We congratulate your new arrival – a noisy jolly pup in your house! However, you are at the very beginning of your long, troublesome, but happy travel of the new parenting.
Walking, jogging, training in the open air is useful for a little creature. Nevertheless, feeding plays an important role as well. A number of strict rules regulate dogs’ and puppies’ feeding. Young pets must consume the pup’s food, designed for them.
What is the best puppy food and what features distinguish it from the food for adult dogs? You will find the answers in our puppy food reviews and will learn more about nutritional value, ingredients, consistency, portions, frequency of feedings and others.
TOP 5 Puppy Foods
Purina Pro Plan Dry Puppy Food FOCUS Lamb & Rice
Purina Lamb & Rice is our number one choice for best puppy food and a well-balanced dry pup’s dish.
This dish is designed especially for just weaned pups, pregnant and nursing dogs. A size of a breed is not limited. Thus, store this kibble in abundance if your pet is 3-4 weeks old until it is 1 year old.
The main ingredient is genuine lamb. This is a tasty and protein-nourishing product with a precise puppy feeding formula for growth energy supply. Rice and DHA of fish oil provides development of important organs, like brain, eyes, skin. Other multiple ingredients are proteins, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins B12, D-3, K.
The product is offered in various packages, though our choice is 34-lb. economy bag. If your pet starts being a picky eater, you may switch to other offers (eg. chicken or salmon).
Informational materials provided by the producer comprise general recommendations about pets’ feeding:
- the portions’ size increase for nursing dogs,
- avoiding pup’s overfeeding and gaining weight;
- switching a weaned puppy to dry food;
- dog’s water regime.
Wellness Complete Health Grain Free Chicken & Salmon Dry Puppy Food
Dogs’ food, offered by an assured quality producer in the USA, is our number 2 choice. This is also the best dog food for puppies due to a variety of nutritious products, included in its recipe, lacking grain and gluten ingredients.
The kibble is designed for pups, and corresponds to the strictest demands for the young dogs’ nutrition. Deboned chicken and salmon are the main products, responsible for energy, immunity, correct eyes, ears, coat development.
Plant food (blueberries, spinach) add fibers for digestion. Carotene and quercetin with antioxidant properties maintain immunity and fight difficult diseases. Hard particles of dry food massage gums, thus maintaining them healthy. Besides, they decrease necessity in tooth brushing.
Choose any of 4, 12, 24-lb packs to make your purchase reasonable.
Nature’s Recipe Puppy Grain Free, Chicken, Sweet Potato & Pumpkin Dry Food
Best Budget Buy
Our value for price choice is Nature’s Recipe all-natural components. This is best puppy food for its money among our puppy food reviews.
True chicken and plant food (pumpkin and sweet potato) are delicious. No meat by-products included. The kibble is supplemented with minerals, vitamins and nutrients. Well-balanced food provides all necessary elements for muscles, gums, bones and body parts development.
The producer supplies a guideline to avoid overfeeding and mistakes in water regime.
Read carefully the label to choose a correct variant for your pooch, as a variety of Nature’s Recipe offers includes food for young, adult dogs and small breeds. This dry food for pups supplied in 1.8 kg (4 lb.) packing.
Blue Buffalo Freedom Grain Free Natural Puppy Dry Food
Best Grain-Free Puppy Food
Gluten, which is found in grain products, may cause allergies. It is better to avoid these components for sensitive dogs. Pet parents seek grain-free puppy food. We have revised some examples and selected the best food for puppies among the kibble without gluten -Blue Buffalo Freedom Grain Free Food.
Its main element is real chicken, responsible for protein. Additionally, peas and potato are the source of carbohydrates. Their combination allows perfect growth of your pooch: enough strength for activity, bones, teeth and body formation.
Vitamins and minerals as well as DHA and ARA fighting viruses, bacteria, germs, diseases they cause. Besides, tiny bits of the kibble allows gentle teeth cleaning and gum massage for small creatures.
There is a variety of packing: 4, 11, 24-lb. bags.
