Why do puppies need special food? That’s a good question!
Like human babies, puppies require dietary boosts for proper growth and development. Until at around 12 months old, puppies need to get the best puppy food they can with high-quality rich nutrients.
With that in mind and all the choices on the market today, which puppy food is the best for your pup?
Don’t worry, we got your back.
In this guide, we’re going to fill you in on what to look for in a good kibble and review the 5 best puppy foods in the UK.
Short on time? Here are the top 3 puppy foods our experts choose:
Our top picksTable could not be displayed.
Best Puppy Foods In The UK
Before we tackle exactly how to pick the best puppy food and what to look out for, here are our top choices for the best puppy foods in the UK.
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Specially formulated for puppies, Autarky Hypoallergenic Puppy is designed to give your pup everything he needs for optimal growth.
Hypoallergenic simply means that the recipe doesn't contain common allergens or irritants. Just like humans, dogs suffer the adverse consequences of certain undesirable or allergy-inducing ingredients.
Some ingredients that commonly cause issues are corn, wheat, soy, and preservatives. Autarky’s hypoallergenic formula means that the food avoids those common irritants to support your pup’s digestive system.
If your puppy is especially sensitive or has allergies, Autarky might be a great option for him. This is a recipe gentle enough for tummies that upset easily.
Puppies can be also sensitive about the size and consistency of the kibble. Autarky kibble is small and manageable for tiny puppy mouths. Also, this puppy food has a 24% protein content, giving growing pups the nutrition they need.
If you’re looking for a puppy food that’s packed with nutrient-rich, natural ingredients, Autarky Puppy Food might make a great choice.
- Delicious chicken flavor
- Specially formulated for growing puppies
- Small kibble for small puppy mouths
- 24% protein
What we liked
- Wheat, gluten, and soy free
- Encourages steady growth
- Great for dogs with allergies and sensitivities
- Rich with fatty acids and vitamin E
- The smell is somewhat unpleasant
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A very recognizable brand in dog food, Eukanuba brings us a puppy dog food made with fresh chicken.
Quality meat ingredients are vital to the growth and maturity of puppies. Along with the chicken, Eukanuba puppy food contains other natural ingredients like turkey, rice, fish oil, and brewer’s yeast.
If your pup is picky and doesn’t seem intrigued by the meal you’re prepared, look for puppy foods with brewer's yeast. Brewer's yeast gives a burst of flavor that’s very appealing to dogs!
Eukanuba pays special attention to the shape of their kibble. In fact, the puppy food kibble is designed for optimal palatability. And because this recipe contains Denta-Defense, your dog’s chompers will stay shiny and plaque-free.
As a bonus, the purchase of Eukanuba is a planet-friendly action. 25% of their factory’s energy is sourced by their very own wind turbine!
Each of their recipes is specially formulated to best suit your dog’s different stages of growth. The Eukanuba puppy food with rich chicken contributes to strong teeth, shiny coats, and healthy bones.
- Rich in fresh chicken
- Specially tailored to growing puppies
- Contains Denta-Defense to fight plaque
- Resealable bag
What we liked
- Kibbles are designed for puppy mouths
- Formulated for healthy puppy digestion
- Supports optimal body condition
- Up to 80% animal protein to build strong bones
- Contains sugar
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As the name suggests, Burgess hypoallergenic puppy food was created with sensitive puppies in mind.
Made from healthy, natural ingredients like turkey and rice, Burgess puppy food excludes all the bad stuff. You won’t find any dairy, beef, wheat, maize, or eggs on their ingredient list.
Burgess adds taurine to their puppy food blend. This is important, because taurine is an amino acid that’s vital to your pup’s heart health. And fish oils with Omega 3s contribute to a vibrant healthy coat.
If you want a puppy food with added calcium, Burgess sensitive hypoallergenic puppy food could be a great choice. Added calcium contributes to joint and bone strength, just like it does in humans.
What’s also very important for puppies is immune system support. Like human babies, puppies are vulnerable. Burgess puppy food has beneficial vitamins and nutrients chosen to boost your puppy’s immune system.
The combination of these healthy, natural ingredients makes Burgess a strong contender for best puppy dog food. Because many puppies are sensitive to dietary quality, choosing a food with an impeccable ingredient list is always a good way to go.
