Bringing home a new puppy is an overwhelming process, full of new experiences and decisions for us humans. Many owners struggle during this time of newness because when we try to make a decision, there are so many options available! At the very forefront of all these decisions is what food to feed your puppy. You want to feed your dog the best puppy food available, so what brands are best?

Let’s discuss

  • Why puppies need puppy food
  • The difference between adult dog food and puppy food
  • Which brands make the best puppy food
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Dog Food Is Dog Food… Right?

Dog food is dog food… right? Wrong! Each brand and type of dog food has different ingredients, different proportions, and different goals for the dogs that eat it. Puppies have different dietary needs than adult dogs, requiring higher protein and fat percentages to support their often rapid growth. The best puppy foods contain well-balanced nutrients to support your puppy’s growing body and immune system.

Now that we know that our puppies need puppy food to grow properly, how do we go about choosing one? Just one stroll down a dog food aisle, perusing all the different dog food brands, could cause anyone a little anxiety. We want what’s best for our dogs, but it can be difficult to understand the labels and ingredients to make a choice. 

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Dog Food Advisor

Dog Food Advisor is a website designed to provide information on dog food brands to the public. Their goal is to help dog owners make informed decisions when choosing food for their pups. Since 2008, the founder and editor, Mike Sagman, and his team of researchers and veterinarians have reviewed over 5,000 dog food products, including judging the best puppy food. They consider a brand’s ingredients, safety practices, and recall history, among other things. The staff over at Dog Food Advisor take some of the guesswork out of choosing the best puppy food. They read labels and interpret the information, so you don’t have to. 

With a reputation for fairness, Dog Food Advisor has created a web of people within and without the dog food industry to share information and insider tips on dog foods. Since 2009, Dog Food Advisor has investigated and announced over 200 dog food product recalls.

What Is a Recall?

What is a dog food product recall? A recall is an official action taken by a dog food product manufacturer or brand announcing that a product may cause health issues or even death. A recall intends to remove the product from commerce and inform consumers to discard the product if they have already purchased it. Any dog owner can see the value in knowing if your dog’s food could potentially harm them. You can sign up for automatic updates on dog food recalls right on the Dog Food Advisor website.

Ranking Foods

In addition to keeping an eye on dog food brands when they might need to recall a potentially harmful product, Dog Food Advisor ranks types of dog food each year and provides letter grades for each type of food. Where does your puppy food rank?

brown and white french bulldog in green and yellow hat

Best Puppy Food of 2021

This list is Dog Food Advisor’s recommendations for the best puppy food of 2021. The organization does not take free product samples from brands or provide advertising to remain neutral. This list is in no particular order. Did your puppy food make the cut?

Wellness Complete Health Puppy Food

Wellness Complete Healthy Puppy Food gets 4.5 out of 5 stars. The food provides adequate nutrition for all puppies, including large breeds. Its first five ingredients are chicken, chicken meal, oatmeal, ground barley, and peas. It’s important to note that this kind of food is grain-inclusive, though that isn’t necessarily a sign it is unhealthy. Read more about grain-inclusive vs. grain-free dog foods. The deboned chicken and chicken meal provide the animal protein for this formula. The dry matter analysis shows this recipe has 32% protein, 20% fat, and 40% carbohydrates; these numbers indicate the fat-to-protein ratio is 62%, which is exceptional for a best puppy food.

Purina Pro Plan Puppy Food

Purina Pro Plan Puppy Food also received 4.5 out of 5 stars from Dog Food Advisor. This puppy food is best for small and medium-breed puppies, not quite meeting the strict nutritional requirements large and giant breed dogs need. For the Puppy Chicken and Rice recipe, the first five ingredients are chicken, rice, poultry by-product meal, corn gluten meal, and whole-grain wheat. The presence of rice and wheat makes this recipe another grain-inclusive option for the best puppy food.

The bulk of this food’s animal protein comes from the poultry by-product meal. The dry analysis confirms the recipe contains 32% protein, 20% fat, and 40% carbs, with a given fat-to-protein ratio of 64%. Pro Plan is one of the best puppy foods most often recommended by veterinarians.

Blue Buffalo Life Protection Puppy

Blue Buffalo Life Protection Puppy is another recipe geared towards all puppies, including large breeds. This grain-inclusive recipe’s first 5 ingredients are deboned chicken, chicken meal, brown rice, oatmeal, and barley. The majority of its meat protein comes from fresh chicken and chicken meal. The dry matter analysis shows the recipe contains 30% protein, 18% fat, and around 44% carbs. The fat-to-protein ratio is 59%. This brand is also one of the more affordable options on the best puppy food list.

Head here to read more about Dog Advisor’s Best Puppy Food of 2021.

What’s Best For Your Best Friend

When it comes to the best puppy food for your furbaby, you’re on the right track. How do we know? The mere fact that you are researching which food you should feed your puppy means you care and want to make the best, most informed decision possible. With you in their corner, your puppy is in for a long, healthy, happy life.

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