One of the oldest and most popular dog breeds, the wrinkled face and curly tail of the Pug are adored worldwide. With their charming personalities and adorable looks (is there anything cuter than a Pug puppy? We think not!), Pugs make fantastic companions for people of all ages.
However, with great popularity often comes to some less-than-ideal health concerns, and Pugs are no exception to this rule. That’s why choosing the right diet for your Pug is one of the most important steps you can take to keep them healthy.
To help you with your decision, we’ve collected reviews of what we believe are the top 10 dog foods for Pugs this year. We’ve also put together a short guide to your Pug’s unique nutritional needs to further assist you. Read on to learn about our top picks and how to find just the right food for your Pug!
A Quick Comparison of Our Winners (2023)
|Best Overall||Nom Nom Pork Potluck Fresh Dog Food||
||Click to Save 50% + Free Shipping|
|Best Value||Taste Of The Wild Appalachian Valley Grain-Free||
|Spot + Tango Beef And Barley UnKibble||
|Wellness Small Breed Healthy Weight||
|Instinct Original Small Breed Grain-free Chicken Canned Food||
The 6 Best Dog Foods For Pugs
1. Nom Nom Pork Potluck Fresh Dog Food Subscription Service – Best Overall
|Top 3 Ingredients:||Pork, potatoes, green beans|
Our pick for the best overall dog food for Pugs is Nom Nom Pork Potluck. Nom Nom works with certified veterinary nutritionists to create completely balanced meals made with easily recognizable, real food ingredients. We chose this version as our top option because it has the lowest calorie count per cup of the four Nom Nom recipes. Because Pugs are prone to obesity and carrying too much weight can be dangerous for them, choosing lower-calorie food can help keep them slim. The simple ingredients in this diet are also easy to identify and avoid in the event your Pug develops food allergies.
This food is only available by mail through online ordering, making the initial setup a little time-consuming. Because it’s cooked in small batches using premium ingredients, the price point is also higher than some of the other foods on our list.
2. Taste Of The Wild Appalachian Valley Small Breed Grain-Free Food – Best Value
|Top 3 Ingredients:||Venison, lamb meal, garbanzo beans|
For Pugs with food sensitivities, consider Taste Of The Wild Appalachian Valley Grain-Free Small Breed food. While not a true limited-ingredient diet, this food is made with less common protein and starch sources that make it a better choice for Pugs with potential food intolerances. Taste Of The Wild is made in the USA by a smaller, family-owned company, which will appeal to those who prefer more of a “buy local” approach.
Because it’s designed for small breeds, the kibble is small and the food is high in protein from a combination of sources. This diet is also grain-free, which isn’t necessarily healthier but is currently a popular food choice for pet owners. Overall, this food has positive reviews, but owners note that pickier dogs tend to turn up their noses on this diet.
3. Spot + Tango Beef And Barley UnKibble
|Top 3 Ingredients:||Beef, barley, flax|
The equivalent of a home delivery meal service for your Pug, Spot + Tango offers food made only with real ingredients, developed with guidance from veterinary nutritionists. What makes this food unique and a good choice for Pug owners is the ability to create a diet formulated for your dog’s specific needs. Portions and nutrition are pre-calculated, making it easy to control calories and keep your dog at the right weight. The Beef and Barley Unkibble is one of the lowest-fat recipes available from this company.
While the food is conveniently delivered right to your door, you do need to sign up online initially, making this not a good option for those who lack easy Internet access or reliable mail service. It’s also more expensive than some other food choices on our list.
4. Wellness Small Breed Complete Health Adult Healthy Weight
|Top 3 Ingredients:||Deboned turkey, chicken meal, salmon meal|
To help keep your Pug fit and trim, try Wellness Small Breed Adult Healthy Weight food. Low in fat, this food provides all the nutrition your dog requires without unnecessary calories. It also contains antioxidants and fatty acids to support your dog’s skin and coat health, a nice option for a breed that often suffers from issues with these systems. Wellness Small Breed contains no GMOs or meat by-products and is made in the USA.
Some owners report that their small dogs still had trouble chewing this kibble even though it’s designed for little mouths. Some dogs don’t care for the taste of this food either.
