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The 9 Best Grain-Free Puppy Foods In 2024

To give your puppy the greatest possible start in life, you must provide them with the proper food. Puppies grow up much faster than people do, and the food they eat is meant to give them all the nutrients they need to grow up healthy.

All commercial puppy foods have to meet a minimum set of nutritional requirements, but many puppy parents choose more specialized foods.

Pet owners are becoming more and more interested in grain-free diets, which has led to a lot of food options, even for puppies.

Keep in mind that this isn't usually the best choice for dogs who don't have a specific grain allergy. Talk to your vet to find out if feeding your dog grain-free food is the healthiest choice.

If your dog needs a grain-free diet but you don't know where to begin, you're at the perfect spot. BestForPets (bestforpets.org) has reviews of the best grain-free puppy foods to help you choose.

Consult our ideas on certain diets, and then use our buyer's guide to pick the ideal food for your developing puppy! Best Grain Free Puppy Foods

icon Vet Approved
icon Reviewed & Fact - Checked by

Deborah R. Fletcher (DVM)

Veterinarian

The information provided is current and up-to-date, in line with the latest research conducted in the field of veterinary medicine.

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Our Top Picks Compared

Image Product View on Amazon
1 ORIJEN Puppy Dry Dog Food ORIJEN Puppy Dry Dog Food View on Amazon
2 Purina Pro Plan High Protein Puppy Food Wet Purina Pro Plan High Protein Puppy Food Wet View on Amazon
3 Wellness CORE Natural Grain Free Dry Dog Food Wellness CORE Natural Grain Free Dry Dog Food View on Amazon
4 Nulo Freestyle All Breed Dog Food Nulo Freestyle All Breed Dog Food View on Amazon
5 Taste of the Wild High Prairie Canine Grain-Free Recip Taste of the Wild High Prairie Canine Grain-Free Recip View on Amazon
6 Canidae Pure Limited Ingredient Premium Puppy Dry Dog Food Canidae Pure Limited Ingredient Premium Puppy Dry Dog Food View on Amazon
7 Natural Balance Limited Ingredient Diet Duck & Potato Natural Balance Limited Ingredient Diet Duck & Potato View on Amazon
8 Holistic Select Natural Grain Free Dry Dog Food Holistic Select Natural Grain Free Dry Dog Food View on Amazon
9 Instinct Raw Boost Puppy Grain Free Recipe Instinct Raw Boost Puppy Grain Free Recipe View on Amazon

Reviews

1. Orijen Puppy Grain-free Dry Food

ORIJEN Puppy Dry Dog Food

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  • Protein: 38%
  • Fat: 20%
  • Calories: 475 kcal/cup
  • Top three ingredients are chicken, turkey, and giblets

Introducing ORIJEN Grain-Free Dog Food , a premium product that features high-quality meat and fish ingredients!

This exceptional dog food is a protein powerhouse, boasting an impressive 85 percent content of animal products.

Not only does ORIJEN prioritize authentic proteins, but it also includes protein-rich non-meat items like lentils and legumes.

It is the ideal choice for dog owners who value ingredient transparency and are willing to invest in top-notch components.

Although ORIJEN contains more fat and calories than many other dog food options, this is typically not a concern for active dogs.

However, it is essential to monitor your pet’s feces during the adjustment period to ensure their digestive system is adapting well. Remember to gradually introduce any dietary changes to ensure a smooth transition.

Let’s delve into the product specifications in more detail. Each 4.5-pound bag of ORIJEN Puppy Grain-Free Dry Dog Food contains a nourishing blend of ingredients.

It is specifically formulated to provide the protein-based nutrients essential for optimal growth in canines.

Rest assured that ORIJEN uses premium ingredients. The dog food is crafted with 85 percent fresh or raw poultry and fish, along with wholesome organs that mimic the ancestral diet of your dog’s wild predecessors.

