The Best Dry Dog Food for Puppies That Fido Will Love

puppy eating carrot

While you’re walking down the aisle of your nearest pet store, you start to feel what a lot of puppy parents feel. The cold sweats, clammy hands, and vertigo while staring down the endless array of food and pushy marketing telling you to buy this because it’s healthier, better, and fancier. But the best dry dog food for puppies often comes from the brands you least expect.

It’s important to buy the best dry dog food for puppies because they need specific nutrients in their diets to grow up big and strong. Still, choosing shouldn’t have to be hard. You just might need a little help!

Best Dry Dog Food for Puppies: What You Need to Know

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Before we dive right into our picks for the best dry dog food for puppies, we should clear the air on a few things. Choosing food for your puppy is hard. Whether you’re a new dog owner or a seasoned veteran, you might have a hard time picking.

We live in an era where there's a lot of big marketing claims going around. Unfortunately, many lack scientific research to back them up.

We want to get rid of the fluff and get to the real stuff, so you can make sure you’re feeding your dog the best dry dog food for puppies.

Why do puppies need special food?

How do you choose the best dry dog food for puppies?

What happens if you feed puppies adult dog food?

Should I feed my puppy grain-free dog food?

​How We Reviewed

dog and food

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As we’ve said, we care a lot about our fellow pet parents. We understand how difficult it is to choose the best dry dog food. For this reason, we want to make sure you have the best and most unbiased information possible.

We sought out information from reliable sources like veterinary websites, professional breeders, and our own experience. We’re pet parents, too, and we care so much about what we feed our pups.

There is a lot of misinformation and marketing filled with false claims, but we want to help break the cycle and offer you the content you need to accomplish one goal: Keep your best friend healthy.

When you finish this list, you can confidently purchase the best dry dog food for puppies.

​Best Dry Dog Food for Puppies: Only the Greatest Prevail

dog food

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By this point, you should have a solid understanding of how to choose the best dry dog food for puppies. Now that you have all the basics covered, let’s look at some actual food.

All of these foods passed our inspection, and they contain only the highest quality ingredients from companies with a strong reputation in the industry.

Hill's Science Diet Puppy Small Paws​

Hill's Science Diet Dry Dog Food, Puppy, Small Paws, Chicken Meal, Barley & Brown Rice Recipe, 15.5 LB Bag
  • This dry puppy food uses DHA from fish oil to support healthy brain and eye development
  • Provides your small breed dog with high quality protein for building lean muscle
  • Uses a balance of minerals to promote strong bones and healthy teeth

Our first puppy dog food comes from Hill’s Science Diet. This company uses scientific research from pet food scientists to formulate a healthy blend of ingredients ideal for puppies.

The food uses DHA from fish oil, which helps support your puppy's brain and eye development. You’ll also find plenty of lean protein sources here that will guide your pup's growth while keeping them at a healthy weight.

This is a formula specifically intended for small and toy breeds. The recipe contains a unique blend of antioxidants to help with immune health.

Looking at the ingredients, we see chicken meal, cracked pearled barley, and pork meal as the first three ingredients. Meal is a highly concentrated source of protein, and barley is a great carbohydrate component to find in the first couple of ingredients.

Nature's Recipe Grain-Free Puppy

Nature's Recipe Grain Free Chicken, Sweet Potato & Pumpkin Recipe Dry Dog Food for Puppies, 12 Pounds
  • Contains 1 - 12 Pound Bag of Dry Dog Food
  • Real chicken is the #1 ingredient
  • Natural dog food, with added vitamins, minerals and nutrients. Calorie Content (Calculated)- Metabolizable Energy (ME) 3570 kcal/kg per 345 kcal/cup

Here we have a grain-free chicken recipe from Nature’s Recipe. This puppy food contains real chicken as the first ingredient, which is a great place to start.

The grain-free formula uses carbohydrate sources like sweet potato and pumpkin in place of corn and wheat. This food does not contain any corn, wheat, soy, or by-products that some pet owners wish to avoid.

As we take a look further down the ingredient list, we do find some other essential components like fruit and vegetables, which are great for flavor and a well-balanced diet.

One thing that concerns us, though, is the inclusion of poultry fat in this food. Sometimes, poultry fat becomes oxidized during the manufacturing process, which can cause stomach problems or allergies in some pups.

