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11 Best Puppy Foods in 2022 – Reviews & Top Picks

a Maltipoo puppy eats from a metal bowl

It’s essential that you provide your puppy with food specifically made for its stage of life. By providing your puppy puppy-specific food, it’s much more likely to grow healthily and happily. Of course, it’s critical to select puppy food that has the stamp of approval by veterinarians, dog owners, as well as puppies.

This article reviews the best types of puppy food to ensure you feed your puppy the best food on the market. These puppy foods are recommended due to its nutritious ingredients, tasty flavor, and puppy-specific formulas.

Keep reading to learn about these puppy foods.

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A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites

Image Product Details
Best Overall
Winner
Nom Nom Chicken Cuisine Fresh Dog Food Nom Nom Chicken Cuisine Fresh Dog Food
  • Made from simple, fresh ingredients
  • Free from any fillers, additives, and harmful ingredients
  • All life profiles
  • Best Value
    Second place
    Purina Beneful Healthy Puppy with Farm-Raised Chicken Dry Dog Food Purina Beneful Healthy Puppy with Farm-Raised Chicken Dry Dog Food
  • Highly affordable
  • High protein and vitamins
  • Easy to find at local pet stores
  • Third place
    Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Puppy Chicken & Brown Rice Recipe Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Puppy Chicken & Brown Rice Recipe
  • Trusted brand
  • Great nutrition for puppies
  • Easy to find at local pet stores
  • Purina Pro Plan Development Puppy Chicken & Rice Entree Canned Dog Foo Purina Pro Plan Development Puppy Chicken & Rice Entree Canned Dog Foo
  • Wet food
  • Specifically made for puppies
  • Easy to find at local pet stores
  • Taste of the Wild High Prairie Puppy Formula Grain-Free Dry Dog Food Taste of the Wild High Prairie Puppy Formula Grain-Free Dry Dog Food
  • Tasty for dogs
  • Made specifically for puppies
  • Free from grains and other unwanted ingredients
  • The 11 Best Puppy Foods

    1. Nom Nom Chicken Cuisine Fresh Dog Food – Best Overall

    A black dog eating Nom Nom dog food

    Food Form: Fresh
    Life Stage: All Life Stages
    Breed Size: All
    Special Diet: Grain Free

    Nom Nom’s board-certified veterinary nutritionists crafted this high-quality fresh food your puppy will absolutely love. Nom Nom Chicken Cuisine comes in at the very top for being the best overall puppy food. This brand makes food that is top-notch and compatible with all life stages.

    Puppies need high-quality food that offers them the correct balance of nutrients that allow them to grow properly and thrive into adulthood. Getting them off on the right foot is key, and that’s where Nom Nom Chicken Cuisine comes in. This recipe is made from chicken, sweet potatoes, squash, and spinach.

    Simply looking at the nutrition label and guaranteed analysis on Nom Nom Chicken Cuisine can put your mind at ease. You will quickly realize that you are giving your puppy the best quality available on the pet food market. There are no harmful chemicals, dyes, additives, or fillers in this food.

    As is typical with high-quality fresh food, Nom Nom Chicken Cuisine is a bit on the pricey side. It does need to be stored properly in the refrigerator or freezer; it will go bad quickly if left out by accident.

    Pros
    • Formulated by veterinarians and board-certified veterinary nutritionists
    • Free from any fillers, additives, and potentially harmful ingredients
    • Made from simple, fresh ingredients
    • Nutritionally balanced
    Cons
    • Expensive
    • Must be stored in refrigerator or freezer

    2. Purina Beneful Healthy Puppy with Farm-Raised Chicken Dry Dog Food – Best Value

    Purina Beneful Healthy Puppy with Farm-Raised Chicken Dry Dog Food

    Food Form: Dry
    Life Stage: Puppy
    Breed Size: All
    Special Diet: None

    The best puppy food for the money is the Purina Beneful Healthy Puppy with Farm-Raised Chicken Dry Dog Food. Based on price alone, the Purina Beneful Healthy Puppy Food is the most affordable product on this list. As a result, it’s a great choice if you are on a tight budget. Not to mention, you should be able to find this dog food at your local pet store.

    This puppy food contains farm-raised chicken and fruits and vegetables for additional vitamins. There are as many as 23 essential vitamins and minerals in this formula. It also has a lot of protein since every cup is packed full of 29 grams of protein.