The first five ingredients in ORIJEN Puppy Grain-Free Dry Dog Food consist of fresh or raw poultry, turkey, turkey giblets, flounder, and whole mackerel. These components supply your puppy with the necessary proteins, vitamins, and minerals for overall health.

You can trust that ORIJEN dog food is manufactured in the United States using high-quality ingredients sourced globally.

Furthermore, it is free from soy, corn, tapioca, and wheat, ensuring a nutritious and balanced meal for your beloved furry companion.

Choose ORIJEN Grain-Free Dog Food for a premium and protein-rich option that prioritizes your dog’s nutritional needs.

Pros

Uses premium protein sources

85% animal ingredients

Extremely rich in protein

Cons

Some dogs’ reported uncomfortable tummies

Expensive

High in calories and fat


2. Grain-free Turkey Canned Food Purina ProPlan Development

Purina Pro Plan High Protein Puppy Food Wet

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  • Protein: 10%
  • Fat: 7%
  • Calories: 460 kcal/can
  • The top three ingredients are turkey, liver, and meat by-products

Purina Pro Plan Grain-free Turkey is an excellent option for pet owners seeking a grain-free canned food at a reasonable price.

Numerous dog owners have reported that their furry companions appreciate the flavor of this diet, as Purina is renowned for producing delicious foods.

The primary ingredient in this recipe is real turkey, making it a protein-rich dish.

However, it is important to note that the diet also contains meat by-products and liver without specifying the species, which may cause concern among pet owners who prefer to avoid these ingredients.

This formula is enriched with fatty acids and DHA, which promote healthy skin and cognitive development. It is also devoid of artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives, guaranteeing your dog a natural and nutritious meal.

Purina Pro Plan Turkey is suitable for both small and large dog breeds and provides a balanced diet for your beloved furry friends.

While this canned food may be slightly more expensive than some dry diets, the majority of reviews for Purina Pro Plan Grain-free Turkey are favorable.

Some owners have expressed concerns about the inclusion of by-products, but overall, customers have been pleased with the flavor and quality of this product.

This product from Purina Pro Plan is available in loaf form and is specially formulated for puppies up to one year of age. It contains DHA, which promotes the development of a puppy’s brain and eyesight.

This wet puppy food’s primary ingredient is turkey, providing the high-quality protein essential for building lean muscle.

Additionally, this canned puppy food helps dogs maintain a robust immune system. It is 100 percent complete and balanced, ensuring that your dog receives all the essential nutrients.

Importantly, it lacks corn, wheat, soy, artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives, making it a healthy option for your furry companion.

Purina Pro Plan Grain-free Turkey is a trustworthy option for pet owners seeking a grain-free canned food. It has a tasty flavor that dogs appreciate, as well as essential nutrients for their overall health.

Although some may be concerned about the inclusion of by-products, the positive customer feedback demonstrates the quality of the meal. Purina Pro Plan Grain-free Turkey will give your puppy the finest start possible.

Pros

Most dogs enjoy the flavor

There are no artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives

Suitable for puppies of small and big breeds

Cons

Contains generic components

Slightly more costly than dry diets


3. Wellness Core Chicken and Turkey Recipe Grain-Free Dog Food

Wellness CORE Natural Grain Free Dry Dog Food

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  • Protein: 36%
  • Fat: 18%
  • Calories: 491 kcal/cup
  • Top three ingredients include boneless chicken, chicken meal, and turkey meal

Wellness Core is a premium brand that offers a grain-free option for dry puppy food.

Formulated with nutrient-rich ingredients, such as real meat, fruits, and vegetables, it provides a high-protein and high-energy diet for your puppy.

This puppy food is specifically designed to support healthy growth and development in puppies of all sizes. It also contains antioxidants to boost the immune system.

Additionally, the calcium and phosphorus in this diet promote healthy bone and muscle growth in growing puppies.

Although the majority of owners give this food positive reviews, it is important to note that some puppies may not enjoy the flavor.

