The Best Dog Food for Puppies

Your new puppy deserves the very best, and that starts with the food you feed him. With the hundreds of options available, it can be overwhelming to find a food that will both taste good, and provide them with the nutrition they need. Finding the best dog food for puppies means reading reviews, studying nutritional information, and diving into the dietary requirements of growing canines. With the right dog food for puppies, you can rest assured your new friend will get the nutrition she needs to grow up healthy and strong.

We reviewed dozens of dog foods for puppies to identify the best of the best, based on Amazon reviews, how well they performed in nutrition tests, cost, and other considerations. We narrowed our search down to 5 of the top-rated dog food for puppies pet owners can purchase to ensure a happy and healthy pup.

Top pick
Taste of the Wild Puppy Food

This food is suitable for all breeds of puppies and replicates what dogs eat in the wild

$52.70 USD

We’ve identified Taste of the Wild Grain Free High Protein Natural Dry Dog Food – Puppy Recipe as the best dog food for puppies out there. The brand is well-known for their super-premium foods, and their puppy formula is no exception. With optimal calories and the inclusion of DHA and probiotics, this grain-free dog food for puppies is one that will keep your pup nourished and healthy.

The 5 Top-Rated Dog Foods for Puppies of 2018

Editor's PicksBrandRating
Best OverallTaste of the Wild Grain Free High Protein Natural - Puppy Recipe4.3
Runner UpWellness Core® Natural Grain Free Puppy Formula4.3
Best Budget BuyRachael Ray Nutrish Bright Puppy Natural Dry Dog Food4.2
Best Large Breed Puppy FoodOrijen Large Puppy Formula Dog Food4.2
Best Wet Puppy FoodBlue Wilderness Puppy Grain-Free Turkey and Chicken Grill3.9

*Ratings are from Amazon at the time of publication and can change

Our Top Pick: Taste of the Wild Puppy Food

Taste of the Wild Grain Free High Protein Natural Dry Dog Food – Puppy Recipe is our choice for the best dog food for puppies thanks to its premium ingredient list, as well as the fact that it does not contain any corn, wheat, or filler. It’s also free of artificial flavors, colors, and preservatives that could upset a new puppy’s tummy. It is suitable for breeds of all sizes, including large breed dogs, and has been formulated to replicate the diet of wild dogs.

Pet parents commented that they appreciated the small kibble size of this puppy food, as it was easy for tiny mouths to chew. Several reviewers also mentioned that their pets experienced less frequent medical issues after switching to this puppy food, and it’s often recommended for puppies with allergies as it’s easy to digest.

With a cost of $50 for a 30-pound bag, it is surprisingly affordable per pound for the quality it provides, which we think more than justifies that price. It has a rating of 4.3 on Amazon with more than 13,000 people reviewing it, which we think goes a long way in convincing pet owners that this puppy food is the best choice for their new best friend.

Taste of the Wild Puppy Food Key Features:

  • Available in a choice of flavors
  • Available in a choice of sizes
  • Made in the USA

Runner-Up: Wellness Core Puppy Food

Runner-up
Wellness Core Puppy Food

This food features plenty of premium ingredients, without any added fillers or additives

$59.99 USD

Wellness Core Natural Grain Free Puppy Formula is our runner-up pick for the best dog food for puppies thanks to its premium list of real ingredients that feature properly balanced ratios of fats, carbohydrates, and protein for growing canines. This food avoids filler materials, artificial substances, additives, and by-products, and is suitable for dogs of all sizes.

Those who purchased and reviewed this dog food noted how soft their pet’s coat was after consuming this food, and nearly all commented on the high quality of the ingredients in this food. Some found this food even helped their puppy with digestion, which is no surprise since the kibbles are coated with gut-friendly probiotics.

With a price tag of $60 for a 20-pound bag, it’s more expensive than our top pick, which contributed to it being our second choice. That said, the quality control and testing associated with the brand, as well as the impressive list of ingredients more than justifies the price. It has a rating of 4.4 on Amazon with more than 3,000 people reviewing it, which we think goes a long way in convincing pet owners that this puppy food is worth the investment.

