Tried fresh, human-grade food for your dog yet? 50% Off First Order at Ollie. Start Trial 50% OFF

Best Puppy Food – 6 Healthy Wet & Dry Dog Food Brands for Puppies

Intro

Chewy Online Dog Supplies


30% Off at Chewy.com

+ Free Shipping

Save Now

When searching online for the best puppy food, the options that come up can be overwhelming. With hundreds of brands and flavors to choose from, it can become difficult to be sure you are choosing the right one for your new furry friend. Food that is designed specifically for puppies incorporates a solid set of nutrients that meets the daily needs of a growing puppy. Since dogs are in a phase of growth and development during puppyhood, their bones, teeth, organs, brain, eyes, and coats need all the nutrition they can get. Each one of these parts of a puppy requires a specific set of nutrients that support developmental needs. Dog food that is meant for adults does not have the complete and balanced nutrition that puppies need and will therefore fall short in meeting the nutritional requirements of a puppy. It is important to check labels and be sure you are choosing a formula made for the puppy stage of life.

Generally, dogs are considered puppies until they reach one year of age, when they have reached up to 80% of their full-grown size. On a rare occasion, a puppy may develop too quickly, and puppy food should be transitioned to adult food at a younger age. However, this is not a common occurrence and a veterinarian would be quick to catch a growth spurt and help direct your dog food choices.

This guide lists the different types of puppy food available to choose from, will cover the importance of understanding your puppy’s breed size to optimize nutrition, and will offer some top recommendations for puppy food available for purchase online. You may also review the puppy feeding chart included toward the bottom of this guide to help orient you and provide some age-specific markers for feeding your growing puppy. Lastly, some of your frequently asked questions are answered in detail to make your puppy food buying experience well-informed and easy!

Different Types of Food for Puppies

  • Dry – Dry puppy food is a great economical option that has the nutrients puppies require to grow into adulthood. However, when a puppy is just beginning to wean off mom’s milk, the ideal transition food is canned food because it offers a softer texture for pups that are just becoming used to solids. After several weeks, puppies can be introduced to dry dog food that is specially created for puppies. Oftentimes, dry dog food for puppies will have a smaller kibble size that makes chowing down more comfortable for small puppy jaws. So long as a high-quality dog food is provided, it will contain the nutrients puppies need to develop normally.
  • Wet – Wet puppy food is a great transition food when your puppy is weaning at eight to ten weeks. There are different types of textures available in canned foods that are much easier to eat than dry kibbles when a puppy is just learning how to consume solid foods. There is a pate texture that is ultra-soft and doesn’t require much chewing. There are chunkier options that will have moistened morsels of food that your puppy can chow down. Not only is wet food a great help when transitioning your puppy to solids, it can also be incorporated into your puppy’s diet as a special treat or a topper to help moisten their dry kibbles, make them more aromatic, and offer some extra flavor and texture.
  • Freeze-Dried – Freeze-dried food offers variety and delivers raw meat in small, bite size pieces mixed with puppy kibble to deliver a tasty, nutritious treat with every mouthful. When you pick a high-quality food, your pup will be enjoying a delightful treat that is packed with nutrition because the freeze-drying process helps to preserve the vitamins and enzymes in the raw food that are frequently diminished during long cooking and preparation processes.
  • Human Grade – Some of the highest quality dog food available for puppies includes human grade ingredients. Foods that are labeled this way include wholesome ingredients that have to meet a higher quality standard than other dog foods. These foods will be of a higher quality and offer tons of nutrition with every bite. Since these foods are safe enough to place on your own dinner plate, their nutritional profiles, ingredients, and overall quality are better than regular dog food.

