems like a real challenge.

This article will explore the best puppy foods and what to consider while hunting for them.


What Puppy Food Is Considered The “Best Puppy Food”?

Dogs are flexible in their diets as they are not strictly carnivores. Dogs are omnivores, and almost 60% of their diet contains meat. Processed dog food such as Kibble seems quite simple and unappealing to us. However, it is a highly regulated food tested for years and is now one of the most used dog foods.

Nonetheless, our question of what makes dog food the best solely lies in the dog’s diet. Puppies mostly eat meat; other than that; they love to eat fruits, vegetables, and grains that complete their diet. Good dog food contains meat (preferably chicken), vegetables, grains, and fruits. Dog food containing all these components is considered a complete meal for the dog. The best puppy food is what includes all of the above ingredients of the best quality.

What Food Will Be Best For Your Puppy?

Each dog is different to some extent. Their food should comprise the nutritional benefits most suitable for them. We recommend you take your puppy to the vet and organize its diet. The vet will carry out a checkup and see if there are any allergies or particular concerns. It is not a good practice to blindly trust dog food commercials.

Did you know that there are 471 million pet dogs across the globe? Such a massive number creates a golden opportunity for businesses to sell their product in the market. Marketers may adopt shady practices in marketing the average food as the best one. Hence, it is recommended to be cautious while choosing the best puppy food. Every dog is different. Therefore, you can get ten various answers regarding what puppy food is the best. Your veterinarian will also consider your pet’s size and breed when concluding what type of food will be the best for it.

Vital Ingredients And Nutrients That Make The Best Puppy Food

Regardless of your dog’s breed and size, some ingredients are must-haves in your dog’s diet to improve its health and boost growth. Just as humans need specific nutrition to stay healthy and active, so does our dog. Here are some of the crucial ingredients the best puppy food should have:

  • Protein

Protein is essential nutrition for your dog, just as it is for us. Protein contains healthy amino acids that boost puppy health and enhance their ability to respond to things. Protein drastically improves brain health and strengthens bones.

Additionally, if your puppy is overweight, feeding it protein can help in weight loss as protein-rich foods are very filling. Hence the overall calorie intake is minimized.

There are many sources of protein that can form your dog’s diet. Some of the popular choices for protein in dog food include:

  • Fish (Salmon or raw cod)
  • Chicken
  • Lamb
  • Beef
  • Eggs
  • Fats

Fats are essential for humans as well as dogs. Unfortunately, fats are envisioned as foods that cause your dog to be fat.

Nonetheless, it is invalid, as fats are crucial to supply your dog with added energy in combined form. Your puppy will be much more active and playful if a regulated fat intake is added to its diet. Healthy fatty acids are great for enhancing cell functions and overall structure.

Here are some of the best fat-rich foods suitable for your dog:

  • Canola Oil
  • Chicken Fat
  • Beef Fat
  • Fish Oil
  • Vegetable Oil
  • Salmon Oil
  • Vitamins And Minerals

Vitamins and minerals are also crucial for your four-legged friend. It promotes a healthy lifestyle and makes your dog immune to certain diseases and sicknesses. Feeding food rich in vitamins and minerals is suggested, unlike giving supplements to your pup. Supplements might not be healthy for your puppy. Supplements may be provided to your dog when it reaches the age of adolescence. Consult your vet before feeding your dog any supplements.

Vitamin A, B, C, D, E, and K are phenomenal for your puppy as they greatly enhance its overall health and immunity. Below are some foods rich in these vitamins and minerals:

  • Carrot
  • Spinach 
  • Pumpkin
  • Fatty Fish
  • Dairy Products
  • Cottage Cheese
  • Eggs
  • Sweet Potatoes
  • Carbohydrates

Carbohydrates complete your puppy’s diet and are a magnificent energy source. We recommend you consult your pet regarding what carbs are best for your dog since many types are available. Feeding carbs in a limited is vital as too much can lead to obesity and other health issues.

Many foods serve as an excellent source of carbohydrates. Here are some of them:

  • Potato
  • Sweet Potato
  • Brown Rice
  • Oats
  • Millet
  • Corn
  • Wheat

What Factors To Consider While Choosing The Best Puppy Food?

Let us look in further detail at what crucial factors a dog owner should consider while searching for the best puppy food for its dog. Dog food should meet specific standards and be suitable for your breed. Here are some of the factors:

  • Dog Food Should Meet International Nutritional Standards

There are tons of dog food manufacturers out there. However, selecting dog food products certified by international food authorities and organizations is essential. The Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) is the leading authority in approving nutritional standards. Premium puppy foods have the AAFCO label printed, certifying their quality and standards. When searching for dog food, it is essential to always look for regulatory authority labels and certifications. There are many fake brands out there that are solely making dog products to make money and do not care about the well-being of your pup.