IAMs Proactive Health Smart Puppy Dry Food
Best Organic Dog Food for Puppies
We have found excellent natural pup treat for our best organic food nomination. IAMs Dry Food is for dogs under 12 months. It supports important functions of a pooch during its first year of life.
The main components are chicken and chicken by-products, grain corn and sorghum, fish oil. All elements are organic. No flavors, dyers, fillers are used.
This recipe is well-balanced aiming at the best development of a pup. Nutritional elements and vitamins (B2, B6, D3) are the constituents of body growth. Immune system is supported by fatty acids, which effect positively brain and make a pet smarter.
The producer provides all types of canine food depending on breeds, ages, life stages and recommendations on their feeding schedule. The product is supplied in 6.8 kg (15 lb.) and 3.18 kg (7 lb.) bags for your convenience.
Features to Consider When Buying Puppy Food
The recipe for adult and pup foods differs. Kibble for various ages and life stages has corresponding indications. “Adult maintenance” is marked on the labels of the bags for big dogs. There are special dishes for younger, nursing and pregnant dogs with inscription “For growth and reproduction”.
The ingredients and guidelines for feeding are usually supplied as well. Read thoroughly labels to choose your pet’s individual content. However, pay attention to the following important features: consistency, ingredients, nutrition.
The food may be wet or dry by consistency and it is a matter of preference of each puppy individually.
Wet food is packed in cans and comprise a soft and solid content. It resembles meat by consistency and flavor. This dish is better to use for a newly weaned dog under 8 weeks.
When your canine child reaches the age of 3 months, it still has baby teeth. However, even in such a case it is preferable to change the food for dry kibble. Hard food will contribute to gums massage and strengthening.
Check ingredients indicated in the packaging. Alternate corn and meat food to ensure complete nourishing.
Make sure, that each portion consists of enough vitamins A, E for strong immune system, Omega-6, Omega-3 fatty acids for shiny coat and eyes, wholesome grains and healthy fibers for proper digestions.
Avoid poultry by-products and fillers with artificial chemicals. Organic components are preferable.
Well-balanced food should be offered to a young dog, as it demands much energy for its activity and quick development. This is why nutritional substances should include proteins, fats and carbohydrates in a right proportion suitable to the age of a juvenile.
Pet feeding may be influenced by multiple details affecting pup’s health. One may not exclude allergy. Sometimes it is connected with carbohydrate food, i.e. different corns. So prior to starting a new product, make some tests for allergy. May be it will be recommended to substitute rye, wheat, oats, barley or other grain for grain-free products.
Other factors, which is difficult to foresee, are connected with a breed size. It is necessary to know if your breed is big or small size. It will influence schedule of feeding, frequency, portions volume.
That is why consult your vet about all questions, related to health including features to consider when buying puppy food. Remember, parenting a small animal is always a great responsibility.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is dog food for a puppy and how is it different?
A newly weaned pup must be fed with special food during the definite period of switching for regular adult food. Usually this time continues from 3-4 months dog’s age until its full growth, which is 12-24 months for different breeds.
Young dogs are extremely active and grow quickly. It may take only a week to change weight from 3 lb. to 6 lb. for some breeds. Thus, during this period a pup requires bigger quantity of proteins and high-calorie food as the basis for energy supply.
Special puppies’ food covers the need in these elements, which a grown up dog should avoid. Otherwise, there is a risk of gaining weight. Be sure to choose a product, which is certified by AAFCO. This organization is responsible for ensuring, that all the food supplied in trade channels, corresponds to dog’s relative life stage, which is indicated in the label.
Can a puppy eat regular dog food?
Some labels of the dog food say that meals are designed for all life stages or young and mature dogs. They are marked respectively. This food will be well balanced and complete for puppies, pregnant, feeding and grown up animals.
If you parent a pup, but use the food for adult dogs, remember that it lacks high-calorie ingredients. Omitting food components relevant to the juvenile stage, will lead to deficit of necessary elements in pup’s nutrition. A young creature may be underfed, it will not reach the size its breed, and genes demand.
When should you switch your puppy to dog food?
Switching a pup to a mature dog food doesn’t have an exact date. Consult a vet to obtain proper dietary recommendations. Remember, that a grown-up dog demands fewer calories and its food is designed considering this factor.