    One thing to note about the Purina Beneful Healthy Puppy Food is that it isn’t the outright best formula for dogs or puppies. Because it is a budget option, it does contain grains, peas, and some other ingredients that you might not want to feed your puppy.

    Regardless, the Purina Beneful Healthy Puppy Food is a highly affordable product that you can get at most stores. Even though it doesn’t have the cleanest recipe, it is still a great option due to its high protein and vitamin contents.

    Pros
    • Highly affordable
    • Easy to find at local pet stores
    • High protein and vitamins
    Cons
    • Not grain-free

    3. Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Puppy Chicken & Brown Rice Recipe Dry Dog Food

    Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Puppy Chicken & Brown Rice Recipe Dry Dog Food

    Food Form: Dry
    Life Stage: Puppy
    Breed Size: All
    Special Diet: No corn, wheat, or soy

    If you want the best puppy food that money can buy, we recommend the Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Puppy Chicken & Brown Rice Recipe Dry Dog Food. This puppy food is packed with healthy nutrition and ingredients to ensure that your puppy grows up healthy.

    The Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula includes real meat, whole grains, vegetables, fruits, and bits of antioxidant-rich ingredients. Together, this food provides your puppy with just the right amount of power to grow up strong.

    Plus, you should find this food at most pet stores. Since Blue Buffalo is such a popular brand, it’s not difficult to find. All the while, puppies go crazy over the taste and flavor of this food. The only downside of the Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula is its price.

    If you are looking for a premium pick, its price should not be an issue, though. This puppy food does provide some of the most comprehensive ingredients and nutrition for your puppy.

    Pros
    • Great nutrition for puppies
    • Easy to find at local pet stores
    • Trusted brand
    Cons
    • Expensive

    4. Purina Pro Plan Development Puppy Chicken & Rice Entree Canned Dog Food

    Purina Pro Plan Development Puppy Chicken & Rice Entree Canned Dog Food

    Food Form: Wet
    Life Stage: Puppy
    Breed Size: All
    Special Diet: High-protein

    If you want your dog to grow up on wet food instead of dry, the Purina Pro Plan Development Puppy Chicken & Rice Entree Canned Dog Food is one of the best food types you can select. It is specifically crafted for your puppy’s first year in your home because it is crafted with tasty ingredients.

    Like most other products on this list, the Purina Pro Plan Wet Dog Food includes meat, fruits, and vegetables to provide your puppy with the nutrients it needs. It contains 23 essential minerals and vitamins.

    All the while, the Purina Pro Plan Wet Dog Food is one of the tastiest foods for puppies. Because of its classic wet dog food texture, dogs and puppies go crazy over it. You should even be able to find this dog food at local pet stores since the Purina Pro Plan is one of the most popular food lines for dogs.

    The only downside of this product is that it is expensive. In general, wet dog food is more expensive than dry dog food. Plus, this smell can be a bit much for most humans. However, it has several fantastic flavors and plenty of nutrients for puppies!

    Pros
    • Wet food
    • Specifically made for puppies
    • High-protein food
    • Easy to find at local pet stores
    Cons
    • Expensive

    5. Taste of the Wild High Prairie Puppy Formula Grain-Free Dry Dog Food

    Taste of the Wild High Prairie Puppy Formula Grain-Free Dry Dog Food

    Food Form: Dry
    Life Stage: Puppy
    Breed Size: All
    Special Diet: Grain Free

    Another great puppy food is the Taste of the Wild High Prairie Puppy Formula Grain-Free Dry Dog Food. It provides just the proper nutrition for your growing pup, all while being grain-free and absolutely delicious.

    At the heart of the Wild High Prairie Puppy Formula is roasted bison and venison. It has a 28% protein content to ensure that your puppy gets bone, joint, and muscle support. The puppy formula also includes a variety of fruits, probiotics, prebiotics, and antioxidants to ensure that all aspects of the puppy’s health are accounted for.

    At the same time, the Wild High Prairie Puppy Formula is free from unnecessary ingredients. For example, the recipe is free from any artificial flavors and colors, grains, wheat, or corn.

    The only potential drawback of this puppy food is that it is a bit more expensive than most other options. Those on a budget might want to look elsewhere for a more affordable product. Nevertheless, the Wild High Prairie Puppy Formula offers fantastic nutrients and flavors that will keep your puppy happy and healthy.

