Canned vs Dry vs Grain Free: What Is The Best Puppy Food?

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Bowl of puppy food: Best Puppy FoodIf we asked you where your pup’s food is made or what some of the key ingredients are, would you know? We focus so much on what we put in our bodies that we sometimes forget how important it is to nourish our furry friends with the best food for puppies which is why we wondered what is the best puppy food and wanted to share the findings with you.

Puppy Food Requirements

The American Association of Feed Control Officers (AAFCO) sets the nutritional requirements for puppies. On a daily basis, puppies need 21% to 22.5% protein, 8% to 8.5% fat and a maximum of 4% fiber. So the healthiest puppy food should have this mix.

Best Dog Food For Puppies

We chose the best puppy food according to type and dog size. We also pick the best for each category: canned, dry and grain-free puppy dog food. And on top of that, ALL of these fit the “natural puppy food” classification, so you know you’re giving your pup a good meal.

Canned | Dry | Grain Free

Best Canned Puppy Food: Wellness Complete Health Natural Wet Dog Food Review

Wellness Complete Health Natural Wet Canned Dog FoodView on Amazon

Whether you want to treat your dog to a topping on her dry dog food or give her wet food only, Wellness puppy food is a great solution and one of the most popular puppy food brands. This Wellness dog food can be given to your dog when your dog is a pup, and you can transition her to adult, and later to senior dog food as they age.

It is available in different flavors too, so that you can add variety to your dog’s diet. The canned puppy food has 9% protein, 7% fat and 1% fiber. This puppy pate’s main ingredients include chicken, salmon, sweet potatoes, carrots, apples, pears and more.



  • Contains only natural ingredients
  • Made in North America
  • Can be eaten on its own or in combination with dry food
  • Only one flavor for puppies


  • $33.00 for 12 – 12.5 Ounce Cans

Best Dry Puppy Food

Looking for some dry puppy food for your dog’s size? Check out our top picks for small, medium and large breeds below.

Best Small Breed: Natural Balance L.I.D. Small Breed Bites Review

Natural Balance L.I.D. Limited Ingredient Diets Small Breed BitesView on Amazon

This Natural Balance dog food was made especially for smaller breeds for ages puppy to adult. Customers rave about how much their pups love this kibble. This limited ingredients chow is available in Beef, Chicken & Sweet Potato, Lamb Meal & Brown Rice, Potato & Duck and Sweet Potato & Fish.



  • No artificial colors or flavors
  • Gluten-free
  • Made in USA
  • Some complaints of small fish bones in product


Best Medium Breed: Taste Of The Wild Grain-Free Dry Puppy Food Review

Taste of the Wild Grain-Free Dry Dog FoodView on Amazon

This Taste of the Wild dog food is great for your medium size breed puppy. This grain-free dog food has 28% protein, 17% fat and up to 5% fiber. Some key ingredients include buffalo, lamb meal, sweet potatoes, beef, tomatoes and blueberries. The combination of fruits, vegetables and meats helps provide a well-rounded diet for your dog.



  • No artificial colors or flavors
  • Grain-free
  • Made in the USA
  • A few people have received molded product


Best Large Breed: Holistic Select Natural Review

Holistic Select Puppy FoodView on Amazon

We sifted through some large breed puppy food reviews and found Holistic Select to have the best. This kibble includes probiotics, healthy fiber, digestive enzymes and more to help your pup feel her best from the inside out. This large breed puppy food has 23% protein, 12% fat and 3.5% fiber. Some key ingredients include apples, beef, blueberries, chicken, lamb, potatoes, pumpkin and tomatoes.



  • No artificial colors or flavors
  • Gluten free
  • Made in the USA
  • Only one flavor for large puppy breed


Best Grain Free: Orijen Grain-Free Puppy Food

Orijen Grain-Free Puppy Dry Dog FoodView on Amazon

If your pup needs a grain-free diet, this Orijen puppy food is what we recommend. Customers know that this is a higher-priced dog food but say it’s worth every penny. Pet parents are pleased with their dog’s bowels, lack of gas and overall puppy health. It is made up of 85% poultry, fish and egg and 15% fruits, vegetables and botanicals. This kibble is 38% protein, 20% fat and 6% fiber.



  • No artificial colors or flavors
  • Grain-free
  • Made in the USA
  • Expensive


Learn More About A Grain-Free Diet

Dog Food Is Confusing (Video)

Remember to be patient with your pup. Like anything, trying something new the first time is never easy. Your dog may make a mess or need to try it a couple of times to get the hang of eating kibble, but they’ll eventually pick it up.

If you have a new dog, be sure to check out additional reading in our puppy-related articles including a new puppy checklist, how much exercise puppies need, how to puppy-proof your house, when to switch your puppy to adult dog food and more!

What’s your puppy’s go-to food?

About The Author:

Kimberly received her Bachelor of Arts in multimedia journalism from Simpson College. She has been writing about dogs since 2014, covering subjects such as dog insurance, training, health, accessories and more. Her natural curiosity helps her research as she seeks the truth when learning about, comparing and personally testing canine products and services. With every piece she writes, her goal is to help our readers find the best fit for their unique needs.

Kimberly grew up in a family that loved Labrador Retrievers and remembers running and playing in the yard with them as a child. In 2017, she and her husband adopted their Coonhound mix, Sally, from a local shelter. Kimberly's research was put to good use since Sally faced some aggression issues with other dogs and needed some training to be an inside dog. She worked daily with Sally and sought help from professionals to help Sally become the happy pup she is today.

One of Kimberly's favorite pastimes is spoiling Sally with new toys, comfy beds and yummy treats (she even makes homemade goodies for her). She tries to purchase the safest products for Sally and knows that each canine has their own specific likes and dislikes. Kimberly is passionate about dogs, and knows the bond between humans and canines is like no other.

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Monette Maneclang

I am feeding my 4year old chow chow Hachiko special dog… Do you think he gets the nutrients he needs?


What if my dog is a mixed breed? How do I know how big it will get so that I could get the right food for my dog? Normally, when we don’t let our puppy out, we let him stay in the crate outside the house. But what I want to know is should the food bowl be left inside the crate with the dog always refilling when empty or only give him a full food bowl before playtime?

Nichole Latham

It would be great to add other brands such as wellness, merrick, blue buffalo, etc. As well as other wet food specifically for puppies.


I have a six month old pug and agree that the Natural Balance food is the way to go for dry food, she gobbles that stuff up and we tried a few other brands she didn’t like as much.