At the same time, do not hurry up with the new food type for a young dog. There is a danger, that it will not get enough nutrition for its growth and inner organs’ development (brain, heart, eyes).
Usually, the ration of a pup is switched to an adult, when a dog is 12 to 24 months old.
However, there are two factors, which influence feeding change.
- A breed. Smaller breeds “adulthood” occurs earlier (12 to 18 months). Bigger breeds demand more proteins for a longer time (up to 24 months).
- Activity types. Watch your canine friend and admit, if it is quick and hustling. In this case, a pup needs compensation in the energy loss and demands highly nutritional food, labeled as “for growth and reproduction”.
When and how often should I feed my puppy?
When starting parenting a new puppy after it was weaned, it may be tempting to feed it on demand or each time it seems to be hungry. Avoid this mistake. Frequency and feeding time is very important in the pup’s training for his weight and digestive system control. Both underfeeding and overfeeding may lead to health problems of a pooch.
Generally, a dog should be fed according to its age.
1. A puppy under 6 months
In the age of 6-8 weeks, a dog is weaned of its mother’s’ milk and should be switched to the kibble, designed for young dogs. It is important to keep to a definite schedule in feeding to train discipline and correct functioning of digestive organs.
High demand in energy in this age must be compensated by frequent meals, up to 4 times a day:
- an early breakfast (7.00 a.m);
- a snack (11.00 a.m.);
- lunch (15.00 p.m.);
- dinner (18.00 p.m.).
These recommendations are approximate and may be adopted after your vet consultation according to your own time-table.
2. 6 to 12 months (24 for bigger breeds)
b) Starting from 12 months age a dog may be switched to 2 or 3-times feeding as a dog will demand fewer calories. Monitor activity of your canine friend to adopt feeding to its nutrition demand.
3. Over 12 (24) months
An adult animal (12-24 months old) may be fed once or twice a day. A dog does not spend so much energy; and quantity of meals may be shortened. When a digestive system is trained, it is convenient to have meals and take a dog outdoors according to a definite schedule.
How much food should I feed my puppy?
Both overfeeding and underfeeding is bad for a dog.
In case of a mature animal, it may be capable to self-regulate its portion and it may even leave its plate full of meals. It will not work with a puppy though.
A small dog must be trained a proper portion according to requirements of its age, development and activity. Do not forget to check feeding instructions, indicated in the label of the food bag or provided by a producer.
How do I know if my puppy is a large or small breed to feed it accordingly?
Underfeeding a puppy may lead to changes in its development. For the sake of dog’s proper growth, cater it according to large or small breeds feeding formula.
For this, you must know a future size of your dog’s breed. Get acquainted with its dog parents and check, what the genes of this breed are for pup’s possible size prognosis.
Other methods of dog size forecasting are:
- checking its paws (large or small);
- the thickness of its bones;
- its stoutness and stockiness;
- head and body proportions;
- the speed of gaining weight.
The bigger these components are – the larger breed is your puppy.
Remember, that smaller breed puppies are more active, have quicker metabolism, and demand more calories. Larger breeds will reach their maturity later for 6-12 months comparing to smaller ones, have specific development of their joints, thus demanding puppies feeding for a longer period.
Is wet or dry food better for puppies?
The consistency of dog’s food may be either hard (dry kibble packed in bags) or soft (canned wet food).
Both types have their advantages and drawbacks, so the preferences for a definite type of food may be determined by multiple factors.
1. A puppy’s age.
A newly weaned pup will eagerly eat wet solid food. Besides, it smells of meat or meat by-products, which is tastier than hard food. Soft dishes have a better nutritional balance: their content usually comprise enough carbohydrates and fats, while dry kibble usually lacks of these elements for the reason of keeping its shape.
2. A dog’s physical state.
In case your dog reached his maturity and is a healthy one, you may choose any complete and well-balanced type of food. However, usually hard food is preferable for an adult pet.
Why? Hard food plays an important role in teeth and gums physical state. Hard food massages gums, has additives, which allow decreasing the number of teeth brushing and making gums and teeth sturdier.
