7 Best Dog Food For Puppies (Best Dry Food 2019)

by | May 19, 2019 | 0 comments

Finding the best dog food for puppies can be overwhelming. Walk across any dog food aisle in your favorite dog food store and the options available will leave you cross-eyed.

Online stores are no different either as they have endless possibilities of best dog food.

If you take a closer look, you realize that manufacturers have different terms of marketing their food for puppies. You’ll find lamb, salmon, or chicken based options. Then there are wet and dry dog foods for puppies. But the list doesn’t end there.

Is your puppy sensitive? You can opt for hypoallergenic dog food for your puppy. If you are looking for all-natural dog food for your puppy, there are options for you too, and there are even options for grain-free dog foods for puppies.

With all these choices to go around and so many dogs breeds today, you’ll be spoilt for choice and maybe even end up with the wrong dog food for your puppy. Puppies are loving, loyal, and understanding. They don’t judge, and they are always there when you need them.

That’s why you can’t afford to go wrong when choosing the best dry dog food for puppies. Dogs, unlike humans, have a relatively short puppy phase. As if that’s not enough, the puppy phase is the most critical developmental stage of a dog.

Their immune system is weak at this time, and proper nutrition is crucial for boosting your puppy’s immunity. As puppies, dogs need almost double the diet they need to survive as adults. It’s also at this stage where you train your puppy, and he’ll respond better on a full tummy of energy-packed food.

In this article, we are going to look at the best dog food, understand how to choose the best dog food, and learn why dry and wet dog foods for puppies are not the same. So let’s get our paws wet!

Best Dry Dog Food For Puppies 2019

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Taste of the Wild Taste of the Wild
  • High protein ingredients with added vitamins & minerals
  • Highly digestible
  • Rich in protein for lean strong muscles
Check Price on Amazon.com
Wellness complete health natural dry dog food Wellness Complete Health Natural Dry Dog Food
  • All natural
  • Delicious
  • Provides balanced everyday nutrition
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Wellness Core Dry Puppy Food
  • 100% grain free
  • Complete and balanced everyday nutrition for your puppy
  • All natural
Check Price on Amazon.com
Rachael Ray Nutrish Rachael Ray Nutrish
  • #1 ingredient is U.S. farm-raised chicken
  • Contains fruits rich in antioxidants
  • Helps support strong muscle development and healthy heart
Check Price on Amazon.com
Naturals Diamond Dry Puppy Food
  • High quality protein
  • Premium ingredients with added vitamins and minerals
  • Highly digestible
Check Price on Amazon.com

What’s the best dry dog food for puppies?

Not all kibble has the same nutrition or benefits for your furry canine. So what makes which dog food the best dog food for puppies? For most dog owners, processed kibble and wet food make up the most food for their puppies.

On first glance, processed foods do not look so glamorous or healthy, but they are often the best option for your puppy. Many regulations guide how manufacturers make and prepare the best dog food for puppies.

The industry regulations mean that manufacturers test their dog food thoroughly with the help of vets before they release them into the market for sale. But the question remains, what is in the best dog food for puppies?

There is a big misconception among puppy owners that dogs are strictly carnivorous.

However, the truth is that a puppy’s diet is not as strict as that of another carnivore. Grains, fruits, and vegetables are essential in a puppy’s diet although meat takes the more significant portion of the menu.

So if you see the best dog food for puppies with grains or vegetables and even fruits, relax and let your paw enjoy his kibble. Non-meat foods are excellent sources of additional goodness namely vitamins, minerals, and fiber.

The best dog foods for puppies incorporate high-quality non-meat ingredients to boost the dietary intake for your puppy. Primarily, whichever food you choose should meet your puppy’s nutritional needs.

And this brings in another question, is dog food a one-size-fits-all product?

The short answer is no. Different dog breeds have different nutritional requirements. What is suitable for small dog breeds won’t work for large dog breeds and vice versa.

Best dog food for puppies: nutrition for puppy growth

As mentioned above, puppy food and adult dog food have different nutritional composition.