Additionally, the kibble has a strong odor, which may be more of a concern for pet owners than for the puppies themselves.

Wellness Core puppy food, like most grain-free diets, tends to be slightly more expensive due to the absence of fillers and artificial ingredients.

However, the brand prides itself on using only premium, natural ingredients and avoids common allergens such as corn, wheat, and soy. It contains no artificial colors or preservatives.

Wellness Core puppy food is proudly made in the United States, and the brand ensures the highest quality by sourcing ingredients globally and manufacturing the food in a state-of-the-art facility.

The recipes are crafted with nutritious, non-GMO ingredients chosen for their nutritional benefits.

In conclusion, Wellness Core grain-free dry puppy food is an excellent choice for pet owners looking to provide a nutritionally complete and balanced diet for their puppies.

It offers premium protein, essential nutrients, and promotes healthy growth and development.

Although the flavor may not appeal to all puppies and the price is slightly higher, the brand’s commitment to quality and natural ingredients makes it a reliable option for your furry companion.

Pros

Calorie-dense diet

Contains antioxidative compounds, fatty acids, and glucosamine

No additives or fillers

Cons

Strong scented kibble

Some dogs dislike the flavor


4. Nulo Freestyle Limited Salmon Grain-Free Dry Food for Dogs

Nulo Freestyle All Breed Dog Food

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  • Protein: 30%
  • Fat: 18%
  • Calories: 438 kcal/cup
  • The top three ingredients include deboned fish, salmon meal, and chickpeas

Nulo Freestyle Grain-Free Salmon is an excellent choice for young puppies who may be developing food sensitivities.

This formula contains a single protein source, making it free from common allergens such as chicken, wheat, and soy.

The inclusion of probiotics, which can support puppies with sensitive stomachs, is one of the additional benefits of this puppy food.

However, it is important to note that the presence of real, wild-caught salmon does increase the price of this dish.

While this formula is suitable for puppies of all sizes, the kibble size may be too large for some. Additionally, the meal has a strong fish odor that may not appeal to all puppies or their owners.

Ingredients in Nulo Freestyle Limited Ingredient Grain-Free Salmon Recipe consist of a singular animal protein source.

It is specially formulated to promote a happy, active, and healthy lifestyle for your puppy. This specific option comes in a 5.5-pound bag.

Nulo Freestyle’s proprietary formula contains a high proportion of animal-based protein (74%), providing more amino acids and enhanced flavor.

By using fewer carbohydrates and low-glycemic ingredients, the brand ensures a balanced diet for your puppy.

Nulo Freestyle Limited Ingredient puppy food is specially formulated for puppies who prefer a diet with fewer ingredients. It is made without common filler ingredients such as corn and tapioca, as well as artificial colors and preservatives.

In addition to nourishing ingredients, Nulo includes Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids to nourish your puppy’s skin and promote a healthy, shiny coat.

Nulo Pet Foods is proudly produced in Austin, Texas, in the United States. The brand is dedicated to providing high-quality products and does not include corn, wheat gluten, soy, or artificial preservatives, colors, or flavors.

Nulo Freestyle Grain-Free Salmon is an excellent option for puppies with dietary sensitivities. It contains limited ingredients, is rich in protein, and promotes a healthy coat and lean muscles.

While the kibble size and strong fish odor may not be suitable for all puppies, the brand’s commitment to quality and natural ingredients make it a reliable option for your furry companion.

Pros

Scarce ingredient

Extra probiotics

Single source of protein

Cons

Expensive

Strong smelling

Kibble may be too large for little dogs


5. Grain-Free Taste Of The Wild High Prairie Dry Dog Food

Taste of the Wild High Prairie Canine Grain-Free Recipe

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  • Protein: 28%
  • Fat: 17%
  • Calories: 415 kcal/cup
  • Water buffalo, lamb meal, and sweet potatoes are the three most important ingredients

Taste of the Wild High Prairie Grain-Free Dry Dog Food is an excellent choice for grain-free dog food.

