We may earn a commission if you make a purchase through one of our links. The LA Times editorial staff was not involved in the creation of this content. Learn more

Give Your Puppy All the Vitamins and Nutrients with the Best Puppy Foods

  1. Purina Pro Plan Puppy Food
  2. Wag Dry Puppy Food
  3. PEDIGREE Puppy Growth & Protection Dry Puppy Food
  4. Blue Buffalo Puppy Dog Food
  5. Hill's Science Diet Dry Dog Food
  6. Rachael Ray Nutrish Bright Puppy Premium Natural Dry Dog Food
  7. Buyer's Guide

Finding the best puppy foods in 2022 can be tricky because the food needs to provide all the nutrients, minerals, protein, and vitamins that a budding pup requires to grow. At the same time, the food kibbles must be small enough for a pup’s little jaws and teeth, and it must not contain harmful ingredients. Therefore, the best puppy food options are healthy, manageable, and delicious - perfect for your furry little companion.

Best Puppy Foods of 2022 Reviewed in Detail

Purina Pro Plan Puppy Food - Best Puppy Food Overall

This wholesome food comes in a wide variety of flavors, for several breed sizes, and in many different quantities. The puppy formula contains DHA from fish oil to promote healthy development.

  • A healthy and wholesome puppy food option with many flavors, sizes, and more
  • Contains DHA from fish oil which is an important brain development nutrient for pups
  • Not for large breed puppies

Bag sizes range from 4 lbs up to 32 lbs, though the larger size is a bit overkill for smaller puppies unless you have a litter. Flavors include chicken and rice, lamb and rice, salmon and rice, plain chicken, and lamb and oat. It offers perhaps the most variety out of comparable feed options. Moreover, the formula includes necessary antioxidants, calcium, and Omega-6 fatty acids, without any harmful additives.

Wag Dry Puppy Food - Runner Up

With basic flavors and bag sizes, this food still manages to offer an excellent selection of nutrients, minerals, and protein. It does not contain grain, corn, wheat, or artificial additives.

  • Nutritious food in chicken, beef, lamb, salmon, and turkey flavors
  • Has a small 5 lb trial bag option for testing or slowly swapping food types
  • Meant for all ages, not just puppies

All of the meat is sourced in the USA and is 100% real, with no by-products added. Lentils, peas, and similar vegetables add the necessary vitamins, antioxidants, and minerals a growing pup needs. Additional ingredients include salmon oil, flaxseed, Omega-3 fatty acids, and long-chain DHA for developmental health. There are 15 lb and 30 lb bag sizes available, as well as a small 5 lb bag for trialing or swapping food types.

PEDIGREE Puppy Growth & Protection Dry Puppy Food - Honorable Mention

Made just for puppies and their development, this food comes in 3 flavors, including beef, chicken, and steak. All meats are real, with no by-products, and there are a host of healthy ingredients mixed in. DHA and similar nutrients come from mother’s milk, which promotes strong brand development, tough teeth, bones, and muscles. This food is perfect for pups aged 6 weeks to 18 months.

  • A formula crafted for the express growth and development of puppies
  • Available in several flavors and small to large bag sizes
  • Not a resealable bag

There are no artificial flavors, sugars, preservatives, or corn syrup add-ins. Bags come in 3.5 lb, 16.3 lb, and 36 lb sizes, with the largest lasting for quite a while.

Blue Buffalo Puppy Dog Food - Consider

This food has some of the best natural ingredients, offering rich antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and more. It delivers a boost to whole-body health, and is especially good for building the immune system.

  • Made with holistic and natural ingredients, including real meats
  • The formula is wheat, soy, and preservative-free
  • Not many flavor options

This food is only available in 2 flavors, including lamb and oatmeal, and chicken and brown rice. All ingredients are wheat and soy-free, with real meat. The food is crafted in the US, using internationally-sourced ingredients. It’s available in 6, 15, and 30 lb bags.

Hill's Science Diet Dry Dog Food - Consider

Meant for small breeds, this chicken-flavored meal contains barley, brown rice, and whole grain wheat. It also contains DHA from fish oil to boost brain and cognitive development.

  • A healthy food option packed with nutrients, minerals, and supportive ingredients
  • Contains DHA for healthy brain and eye development
  • No other flavors available

Real meat offers high-quality protein, while the barley and other ingredients provide a balance of minerals and nutrients. Although there are no other flavor options, the food does come in either a 4.5 lb or 15.5 lb bag, both a perfect quantity for smaller breeds and pups.

Rachael Ray Nutrish Bright Puppy Premium Natural Dry Dog Food - Consider

This food contains real meat from farm-raised chickens, without by-products or harmful additives. It’s all-natural, with added vitamins and minerals just for pups.

  • A simple chicken and brown rice recipe packed with nutrients and vitamins
  • Contains DHA for brain and vision development in small pups
  • Just one flavor option

The food comes in either 6 lb or 14 lb bag options and a single flavor. The kibbles are small and manageable for little mouths. Moreover, the food contains whole grains for fiber and nutrients, to promote proper digestive health. The food does contain DHA, a necessary ingredient for brain and vision development in puppies.

