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10 Best Dry Puppy Foods in 2022 – Reviews & Top Picks

a Maltipoo puppy eats from a metal bowl

Finding the right puppy food is key to your newest family addition growing big and strong. With so many options available, it’s hard to choose the right one. In an attempt to help you provide your pup with the best nutrition possible, we’ve taken a look at the 10 best dry puppy foods for 2022. Hopefully, our reviews will give you the information you need to make the best decision for you and your newest fur baby.

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A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites – 2022

Image Product Details
Best Overall
Winner
Wellness Health Puppy Wellness Health Puppy
  • Features omega 3s for soft coat
  • Tomatoes add additional vitamin C
  • Used deboned chicken as the main protein source
  • Best Value
    Second place
    Puppy Chow Complete Dry Puppy Chow Complete Dry
  • Affordable
  • Readily available
  • Premium Choice
    Third place
    Purina Pro Plan Puppy Purina Pro Plan Puppy
  • Good for brain and vision development
  • Tested by veterinarian nutritionists for healthy content
  • Blue Buffalo Life Protection Blue Buffalo Life Protection
  • Uses LifeSource Bits for additional nutrients
  • Features chicken as the main source of protein
  • Hill's Science Diet Puppy Hill's Science Diet Puppy
  • Made in the USA
  • High-protein formula
  • No artificial colors or ingredients
  • The 10 Best Dry Puppy Foods

    1. Wellness Complete Puppy Chicken Mix – Best Overall

    Wellness Complete Health Puppy Deboned Chicken, Oatmeal & Salmon Meal Recipe Dry Dog Food

    Size: 30-pound bag
    Breed Size: All

    Our pick for the best overall dry puppy food is Wellness Complete Puppy Food. This dry dog food uses deboned chicken as the main ingredient and source of protein. Salmon meal and oil are added to this formula to provide your puppy with the natural sources of omega 3 fatty acids, such as flaxseeds, needed to promote a shinier, softer coat. Added tomatoes not only help provide flavor but also vitamin C and essential antioxidants your puppy needs.

    The biggest issue we had with Wellness Complete Puppy Food is the fact they have changed their packaging over the years. Originally, this fairly expensive puppy food came in sealable bags for freshness. Unfortunately, they have changed this and no longer offer dog owners the option of keeping food fresh without using additional containers.

    Pros
    • Used deboned chicken as the main protein source
    • Features omega 3s for soft coat
    • Tomatoes add additional vitamin C
    Cons
    • No longer in a sealable bag
    • Expensive

    2. Puppy Chow Real Chicken Dry Dog Food – Best Value

    Puppy Chow Complete With Real Chicken Dry Dog Food

    Size: 4.4-pound bag
    Breed Size: All

    If you’re looking for the best dry puppy food for the money, Puppy Chow Complete is your best option. This dog food is not only affordable but can easily be found in most local pet shops, department stores, and grocery stores in your area. You’ll also find that Puppy Chow is ideal for pet owners trying to feed several puppies or who aren’t sure of their puppy’s exact breed size and requirements. While this is an affordable dog food option, you’ll be pleased to know it undergoes the same AAFCO testing for nutritional content as the more expensive brands.

    Unfortunately, when it comes to Puppy Chow you won’t find high sources of protein or special added ingredients. This dog food offers pups the nutrition they need for a balanced diet and growth only. This food is also not intended to help pups who suffer from stomach and digestive issues.

    Pros
    • Readily available
    • Affordable
    Cons
    • Not formulated for dogs with stomach issues

    3. Purina Pro Puppy Large Breed Chicken – Premium Choice

    Purina Pro Plan Puppy Large Breed Chicken & Rice Formula with Probiotics Dry Dog Food

    Size: 34-pound bag
    Breed Size: Large and giant breeds

    If you have a large breed puppy who will eventually grow to be larger than 50-pounds, then our premium choice dry dog food, Purina Pro Plan is the perfect food to offer them. While this food costs a bit more than others on the market, it has been tested by veterinarian nutritionists to ensure its quality. Featuring chicken as the main source of protein and including fish oil and live probiotics, this food is formulated to build lean muscle and helps promote brain and vision development.

    The only issue we see with this dog food is the interchanging formulas. Recently, Purina changed its formula to feature probiotics. Due to shortages and other issues, they have been noted for switching between the new, better dog formula to the older version without notice.

    Pros
    • Tested by veterinarian nutritionists for healthy content
    • Good for brain and vision development
    Cons
    • Formulas are switched often

    4. Blue Buffalo Life Protection Puppy

    Blue Buffalo Life Protection Puppy

    Size: 30-pound bag
    Breed Size: All breeds

    Blue Buffalo has long been considered one of the leaders in pet nutrition. Thankfully for owners with puppies, this hasn’t changed. The Blue Buffalo Life Protection Puppy Formula is formulated to provide puppies of all breed sizes the nutrition they need to grow healthy and strong. One of the things Blue Buffalo offers that other pet foods don’t is their special LIfeSource Bits. This is a special blend of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals used to promote immune health and healthy oxidative balance. Unfortunately, however, these LIfeSource Bits are separate from the kibble. While they are healthy, if your dog prefers, they can simply avoid them and lose out on the nutritional value they need from balanced dog food.