Consider your Puppies Size

  • Teacup – Teacup puppies are dogs that are very small, falling under the height and weight requirements of a small breed puppy. These are popular pups because of their adorable appearance; they can have your heart in their paw in no time. This breed size is not recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC), but there are several different breeds that are considered teacups, such as Pomeranians and Beagles. These pups will not grow very much and often weigh only a few pounds. These puppies may have been bred without care and a focus solely on size, so they may be prone to health issues as they develop. These puppies should be handled with care, ideally with veterinary supervision to encourage the healthiest development with the most high-quality foods.
  • Small Breeds – There are many small breed dogs that have different appearances, activity levels, and personalities. These puppies don’t require the energy that big dogs require (or the amount of care and exercise larger dogs need) and can be great for pup owners who live in smaller condos and apartments that have limited outdoor space. Not all small dogs will be best suited for family life, it is important to research the different breeds and personalities to be sure your chosen pup matches your lifestyle. This way, you can prepare your puppy for a fulfilled life alongside you. For example, small puppies that are surrounded by a loud and erratic family with toddlers may not be given the opportunity to thrive and could get lost in the chaos. If you are looking for a pup that is more active and will run country hills with you, then you may want to choose a naturally more active and athletic puppy. Each of these pups will require quality nutrition, though they will have different caloric requirements, depending on size and activity levels.
  • Medium Breeds – Medium breed puppies will grow to be a standard size – neither too small to get lost in the commotion of a family or so big they require a large backyard to roam. These puppies tend to be charismatic and playful, with easygoing personalities. There are certain breeds like Bulldogs that will have a calmer disposition and other medium breeds like Shetland Sheepogs that will have a lot more energy to expend. Again, depending on activity levels, nutrition and daily caloric intake should be adjusted. In addition, hydration should also be a top priority for pups that lead more active lifestyles.
  • Large Breeds – Large breed dogs take up a lot more space than small or medium-sized breeds and make good lifelong companions. Although they are larger, they tend to have calm personalities and like to engage in relaxation at home. So long as these dogs are provided with adequate daily exercise, they will be rather tame when sprawling out at home to enjoy the day. There are several commercial dog foods available that are specially formulated for large breed puppies, providing the extra nutrients these puppies require to grow into their full adult size.
  • Extra Large Breed – Extra large breed dogs are the kind that make you feel protected. These pups have a lot of appeal and can be very loving and easy to cuddle into, allowing for affection and interaction with your family that is very notable. These kinds of dogs require added nutrition to help sustain their large bodies and a puppy food that is crafted for extra large breed puppies is a wonderful starting point to get these puppies growing and developing normally.

Review Section

Ollie’s Beef, Chicken, Turkey, or Lamb Recipes

Key Features:

  • Safe enough for human consumption
  • Designed carefully for your pup’s complete nutrition
  • Whole foods are minimally processed for nutrient preservation
  • No fillers or artificial flavors

Overall Best Puppy Food on the Market – Ollie is a company that was developed with your dog’s health and longevity in mind. It is an alternative to many of the prepackaged foods available on the market that offers preservation of nutrients via minimal processing to deliver only the freshest ingredients straight to your door. It is crafted with wholesome ingredients to provide meals that are not only highly palatable, but also good for your pup’s health.

Ollie has several recipes available for your pup to try. The beef recipe includes organ meats for an extra amount of nutrients. It also includes peas to support skin, heart, and eye health and sweet potatoes to deliver essential minerals and fiber for digestive support. The chicken recipe includes chicken and peas, along with nutrient-packed fruits and vegetables, like blueberries and carrots. Omega-3 fatty acids in this recipe support optimal heart health.

The turkey recipe offers a Thanksgiving feel, including turkey, pumpkin and carrots. Added chia seeds provide zinc, copper, and manganese. The fourth recipe, the lamb recipe, also includes a great blend of whole foods, including butternut squash and kale to ensure coat and skin health.

Pros:

  • Ollie offers a 20% discount off your first box
  • Human-grade ingredients
  • Delivery to accommodate busy schedules

Cons:

  • More expensive when compared to other options commercially available

Taste of the Wild High Prairie Puppy Formula Grain-Free Dry Dog Food

Key Features:

  • First ingredient in this recipe is real buffalo
  • Specially formulated for the puppy stage of life
  • Protein-rich and grain-free
  • Includes an exclusive K9 strain probiotic blend

Most Popular Food for Puppies – You can provide nutritious meals for your puppy with this Taste of the Wild High Prairie Puppy Formula – it is made with different proteins that include bison and buffalo. It is a grain-free formula that incorporates sweet potatoes and peas that make this recipe easy to digest. Along with easy digestion, this balanced recipe supports the energy requirements during this important growth stage.

