Your guide for discovering the best dog food for puppys!
We also answer your related puppy food questions:
- Are There Specific Things I Should Be Looking For?
- Is The Most Expensive Puppy Food The Best?
- What Should I Look For In The Ingredient List?
- Should I Pay Attention To The Expiration Date?
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Instantly ✔ current prices & more info about the best dog food for puppys:
Hint: Some links have coupons. 🙂
- Wellness CORE Natural Grain Free Puppy Formula
- Wellness Complete Health Natural Puppy Food (Wet)
- Hill’s Science Diet Puppy Healthy Development
CC Image “Show-Off” via Dwr – thx Drakkar (& Dwr)!
It is within the first several months that some of the most important aspects of your puppy’s life are being formed:
- Brain function
- Organ growth
- Muscle and connective tissue function
- A healthy coat
- Healthy skin
- Strong teeth and bones and so much more…
Each of these is directly impacted by what your dog eats.
Vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and antioxidants are a few of the many things that need to be present in your puppy’s diet in order for these systems to get a good jumpstart for proper functioning.
The best way to provide these needed nutritional elements is to know what dog food is best for your growing puppy.
Choosing the best puppy food can sometimes seem like a daunting task, as any new puppy owner can tell you. You might not even know where to start, but that is where we hope to be of some assistance today.
Are There Specific Things I Should Be Looking For?
As a matter of fact, there are!
While it can be tempting to visit your local pet store, browse the kibble aisle and make your decision based on the packaging, that isn’t always the best way.
Here are some things to consider and research before choosing:
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- Choose a kibble that comes from a company that has AAFCO (Association of American Feed Control Officials) feeding trials. While some companies are content to create a recipe that has never been tested by feeding it to dogs prior to manufacture, that’s not what you want for your pet. Those companies who undergo these feeding trials are careful to research their recipe and even consult with veterinary nutritionalists in order to make sure that all the nutritive aspects of the food are within specific bounds. That means foods that go through the trials are more likely to be what you what you will want to feed your growing puppy.
- Be willing to count and compare calories. Caloric intake is very important for a growing puppy, as about half of what they eat is spent on the growth and development of tissue. Not only is your puppy’s body growing, meaning that their muscles, bones, teeth and organs be getting bigger and more complicated, but their brain, eyes, digestive tract and hearing are also undergoing daily changes as well. All these changes take a great deal of energy and you want to make sure your puppy is well equipped for the job.
- Choose a puppy food that is appropriate for the size of your puppy. You cannot feed the same kibble to a Chihuahua puppy as you would feed to a Saint Bernard Puppy, as their needs are incredibly different. For instance, puppy food that is geared for larger breed dogs has a specific ratio of calcium and phosphorous to insure that bone growth is optimized to prevent disorders of the joints. This recipe would not be needed for smaller breeds. The size of the kibble also makes a big difference, as tiny breed puppies will have a harder time eating larger sized kibble pieces. [read more on how to pick the perfect dog food for every size puppy]
- Read ingredient labels. This is a very important aspect of choosing a puppy food and one that often gets overlooked. For instance, the fatty acid DHA should most certainly be present in whatever recipe you choose, as it is responsible for the appropriate development of the brain, eyes and ears. It has even been found that puppies that have a diet high in DHA are more trainable than those who lack the ingredient in their diet.
Is The Most Expensive Puppy Food The Best?
In many cases, “you get what you pay for” certainly comes into play, but that isn’t always the case when choosing a food for your puppy.
There are many factors that go into the pricing of any item that a manufacturer sells, including the brand name itself.
Sparing no expense for your pet is an honorable trait, but in many cases, some of the cheaper puppy food brands are just as nutritional – which is the most important thing – as some of the brands on which you could spend a lot more money.
By referring to the list above, you can easily choose a puppy food that fits your puppy’s needs while at the same not, not breaking the bank.
What Should I Look For In The Ingredient List?
When you look over an ingredient list for a possible food for your puppy, try to think along some of the same lines as you would for yourself.
You will want to see whole foods listed as well as an array of vitamins, minerals, omega-3 fatty acids, amino acids and antioxidants.
Premium cuts of meat are another item you will want to see listed, instead of ground bone meal and organ meats.
On the other hand, as you would with your own foods, you will want to stay away from foods that have an array of ingredients with names you might not even be able to pronounce.
Anything that sounds like a chemical is probably just that, and is never a good idea for your growing puppy.
Should I Pay Attention To The Expiration Date?
As with our own foods, the expiration date or “use by” date is generally just a suggestion based on research surrounding the shelf life of the product.
However, it is very important to note that a food with a longer shelf life is packed with many more preservatives than that of a food that expires rather quickly.
Preservatives are usually chemical in nature.
