Puppies have a certain playfulness and constant bounce in their step; it’s addicting! Their cute little wobbly legs and funny snores will instantly bring a smile to anyone’s face. However, do not be mistaken, raising a puppy can be hard work! Just like an infant, they take almost constant care and attention. From training to healthy feeding, they depend on you to guide them in the early stages of their canine life. It is up to you to find the very best puppy chow for their little growing tummies.

     Especially if you are brand new to the world of dog parenting, deciding on the best puppy chow to feed your tiny furball can be intimidating. There always seems to be some new study in pup nutrition and the internet is flooded with negative comments about all sorts of chow brands. Most dog owners go through intense periods of trial and error with puppy chow, seeing how their dog reacts with each step. Not only is this time consuming, but it can weight pretty heavy on your wallet!

     Through our travels and in-depth online studies, our team developed a key list of the best puppy chow. Each has received wonderful customer feedback and incorporate all the ingredients your little furbaby will need for optimal healthy growth. Just like us humans, infant and toddler stages in dogs are an important opportunity to set the stage for their nutritious eating habits.

Table of Contents

What We Considered When Picking the Best Puppy Chow

  • Healthy ingredients for the best brain and body development
  • Texture and density
  • Price comparison and value
  • Customer feedback
  • Availability
  • Eating habits in puppies

Directions to Feeding Puppies

     Your puppy begins their life as an adorable, yet helpless little bundle of pure joy. At three to four weeks of age, this is the time when most pups are set to start nibbling on solid foods. However, solid does not mean hard! You are entering the weaning stage, which is the transition from mother’s milk to solid dog food. As you introduce solids to their diet, keep the bits of kibble moistened with a little bit of warm water. Furthermore, this is not the time to hold back on their meals. Feed them their complete fill for now.

     In the end, you can expect this weaning stage to last about six to eight weeks. With each week, we recommend adding a little bit of completely dry puppy chow on top of your moistened pieces. Essentially, this is a slow introduction for your puppy’s softer teeth and sensitive stomach. By the end of week eight, their meals will almost be completely dry food. It is at this point that you can start to introduce a timely feeding schedule for their meals. For more information on the best daily schedules for dogs, head over to our full informative article on Setting a Great Routine for Your Dog. There, you will read about each key aspect a daily dog routine should have for optimal health.

Directions to Switching Puppy Chows

     It is not uncommon to completely fail at your first puppy chow. You have yet to know the ins and outs of your new puppy’s particular likes or dislikes. However, if your pup turns up their nose at your newly purchased puppy chow, don’t get discouraged! In fact, it is an important learning opportunity for you as their ultimate guardian. You may learn they hate apuppy certain flavor or maybe even an important food allergy reveals itself.

     As you switch to a new puppy chow, allow for a period of transition so that your dog’s stomach can gradually get used to the new flavors and ingredients. In our pro opinion, this transition should last about a week. Each day mix a little more of the new kibble in with the old. By the end of the seventh or eighth day, their meal should be completely new chow.

Top Pick for Most Dogs: Purina Pro Plan Puppy Food

Main Benefits:
  • USA-made
  • Great customer rating
  • 4 variations
  • Different flavors and textures
  • #1 ingredient is animal protein
  • Ingredients to promote healthy growth
Your Options

     The Purina Pro Plan Puppy Food is not only made right here in the USA, but it has undergone Animal Feeding testing with AAFCO procedures; deeming the puppy chow as complete and balanced for doggie nutrition. Each flavor and variation of this particular puppy chow has received above 4.5 average customer rating, out of 5. Furthermore, pet parents have four different types of Purina Pro Plan Puppy Food to choose from depending on the size and preferences of their unique pup. From tiny pups to larger bundles of fur, the company even produces a mix-textured flavor for those picky eaters! Particularly through Amazon, these options include:

Toy Breed: comes in a 5lb bag; flavors include chicken and rice; specifically designed with tiny sized kibble for smaller mouths; priced at around $15