Natural antioxidant support comes from the real fruits and veggies. Dried chicory root is included in this recipe to offer prebiotic support and encourage a well-functioning digestive tract. The essential minerals in this formula are chelated with amino acids, which maximizes absorption and consequent benefits. Each of these ingredients comes from sustainable and trusted locales and the dry dog food is free from fillers like corn and grains and omits artificial colors, preservatives, and flavors.

Pros:

  • Zero fillers or artificial ingredients
  • Added fruits and veggies for added nutrition
  • Grain-free recipe for puppies with sensitive digestion

Cons:

  • This formula may not be a good option if pup parents are avoiding genetically modified ingredients (GMO’s)

American Journey Chicken & Brown Rice Protein First Recipe Puppy Dry Dog Food

Key Features:

  • Balanced nutrition to support growing puppies
  • Made with real chicken for flavor and protein
  • Supports bone development
  • No fillers or artificial ingredients

Best Affordable Puppy Food –Puppies are inherently energetic and curious and will require a complete and nutritious formula that is crafted with their specific needs in mind. Real chicken is the main animal protein source included in this recipe which offers not only a flavor your puppy will love, but also delivers the ever-important protein he requires to develop strong, lean muscles.

Antioxidants are included as well to encourage immune system health while omega fatty acids keep puppy coats looking lustrous. With every mouthful, this formula delivers DHA and ARA, which are naturally occurring fatty acids meant to promote cognitive and eye development. Mineral-rich kelp accompanies other nutritious foods like blueberries and sweet potatoes to round out each meal. This product does not contain any soy, wheat, corn, or artificial flavorings.

Pros:

  • Balanced nutrients, including calcium and phosphorus
  • Offers brain and eye support
  • Packed with nutrition for puppies

Cons:

  • If pup parents are adhering to a grain-free diet, this is not a good option as this recipe does contain grains

Blue Buffalo Wilderness Turkey & Chicken Grill Grain-Free Puppy Canned Dog Food

Key Features:

  • Made with deboned turkey
  • Supports cognitive function
  • Promotes vision development
  • Protein-rich and grain-free

Best Canned Food for Puppies – Blue Buffalo Wilderness offers this canned turkey and chicken puppy food with high-quality, natural ingredients that are enriched with vitamins and minerals. These meals are comprised of grain-free recipes packed with real meat to satisfy hungry puppies. These meals are versatile and can be supplied as a main dish or used as a topper along with a dry dog food recipe.

Deboned turkey is the main ingredient and is a perfect protein source to encourage muscle growth. DHA, a fatty acid, is also included in this formula and assists with brain and eye development. Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids keep your puppy’s coat gleaming and his skin healthy while B12 supplements support digestive function. This is a reasonable alternative to raw food diets and offers a balanced set of nutrients, giving you and your puppy some peace of mind.

Pros:

  • Aromatic and flavorful; a favorite for puppies
  • Alternative option for a raw food diet
  • Balanced nutrition to support puppy growth

Cons:

  • Some puppies may not like the pate texture of this product

6 More Top Rated Puppy Foods

Purina Pro Plan Focus Puppy Large Breed Formula Dry Dog Food

Puppies require a precise blend of nutrients to get them from puppyhood to adulthood. Purina’s puppy large breed dry dog food delivers just that: lean chicken for lean muscle development, DHA-rich fish oil for cognitive and vision support, and just the right portion of complex carbs to feed their boundless energy. This formula is easy to digest and includes prebiotic fiber that assists with overall digestive health. Omega fatty acids keep those puppy coats shiny while added calcium ensures strong teeth and bones for life. There are no artificial preservatives, flavors, or colors in this recipe, and it comes in two bag sizes: an 18 lb. bag and a 34-lb bag.

Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Puppy Chicken & Brown Rice Recipe Dry Dog Food

This chicken and brown rice dry dog food recipe by Blue Buffalo is crafted with the consideration of your puppy’s health. This recipe starts with deboned chicken to offer protein – a vital aspect of a growing pup’s diet. It also includes whole grains and garden vegetables for added benefits. Blue Buffalo incorporates LifeSource Bits into this formula, which is a combination of several enhanced nutrients that support immune system health. These dry kibbles are designed for small puppy jaws and are much smaller than regular-sized kibbles to encourage dental comfort while also assisting with tartar removal. DHA and ARA support cognition and vision and omega fatty acids promote good skin health. This is a great product for puppies of different sized breeds and is free of fillers like corn, soy, and wheat. There are multiple sizes available, ranging from a 3 lb. bag to a 30 lb. bag to satisfy your specific purchasing needs.