If possible, it might be the better option for your puppy, for you to buy puppy foods that expire more quickly.
While it might mean that you have to buy food more often, having fewer chemicals in your pet’s diet is always the better option, especially if they have issues with allergies.
For more information about choosing the right puppy food, you can check out this video:
Our 3 Picks for Best Dog Food for Puppys
1. Wellness CORE Natural Grain Free Dry Dog Food Puppy Formula
For those who prefer a grain free recipe, Wellness CORE Natural Grain Free Dry Dog Food Puppy Formula may be the right food for your puppy.
The first 5 ingredients listed in this puppy formula are:
- Deboned chicken
- Chicken meal
- Turkey meal
The extensive ingredient list contains no wheat, corn, soy, by-products, artificial colors, artificial flavors or preservatives.
Only premium, all natural ingredients are included in this recipe with DHA or brain development and plenty of antioxidants for a strong immune system.
Thanks to these fine ingredients and CORE’s high quality standards, this puppy food is nutrient dense, which means there are no fillers or unnecessary carbs, only high quality animal proteins, for the best health for your fur baby.
This Wellness CORE puppy food is so appealing to puppies that they love and work for it!
It’s so packed with real meat and so close to being a raw food product that many puppy owners use pieces of this kibble in place of treats, with outcomes that are just as good.
In addition to being a great recipe to feed puppies for good healthy balance, this recipe has also worked well for dogs with medical conditions, such as kidney disease, thanks to correct calcium and phosphorous ratios.
While it has the right combination of nutrients, vitamins, minerals and calories for proper growth and thriving, it works just as well to maintain a desired weight for pets prone to rapid weight gain.
2. Wellness Complete Health Natural Wet Canned Puppy Food
For those who prefer to feed a wet, canned puppy food, Wellness Complete Health Natural Wet Canned Puppy Food formula is a great choice for a protein rich, nutritionally balanced puppy food.
The first 5 ingredients in this premium food are:
- Chicken broth
- Sweet potatoes
- Ground barley
Other ingredients in this formula include apples, pears and bananas as well as an array of vitamins, minerals and nutrients that help with the Five Signs of Wellness:
- Skin and coat
- Digestive health
- Eyes teeth and gums
- Energy and immunity.
- In addition, Wellness Complete gives an overall guaranteed analysis of not less than 9% crude protein, not less than 7% crude fat and no more than 1% crude fiber.
Your puppy will not only fall in love with the robust flavor of this food, but will also be full of energy for all his favorite pastimes, have a healthy, shiny coat, fresher breath and his digestive health will benefit as well.
In addition to being a great food choice for puppies in general, it works very well for those with medical issues such as colitis, allergies and may even help to stave off some chronic conditions.
Containing only the highest quality all natural ingredients and backed by the Wellness Guarantee, this product is made exclusively in North America.
3. Hill’s Science Diet Puppy Healthy Development Dry Dog Food
Hill’s Science Diet Puppy Healthy Development Dry Dog Food is nutritionally balanced to support healthy brain, skeletal and eye development, which is very important for your growing puppy.
The first 5 listed ingredients are:
- Chicken meal
- Cracked Pearl Barley
- Pork Meal
- Whole grain wheat
- Whole grain corn
The antioxidant benefits in this food blend are clinically proven and other essential vitamins, minerals and amino acids are included in the ingredient list.
There are no artificial colors, flavors or preservatives to worry about and the company stands behind their product for 100% satisfaction guaranteed or you will receive your money back.
With a guaranteed analysis of:
- 32% crude protein
- 22.9% crude fat
- 33% carbohydrate
- 378 kcal per cup
…this puppy food meets all the nutritional requirement for healthy growth.
The list of professionals that help make sure that Hill’s Science Diet Puppy food meets all the nutritional requirements include veterinarians, scientists, technicians and nutritionists.
In addition, each ingredient used is examined for safety, essential nutrient content and precise formulation that all meet their strict quality standards.
The size of this kibble is roughly equal to the size of a pea, so it’s a great food for smaller breed dogs and they simply love the flavors that are offered.
Many dogs that switched over from pricier brands loved Hill’s Science Diet just as much. Vets are quick to recommend this food because it is not only well accepted by puppies, but it also helps them to flourish.
You will love the way your puppy thrives on this food, as well as how healthy and shiny his coat looks after eating it for a while.
We hope that this article has helped you to narrow down a decision for which puppy food your new puppy might prefer.
Our review included the best dry puppy food, the best grain free puppy food and the best canned puppy food, so you would have a variety to choose from.
Do you have a favorite puppy food that works best for your puppies that didn’t make our list?
If so, please leave a comment and tell us all about it so that we may feature it in an upcoming article.
Questions are also welcome and we’ll do our very best to post a quick response.
Thanks for stopping by!