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10 Best (Highest Quality) Dog Foods for Pugs in 2019

According to the American Kennel Club, Pugs are known to be “charming, mischievous, and loving.” If you are a Pug parent, you know these small, wrinkly pups live up to their reputation. Just like the best dog food for Pugs packs flavor and nutrition, the Pug breed packs a lot of personality in a little body. They are easy to recognize due to their large heads, big eyes, and wrinkled brow line and they are known to be uncannily expressive with their emotions.

Most Affordable

American Journey Salmon

  • Extremely Affordable
  • No fillers

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Best Overall

NomNomNow Chicken

  • Added veggies and fruits
  • 50% off first order usually

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Most Popular

Taste Of The Wild Appalachian

  • Made for the adult life stage
  • Grain-free formula

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Pugs can be pretty easygoing, thriving in both city and country atmospheres, just happy to be home alongside their owners. They are great with kids and will happily and playfully love on anyone within reach. Their mischievous side can get them into trouble with foods, so you will want to be extra careful with your Pug buddy to be sure he does not overeat or sneak food from scraps on the floor or worse – your plate! These pups love to eat and well, who doesn’t? But they require a watchful eye because they are prone to obesity and extra weight on a small body can lead to a host of other problems.

Keep reading below to learn a little more about what nutritional needs your Pug has, how you can support him through his different life stages, and our top recommendations for pug dog food. 

6 Special Dietary and Nutritional Considerations of Pugs

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  • Meats – Any pet parent knows that a dog needs to eat meat. Their protein should come from whole sources, meaning from animals – this could be lamb, turkey, chicken and fish. Protein derived from meat is a foundational aspect of your pup’s diet so he can keep a healthy muscle tone.
  • Fruits and Vegetables – Pugs benefit from fruits and vegetables that are added to dry dog food formulas. This is because fruits and vegetables have naturally occurring vitamins and minerals that help with their organ growth and overall health.
  • Grain-Free Foods – Since grains are known to cause allergic reactions in Pugs, it is best to feed them a grain-free diet. Pugs can also struggle with digesting grains so to give them a more comfortable mealtime experience, choose foods that omit grains from their recipes.
  • Canine Glucosamine and Chondroitin – Canine glucosamine and chondroitin are excellent dietary supplements that assist with the encouragement and maintenance of healthy joints. This is especially important as your Pug ages into the senior stage of his life, when many pups suffer from painful arthritis. Starting early with meals that incorporate joint support will help them throughout their lives and especially when they reach their later years.
  • Fish Oil and Digestive Supplements – Fish oil provides Omega fatty acids that keep your Pug’s skin healthy and free from irritation or flakiness. Omega fatty acids also promote a shiny coat that reflects his overall wellbeing. A dull coat demonstrates he is not getting sufficient assistance via these supplements so check ingredients and make sure you are keeping him well fed and looking extra handsome. Probiotics can also assist with digestive health and immune system support so check those ingredients and make sure you are feeding your Pug only the best dog foods available.
  • Antioxidants – Antioxidant supplements are excellent to promote a healthy immune system and are also thought to help fight against the effects of aging, like issues with brain deterioration that include the loss of memory and other cerebral dysfunctions.

5 Key Nutritional Needs of a Pug Puppy

  • Protein – Protein is a must-have staple in your Pug puppy’s diet, especially during puppyhood because this is the time when his muscles develop and help propel him into adulthood. The year of puppyhood is a time of growth and weight gain and protein will not only be a delicious aspect of your Pug puppy’s diet, it will be essential for the development and retention of his lean muscle mass.
  • Fat – During puppyhood, your Pug will need plenty of fat to sustain his energy as he develops day by day. Fat will be derived from sources like chicken fat and oils like salmon oil. Since your Pug is a smaller breed, he requires a higher fat content in his diet. This is because his metabolism is extra fast during his peak years and he will burn right through his fuel much more quickly than a larger dog would. Therefore, it is important to seek out foods with a higher fat content to keep your Pug happy and energized instead of sluggish and lethargic.
  • Omega 3 and 6 – Omega fatty acids are extremely beneficial for maintaining the health of your Pug’s coat, as well as the health of his skin. In addition to maintaining skin free from irritation, Omegas promote the healthy development of both his cerebral function and his immune system.
  • Vitamins and Minerals – Vitamins and minerals are delivered via fruits and vegetables incorporated into dry dog food recipes and there are often additional vitamins and minerals added to deliver complete nutrition. Minerals are a foundational aspect of a pup’s diet to support organ and tissue growth. Vitamins are crucial for multiple reasons, including cell function, immune function, energy regulation, hormone regulation, inflammation reduction, and more!
  • Water – Without water, all the nutrients listed above can’t get transported to the rest of your Pug’s body to do their work. Water also serves for body temperature regulation and keeps your Pug from overheating during summer months. Keep your pup hydrated, especially in his senior years, to ensure proper lubrication of his joints and avoid any hip or knee issues.

