We spend a lot of time thinking about feeding ourselves, our families, and it’s easy—find a recipe, order takeout, or sign up for home delivery. And mostly, eat what tastes good! But how do you pick an all-important food for the one family member that can’t tell you what tastes good or doesn’t?
Picking a puppy food is critical—it starts your pup on the road to adulthood, and lifelong health. Here are some reviews on the top foods, so you can go about finding the right food for your furry family!
Our Favorites Puppy Foods in 2022
The 9 Best Vet-Recommended Puppy Foods
1. Purina ONE Natural Puppy Food – Best Overall
Purina is a long-established brand of pet food, with veterinary science backing the product. This food is readily available, and a great value for the money. Plus, puppies really seem to like it! As the best food overall, it’s good for puppies, tasty, and will set your puppy in the right direction to grow well, given the higher protein levels. It is not tailored to a specific breed size, which makes it especially convenient if you are feeding multiple puppies of different sizes!
2. Iams Proactive Health Smart Puppy – Best Value
Iams is a traditional maker of pet foods, so it has a long reputation in the industry for making quality foods. This is one of the best puppy foods for the money, balancing both quality and value. And it’s easy to find—making it a great option for all-around feeding, or to use as a mixer with other foods.
3. Hill’s Science Diet Puppy Food – Best for Large Breeds
Hill’s Science Diet is another reputable company making quality diets for dogs and cats, and this particular food is no exception. Because large breed puppies have different growth rates than other breeds, this food is formulated specifically for those needs, which can be important in preventing issues down the road.
4. Royal Canin Small Puppy – Best for Small Breeds
Royal Canin is a reputable company making quality diets for dogs and cats, and this breed size-specific diet is no exception. Based on the needs of smaller breeds, the kibble size and shape are tailored to the feeding preferences of small dogs. It is worth trying, to see what your small breed puppy thinks!
5. Royal Canin Puppy – Best Canned Puppy Food
A different choice than dry food, Royal Canin Puppy canned food provides more moisture, and a very different texture. Many dogs have a preference for one over the other, but it is a good idea to expose puppies to both types when they are growing up.
6. Purina Puppy Chow – Best Availability
Purina Puppy Chow can be found in most stores and online with relative ease. Also a favorite of pups, due to taste and crunch, it’s good for a pinch, or as a main food.
7. Purina ProPlan Lamb – Best Chicken and Beef Alternative
Common protein sources in Purina ProLamb puppy food include beef and chicken. For pups that might not enjoy the taste or smell of beef or chicken, or whom have sensitivities to either of these proteins, this is a good alternative.
8. Purina ProPlan Puppy Sensitive Skin and Stomach – Best for Sensitivities
Some puppies have issues with softer stools, or vomiting, that just don’t seem to go away, no matter what you try. Same with skin—some puppies have dry skin, or poor haircoats, that just don’t seem quite normal. Purina ProPlan puppy food made specifically for these types of issues can sometimes be helpful.
9. Pedigree Puppy Growth & Protection – Best for Fussy Eaters
Pedigree is a classic dog food brand, and their puppy food is also tasty. For pups that might be on the fussier side, sometimes simple is best, and this often hits the spot.
Buyer’s Guide: What to Consider When Choosing Your Puppy’s Food Brand
While choosing a puppy food can be daunting, breaking the process into steps can be helpful.
First, it is hugely important to consider the company making the puppy food you purchase, in addition to the value, availability, and taste of the food. Pet foods in recent years have made news for containing imbalanced vitamins and minerals, or for being contaminated with bacteria—neither of which is desired when you have a growing puppy. Therefore, stick to the brands that have been around for a long time, and then decide what your puppy would like, based on what is available.
When buying puppy food, once you know what food your pup likes, it is often a better value to buy a bigger bag. There are mixed opinions about whether you should stick only to one food, or change things up now and again, to get your pup used to different types of foods. There are no hard and fast rules, so it’s worth both speaking with your vet about this idea, and experimenting to find out what works best for your pup.
Don’t forget that many companies now make foods that are tailored not only to specific-sized puppies, but also to different breeds. These foods are based on lots of data and research—as happy puppies that eat them often report—so make them a consideration as well, if you have one of these types of puppies.
Also, know that some of the more reputable companies will often reimburse you for a bag of food if your puppy doesn’t like the flavor, which means you can worry less about buying a food for the first time.
Picking a puppy food is not an easy challenge, but hopefully these reviews make the process slightly easier. Our choice for the best overall food is Purina One, which we like for its availability, and because pups love the taste! The best value food we found was Iams Proactive, which was harder to find, but a good value, and well-liked by pups. For large breed puppies, Hill’s Science Diet is a great choice to keep your pups growing healthy.
Featured Image Credit: Switlana Sonyashna, Shutterstock