That puppies require more nutrition than adult dogs can be surprising for most owners, but here’s why your puppy needs more nutrients. The first year of a puppy’s life is where the canine gets to grow healthy bones and boost immunity.

As puppies grow older, their feeding patterns also change as they do not require as much as when they are developing from puppyhood.

Puppies need proteins to help build tissues, fats for healthy hair, skin, brain and vision development, carbohydrates to give them an energy boost, and vitamins and minerals to ensure they have a balanced diet.

The difference between the best dog food for puppies and the best dog food for adult dogs is that one is for growth promotion while the other is for maintenance. For puppies, all the ingredients should promote healthy growth and development.

That said, it’s essential that you feed your puppy the right amount to avoid overfeeding. If you overfeed your puppy, it might end up being obese as it grows. Other than food the potential adult size of a puppy, its coats’ thickness, and the dog breeds temperament also influence how fast a puppy grows.

Small, dog breeds grow faster and may reach adult size within a year. Bigger dog breeds take significantly longer with some taking up to three years to reach adult size. The best practice is to seek advice from a veterinarian so you can get the right direction on how much to feed your puppy and for monitoring.

How much nutrition should your dog food for puppies provide?

A pup’s daily caloric intake depends on the dog breed, but there are the essential nutrients that a dog needs and that we have mentioned briefly above. Because puppies need more energy than their adult counterparts, they need more of the vital nutrients in their young life.

Proteins: proteins are vital for your pup’s skeletal growth and development. Proteins are jam-packed with ten amino acids that a puppy can’t manufacture in their body and are critical for proper growth and bone development.

The best dog foods for puppies also incorporate animal proteins that provide your puppy with Omega-3 and Omega-6. These fatty acids promote eyesight development, boost memory, and stimulate other functions such as vitamin and mineral absorption.

Vitamins: these promote puppy growth in a bunch of different ways. Vitamin D, for instance, helps your pooch metabolize the amino acids your puppy derives from proteins. Thus, proteins alone without the presence of other nutrients won’t be enough for your pup.

Water: While dog food consists of 78% water, it is barely enough to keep your puppy’s thirst at bay. A puppy needs a fresh source of water that is available around the clock. When weaning your puppy from milk and introducing him to solid food, the rule of thumb is to make them gruel with warm water and the best dog food for puppies. But how do you measure how much food your puppy needs?

Most manufacturers have directions on their dog food packages. Often, the instructions are in line with what a vet would recommend. However, sometimes, they are confusing. If you prefer doing your calculations, here is a more complex formula.

The recommendation on the feeding schedule for puppies is that you feed them thrice a day to keep them full all day long. After a puppy gains 80-90% of their adult weight equivalent, you can change that schedule to twice a day.

Wet vs dry: which is the best dog food for boxer puppies?

Ever heard of the term your puppies are what they eat? No? Well, one thing you can be sure of is the fact that the best dog food for puppies plays a role in how healthy and how long your dog lives. If you want the best for your pooch, you can’t compromise on the best dog food for puppies.

The choice of canned dog food is as wide as that of dry dog food. The formulations also differ, and each manufacturer has their own nutritional and health claims. Also, depending on who you ask, you’ll hear different arguments for and against the two.

For most of us, we buy our dog foods from recommendations, reviews, forum discussions, and sometimes, the influence is from advertisements. However, in the end, and with so many options, the only person who thoroughly understands the best dog food for boxer puppies is your vet.

Below, we look at the differences, pros, and cons of both dry and wet dog foods for boxer puppies.

Convenience and affordability

There is one other factor that is crucial for dog owners when getting the best dog food for puppies. What is the cost? Yes, budgets can constrain you and give you fewer options, especially when your budget is not that much.

The best dog food for puppies can be expensive depending on the manufacturer and the ingredients. In the case of wet vs dry dog food, canned dog food costs significantly more than the wet dog food.

