Best Puppy Food Recommended By Vets

Best Puppy Food Recommended By Vets


Selecting your puppy’s food is one of the most important decisions you’ll make as a pet parent. Just like human babies, puppies require tons of nutrients to support their growth and development.

Vet recommended puppy food must contain high amounts of high-quality protein, omega fatty acids, and vitamins. Their nutritional needs are much higher than the levels found in most adult dog food.

For this article, we turn to the top dog food brands on Amazon to find the best puppy food to meet the nutritional needs of your growing puppy.

Choosing a Vet Recommended Puppy Food That Meets the Nutritional Needs of Your Growing Puppy

The Association of American Feed Control Officials, or AAFCO, made a set of rules and regulations for dog food manufacturers, including optimal nutritional guidelines for all life stages.

Whether you’re shopping for adult food or puppy food, always look for meat protein as the first ingredient. Puppy food must have at least 22.5% high-quality protein from real meat sources. A by-product meal can be used as long as it is high in protein, but real meat is preferred by most pet owners.

To meet the nutritional needs of puppies, dog food should also contain 8.5% fat, with large amounts of omega 3-fatty acids and omega-6 fatty acids. This is crucial for your puppy’s cognitive development.

Dog owners should also look for pet food that contains at least 1.2% calcium and 1.0% phosphorus for the puppy’s skeletal health. These minerals are especially important in large breed puppy food.

Large breed dogs and giant breed dogs tend to grow faster than their small breed counterparts. Their dog food should include glucosamine for strong joints and meet the additional nutritional needs of their rapid growth and development.

There is an ongoing debate as to the right amount of carbohydrates in dog food.  Adult dogs and puppies do not need carbs at all. According to animal nutritionists, fat is their primary energy source.

Unfortunately, most dog food manufacturers still add carbohydrate sources, like corn, wheat, rice, sweet potatoes, and regular potatoes, to their formulas. That’s because carbohydrates are a much cheaper filler than meat.

Whether you’re shopping for small breed puppy food or large breed puppy food, always scan the ingredients list to look for carbohydrate sources. If you find three or more carbohydrate ingredients, it is best to drop the product and look for something else.

Finally, any vet recommended puppy food should contain vitamins and minerals for optimum health and a strong immune system. As much as possible, avoid pet foods that have artificial preservatives or dyes as these could be upsetting to your puppy’s fragile digestive system.

Top Food Options for Puppies

Product 1: Wellness CORE Natural Dry Grain Free Puppy Food

Product 2: Taste of the Wild High Prairie Puppy Formula with Roasted Bison and Venison

Product 3: The Honest Kitchen Human Grade Dehydrated Grain Free Dog Food

Product 4: AvoDerm Natural Chicken Meal & Brown Rice Formula Puppy Dry Dog Food

Product 5: Blue Buffalo Life Protection Dry Puppy Food

1. Wellness CORE Natural Dry Grain Free Puppy Food

This pet food manufacturer has been around since the 1990s, formulating kibbles for both cats and dogs and partnering with experts and veterinarians to make their products better and safer for your pet.

Their puppy food formula has three primary protein sources: real chicken, chicken meal, and turkey meal. Because two of them are in meal form, buyers can be assured of the high protein content. Meal form generally has 300% more protein than their raw counterparts. In fact, if you look at the label, each 417 calories-per-cup contains about 36% of crude protein.

As for the fat, the ingredients include salmon oil and ground flaxseeds. Both are excellent sources of omega 3-fatty acids and omega 6-fatty acids. They also added natural ingredients like spinach, carrots, and broccoli as a healthier source of vitamins and minerals even though the formula is already fortified with them.

The company recommends combining this formula with wet food especially for puppies that do not have teeth yet. As they get older, you can gradually decrease the amount of wet food until they can finish a full dry meal, if you wish.

2. Taste of the Wild High Prairie Puppy Formula with Roasted Bison and Venison

Their pet food items are based on the premise that dog food must be heavily patterned on the diet of their ancestors. Thus, their dog food formulas derived their protein sources from animals in the wild, the common prey of ancestral dogs.