best dog food for pugs

Pug Puppy Feeding Chart

  • 6-Week Old Pug – Your Pug puppy, at six weeks of age, is not yet ready to be removed from his mother’s care but many little ones are taken away prematurely. If this is the case with your Pug puppy, consider mixing some puppy replacement milk with puppy kibbles to soften them and make them easier to eat. Otherwise, mom’s milk will be enough at this stage so she can deliver all the vital nutrients to your little Pug’s growing body. Soon, your pup will have outgrown mama’s milk but at six weeks, most pups will do best with their mom’s sustenance. A six-week old Pug will be extremely adorable, weighing only a couple of pounds.
  • 10-Week Old Pug – At ten weeks, your Pug puppy will be fully weaned from mom and you should have a regular feeding schedule that your Pug looks forward to. There should be three mealtimes per day, one in the morning for breakfast, one midday for lunch, and one in the evening for dinner. In addition, your Pug should be given some snacks to munch on throughout the day, in between meals to keep his tummy satisfied.
  • 12-Week Old Pug – Feeding your growing Pug at twelve weeks will not look much different than his feeding at ten weeks. Keep a consistent schedule with three meals per day and some snacking in between. Each Pug is different but if you are looking at your little fur baby and his belly is round, that is a good sign he is eating enough food. Pugs can range from 4 – 7 lbs. at this stage.
  • 3-Month Old Pug – Up until this stage, your regular feeding routine should remain. If you are opting for high-quality foods that are packed with nutrients, you may find that feeding a little less is enough for your Pug – that’s usually around 1/4 cups to 1/2 cups of puppy food.
  • 5-Month Old Pug – At five months, your Pug will be transitioning to eating a little bit less often. This means you can cut out snack time but maintain his daily caloric requirements. Three meals per day, spaced out, with consistency in amount will be great for your pup. Even if he starts whining for more food, maintain the quantity with high-quality foods. Pugs are notorious for their ability to gain weight so you will want to protect him from overeating and gaining excess weight.
  • 1-Year Old Pug – At this stage, your Pug puppy is leaving puppyhood behind to brave the world as an adult Pug. Once he is at this age, you will be able to reduce feeding times further to either once or twice a day. Since your Pug has a tiny stomach, it will be easier on his body if you maintain two mealtimes instead of giving him his daily caloric intake in one meal. If you do opt for one meal, understand that his system may not be able to digest the food as easily, meaning he may experience some discomfort. Therefore, be prepared to adjust to his body’s needs by breaking up his food into two separate mealtimes.

Overall Best Dog Food for Pugs in 2019

NomNomNow Fresh Pet Food Delivery

Key Features:

  • Main animal protein ingredient: turkey
  • Crafted with only human-grade ingredients
  • Added veggies and fruits for complete nutrition
  • 20% off first order!

NomNomNow human-grade dog food is a tasteful delight for your Pug! It is made with fresh ingredients that are lightly cooked to preserve nutrients. NomNomNow also keeps this recipe free from any artificial ingredients – with fresh ingredients delivered to your door, they know their food is tasty and does not require any fake flavorings or fillers.

