Best Puppy Food Reviews: A Buyer’s Guide for the Discerning Guardian

When choosing the best puppy food, remember... Large breeds (like the malamute shown in this photo) have different needs than small breeds.

You've found your new furry friend and fallen in love. So of course, you'll want to feed them the best puppy food. To ensure they grow up as a healthy, strong, and long-lived adult dog, we need to feed them right. And we want to help. That's why we've researched the most popular brands: To make your choice easier.

If you need advice on which food to feed your puppy, you’ve come to the right place. Follow this guide to find the best puppy food for your dog.

Quick Links to the Best Puppy Food Reviews

Why Buy the Best?

When choosing the best puppy food, it’s best to remember that each dog has different needs based on its size, weight, and breed.

Take small breeds, for example.

According to the American Kennel Club, small breeds need a higher density of calories in their food than larger breed dogs. This is because their metabolic rates are higher – in other words, they burn calories faster. If they don’t get enough calories, small breed dogs are prone to hypoglycemia (low blood sugar), which can lead to problems like weakness, tremors, and even seizures.

This is just one reason why, when choosing puppy food, you shouldn’t buy a generic type.

You also shouldn’t feed your puppy food that’s formulated for adult dogs, as it will lack the extra nutrients growing puppies need.

Instead, buy a food that’s specifically formulated for puppies, and choose one that fits your puppy’s specific breed and size requirements.

In general, look for brands that either meet or exceed nutrition guidelines set by the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO). These will provide the right balance of protein, fiber, and other nutrients for a growing puppy.

The Best Puppy Food for Small Breeds

Small breed dogs, even at their adult size, will weigh less than 20 pounds. 

As a result, small breeds have high energy and thus need calorically dense food. Small breeds also should have food in smaller pieces so it’s easier to chew and swallow. This will also prevent the possibility of choking.

Here are our top picks for the best puppy food when it comes to small breeds

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1. Wellness Complete Health Small Breed Dry Puppy Food

This brand contains ingredients like turkey, chicken, oatmeal, and salmon in a good ratio of protein, fat, and fiber. It has no unwanted filler ingredients like wheat, corn, or meat by-products. Plus, the small kibble pieces makes it easy for small dogs to eat.

Product photo: Wellness Complete Health Small Breed Dry Puppy Food - Check price on Amazon.

2. Blue Buffalo Freedom Grain Free Small Breed Puppy Food

If you’d prefer a grain-free formula for your puppy with no gluten, Blue Buffalo is an excellent pick. This nutrient-dense, calorically-dense food features chicken and turkey as the main ingredients, making it perfect for puppies that burn a ton of energy.

Product photo: Blue Buffalo Freedom Grain Free Small Breed Puppy Food. Click to check price.

Best Puppy Food for Medium Breeds

Medium-sized breeds weigh 20-50 pounds and don't generally require special diets. But you'll still want to feed them the best puppy food available. You'll also want to think about how active they'll be as adults and feed them accordingly. Active mid-sized "working dog breeds" need more calories and protein. These include boxers, Portuguese water dogs, and various types of terriers may need bigger portions.

Here are the top two most popular and well-rated puppy foods for puppies who will grow into medium-sized dogs.

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1. Taste of the Wild High Prairie Grain-Free Protein Real Meat Recipe Natural Dry Puppy Food with Real Roasted Venison & Bison

This formula's high-quality and jam-packed with nutrients. Grain-free formulas are easier for puppies to digest, especially if their breed suffers from allergies. Buffalo, lamb, and eggs provide the proteins needed for growth and building strong muscles. Meanwhile, the fruits and veggies add vitamins and antioxidants. 

Product photo: Taste of the Wild High Prairie Grain-Free Protein Real Meat Recipe Natural Dry Puppy Food with Real Roasted Venison & Bison. Click to check price.

2. Nature's Recipe Grain-Free Dry Dog Food

In case you need a less pricey option, this popular and top-rated product delivers. Ingredients include real chicken with sweet potato and pumpkin. Plus it's got vitamins, minerals, and also contains no grains.

Product photo: Nature's Recipe Grain-Free Dry Dog Food. Click to check price.

The Best Puppy Food for Large Breeds

Large breed dogs will end up weighing over 50 pounds or more at their adult size.

As a result, large breed puppies tend to grow rapidly. However, with that tendency comes the possibility of growing too quickly. This can happen if you overfeed, or if your dog gets too many nutrients (called “overnutrition”).

This means your large breed puppy should not get food formulated for small breeds, as it will provide the wrong balance of nutrients. It will also be too calorically dense for their larger bodies and slower metabolisms.

Instead, large breeds need a diet that’s lower in vitamin D, phosphorus, calcium, fat, and other building blocks in order to stay healthy.

They also should not be free-fed. Instead, large dogs need scheduled feedings to avoid becoming overweight.

Below are two excellent puppy food choices for large breeds.

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1. Nutro Max Large Breed Dry Puppy Food

If your large breed puppy has allergies or a sensitive stomach, this is the food they need. It’s formulated with fiber sources that are easy to digest, like oatmeal and sorghum. Plus, the main source of protein comes from responsibly-raised chickens. 

Product photo: Nutro Max Large Breed Dry Puppy Food. Click to check price.

2. Wellness Complete Health Natural Grain Free Dry Dog Food

Wellness Complete is a trusted brand for a reason. They don’t add fillers, by-products, or preservatives to their dog food. Your pup will love the taste of chicken, salmon, and whitefish, and you’ll love that this kibble includes nutrients from veggies and fruit, too. It has just the right balance for fast-growing large breed puppies.

Product photo: Wellness Complete Health Natural Grain Free Dry Dog Food. Click to check price.

Feed Your Growing Dog the Best Puppy Food for Good Health

All growing puppies need the right nutrients to become healthy adults. In fact, feeding them the wrong food can have negative consequences.

If you have a breed with special nutritional needs, like small or large breeds, make sure you feed them the right food for optimal health. Follow this guide to make sure you’re doing right by your puppy,

Now that you've found the best food for your puppy, you can start thinking about potty training.

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