This diet incorporates real meat, fruits, vegetables, and eggs sourced from high-quality ingredients to provide a complete and balanced nutrition for growing puppies.

Formulated to promote optimal nutrient absorption, this food ensures your puppy receives the necessary nourishment for overall health and well-being.

It is proudly made in the United States and contains antioxidants to support the development of your dog’s immune system. Additionally, this diet is free from artificial colors or flavors.

Taste of the Wild High Prairie offers a more affordable option compared to other premium grain-free foods, making it a standout feature. It is available in three different bag sizes to accommodate dogs of varying appetites.

However, it is important to note that some owners of large-breed puppies have reported that their dogs did not enjoy the small kibble size of this food.

Taste of the Wild High Prairie Grain-Free Dry Dog Food is a reputable choice for pet owners seeking a grain-free option. It provides a balanced and nutritious diet for puppies, with real meat and wholesome ingredients.

While the small kibble size may not be suitable for all large-breed puppies, the brand’s commitment to quality and natural ingredients makes it a reliable option for your furry companion.

Pros

Highly absorbable

Genuine, natural ingredients

Offering three bag sizes

Cons

Kibble too little for some big dogs


6. Grain-free Pure Chicken, Lentil, and Whole Egg Dry Dog Food for Canidae

Canidae Pure Limited Ingredient Premium Puppy Dry Dog Food

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  • Protein: 30%
  • Fat: 12%
  • Calories: 521 kcal/cup
  • Top three ingredients are chicken, chicken meal, and lentils

Canidae Grain-Free is a premium dog food that meets all nutritional requirements with no extra ingredients.

Designed specifically for dogs with sensitive stomachs or developing food allergies, this diet contains only nine carefully selected ingredients.

Canidae may be pricier compared to other brands, but the investment is well worth it due to the high-quality ingredients it contains.

This food provides optimal nourishment for your growing puppy, thanks to the abundance of antioxidants, fatty acids, and probiotics it contains.

Due to the different ingredients used, the size and consistency of the kibble can vary from batch to batch. Some owners have reported finding a significant amount of “dust” in their dog food bags.

Canidae Pure Real Chicken, Lentil, and Whole Egg Recipe Dry Dog Food for Puppies is available in a 1-22 lb. package.

The primary ingredient in this recipe is real poultry, which is combined with lentils, peas, and dried whole egg. It offers complete and balanced nutrition for growing dogs.

The formulation of antioxidants and probiotics in this food promotes digestive and immune health. Additionally, it contains a blend of vitamins and minerals that support healthy joints, skin, and coat.

Canidae is dedicated to creating a better world for dogs and the environment. They use premium proteins and regeneratively-grown ingredients to nourish dogs and sustain the environment.

With every serving, they set a new standard for pet food by ensuring its nutritional value.

Canidae Grain-Free is a premium dog food that prioritizes providing essential nutrients while avoiding unnecessary ingredients.

It is suitable for dogs with sensitive stomachs or food allergies due to its carefully chosen ingredients.

Despite its higher cost, the benefits of this food, including its high-quality ingredients, make it a worthwhile investment for your puppy’s health and well-being.

Pros

Only nine constituents

Made in the United States by a small, family-owned business

Cons

Inconsistent size of kibble

Food may be dirty with dust


7. Natural Balance Limited Ingredient Duck and Potato Grain-free Dog Food

Natural Balance Limited Ingredient Diet Duck & Potato

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  • Protein: 25%
  • Fat: 12%
  • Calories: 395 kcal/cup
  • Top three ingredients are duck, duck meal, and potato

The Natural Balance Limited Ingredient Duck and Potato dog food is an excellent option for canines who may have food allergies. It is specially formulated with a novel source of protein to address any sensitivities.

This food has been developed by a team of nutritionists, veterinarians, and researchers to ensure that it is easily digestible for your furry companion.