Buyer's Guide

Once you bring your beloved puppy home, you have made a dedication to providing the best love and care for them their whole life. As your puppy grows, their needs will change. It is not wise to feed your adult dog food to your fur baby in the early days. Your puppy has specific health requirements, and therefore, unique dietary needs.

Of course, there is no “one food fits all” when it comes to your puppy’s dinner. The puppy food you purchase will depend on your dog’s individual needs. For example, you can buy puppy food made for specific dog breeds.

To help you find the best food for your furry edition to the family, check out our comprehensive buying guide below.

Why use “puppy” food instead of regular dog food?

Compared to an adult dog, an eight-week-old puppy requires twice the amount of calories per day. Your puppy needs more fat, protein, phosphorus, and calcium in their diet if they are going to grow into a healthy animal. These nutrients must be in the correct ratio because too little or too much can create problems. Commercial foods prepare formulations specifically suited to match the requirements of a growing puppy.

Some foods specify that they are for “large breed puppies." Large breed dogs usually have a multitude of health issues. Some are bred in a way that makes them grow too quickly, putting pressure on joints and bones. Foods designed specifically for a large breed puppy adjust the phosphorus, calcium, protein, and calorie ratio to slow the puppy’s growth rate. Your puppy will grow to the same size, but slowed growth lets joints develop and stabilize.

Things to consider when buying puppy food

When looking for the best puppy food, you will save a lot of time if you shop with a basic understanding of the key features and ingredients. Continue reading to find out a bit more about what to look for in the best puppy food, as well as the things you should avoid.

Low-cost, premium, and super-premium

There are three main types of puppy food available.

  • Low-cost
  • Premium
  • Super-premium

Although these are generic terms with no legal definition, some general characteristics apply.

Super-premium products

Super-premium foods use the highest quality ingredients. Your puppy will get everything they need with smaller portions because they tend to have the highest nutrient density. Super-premium puppy food will be easier for your puppy to digest than puppy food in the other two categories. This means that your puppy will defecate less because more of the food is used by the body.

If your puppy has a small appetite and struggles to gain a healthy amount of weight, it may be worth a visit to a veterinary clinic or specialty store to buy super-premium puppy food. This product contains more fat than the other two types of puppy food, making it more delicious to the puppy.

Premium products

Premium name brand products are not as expensive as super-premium puppy foods, but they still contain a decent level of quality ingredients. You can purchase premium name-brand products at many grocery stores. An average puppy should be happy and healthy eating these products.

Specialty brands are usually super-premium or premium quality. They typically cost more than other puppy food because they are often not made in bulk and are only distributed regionally. For this reason, specialty brands may be harder to find.


Low-cost store brand generic foods are sold in discount outlets or grocery stores. Cheap ingredients result in lower digestibility and less tasty food. Feeding your store-brand puppy food to your puppy will increase how much it poops. Low-cost puppy food contains fillers that are not digestible. Most of the fat in this food is indigestible. Also, M=many low-cost puppy brands are made from meats selected from animals that are diseased, dying, dead, or even decaying.

If you can afford to do so, never buy low-cost food for your puppy. It is simply not as healthy or enjoyable for your puppy.

Holistic feed

You can find holistic feed inside specialty pet stores. This food includes human-grade meats, a grain carb mix of high standards, and digestible fats. Most are steroid and hormone-free. Like other super-premium puppy foods, holistic feed requires less bulk to meet daily nutritional requirements because it is calorie-rich.


Look for a puppy food that uses meat protein and not animal byproducts or vegetable and grain protein.


Your puppy’s food should be 42% carbohydrates and be made from rice, barley, and oats.

Fats and preservatives

Fats and preservatives should make up about 15-20% of your puppy’s food and come from chicken fats or fish oil.


Although you might more vitamins are better for your puppy’s health, vitamins should only make up 1% of puppy food.

Puppy food price range

For good-quality puppy food, you should budget between $38 and $60 for a 4kg bag. If you’re purchasing smaller bags, most products will cost somewhere between $1 and $9.


Should puppies eat dry or wet food?

Wet food offers more stimulation for your puppy. Its scent is stronger and more appetizing. However, if you start giving your wet food to your puppy but want to provide it with dry food in the future, it will be challenging to convince them to eat it. One good idea is to mix dry and wet food from the beginning, and you can either transition to completely dry or completely wet in the future.

How many dog treats should I give my puppy in a day?

Treats should make up no more than 10% of your puppy’s diet. How many times a day you wish to give your puppy a treat is up to you, so long as it accounts for 10% or less of their daily calories.

If you want to give your dog some natural treats, you can provide them with a carrot, green peas, watermelon, bananas, cooked sweet potato, or broccoli.

bestcovery team.jpg
Our research team searches out the best of everything so that you can confidently pick the perfect products and services for your needs.
Related Content
Go to top