    Pros
    • Made specifically for puppies
    • High protein and vitamins
    • Tasty for dogs
    • Free from grains and other unwanted ingredients
    Cons
    • Expensive

    6. Purina ONE SmartBlend Healthy Puppy Formula Dry Dog Food

    Purina ONE SmartBlend Healthy Puppy Formula Dry Dog Food

    Food Form: Dry
    Life Stage: Puppy
    Breed Size: All
    Special Diet: High-protein, natural

    The Purina ONE SmartBlend Healthy Puppy Formula Dry Dog Food is a natural alternative to the Purina Pro Plan line. It includes bites of tender chicken and crunchy kibble so that your puppy has a delicious and nutritious meal with every bite.

    Real chicken is the top ingredient in this dried dog food. It even has 28% protein, which results in this brand being a veterinarian-recommended product. It even offers 0% fillers so that all calories are used to aid your pup’s growth.

    Pricewise, Purina ONE SmartBlend Healthy Puppy Formula is a bit expensive, but it is nowhere near as expensive as some of the other products we have looked at so far. You can also find it at local pet stores. In fact, this brand is a favorite among dog owners to the point that it is often sold out at stores. You might want to order this product online since it isn’t always guaranteed in the store.

    Pros
    • High protein
    • Natural ingredients
    • Vet recommended
    • Easy to find at local pet stores
    Cons
    • Expensive
    • Often sold out at stores

    7. Hill’s Science Diet Puppy Healthy Development Small Bites Dry Dog Food

    Hill’s Science Diet Puppy Healthy Development Small Bites Dry Dog Food

    Food Form: Dry
    Life Stage: Puppy
    Breed Size: Small
    Special Diet: High-Protein

    Small breeds need different nutrients and care than large breeds. Unfortunately, most puppy foods are designed for medium to large breeds, not small ones. If you have a small breed that is a puppy, we recommend the Hill’s Science Diet Puppy Healthy Development Small Bites Dry Dog Food.

    The Hill’s Science food provides just the right amount of food and nutrients for your small breed puppy. The kibble bites themselves are tiny, perfect for small breed puppies. The formula includes natural ingredients and is free from any artificial flavors, preservatives, and colors.

    Of course, the Hill’s Science food is only suitable for small breeds. If you have a medium or large breed, you should opt for one of the other products instead. More so, this product is more expensive than other dry food varieties. If you have a small breed puppy, the Hill’s Science is one of the best products, though.

    Pros
    • Made for small breed puppies
    • Small kibble bites
    • Natural ingredients
    • Free from artificial colors and flavors
    Cons
    • Expensive
    • Only for small breeds

    8. American Journey Puppy Lamb & Sweet Potato Recipe Grain-Free Dry Dog Food

    American Journey Puppy Lamb & Sweet Potato Recipe Grain-Free Dry Dog Food

    Food Form: Dry
    Life Stage: Puppy
    Breed Size: All
    Special Diet: High-Protein; No Corn, Wheat, Soy, or Grains

    The American Journey Puppy Lamb & Sweet Potato Recipe Grain-Free Dry Dog Food is a good product made from all-natural ingredients, including lamb, vegetables, and fruits. Its various nutrients ensure that your puppy gets all the vitamins it needs to grow big and strong.

    At the same time, the recipe is free from any grains, corns, and soy. Since dogs don’t eat this in the wild, it makes sense to leave it out of their dog food. Even though the dog food is free of grains, it still includes a lot of fiber from sweet potatoes and chickpeas.

    Overall, the American Journey puppy food is good, but it isn’t right for all dogs. Several users note that even though the recipe seems healthy, their puppy specifically does not like the flavor. This complaint is noted often enough that we do not recommend this product for picky eaters. Another drawback is that it is expensive, and you cannot find it at most stores.

    Pros
    • A lot of protein
    • Natural recipe
    • Large bag
    Cons
    • Not suited for picky eaters
    • Expensive

    9. Royal Canin Small Puppy Dry Dog Food

    Royal Canin Small Puppy Dry Dog Food

    Food Form: Dry
    Life Stage: Puppy
    Breed Size: Small
    Special Diet: None

    The Royal Canin Small Puppy Dry Dog Food is another food made specifically for small breed puppies. It is designed to release more energy per bite, which is exactly what small breeds need. As a result, the Royal Canin is another good small puppy pick.

    There is a reason that we listed this dog food below the Hill’s Science variety, though. For starters, there are no special diet requirements for this dog food. In other words, it does not claim to be free from artificial flavors, preservatives, or colors. It isn’t made from natural ingredients either.