5. Instinct Original Small Breed Grain-free Chicken Canned Food
|Kcal:||88 kcal/5.5 oz can|
|Top 3 Ingredients:||Chicken, chicken broth, chicken liver|
If you’re looking for a canned diet for your Pug, consider Instinct Original Small Breed Grain-free Chicken. This diet is packed with protein from real chicken and chicken liver sources. Because it’s a soft food, this diet is also a good choice for Pugs with dental disease or who are missing some teeth. Besides the meat, Instinct also contains nutritious fruits and vegetables like blueberries, kale, and peas.
With their flat faces, Pugs may make a bit of a mess eating canned food so you’ll need to be prepared to wipe their nose and wrinkles after dinner. Canned food overall tends to be more expensive than dry and Instinct does cost more than some other diets on our list.
6. Natural Balance Limited Ingredient Salmon And Sweet Potato Dry Food
|Top 3 Ingredients:||Salmon, menhaden fish meal, sweet potatoes|
For Pugs with food allergies, a limited-ingredient diet may be recommended. While dogs with severe allergies may require a prescription diet, ask your veterinarian whether you can try an over-the-counter diet like Natural Balance Limited Ingredient Salmon And Sweet Potato food. Salmon may be common in cat food but for dogs, it’s considered a novel protein source, meaning your Pug is unlikely to have eaten it before and hopefully hasn’t developed an allergy to it.
Natural Balance isn’t the cheapest diet and has a strong odor that some owners and dogs dislike. The kibble is also a bit large for a Pug and you may need to soak them to make them easier to eat.
Buyer’s Guide: How to Choose the Best Dog Foods For Pugs
Now that you know more about the food options available to you, here are some details to keep in mind about your Pug’s unique nutritional needs as you select the perfect diet.
Pug Weight: Bigger Isn’t Better
You may have noticed that keeping your Pug at a healthy weight was the focus of nearly every diet we chose to review. While obesity is a concern for all dogs, Pugs are particularly susceptible. Not only do they love to eat, but their flat faces also put them at risk of overheating during exercise, especially during warm weather.
Because of this, it’s hard for Pugs to get enough exercise to help control their weight if they are eating too much or the wrong food. Calorie and portion control is your best tool for keeping your Pug trim. Overweight Pugs are more at risk for breathing issues and joint pain, making maintaining a healthy weight even more essential for this breed.
Controlling The Itch
Besides obesity, allergies are another common problem for Pugs. If your Pug is sensitive or allergic to certain foods, it will strongly impact your choice of diet.
Not every Pug will develop allergies and those that do may be reacting to environmental factors like pollen or dust mites rather than food. Before assuming your dog has food allergies and changing its diet, always consult your veterinarian.
If your vet agrees that your Pug should avoid certain foods, they can guide you towards a healthy limited ingredient diet, such as the Natural Balance Salmon And Sweet Potato or a prescription allergy food.
What’s On The Label?
When researching diets for your Pug, you’ll most likely come across people with strong opinions on what your dog should and shouldn’t eat. Food trends and fads are just as common in pet food as they are in human food. Whether it’s grain-free, raw diets, or just avoiding by-products, it can be hard to know what’s real and what’s just marketing.
To help you make sense of it all, ask your veterinarian for guidance and resources that can help you learn to read pet food labels and understand exactly what “by-products” and “fillers” are before you assume they’re wrong for your dog.
All commercial dog food must meet certain nutrition and quality standards, as do the ingredients they use. However, you should aim to feed your dog the best quality food you can afore. Paying a slightly higher price for nutritious food now will save you on vet bills in the future. Another option is to add up to their kibble with fresh, nutritious ingredients or good quality toppers.
Our best overall dog food for Pugs, the Nom Nom Pork Potluck is made with real, recognizable ingredients and offers balanced nutrition in a convenient, at-home delivery model. Our choice of best dog food for Pugs for the money, Purina One Healthy Weight is a cost-effective, widely available food ideal for maintaining your dog’s figure. Hopefully, our reviews of these 10 diets will help you find just the right option to meet your Pug’s unique nutritional needs.
Featured Image Credit: Africa studio, Shutterstock