Wellness Core Puppy Food Key Features:

  • Available in a choice of sizes
  • Contains no wheat, corn, or soy
  • Made in the USA

Budget Pick: Rachael Ray Nutrish Bright Puppy Natural Dry Dog Food

Budget pick
Rachael Ray Nutrish Bright Puppy Natural Dry Dog Food

This puppy food provides all the nutrition your four-legged friend needs without breaking the bank

$19.93 USD

For those who want a puppy food that won’t break the bank, Rachael Ray Nutrish Bright Puppy Natural Dry Dog Food fits the bill. Made with real chicken — not chicken meal — and brown rice, it contains all the vitamins and minerals that growing pups need. It also includes DHA to help support healthy vision and brain development, and features added vitamins and chelated minerals that are easily absorbed.

Pet parents were fond of the smaller-sized kibble and quality ingredients, although some pet owners found this food caused their pooches to have an upset tummy, so keep that in mind if your pup experiences any bloating or gas.

With a price tag of $16 for a 14-pound bag, this dog food for puppies is a solid choice for those looking for a quality food option on a budget. It has a rating of 4.2 on Amazon with more than 100 people reviewing it, which we think goes a long way in convincing pet owners that this budget-friendly pick is just as good at providing the nutrition that your growing pup needs, as its more expensive counterparts.

Rachael Ray Nutrish Bright Puppy Natural Dry Dog Food Key Features:

  • Contains no artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives
  • Suitable for dog breeds of all sizes
  • Made in the USA

Best Large Breed Puppy Food: Orijen Large Puppy Formula Dog Food

Large breed puppy food
Orijen Large Puppy Formula Dog Food

A grain-free puppy food suitable for large dogs, that is recommended by breeders

$86.56 USD

Orijen Large Puppy Formula Dog Food is the best choice for large breed puppies, thanks to its main ingredients of deboned chicken, deboned turkey, yellowtail flounder, and whole atlantic mackerel. Its grain-free formula also includes a wide variety of fruits and vegetables to help provide your pup with the nutrition she needs.

Many reviewers noted that this food had been recommended by their vet or breeder, and that their pets seemed to really like the taste. While many agreed that the price of this food was a bit high, they felt that the high quality ingredients were well worth the added expense.

At a cost of $88 for a 25-pound bag, it’s quite a bit pricier per pound than the other dry puppy foods on our list, but the quality ingredients that have been specially blended to control large breed dogs growth rate more than justifies that price. It has a rating of 4.6 on Amazon with nearly 30 people reviewing it, which we think goes a long way in convincing pet owners that this puppy food has all the nutrition their growing pup needs.

Orijen Large Puppy Formula Dog Food Key Features:

  • Includes freeze-dried liver pieces for added flavor and nutrition
  • Award-winning and biologically appropriate blend
  • Made in the USA

Best Wet Puppy Food: Blue Wilderness Puppy Grain-Free Turkey and Chicken Grill

Wet puppy food
Blue Wilderness Puppy Grain-Free Turkey and Chicken Grill

A canned puppy food with a high-protein, easy to digest formula containing no by-product meals

$34.68 USD

Blue Wilderness Puppy Grain-Free Turkey and Chicken Grill is the best wet puppy food thanks to its grain-free, high protein blend. It also contains potatoes and oatmeal for better digestion, as well as omega fatty acids to help promote healthier skin and coat, and strong immune system.

Pet parents commented that they appreciate that this food contains no by-product meals, or artificial flavors or preservatives. Several people also mentioned that this food is one of the few their pet with a sensitive stomach can enjoy.

At a cost of $25/12 cans, it’s more expensive than dry kibble for puppies, but the quality ingredients associated with the brand, as well as how easy it is for sensitive stomachs to digest more than justifies that price. It has a rating of 4.0 on Amazon with more than 100 people reviewing it, which we think goes a long way in convincing pet owners that this wet food is a solid choice for growing puppies.