All Breed: comes in 6lb, 18lb, and 34lb bags; flavors include chicken and rice, chicken with shreds, and lamb and rice; priced between $14 and $50 depending on bag size

Small Breed: comes in 6lb and 18lb bags; flavors available include chicken and rice; designed with bite sized kibble; priced between $14 and $40 depending on bag size

Large Breed: comes in 18lb and 34lb bags; flavors include chicken and rice; priced between $35 and $40 depending on bag size

Flavors and Ingredients

     Depending on which Purina Pro Plan Puppy Food options you go with, it will come in one of three flavors. While the toy breed, small breed, and large breed options all comes in just chicken and rice, the all breed option gives you the choice between chicken and rice, chicken with shreds, or lamb and rice. Specifically, each flavor has its own unique texture qualities and list of ingredients:

Chicken and Rice: contains all dry food kibble pieces

     Ingredients: Chicken, Brewers Rice, Poultry By-Product Meal, Corn Gluten Meal, Whole Grain Wheat, Animal Fat Preserved with Mixed-Tocopherols, Whole Grain Corn, Corn Germ Meal, Brewers Dried Yeast, Fish Meal, Animal Digest, Dried Egg Product, Fish Oil, Salt, Potassium Chloride, Calcium Carbonate, Calcium Phosphate, Choline Chloride, Zinc Sulfate, Vitamin E Supplement, Ferrous Sulfate, Niacin, Manganese Sulfate, L-Lysine Monohydrochloride, Vitamin A Supplement, Calcium Pantothenate, Thiamine Mononitrate, Copper Sulfate, Riboflavin Supplement, Garlic Oil, Vitamin B-12 Supplement, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Folic Acid, Vitamin D-3 Supplement, Calcium Iodate, Biotin, Menadione Sodium Bisulfite Complex (Source of Vitamin K Activity), Sodium Selenite. W-4458.

Chicken with Shreds: contains dry kibble pieces mixed with soft meaty shreds for added texture

     Ingredients: Chicken, Brewers Rice, Poultry By-Product Meal, Corn Gluten Meal, Animal Fat Preserved with Mixed-Tocopherols, Soybean Meal, Whole Grain Wheat, Whole Grain Corn, Corn Germ Meal, Dried Egg Product, Animal Digest, Brewers Dried Yeast, Glycerin, Fish Meal, Fish Oil, Calcium Carbonate, Calcium Phosphate, Salt, Potassium Chloride, Choline Chloride, Zinc Proteinate, Vitamin E Supplement, Manganese Proteinate, Ferrous Sulfate, Sulfur, Niacin, Copper Proteinate, Vitamin A Supplement, Calcium Pantothenate, Thiamine Mononitrate, Riboflavin Supplement, Garlic Oil, Vitamin B-12 Supplement, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Folic Acid, Vitamin D-3 Supplement, Calcium Iodate, Biotin, Menadione Sodium Bisulfite Complex (Source of Vitamin K Activity), Sodium Selenite. C-4489.

Lamb and Rice: uses lamb as #1 ingredient rather than chicken, contains all dry food kibble pieces

     Ingredients: Lamb, Brewers Rice, Poultry By-Product Meal, Corn Gluten Meal, Whole Grain Corn, Animal Fat Preserved with Mixed-Tocopherols, Corn Germ Meal, Oat Meal, Dried Egg Product, Fish Meal, Animal Digest, Dried Beet Pulp, Fish Oil, Calcium Carbonate, Potassium Chloride, Salt, Calcium Phosphate, Choline Chloride, L-Lysine Monohydrochloride, Vitamin E Supplement, Zinc Sulfate, Ferrous Sulfate, Niacin, Manganese Sulfate, Vitamin A Supplement, Calcium Pantothenate, Thiamine Mononitrate, Copper Sulfate, Riboflavin Supplement, Garlic Oil, Vitamin B-12 Supplement, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Folic Acid, Vitamin D-3 Supplement, Calcium Iodate, Biotin, Menadione Sodium Bisulfite Complex (Source of Vitamin K Activity), Sodium Selenite. M-4472.

