Wet, dry or raw: best food for puppies to grow and flourish

  • Horse & Hound is supported by its audience. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn commission on some of the items you choose to buy. Learn more
  • Bringing a new puppy home is a seminal moment – even for those who’ve already had dogs before. But even before carrying the adorable fluff bundle over the threshold, you’ll need to decide what to feed him. Naturally, you’ll want to serve up the best dog food for puppies available, to support his immunity, joints, bones, teeth and overall development. But there are hundreds of different brands, marketing campaigns and strong opinions to set you chasing your own tail.

    Vets cite “what to feed my puppy?” as one of the most commonly asked questions. Puppies have different dietary requirements to adult dogs, and it is recommended to feed them a specific puppy food – rather than one of the best dog foods – as puppy foods are formulated for their needs in the rapid growth phase.

    Puppies should typically stay on this diet for up to about a year, but maybe slightly longer for larger breeds. Puppies have smaller mouths and baby teeth, too, so the best puppy foods are specifically designed for their young jaws and teeth..

    And then there are the ongoing debates of wet or dry, tinned, raw, grain-free and so on. Always consult your vet if you have any concerns. Introduce new food gradually over a few days.

    Best dog food for puppies

    Bag of Skinners Field & Trial puppy food

    Skinner’s Field & Trial Puppy Complete Dry Food

    Options: Sensitive, hypoallergenic, puppy, puppy/junior or junior | Flavours: Chicken, lamb/rice or duck/rice | RRP: From £10.79 for 2.5kg |

    Favoured by field sports specialists, this is a nutritionally complete dog food, formulated to support the early growth and development of puppies. Suitable from weaning (three weeks) to approx nine months.

    Contains highly digestible meat as a small kibble to suit puppies of different ages and provides a balanced and complete vitamin and mineral profile to support growth. No artificial colouring, flavours or preservatives and uses predominantly locally sourced ingredients from Suffolk.

    When your puppy reaches six to nine months, you can move him on to the junior range until around 18 months.

    In the UK? View at amazon.co.uk, viovet.co.uk, petsandfriends.co.uk or petsathome.com

    Forthglade pack of puppy food

    Forthglade Complete Natural Wet Puppy Food

    Options: Puppy | Flavours: Duck, chicken, turkey, lamb/liver, chicken/liver or sweet potato/veg | RRP: From £36 for 20 395g trays |

    A complete wet food, containing everything your pup needs to grow and develop. The grain-free recipe is designed for sensitive tummies, “bursting with goodness”, using natural ingredients with added vitamins, minerals and botanicals. The ingredients are gently steamed to retain natural flavour and goodness.

    Suitable for puppies from two to 12 months.

    In the UK? View at amazon.co.ukforthglade.com or petsathome.com

    Nutriment Raw Puppy Food

    Nutriment Enhanced Raw Diet Working Puppy Food

    Options: Puppy | Flavour: Mixed | RRP: £22.99 for 5kg |

    This award-winning Biologically Appropriate Raw Food is formulated to promote healthy growth, with carefully selected natural ingredients, including fresh proteins, essential fatty acids, vitamins and minerals in a complete balanced meal.

    Simply defrost before serving raw to your puppy. The nutrients are naturally preserved and easily digested. Made with human-grade, quality, natural, fresh, grain-free ingredients, meats and superfoods, including organic virgin coconut oil, Scottish coldwater salmon oil and spirulina. The manufacturer recommends it as “great for your puppy’s development, immune system, coat, skin, oral health, vitality and stools”. Transition to adult formula around six months.

    Nutriment also produce a weaning paste to get puppies used to eating solid food.

    In the UK? View at amazon.co.uk or viovet.co.uk 

    Billy & Margot Wet dog for for puppies

    Billy + Margot Grain Free Puppy Wet Food Cans

    Options: Puppy | Flavours: Chicken/superfoods or lamb/superfoods | RRP: £31.20 for 12 x 395g cans |

    Billy + Margot recipes are created by renowned canine nutritionist Marie Jones, using the highest quality freshly cooked ingredients and natural vitamin-rich ingredients. Nourishing superfoods include peas, flaxseed, coconut oil and Manuka honey to help promote wellbeing, with added salmon oil to support your pup’s healthy growth and development.

    This wet food is grain-free. The manufacturers believe that as young dogs have small, sensitive tummies, their digestive system may find it hard to cope with grains, as well as artificial additive and synthetic chemicals, which could lead to allergies and sensitive skin.

    Billy + Margot also do a kibble for puppies in the same flavour.

    In the UK? View at amazon.co.uk, viovet.co.uk or petsathome.com 

    Natures Menu Country Hunter Puppy Nuggets dog food for puppies

    Natures Menu Country Hunter Puppy Nuggets

    Options: Puppy | Flavour: Beef, turkey/fish, lamb, chicken, chicken/salmon, turkey, turkey/goose, rabbit or venison | RRP: From £6.49 for 1kg |

    Natures Menu are Europe’s leading expert on raw and natural food for dogs and cats. Their award-winning range of highly convenient complete and balanced are nourishing, easily digested and made with ethically sourced human-grade meat and wholesome ingredients. This recipe contains turkey, salmon, white fish plus veggies, sweet potato, spinach and swede.

    These meaty superfood nuggets are suitably for pups from weaning, and contain high-quality ingredients to support your growing pup, including raw minced bone for added nutrition. Vet approved.

    In the UK? View at viovet.co.uk, petsandfriends.co.uk or petsathome.com

    Purina Pro Plan Optistart large bag

    Purina Pro Plan Optistart Dry Food

    Options: Small/mini, medium puppy, large athletic puppy, large robust puppy, sensitive skin or sensitive digestion | Flavours: Chicken | RRP: From £16.30 for 3kg |

    Stacks of different options to ensure you feed your puppy exactly what suits best. Optistart kibble is designed to enable puppies’ developing immune systems to react efficiently, with a specific ingredient – colostrum, as found in mother’s milk – to help support natural defences and long-term health. It is proven to reduce the risk of upsets and helps to stabilise intestinal microflora during stress episodes.

    Contains a combination of key nutrients to help support healthy joints for puppies’ active lifestyles, as well strong teeth and healthy gums. Made with high-quality chicken and containing no added colourants.

    Can be offered gradually during weaning from three to six weeks of age.

    In the UK? View at amazon.co.uk, viovet.co.uk, or petsathome.com

    You may also enjoy reading…

    Horse & Hound magazine, out every Thursday, is packed with all the latest news and reports, as well as interviews, specials, nostalgia, vet and training advice. Find how you can enjoy the magazine delivered to your door every week, plus options to upgrade your subscription to access our online service that brings you breaking news and reports as well as other benefits.

    You may like...