Which Food Should I Feed My Puppy?

My favorite type of appointment as a veterinarian is seeing that brand new puppy. I love the sweetness and the playfulness and those visits are so much fun.

 One of the first questions we always get at our clinic is: “What should I feed my puppy?”  What to feed is such a huge topic of discussion due to the overabundance of food brands on the market coupled with the bombardment of dog food advertisements everywhere.

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There are basically two major types of puppy food that you can feed your dog:

  • Regular puppy food 
  • Large-Breed puppy food (designed for dogs that will be over 70 lbs when they are fully grown)


Purina Pro Plan Focus Puppy Chicken & Rice Formula Dry Dog Food

**Top Food – What I Recommend As A Veterinarian For Puppies

Purina Pro Plan Focus Puppy Chicken & Rice Formula Dry Dog Food is made just for the new buddies on the block and packed with DHA-filled fish oil for cognitive development, calcium and phosphorous to grow strong teeth and bones, and plenty of protein from lean chicken for a toned and healthy body.

  • 3 presentations available: 6 lbs., 18 lbs., and 34 lbs.
  • 2 flavors available: Chicken & Rice Formula and Lamb & Rice
  • FormulaOmega-6 fatty acids are included for healthy skin and a beautiful shiny coat


Iams Proactive Health Puppy Dry Dog Food


IAMS Pro Active Health Smart Puppy Food is veterinarian recommended and made with real ingredients. Our recipe starts with farm raised chicken and includes wholesome grains and veggies. Plus, our quality, easily digestible ingredients provide your pup with a strong immune system, healthy skin and coat, and strong bones.

  • 7 presentations available: 3.3 lbs., 6 lbs., 7 lbs., 12.5 lbs., 15 lbs., 30 lbs., and 30.6 lbs.3 flavors available: Small & Toy Breed, Medium Breed, and Large Breed
  • Enriched with antioxidants to strengthen a puppy’s immune system


CANIDAE All Life Stages, Premium Dry Dog Food with Whole Grains

Keep things deliciously simple with CANIDAE All Life Stages, Premium Dry Dog Food with Whole grains.  Made without wheat or soy, this food is packed with chicken, turkey, lamb, and fish meal. Perfectly formulated to be used for any life stage: puppy, adult, or senior.

How can an all-life stage food be suitable for a puppy? Well, it used to always be like that. Not that long ago, there was one kind of food for dogs and that was it. While the ingredients that make up this Canidae food are far superior to the foods of old, it’s still the same premise.

  • 3 presentations available: 15 lbs., 30 lbs., 44 lbs.
  • 3 flavors available: Chicken Meal and Rice, Chicken/Turkey/Lamb/Fish mix, and Turkey/Brown Rice for large breeds


Blue Buffalo Wilderness High Protein Dry Puppy Food

Packed with more of the delicious chicken they love, BLUE Wilderness Puppy Formula is made to feed the spirit of the wolf that lives in every dog. this formula is made to meet the unique needs of growing dogs to help get them off to a healthy start. BLUE Wilderness dog food is a product of the Blue Buffalo company. Based in the United States, Blue Buffalo makes premium-quality pet foods featuring real meat, fruit and vegetables.

  • 3 presentations available: 4 lbs., 11 lbs., 24 lbs
  • 3 flavors available: Small & Toy Breed, Medium Breed, and Large Breed
  • Contains one (1) 4.5-lb bag of BLUE Wilderness High Protein Grain Free, Natural Puppy Dry Dog Food, Chicken


Wag Amazon Brand Dry Dog Food

In Wag Dry Dog Food for Puppies, Chicken & Lentil Recipe, real poultry comes first because that’s what dogs need to thrive. Protein helps keep your dog at his bounding best. Our recipes are formulated with the help of veterinarians to provide your dog with the optimal blend of protein and fat, without adding any grains. Each serving contains 36% protein to help keep your canine co-pilot active and strong.