3. Owner’s ways of life.
Dry food means higher mobility of an owner.
Usually, an open can with wet food is allowed to leave for a day or two. Then it should be discarded, which implies big wastes. Besides, it must be kept in the fridge.
At the same time, dry food may be bought in bulk, have longer period of shelf-life and may be kept in any place. So dry food becomes less expensive, more nature friendly, allowing greater mobility for moving or travelling.
Should I mix wet and dry dog food?
Dry and wet food mixing is quite an option. Both types of meals consistency have their own pros and cons. Combining them means taking advantages of their best sides while omitting drawbacks.
The only question, which arises, is counting right calories proportion to avoid overfeeding or underfeeding. Consult your veterinarian to determine a proper diet. Moreover, read thoroughly feeding guide on the label or visit corresponding web sites. Thus, you will be able to count the best proportion of wet and dry food to be consumed by your pup daily.
What can I add to my puppy’s dry food?
Dry food has many advantages, but your pet may get tired of the same dish every day. To make the ration more diverse and appealing, you may try to add other ingredients to your pup’s kibble. These may be either liquids or other products.
As for the liquids, you may use even water to change hard consistency of the dry food. A dish will be softer, while keeping the same nutrition effects. Chicken, meat or vegetable broth is a perfect way to change your dog’s diet. You may cook several portions at a time and store leftovers in the fridge for next servings.
Other products of the human menu are also suitable and useful for your dog. Eggs and yogurts support digestion, seasonal fruits and vegetables contain useful vitamins, cottage cheese is good for teeth and bones.
Avoid adding salt while cooking; it is harmful for dog’s kidneys.
Other Best Pup Food Picks
Purina ONE SmartBlend Natural Puppy Dry Food
Dog Food for Large Breed Puppies
Purina is top rated puppy food and our choice for large breed puppies. This product is supplied in a variety of tastes for all life stages, breeds and sizes.
However, dry food for pups of large breeds has all necessary elements for your new friend to grow happy and healthy.
The main ingredient is chicken, full of proteins for quick growth. Carbohydrates (rice flour, corn, soybeans) and fats add energy. Nutritional elements and minerals affect proper body and organs development. Immune system is supported by DHA and variety of vitamins (E, B3, B5, B1, B12, D3, B7).
The kibble is supplied in bags of 16.5 lb. and 31.1 lb. for your convenience.
Solid Gold Mighty Mini Toy & Small Breeds, Chicken, Chickpea and Pumpkin Dry Food
Dog Food for Small Breed Puppies
Among a great number of offers for small breeds, we prefer Solid Gold Small Breeds Chicken, Chickpea and Pumpkin.
It comprises the ingredients, which is easy to digest, like chicken, pumpkin, chickpea. It is important for tiny creatures. They have sensitive organs and demand precise feeding to avoid health problems.
All necessary elements, proteins, carbohydrates are kept, alongside with probiotics and fatty acids. The product is free of grain and preservatives.
A reliable producer with more than 40 years history offer the kibble in 4 and 11 lb. packing.
Royal Canin Size Health Nutrition Mini Puppy Dry Dog Food
Best Dry Puppy Food
A dog’s life cycle is shorter than a human one. That’s why the period of a young puppy is very limited. It has a great impact in the rest of the dog’s life. Thus, it is important to support pup’s development in the age of 2-10 months. We advise Royal Canin Puppy Dry Food during this period.
Its precise recipe helps maintain important functions of an organism. The main ingredients (rice, chicken by-product meal, fish oil) are a complete set of well-balanced food, comprising all necessary elements, vitamins and minerals for energy and growth.
Detailed feeding directions are supplied for exact schedule and portions.
A product may be purchased in 2.5 or 13 lb. bags.
Wellness Complete Health Natural Wet Canned Food Puppy Chicken & Salmon
Best Wet Puppy Food
Dehydration may be a problem for a puppy consuming dry food. Wet food may be a way out to avoid this. It is convenient and doesn’t require additional control of a water volume a dog drinks.