Blue Wilderness Puppy Grain-Free Turkey and Chicken Grill Key Features:

  • Available in a choice of flavors
  • 100% grain-free recipe
  • Contains no corn, wheat, or soy

Who Should Buy Dog Food for Puppies?

A dog food for puppies is the best choice for those who are pet parents to a canine in its first year of life. Puppies grow at a considerable rate in the first year, and they need specialized nutrition in order to meet the demands this growth places on their body.

Not only do puppies require more energy per pound of body weight, they also need more protein, fat, and iron than adult dogs.

Keep in mind that there are two main types of dog food for puppies — small/medium breed and large breed. You need to be aware of which you need in order to prevent health problems in your pup. Large breed puppies will grow into an adult weight over 50 pounds, whereas small and medium breeds include those that will grow to adult weights of under 50 pounds.

Top pick
Taste of the Wild Puppy Food

This food is suitable for all breeds of puppies and replicates what dogs eat in the wild

$52.70 USD

Important Features to Consider

A dog food for puppies should provide all the nutrition your growing pup needs to grow up healthy and active. Here’s what to consider when evaluating the options in search of the best dog food for your puppy:

  • Breed size. Large breed dogs can have considerable health issues if they are fed the wrong food. Feeding a large breed puppy food intended for a small breed puppy can cause their bones to grow too quickly too early, leading to hip dysplasia or worse. Be sure the food you choose is formulated for your dog’s breed size.
  • Ingredients. Surprisingly, there are still several puppy foods on the market that contain ingredients that are known to be toxic or harmful to dogs. These include avocado meal and garlic, and should be avoided. Look for foods that feature real ingredients, quality protein sources, and added vitamins and minerals.
  • Availability. You’re going to be going through A LOT of food as your puppy grows, so being able to easily pick up another bag of food is essential. Check out local pet stores and online retailers to see how easily you can get your new best friend’s food.
  • Price point. Finally, consider how much you are willing to spend on a dog food for puppies. Foods vary in price from $2 per can/$20 per bag-$5 per can/$100 per bag or more. Keep an eye out for manufacturer’s coupons or sales and stock up to make buying dog food for puppies more affordable.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is there a difference between puppy food and adult dog food?

There are major differences between puppy food and adult dog food, most importantly the food composition. Puppy food contains around 30% protein, and is high in fat content to give puppies the energy they need to grow. It also contains vitamins and minerals that puppies need to be healthy. On average, puppy food contains twice the daily nutritional requirements of an adult dog food.

Is it okay for my puppy to eat regular dog food?

It is not okay for a puppy to eat regular dog food. Puppies need to eat food formulated specifically for their needs in order to grow up healthy. Feeding a puppy food that is made for adult dogs can cause them to become very sick.

When should you stop feeding your dog puppy food?

A dog is considered a puppy until it reaches its expected adult size, and should ideally be fed puppy food until it reaches 80% of his expected adult size. This usually happens at around a year of age for most dogs. Always speak with your veterinarian to determine if it’s time to switch your puppy to an adult dog food.

Can a puppy eat wet food?

Puppies can eat wet food, just be sure to purchase food that has been formulated specifically for puppies and not wet food for adult dogs. Wet foods are an excellent choice for puppies who are fussy eaters, as they are easier to swallow and chew. Be aware that wet food doesn’t clean your pup’s teeth in the same way that munching on dry kibble does, so you may need to make teeth brushing a regular part of your care routine.

Other Dog Food for Puppies We Reviewed

Top pick
Taste of the Wild Puppy Food

This food is suitable for all breeds of puppies and replicates what dogs eat in the wild

$52.70 USD

We looked at 20 other dog foods for puppies. Even though they didn’t make our 5 best dog food for puppies list, they’re the best of the rest and each is still a great option for feeding your pup. The information you’ll need to compare each one is included with the listing.

