Best Dog Foods for Puppies 2020 – Reviews & Top Picks

Alaskan Malamute puppy eating

Puppies grow very quickly, and while they are growing, they have a lot of special nutritional requirements. High-quality food designed for puppies can meet those requirements. There are many varieties of puppy food available, and they need to meet strict guidelines, but there are some subtle differences between each brand that might not be noticeable at first glance.

We’ve chosen 10 different brands of puppy food to review so you can look at the difference between each kind. We’ll give you the pros and cons of each one and tell you about our experience. We’ve also included a short buyer’s guide to help you learn the difference between the different kinds of food.

A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites

Image Product Details
Best Overall
Winner
Taste of the Wild High Prairie Taste of the Wild High Prairie
  • Real buffalo first ingredient
  • Naturally grain-free
  • Easily digestible
  • Best Value
    Second place
    Purina ONE SmartBlend Large Breed Purina ONE SmartBlend Large Breed
  • Real chicken first ingredient
  • Dual defense antioxidant blend
  • Contains DHA
  • Premium Choice
    Third place
    Wellness Complete Health Large Breed Wellness Complete Health Large Breed
  • Great source of DHA
  • Yucca Schidigera extract
  • Prebiotics and probiotics
  • Blue Buffalo Homestyle Recipe Canned Blue Buffalo Homestyle Recipe Canned
  • Chicken first ingredient
  • Contains no by-products or corn
  • Contains no preservatives
  • American Journey Grain-Free American Journey Grain-Free
  • Contains lamb
  • Omega fatty acids
  • Includes sweet potatoes and chickpeas
  • The 10 Best Dog Foods for Puppies – Reviews 2020

    1. Taste of the Wild High Prairie Puppy Food – Best Overall

    Taste of the Wild High Prairie Puppy Dry Dog Food

    Taste of the Wild High Prairie Puppy Dry Dog Food is our pick for the best overall. It has real buffalo meat as the first ingredient. It also contains other lean proteins from bison, venison, and beef. It’s a naturally grain-free food that contains no corn. There are also no preservatives or harmful chemicals that can put your puppy’s health at risk. It’s high in nutrients and also contains powerful antioxidants, including omega-3 and omega-6. It features a highly digestible formula and is sized right for a puppy’s mouth.

    The downside to Taste of the Wild High Prairie Puppy Dry Dog Food is that like many healthy foods, some dogs won’t eat it.

    Pros
    • Real buffalo first ingredient
    • Naturally grain-free
    • No corn
    • No preservatives
    • High in nutrients
    • Easily digestible
    • Omega-3 and omega-6
    Cons
    • Some dogs don’t like it.

    2. Purina ONE SmartBlend Puppy Food – Best Value

    Purina ONE SmartBlend Puppy Formula Dry Dog Food

    Purina ONE SmartBlend Puppy Formula Dry Dog Food is our pick as the best dog food for puppies for the money. This brand has real chicken as its first ingredient and contains other high-quality protein ingredients like dried eggs. It also contains rice, which is easy for your puppy to digest, and a dual defense antioxidant blend provides vitamins A and E, zinc, and selenium. This food is also a natural source of glucosamine, which will help support healthy joints. DHA will help with healthy eye and brain development.

    The downside to Purina ONE SmartBlend Puppy Formula Dry Dog Food is that it contains huge chicken chunks that some smaller puppies will have trouble eating. Some puppies will dig through this food as well and leave the bits they don’t like behind.

    Pros
    • Real chicken first ingredient
    • Easily digestible digestion
    • Dual defense antioxidant blend
    • Natural source of glucosamine
    • Contains DHA
    Cons
    • Huge chicken chunks
    • Dogs pick through it

    3. Wellness Complete Health Puppy Food – Premium Choice

    Wellness Complete Health Puppy Dry Dog Food

    Wellness Complete Health Puppy Dry Dog Food is our premium choice for puppies. This brand has plenty of high-quality ingredients that will help your puppy grow strong. This brand is a great source of DHA, which will help with healthy brain development. It also contains flaxseed, which helps promotes a shiny coat. Yucca Schidigera Extract helps reduce stool odor, and taurine helps maintain a healthy heart. This food also contains omega fats, probiotics, and vitamin A & E to help create a strong immune system, while calcium and phosphorus help form strong bones.