Ingredient Details

     After scanning the ingredients list for each Purina Pro Plan Puppy Food, there is no doubt that real animal protein is the number one ingredient used. In addition, there are four key elements that each variation incorporates for maximum healthy puppy growth:

Fish Oils: The omega and DHA rich formula helps in brain and vision development

Antioxidants: Aids in developing a strong immune system and decreases the risk of your puppy getting sick

Calcium and Phosphorus: builds strong teeth and bones

Vitamin A, Linoleic Acid, and Omega 6 Fatty Acid: develops healthy skin and fur

Feeding Directions

      As a puppy formula, this chow is only for dogs less than one year old. Once you receive your bag, you can easily see the feeding instructions chart included on the packaging. This makes it a cinch as your pup grows in weight and you won’t have to scramble to research new portion sizes. Finally, we suggest you find a cool, dry place to store the food.

Top Budget Pick: Purina One SmartBlend Healthy Puppy Formula

Main Benefits:
  • USA sourced and manufactured
  • Crunchy kibble bits mixed with soft meaty slices
  • 4 quantity options
  • #1 ingredient is animal protein
  • Best of the cheap
  • Ingredients to promote healthy growth
Your Options

      Although the Purina One SmartBlend Healthy Puppy Formula is our budget pick, that doesn’t mean it is made in some far-off cheaper country. In fact, it is USA-manufactured and sourced; leaving a smile on all our faces. Through Amazon, it comes in just one flavor: chicken. It includes both crunchy bits of kibble and soft meaty slices for a textural bonus. However, you can choose between an 8lb, 16.5lb, (4) 4lb, or (6) 4lb bags of puppy chow. In detail, the price will range from around $8 to $64 depending on the size and quantity you land on.

Ingredients

     The number one ingredient in this puppy chow is chicken; an action-packed high source of protein for their growing diet. A full list of the ingredients includes chicken, brewers rice, corn gluten meal, oat meal, fish meal (source of DHA), whole grain corn, animal fat preserved with mixed-tocopherols (form of Vitamin E), poultry by-product meal, calcium phosphate, animal digest, potassium chloride, salt, caramel color, calcium carbonate, L-Lysine monohydrochloride, zinc sulfate, choline chloride, Vitamin E supplement, ferrous sulfate, manganese sulfate, niacin, Vitamin A supplement, calcium pantothenate, copper sulfate, thiamine mononitrate, and riboflavin.

Ingredient Details

     When choosing the best puppy chow for our top picks, we made sure not to skimp on the health benefits. Just because our budget pick is cheaper, doesn’t mean you have to worry about lacking nutrients, vitamins, or minerals. Each ingredient is carefully selected with your furbaby’s development in mind:

Vitamins E and A: for vision development

Calcium and Phosphorus: to develop strong teeth and bones

Omega 6, Minerals, and Fatty Acids: for silky and luscious skin/fur

Antioxidant blend: a blend of Vitamin E and A, zinc, and selenium for immune system development

DHA: an ingredient found in mother’s milk for optimal brain development

Feeding Directions

     When your puppy begins to wean, begin by allowing them to eat their fill of the chow. However, moistened the dry food with a little warm water for easier digestion. Once Fido has fully transitioned from wet to dry food after weaning, feed about 1/3 cup of puppy chow three times a day (equaling 1 cup per day total). In the end, this schedule and amount will change as your dog grows in both age and weight. We suggest storing the chow in a cool and dry place to keep fresh.

Top Limited Ingredient Diet Pick: Wellness Core Rawrev Natural Grain Free

Main Benefits:
  • USA sourced and manufactured
  • Grain and gluten free
  • Crunchy kibble mixed with raw 100% natural turkey bits
  • 2 quantity options
  • Natural ingredients
  • Fruits and veggies
  • Ingredients to promote healthy growth
  • No re-hydration required
Your Options

      Limited ingredient diets are essential for dogs who have or develop allergies to certain ingredients. By eliminating things like corn, soy, or wheat, you can help aid your allergy-prone sweat heart. However, today’s modern world offers a wide range of studies and research that have deemed natural-food diets as top-notch for dogs. Just like us humans, preservatives and synthetic ingredients in a diet can prove troublesome down the road.