VICTOR Active Dog & Puppy Formula Grain-Free Dry Dog Food

If you have noticed your puppy is struggling with digesting other dog food formulas, opting for a recipe that is formulated for sensitive digestive issues is a good move. VICTOR’s active dog and puppy formula provides dogs that have digestive trouble with a balanced diet that is easy on their tummies. It remains nutrient-dense but omits specific types of proteins and grains for pups that deal with common allergens. Quality meat ingredients include beef, pork, and fish meals, offering a flavorful meal that supports the healthy development of puppies as they transition into adulthood. This formula is also strengthened with essential vitamins, minerals, and fatty acids to keep your growing pup thriving. Your pup will have lasting energy with this recipe, and you can rest easy because each meal is free from grains, fillers, and gluten.

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

Your beloved puppy deserves only the best life and that life starts with proper nutrition. Rachael Ray’s Nutrish puppy chicken and brown rice recipe delivers real chicken raised in the U.S. It is roasted slowly to lock in flavor while removing moisture and is the primary ingredient in this formula. This quality protein serves to enrich growing muscles and encourage a strong heart. Easy to digest fruits and veggies offer additional nutrition, like vitamin C for immune support. Fish meal delivers DHA for good brain development and great vision. Rachael Ray guarantees her foods are always prepared safely within the U.S. with only top quality ingredients and zero artificial colors, preservatives, or flavors. This product is available in a 6 lb. bag and a 14 lb. bag.

Diamond Naturals Large Breed Puppy Formula Dry Dog Food

Starting your puppy on the right food affects his overall development into adulthood and even through the last years of life as a senior dog. Diamond Naturals dry dog food formula includes superfoods and probiotics to promote optimal growth for your adored puppy. Real lamb is the primary protein source included in this recipe and is accompanied by real veggies and real fruits, like papaya, peas, coconut, and garbanzo beans. These varied ingredients provide a host of essential vitamins, minerals, and omega fatty acids to support overall health, both inside and outside as reflected in shiny coats. Antioxidants are a great addition to this recipe, as they support immune health and make it much less likely your puppy will fall victim to canine colds, no matter the time of year. This formula is made to feed large breed pups and is made without any fillers, corn, wheat, or artificial ingredients. This is a product made in the U.S. by a family-run and owned business that prides itself on following the most advanced food safety guidelines.

Tylee’s Human-Grade Beef Recipe Frozen Dog Food

Homemade meals for pups are ideal and Tylee’s human-grade beef recipe takes all the guesswork and well, all other work out of the process. This recipe is comprised of only the highest quality ingredients you could easily find at a fresh food market – these are all familiar ingredients that are easy to pronounce. Real beef is the main protein; after cooking, it is mixed with fruits and veggies and promptly frozen to preserve nutrients and protect all the flavor. It is easy to serve as well; all you need to do is defrost and deliver it to your favorite fur friends. With only one source of protein and guaranteed to be grain-free, this is a great option for pups with sensitive stomachs. With real USDA beef, broccoli, mango, and sweet potatoes, to name a few ingredients, Tylee has provided a solid blend of nutritious food that leaves no room for artificial additives, by-product meals, or fillers like corn, what, or soy. This product is versatile and can be combined with other dry dog food options to make a varied, textured meal, or served alone to deliver fresh food in a creative way your pup will enjoy.

