Best Puppy Foods For 2022

Disclosure: dogadvisorycouncil.com is reader-supported. When you buy through the links on this article, we may earn an affiliate commission at no added cost to you.

Every pet parent does everything in their power to provide the best things in life to their little fur baby. Choosing the best puppy food for your pup is one of the most important choices you’ll make for their health and well being.

Best Dry puppy food brands

Wellness

Our review

Based on the ingredients listed on the food bag alone, the Wellness puppy food is an above average quality of dry food. Further more, it is supported by omega fatty acids, antioxidants, glucosamine, probiotics and taurine for a healthy heart.

Customer rating: 4.5 Stars

Pros

  • It contains a fat-to-protein ratio of about 51%, which is more than several brands
  • Significant amount of animal protein and other healthy sources of protein without by products and fillers
  • Boosts immunity and supports joint and bone health

Cons

  • One of the ingredients is tomato pomace. Tomato pomace is a controversial ingredient
  • The carbohydrate levels may be a little too high for some puppies
  • Chicken meal, the 2nd ingredient of the bag is not as top notch an ingredient as real chicken
Bestseller No. 1
Wellness Natural Pet Food Complete Health Natural Dry Dog Food, Chicken & Oatmeal, 5-Pound Bag
  • ADULT DRY DOG FOOD: Nutritionally dense crunchy kibble with ingredients such as chicken and oatmeal for whole body health
  • ALL NATURAL: Created by nutritionists, veterinarians and animal lovers, our recipes provide an ideal balance of nature’s finest ingredients, carefully selected to nourish and sustain your dog’s wellbeing
Bestseller No. 2
Wellness Natural Pet Food Complete Health Natural Dry Small Breed Healthy Weight Dog Food, Turkey & Rice, 12-Pound Bag
  • This adult small breed dry dog food’s ingredient is turkey; high quality protein with wholesome grains like rice
  • Our crunchy kibble has no meat byproducts, fillers, or artificial preservatives
Bestseller No. 3
Wellness Petite Entrees Mini Fillets Natural Wet Small Breed Dog Food, Roasted Chicken, Beef, Carrots & Green Beans, 3-Ounce Cup (Pack of 24)
  • ENJOY A LIFETIME OF WELLBEING: High quality proteins and antioxidant rich veggies are expertly balanced to deliver a complete diet packed with the nutrients your small breed dog needs to thrive
  • WHOLE BODY HEALTH: Premium, nutrient rich ingredients support strong immune systems, optimal energy, digestive health and healthy skin and coat

Orijen

Our review

The brand claims that All nine varieties of the brand are biologically appropriate for all life stages, small breeds, puppies, large breed puppies, seniors, or for weight management. Apart from using whole food and animal ingredients, Orijen also contains Omega-3 and -6, as well as glucosamine and chondroitin and probiotics for digestive health

Customer Rating: 4.7 Stars

Pros

  • The first 5 ingredients consist of pure animal protein and no meals
  • No controversial ingredients used
  • Grain free

Cons

  • Pricey
  • They don’t make specialized food for health conditions
Bestseller No. 1
ORIJEN Dog Original Recipe, 4.5lb, High-Protein Grain-Free Dry Dog Food, Packaging May Vary
  • ORIJEN Original dog food delivers a diet rich and varied in fresh, whole animal ingredients from free-run chicken and turkey, wild-caught fish, and cage-free eggs
  • With 85% quality animal ingredients, ORIJEN nourishes dogs according to their natural, biological needs
Bestseller No. 2
ORIJEN Dog Senior Recipe, 25lb, High-Protein Grain-Free Senior Dry Dog Food, Packaging May Vary
  • ORIJEN Senior dog food delivers a diet rich and varied in fresh, whole animal ingredients from free-run chicken and turkey, wild-caught fish, and cage-free eggs
  • With 85% quality animal ingredients, ORIJEN nourishes dogs according to their natural, biological needs
Bestseller No. 3
ORIJEN Fit & Trim Dog Food, Healthy Weight Recipe, Grain Free, Fresh & Raw Animal Ingredients, 13lb
  • ORIJEN Fit & Trim dog food delivers a diet rich and varied in fresh, whole animal ingredients from free-run chicken and turkey, wild-caught fish, and cage-free eggs
  • With 85% quality animal ingredients, ORIJEN nourishes dogs according to their natural, biological needs

Farmina N&D Low-grain puppy formula

Our review

This Farmina N&D Pumpkin recipe is a high-protein kibble brand. It is made with locally sourced ingredients and is an excellent option for pets prone to weight gain as this food won’t spike their blood sugar. Dog owners noted the tastiness of this product which attracts even the pickiest of eaters.