But the advantages of the best dry dog foods for puppies do not end with price. Dogs don’t care about fine-dining or table manners. They can be messy, and wet food doesn’t help when it comes to making a mess. Wet foods also go bad faster.

Dry food, on the other hand, is less messy and lasts longer once you serve it. You can also leave it on the bowl for up to a day. However, it is best not to leave kibble out once feeding time is up.

If your puppy is struggling with hydration, dry kibble is inferior to wet puppy food. Canned puppy food boasts up to 80% water, making it an excellent option for puppies that don’t get to drink a lot of water. However, because of the higher water content, your puppy will need more wet food to get the same nutritional value as they would from the best dry dog food.

For the large dog breeds, the best dog food for puppies is kibble while most small dog breeds would be good with wet food. Nonetheless, the fact is that wet food is pricier than dry food as it goes bad faster, is not as energy dense as dry dog food, and the cans can be cumbersome to carry and store.

Palatability

Sometimes, even the best-behaved dogs ditch their favorite snack for something else. We have had incidences where our pooches completely went on a hunger strike until we changed their diet. Looking at the best dry foods for puppies vs the best-wet foods for puppies, you find that the wet variants are more palatable.

Some manufacturers boost their dry kibbles’ palatability by coating the kibble with tasty fats and gravy. Nevertheless, the aroma of wet food beats that of dry dog food paws down! The texture of canned food also makes it easier to partake, making wet foods excellent options for teething pups.

As the food becomes more palatable, a heavy eater might end up gobbling down more than their fair share for daily dietary requirements. If your pup eats a lot and fast, feeding them wet food means you have to be extra careful with the portions you serve him.

Otherwise, it won’t be a surprise to learn that your pooch is suddenly obese the next time you visit your vet. It is common for most dog owners to think that their puppy is still hungry after gobbling down a bowl of canned salmon, but it is rarely the case. It’s just that the food is easier on the palette.

The grain debate

The debate on the necessity of grain in dog food has been there for a long time with no signs of dying down. Grains are one of the reasons the best dry dog food for puppies cost less than the best-wet dog food. Wet food features more animal proteins and meats as they do not require anything (save for sugar), to bind them together.

Wet foods also have fewer preservatives, food colors, and artificial taste enhancers than dry dog food.

For dry dog food to bind together into pellets, manufacturers have to use different grains.

The most common grains in the best dry dog food include corn, wheat, soy, and rice. These come in as a substitute for some animal proteins, which effectively reduces the cost.

Still, the question remains, do dogs need grains in their diets? That question will get you different answers depending on who you ask. Some people argue that puppies don’t need any plant-based dietary supplements.

If you ask the manufacturers, our furry friends require plant matter just like their wild counterparts who are known to scavenge for berries, grasses, and roots to supplement their meat diet. So, are the best dry dog foods for puppies right for your pooch?

If you are unable to settle on the best answer, why not let the ingredients help you decide whether the dry dog foods have the right nutritional value for your puppy?

Best food for puppy dental health

The logical train of thought opines that the best dry dog food for puppies promotes better dental health. Wet food, on the other hand, is thought to encourage plaque buildup. The assumption is that dry foods cleanse puppies’ teeth as they chew. However, this can’t be further from the truth.

Partially, there is some truth as to the fact that wet food does leave a residue on your puppy’s teeth. However, dry foods can also leave a plaque and lead to the buildup of tartar, and eventually, dental problems.

According to research, conventional dry food does not improve your pup’s dental health. So if you are looking for a stress-free solution for Scooby’s bright whites, traditional dry foods are hardly the answer.

Not to worry though. Recently, manufacturers have been able to come up with specially formulated best dry dog foods for puppies that help clean your puppy’s teeth. You can find a list in in VOHC. Still, leaving your puppy’s dental health to dry dog food is a wrong move.

Instead, ensure that you give your puppy a healthy diet to boost their dental hygiene. Make it a habit to visit your vet regularly so you can be sure that you are taking the right care of your pup and that he’s growing properly.