Our 2019 Puppy Feeding Chart

  • 6 Week Old Puppy – When a puppy is only six weeks old, he really needs to have the micro and macronutrients that are received during nursing from his canine mom. In addition, his mother’s milk provides natural antibodies that are difficult to replace if a puppy is weaned too early. However, if you find yourself with a puppy that is unable to nurse from his mother, it is important you provide nutrition of the same depth and quality as your puppy would have been receiving through the natural nursing process.
  • 10 Week Old Puppy – When a puppy reaches eight to ten weeks of age, it is an ideal time to begin the weaning process away from their mother and begin to provide a little bit more puppy food. The puppy food provided during this stage should be soft in texture to make the transition a little bit easier for your puppy’s tummy to handle. Wet puppy food has about 85% moisture, which provides the digestive tract with enough preparation to handle the change to dry puppy foods. If you are feeding dry kibbles, they should be moistened to create a soft texture for your puppy to consume comfortably.
  • 12 Week Old Puppy – When a puppy reaches twelve weeks old, it is a good time to start the transition to dry puppy food from canned, wet puppy foods. This should be a gradual process to allow enough time for your puppy to adapt to the new food. Sudden changes can cause gastrointestinal distress which will not only make your puppy uncomfortable, it may also cause messes at home you will need to clean up after. If you notice your puppy is vomiting or passing loose stools, you may need to slow down the transition process until the symptoms subside. A good rule of thumb is to mix only 10% of the new dry food into the existing wet food being provided and slowly increase the ratio at a steady rate each new week.
  • 3 Month Old Puppy – At this age, your puppy should be close to the end of his transition from wet to dry puppy food. The key words here are “puppy food” – while there are many foods available for dogs in grocery stores and pet food stores, you should be paying special attention to the life stage listed on the product. Avoid purchasing foods that are labeled for all life stages, as these formulas will not contain all the required nutrients your puppy requires to grow to his potential. Instead, choose foods that are specially formulated for the puppyhood life stage, as these options will include the complete and balanced nutrients your growing fur friend needs to grow healthily into adulthood.
  • 5 Month Old Puppy – When your puppy has reached five months, he should be well-adjusted to a nutritious puppy dry dog food that meets his dietary requirements. Some additional food items may be presented at this stage to supplement your puppy’s diet and introduce different flavors and textures. Food items like bones and raw eggs can assist with providing added nutrition to boost your puppy’s diet. At this stage, feeding times should be reduced to twice per day, ideally once in the morning and once in the evening.
  • 1 Year Old Puppy – Once your pup has reached the one-year mark, you will likely notice he is eating less than he did during puppyhood. This is primarily because your pup’s metabolism is beginning to slow and he has reached his growth potential. Some dogs will be comfortable with a reduction in mealtimes to once per day, while other, smaller pups will do well with maintaining a twice per day feeding schedule.