    Pros
    • Features chicken as the main source of protein
    • Uses LifeSource Bits for additional nutrients
    Cons
    • LifeSource Bits are separate pieces and can be avoided

    5. Hill’s Science Diet Puppy Large Breed Chicken

    Hill's Science Diet Puppy Large Breed Chicken Meal & Oat Recipe Dry Dog Food

    Size: 30-pound bag
    Breed Size: Large and giant breeds

    Hill’s Science Diet Large Breed Puppy Food is another food that is readily available and offers your puppy the nutrition it needs for growth and development. This dog food has been through AAFCO trials for nutritional content and is made in the USA with wholesome ingredients. Calcium, vitamin C and E, and antioxidants are included in this high-protein formula to ensure your large breed puppy receives the nutrition needed for bone and muscle development dogs their size need when young. You’ll also be pleased to know no artificial colors or additives are used.

    Although this dog food is developed for puppies that will be larger than 55 pounds when they are adults, the kibble size can still be difficult for puppies. If your puppy has an issue chewing this kibble, you may need to step in and offer assistance by breaking the pieces until they grow enough to eat it comfortably.

    Pros
    • High-protein formula
    • Made in the USA
    • No artificial colors or ingredients
    Cons
    • Kibble pieces are large

    6. Royal Canin Small Puppy Dry Dog Food

    Royal Canin Small Puppy Dry Dog Food

    Size: 13-pound bag
    Breed Size: Small, extra small, and toy breeds

    Royal Canin Small Puppy Dry Dog Food is the first on our list specially designed for small dog breeds. For breeds that will reach up to 22 pounds as an adult, this puppy food offers the nutrition small dogs need to keep up with their high energy levels during their growing months. This food also promotes healthier digestive and immune systems thanks to the included probiotics, prebiotics, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. Pet owners will also notice the kibble size is quite small, making it easy for smaller dogs to eat.

    The biggest issue we found with this puppy food is that the main ingredient is not protein. A strong source of protein is ideal for growing puppies. Unfortunately, rice and chicken by-product meal are the main ingredients that can also leave puppies with sensitive tummies with added issues.

    Pros
    • Good for high energy levels
    • Small kibble size
    Cons
    • Not a great source of protein

    7. Farmina N&D Ancestral Grain Chicken & Pomegranate

    Farmina N&D Ancestral Grain Chicken & Pomegranate Recipe Mini Puppy Dry Dog Food

    Size: 5.5-pound bag
    Breed Size: Small breeds

    If you want your small breed puppy to eat dry food that is GMO and gluten-free then Farmina N&D Mini Puppy Dog Food could be your answer. This Italian-based food features protein that 90% of is derived from natural animal sources. The ingredients are also regionally resourced and packed in protective environments. This offers your puppy safety and the great tastes they want and deserve.

    The downsides of this dog food include hard pieces of kibble and an unfortunate aroma. Considering this breed is designed for smaller breeds of dogs, it would be better if the kibble were easier to chew. Unfortunately, you may need to add water to help soften it for their little mouths. The smell may be off-putting for some pups and their owners. Don’t be surprised when you open the bag and notice it isn’t very appealing.

    Pros
    • GMO and gluten-free
    • Features animal-sourced protein
    Cons
    • Kibble pieces are very hard
    • Food has an unpleasant odor
     

    8. Iams ProActive Health Smart Puppy Original Dry Food

    Iams ProActive Health Smart Puppy Original Dry Dog Food

    Size: 15-pound bag
    Breed Size: All breeds

    Unlike some of the other affordable brands on our list, Iams ProActive Puppy Food features chicken as its main ingredient. You’ll also find that this food is enriched with antioxidants to help your puppy build a strong immune system and omega 3 DHA for cognitive development. There are no artificial dyes, preservatives, soy, wheat, or other fillers in this dog food. It is 100% complete and balanced to provide your dog with a great meal.

    While it is avoided by the more expensive brands, Iams ProActive Dry Food does use corn as an ingredient. This can be difficult for puppies and their digestion. Keep this in mind if you plan on purchasing this food. You will also notice that the feeding directions on the bag are difficult to read and follow.

    Pros
    • Chicken is the main ingredient
    • No artificial dyes or preservatives
    • 100% complete and balanced meal
    Cons
    • Corn is used as an ingredient
    • Labels are difficult to read

    9. Rachael Ray Nutrish Puppy Real Chicken & Rice

    Rachael Ray Nutrish Bright Puppy Natural Real Chicken & Brown Rice Recipe Dry Dog Food

    Size: 14-pound bag
    Breed Size: All breeds

    While Rachel Ray gained popularity as a chef, she is steadily making a name for herself in the world of pet food as well. Her puppy formula, Bright Puppy, features real chicken as the main ingredient and avoids using wheat or wheat gluten. DHA and EPA are also included in this puppy formula to promote proper vision and brain development in your pup while the included calcium helps with strong bones during early growth periods. Rachel Ray’s Bright Puppy is intended for puppies but can be used throughout all life stages.