Dry Puppy Food

Blue Buffalo Wilderness Puppy Food

Blue Buffalo Wilderness Puppy Food

This puppy food is available in a choice of flavors and sizes, and features a high protein, grain-free formula.

Key features:

  • Contains exclusive LifeSource Bits
  • Contains no by-product meals
  • Free of artificial flavors and preservatives

Cost: $30

Wag Dry Dog Food for Puppies

Wag Dry Dog Food for Puppies

With real chicken as the first ingredient, you can feel good feeding your puppy this quality kibble.

Key features:

  • Available in a choice of sizes
  • Contains 36% protein for growing pups
  • Made in the USA

Cost: $27

Nutro ULTRA Puppy Dog Food

Nutro ULTRA Puppy Dog Food

This dog food for puppies contains a blend of chicken, lamb, and salmon that provides growing puppies with the balanced nutrition they need.

Key features:

  • Includes a blend of 15 superfoods
  • Free of artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives
  • Suitable for puppies up to 65 pounds

Cost: $71

Purina ONE SmartBlend Natural Healthy Formula Dry Puppy Food

Purina ONE SmartBlend Natural Healthy Formula Dry Puppy Food

This puppy food contains chicken as its first ingredient, and includes omega fatty acids to help with healthy development.

Key features:

  • Includes protein-rich tender meaty morsels
  • Contains no added fillers
  • Made in the USA

Cost: $15

Iams ProActive Health Smart Puppy Dog Food

Iams ProActive Health Smart Puppy Dog Food

This dog food for puppies is available in a choice of three different breed sizes to meet the needs of any pup, and is readily available at more retailers.

Key features:

  • Contains chicken as the #1 ingredient
  • Available in a choice of sizes
  • Free of wheat, soy, and artificial preservatives

Cost: $18

Nature’s Recipe Grain Free Dry Puppy Food

Nature's Recipe Grain Free Dry Puppy Food

This puppy food features a grain-free blend that is easier for young dogs to digest, and contains added vitamins and minerals for optimal health.

Key features:

  • Contains chicken as the #1 ingredient
  • Available in a choice of sizes
  • Free of wheat, soy, and artificial colors and flavors

Cost: $17

Purina Pro Plan SAVOR Shredded Blend Chicken & Rice Formula Dry Puppy Food

Purina Pro Plan SAVOR Shredded Blend Chicken & Rice Formula Dry Puppy Food

This dog food for puppies contains chicken as the #1 ingredient, and features fish oils for healthy development.

Key features:

  • Kibble blended with shredded meaty pieces
  • Available in a choice of sizes
  • Suitable for all breeds of dogs

Cost: $48

Petcurean Go! Fit + Free Puppy Food

Petcurean Go! Fit + Free Puppy Food

This puppy food offers a grain- and gluten-free recipe that is gentle on sensitive puppy stomachs. The first 6 ingredients are meat proteins to help puppies with proper growth and development.

Key features:

  • Contains no by-product meals
  • Includes prebiotics for healthier digestion
  • Free of wheat, corn, soy, and artificial preservatives

Cost: $77

Large Breed Puppy Food

Nutro Max Natural Large Breed Puppy Dry Dog Food

Nutro Max Natural Large Breed Puppy Dry Dog Food

Suitable for large breed puppies, this dog food includes no chicken by-product meal, and is free of corn, wheat, and soy, as well as artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives.

Key features:

  • Available in a choice of sizes
  • Includes a money back guarantee
  • Made in the USA

Cost: $33

Fromm Family Foods Gold Large Breed Puppy Dry Food

Fromm Family Foods Gold Large Breed Puppy Dry Food

This dog food for puppies is filled with simple, natural ingredients, along with added DHA and probiotics for overall puppy health.

Key features:

  • Made in the USA
  • Small kibble is easy to chew
  • Available in a choice of sizes

Cost: $69

Wellness Complete Health Natural Dry Large Breed Puppy Food, Chicken, Salmon & Rice

Wellness Complete Health Natural Dry Large Breed Puppy Food, Chicken, Salmon & Rice

Made with deboned chicken, this food is suited for large breed puppies and features a larger kibble size that big dogs are less likely to accidentally inhale while eating.

