It can be challenging to find the right puppy food for your pet. There are tons of brands, and each one makes big promises. It can be especially challenging if you don’t have the time to look up the different ingredients to know which ones are right for your pet.
We have plenty of dogs, and right now, we have five puppies, so we thought it would be a great time to review ten different brands kibbles formulated for puppies.
Besides the reviews, we’ve included a puppy kibble buyer’s guide so you can learn what’s important to know about these foods.
Join us for our in-depth reviews of ten different brands of puppy kibbles, where we compare proteins, antioxidants, kibble size, and meat byproduct, to help you make an informed purchase.
A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites
The 10 Best Puppy Kibbles 2020
1. Instinct Grain Free Puppy Food – Best Overall
The Instinct 769949658399 Grain Free Puppy Food is our pick for best overall puppy kibbles. This brand features real bits of freeze-dried raw chicken along with kibbles made from high-quality natural ingredients. The naturally high-protein kibbles use only real meats and contain no by-products or chemical preservatives. Each kibble packs antioxidants and Omega fats into each bite, and this food promotes a soft and shiny coat.
All of our puppies loved this food, but we did notice some inconsistencies in the number of freeze-dried pieces from bag to bag.
2. Pedigree Nutrition Dry Puppy Food – Best Value
The Pedigree 10170523 Complete Nutrition Dry Puppy Food is our choice for the best value, and we believe it is the best puppy kibbles for the money. These kibbles use a special formula that promotes brain development in small puppies. It’s 100% balanced and enriched with Omega-6 fatty acids and zinc.
All of our puppies loved this budget food, but one complaint: it gave them all terrible smelling gas that never seemed to let up.
KetunPet Vegan Dog Food is our premium choice dog food, and it uses 100% vegetable protein for the vegan pet. The food uses a formula that helps provide a balanced meal without any animal products or the cruelty that goes with obtaining them. There is also less chance that your pet will suffer problems from Salmonella and E. Coli bacteria.
The downside of this brand is its extremely high cost. There is also some question about some of the ingredients. For instance, this brand contains corn and peas, which can cause health problems for dogs.
4. Purina Pro Plan Dry Puppy Food
The Purina 38100113696 Pro Plan Dry Puppy Food has chicken as its main ingredient, and it features a smaller sized kibble better suited to the smaller mouth of a puppy. It’s packed with DHA, which comes from Omega-rich fish oils and helps with brain function and development. Antioxidants help protect your pet’s blood from free radicals.
Our puppies like to eat this food and couldn’t wait for the next bowl, but we didn’t like that it contains a lot of corn and corn-based products.
5. Wellness Core Natural Dry Puppy Food
The Wellness Core 88419 Natural Grain Free Dry Puppy Food that features premium chicken, turkey, and salmon ingredients. All other ingredients are non-GMO, and the kibbles contain antioxidants and probiotics, as well as Omega-3 fatty acids.
We didn’t like the high cost of this brand, and it also contains peas, which are bad for dogs. While we were reviewing this brand, we noticed that all of our dogs had loose stools.
6. Blue Buffalo Wilderness Protein Dry Puppy Food
The Blue Buffalo Wilderness 563 High Protein Dry Puppy Food brand puppy food contains chicken as its first ingredient. It also contains Blue Buffalo’s unique LifeSource bits, which is a special blend of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. It features a unique puppy formula that promotes brain development.
While we were using this food with our dogs, only about half would eat it, and when they did eat it, it often gave them loose stools and smelly gas. This brand also contains peas, which can be harmful to heart health.
See the best: Wet puppy food!
7. Eukanuba Puppy Dry Dog Food
The Eukanuba Puppy Dry Dog Food features chicken as its first ingredient, and it also adds calcium and phosphorus to help promote bone development. Omega-3 fatty acids in the form of DHA help to promote brain development.
While this brand does contain many high-quality ingredients and is popular among our pets, it does also include a few undesirable ingredients. The chicken byproduct is the chief offender here, but it also contains corn, which dogs can have a hard time digesting. Another thing we didn’t like about this brand is the large kibble is probably a little too big for many breeds of dog.
8. Hill’s Science Diet Dry Dog Food
The Hill’s Science Diet 9094 Dry Dog Food features a balance of minerals that work to promote healthy bones and teeth. It’s infused with omega-3 fatty acids to help with brain development as well as eye development. Antioxidants help boost your pet’s immune system, which will help them resist illness and recover from injuries quicker.
