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Best Puppy Foods for 2020

When your dog is just starting out in life, you want to ensure you give them the best nutrition so they go on to lead a healthy adult life.

This can involve concentrating on bone growth, mental stimulation, teeth quality, and preventing any intolerances or allergies developing.

But the best food for one puppy may not be the best for another, and this can all boil down to their breed, their expected weight in adulthood or simply whether they are fussy with food.

So, we have picked a range of puppy dog foods for our round-up of the best on the market, reviewed.

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    Our Top Picks

    Image Product Details
    Harringtons Puppy Food with Turkey and Rice
    • Gives a glossy coat
    • Good for fussy puppies
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    IAMS for Vitality Puppy Food for Large Dogs
    • Fresh chicken
    • Good value for the quality
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    Royal Canin Mini Breed Puppy Food
    • Easy to serve
    • Plain wet food for better palatability
    Check Price

    The Top 10 Best Puppy Foods Reviewed

    1.
    Harringtons Puppy Food with Turkey and Rice

    Dry food is a popular choice for many puppy owners as it is easy to measure out portions and can be moistened if preferred, which is great if you gradually want to wean them on to dried food in their adult life.

    This Harringtons blend is suitable for dogs from 3 weeks of age and is wholesome with no added artificial colours or flavouring. There is also no added dairy, soya or wheat which can all play havoc with such sensitive tums.

    Turkey is a brilliant source of protein to help your puppy grow to their full potential, and rice helps with easier digestion. Harringtons is a very popular brand of dog food which offers tons of variety, so you can easily stick with them well into adult life to prevent too much change.

    Features

    • Gives a glossy coat
    • Good for fussy puppies

    Specifications

    • Type: Dry Biscuits
    • Capacity: 2kg/10kg
    • Ingredients: Turkey, Rice, Maize, Oats, Beet Pulp, Salmon Oil, Seaweed

    2.
    IAMS for Vitality Puppy Food for Large Dogs

    Suitable for large breed puppies from 1-12 months, this dried food has up to 85% of animal protein, and no artificial additions or fillers.

    It is a wheat-free recipe for easier digestion and less chance of reacting to the food, and a boost of Omega 3 & 6 will give their coat and skin a shine – dogs who are good on the inside have to look the part on the outside, after all.

    All of the ingredients and the hardness of the biscuits will improve teeth strength, muscle quality and boost their immune system. Many reviewers have said that it has helped pups with previously sensitive stomachs, and any with skin irritation too.

    Features

    • Fresh chicken
    • Good value for the quality

    Specifications

    • Type: Dry Biscuits
    • Capacity: 12kg
    • Ingredients: Maize, Dried Chicken, Turkey, Wheat, Animal Fat, Rice, Dried Beet Pulp, Hydrolysed Animal Proteins, Fish Oil, Dried Whole Egg

    3.
    Royal Canin Mini Breed Puppy Food

    Royal Canin knows very well that one food does not suit all, especially when it is with something so valuable as your pup’s nutrition.

    So they split their foods into small, medium and large breed groups. Smaller dogs can struggle with immune system issues and digestive problems, so the ingredients have been specially formulated to support these, including a boost of Vitamin E.

    They can also be a lot more active than their larger cousins, which again this food takes into account. This food meets their energy demands, without them putting on too much weight.

    Each pouch is one serving as a complete meal, or it can be mixed in with dry food to dampen that down. The gravy sauce is tasty and the chunks of meat give them the natural human-quality food feel, so they are sure to eat it all up.

    It is slightly on the pricier side, but users have said that their hounds have lapped it up after going off other foods because of fussiness, and every chunk is the same so they won’t just pick out their favourite bits.

    Features

    • Easy to serve
    • Plain wet food for better palatability

    Specifications

    • Type: Pouches
    • Capacity: 12 x 85g
    • Ingredients: Meat and Animal Derivatives, Cereals, Derivatives Of Vegetable Origin, Oils And Fats, Minerals, Yeasts, Various Sugars

    4.
    Royal Canin Maxi Starter Mother & Babydog Food

    When you have a litter of newborns on your hands, there is also the matter of the mother who needs a change in nutrition too.