  • Different Food For Different Aged Dogs

If you previously owned a dog who had reached adult age and used to feed it particular dog food, do not feed the same food to your new puppy. Providing dogs of all ages with the same meal is not suitable. Puppies below ten months should be fed foods rich in vitamins and minerals as it is best for them. With that, smaller pups need a good source of protein. All these nutrients make a young puppy skeletally solid and active. At a young age, it is recommended to feed your dog formulated foods that fulfill all core nutritional requirements.

Once your puppy enters the age bracket between 12 and 18 months, it can be considered a medium-sized dog. Grain-based foods are recommended at this age the most. Grain-free foods result in heart diseases in the long term.

  • Different Food For Different Breeds of Dogs

Not only age but breeds of dogs are also deciding what food we should give them. Large-sized breeds such as German Shepherd, Great Danes, and Malamutes are much larger than other breeds. Hence, these breeds have different dietary requirements. It is recommended that dog products that are mentioned as suitable for large breeds should specifically be chosen for these dogs. Special dog foods for large breeds are manufactured to keep these dogs healthy and active. 

One difference in the food of smaller and larger breed dogs is the size. Food for larger dog breeds is made in larger chunks as they can quickly chow down. In contrast, smaller-sized dog breeds are best suitable for smaller chunk foods for them to eat correctly. Besides food size, the nutritional composition also varies between different breeds of dogs. To choose the best puppy food, identify your dog breed and then search accordingly.

  • Dog Food Should Consist of High-Quality Ingredients

Look at that ingredient chart before dropping the product in your cart. Many dog food ingredients do not mention exactly what meat it includes. Ingredients that say meat by-products or only meat should be investigated further as it is not sure what type of meat might be there. Some animal by-products are an excellent source of protein, while some are still on the grey list. Additionally, foods that contain preservatives and white flour should also be avoided as they can pertain to harmful effects on your dog.

A new trend of feeding minimally processed food to dogs is emerging as new dog owners wish to feed their dog foods that look humanly appetizing. The core concept behind this trend is to reduce the use of highly processed foods that might contain harmful bacteria and minimize nutritional benefits. The best puppy food is something that is minimally processed. Latest dog products also have “minimally processed” mentioned on their packaging. Nonetheless, these foods are processed but to a limited extent, allowing the food to retain valuable nutrients and reducing the risk of harmful bacteria.

Gently cooked foods are also among minimally processed foods that mostly come in frozen forms.

  • Wet Or Dry Dog Food?

A combination of both is recommended. Wet foods are great for puppies who do not drink enough water throughout the day. Wet foods can fulfill their daily water intake. Apart from that, wet foods are convenient to feed. Dogs can eat wet foods much better than dry foods. Still, many dog parents choose to feed their pups dry food as it is less costly and preferable for developing strong teeth.

Puppy Treats

Puppy treats are also an integral part of a puppy’s diet since giving treats significantly enforces training the puppy effectively. During a training session, you will have to feed your puppy a tremendous amount of treats to keep them motivated. Feeding unhealthy treats can be a leading cause of obesity and other health diseases. It is recommended that you should give healthy treats in small proportions. 

Preparing treats at home is also great to ensure your dog gets the best out of the treats. Here are some fantastic dog treats to make at home with limited ingredients!

How Often Should You Feed Your Dog?

Puppies should be fed according to their age. When they are at their initial stage, i.e., 6 to 12 weeks old, you should feed them four times a day. Puppies are active and spend most of their time running and playing. Hence, feeding them four times a day is recommended. Once the dog reaches the age of 3 to 6 months, you should feed it thrice daily. Similarly, you should feed them twice a week after they arrive at the age of 6 to 12 months. 

The portion size of the food given to a dog depends on its activity level, metabolism, and weight. Consult your vet to learn what portion size is perfect for your dog. After feeding your dog regularly, taking them out to potty is also essential. Read 5 of the best potty training tips that can help your dog learn house manners within weeks! 

What Foods To Keep Away From Puppies?

We talked a lot about the best puppy foods. Let’s now understand what foods can be the worst for your puppy. Research suggests that raw foods can lead to infections and a high chance of bacterial diseases and food poisoning. Raw meat is the leading cause of such conditions. Whether food is homemade or store-bought, you should keep raw food away from dogs at all costs.

Moreover, foods that can trigger allergic reactions in your dog should also be avoided. Consult your vet to know if your dog has any allergies or not. Lactose intolerance might also be a thing to consider when feeding your pup dairy products.

Processed corn and wheat are considered poor foods as they do not contain much nutritional benefit and are also stomach fillers.


Myths And Misinformation Regarding Dog Food

There is a sea of information and misinformation around us that leads us to think about what precisely the right advice is. Instead of taking advice from dog owners and other individuals, it is best to research online. Read from renowned sources and authorities, such as professional veterinarians, canine nutritionists, and famous blogs. 

Again it is essential to understand that the best puppy food for someone else’s dog might not be the best for your pup. Each pup has different requirements and circumstances. Grain-inclusive foods are great for dogs as they are a vital source of essential nutrients. However, if your dog is allergic to certain grains, it is suitable to feed them grain-less foods. 