Overall, though, this food is a great choice for concerned pet parents looking for the best dry dog food for puppies.

BLUE Wilderness for Puppies

Blue Buffalo Wilderness High Protein Grain Free, Natural Puppy Dry Dog Food, Chicken 24-lb
  • PACKED WITH REAL CHICKEN: A recipe made to satisfy your puppy's natural love for meat, this high protein puppy dog food features real chicken to help encourage strong muscle growth.
  • GRAIN FREE PUPPY FOOD: BLUE Wilderness grain free puppy food is made with the ingredients to help promote healthy development including DHA and ARA, important fatty acids found in mother's milk, to help support cognitive development and retinal health.
  • WITH LIFESOURCE BITS: This formula contains BLUE's exclusive LifeSource Bits - a precise blend of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals carefully selected by holistic veterinarians and animal nutritionists to support immune system health, life stage requirements, and a healthy oxidative balance.Calorie Content: 3,662 Kcals/kg, 423 Kcals/cup

BLUE Wilderness is a well-known brand in the dog food industry. This company started because the founders were concerned about their own pup named “Blue.”

This food recipe is loaded with real chicken and other protein sources essential for your puppy's health. The grain-free recipe supplements with other carbohydrate sources like flaxseed and sweet potatoes.

We also found plenty of fruits and other vegetables included in this recipe, as well.

This dry food also contains pro- and pre-biotics, which help with your puppy's digestion and gut health as they grow.

Overall, we don’t see anything concerning in this ingredient list. Still, there is chicken fat and added salt, which we find unnecessary in dog food.

In the end, BLUE Wilderness leads the pack with its high-quality dog food containing some of the best ingredients available at a price that fits into everyone’s budget.

Castor & Pollux ORGANIX Grain-Free Organic Small Breed Recipe

Castor & Pollux Organix Grain Free Organic Small Breed Recipe Recipe Dry Dog Food 4Lbs
  • #1 Ingredient Is Organic, Free-Range Chicken
  • Made With Probiotics And Prebiotic Fiber To Help Support Healthy Digestion
  • Made With A Nutrient Packed Superfood Blend Featuring Organic Flaxseed, Organic Blueberries And Organic Coconut Oil

Rolling along, we have an organic, grain-free, small breed food option. This food is not a puppy food, but it is recommended by the dog food community for puppies due to its ingredients.

Castor & Pollux uses free-range chicken and plenty of probiotics to help your puppy digest and maintain a proper weight.

This recipe has some of the best ingredients we’ve ever seen in dog food. It uses things like organic chicken, sweet potatoes, sunflower seed meal, coconut oil, and chicken liver, and it includes plenty of vitamins and minerals.

All of the food from Castor & Pollux gets produced in organically certified U.S. kitchens. They also don’t use any chemical pesticides or synthetic fertilizers on their crops.

If you’re interested in starting your pup out on the right food and feeding them the best organic dog food on the market, you’ll want to give this one a closer look.

Natural Balance L.I.D. Limited Ingredient Diet Dry Puppy Food

Natural Balance L.I.D. Limited Ingredient Diets Dry Dog Food for Puppies, Potato & Duck Formula, 4.5 Pounds, Grain Free
  • Contains 1 - 4.5-Pound Bag Of Dog Food
  • Grain Free Puppy Food With Kibble Specially Shaped For Smaller Jaws
  • Helps Minimize The Number Of Ingredients Puppies Are Exposed To

I personally love the food from Natural Balance. I currently feed my dog their adult formula, but their food works great for pups with sensitivities. My Lhasa Apso has had stomach problems since day one and would regurgitate most food. We switched to Natural Balance, and it completely changed the game.

This food contains one source of protein, which is said to reduce the likelihood of allergies. Many foods contain chicken, pork, and fish, all in the same recipe. This increases the chance of an allergic reaction, and Natural Balance uses a limited ingredient diet to prevent that.

Natural Balance designs their kibble smaller for puppies, and they use DHA for healthy brain development. They do not use any artificial flavors or dyes and no preservatives.

If you’re concerned your puppy isn’t handling their food well, I recommend giving this one a try.