Pros:

  • All ingredients are human-grade
  • Delivery makes it super convenient for busy pet parents
  • No fillers or artificial flavors

Cons:

  • When compared with other dog food products, NomNomNow is more expensive

Taste of the Wild Appalachian Valley Small Breed Grain-Free Dry Dog Food

Key Features: 

  • Specially formulated for small breeds
  • Made for the adult life stage
  • Grain-free formula
  • Main animal protein: real venison

Most Popular Food for Pugs – This Taste of the Wild dry dog food contains within it a balanced diet that includes venison, lamb, duck, egg, and ocean fish proteins to not only satisfy your Pug’s palate but also deliver a burst of protein. Since this recipe is designed for small breeds, the kibble size is smaller than normal to suit smaller jaws and make chewing a little easier. In addition to protein, this formula delivers enough fat and digestive supplements to encourage an optimally functioning digestive tract.

Pros:

  • Added vitamins and minerals
  • Ingredients come from trusted and sustainable sources
  • Highly digestible recipe

Cons:

  • The bag this food comes in is not resealable

American Journey Salmon & Sweet Potato Recipe Grain-Free Dry Dog Food

Key Features:

  • Grain-free dog food
  • Added fruits and vegetables
  • No fillers
  • Main animal protein: deboned salmon

Most Inexpensive (Cheap) – The salmon and sweet potato recipe by American Journey is packed with protein from real, deboned salmon that is not only full of flavor and enjoyable for your Pug, but also includes amino acids that support the maintenance of muscle mass. The added fruits and vegetables deliver the antioxidants, minerals, and vitamins your pup needs for immune health.

This formula also includes salmon oil and flaxseed that provide the ever-necessary Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids and long-chain DHA to encourage proper brain and eye development and a healthy coat and skin. Chickpeas and sweet potatoes provide the fiber that will keep your Pug feeling energized throughout his daily adventures.

Pros:

  • No fillers
  • Grain-free and gluten-free
  • Available in different sizes, ranging from 4-lb bags to 24-lb bags

Cons:

  • American Journey does not guarantee ingredients to be GMO-free

Blue Buffalo Freedom Small Breed Puppy Chicken Recipe Grain-Free Dry Dog Food

Key Features:

  • Crafted for the puppy stage of life
  • Specially formulated for small breeds
  • Grain-free and gluten-free

Best Pug Puppy Food – This Blue Buffalo dry dog food is specially created with the nutritional requirements of puppies in mind. The chicken recipe is made with natural ingredients that include deboned chicken and it omits fillers like corn, wheat, or soy. Blue Buffalo expertly blends the high-quality proteins and carbohydrates to deliver the sustained energy your Pug requires.

The development and maintenance of strong bones and teeth is encouraged with added calcium, phosphorous, and essential vitamins and Omegas are incorporated to promote healthy skin and a lustrous coat. This product is available in two sizes: a 4-lb bag and an 11-lb bag.

Pros:

  • Designed specifically for puppies
  • Free of gluten, grains, and fillers

Cons:

  • The ingredients in this food are not free of GMOs

Natural Balance L.I.D. Limited Ingredient Diets Sweet Potato & Venison Formula Grain-Free Dry Dog Food

Key Features:

  • Prepared for sensitive tummies
  • Limited ingredients
  • Grain-free recipe

Best Sensitive Stomach (Allergies) Food for Pugs – This limited ingredient dry dog food by Natural Balance has limited carbs and omits artificial flavors and colors for pups with a sensitive digestive tract. The formula includes Omega 3 fatty acids derived from flaxseed that promote the healthy appearance of your Pug’s coat along with flake-free and itch-free skin. There is only one animal protein source included in this recipe, further aiding with digestive ease.

You Pug will love the taste of venison and won’t even notice that his meal was specially designed to protect his sensitive tummy and deliver only a few, high-quality ingredients. Less ingredients do not have to mean less flavor and this recipe proves that.

Pros:

  • No fillers
  • Limited ingredients for easy digestion
  • Grain-free formula

Cons: 

  • More expensive than other dry dog food options

5 More Top Rated Pugs Foods:

True Acre Foods Chicken & Vegetable Recipe Grain-Free Dry Dog Food

This True Acre dry dog food is made with chicken raised in the U.S.A. as its main ingredient and completes its nutritional profile with added antioxidants, fiber, and Omegas. Digestion is supported via natural fibers and the omission of grains, corn, wheat, and artificial colors and flavors. This recipe is for the adult stage of life and is appropriate for different breed sizes. The product is available in a 15-lb bag, a 30-lb bag, and a 40-lb bag.