This cuisine stands out by excluding not only grains but also legumes and beans.

Natural Balance understands the importance of supporting the development of your dog’s nervous system and has therefore added DHA to provide essential nutritional support. The kibble size is suitable for small dogs, making mealtime enjoyable.

While this food offers numerous benefits, some owners have reported that their dogs found it somewhat bland. Additionally, it contains a lower protein content compared to other available options.

Natural Balance is a reputable brand that stands behind the quality of their products. The primary ingredient in this recipe is farm-raised duck.

With Natural Balance’s “Buy With Confidence” guarantee, you can be confident in the quality, safety, and optimal nutrition of every bite.

In conclusion, the Natural Balance Limited Ingredient Duck and Potato dog food is a reliable choice for canines with suspected food allergies.

Its unique protein source and carefully selected ingredients make it easily digestible and suitable for sensitive stomachs.

However, some dogs may find it lacking in flavor, and it contains a lower protein content compared to other options.

Nonetheless, with the assurance from Natural Balance, you can trust that you are providing your dog with a nutritious and high-quality meal.

Pros

Novel source of protein

Developed by nutritionists and veterinarians

Simple-to-eat kibble

Cons

Lower in protein

Some dogs detest the flavor


8. Holistic Select Grain-free Adult+Puppy Salmon, Anchovy, and Sardine

Holistic Select Natural Grain Free Dry Dog Food

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  • Protein: 29%
  • Fat: 14%
  • Calories: 448 kcal/cup
  • The top three ingredients were salmon, anchovy and sardine meal, and potatoes

Holistic Select is a premium dog food that contains a variety of natural ingredients, such as salmon protein, pumpkin, and fruits.

This formula includes probiotics to aid in digestion and nutrient absorption for your puppy.

The abundance of fish in this diet provides a rich source of fatty acids, promoting a healthy skin and coat for your furry companion.

Holistic Select is formulated to be suitable for both puppies and adult dogs, eliminating the need to change your dog’s diet as it grows.

It is important to note that due to the high fish content, your puppy’s affectionate gestures may have a strong fish odor.

Not all dogs may enjoy this flavor, as it has a stronger aroma. Additionally, it is a more expensive option compared to other diets.

When it comes to product specifications, Holistic Select is a reputable brand that prioritizes your companion’s health.

The grain-free Adult & Puppy Salmon, Anchovy & Sardine flavor offers specific benefits, including improved digestion through optimal protein levels, prebiotics, probiotics, digestive enzymes, and dietary fiber.

Omega-3 fatty acids from salmon oil and flaxseed also promote a healthy skin and coat. Moreover, the omega fatty acids, antioxidants, glucosamine, probiotics, and taurine in this diet support overall well-being and cardiac health.

Holistic Select takes pride in using only the highest quality ingredients sourced from around the world. They create delicious natural recipes that your dog will love, selecting ingredients for their nutritional benefits.

In conclusion, Holistic Select is a premium dog food that contains a variety of natural nutrients, such as salmon protein, pumpkin, and fruits. It promotes healthy digestion, skin, and coat, as well as overall well-being.

However, note the possibility of a distinct fish odor and the higher price. With Holistic Select’s dedication to high-quality nutrition and wholesome ingredients, you can feel confident feeding your dog a nutritious and tasty meal.

Pros

Nutrition that is easily digested and absorbed

Can also be offered to mature dogs

Cons

Causes breath to smell like fish

Higher food prices


9. Grain-free Instinct Raw Boost Puppy

Instinct Raw Boost Puppy Grain Free Recipe

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  • Protein: 34%
  • Fat: 5%
  • Calories: 504 kcal/cup
  • Top 3 Ingredients: poultry, poultry meal, and turkey meal

Instinct Raw Boost is a premium dog food made with real, cage-free poultry as the primary ingredient.

This formula goes above and beyond traditional kibble by including freeze-dried chicken pieces for an added nutritional and flavorful boost.