Customer rating: 4.3 Stars

Pros

Cons

Price: 94.95$ for 26.4 lbs


Instinct Raw Boost Puppy Grain Free Recipe Dry Dog Food

Our review

The real ingredients are inspired by raw. They do not use soy, corn, wheat, artificial flavors or preservatives or other filler ingredients in our recipes.

Customer rating: 4.5 Stars

Pros

  • The raw coated kibbles strike a healthy balance between processed kibbles and raw food
  • The bag contains 85% meat and organs & 15% non-GMO fruits and vegetables; vitamins & minerals
  • An easy and safe way to introduce raw feeding

Cons

  • Pricey, as compared to some other brands that offer similar ingredients
  • Very limited grain-inclusive options
Bestseller No. 1
Farmina Natural And Delicious Chicken And Ancestral Low-Grain Puppy Formula Small Bites Dry Dog Food, 5.5-Pound
  • Specialty Kibble Size: Small Bites
  • Complete Dog Food For All Life Stages; Gluten Free, No Peas, Lentils Or Pea Protein
Bestseller No. 2
Farmina Natural And Delicious Lamb And Ancestral Low-Grain Formula Small Bites Dry Dog Food, 5.5-Pound
  • Specialty Kibble Size: Small Bites
  • Complete Dog Food For All Life Stages; Gluten Free, No Peas, Lentils Or Pea Protein
Bestseller No. 3
Farmina Natural And Delicious Chicken/Ancestral Low-Grain Puppy Formula Dry Dog Food 5.5 Lbs
  • High Level Of Fresh Protein, Limited Carbohydrate, Low Fiber Formulas
  • No Peas, Lentils Or Pea Protein

Taste of the Wild

Our review

Taste of the wild puppy food is packed with unique combination of fowl and wild game. The blend of multiple sources of animal protein ensure adequate amounts of the building blocks for a healthy body for a puppy.

Customer rating: 4.7 stars

Pros

  • Offers both grain-free and grain inclusive options
  • Good quality animal meat sources
  • Includes natural and organic sources of vitamins and minerals

Cons

  • Multiple recalls in the past
  • Accessibility issue

Price: 56.04$ for 28lbs

  • Acana

Our review

Acana uses ethically sourced ingredients and uses quality animal meat such as organs, cartilage, and bones. They have a range of several variations from limited ingredient to recipes for all life stages.

Customer rating: 4.6 Stars

Pros

  • Acana is a sister brand to Origen, an already established premium pet food brand
  • Offers biologically appropriate recipes
  • Ingredient transparency

Cons

  • Previous lawsuits
  • No wet food options
  • Accessibility issue
Bestseller No. 1
Taste of the Wild High Prairie Canine Grain-Free Recipe with Roasted Bison and Roasted Venison Adult Dry Dog Food, Made with High Protein from Real Meat and Guaranteed Nutrients and Probiotics 28lb
  • Taste of the Wild High Prairie with ROASTED BISON and VENISON dry dog food; REAL MEAT is the #1 ingredient; high-protein (32%) to help support bones, joints and LEAN, STRONG MUSCLES
  • Nutrient-rich and provides the energy to thrive; vitamins and minerals from FRUITS and SUPERFOODS; omega fatty acids for healthy SKIN and COAT
Bestseller No. 2
Taste of the Wild with Ancient Grains Ancient Mountain Canine Recipe with Roasted Lamb Dry Dog Food, Made with High Protein from Real Lamb and Guaranteed Nutrients and Probiotics 28lb
  • Taste of the Wild with Ancient Grains Ancient Mountain with ROASTED LAMB dry dog food; REAL MEAT is the #1 ingredient; 25% protein to help support bones, joints and LEAN, STRONG MUSCLES
  • Nutrient-rich and provides the energy to thrive; vitamins and minerals from SUPERFOODS and ANCIENT GRAINS; omega fatty acids for healthy SKIN and COAT
Bestseller No. 3
Taste of the Wild Pacific Stream Grain-Free Dry Dog Food with Smoke-Flavored Salmon 28lb
  • Taste of the Wild Pacific Stream with SMOKE-FLAVORED SALMON dry dog food; REAL FISH is the #1 ingredient; high-protein (32%) to help support bones, joints and LEAN, STRONG MUSCLES
  • Nutrient-rich and provides the energy to thrive; vitamins and minerals from SUPERFOODS; omega fatty acids for healthy SKIN and COAT