So, which is best between dry and wet dog food?

The truth is, it depends on what your goal is. However, the best dry dog food for puppies is easy to store, lasts longer, and has the necessary dietary compositions to promote pup growth. Dry dog foods are also more affordable, and they keep your dog’s mouth cleaner.

Last, dry dog foods are perfect for teething pups but can be mixed with wet food if your puppy is struggling to chew through them.

Without further ado, here is the best dry food for puppies review.

Taste of the Wild

If you are looking for a top-of-the-line grain free best food for boxer puppies, then Taste of the wild fits that bill. The premium bag of kibble features an unbeatable ingredient list that includes roasted bison and venison among other real meats.

The last thing you want is to raise an obese pup as this will cause problems as your furry friend grows older. Taste of the Wild gives your dog enough nutrition formulated for lean and healthy muscle build-up thanks to its protein-rich composition.

If you have a mix of small and giant breed dogs like Great Danes, Taste of the wild should be at the top of your list seeing that it is formulated to boost growth in all breed sizes. The company makes the kibble size on this pack small, so it is ideal for small-mouthed puppies.

But that’s not all!

Taste of the wild dry dog food comes without filler ingredients. The lack of grains makes it an excellent choice for dogs with grain allergies and for pet parents that don’t want grains in their puppy food. The kibbles are fortified with highly digestible nutrients, vitamins, and minerals including probiotics.

Additionally, it has DHA which promotes brain and vision development.

Pros:

  • Small kibbles that are perfect for all dog sizes.
  • Grain-free.
  • No artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives.

Cons:

  • Pricier than other dry dog foods.
  • Different colors, sizes, and textures might leave you and your pup disappointed if you order the wrong variety.
Taste of the Wild

Features an unbeatable ingredient list that includes roasted bison and venison among other real meats

Wellness Complete Health Natural Dry Dog Food

A grain-free bag of pup food is one thing, and a wholly natural one is a whole other story. While Taste of the Wild is great for all dog sizes, the Wellness Complete bag carries wholesome goodness for giant dog breed puppies.

Think of a Golden Retriever, a Rottweiler, or a German shepherd, and wellness comes to mind as the best bag of dry food for puppies. Like our first choice, this one is also grain-free so no soy, wheat, or corn here. This kibble is also free of preservatives and any artificial additives that might be harmful to your pup.

Instead, you get a bag of goodness made with high-quality natural ingredients that make it not only delicious but also extremely healthy for your giant pup. The mix in this bag is made from a blend of Salmon and brown rice and perfectly balanced nutrients including fats, minerals, vitamins, proteins, and carbs.

The history of the Wellness dog dry food for large puppies stems from one family’s love for dogs. After a long struggle to find the perfect dog food for their pups, the family started making their food and decided to share the goodness with you.

Additional ingredients include boneless chicken and DHA, which boosts healthy bone, brain, and eye development. It also sports omega fatty acids that improve the health of your pup’s skin and coat. And with manufacture in the USA, these bags of pup food are guaranteed to offer your puppy a delicious and nutritious bowl of kibble.

Pros:

  • Wholesome and balanced daily diet.
  • Optimum calcium and phosphorous levels for ideal bone development.
  • Controlled calories and energy intake for paced growth.
  • Wellness guaranteed – boost skin & coat, digestive, eye, teeth and gum health, energy, and immunity.

Cons:

  • Pricey.
  • Might not agree with every dog’s tummy.
Wellness Complete Health Natural Dry Dog Food

A bag that carries wholesome goodness for giant dog breed puppies

Wellness Core Dry Puppy Food

The Wellness brand has got something for every dog. But their biggest forte seems to be in grain-free dog food. The Wellness Core dry puppy food is great if your dog has been suffering from allergies after consuming dry dog food with grains.

The Core Natural features chicken and turkey along with a combination of carb-packed ingredients to ensure your pup has enough energy to take him through the day. It is also fortified with fish oil, fruits and vegetables, probiotics, antioxidants, and DHA.