Nutro Wholesome Essentials Natural Puppy Dry Dog Food

NUTRO WHOLESOME ESSENTIALS Natural Small Breed Puppy Farm-Raised Chicken, Brown Rice & Sweet Potato Recipe 5 Pounds
  • Contains one (1) 5-lb. bag of NUTRO WHOLESOME ESSENTIALS Natural Small Breed Puppy Farm-Raised Chicken, Brown Rice & Sweet Potato Recipe Dog Food; Natural Dog Food Plus Vitamins, Minerals and Other Nutrients
  • Tailored Nutrition For Your Small Breed'S Unique Needs
  • This Nutro Dog Food Is Formulated With Omega-3 Fatty Acids Like Dha To Promote Healthy Growth And Development

Next, we have dry puppy food from Nutro. This food is tailored to meet the needs and expectations of picky puppy parents.

It uses chicken, brown rice, and sweet potato as the main ingredients. This recipe is not grain-free, so it does include carbohydrates in the form of brown rice.

Looking through the ingredients, we find things like chicken, chicken meal, fish oil, apples, dried carrots, and plenty of vitamins. During our research, we found that puppies enjoy this food. However, there are some reported inconsistencies in the quality of the food.

Nutro Ultra Puppy Dry Dog Food

Nutro Ultra Puppy Dry Dog Food With A Trio Of Proteins From Chicken, Lamb And Salmon, 30 Lb. Bag
  • Contains One (1) 30 Lb. Bag Of Nutro Ultra Puppy Dry Dog Food With A Trio Of Proteins From Chicken, Lamb And Salmon (New Look, Same Product - Packaging May Vary)
  • Features Trio Of Protein From Chicken, Lamb, And Salmon-Chicken Is The #1 Ingredient-Specially Formulated For Puppies (Except For Growth Of Large Size Dogs 70Lbs Or More As An Adult)
  • Our Premium Dog Food Kibble Is Made With High-Quality Ingredients And Provides Complete And Balanced Nutrition For Puppies In Every Bowl

Next, in our best dry dog food for puppies roundup, we’re taking a look at another food from Nutro that combines a wide variety of protein sources with chicken as the first ingredient. While that typically makes us a bit nervous, we can’t argue with the fact that puppies love this food.

Nutro's Ultra line includes ingredients like chicken, whole brown rice, whole grain oatmeal, fish oil, lamb meal, and salmon meal. This food is formulated to meet the unique needs of puppies. This recipe even includes 15 different superfoods like coconut, chia, and kale.

Wellness Complete Health Grain Free for Puppy

Wellness Natural Pet Food 89147 Complete Health Natural Grain Free Dry Puppy Food, Chicken & Salmon, 4-Pound Bag
  • Grain free complete health: Grain free, complete and balanced everyday nutrition for your dog
  • Quality ingredients: Naturally grain free with delicious proteins including deboned chicken and whitefish combined with essential vitamins and minerals
  • All natural: Contains only premium, all natural ingredients with no wheat, corn, soy, meat by products, artificial flavors, colors or preservatives

Finally, we have another puppy food line I love: Wellness Complete Health. Their naturally preserved food offers the maximum amount of balanced nutrition puppies need to grow big and strong.

Here you’ll find deboned chicken as the first ingredient, paired with essential vitamins and nutrients to support your pup's immune system, brain, eyes, coat, and bones.

They do not include any wheat, corn, soy, or by-products in any of their foods, and their Wellness Guarantee backs everything.

This recipe contains omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids to support your pup's skin health. Wellness also incorporates a variety of different probiotics and chicory root to help support your dog's digestive system — yet another great option for careful pup parents.

​Only the Best for Fido

bone toy and dry dog food

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You want the best for your puppy, and that’s why you only want to give them the best dry dog food for puppies. We’re 100 percent with you on that!

We’re dog parents ourselves, and we understand the struggles of choosing dog food through all the noise. Every bag of dog food we’ve recommended above meets the highest quality standards we could find.

If you choose from any of these options, you’ll know you’re giving your puppy a head start in the journey of their life. Enjoy the time you can spend together and cherish every moment.

Have you fed your puppy any of the foods mentioned above? What are your thoughts on the grain-free controversy? Let us know in the comments below!

Featured ​Image Source: Pixabay

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