Key features:

  • Available in a choice of sizes
  • Free of wheat, corn, soy, meat by-products, artificial flavors, colors, and preservatives
  • Includes a money back guarantee

Cost: $62

Holistic Select Natural Dry Food Large & Giant Breed Puppy Health

Holistic Select Natural Dry Food Large & Giant Breed Puppy Health

Suitable for large and giant breed puppies, this food is an excellent choice for pups with sensitive stomachs thanks to its unique blend of prebiotics, probiotics, natural fibers, digestive enzymes, and botanicals that help promote digestive health.

Key features:

  • Available in a choice of sizes
  • Larger kibble size
  • Made in the USA

Cost: $53

Canidae: All Life Stages Large Breed Puppy

Canidae: All Life Stages Large Breed Puppy

Suitable for all large breed puppies, this food has been simmered in broth to provide your pet with added hydration and flavor.

Key features:

  • Contains a blend of chicken and duck
  • Suitable for all life stages
  • Free of wheat, corn, soy, fillers, antibiotics, hormones, and artificial ingredients

Cost: $61/12 cans

Royal Canin Giant Puppy

Royal Canin Giant Puppy

Specially formulated for giant breed puppies, this dog food contains a blend of nutrients to support digestive health and intense skeletal growth.

Key features:

  • Freshpack packaging helps keep food fresher, longer
  • Available in a choice of sizes
  • Includes a money back guarantee

Cost: $60

Eukanuba Large Breed Puppy

Eukanuba Large Breed Puppy

This dog food for puppies can be fed to dogs up to 24 months of age, and includes a specialized fiber system that helps to promote nutrient absorption and healthy digestion.

Key features:

  • Includes omega fatty acids to promote healthy development
  • Contains no added fillers
  • Available in a choice of sizes

Cost: $41

Wet Puppy Food

Wellness CORE Grain-Free Puppy Formula

Wellness CORE Grain-Free Puppy Formula

One of the best brands out there for pet food, this canned dog food for puppies boasts a grain-free recipe that offers complete and balanced for growing canines.

Key features:

  • Contains no meat by-products or fillers
  • Includes greens and botanicals for added nutrition
  • Made in the USA

Cost: $34/12 cans

Holistic Select Natural Wet Grain Free Canned Food for Dogs & Puppies

Holistic Select Natural Wet Grain Free Canned Food for Dogs & Puppies

Suitable for all life stages, this canned puppy food is available in a choice of flavors and offers a balanced, grain-free recipe that’s great for growing pups.

Key features:

  • Made with all natural ingredients
  • Free of wheat, soy, corn, artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives
  • Made in the USA

Cost: $35/12 cans

Whole Earth Farms Grain Free Puppy Recipe

Whole Earth Farms Grain Free Puppy Recipe

This wet puppy food is suitable for use as a complete meal, or can be used as a topper on your pup’s kibble.

Key features:

  • Chicken is the #1 ingredient
  • Grain-free recipe
  • Suitable for sensitive stomachs

Cost: $24/12 cans

Canidae Life Stages Canned Dog Food for Puppies, Adults, & Seniors

Canidae Life Stages Canned Dog Food for Puppies, Adults, & Seniors

Suitable for all life stages including puppy, this wet dog food features a mix of natural ingredients simmered in delicious broth for added flavor.

Key features:

  • Contains no carrageenan which can cause digestive upset
  • Suitable for large breed dogs
  • Free of wheat, corn, soy, fillers, antibiotics, hormones, and artificial ingredients

Cost: $31/12 cans

Chicken Soup for the Soul: Puppy

Chicken Soup for the Soul: Puppy

With real chicken as the first ingredient, this dog food for puppies provides your pet with the complete and balanced nutrition they need to grow up healthy.

Key features:

  • Enriched with antioxidants
  • Contains no artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives
  • Made in the USA

Cost: $34/12 cans

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