This bag of Wellness gives your pup essential nutrient for bone and teeth development, healthy skin and coat, and brain and eye development. The Core Wellness dry dog food does not have any meat-by-products, artificial preservatives, colors, or flavors, and is gluten free.

The probiotics promote digestive and intestinal health while the minerals, fatty acids, and vitamins boost healthy cellular activity and boost immunity. High protein levels encourage lean muscle build-up while the fruit, veggie antioxidants and carbs provide energy and improve nutrition.

When you are raising a boxer pup or any other pup for that matter, you need the best food for boxer puppies. You need the best balance of nutrients and vitamins, proteins, and carbohydrates. You want something that will help you keep your pup’s growth in control while providing all the essential nutrients.

The Core wellness dry dog food boasts a perfect balance of proteins offering your dog delicious treats all day long.

Pros:

  • Grain-free.
  • Perfectly balanced nutrients with all natural ingredients.
  • No additives, preservatives, colors, or flavors.

Cons:

  • Expensive.
  • Some dog owners report loose stools, but most don’t notice any such problem.
Wellness Core Dry Puppy Food

Great for dogs suffering from allergies after consuming dry dog food with grains

Rachael Ray Nutrish

If you know Rachael Ray, you know she’s as keen with her food as she is with that of her paw party. The Rachael Ray Nutrish does not compromise on quality and guarantees your pup energy and nutrition-packed bowls every time.

This dry dog food features U.S. farm-raised chicken as the top ingredient. It also boasts DHA which boosts the development of your puppy’s brain and healthy vision. With inspiration from Rachael’s kitchen recipes, this bag of kibble is made with simple yet wholesome ingredients.

The Nutrish brand combines carefully selected chicken, beef, and seafood protein. The chicken takes the lion’s share to provide essential nutrients for puppy growth. Fish meal boosts brain power, while a combination of veggies, brown rice, peas, and carrots aid digestion. Antioxidants come from cranberries for a boost in immunity, ensuring your pup has a wholesome meal in a single sitting.

Like most dry dog foods, this one does not have any artificial flavors, colors or preservatives. If you are looking for a good bag of dog food that won’t cost you too much, then this is a decent choice. If you are looking for the best dog food for boxer puppies, you might have to look elsewhere as this one has tiny pellets.

Pros:

  • Farm-raised chicken.
  • No artificial flavors, colors, or additives.
  • Jam-packed with nutrients including fruit antioxidants and vegetables.
  • Affordable.

Cons:

  • Some ingredient such as corn, peas, and soybean might upset your puppies tummy.
  • Some users have reported it as too rich which bloats their puppies.
  • Tiny kibble size not ideal for large pup breeds.
Rachael Ray Nutrish

Great quality and guarantees your pup energy and nutrition-packed bowls every time

Naturals Diamond Dry Puppy Food

Large breed dogs often struggle with weight problems as they grow older. Because they grow bigger and heavier, if not feed right, you risk losing your pup due to weight complications when they grow older. In adulthood, dogs are prone to suffer from hip dysplasia due to being overweight.

So how do you make sure that your dog doesn’t overindulge? What kind of food do you feed your pup to make sure they grow up lean but healthy, stout, and nourished? Regular vet visits are an excellent place to start, but even a vet will tell you that food is an essential factor.

So if you want the best dog food for boxer puppies that will not only leave them full but also provide the right nutrients, diamond naturals are a great option. This bag of chows is made with pasture-raised lamb that provides your pup with optimum amino acids.

That is then fortified with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fatty acids that promote healthy skin and coat. The kibble size is small enough for pups to pick up effortlessly and with proprietary probiotics; it is highly digestible reducing the chances of upsetting your pup’s fragile tummy.

For a boost in nutrition, this bag of diamond naturals also boasts numerous fruit supplements.

Pros:

  • Small kibbles are ideal for all pups.
  • Does not have artificial additives, colors, or flavors.
  • Made in the U.S. by a family outfit.

