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10 Best Vet-Recommended Puppy Foods in 2024 – Reviews & Top Picks

Written by: Dr. Lauren Demos DVM (Veterinarian)

Last Updated on April 18, 2024 by Dogster Team

10 Best Vet-Recommended Puppy Foods in 2024 – Reviews & Top Picks

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Dr. Lauren Demos  Photo

WRITTEN BY

Dr. Lauren Demos

DVM (Veterinarian)

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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Cocker Spaniel puppy eating_Shutterstock_Switlana Sonyashna

We spend a lot of time thinking about feeding ourselves and 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 does or doesn’t taste good?

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 that are recommended by veterinarians, so that you can go about finding the right food for your furry family member!

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A Glance At Our Favorites in 2024

Rating Image Product Details
Best Overall
Winner
The Farmer's Dog Fresh Dog Food The Farmer's Dog Fresh Dog Food
  • Customized meal plans 
  • Plans grow with your puppy
  • Veterinarian-formulated recipes
  • Budget Buy
    Second place
    Iams Proactive Health Smart Puppy Iams Proactive Health Smart Puppy
  • Number one ingredient is chicken
  • Great all around food that is a great value
  • Puppies love the taste
  • Third place
    Hill's Science Diet Puppy Large Breed Hill's Science Diet Puppy Large Breed
  • Good for large breed puppies
  • Reputable brand
  • Promotes strong bones and strong teeth
  • Royal Canin Small Puppy Royal Canin Small Puppy
  • Specifically for small breed puppies
  • Smaller kibble size is easier to eat
  • Includes a blend of antioxidants and vitamins
  • Purina ONE Natural Puppy Food Purina ONE Natural Puppy Food
  • Top ingredient is chicken
  • Supports the immune system
  • Promotes healthy skin and coat
  • The 10 Best Vet-Recommended Puppy Foods

    1. The Farmer’s Dog Fresh Food – Best Overall

    The farmer's dog Turkey recipe fresh

    Features
    • No artificial ingredients or colors
    • High protein for growth
    • Free of fillers and preservatives

    There’s a lot that goes into getting the perfect food for a puppy, and The Farmer’s Dog completely recognizes that. That’s why they worked with a team of veterinarians to develop all their dog food recipes, and their chicken recipe is no exception.

    They take everything about your puppy into consideration and pre-portion the meals so all you need to do is feed it to them at the right time! The Farmer’s Dog only uses the highest-quality fresh ingredients that even the pickiest eaters love, and it’s extremely easy to sign up and use this service.

    Even better, The Farmer’s Dog plans grow with your pup, so you don’t have to worry about transitioning them to a different diet in the future. It might cost a little bit more for one of these meal plans, but you’re feeding your puppy the best of the best, and that’s worth every penny.

    Pros
    • Customized meal plans 
    • Plans grow with your puppy
    • Only the highest-quality ingredients
    • Veterinarian-formulated recipes
    • Great for picky eaters
    Cons
    • Pricey

    2. Iams Proactive Health Smart Puppy – Budget Buy

    Iams ProActive Health Smart Puppy Dry Dog Food

    Features
    • The number one ingredient is chicken
    • Great all-around food that is a great 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.

    Pros
    • Easy to find online or in stores
    • Puppies love the taste
    • Balanced nutrition
    Cons
    • May not be ideal for puppies that don’t like chicken

    3. Hill’s Science Diet Puppy Food

    Hill's Science Diet Puppy Large Breed Chicken Meal & Oat Recipe Dry Dog Food

    Features
    • Specific for large breed puppies
    • Highly reputable brand

    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.

    Pros
    • Good for large breed puppies
    • Reputable brand
    Cons
    • May be difficult to find in stores
    • Not ideal for houses that also have small-breed puppies

    4. Royal Canin Small Puppy

    Royal Canin Small Puppy Dry Dog Food

    Features
    • Formulated specifically for small breed puppies
    • Meets higher energy needs of small breeds
    • Reputable brand

    Royal Canin is a reputable company making quality diets for dogs and cats, and this 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!

    Pros
    • Specifically for small-breed puppies
    • Smaller kibble size is easier to eat
    Cons
    • May be difficult to find in stores
    • May not be suitable for households that also have large-breed puppies

    5. Purina ONE Natural Puppy Food

    Purina ONE Natural, High Protein +Plus Healthy Puppy Formula Dry Puppy Food

    Features
    • No artificial ingredients or colors
    • High protein for growth
    • Great value

    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 seem to like it! 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!

    Pros
    • The top ingredient is chicken
    • Puppies love the taste
    Cons
    • Might not be the best food for large-breed puppies, which have different growth requirements
    • Dry food, which some puppies might not prefer

    6. Royal Canin Puppy – Best Canned Puppy Food

    Royal Canin Puppy Canned Dog Food

    Features
    • Pate-style food is easy to eat
    • Contains added nutrients to help the puppy’s GI tract

    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.

    Pros
    • Good for puppies that don’t like dry food
    • Good for puppies that need more moisture in their diet
    • Can be used as the main food, or added on top of dry food
    Cons
    • Can be difficult to find in stores
    • Bulkier to store than dry food

    7. Purina Puppy Chow – Best Availability

    Purina Puppy Chow Tender & Crunchy (1)

    Features
    • Formulated for growing puppies
    • No artificial ingredients

    Purina Puppy Chow can be found in most stores and online with relative ease. Also a favorite of pups, due to its taste and crunch, it’s good for a pinch, or as the main food.

    Pros
    • Easy to find in grocery stores
    • Good value
    Cons
    • The primary protein is beef, which may not be ideal for some puppies

    8. Purina ProPlan Lamb – Best Chicken and Beef Alternative

    Purina Pro Plan High Protein Dry Puppy Food

    Features
    • Good alternative protein
    • High in protein
    • Contains probiotics to support immune and GI health

    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 who have sensitivities to either of these proteins, this is a good alternative.

    Pros
    • Suitable for all breeds
    • Fully balanced diet
    Cons
    • Some dogs may not like a lamb

    9. Purina ProPlan Puppy Sensitive Skin and Stomach – Best for Sensitivities

    Purina ProPlan Puppy Sensitive Skin And Stomach

    Features
    • Good choice for puppies with stomach upset
    • Helps with dry skin and poor haircoat

    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 doesn’t seem quite normal. Purina ProPlan puppy food made specifically for these types of issues can sometimes be helpful.

    Pros
    • Easy-to-digest formula
    • Most puppies like the ingredients
    Cons
    • Might not resolve skin or GI issues
    • Pickier pups may not like the taste

    10. Pedigree Puppy Growth & Protection – Best for Fussy Eaters

    Pedigree Puppy Growth & Protection Chicken & Vegetable Flavor Dry Dog Food

    Features
    • No high fructose corn syrup
    • No artificial flavors
    • Crunchy texture

    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.

    Pros
    • Good for most breeds
    • Easy to find in most stores
    Cons
    • Might not be suitable for large breeds
    • The bag doesn’t reseal

    divider-dog

    Buyer’s Guide: What to Consider When Choosing Your Puppy’s Food Brand

    cute beagle puppy eating at home
    Image Credit: New Africa, Shutterstock

    While choosing a puppy food can be daunting, breaking the process into steps can be helpful.

    First, it is 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 food for the first time.

    divider-pawFinal Verdict

    Picking a puppy’s food is not an easy challenge, but hopefully, these reviews make the process slightly easier. Our choice for the best overall food is The Farmer’s Dog Fresh Dog Food, which we like for its convenience, great ingredient list, 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

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