I’ve prepared a list of puppy food that I recommend for various reasons.
- Quality of whole food utilized
- Cooking method
- If they use meat meals or not
- If they add vitamin packs or not
Note: Some links in this article are affiliate links (Amazon Associates or other programs I participate in). At no charge to you, as an affiliate, I earn from qualifying purchases.
Rapidly growing puppies have a greater need for nutrients. The goal when feeding a puppy is to feed them so that they:
- Grow to be a healthy adult
- Grow at a healthy rate
- Grow to prevent developmental and orthopedic disorders
When Maggie was a puppy she was on kibble for the first month and then I transitioned her to cooked food.
Orbit was weaned onto raw and at that time I switched both of the girls to raw food.
As a Certified Canine Nutritionist, it is of my belief that puppies need complete and balanced food until they are at least 8 months old. And if you want to feed kibble during that time, this list is for you.
Buy A Commercially Prepared Food
Because puppies have very specific requirements, I recommend that for the first eight (and you can even go up to 12) months that you feed a commercially prepared food that is labeled so that it says the following:
Exceeds AAFCO canine nutritional standards as a complete meal for all life stages.
….or especially formulated for puppies.
Carna4: Any formula
Highlights: They use whole foods, don’t add synthetics, and air dry the food. They also use real eggs which you don’t see in any other brand. Additionally, they test every batch of Carna4 for 15 different pathogens and toxins. Nothing leaves their bakery until it is checked thoroughly for safety.
Why is this brand recommended? If I attempted to make kibble it would probably look a lot like Carna4.
I have this stocked in my home – I use it for our Furbo and if we are going to go on a road trip and don’t have access to a fridge, this is what I will feed.
This kibble costs more than any of the options below but it’s because it’s formulating with whole foods.
29% protein for the duck recipe.
Highlights: Clean ingredients and also doesn’t use a vitamin pack. The appearance is more of a soft square jerky. I’ve bought this and fed it as treats. It doesn’t fit in the Furbo.
Why is this brand recommended? I love how clean the ingredients are. My two dogs Maggie and Orbit absolutely love this food. I have only tried it once but it remains on the top of my list due to the quality.
Unfortunately, it’s not available on Amazon you would have to order it directly.
Canidae: PURE With Wholesome Grains Dry Puppy Food with Salmon & Oatmeal
Highlights: Responsibly sourced proteins. The salmon formula has DHA – good for trainability. This brand also includes also adds taurine and uses wholesome grains like barley and oatmeal.
Why is this brand recommended? Salmon and DHA are extremely important the first few months for healthy brain development.
Bixbi: DRY DOG FOOD – ORIGINAL RECIPE PUPPY
(turkey, chicken and fish)
The Liberty line starts with fresh turkey, chicken, and fish and adds whole ingredients, never cheap fillers like chicken meal or fish meal. Minimally processed and higher digestibility.
Why is this brand recommended? Because they don’t use any meat meals. I also like that it has fish. But it does have chicken so if you want to stay away from chicken then this would not work.
Farmina: LAMB & BLUEBERRY PUPPY MINI
Made with fresh and dried meats, no meat meals. It’s a low glycemic formula so it’s a great option for dogs that need food that won’t spike blood sugar.
Why was this brand recommended? Because they don’t use any meat meals. Also, it has a high protein level. The only thing to note is that lamb can be a warming protein that might trigger a dog if they have allergies.
They also have a cod formula but you have to order that one directly on their website.
Hound & Gatos Natural Grain-Free Dry Dog Food, Grain-Free Cage-Free Lamb
Only uses fresh meats, no meat meals from cage-free, grass-fed, or wild-caught sources. They only use ancient grains and they also add taurine.
Why was this brand recommended? They use cage-free, grass-fed and wild-caught sources and if this is important to you or the puppy owner this is a good choice.
Their kibble can be fed to puppies.
The Honest Kitchen Whole Food Clusters Human Grade Dry Puppy Food (chicken)
Human-grade dog food. They don’t use “extrusion” Clusters are made by mixing small batches of fresh ingredients, cold-pressing them into bite-sized clusters, and then gently slow roasting and dehydrating them to maintain the nutrients, aroma, and taste of whole foods.
Why was this brand recommended? I love that it is human grade and roasted. The only reason this brand isn’t listed as the number one recommendation is that it only comes in a chicken formula.
Open Farm Grain-Free Dry Dog Food, Humanely Raised Meat Recipe
Certified Humane Chicken and Pork from audited family farms plus Ocean Wise certified wild-caught salmon so you can feel good about the food in your dog’s bowl. Available on Amazon.
Why was this brand recommended? They really stand by their sourcing. The only reason this isn’t rated higher is because the puppy formula only comes in chicken.
You Can Transition After 8 Months
If your goal is to transition to a home-cooked or raw meal, you can transition when your puppy is at least 8 months. This gives you time to learn how to create a properly balanced meal.
You can buy home-cooked or raw meals that are labeled “complete and balanced” or book a nutrition call with me so I can help you with your first recipes.