- Turkey and rice formula
- Contains taurine for heart health
- No maize, wheat, eggs, dairy, or soy
What we liked
- Specially formulated for sensitive puppies
- Supports healthy growth
- Made without the common causes of intolerances in puppies
- Omega 3 fish oil for healthy skin and coat
- Higher price
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As far as all-natural ingredients go, Harringtons has plenty to offer. Their recipe is unique and includes some interesting additions you won’t find in other blends.
By adding yeast to the formula, Harringtons helps support healthy digestion. Yeast also gives food a strong, delicious flavor that attracts puppies. This comes in especially handy with fickle pups who turn their nose up at other kibble!
Another special ingredient is the nutrient-rich kelp. Kelp is a sea vegetable that’s popular with both humans and dogs! It assists the entire glandular system of your pup and keeps things running smoothly.
You can rest assured knowing that Harringtons doesn’t add any artificial colors or flavors to their bag. These additives can make allergies and skin sensitivities worse, so it’s important to avoid them.
One ingredient you may not be familiar with is yucca extract. If you want to give your puppy a food that offers a huge dose of healthy vitamins, this is a great ingredient to look for! Yucca extract is rich in vitamin C, B vitamins, beta-carotene, iron, protein and niacin.
In addition to incorporating some quality ingredients into their blend, Harringtons puppy food is available in large 18 kg bulk packages. This can be very convenient for growing pups who go through a lot of kibble at a rapid pace!
- Rich turkey and rice
- No artificial colors or flavors
- Yeast for healthy digestion
- Nutrient rich kelp
What we liked
- Natural ingredients such as yucca extract
- Enriched with vitamins A & E
- Omega 6 & 3 for a glossy coat
- Available in 18kg bulk packs
- Kibbles are on the larger side
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We adore the name of this puppy food because it’s so fitting! Your well-beloved pup might benefit from this blend if he has a sensitive tummy or allergies.
Like many high-quality puppy foods, James Wellbeloved is hypoallergenic. Just as important as what you will find on the ingredient list is what you won’t find.
James Wellbeloved puppy food has no unhealthy additives. They choose to focus instead on whole, healthy ingredients that will support your pup to maturity.
Barley is great for giving your new puppy energy. Rich lamb and healthy brown rice pave the way for gentle digestion. And you won’t find any wheat, gluten, dairy, or eggs in James Wellbeloved’s recipe.
What you will find is plenty of the good stuff! Omega-3 oils help keep your puppy’s fur fluffy and shiny. Chicory extract is an ingredient that supports digestion and aids the absorption of necessary minerals.
Surprisingly, James Wellbeloved has some quality super-greens, too! Natural seaweed is a powerhouse green food that helps glandular function.
Another beneficial green is alfalfa. It’s anti-inflammatory and it acts as natural diuretic for your pup.
If you’re looking for a gentle puppy food formula that’s hypoallergenic and all-natural, James Wellbeloved might find its way to the top of your list. It supports your puppy’s immunity while delivering maximum nourishment to his fast-growing body!
- Lamb and rice
- Whole barley
- No unhealthy additives
What we liked
- Safe for sensitive tummies
- Helps build strong immunity
- Balanced nutrition
- Gentle on digestion
- Doesn’t have the strong smell some puppies prefer
- May be too hard for some puppies
How To Choose The Best Puppy Food
Now that you’ve seen some of the best puppy food options in the UK, you may still have some questions.
It’s understandable, as there are so many options and variations. Below, we outline what to consider before selecting your number one puppy food.
Wholesome ingredients and nutrients
The puppy food that you choose need to have certain amount of ingredients and nutrients that are essential to a healthy growing.
When you're checking which brand to choose, make sure these elements are part of it.
Plenty of water needed
As essential as it's to us humans, equally our dogs need fresh clean water.
Water accounts for 60% of an adult animal's body weight and a 10% dehydration could cause serious damage.
Even if it's part of the food such as it'd be with wet dog food, it's best to provide them with fresh water. Particularly so with dry kibbles.
What's the right protein ratio?
Proteins are the basic building blocks for organs, muscles, bones, blood, immune system and hair and nails.
They're an essential part of growth and repair for your puppy.
