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Top 10 Puppy Foods (Updated 2023)

dog food with cup

There are tons of dog foods on the market; check out this list to choose the one that works the best for your puppy

When you bring home a brand new puppy, you can expect a lot of changes to take place. You may find yourself somewhat overwhelmed with how many new things you will be expected to do every day to care for this little whirling dervish of fluff. Puppies are adorable; they are also a lot of work and can be pretty expensive; there are toys, grooming supplies, vet bills, and of course, puppy food. 

You might think that just because your new puppy is small, he doesn't need much to eat, but this couldn't be further from the truth. For a new puppy, the right food is super important, and since your new pal is still growing, he actually needs more food than an adult dog.

Why Do Puppies Need Different Food from Adults?

Just like human babies and children have different dietary needs than adults, your new puppy has special nutritional requirements that differ from an adult canine. Your pup is growing and developing at a rapid rate, which means he must consume a large number of calories per day. In addition to eating more, your puppy also must eat differently, which is why there are specially formulated dog foods for your young furball.

In terms of nutrition, according to the Association of Animal Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) puppy food must contain the following ingredients: protein, fat, carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals, and water. Of course, a company can decide which specific ingredients they want to use in order to satisfy these requirements, which is why some dog foods are better than others. Look for foods that contain 25-30% protein, and it’s preferable if the food features a minimum of two sources of animal protein. Puppy foods should also contain roughly 42% carbohydrates and 15 to 20% fat and should avoid ingredients that hold little to no nutritional value such as by-products, wheat gluten, soybean meal, and other fillers.

golden retriever puppies eating food

How Much Food Does a Puppy Eat?

How much food your new puppy needs to eat will depend on several factors, including the breed, age, and any special situations such as health issues. Most dog food packaging will include instructions for the amount to give your dog based on his weight; this is a good starting point. You can discuss any additional considerations that would influence the amount of food your pup needs with your vet. 

How Often Should My Puppy Eat?

When it comes to a feeding schedule, there are several ways that you can feed your dog, but puppies need extra consideration. Although your puppy eats a lot, he still has a tiny stomach, so feeding him all at once is not the best idea. Plan to serve your puppy several small meals throughout the day and monitor his temperament, weight, and activity level to ensure that he is active, alert and maintaining a healthy weight. 

What Supplies Are Needed to Feed a Puppy?

When it comes to feeding a puppy, you need the dog food and a bowl to put it in, but there are a few additional considerations to keep in mind. You want to ensure your puppy eats at an appropriate pace to avoid things like choking, overeating, and just making a mess. Bowls like the Neater Feeder Deluxe feature raised edges to keep food and water from splashing and falling out onto the floor, while specially designed bowls like the Neater Slow Feeder Double Diner encourage dogs to eat slowly, avoiding the unpleasant side effects that come with eating too fast.

10 of the Top Picks for New Puppy Food in 2020

Now all you need to do is decide on which food is the best for your puppy.

Here’s a list of 10 puppy foods that top the charts, so you can check them all out in one place before making your decision:

Picture of Blue Buffalo Freedom Adult Chicken Recipe Grain-Free Dry Dog Food

Blue Buffalo Freedom Grain-Free Chicken Recipe

The puppy recipe for this dog food begins with quality, deboned chicken and focuses on a balanced mix of essential carbohydrates, protein, plus DHA for optimum development. There are no preservatives or artificial ingredients, no by-product meal, and no corn, wheat, or soy.  You can purchase special recipes for small, medium, or large breed puppies, and they come in 4, 11, or 24-pound bags.

wellness complete health natural dry puppy food

Wellness Complete Health Natural Dry Puppy Food

The well-balanced combination of high-quality proteins and whole grains in this recipe makes it a great choice for your growing pup. There are also important antioxidants to help support your young dog’s developing immune system. This product also has specially designed recipes for small, medium, and large breeds, and comes in 5, 15, or 30-pound bags.

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

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

This small kibble formula, loaded with essential antioxidants and DHA, also features special K9 strain probiotics to help support a healthy immune and digestive system. This nutritious combination of ingredients is served with a recipe of roasted bison and venison, vegetables, and legumes, to create a truly tasty meal for your puppy. Available in 5, 14, or 28-pound bags. 

Nutro Max Natural Puppy Dry Dog Food

Nutro Max Natural Puppy Dry Dog Food

Designed for puppies up to 12 months of age, this all-natural recipe features farm-raised chicken, whole grains, and essential vitamins and minerals so your puppy gets balanced and complete nutrition at every meal. Plus, there is no corn, wheat, soy, or chicken by-product meal. It is available in 4 or 12-pound bags, and there is also a recipe crafted specifically for large breed puppies. 

Picture of The Farmer's Dog food

The Farmer's Dog

We are all used to the numerous home delivery meal services... so why not use them for your puppy? These meals are made with human-grade meat and fresh veggies so no more worrying if your pet is getting the best of the best. These meals are vet developed and personalized to the needs of your dog. The Farmer's Dog meals are never frozen and shipped within days of ordering. 

Blue Wilderness Dry Puppy Food

Blue Wilderness Dry Puppy Food

This balanced recipe contains a tasty mix of protein and complex carbohydrates; leading with meat-rich ingredients and adding fruits and veggies that are loaded with beneficial antioxidants. It’s all the good stuff that your puppy needs without the things she doesn’t, like corn, soy, and artificial flavors and preservatives. You can opt for the red meat or chicken recipe, and there is also a formula that is designed specifically for large breeds. Available in 4.5, 11, or 24-pound bags.  

Victor Purpose Grain-Free Ultra Pro

Victor Purpose Grain-Free Ultra Pro

If you have dogs of multiple ages in your household and you’re on a tight budget, this dog food is a good choice for both your puppy and adult dogs that are already members of the family. This high-protein gets 89% of its protein from animal sources and is appropriate for dogs of all life stages, especially active canines. Available in 5 or 30-pound bags.

Although dry food tends to be easier to store and less expensive, there may be times when wet dog food is the better option for your new puppy. For example, if your puppy is having difficulty chewing hard kibble, or has sensitive teeth, she may prefer a softer food.

You can always opt to soak dry kibble in some warm water, but if you do decide to go with a wet formula, here are a couple of top picks: 

Picture of Canidae Limited Ingredient Diet Puppy Chicken Formula

Canidae Limited Ingredient Diet Puppy Chicken Formula

Your dog will get exactly what she needs without all of the extra fillers with this limited ingredient recipe. This grain-free option features high-quality ingredients and also comes in several other flavors. Plus, it is simmered in chicken broth for an extra-rich flavor your puppy is sure to love. Available in a 13-ounce can, and you can also purchase 12-can cases.

Picture of Royal Canin Puppy Food

Royal Canin Puppy Food

This canned formula is made exclusively for puppies up to 10 to 15-months old, based on body weight, and is designed to help support a healthy immune and digestive system. Serve it on its own as a well-balanced meal, or sprinkle as a topper over dry kibble for a tasty treat. Available in 13.5-ounce cans, and there is also the option to purchase in packs of 6 or 12. 

Start your little puppy off on the right nutritional foot (or paw), so he can develop into the strong, healthy adult dog that he is meant to be. What and how you feed your puppy when he is still growing plays a huge role in his health and quality of life when he is older. For more resources and tips on how to best care for your pets, make sure to explore the rest of our blog; at Neater Pets we’re all about providing you with the tools and info that you need to make your furry family members as healthy as they can be!

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