Along with a focus on high-quality protein from animal sources, Instinct Raw Boost also contains DHA from real eggs to support optimal brain development in canines.

Raw food diets can be a topic of debate among pet owners and veterinarians.

While Instinct Raw Boost offers the benefits of raw ingredients in a convenient dry form, it is important to consider your dog’s specific dietary needs and consult with your veterinarian before making any dietary changes.

It’s worth noting that Instinct Raw Boost is only available in small and medium bag sizes, which may make it less cost-effective for owners of large and giant dog breeds.

However, if the portion size is suitable for your dog, they will enjoy the combination of high-protein kibble and freeze-dried raw pieces.

Some owners have reported that the kibbles in this dog food are quite hard, which may pose challenges for small canines with dental issues.

Additionally, a few customers have mentioned inconsistencies in the food’s texture, which could be attributed to its natural ingredients.

Instinct Raw Boost is a grain-free puppy food that combines the benefits of freeze-dried raw chicken from cage-free sources with high-quality kibble.

It is free from grains, potatoes, corn, wheat, soy, by-product meals, artificial colors, and preservatives. This puppy food is specifically formulated with calcium, phosphorus, and DHA to promote strong teeth, bones, and cognitive development.

Instinct Raw Boost is the first raw-boosted puppy kibble available, providing a convenient way to incorporate raw food elements into your dog’s diet.

It also includes probiotics and omegas for optimal digestion and nutrition. This product is proudly made in the USA using the finest ingredients sourced from around the world.

As a brand, Instinct formulates their dog food with raw ingredients, focusing on real nutrition derived from meat and whole food sources. They prioritize protein-packed, minimally processed formulas that mimic a dog’s natural diet.

Instinct Raw Boost can be compared to other popular brands such as Blue Buffalo, Rachel Ray, Hills Science Diet, Purina One, Taste of the Wild, Merrick, Natural Balance, Wellness, Orijen, and Royal Canin.

In conclusion, Instinct Raw Boost is a premium dog food made with cage-free chicken and freeze-dried raw pieces.

It provides essential nutrients for healthy growth and development in canines, with a focus on real ingredients and minimal processing.

While considering the potential challenges and dietary needs of your dog, Instinct Raw Boost offers a convenient way to incorporate raw elements into their diet, ensuring they receive a balanced and nutritious meal.

Pros

Real, freeze-dried chicken bits are included

Animal protein rich

Made with cage-free eggs and chicken

Cons

Exclusive to small and medium bags

Hard kibble

Several inconsistencies

What Are the Benefits and Risks of Grain-Free Puppy Food?

Grain-free puppy food can have both positive and negative effects on the health and wellbeing of your dog. Here are some examples:

Benefits:

  • Higher protein level: Compared to grain-inclusive meals, grain-free puppy food often contains a higher protein content. Protein is crucial for your dog’s growth, muscle development, bone health, skin, fur, and more.
  • Lower carbohydrate content: Grain-free diets for dogs generally have lower carbohydrate content than those containing grains. While carbohydrates are not harmful in moderation, excessive consumption can contribute to weight gain and other health issues.
  • More natural ingredients: Grain-free puppy food may feature more natural components compared to diets that include grains. Some grain-containing dog foods may contain low-quality grains or additives that could be harmful or allergenic to your dog.
  • Improved coat and skin health: Some dog owners claim that switching to a grain-free diet has improved their dogs’ coat and skin health. This improvement could be due to the increased protein content or the absence of allergenic grains.