Cons:

  • Pea flour might upset some puppy’s stomachs.
  • Has yeast which may affect some puppies.
Naturals Diamond Dry Puppy Food

Best dog food for boxer puppies that will leave them full and provide them the right nutrients

Grain-infused Puppy Foods

IAMs Proactive Health Dry Puppy Food

As always, not everyone has the big bucks to spend on feeding your favorite furry friend. Buying dog food regularly can be an expensive endeavor regardless of your commitment to your pup. However, just because a particular bag costs less, it doesn’t mean that it lacks the essential nutrients to help your puppy grown strong and healthy.

IAMs proactive health food is great for puppies that do not have grain allergies. With a nutritious mix that includes chicken and vegetables such as carrots and beet pulp, this bag of kibble has more than enough goodies to keep your pup healthy.

The chicken is farm-raised, and with fortification from over 20 other additional ingredients, IAMs proactive health food for dogs is a steal. Not only is this bag of dry dog food affordable, but it also doesn’t compromise on quality either.

Additional ingredients include whole grains which provide fiber for promoting digestion. Antioxidants from veggies and fruits boost your pups’ immune system, and minerals strengthen the pup’s skeleton. Omega-3 DHA supports healthy brain development to encourage cognizance and make the animals more trainable.

Pros:

  • Great for large breed puppies.
  • Affordable.
  • Fortified with fiber from whole grains and vegetables.
  • Affordable.

Cons:

  • Only for large breed puppies.
  • Has whole grains which might not sit well with allergic dogs.
IAMs Proactive Health Dry Puppy Food

Great for puppies that do not have grain allergies

Hill’s Science Diet Dry Dog Food

Hill’s Science has a litany of affordable dry dog foods thanks to the use of whole grains for fortification with fiber. Among the grains, you will find in this brand of dry dog foods are whole grain oat, whole grain sorghum, and whole grain wheat.

Before moving along further, let’s address the elephant in the room. Does dog food require that much grain and does it serve any purpose? For manufacturer’s, the grains and wheat are what helps bind the dog food together into the chow that your pup loves to nibble on so much.

But other than working as a binder, the wheat, corn, and sorghum do little else to boost your pup’s well-being – save for boosting puppies’ energy. While some quarters argue that these products provide fiber to aid in digestion, none of these claims is scientifically proven or foolproof.

Nevertheless, if you are looking for dry dog food for puppies that won’t break the bank, then Hill’s Science Diet dry dog food should be at the top of your list. The protein in this brand of food comes from chicken meal rather than real chicken – disappointing.

Still, Hills’ dry puppy food has everything essential for puppy growth. While the chicken meal might not have the same flavor or texture as real chicken, it has 300% more protein, making it a more affordable option for those on a tight budget.

It also boasts fortification with fish oils and natural DHA to boost brain, eye, and skeletal development. Other essential ingredients include easy-to-digest minerals, vitamins, and nutrients. This might not be the best dog food for boxer puppies, but at least it doesn’t have any harmful artificial additives or preservatives.

Pros:

  • Affordable.
  • Small pellets ideal for small and large puppies.
  • Easy-to-digest nutrients for better digestion and absorption of nutrients.

Cons:

  • Made from chicken meal instead of real chicken meat.
  • Has grains like barley that might upset some puppies.

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Amanda Wilson
A licensed veterinarian and a member of the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants, Amanda Wilson grew up in a family of biologists and veterinarians from her hometown of Boston, MA. Amanda used to work in an animal research facility in California. However, she had a change of heart after being assigned temporarily to support a big state animal shelter and seeing the conditions of the dogs admitted. She felt that they deserve more love and that first-time pet parents should be well-informed about all aspects of pet parenthood—even the not-so-great ones.

Currently practicing at her own clinic in another city, Amanda lives with her husband and son, as well as their family dog—a Dalmatian named Tiny. Aside from attending to the needs of her fur-bulous clients, she also enjoys teaching young children about responsible pet parenting.