People also have mixed views regarding animal by-products as pet food. According to Dog Food Advisor, some animal by-products inedible by humans are a great source of essential nutrients for dogs. By-products such as organ meat and entrails are excellent protein sources for dogs. On the other hand, unregulated by-products such as intestinal contents, hair, and manure are not suitable for pets. It is essential to understand the depth of what makes an animal by-product.

Reading A Dog Food Label

We read ingredient labels on packaged food we consume but hardly try doing the same for dog food. Reading a dog food label can help you distinguish between the best and worst puppy food. Reading food labels can be difficult due to the small print and uncertain information. Certain vital elements classify what information should be included in packaged pet food. All tags are required by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Here are some crucial things to look out for when reading a packaged dog product label:

  • Product Name

Reading a product name correctly will tell you much about what’s inside the package. Different terms are actively used to refer to how much of a particular ingredient is present in the food. These other terms are used primarily for various types of meat.

For example, the term “chicken” entails that almost 70% of the food is made up of chicken which means that the product is an excellent source of protein. Similarly, “Chicken Platter” means that almost 10% of the product consists of chicken. Moreover, “With Chicken” emphasizes that the product contains nearly 3% chicken, while the term flavor means that the meat is only added to the extent of providing its flavor.

  • Ingredients

Read the ingredients before buying the product for your dog. The ingredients list will tell you much about what makes up the overall product and will help you know if it contains any ingredients your dog might be allergic to. You will also learn about the composition of certain nutrients in the food. 

Best Puppy Foods For Your Dog

Here are some of the best puppy foods you can purchase on Amazon and Chewy:


Royal Canin Small Puppy Dry Dog Food

The highly digestible proteins and prebiotic ingredients in this puppy formula are easy on sensitive digestive systems and provide optimal stool quality.


Royal Canin is a formulated dog food suitable for small to medium breeds. This chicken-flavored kibble is packed with a blend of antioxidants and vitamins that provides immune support to your little pup. The best part about Royal Canin is that vets from around the globe recommend it and have even used it on their dogs. Royal Canin aids your dog’s digestive system as it contains digestible proteins and prebiotics.

Purina Pro Plan Focus Puppy Large-Breed Formula Dry Dog Food

These tasty meals feature high-quality protein from chicken for building strong muscles and just the right amount of complex carbohydrates from rice to keep your puppy playing all day long.


Purina Pro Plan rice and chicken-based dog food is specially made for large dog breeds. It contains hard and crunchy kibble for your canine that boosts their teeth while giving them a satisfying crunch. Purina Pro Plan consists of Glucosamine that enhances bone strength and strengthens cartilage. This product is made up of real chicken chunks. The official Purina Pro Plan website mentions that over 100 vets recommend Purina Pro Plan as the best dog food for larger breeds.


Chicken Soup for the Soul Puppy Chicken, Turkey & Brown Rice Recipe Dry Dog Food

This puppy-sized kibble contains DHA for proper eye and brain development with antioxidants and superfoods like apples, blueberries and spinach help build immune health.


Chicken Soup for the Soul puppy food is a prime source of protein for small and medium-sized puppies. It is a typical grain-inclusive product that contains barley, oatmeal, brown rice, and millet. The product contains 33% protein, drastically promoting digestive health and improving bone strength. This product is also an excellent source of healthy fats in the shape of Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids that boosts healthy skin.

Farmina N&D Ancestral Grain Chicken & Pomegranate Recipe Mini Puppy Dry Dog Food

It’s a low glycemic formula so it’s a great option for pets that need a food that won’t spike blood sugar.


Farmina N&D is tested for low glycemic index, and 90% of its protein is derived from animals. This product is best for small breeds and contains vital nutrients to boost their growth and health. Farmina N&D is in direct contact with Italian Veteranians who create formulated foods of high standards and tasty for the dogs. Farmina N&D is one of the best dry dog food products out there.


Hill’s Science Diet Puppy Large Breed Dry Dog Food

This food contains controlled levels of calcium support optimal bone growth for your large breed puppy. Made with wholesome ingredients such as savory chicken meal and oats.


Hill’s Science Diet has produced this product, especially for large breed dogs that need some additional skeletal strength. The product is a perfect source of calcium that strengthens bones and teeth. It also contains healthy fish oils and real processed chicken. Many vets recommend Hill’s Science as the go-to dog food for larger breeds.

Final Thoughts

As a new dog owner, a lot of information is available regarding what best puppy food is the most suitable for your dog. However, we believe in organizing information so that it is helpful for every dog owner regardless of what dog breed they own. Always consult your vet to learn more about how a dog’s diet works. 

Preference for dog food changes once every few months as the dog grows. Click here to read the ultimate puppy schedule by age to understand what behavioural changes puppies go through and what food can be best for them!

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