Best Dog Food for Puppies

small puppy

Adopting a new puppy is a fun and memorable time full of hard work and meaningful rewards. Getting your puppy acclimated to their new home is an important part of this process, but another detail you’ll have to keep in mind is what to feed your puppy.

What is the best puppy food? The answer is that it really depends. Puppies of various sizes, ages, and breeds will have unique nutritional needs, making it impossible to find a one-size-fits-all puppy food. Luckily, there are all kinds of dog food brands on the market today making blends specifically for puppies.

What Nutrients Do Puppies Need?

There are some nutrients that are essential for dogs of all ages. If you’re looking for the best wet dog food for puppies, for example, your dog’s food should include some amount of protein, carbs, vitamins, and minerals, no matter how old they are. 

However, puppies need some of these compounds in extra supply if they want to grow up strong and healthy. 

Since puppies are constantly growing and have a lot of energy, their food should have a higher carb-to-protein ratio than blends meant specifically for adult or senior dogs. While older dogs can be at risk of weight gain if they eat too many carbs, puppies need the extra energy for all the work their body is doing to grow and develop. 

Some of the vitamins that can benefit older dogs can be harmful to puppies. Adult or senior dogs can maintain their energy and mobility better if they eat calcium-fortified food, but too much calcium in your puppy’s diet could lead to serious skeletal issues, such as hip dysplasia. 

No matter what age your dog is, however, protein is always important. This essential macronutrient supports healthy muscle growth and strength maintenance in addition to helping the internal organs perform their functions properly. 

Small-Breed vs. Large-Breed Puppies: What’s the Difference?

Do small-breed puppies have different nutritional needs than large-breed puppies? Puppies of all sizes tend to need more carbs than their adult counterparts. Where the two types of puppies differ the most is their metabolism. 

Smaller dogs tend to have faster metabolisms than larger breeds. Therefore, small-breed puppies are usually able to eat more food without gaining weight. Therefore, if you have a small-breed puppy, you may have to feed them more than a large-breed puppy to ensure they’re digesting and metabolizing the nutrients they need. 

Best Dog Food for Puppies: Wet, Dry, and Fresh

Understanding the nutritional needs of puppies is one thing, but knowing which brand to choose for your dog is another story. Each puppy has unique preferences, dislikes, and food sensitivities, regardless of their breed or size. 

Browse this list of some of the best dog food brands for puppies so you can learn more about what’s available and make an informed decision. Additionally, consult with your vet to gain their opinion based on their specific knowledge of your pup’s health current health status. 

Redbarn Grain-Free

Some of the best dry dog food for puppies is made by Redbarn, a longstanding brand in the dog food industry that provides grain-free options for all life stages and breeds. Their Grain-Free Sky is made with 3 different types of meat, including fresh turkey, fresh chicken, and duck meal. 

Your puppy is sure to love the Redbarn taste, and this high-protein meal option will keep them full for hours of play. Additionally, the grain-free recipe means no unnecessary fillers or simple carbs. 

Ollie Fresh

Ollie Fresh is an up-and-comer in the world of fresh-made dog food. Their blends are made with a variety of fresh protein sources, chopped veggies, and a nutritious source of carbs to create a well-balanced meal every time. 

Ollie Chicken can be counted among the best wet puppy food on the market, and it has a leg up over canned alternatives, as it’s made fresh and free of any preservatives. Your pup will get all the nutrients and tasty flavors they need and crave from the fresh chicken and chicken liver, peas, carrots, and rice in this blend.


If you’re looking for a cost-effective option that still provides your puppy with a healthy, balanced diet, Merrick makes the best wet dog food for puppies in a can. Their Puppy Plate blend consists of deboned chicken and turkey, chicken broth, carrots, and sweet potatoes.

This blend is grain-free and soaked in a tasty gravy mixture that makes it irresistible to your puppy. Merrick makes a great option for entire meals or as a topper for dry kibble. With a macronutrient makeup of roughly 50% protein, this is one of the best puppy wet food options for high-protein meals that will support your dog’s healthy growth. 

Nutro Natural Choice

Searching for the right dog food for your small-breed puppy? Luckily, Nutro makes a dry food blend specifically for small to medium-breed puppies that supports their unique caloric needs. 

A mixture of fresh chicken and chicken meal with three types of rice makes Nutro Natural Choice Puppy a very hearty meal choice for your growing dog. Not only is this blend high in protein, but carbs make up roughly 43% of the nutrient breakdown. Your puppy will get the nutrition they need to keep up with their fast metabolism and grow at a healthy rate. 

Support Your Pup’s Growth With Proper Nutrition

Taking home a new puppy is a big responsibility in more ways than one. Not only will you have to keep your dog safe and train them properly, but you’ll also have to make sure they’re getting the nutritional value they need from their meals to truly thrive.

When dogs eat improper diets at an early age, it can create lasting health effects throughout their lives. This is why choosing the right puppy food is so important. Use this list as inspiration to find the optimal choice for your puppy, and don’t forget to ask your vet for their recommendation on what to feed your new puppy. 

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Jeffrey Manheimer

I have grown up with dogs my entire life. My current fur baby is Frankie, a Bernese Mountain dog that is scared of flies, running water and the gameshow Jeopardy. Her health and joints have been managed by key supplements, vitamins and a variety of food.

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