    The only downside to Wellness Complete Health Puppy Dry Dog Food besides its higher price tag is that some dogs won’t eat it, or they will pick through it, leaving most behind.

    Pros
    • Great source of DHA
    • Flaxseed
    • Yucca Schidigera extract
    • Taurine
    • Omega-3 & 6
    • Calcium and phosphorus
    • Prebiotics and probiotics
    • Vitamin A & E
    Cons
    • Some dogs don’t like it

    4. Blue Buffalo Homestyle Recipe Puppy Dog Food

    Blue Buffalo Homestyle Recipe Puppy Canned Dog Food

    Blue Buffalo Homestyle Recipe Puppy Canned Dog Food has chicken as its first ingredient. It’s well balanced for puppy health and contains DHA for improved cognitive development. It contains no meat byproducts, nor does it contain corn, which can disrupt your puppy’s digestive system. There are also no chemical preservatives in this brand.

    The downside to Blue Buffalo Homestyle Recipe Puppy Canned Dog Food is that it smells bad and can also cause diarrhea in some puppies.

    Pros
    • Chicken first ingredient
    • DHA
    • Contains no by-products or corn
    • Contains no preservatives
    Cons
    • Smells bad
    • Can cause diarrhea

    5. American Journey Grain-Free Puppy Food

    American Journey Grain-Free Lamb & Sweet Potato Puppy Dry Dog Food

    American Journey Grain-Free Puppy Dry Dog Food is a grain-free food that also contains no corn that can upset your puppy’s digestive system. It also contains blueberries and kelp, which help boost the immune system and urinary tract health. Carrots provide antioxidants while sweet potatoes and chickpeas supply healthy complex carbs. Deboned lamb provides a protein that’s rich in nutrients, and this brand also contains omega fatty acids.

    Some dogs are hesitant to eat American Journey Grain-Free Puppy Dry Dog Food for some reason, but they usually come around if given time.

    Pros
    • Grain-free
    • Corn-free
    • Contains blueberry, carrots, and dried kelp
    • Contains lamb
    • Omega fatty acids
    • Includes sweet potatoes and chickpeas
    Cons
    • Some dogs are hesitant to eat it.

    6. Purina Pro Plan Focus Puppy Dry Food

    Purina Pro Plan Focus Puppy Dry Dog Food

    Purina Pro Plan Focus Puppy Dry Dog Food is a brand designed for larger dog breeds that have special nutritional requirements. It features a high-protein recipe that will help build strong bones and give your puppies the energy they need to perform throughout the day. Live probiotics help regulate and maintain your dog’s digestive system, and DHA helps with eye and brain development.

    Unfortunately, Purina Pro Plan Focus Puppy Dry Dog Food varies in quality from bag to bag, and some bags will cause the puppies to come running while others seem dry, and our puppies will leave the food in the bowl. It also has a foul odor that some people may not like.

    Pros
    • Designed for large dog breeds
    • High protein recipe
    • Live probiotics
    • DHA
    Cons
    • Quality varies
    • Smells bad

    7. Diamond Naturals Puppy Formula Dry Food

    Diamond Naturals Large Breed Puppy Formula Dry Dog Food

    Diamond Naturals Puppy Formula Dry Dog Food Features pasture-raised lamb as a main ingredient. It’s all-natural recipe companion’s high-quality protein of lamb mixed with fruits and vegetables, as well as added vitamins and antioxidants. It contains DHA, which helps with eye development as well as brain development to help your puppy reach its peak cognitive abilities. This food contains no corn or wheat that can disrupt your puppy’s sensitive digestive system, and there are no harmful chemical preservatives.