     The Wellness Core Rawrev Natural Grain Free puppy chow gives you and your new puppy the benefit of being completely grain and gluten free! Through Amazon, it comes in a turkey and chicken flavor. Not only are there hard pieces of kibble, but the Wellness company adds freeze-fried 100% raw turkey bits. Raw food for dogs has been on the rise and this particular puppy chow is the first step to introducing your pup to that beneficial lifestyle. Finally, you will have your pick of a 4lb or 10lb bag, which ranges from $20 to $35 depending on the size you go with. No matter what you pick, the Wellness Core Rawrev Natural Grain Free puppy chow is USA sourced and made.

Ingredients

      When we think about limited ingredient diets, our minds are often filled with the notion that less is more. Although this is partially true, puppies are going to need a bit of help when it comes to proper brain and body development.

     The Wellness Core Rawrev Natural Grain Free puppy chow has eliminated grains and gluten, but their long list of ingredients includes Deboned Turkey, Turkey Meal, Chicken Meal, Peas, Potatoes, Dried Ground Potatoes, Chicken Fat (preserved with Mixed Tocopherols), Freeze-Dried Turkey, Tomato Pomace, Chicken Liver, Natural Chicken Flavor, Ground Flaxseed, Salmon Oil, Spinach, Vitamin E Supplement, Broccoli, Carrots, Choline Chloride, Parsley, Apples, Blueberries, Kale, and Sweet Potatoes.

     Further analysis shows ingredients of Taurine, Mixed Tocopherols added to preserve freshness, Zinc Proteinate, Zinc Sulfate, Glucosamine Hydrochloride, Chondroitin Sulfate, Calcium Carbonate, Niacin, Ferrous Sulfate, Iron Proteinate, Beta-Carotene, Vitamin A Supplement, Copper Sulfate, Thiamine Mononitrate, Copper Proteinate, Manganese Proteinate, Manganese Sulfate, d-Calcium Pantothenate, Sodium Selenite, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Riboflavin, Chicory Root Extract, Yucca Schidigera Extract, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Biotin, Calcium Iodate, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Folic Acid, Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C), Dried Lactobacillus plantarum Fermentation Product, Dried Enterococcus faecium Fermentation Product, Dried Lactobacillus casei Fermentation Product, Dried Lactobacillus acidophilus Fermentation Product, Rosemary Extract, Green Tea Extract, Spearmint Extract.

Naturally Healthy

     Is the long list of ingredients making you second guess? Don’t worry! Each is included for a very specific health benefit and are natural for your dog to ingest. Many are used as a natural source of preserving freshness, which then eliminates any of those nasty synthetic preservatives.

Ingredient Details

     By and large, one look at the list of ingredients in this puppy chow and you’ll notice one thing right off the bat: high amounts of protein. Both the hard kibble pieces and freeze-dried 100% raw bits pack an energetic punch that puppies need for their growing bodies. Not to mention, the ancestors of your dog lived with an intensely high-protein diet. Therefore, their biology is meant for such consumption. Other key elements you will find in this recipe includes:

DHA: an ingredient found in mother’s milk for optimal brain development

Antioxidants: Aids in developing a strong immune system and decreases the risk of your puppy getting sick

Calcium and Phosphorus: builds strong teeth and bones

Fish Oils: Omega 6, Minerals, and Fatty Acids for silky and luscious skin/fur

Vitamins E and A: for vision development

Fruits and Veggies: naturally added health benefits

Feeding Directions

      Although the Wellness Core Rawrev Natural Grain Free puppy chow includes bits of freeze-dried raw turkey, you do not need to worry about re-hydrating the product before feeding time. It is ready for consumption as is! The best part, feeding instructions and portion sizes are labeled right on the back of the bag. In short, this eliminates any further research or guessing games when your puppy grows in size and weight.