Purina Pro Plan Focus Adult Sensitive Skin & Stomach Salmon & Rice Formula Dry Dog Food

This Purina Pro Plan dry dog food is made with salmon as the main ingredient and delivers a powerful flavor your Pug will drool over and quickly devour. This means he’ll be getting the protein he needs in a recipe that is created to make digestion a breeze. Oatmeal offers carbohydrates for energy in an easy-to-digest fashion and Omegas are included to promote joint health and mobility so your playful Pug can be as active as he wants to be!

Merrick Grain-Free Real Texas Beef & Sweet Potato Recipe Dry Dog Food

This Texas beef and sweet potato dry dog food by Merrick is available in several sizes, including a 4-lb bag, a 12-lb bag, and a 25-lb bag. Its main ingredient is deboned beef to deliver protein and is followed by real vegetables and fruits that create a flavor explosion your Pug will excitedly consume. This recipe omits grains and gluten, along with artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives to make room for only high-quality ingredients that deliver balanced nutrition. Since this formula is poultry-free, it is a great option for pups who are sensitive to any poultry ingredients.

Wellness Complete Health Adult Deboned Chicken & Oatmeal Recipe Dry Dog Food

This Wellness dry dog food is made for the adult stage of life and is suitable for different breed sizes. It is made with a mix of proteins and healthful grains that provide your pup with a solid set of nutrients. The recipe includes added antioxidants that support immune health to keep your pup thriving year-round. The protein included in this recipe is derived from chicken and whitefish. The formula is also infused with Yucca Shidigera extract to alleviate the unpleasant odor from stools. The complex carbs ensure your pup has enough energy to run around, play, and just enjoy his life.

Rachael Ray Nutrish Just 6 Natural Lamb Meal & Brown Rice Limited Ingredient Recipe Dry Dog Food

Rachael Ray’s Nutrish dry dog food is made with only six ingredients with the main source of protein coming from lamb. Added vitamins and minerals support your pup’s overall health and the fact that there are no by-product ingredients, fillers, or artificial flavors or preservatives will have your Pug bouncing with excitement. The limited ingredients in this recipe make it excellent for pups who have sensitive tummies and who experience allergic reactions to ingredients found in most other dry dog foods. This product is available in three different sizes: a 6-lb bag, a 12-lb bag, and a 28-lb bag.

Our 2019 Pugs Feeding Guide

 

  • Puppy Life Stage – The puppy stage of a Pug can be extremely enjoyable for owners because those scrunchy faces are endlessly endearing and their little bodies call forth so much love and affection. When feeding your puppy, choose foods that are specially crafted for this particular life stage. This is important because your Pug at this stage has a completely different set of nutritional requirements than he will when he gets older. Your puppy can weigh anywhere between four to 14 pounds, just before reaching adulthood. Feeding instructions will be included in the packaging of the food you choose so be sure to abide by those instructions and feed your pup at scheduled times throughout the day – expect to feed between three to four times a day. If you are feeding full meals three times per day, add a couple of snacks in between mealtimes to keep his belly full and satisfied.
  • Adult Life Stage – Once your Pug enters adulthood, you will notice that feeding instructions change. Be sure you are no longer feeding products meant for puppyhood at this stage because the formula may cause your adult Pug to gain weight. Choose foods for the adult stage of life; reduce feeding times per day and increase serving sizes. Most pet parents choose to feed twice a day during adulthood to keep their Pugs from consuming one meal too excitedly and having them struggle with digesting a big meal. Your adult Pug should weigh between 14 to 18 lbs. at this stage in his life. Anything over that and you have got yourself an overweight Pug. Engage the assistance of your vet to help bring that number on the scale down!
  • Senior Life Stage – When your Pug reaches the senior life stage, his metabolism will get significantly slower, which means he is extra prone to weight gain. Your senior Pug will also be slowing down his activity level and that combined with a slower metabolism means you have to adjust his caloric intake. Your Pug should be maintaining his weight, not losing or gaining, but staying around the same weight as he was in his adult life stage. Be mindful and loving with mealtimes during this phase and be patient with your Pug lovebug as his body will have changed over time and he will need a little extra care and attention from you.