Open farm

Our review

Open farm puppy food uses ethically sourced ingredients. The brand also provides customers with the ability to trace the origin of every ingredient using the lot number on the bag. This ensures complete transparency.

Customer rating: 4.5 Stars

Pros

  • The recipe and the ingredients are both ethically sourced and meet AAFCO standards
  • Ingredients can be traced back to the original source
  • Loaded with fresh meaty protein for muscle development, probiotic fiber for digestion, and vitamins essential for puppies

Cons

  • On the pricier side
Bestseller No. 1
Open Farm Wild-Caught Salmon & Ancient Grains Dry Dog Food, Sustainably Fished Salmon Recipe with Wholesome Grains and No Artificial Flavors or Preservatives, 4 lbs
  • SUSTAINABLY CAUGHT FISH: Our fresh Pacific salmon recipe is made with fish that is wild-caught using only the recommended sustainable fishing practices that are 100% Ocean Wise certified, so you can feel good about the food in your dog’s bowl.
  • BALANCED HEALTH AND TASTE: Open Farm’s Wild-Caught Salmon & Ancient Grains Dry Dog Food formula is loaded with meaty animal protein, whole ancient grains, and pure local produce without antibiotics, artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives.
Bestseller No. 2
Open Farm Homestead Turkey and Chicken Grain-Free Dry Dog Food, 100% Certified Humane Poultry Recipe with Non-GMO Superfoods and No Artificial Flavors or Preservatives, 4.5 lbs
  • FARM-RAISED POULTRY: Our fresh turkey and chicken recipe is made with prime cuts of real meat raised in high-welfare American farms without the use of additives and is 100% Certified Humane so you can feel good about the food in your dog’s bowl.
  • PREMIUM WELLNESS: Open Farm’s Homestead Turkey and Chicken Dry Dog Food formula is backed by science and loaded with meaty protein for strong muscles, probiotic fiber for digestion, and essential vitamins and minerals in a taste your dog will love.
Bestseller No. 3
Open Farm Freeze Dried Raw Dog Food, Humanely Raised Meat Recipe with Non-GMO Superfoods and No Artificial Flavors or Preservatives, Homestead Turkey Recipe Freeze Dried – 22oz
  • ETHICALLY SOURCED MEAT: Our gluten-free recipe is made with pure meat, organs, and bone from turkeys raised in the USA without added colors or by-products. Plus, it’s Certified Humane, so you can feel good about the food that’s in your dog’s bowl.
  • MORE WAYS TO FEED: Boost their kibbles with the ultimate meaty taste that can’t be beat by other wet mixers or toppers. Mix it into meals as either dry nuggets or use its absorbency to rehydrate it with a little water for soft, moist bites.

Best Raw/Freeze Dried Puppy Food

Stella & Chewy’s Freeze-Dried Raw Perfectly Puppy Dinner Patties Dog Food

Our review

These freeze-dried patties are made of 95% salmon, beef, organs and bone; formulated specifically for puppies with DHA. Each Stella’s and Chewie recipe is made in small batches from the finest ingredients.