    This Maxi Start Complex is a combination of nutritional elements present in mother’s milk, along with nutrients which actively contribute to supporting a puppy’s digestive health and natural defences.

    It offers the mother gestation and lactation support as well, to reinforce her higher energy needs. Easy to rehydrate for you so you don’t have to plan too far ahead when you already have your hands full, it goes into a porridge-like consistency.

    This is easier for mum to consume when she is low on energy and movement and is also the perfect stepping stone for the youngsters when transitioning from milk to solids over the period of a few weeks.

    It is best for larger breed puppies and mums between 26 and 44kg and can be given during gestation and lactation, and for puppies until two months old.

    Features

    • Good for mum and babies
    • Very palatable

    Specifications

    • Type: Liquid
    • Capacity: 4kg
    • Ingredients: Rice, Dehydrated Poultry Protein, Animal Fats, Vegetable Protein, Animal Proteins, Maize, Beet Pulp, Minerals, Soya Oil

    5.
    Wainwright's Complete Dry Puppy Food

    Exclusive to Pets at Home, this food avoids any ingredients known to cause allergies to dogs and puppies, such as wheat or mixed meat proteins.

    Instead, you get a nutritious, easily digestible and balanced dry food with everything your puppy needs.

    The turkey gives the natural protein goodness of poultry, and beet pulp is high in dietary fibre. Then you have the alfalfa which anyone familiar with rabbits will know contains beta carotene for good vision development. Yucca may also control stool odour for a better overall digestive system (and more pleasant job for you).

    Calcium and phosphorus are also balanced for better growth, and it can be given to puppies between 2-18 months old.

    Features

    • Completely natural
    • Helps to regulate toilet movement

    Specifications

    • Type: Dry Biscuits
    • Capacity: 2kg
    • Ingredients: Turkey, Brown Rice, Whole Grain Barley, Maize Protein, Beet Pulp, Alfalfa

    6.
    AVA Veterinary Approved Optimum Health Wet Puppy Food

    AVA offers veterinary-approved foods, which are perfect for the next step in your young dog’s nutrition.

    You can feed this food to puppies of any size and expected end weight as you just adjust the amount you give to them, making it a simple adaptable option.

    They know that healthy digestion and a shiny coat with healthy skin are three big factors in your dog’s health, which is why they use hypoallergenic ingredients which are natural and free of wheat.

    There is also no pork, dairy or soya. Prebiotics aid digestion and +Imuvita immune-boosting ingredients should ensure they aren’t faced with a nasty illness now or in adult life. Full of other vitamins and Omega 3, it has all that young brains, bones and immune systems need to thrive.

    It is good for puppies from six months up until 18 months, and there is a really efficient informative feeding amount guide on the packaging so you can get it just right.

    Features

    • Chicken and lamb flavours for variation
    • Great price

    Specifications

    • Type: Wet Tinned Food
    • Capacity: 4 x 395g
    • Ingredients: Lamb/Chicken, Brown Rice, Brewers Yeast, Fish Oil, Whole Dried Egg, Chicory Root Extract

    7.
    Arden Grange Dry Puppy/Junior Dog Food

    Arden Grange are a family-run firm whose knowledge of dog food has come from experience. Their aim is to provide nutrition without compromise, so their foods are naturally hypoallergenic, meaning they do not include wheat gluten, soya, beef, dairy products, artificial colours, flavours or preservatives.

    This helps with any sensitive tums, and should also prevent your dog from developing any irritation. The puppy/junior food is good for small and medium breed puppies and adolescent dogs, giving the right balance of protein, fat, fibre, calcium and phosphorus for puppies.