FAQ:

  • Should Pugs eat dry or canned food? – Most of the time, it is better for your Pug to consume dry kibbles over canned wet food. The reason for this is dry kibbles have an added benefit of assisting with dental care, as the kibbles scrape against their teeth to remove tartar buildup. Wet food, although a Pug favorite due to its aromatic aspect, can often cause loose stools if fed without a more substantial accompaniment. However, if you are dealing with a pup that is experiencing special circumstances, such as missing teeth, wet food will absolutely be the better choice between the two because it will be much easier for him to “chew” his food and pass it through his system. Some pet parents will still opt for dry dog food, even in this instance, and will just moisten the kibbles with a beef or chicken broth to create a softer consistency. Ultimately, it is up to you and how well your Pug handles this style of food. If you choose to combine dry and wet, that will probably be easier on your wallet and easier on your Pug’s tummy.
  • Should my Pugs eat a grain free diet? – Grains have a reputation for triggering allergic reactions in many dogs, including Pugs and for making it more difficult to digest their food. Therefore, it is suggested that your Pug eat a grain-free diet to prevent the development of these issues altogether. Grains were not naturally consumed by dogs’ ancestors and their digestive tracts did not evolve to handle grains in the best manner. To avoid any possible allergic reactions, trips to the vet, an uncomfortable Puggy, and a stressful time for you, keeping grains out of his diet is your best bet.
  • How much Food should I feed my Pug? – How much you feed your Pug is dependent upon several different factors, including his age, weight, activity level, and whether or not he experiences any metabolic issues. Pugs are known for their extraordinary ability to gain weight quickly and they sure do not help themselves because they love to devour a good meal. Free feeding is not a recommended practice with Pugs for this reason so if you are dealing with a puppy, maintain three to four mealtimes per day and if your Pug has reached adulthood, two mealtimes per day will suffice. Always check labels when rationing out their meals because each formula is different depending on the type and brand and the recommended feeding amounts may fluctuate.
  • How often should I feed my Pug puppy? – Your puppy should be enjoying three to four meals per day. If you are feeding three meals per day, make sure he is getting a good breakfast, lunch and dinner plus snacks in between each feeding time. Otherwise, keep a spaced-out schedule of four meals per day. Keep an eye on your Pug and any young family members and make sure he is not sneaking snacks or getting table scraps fed to him. Either of these actions can detrimentally affect your Pug’s weight and overall health and since puppyhood is a mischievous time, your keen attention will keep any tummy or weight problems at bay.
  • Do Pugs need special food? – Pugs do not need “special” food, per se, but they do have specific nutrient requirements. They are small but they are full of energy and every Pug parent knows they are ravenous at mealtime. Since they can get too excited and munch excessively, it is super important that their meals are packed with protein along with some complex carbohydrates to keep them satiated and fueled throughout the day for all of their rambunctious activities.

Conclusion

You have done it! You have equipped yourself with enough information to get out there and find the best food for your Pug puppy or your Pug in the adult stage of his life. Whether you are just starting out on your Pug journey with a young pup or you rescued an older mischievous companion, you have a list of the best food for Pugs to work with. Your Pug will love to eat so always keep an eye on what he’s getting into and schedule your feeding times, so he knows when it’s time to enjoy a meal and when it’s time to exercise and rest.

Remember that Pug puppy food is crafted differently than adult dog food and feeding instructions will change over time. With the love and devotion you have for your small furry friend, we know you will be supplying him with only the best dog food for Pugs out there. With his nutrition taken care of, you can spend the rest of your time worrying about the more important matters in life like play time, long sunset walks, dog park time with friends, and evening cuddles on the couch while vegging out watching your favorite shows. The presence of a Pug is a gift that will keep on giving!

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