  • 3 presentations available: 5 lbs., 15 lbs., 30 lbs.
  • 3 flavors available: Small & Toy Breed, Medium Breed, and Large Breed
  • Real American chicken is the #1 ingredient to give your pup a delicious blend


Castor & Pollux Organix Grain Free Organic Puppy Recipe Dry Dog Food

America’s #1 organic dog food brand, ORGANIX, is the only complete line of USDA organically certified dog food. All ORGANIX recipes are made with organic, free-range chicken or turkey as the #1 ingredient. There are no chemical pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, artificial preservatives, added growth hormones or antibiotics in ORGANIX.

  • 1 presentations available: 10 lbs.
  • 3 flavors available: Small & Toy Breed, Medium Breed, and Large Breed
  • #1 Ingredient Is Organic, Free-Range Chicken
  • Made With Dha For Healthy Development


Instinct Raw Boost Natural Dry Puppy Food

Instinct Raw Boost Puppy is a better way to feed puppy dog food – high protein, grain free dry dog food mixed with all natural bites of freeze dried raw meat, all in one bag. Puppy food made with calcium & phosphorus for strong teeth and bones plus natural DHA for brain & eye development. This best selling dog food is made without grain, potato, corn, wheat, soy, by product meal, artificial colors or preservatives – ingredients known to trigger food sensitivity

  • 3 presentations available: 4 lbs., 5 lbs. and 20 lbs
  • 2 flavors available: Puppy Chicken and Large Breed Puppy Chicken
  • Proudly made in the USA


Nulo Puppy Dry Food

Giving your puppy a good start in life is key to ensuring he will be healthy for years to come. Nulo Dry Puppy Food is packed with animal proteins, probiotics, and other essential vitamins and minerals for development of strong bodies and healthy coats.

  • 3 presentations available: 5 lbs., 15 lbs., 30 lbs.
  • 2 flavors available: Salmon and Turkey
  • Proudly made in the USA


Taste of the Wild Grain-Free for Puppy

Modern science proves that your puppy shares the DNA of the wolf. Years of domestication and excellent care have turned your puppy from a short-lived potential foe to a long-lived best friend. Although their DNA remains the same and their tastes demand something of the wild, feed your puppy with all the proper ingredients and nutrition they need to thrive.

  • 3 presentations available: 4 lbs., 5 lbs. and 20 lbs
  • 2 flavors available: High Prairie and Pacific Stream
  • Made from real, easy-to-read ingredients like buffalo, lamb, roasted venison, sweet potatoes, and peas

How Much Do I Feed My Puppy?

Generally the best way to know how much to feed your puppy is to go by the directions on the bag of food you have. Just divide that total recommended amount into three equal feedings.

If your puppy’s ribs or spine are sticking out from the skin, then increase the total amount fed by 25%. If you’re not sure, talk to your veterinarian.

When they are four months old, puppies can then be moved to being fed twice daily. Once they are full-sized, you can then stick with two feedings a day or just give one meal.

What Is Large-Breed Puppy Food?

Large-breed puppy food is formulated with less total calories than regular puppy food. If dogs that are meant to be quite large (at least 60 lbs) get fed too much as a young puppy, it can cause issues with their bones and joints as they grow.

Thankfully, due to the popularity of these large breed puppy foods, we rarely see these growing issues the way we used to as veterinarians. I tend to recommend switching to adult food when these dogs are 7-9 months old.

Should I Always Feed My Puppy Large-Breed Puppy Food?

You don’t have to for most puppies. The biggest concern will be managing the calorie intake of the giant breeds such as Great Danes or Mastiffs.

If you’re unable to get large breed puppy food, the next best choice for these massive breeds is to feed them actual adult food as puppies. Yes, it is safe to feed adult food to puppies.

I’ve had more than a few cases where truly giant dogs (the ones that will be over 150 lbs when full-grown) still develop growing issues with large-breed puppy food. Those dogs are best placed on adult food to better control their growth.


You don’t have to spend a ton to give your growing puppy a quality and good-tasting dog food. I recommend the above foods, with the top 3 being my favorites.

Personally, I feed all my dogs Purina Brand dog foods. Great tasting. Great quality. Not nearly as expensive as most foods on the market.