    All the while, the Royal Canin small puppy food is more expensive than the Hill’s Science food. For this reason, we would recommend the former product, but you might want to consider this one too. It is still a good product, but not as good as the last.

    Pros
    • Made for small breed puppies
    • Intensified energy content
    Cons
    • Highly expensive
    • Not as good of a recipe as the Hill’s Science

    10. Purina Pro Plan Puppy Chicken & Rice Formula Dry Dog Food

    Purina Pro Plan Puppy Chicken & Rice Formula Dry Dog Food

    Food Form: Dry
    Life Stage: Puppy
    Breed Size: All
    Special Diet: High-Protein

    The next puppy food on our list is the Purina Pro Plan Puppy Chicken & Rice Formula Dry Dog Food. It is packed full of protein since chicken is the first ingredient. It also includes other ingredients and additives to ensure that your dog grows strong teeth, bones, and muscles.

    Much like the other Purina Pro product, you should be able to find this puppy food very easily at any local pet store you go to. You are even likely to find it at large supermarkets that sell dog food.

    There are some issues with this dog food to note. For example, multiple users note that the kibble bites are way too large for small breed puppies. So, it is certainly better for large breed puppies. There are also complaints that the recipe changes a lot, which causes the puppies’ stomachs to get upset. On top of all of that, this product is expensive.

    Pros
    • Packed full of protein
    • Easy to find at local pet stores
    Cons
    • Kibble too big for small varieties
    • Expensive
    • Recipe changes frequently

    11. VICTOR Purpose Nutra Pro Dry Dog Food

    VICTOR Purpose Nutra Pro Dry Dog Food

    Food Form: Dry
    Life Stage: Puppy
    Breed Size: All
    Special Diet: Sensitive; No Corn, Wheat, Pea, or Soy

    The last puppy food on our list is the VICTOR Purpose Nutra Pro Dry Dog Food. This dog food is specifically formulated for sensitive stomachs because it is nutrient-dense and composed of 92% meat protein. This is an incredibly high protein count for dry dog food.

    Even though the ingredients of this dog food are fantastic, we don’t recommend it to everyone. This food is quite expensive. Plus, a lot of dogs do not like its flavor. In fact, some owners don’t like the smell of this dog food and even note that it makes their dog’s breath smell.

    It’s ultimately up to you whether you should spend money on this dog food. On the one hand, it is equipped with some of the best nutrients, but it is expensive and is often distasteful to both dogs and humans.

    Pros
    • High protein
    • Natural ingredients
    Cons
    • Highly expensive
    • Not suitable for picky eaters
    • Makes breath smell bad

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    Buyer’s Guide – Choosing the Best Puppy Food

    Why Does My Puppy Need Special Food?

    You must buy specially made food whenever your puppy is under one year old. The reason for this is that puppies need more nutrition and vitamins to grow properly. Without certain nutrients, your puppy will not grow normally.

    Standard dog food is fortified with many vitamins and minerals, but these vitamins and minerals are specifically designed for dogs that have already gone through their biggest growth spurt. As a result, regular dog food does not provide the nutrients that most puppies need.

    What Ingredients Should I Look for In Puppy Food?

    When selecting puppy food, make sure that it is high in protein, fats, vitamins, and minerals. At the very minimum, make sure that your puppy food is at least 18% protein. After that, look for DHA or fish oil to ensure that your puppy’s brain grows properly.

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

    What Should I Think About When Buying Puppy Food?

    When you buy your puppy’s food, there are three factors you should consider: ingredients, convenience, and transition to adulthood.

    Here’s a closer look at each one of these factors:
    • Ingredients: A puppy’s food is only as good as its ingredients. Ensure the ingredients are suitable for puppies and are as natural and healthy as possible.
    • Convenience: You will have to buy puppy food frequently. Make sure that the puppy food you select is available at a convenient location so that you can purchase it repeatedly.
    • Transition to Adulthood: After your puppy grows, you will have to transition it to adult food. For best results, select a puppy food that has an adult food alternative so that there’s less of a chance of the adult food upsetting your dog’s stomach.

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    Conclusion

    After considering these products, our favorite puppy food is the Nom Nom Chicken Cuisine because it has a superior recipe with fantastic reviews. Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Puppy Chicken & Brown Rice Recipe Dry Dog Food is another great choice but you might want to opt for Purina Beneful Healthy Puppy with Farm-Raised Chicken Dry Dog Food instead if you are on a budget.


    Featured Image Credit: marketlan, Shutterstock

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