    Features

    • Choice of bag sizes
    • Large kibble size for bigger dogs

    Specifications

    • Type: Dry Biscuits
    • Capacity: 2kg/6kg/12kg
    • Ingredients: Chicken, Rice, Maize, Refined Chicken Oil, Whole Dried Egg, Beet Pulp, Fish Meal, Krill, Cranberries

    8.
    Step Up to Naturals Complete Puppy Food Variety Pack

    Step Up uses clean, natural ingredients in order to give doggy youngsters the best possible start in life.

    There are added vitamins, fruit and vegetables, Omega 3 and whole grains which all contribute towards building up an efficient immune system, developing a healthy coat and easing digestion. It can be given to pups between the ages of 2 months and 1 year.

    You get 24 tins in one purchase which is great if you have a few mouths to feed and need to stock up. Half is chicken-based and the other half is beef so there is some variety from day to day, or they can have their favourites. It is also available on an Easy Repeat delivery service.

    Features

    • Large bulk buy

    Specifications

    • Type: Wet Tinned
    • Capacity: 24 x 395g
    • Ingredients: Chicken and Turkey/Beef and Lamb, Brown Rice, Liver, Sweet Potato, Apple, Peas, Naked Oats, Glucosamine, Fish Oil, Chondroitin, Rosemary, Mint, Minerals

    9.
    James Wellbeloved Junior Lamb and Rice

    A huge 15kg bag of food which is sure to keep you going for quite a while. James Wellbeloved uses only natural ingredients which you can understand and they’re kept basic, too.

    This means the bulk is pure lamb and rice, with the addition of natural protein. There is a simple feeding guide to follow, and it is suitable for all weights of dog over the expected 10kg and between 6 and 12 months.

    Each biscuit is crunchy which should improve teeth growth and strength, and they contain the perfectly balanced amount of calcium and phosphorus to encourage bone growth too.

    Features

    • Long lasting purchase
    • Completely natural

    Specifications

    • Type: Dry Biscuits
    • Capacity: 15kg
    • Ingredients: Lamb, White Rice, Brown Rice, Barley, Pea Protein, Lamb Fat, Pea Starch, Whole Linseed, Lamb Gravy, Fish Oil, Sugar Beet Pulp, Alfalfa Meal

    10.
    Pedigree Junior Dry Dog Food

    With easily digestible rice and high-quality protein, this food is from one of the biggest manufacturers in dog food and unsurprisingly is very popular.

    The kibble size has been produced to perfectly fit in the mouth of most medium-sized youngsters, and it can last up until they are 15 months old so will be good for larger dogs who reach their full-grown status a bit later than at one year old.

    It is available to purchase in a 10kg bag, or as six 2.2kg bags if you would rather keep everything as fresh as possible or are struggling with storage.

    A few people have commented that their pup loved the taste but it was a bit too rich for their stomachs and caused some upset and loose stools, so it could be worth bearing this in mind and keeping an eye for the first few days.

    Features

    • Packed with vitamin E

    Specifications

    • Type: Dry Biscuits
    • Capacity: 10kg
    • Ingredients: Cereals, Meat and Animal Derivatives, Oils and Fats, Vegetable Protein

    Buying Guide

    Types Of Food

    If you do not know whether to choose between wet or dried food, note that many people will pick dried as it can be softened and is good for teeth. But the two can be mixed throughout life and when young.

    Dried Complete

    These often offer the most variety and are the easiest for owners to manage too, especially if you are a beginner. Many puppies may not take to completely dry food at first, so it can be good to either add water it or mix with wet food until they are fully weaned and used to it. It is a good option if they need to get used to dried food for their adult life

    Wet Food

    This can vary in quality and can come in tins, pouches or trays. Look out for a blend which has been specifically designed with puppies in mind, as it needs to be easy to digest and relatively plain. Also, look out for one which is complete and doesn’t need additional supplements

    What To Look Out For In A Puppy Food

    The big differences between puppies and adult dogs are that the former are still growing, developing and becoming hardy for the big old world they have to face. This means they require different things to their grown-up counterparts.