    This puppy food is available at an affordable price but unfortunately, not in larger bags. This can become an issue if you have several puppies to feed. You may also find that the kibble may be too hard for smaller dog breeds and requires soaking to make it easier to chew.

    Pros
    • Features chicken as the main source of protein
    • Uses DHA and EPA
    • Promotes strong bones
    Cons
    • The bag size is small
    • Kibble pieces may be too hard for smaller dogs

    10. CANIDAE PURE Petite Puppy Small Breed Salmon

    CANIDAE PURE Petite Puppy Small Breed Grain-Free with Salmon Dry Dog Food

    Size: 10-pound bag
    Breed Size: Small, extra small, and toy breeds

    If you’re looking for a freeze-dried option for your small breed of dog, Canidae Pure is a nice option. Using real salmon as the main ingredient this food is grain-free and hypoallergenic. The absence of wheat, corn, and soy makes it a great food for dogs with sensitive stomachs. Each piece is coated with raw salmon, to make it more enticing for even the pickiest of eaters. Pet parents will love this eight-ingredient recipe that ensures your puppy is being fed foods with ingredients you can trust.

    Unfortunately, when dealing with freeze-dried food, the texture can be an issue. Many puppies may feel this kibble is too hard for them to chew. Luckily, water can be added to help. Another issue we experienced, however, was the smell. The kibble, and the bag itself, had an unpleasant aroma that made some of our pups avoid the food altogether.

    Pros
    • Real salmon is the main ingredient
    • Grain-free with no wheat, corn, or soy
    • Hypoallergenic
    Cons
    • Kibble is very hard
    • Has an unpleasant odor

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    Buyer’s Guide: Selecting the Best Dry Puppy Food

    When deciding which puppy food you should buy, there are several things you should keep in mind. In this buyer’s guide, we’ll take a look at a few of the guidelines we used when reviewing dog food brands and choosing the ones we felt should make the list. We’ll also give you a bit of important information on puppy food and why it’s important to choose foods formulated for the proper life stage for your dog.

    Cocker Spaniel puppy eating_Shutterstock_Switlana Sonyashna
    Image Credit: Switlana Sonyashna, Shutterstock

    Puppy Food Ingredients

    Of course, as a pet parent, you want the absolute best for your growing puppy. This is why you should always be well aware of the ingredients each dog food brand uses in its products. While having the right blend of vitamins and minerals is important, for the best results for your puppy you should try to choose dog foods that feature protein such as chicken as the first ingredient. This ensures your puppy is getting a high protein diet with fewer fillers and by-products. You’ll also want to watch for omega 6s and 3s. This will promote better your pup’s development and better digestion.

    Puppy Size

    If you have a small breed of dog, and only one, you may not need large bags of dog food around the house. For those of us with large dog breeds and multiple pups to feed, bigger bags are your best friend. Keep this in mind when making your purchase. The last thing you want is dog food your puppy absolutely loves but is only available in small bags. This leaves you purchasing often or needing to get enrolled in auto-shipping options.

    Puppy Food Price

    Price is something else you should keep in mind when choosing the right puppy food. If you’re on a budget, pricier brands may be difficult for you to keep around the house. While it is true that the more expensive brands often use better protein sources, it is still possible to find budget dog foods that provide the complete and balanced nutrition your puppy needs for this important stage of its development.

    jack russell terier puppy eating food from bowl
    Image Credit: Gladskikh Tatiana, Shutterstock

    The Difference Between Puppy Food and Adult Food

    You may be wondering why your puppy needs a different food when they are young. Yes, you still want your adult dog to get great protein and the benefits of omegas, vitamins, and minerals. When they are younger, however, they need dog food that is formulated for their rapid growth. This is where puppy formulas excel.

    Puppies also require more calories throughout the day than adult dogs. This is due to their high energy and constant growth. Once a dog reaches maturity, they slow down a bit and aren’t required as much food. This is when you will make the switch to adult food and veer away from the high-calorie content of puppy formulas.

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    Conclusion: Best Dry Puppy Food

    Wellness Complete Puppy Food made with deboned chicken is easily our choice for the best overall dry puppy food on the market today. This food is full of the healthy protein your puppy needs for their growing needs. If you need budget-friendly puppy food, our best dry puppy food for the money is Purina’s Puppy Chow Complete. This food offers balanced nutrition and is readily available in most stores. Either of these pics will help your puppy grow up happy, healthy, and strong. If these foods aren’t right for your pup, check out the others on our list to choose the best option for your youngest fur baby.


    Featured Image Credit: marketlan, Shutterstock

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