Our choice is Wellness Chicken & Salmon Dog Wet Puppy Food. This recommended puppy food is canned and contains no fillers, flavors, preservatives.
Natural ingredients (chicken, chicken broth, salmon, tasty fruits and vegetables, grains) make it palatable. A set of necessary elements is essential for healthy body development, energy supply and happy mood of your canine friend.
This wet pup food is supplied in 6 and 12.5 oz. cans (12 it.).
Royal Canin Breed Health Nutrition Jack Russell Terrier Puppy Dry Dog Food
There are some breeds, whose digestion peculiarities demand special attention. Jack Russell is among them. We offer dry food Royal Canin Jack Russell Terrier in our puppy food ratings.
This product is designed to support special demand for calories in the age of 2-10 months for these pups, as they are small but heavy. Besides, they are active and demand much energy. A unique triangular shape of their jaws is also taken into consideration, small kibbles are easy and convenient to pick up and swallow.
Comprehensive approach to health and growth of this breed is ensured by a well-balanced recipe with the main chicken and rice ingredients, and all necessary elements and vitamins.
It is supplied in 3 lb. bags.
Canidae Life Stages Canned Dog Food For Puppies, Adults & Seniors
Canidae Canned Dog Food is designed for all ages. We recommend this wet food for younger dogs on condition of fulfilling feeding directions for your pup’s life stage.
Chicken, chicken broth and rice provide both palatable meals and balanced nutrition. This dish is deprived of gluten, artificial flavors, fillers.
The owners of several dogs will appreciate multiple variants of its supply and packing.
Blue Buffalo Lamb and Oatmeal Puppy Food
This Blue Buffalo Lamb and Oatmeal Puppy Food is organic dry food for puppies.
It contains lamb meat as the first dog food component. Pure proteins ensure quick growth. Barley and oats are responsible for energy of carbohydrates. The immunity system, shiny coat and eyes are supported by fish ingredients.
This reliable supplier offers 6 and 30 lb.-sized food bags and a number of other tastes.
Hill’s Science Diet Wet Dog Food, Puppy, Chicken and Vegetables
Hill’s Science Diet Wet Dog Food is offered for those dog’s life stages, which demand high-calorie food. Your pooch will be completely satisfied with this product.
Chicken is the tastiest element of the dish. Additional elements are vegetables, liver and fish oil. Thus, we obtain palatable and well-balanced meals rich in necessary elements, vitamins, minerals, DHA. A dog receives all building materials for quick growth and strong immune system.
Supplied in 13 oz. cans, it is offered in a pack of 12 it.
Purina Pro Plan Dry Puppy Food FOCUS Chicken & Rice
Purina is a highly valued brand with a variety of dishes.
Purina Chicken & Rice offers chicken as the first protein component. Rice and other grains are responsible for carbohydrates. A pet receives all necessary elements for healthy brain, vision, coat and skin and quick growth. Omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins, minerals and fibers are constituents of strong immune and digestive systems.
This product is supplied in bags of 6,18 and 34 lb.
CANIDAE Grain Free Chicken for Puppies Dry Food
Though this dry food is designed for the pets for all ages, we distinguish it for puppies, if correct feeding directions are applied.
This is an organic grain free product. Your canine friend will be safe, in case there some health concerns (allergies, digestive sensitivities). Chicken, peas and vegetables are ingredients of this dish.
Proteins, DHA, vitamins, probiotics, as well as carbohydrates and fats act simultaneously to provide healthy brain and all body systems, strong teeth and bones. A pet will be full of energy for play and will grow quickly.
This kibble is supplied in 4 and 25 lb. bags.
Merrick Grain Free Wet Dog Food
Merrick Grain Free Wet Dog Food is a good offer for prone to allergies puppies. This wet food is free of gluten and does not comprise any artificial flavors and fillers.
The main components of energy supply are beef and beef broth. Additionally, sweet potatoes, carrots, peas, salmon oil are used. Their elements make a dish highly nutritional, well-balanced and tasty. Minerals, vitamins, fatty acids support all systems correct growth and functioning.
A product may be bought in bulk (12 units of 12.7 oz. cans).