Customer rating: 4.7 Stars

Pros

  • Easy for canines of all life stages to digest
  • No fillers
  • Fortified with minerals, viramins, fibre and probiotics

Cons

  • Pricey
  • Accessibility issue
  • Dinner patties can crumble easily
Bestseller No. 1
Stella & Chewy’s Freeze Dried Raw Dinner Patties – Crafted for Puppies – Grain Free, Protein Rich Perfectly Puppy Chicken & Salmon Recipe – 14 oz Bag
  • Love Is Raw: Our Freeze-Dried Raw dinner patties offer the protein-rich taste dogs crave with the nutrition they deserve
  • Irresistible Taste Dogs Love! Made of 95% salmon, beef, organs and bone; formulated specifically for puppies with DHA, Vitamin E and L-Carnitine to help aid body and brain development, our grass-fed Beef and wild-caught salmon recipe will delight your pup
Bestseller No. 2
Stella & Chewy’s Freeze Dried Raw Dinner Patties – Crafted for Puppies – Grain Free, Protein Rich Perfectly Puppy Beef & Salmon Recipe – 14 oz Bag
  • Love Is Raw: Our Freeze-Dried Raw dinner patties offer the protein-rich taste dogs crave with the nutrition they deserve
  • Irresistible Taste Dogs Love! Made of 95% salmon, beef, organs and bone; formulated specifically for puppies with DHA, Vitamin E and L-Carnitine to help aid body and brain development, our grass-fed Beef and wild-caught salmon recipe will delight your pup
Bestseller No. 3
Stella & Chewy’s Freeze Dried Raw Dinner Patties – Crafted for Puppies – Grain Free, Protein Rich Perfectly Puppy Beef & Salmon Recipe – 5.5 oz Bag
  • Love Is Raw: Our Freeze-Dried Raw dinner patties offer the protein-rich taste dogs crave with the nutrition they deserve
  • Irresistible Taste Dogs Love! Made of 95% salmon, beef, organs and bone; formulated specifically for puppies with DHA, Vitamin E and L-Carnitine to help aid body and brain development, our grass-fed Beef and wild-caught salmon recipe will delight your pup

Darwin’s natural selection

Our review

Transitioning a dog from dry food to raw can be a challenging. Feeding the right organ meats, sourcing it from an ethical and credible buyer, ensuring quality and ensuring an easy transition for the pup, as not all dogs may be equipped to eat raw meat. Darwin’s makes this incredibly easy. Every shipment contains pamphlets on how to handle raw meat, how to slowly switch the pup from traditional food to raw, and tips and tricks if pet parents are having a hard time getting them to eat.

Customer rating: 4.5 Stars

Pros

  • Specially crafted raw meals by nutritional experts
  • 75% real meat and 25% vegetables make up for 100% organic ingredients
  • Darwin’s provides feeding recommendations customized to your recurring shipments

Cons

  • May be more expensive for larger dogs
  • Requires high standards of handling safety
  • Demands quite a lot of freezer space

Price: The prices vary as per the pound size, product line and the protein choice

More details: https://www.darwinspet.com/product/raw-dog-food-ns/


Spot and Tango- Unkibble

Our review

We rate the Unkibble from Spot and Tango very highly not only for their 100% human grade ingredients, but also for the fact that it doesn’t take up freezer space and can be easily stored on the shelf. It is a premium quality semi dry/moist product.

Customer rating: 4.8 Stars

Pros

  • Contains above-average protein, below-average fat and above-average carbs when compared to a typical moist dog food
  • 100% whole ingredients
  • Cheaper as compared to several raw food options
  • Has a high moisture content
  • Meals customized for your dog’s weight, breed and activity level

Cons

  • Pricy as compared to traditional kibbles
  • May be difficult to source in several areas

Price: UnKibbleTM plans start at $7/week, and Fresh plans start at $15/week. However, exact cost will depend on a variety of factors including age, weight, activity level, and more


Primal freeze dried

Our review

The Primal Pet Food company uses fresh, human-grade meats that are antibiotic and steroid free. This ethical and credible brand believes that educating pet owners about the importance of quality ingredients in pet foods will help pet owners make better choices for their beloved pet.