Risks:

  • Higher fat content: Grain-free dog food may contain higher fat levels compared to grain-containing options. While fat is essential for your dog’s health, excessive intake can lead to pancreatitis, obesity, and other health problems.
  • Lower fiber content: Grain-free dog food may have less fiber than grain-containing alternatives. Fiber is beneficial for digestive health and stool quality. Insufficient fiber intake can result in constipation or diarrhea.
  • Unbalanced nutrients: Grain-free puppy food may not provide a balanced diet for your dog. These foods might lack or inadequately provide certain nutrients found in grains. For example, grains are rich in taurine, an essential amino acid for cardiac health.
  • DCM danger: Grain-free puppy food has been linked to an increased risk of dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) in dogs. DCM is a severe cardiac condition that causes the heart muscle to weaken and enlarge. Since 2018, the FDA has been investigating the potential connection between grain-free diets and DCM. They found that certain grain-free diets with high concentrations of legumes or potatoes may hinder the absorption of taurine and other nutrients crucial for cardiac function. However, the exact cause of DCM is still unknown and further research is needed.

How to Choose the Best Grain-Free Puppy Food for Your Pup

Choosing the finest grain-free dog food for your dog can be challenging. There are numerous factors to consider and products to compare.

Here are some general guidelines for selecting high-quality grain-free puppy food that meets your dog’s nutritional needs and preferences:

1. Consult with your veterinarian

Puppies eating kibble from a bowl together

Before transitioning your puppy to a grain-free diet, the first and most crucial step is to consult with your veterinarian. Your veterinarian can assess your puppy’s health and determine whether a grain-free diet is appropriate.

They can also recommend safe and suitable products or brands for your dog. This is especially important if your puppy has any health conditions or belongs to a susceptible breed, such as Golden Retrievers, Doberman Pinschers, Boxers, etc.

2. Examine the label

Take a close look at the label of the grain-free dog food you are considering. The label can provide valuable information about the product’s quality and ingredients. Here are a few things to look for on a product’s label:

3. Protein sources

Animal sources, such as poultry, beef, lamb, fish, etc., should be clearly specified as the protein sources. Avoid products labeled as “meat meal” or “by-products.”

The protein sources should also be listed as the first or second ingredient, indicating that they are the primary component of the product.

4. Protein-to-fat ratio

The fat-to-protein ratio should be between 25 and 40 percent, or the fat content should be between 25 and 40 percent of the protein content.

For example, if a product contains 30% protein and 15% fat, the fat-to-protein ratio is 50%, which is excessive. A balanced fat-to-protein ratio ensures that your dog receives adequate energy and nutrients without consuming excessive fat.

5. Vegetable content

The legume content should be minimal or moderate, and legumes should not be among the top five ingredients.

Small amounts of legumes are not harmful to your dog, but excessive quantities can lead to digestive issues and an increased risk of dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM).

If the product contains legumes, make sure they are fortified with taurine or other nutrients that promote cardiac health.

6. Added vitamins and minerals

The product should contain essential vitamins and minerals for your dog’s health. Examples include vitamin A, vitamin D, vitamin E, calcium, phosphorus, zinc, iron, etc.

These contribute to your puppy’s growth and development while preventing deficiencies and imbalances.

7. Consider your dog’s size, age, activity level, and unique needs

Two Cute Puppies in the Grass

When selecting grain-free puppy food, the final step is to consider your dog’s specific characteristics and nutritional requirements.

Different puppies may have unique preferences and needs based on their size, age, activity level, and any special requirements they may have. Here are some factors to consider:

  • Size: The size of your dog will determine how much food they need and how quickly they develop. Larger puppies may require more calories and nutrients than smaller puppies. Additionally, they may need a slower growth rate to prevent joint problems and obesity. Smaller puppies, on the other hand, may require fewer calories and nutrients than larger puppies. They may also need a faster growth rate to reach maturity earlier.
  • Age: Your puppy’s nutritional needs and preferences may vary depending on their age. Younger puppies may require more protein and calories for growth and development compared to older puppies. They may also need smaller kibble sizes or a softer texture to accommodate their teeth and gums. Older puppies, on the other hand, may require less protein and calories to maintain their weight and overall health. To maintain healthy teeth and gums, they may also benefit from larger kibble sizes or textures.
  • Activity level: Your dog’s activity level can influence their energy requirements and food preferences. More active dogs may need more calories and carbohydrates to sustain their exercise and play compared to less active dogs. They may also prefer more palatable and easily digestible foods to satisfy their appetite and avoid stomach issues. Less active puppies, on the other hand, may require fewer calories and carbohydrates to prevent weight gain and other health problems. They may also prefer less palatable but more filling foods to control their appetite and portion sizes.
  • Special requirements: Your dog may have special dietary needs or conditions that require a specific diet or formula. For example, if your puppy has allergies or sensitivities to certain ingredients, you may need to choose a grain-free, hypoallergenic, or limited ingredient puppy food. If your puppy has digestive or gastrointestinal issues, a grain-free, easily digestible puppy food with probiotics or prebiotics may be necessary. If your puppy has joint or mobility issues, a grain-free puppy food containing glucosamine or chondroitin may be beneficial.

FAQs

1. Is grain free food best for puppies?

Traditional puppy food is generally nutritious and suitable for most puppies. If your dog enjoys it and maintains a well-balanced diet, that’s what matters most.

However, for canines with allergy symptoms, grain-free food can be an excellent alternative.

2. Are grains good or bad for puppies?

While corn, wheat, soy, rice, and barley are not inherently harmful or dangerous for cats and dogs, it’s important to consider the optimal dietary foundation for meat-consuming animals.

Relying primarily on these plant-based sources may not provide the ideal nutrition for their needs.

3. Why not grain free for puppies?

Because grains in dog food contribute to promoting cardiac health. Therefore, a grain-free diet has the potential to cause heart-related conditions in dogs.

Long-term adherence to a grain-free diet may increase the risk of dilated cardiomyopathy, which can eventually lead to congestive heart failure in canines.

Cute Lagotto Romagnolo puppy eating

4. Does my dog really need grain free?

Feeding grain-free diets to dogs or cats lacks medical or physiological justification. However, if a dog or cat has a specific dietary allergy, limiting the carbohydrate source may be necessary.

In such cases, a grain-free diet can serve this purpose. The popular grain-free trend emerged due to concerns surrounding corn.

5. What are the disadvantages of grain free dog food?

Grain-free dog food can contain a notable amount of carbohydrates, which may not be suitable for dogs on a low-carbohydrate diet.

For example, if your dog has Type 1 diabetes or requires a strictly low-carbohydrate diet, grain-free food may not be the optimal choice.

6. What grain should dogs avoid?

Grain foods, including corn, wheat, soy, rice, oatmeal, barley, sorghum, and others, should be avoided when choosing kibble for your pet.

These ingredients are commonly found in the majority of dog food brands and are known to be the top three allergens for dogs. It is advised to steer clear of them for your pet’s well-being.

7. Can I switch my dog from grain free to grain?

If you’re considering changing your dog’s diet to a different type of food, like dry or wet, grain-free or containing grains, or even exploring rotational diets, it’s important to transition them from puppy food to adult food at the appropriate time.

Conclusion

We hope that our reviews have helped you make a better decision about which puppy food to buy.

Ensure that you check your dog’s health regardless of the diet you pick, since not all foods are suitable for all puppies, regardless of any positive evaluations. Absolutely not.

BestForPets (bestforpets.org) would like to thank our visitors for visiting our website to learn about and research the best grain-free puppy foods. We hope you’ve selected the proper grain-free dog food.

Author Image

Dr. Deborah Fletcher

Deborah R. Fletcher, DVM, is a skilled veterinarian with more than 15 years of experience dealing with companion and exotic animals. She has experience caring for a variety of animals, including household cats and dogs, reptiles, birds of prey, and even primates. Dr. Fletcher is a valuable part of the BestForPets team, where she contributes to their aim of providing pets and their owners with the finest possible treatment and services.

Veterinarian (DVM) Dr. Deborah Fletcher

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