Proteins in puppy food can come from various different ingredients such as from animal sources including poultry, beef, pork, fish, eggs or vegetable sources including corn, rice, peas or soybeans.
By the FEDIAF standards for a healthy growth, the protein needed for a newly weaned puppy is about 25% up to 14 weeks and 20% after 14 weeks on dry matter basis.
As puppies grow the amount of protein they need in their diet will decrease.
Carbohydrates are also needed
What's interesting about dogs is that they aren’t total carnivores like cats are.
While most dog foods will highlight the primary protein source like chicken or turkey, dogs eat plants too!
So if you see plant-based ingredients, don’t assume they’re just there for filler. Your puppy can actually absorb some much-needed nutrition from fruits, vegetables, and even grains.
Carbohydrates are there to provide your pup with immediate energy. They're stored in the liver and muscle as glycogen.
There are two types: digestible carbohydrates (starches and sugars) providing energy and indigestible carbohydrates (fibre) that're needed for stool.
Fats are essential, but don't overdose
Fatty acids are needed for cell structures and to absorb certain vitamins (A, D, E and K). Fats are a concentrated source of energy. Much more so than proteins or carbohydrates. 2.5 times more energy to be precise.
As such they need to be carefully proportioned to prevent obesity and fast growing with could associate with developmental diseases.
Just as overdosing on fats a deficiency can create skin problems or may cause reduced growth.
If your pup is putting on the pounds fast, a low fat diet might help him prevent future problems such as obesity.
Minerals & Vitamins
Your puppy needs vitamins and minerals for a normal metabolic functioning. Minerals and most vitamins can't be produced in your pup's body so they need to get it in their food.
The macro minerals needed are calcium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, chloride and magnesium. And there are others called the trace elements which are needed in smaller amounts such as iron, copper and selenium.
Is hypoallergenic best for sensitive puppy tummy?
You do want to keep an eye on ingredients that are not hypoallergenic. These are ingredients that can easily upset the tender digestive track of a puppy.
All puppies need a food that supports their growth and optimal body condition. But some puppies have even more specific needs. Certain pooches have extremely sensitive stomachs, food allergies, or special health concerns.
Basically, if you look at your puppy food ingredient list and think it’s something you wouldn’t mind eating, you’re probably on the right track. (Don’t worry. We’re not going to tell you to taste-test your puppy food!)
Large Or Small Breed
Interestingly, small breed dogs and large breed dogs have different nutritional needs!
Many packages will specify if a particular blend was designed for toy breeds or large breed puppies.
Some toy breeds qualify as adults at 9 months. On the other hand, some larger breeds technically remain puppies until they are 2 years old.
We all know our dogs are unique, special individuals. This translates to their diet too! You want to look for a food that aligns with your dog’s specific breed to achieve optimal nutritional benefits!
Good And Bad Ingredients To Watch Out For
Just like with human food, there are good ingredients and not-so-good ingredients that appear in puppy food. We pay attention to what we put in our bodies, so we want to do the same for our precious pups.
Many of the same things prone to cause intolerance in humans can wreak havoc on a puppy’s digestive track!
Most high-quality puppy foods stay away from ingredients like soy, wheat, corn, and food dyes. They are also mindful of sugar content, if any is included at all.
Also, keep an eye out for artificial preservatives. These chemicals are bad news for you AND your puppy. There are enough healthy puppy food options out there. You don’t have to settle for a recipe that includes filler ingredients.
Excellent ingredients that make puppies super-spunky and healthy include: meat, grains, fats, vitamins, fruits, vegetables, and meat meal.
More specifically, you want to look for real meat options as a primary ingredient. This includes meats like chicken, turkey, lamb, and fish. Other than corn, vegetables are as good for dogs as they are for humans!
Choosing A Good Brand
Don’t be afraid to devote yourself to a good brand. High-quality puppy food brands usually have a good reputation for a reason!
There is a lot of competition in the dog food department. While some brands may be popular because they offer a cheap product, you want to focus on brands that commit to quality ingredients over rock-bottom prices.
There’s no reason to skimp in the area of nutrition for your young puppy!
Dog food brands that have been perfecting their recipes for decades are a good place to start. They have a lot of experience modifying their formulas and learning what best suits dogs of all breeds at all stages of life.