    Diamond Naturals Puppy Formula Dry Dog Food can cause gas in some dogs, and it also gave our pets a touch of diarrhea from time to time.

    Pros
    • Pasture-raised lamb
    • Natural recipe
    • Added vitamins and antioxidants
    • DHA
    • No corn or wheat
    • No preservatives
    Cons
    • Can cause gas
    • Can cause diarrhea

    8. Iams ProActive Health Smart Puppy Dry Food

    Iams ProActive Health Smart Puppy Large Breed Dry Dog Food

    Iams ProActive Health Smart Puppy Dry Dog Food Delivers a balanced meal for large breeds of dog. Lean egg and chicken protein help your puppy’s muscles grow faster while DHA will help eye development and can help stave off illnesses like macular degeneration and cataract. The crunchy texture helps clean teeth and promote dental health by removing tartar as they chew.

    Even though this is a brand for larger dogs, Iams ProActive Health Smart Puppy Dry Dog Food contains a lot of larger sized kibble that can give some smaller puppies trouble chewing. We also found it one of the dustier dog foods that we reviewed for this list.

    Pros
    • Complete balanced meal
    • Lean chicken and egg protein
    • DHA
    • Crunchy texture cleans teeth
    • Designed for large breeds
    Cons
    • Large pieces
    • Dusty

    9. Blue Buffalo Wilderness Puppy Grain-Free Dry Food

    Blue Buffalo Wilderness High Protein Grain-Free Natural Puppy

    Blue Buffalo Wilderness Puppy Grain-Free Dry Dog Food features high-quality protein derived from deboned chicken as its first ingredient. This brand also features a balanced blend of calcium, phosphorus, and essential vitamins and minerals to help your puppy grow. Omega fatty acids help bring out a shiny coat as well as Act as a powerful immune system booster. The kibble is smaller sized and shaped for easy grabbing. The crunchy texture helps promote dental by scrubbing away tartar as your pet eats.

    Blue Buffalo Wilderness Puppy Grain-Free Dry Dog Food Gave our pets bad gas while we were using this food, and in some cases, it gave them diarrhea as well. Some dogs would need it, and others would pick through it, leaving the bits they didn’t like, which would end up as wasted food. This brand of Blue Buffalo food was also very inconsistent from bag to bag. Several bags contained very dried out kibble that was quite dusty.

    Pros
    • DHA
    • High-quality protein
    • Calcium, phosphorus, and essential vitamins
    • Promotes dental health
    • Omega fatty acids
    Cons
    • Can cause gas and diarrhea
    • Puppies pick through the food
    • Not consistent

    10. Hill’s Science Diet Puppy Dry Dog Food

    Hill's Science Diet Puppy Dry Dog Food

    Hill’s Science Diet Puppy Dry Dog Food Pictures controlled levels of calcium for optimal bone health as your dog grows. Glucosamine helps develop strong muscles and is particularly useful to help build strong joints. Antioxidants help promote a healthy immune system to prevent the onset of disease, and there are no artificial colors flavors or preservatives included in this brand of puppy food.

    The downside of Hill’s Science Diet Puppy Dry Dog Food is that it causes gas and gave almost all our puppies smelly gas. It also produces a strong odor when you open the bag, and this brand tends to be very dusty with lots of small broken pieces at the bottom of each bag we reviewed. The kibble is also quite large and can be hard for some dogs to pick up.

    Pros
    • Controlled levels of calcium
    • Glucosamine
    • Antioxidants
    • No artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives
    Cons
    • Causes gas
    • Smells bad
    • Dusty
    • Large kibble

    Buyer’s Guide

    Let’s take a look at some of the important things to consider before you purchase food for your puppy.

    Wet vs Dry

    Let’s look at the difference between wet and dry puppy food.