FAQ

  • What is the best dog food for puppies? The best dog food for puppies is food that is packed with nutrients and specially formulated for puppies. Human-grade ingredients that are minimally processed and delivered fresh to your door, like Ollie recipes, are an excellent choice for growing pups. Taste of the Wild’s puppy formula is another fantastic option, as if offers a protein-rich formula with real buffalo to help build strong muscles. Having a grain-free option is important in the case your puppy has trouble digesting grains and the K9 probiotic blend is a great addition to help puppies digest their meals more comfortably. American Journey’s puppy formula is also filled to the brim with nutrition, offering the support puppies require to develop strong bones and teeth. Ultimately, puppy foods need to provide well-rounded nutrition that not only supports muscle development, but also includes additional nutrients that support cognitive function, vision development, immune support, and digestive support. If puppies have sensitive tummies, they should be provided with a puppy food that has fewer ingredients and omits any fillers or artificial components to make digestion easier.
  • What puppy food do vets recommend? Vets recommend high-quality, well-balanced foods that are regulated and that undergo demanding testing. This ensures the foods being provided to puppies are standing up to their claims. Since dogs are not strict carnivores, they benefit from a well-rounded diet that includes protein from meat sources, fruits and vegetables, and grains if your puppy’s tummy tolerates grains. The best kinds of puppy foods will incorporate multiple ingredients to deliver essential vitamins and nutrients and will also settle well in your pup’s stomach. Ultimately, the best puppy food is the one that provides all the nutrients a growing puppy requires, including support for strong bones and teeth, immune support, and digestive support. Cognition and vision development should also be supported with a quality puppy food.
  • Is Blue Buffalo good for puppies? Blue Buffalo has puppy formulas that are high-quality, well-known, and recommended. Blue Buffalo is a top manufacturer of dog food and offers products geared for specific life stages, along with providing a wide variety of flavors and food types. Blue Buffalo crafts its recipes with a holistic approach, filling each formula with wholesome ingredients that avoid unnecessary fillers and artificial ingredients and focus on packing tons of nutrition into every mouthful. This is a great starter puppy food because as your dog grows into adulthood, Blue Buffalo will have already crafted the next perfect product for the next phase of your pup’s life.
  • Do puppies really need puppy food? Puppies need puppy food to provide them with the nutrition their growing bodies require for normal development. Adult dog foods do not contain all these essential nutrients and would provide a puppy with an insufficient set of nutrients that would affect overall development and health. Puppy food provides the building blocks your dog requires to grow optimally, not only in overall size but in organ and tissue development and health. Failing to provide adequate nutrition during this vital growth phase will prevent your puppy from meeting his ideal developmental markers and could have detrimental effects discovered throughout the course of his life.
  • How long should puppies be on puppy food? Puppies should consume puppy food throughout their puppy stages. Once puppies are weaned from their mother’s milk at about eight to ten weeks, they should be started on a nutrient-dense wet food to help them get accustomed to solids. This wet food should be specially formulated for puppies to be sure they are getting enough nutrition to support their growth into adulthood. Within a couple more weeks, puppies should have another dietary transition, moving from wet food to a dry puppy kibble. These transitions should be slow and intentional, and each time, a high-quality puppy food should be provided. Only once a puppy outgrows the puppy stage should an adult food be introduced. This does not happen until the one-year mark so puppies should be eating a good puppy food from about ten weeks through to 12 months of age.
  • When should puppies start eating puppy food? Puppies should begin to eat canned puppy food when they reach eight to ten weeks old. During the six week stage, they should still be receiving their nutrients directly from their mother’s milk, as she will be able to pass on some of the most important nutrients they require during this delicate time. There are instances, unfortunately, when puppies are pulled away from their mothers too early and will depend on owners to provide the nutrients they require. If this is the case, and a puppy is weaned too early, he should be provided with a highly nutritious puppy food diet that closely mirrors the nutrients that would be delivered by his mother.
  • How often should puppies poop? Puppies should be taken outside to excrete waste multiple times a day to get them accustomed to eliminating outside. How often they poop is dependent on several factors, including how much fiber is being provided in their diet, how much food has been consumed within the last day or two, and if your puppy may be taking any medications for any existing issues. On average, puppies will poop three to five times per day. You can encourage this by taking your puppy out to potty every morning upon waking and every hour after that. In addition, puppies should be given one last chance to eliminate after dinner time and before bedtime.

Conclusion

Puppy food can be found in different textures: wet food with a pate texture, wet food with a chunky texture, and dry kibbles. The dry kibble variety is ideal for puppies to transition fully into because they contain a higher concentration of animal protein, are gentle on puppy tummies, and aid with dental health through tartar removal. Although wet, canned foods have a place in a puppy’s diet, these foods are more costly and are quicker to spoil. When fed a diet of strictly wet food, puppies may not be obtaining all the nutrients they need and may experience dental health issues more frequently.

Many pup parents find a happy medium by feeding a diet of primarily dry dog food kibbles with a little bit of wet food mixed in to provide a flavorful meal that never skimps on optimized nutrition. If a puppy food meets guidelines set forth by the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO), you can rest assured that the food you have chosen meets the standards for good quality dog food. Unless your puppy has a medical condition that affects which kinds of foods he can eat, the options listed above are great starting points for getting your puppy on the right track toward developing into a healthy adult dog. If your pup does suffer from health issues, guidance from your veterinarian around food choices will always be advised.

We hope the information provided above has helped to make your puppy dog food shopping a little bit easier! Happy shopping!

1 thought on “Best Puppy Food – 6 Healthy Wet & Dry Dog Food Brands for Puppies”

  1. I would really like to understand and know what the amount of food a puppy 35 lbs. is to have per day with the Taste of the Wild Puppy food.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

GET RECALL ALERTS & MORE!

Join over 30,000 subscribers who stay informed on the latest recalls, industry advances & new quality dog food options.

You're in! Take 30% Off your next purchase at Chewy.com.

{"popup_ID":4888,"when_popup_appear":"exit","delay":"","x_second":"","x_scroll":"","disappear":"","exptime":"","hideclsbtn":"","clsonesc":"1"}
Scroll to Top