    Calories

    Puppies need a high-calorie diet to ensure they have enough nutrients for their growth, yet it also needs to be balanced so they don’t put on too much weight. They may still be active, but they don’t burn off as much as adult dogs who have a few hours of exercise every day.

    Calcium

    Calcium is a critical component of bone and cartilage, and it also has a small role in hormone transmission. Too little can cause bone fractures and stunted growth. But too much can result in increased bone density, which can be a factor in the development of hip dysplasia in dogs of all ages.

    Phosphorus

    Phosphorus is also a major component of bone. It can also play a big part in kidney and liver health, so they need to get the right amount every day for overall build.

    Breed Size

    It is important to try and find food which is suitable for how large your dog will be when they are fully grown.

    Puppy dog food is often split into small, medium and large groups. A small breed will hit adult years quite quickly in comparison to a larger dog, so their higher energy levels will need to be catered for.

    Similarly, larger breeds need to be on the puppy food for longer, so it needs to offer them a balanced variety of nutrients to cater to their slower growth and development.

    Breed Specific Foods

    There are some puppy foods out there which are for particular breeds. This can be Pugs, Schnauzers, Dachsunds, or Bulldogs.

    Some of these breeds have very particular needs, such as underlying breed-specific health issues with heart or development, so the ingredients have to be balanced.

    Dietary Needs

    Would rather feed your puppy on a vegan/vegetarian, hypoallergenic or grain-free diet? Look at our dedicated review pages for those dietary types for the best puppy food if you can’t find one above which suits.

    Buying Tips

    If you find a certain food which your puppy really seems to like, do not change from this. Adult dogs benefit from some variety to prevent getting fed up of foods or developing intolerances, but puppy tummies are sensitive so abrupt changes can be harmful.

    Puppies who have been fed by a breeder previously could probably benefit from staying on the same diet too, so ask them for the best food which your dog is used to. They will also be able to tell you if the mother or father has any medical history which could affect the food you choose going forwards.

    Other Buyers Ask...

    Why does my puppy need to be on puppy food?

    Puppy food is often more appealing for any dogs starting out their relationship with food.

    It will include tasty ingredients such as sweet potato, and in smaller chunks, so they can easily chew and digest each piece.

    But there is a medical point to it all, too – puppy food often contains more calcium, to help with their growing bones. This can not only help with joint issues in later life and ensure they reach their target weight but also with conditions such as hip dysplasia in larger breeds.

    How much food should I feed my puppy?

    This can be a big factor in the quantity of food you choose.

    Larger breeds need more than smaller breeds, and you also need to give them a bit more as they put on weight. Each food will have a guideline on how much to give your dog, usually based on weight and age.

    Divide this amount over the course of 3-4 meals per day. It needs to be split up as they have very small stomachs. If you have a larger breed or a litter, you may want to buy a larger packet or buy in bulk versus if you have a small pup.

    Do I need to add water to the biscuits?

    Dried dog food is crunchy, which is great for helping with their teeth and gum health. But pellets can expand in the stomach when digested, which causes bloat and gas.

    Wetting them can help with this, as well as softening them for sensitive gums to cope with until your puppy is fully weaned. Always ensure fresh water is available too.

    How do I know whether my puppy is a small, medium or large breed?

    In general, if your dog is going to be up to 10kg, they are small. Any between 10 and 20kg is going to be medium, and any over 40kg is large.

    When do they switch from puppy to dog food?

    If you are wondering whether to purchase another packet of puppy food or switch to our Wet/Dry food reviews, remember that it is critical not to do this too soon.

    Adult dog food can contain too much calcium for a young body, so it depends on their breed type. It can range as much as from 9 months for a small dog to from 24 months for a giant breed, so always research for your particular dog.

    Keeping them on puppy food for a few weeks too long will not do them any harm, but switching too soon could do.