    Wet

    There are plenty of advantages to feeding your dog wet food, and one of the biggest is that many dogs prefer wet food because it is usually more flavorful. It also more closely resembles food they might find in the wild. The higher moisture content can help keep your dog from becoming dehydrated as well as promote urinary tract health. It can also help your puppy feel full, so it eats slower. What food is higher in protein and can help puppies grow muscle faster.

    If you don’t use up all of the wet food at once after opening it, you will need to refrigerate the remaining portion. Another downside to wet food is that it doesn’t clean teeth, and a diet of exclusively wet food can lead to tooth decay, and at the very least, will require you to brush your puppy’s teeth manually. The higher amount of fat and protein contained within wet food can lead to an upset stomach in some dogs

    Pros
    • Many dogs prefer wet food
    • It’s more flavorful
    • Higher moisture content
    • Helps dogs feel full
    • Higher in protein
    Cons
    • Require refrigeration after opening
    • Does not clean teeth
    • Can cause an upset stomach

    Dry

    Dry dog food is very easy to measure, so it’s easier to keep your dog on a strict diet. The crunchy texture scrubs away tartar as your pet chews and promotes dental health and fresh breath. She’s in the store and has a long shelf life so you can purchase food in bulk well in advance. Bulk food leads to savings, and dry dog food is generally cheaper to buy.

    The downside to dry dog food is that it can be very hard, and some dogs may have a hard time chewing it, especially if they have a dental condition. Dry dog food may also not supply enough fat for very active dogs and puppies, so you may need to supplement if you give your dogs a strictly dry food diet.

    Pros
    • Easy to measure
    • Helps keep teeth clean
    • Easy to store
    • Long shelf life
    • Less expensive
    Cons
    • Can be painful to chew
    • May not supply enough fat

    In many cases, the ideal solution is to feed a mainly dry dog food diet with added wet food from time to time, depending on your dog’s tolerance and nutritional requirements.

    Diet

    Dogs like meat, but they are not strict carnivores and will require some vegetables and carbohydrates in their diet. These extra ingredients are a vital source of vitamins and minerals your pet will need to grow into a healthy dog. Look for foods that contain high-quality meats like chicken, lamb, beef, buffalo, etc., End of void foods they use lower quality meats like chicken meal or meat byproducts.

    Look for foods that contain vegetables like green beans, sweet potatoes, and spinach, while avoiding corn. Blueberries, apples, and pumpkin are examples of fruits you should look for in your food. Antioxidants and Omega fatty acids are also good to include.

    We recommend avoiding preservatives and any chemical additives.

    Amount

    Obesity is currently a major concern in the dog population, especially if you can’t exercise with your dog enough or if you have a breed that requires extreme amounts of exercise like a German Shepherd. Obesity is also prevalent in dogs that like to relax a lot like French Bulldogs. One of the best things you can do to prevent obesity in your dog is to follow the manufacturer’s guidelines for feeding. Many brands will require you to feed your pet slightly different amounts, and you must remain vigilant about not going giving them more.


    Conclusion

    When choosing dog food for your puppy, we recommend something high in protein because people puppies need it for quick, strong muscle growth and energy. Fatty acids and antioxidants are also essential for a strong immune system and healthy development. Our pick for the best overall is the brand we recommend. Taste of the Wild High Prairie Puppy Dry Dog Food has plenty of nutrients and omega fatty acids. It has lots of protein and uses only all-natural high-quality ingredients. Purina ONE SmartBlend Puppy Formula Dry Dog Food Is another great choice and is our pick for the best value this brand features chicken as its top ingredient, and you can see the large chicken pieces when you pour them into the bowl.

    We hope you have enjoyed reading over this article, and they have learned something new from our buyer’s guide. If we have helped you pick out food for your pet, please share this guide to the best dog food for puppies on Facebook and Twitter.


    Featured Image: Wikimedia Commons