We didn’t like the smell of this food at all and had to store it in a closet on a different level of the house. Our puppies were interested in the food, but we think that they found it hard to chew. The kibble is dry and hard, and we also noticed that the calories per serving are a bit higher for this brand than on many of the others.
9. Royal Canin Nutrition Dry Puppy Food
The Royal Canin 512103 Health Nutrition Dry Puppy Food features several varieties for all stages and sizes of dogs, including puppies. The puppy formula features a blend of antioxidants and vitamins to help your pet grow and develop for the first ten months. This food also contains omega-3 fatty acids in the form of fish oil.
What we don’t like about this brand is that chicken byproduct is its first ingredient, and there are no whole meats listed at all in the ingredients. It also contains plenty of corn, which can lead to digestive troubles for your pet.
10. Nutro Ultra Puppy Dry Dog Food
The Nutro Ultra 10162700 Puppy Dry Dog Food is the final brand of puppy kibbles we are reviewing. This kibble features a protein triad of chicken, lamb, and salmon proteins. It features chicken as its number one ingredient, and it also contains omega-3 fatty acids in the form of fish oil. Besides these ingredients, there are also 15 other superfoods mixed in to help your puppy develop through its early stages.
The downside to this food is that it contains peas, which are bad for heart health, and it smells bad. The salmon in the kibble can give the area a fishy smell, especially in humid weather. The worst part about this food Is that out of five puppies, only one of our pets would eat it, and even he would choose any other food over this one.
Puppy food is generally higher in protein than adult dog food to help with the rapid muscle development of puppies. These foods are usually higher in calories to help them through their long playtimes, but you should always consult with a veterinarian to understand the protein needs of your breed of dog.
Most puppies do fine with a well-balanced meal of protein, carbohydrates, and fats.
Grain-free food is trendy right now but it is not always the best choice for your pet. This type of food is usually very high in protein which is essential to a puppy’s health, but it can also contain ingredients that are harmful to your pet’s health like corn, wheat, and meat byproduct.
If you do use a grain-free food while your dog is still a puppy, we recommend discontinuing use after the age of ten months. After that, you should only use a grain-free food under the orders of a veterinarian, usually to control weight.
Another ingredient common in grain-free foods as well as many other brands, is peas. The FDA has recently released a statement that says peas cause heart problems in dogs, and you should avoid feeding them to your pet. This report is over a year old now, but as pet food manufacturers catch up and stop putting peas in the food, it’s up to us to purchase brands without peas.
When purchasing food for puppies, it’s essential to make sure the kibble isn’t too big or too hard for them to chew correctly. Far too often, kibble is made for larger dogs or is “universal” in size. We recommend always starting with the smallest bag of each brand to make sure your pet can chew it and that they like it.
Your puppy kibble should always list whole meat like turkey, chicken, lamb, or beef as its first ingredient. Preferably, there will be more than one animal protein listed near the top. Always steer clear of any meat byproduct. Look for whole grains, rice, and barley, while avoiding corn and peas.
We hope you have found our puppy kibble reviews helpful and have a better idea about what type of food you want for your pet. The Instinct 769949658399 Grain Free Puppy Food is our top choice because it has real freeze-dried frozen chicken chunks and high protein kibble that will help your puppy grow and develop. The Pedigree 10170523 Complete Nutrition Dry Puppy Food is our best value and is a well-balanced food that promotes brain development and a healthy immune system on a budget.
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Featured image credit: pzbasnik, Pixabay
Emily started this blog out of pure passion. She LOVES her 3 dogs; Chew Barka, Cooper & Nelson, and spends countless hours every day playing with them.
When she’s not nerding out on dogs, you’ll find her on a snowboard or in the kitchen baking chocolate brownies.
She’s been featured in PetAware, Dogtime, and ModernDog.
- A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites
- The 10 Best Puppy Kibbles 2020
- 1. Instinct Grain Free Puppy Food – Best Overall
- 2. Pedigree Nutrition Dry Puppy Food – Best Value
- 3. KetunPet Vegan Dog Food – Premium Choice
- 4. Purina Pro Plan Dry Puppy Food
- 5. Wellness Core Natural Dry Puppy Food
- 6. Blue Buffalo Wilderness Protein Dry Puppy Food
- 7. Eukanuba Puppy Dry Dog Food
- 8. Hill’s Science Diet Dry Dog Food
- 9. Royal Canin Nutrition Dry Puppy Food
- 10. Nutro Ultra Puppy Dry Dog Food
- Buyer’s Guide