For this formula, they utilized buffalo meat and lamb meal, followed by roasted bison and venison (as stated in the title) and beef as the protein source, along with egg products, providing most of the 28% crude protein. For the fat, they added canola oil, salmon oil, flaxseed, and ocean fish meal, all of which are excellent sources of omega 3- and omega 6-fatty acids plus DHA which is also essential for brain development.

Finally, probiotics and fiber from dried chicory root, peas, and garbanzo beans are combined to promote proper digestion and smooth bowel movement for your puppies. Each cup contains 364 calories and must be fed based on the feeding guide the company provides for all breed sizes.

3. The Honest Kitchen Embark Grain-Free Dog Food

The Honest Kitchen prides in creating formulas that are both AAFCO- and FDA-approved, so both humans and animals can be sure of their pet food’s quality and safety.

Their “Embark” recipe was originally made for the dog owner who wants their puppy to experience allergen-free and human-grade pet food as well. Its protein content comes primarily from turkey. This white meat that contains all ten essential amino acids that dogs and puppies need for their health. Despite it being a single protein source, it provides most of the 29% required of this macronutrient.

Its next ten ingredients (flaxseed, celery, potatoes, spinach, coconut, carrots, kelp, eggs, apples, cranberries, bananas) are all dehydrated to lock in essential nutrients. Dog owners can rest assured that most of the vitamins and minerals this food contains all come from fresh, raw, and organic ingredients.

With 488 calories per cup, this formula is perfect for growing puppies, including larger breeds.

4. AvoDerm Natural Chicken Meal & Brown Rice Formula Puppy Dry Dog Food

AvoDerm is owned and produced by Breeder’s Choice, a pet food manufacturing company established in 1947. The trademark was created after the company discovered the benefits of adding avocados in their pet food formulas. This PUFA-rich ingredient catapulted them to one of the most recognized businesses in the pet food industry, with customers calling their formulas “miracle” products.

Their puppy recipe has a high protein content that comes mostly from the chicken meal. It also contains herring meal which is an excellent source of protein as well as omega-3 fatty acids, along with flaxseeds and chicken fat. Its central star, the avocado, makes up most of the fat content of 16%.

The company claims that the presence of avocado in the formula can bring a shinier coat and healthier skin for dogs, both young and old. Most of their customers agree with these claims.

This 372-calories-per-cup food contains vitamins and chelated minerals that are readily absorbable by dogs and puppies.

5. Blue Buffalo Life Protection Dry Puppy Food

The company was named after the owner’s family dog, Blue, as a tribute to their pet’s devotion to the household. Because Blue has a lot of health issues, the Bishop family, led by Bill, made it their mission to provide the best and high-quality pet food made from natural ingredients. This work continues to thrive as the company grows through the years.

The protein content of this particular dry food comes from real chicken, chicken meal, and menhaden fish meal. The latter is also a rich source of omega 3-fatty acids, along with flax seeds and fish oil which is rich in DHA as well. All mentioned ingredients make up most of the protein (27%) and fat (16%).

This dry kibble contains relatively high amounts of grains from brown rice, barley, and oatmeal so it may not be suitable for gluten-sensitive puppies. The good thing is that these three are excellent sources of dietary fiber that promote healthy digestion for their delicate stomachs.

Each cup of kibble contains 406 calories and is fed three times a day for puppies under six months old and twice for 6-12 months old. These frequencies may vary depending on the weight and size of your puppy.

Final Thoughts: The Best Food for Your Growing Puppy

When choosing the best dog food formula for your growing puppy, nutritional needs are important, but so is your puppy’s preference. Observe your puppy’s reaction when you introduce a new puppy food. If he doesn’t seem to like it, or it upsets his stomach, return it and try something else.

Anna Marston
Anna is a full-time veterinary technician with more than 20 years of experience in the pet care industry. She resides in Upstate New York with her hubby, daughter, and a menagerie of fur-babies.

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