Once you choose a specific food for your puppy, you’ll want to stick with it. Much like older dogs, puppies require consistency in their diet.
Advantages Of Quality Puppy Food
A puppy requires special support to ensure that his growth and development are healthy. Quality puppy food is definitely a worthwhile investment!
Knowing that you’ve provided your puppy with the absolute best gives you peace of mind. Most importantly, it gives you a happy, thriving pup!
Quality puppy food is made from natural, usually hypoallergenic ingredients. They start your puppy off on the right foot by filling his body with healthy vitamins, minerals, and nutrients during his formative stages.
Giving your pup a high-quality puppy food is the best way to start healthy habits early. A good meal will give him the high caloric content he requires and the vitamins and nutrients necessary for healthy fur, clean teeth, and strong bones.
How Long Should My Dog Eat Puppy Food?
Your puppy has special needs and his puppy food provides him with the minerals and vitamins he requires to grow big and strong.
If your puppy is very small, you may still be wetting his food to make it soft and mushy. This can be done until around 2 months of age. After that, your pup should be able to handle kibble that hasn’t been soaked.
Although it depends on the weaning stages of your particular puppy, most dogs eat puppy food until they are around one year old. Prior to the 12-month-mark, puppies should not be eating regular dog food.
Puppy food prepares your puppy for adulthood.
It provides him with a high protein content as well as the extra calories he needs to grow up big, bright, and beautiful!
Switching to Adult Formula
- Small breeds (20 pounds or less): Usually can switch when they're 9 to 12 months of age
- Medium breeds (20 to 50 pounds): Usually can switch at around 12 to 14 months of age
- Large breeds (more than 50 pounds): may not be ready for an adult food until they're between 12 and 24 months old
How Often Should I Feed My Puppy?
Puppies need to be fed little and often. A good approach is taking small portions from their daily ration and feeding them throughout the day.
Puppy Feeding Schedule
- Up to 4 months: 4 meals a day
- 4 to 6 months: 3 meals a day
- 6 months and older : 2 meals a day
How Much Do I Feed My Puppy?
Puppies need more essential nutrients such as proteins, fats, mineral and vitamins than adult dogs.
Easiest way to find out how much you should feed your puppy is to check the labels. However, be careful not to turn your puppy chubby!
The labels are guidelines only and you may need to feed him less or more depending on body score condition.
As they're growing puppies need more protein than adult dogs. That's why usually puppy food will have high amount of proteins.
By the FEDIAF standards for a healthy growth, 25% protein needed for a newly weaned puppy up to 14 weeks and 20% after 14 weeks on dry matter basis.
Sometimes puppies may develop an intolerance to certain foods or ingredients.
If you suspect that your puppy has a food intolerance, it's best to talk to your vet. Also, diarrhoea might be related to another condition such as a viral or bacterial infection.
If it's sensitivity to certain ingredients, you may need to put your puppy on a hypoallergenic diet to figure out what the cause was.
The excess sugar and carbohydrate contents in some puppy foods might cause hyperactivity, just like children. It also can have long-term issues like obesity and diabetes.
Depending on the weaning stages of your puppy, most dogs eat puppy food until they are around one year old.
After that, you may switch to adult dog food. For larger dogs, they may not mature until they're between 12 and 24 months old.
New puppies are incredibly exciting. They’re energetic, vivacious, and hilarious!
So which is the best food for your puppy? Your pup would be well-nourished by any of the puppy foods on this list, but here are two that stand out.
Eukeneuba Puppy Dog Food is a great option for pet owners concerned about their dog’s dental health in addition to everything else.
Autarky Hypoallergenic Puppy Junior Food is fantastic for picky puppies and pups with allergies and sensitivities.
Haven't decided yet? Here is the top 5 in a nutshell:
Our Top Picks
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What's your favourite puppy food?
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- Wellman, M. L., DiBartola, S. P., & Kohn, C. W. (2016, August 21). Applied Physiology of Body Fluids in Dogs and Cats. Veteriankey.com
- Williams, K., & Downing, R. (n.d.). Feeding Growing Puppies. Vcahospitals.com
- FEDIAF Nutritional Guidelines 2019 Update Fediaf.org/
- PFMA Fact Sheet Puppy Nutrition PFMA.org.uk/