Customer rating: 4.7 Stars

Pros

  • Wide variety of options
  • Their food contains fish oil. Depending on its level of freshness and purity, fish oil should be considered a commendable addition as they contain healthy Omega 3 fatty acids
  • Their ethically sourced organic ingredients comply with notably more stringent government standards

Cons

  • Limited accessibility
  • Expensive

Price: 33.88$ for 14 oz

Bestseller No. 1
Primal Freeze Dried Dog Food Nuggets Turkey & Sardine Formula, Crafted in The USA Grain Free Raw Dog Food, 14 oz
  • Made with fresh, cage-free turkey raised without antibiotics, steroids or added hormones, wild-caught sardines and USDA certified organic fruits and vegetables. No corn, wheat, soy, lentils, or legumes.
  • Convenient and delicious raw nutrition that is shelf-stable and ready to serve. Simply crumble the freeze-dried nuggets and rehydrate with water, Bone Broth, or Raw Goat Milk.
Bestseller No. 2
Primal Freeze Dried Dog Food Nuggets Beef Formula, Crafted in The USA Grain Free Raw Dog Food, 14 oz
  • Made with fresh, grass-fed beef raised without antibiotics, steroids or added hormones and USDA certified organic fruits and vegetables. No corn, wheat, soy, lentils, or legumes.
  • Convenient and delicious raw nutrition that is shelf-stable and ready to serve. Simply crumble the freeze-dried nuggets and rehydrate with water, Bone Broth, or Raw Goat Milk.
Bestseller No. 3
Primal Freeze Dried Dog Food Nuggets Lamb Formula, Crafted in The USA Grain Free Raw Dog Food, 14 oz
  • Made with fresh, crate-free Lamb raised without antibiotics, steroids or added hormones and USDA certified organic fruits and vegetables. No corn, wheat, soy, lentils, or legumes.
  • Convenient and delicious raw nutrition that is shelf-stable and ready to serve. Simply crumble the freeze-dried nuggets and rehydrate with water, Bone Broth, or Raw Goat Milk.

What to look for while buying puppy food?

1. First 5 ingredients

Did you know, the 1st five ingredients of your dog’s bag of food is what makes up almost 80% of your dog’s food. The first five ingredients must ideally contain –

  • Protein
  • Healthy fats
  • Essential vitamins and minerals
  • Grains like quinoa, brown rice, barley and millet

If the bag contains any of the following ingredients in the top 5, it is highly recommended to avoid them –

  • Ingredients that your dog is allergic to
  • Meat by-products
  • High starch grains like corn and wheat
  • Preservatives like ethoxyquin, BHT and BHA

2. Guaranteed Analysis

The guaranteed analysis on the bag of your puppy’s food displays the macronutrient levels in the food such as Crude Protein, Crude fat, Crude Fiber, moisture and additional information like calcium, omega 3, and sodium content.

  • Protein-to-fat ratio

When it comes to protein to fat ratio, experts recommend 22.5% protein and 8.5% fat for puppies, compared to minimum 18% protein and 5.5% fat for adult dogs. Growing puppies require extra dietary protein while they grow and develop.

  • Nutritional adequacy

The nutritional adequacy statement on a bag of dog food  is something that indicates that the food is complete and balanced for a particular life stage, such as puppyhood, reproduction, adult or senior. It also indicates whether the food is intended for supplemental feeding or regular feeding.

  • Your dog’s activity level, weight and allergies

Growing puppies, especially the active ones and working dogs require a diet that is high on protein as well as fat. However, overweight dogs may need to consume more protein and less fat to help shed the extra pounds.

Conclusion

Choosing the right food for our puppy is a journey in itself. If it wasn’t challenging enough already, every puppy has their certain set of likes, dislikes and preferences, not to mention, allergies and reactions. Hitting the right spot can be the most rewarding experience not only for the human, but also the dog.

Certain brands listed above may definitely create a dent in your wallet. But, buying a cheaper bag of food without research just to save a few bucks may just be a penny-wise pound-foolish decision as those saved bucks would just end up in the veterinarian’s cash register eventually. 

Photo of author
Siddhika Bhat

Siddhika is a certified dog trainer, behaviorist, and professional pet writer. She has the qualifications and experience in the theoretical as well as real-life applications of science-based dog training techniques. With the expertise to write about a plethora of dog-related topics and a personal interest in dog cognition and behavior, Siddhika is an out-and-out canine nerd.