A puppy is a bundle of joy that needs your affection, warmth, and care to grow into a mischievous adult. To get there, your furry goofy ball of energy needs healthy and nutritious meals that support growth and good brain development.
So which is the best food for puppies? Should you feed only wet, gently cooked, or raw foods? Is it OK to give them treats? How much should a puppy eat? I know that a new puppy comes with a lot of questions, so I went on a quest to find the best food services that help provide answers, backed by veterinary nutritionists.
My top choice is The Farmer’s Dog because the recipes are simple, vet-formulated, and the nutrients support a dog’s growth from puppy to senior. But your puppy may have different tastes and needs, so make sure to check out my list of the best foods for puppies for more options.
The Farmer’s Dog – Best human-grade food for puppies over 8 weeks old
Ollie – Best menu variety for pups 3+ months old
Nom Nom – Great food designed by board-certified veterinary nutritionists
Spot & Tango – Best wet and dry food formulated by veterinary nutritionists
Open Farm – Ethical and sustainable standards for nutritious, healthy meals
Current deal: Get 60% off on your first order!
Why I like it: Puppies need high-quality, nutrient-rich foods and The Farmer’s Dog delivers just that. Even though the menu is limited to four recipes (chicken, pork, beef, and turkey), it’s enough to make any pooch over 8 weeks old happy.
The Farmer’s Dog food is wet (perfect for a puppy’s small teeth), grain-free, and exceeds AAFCO standards in terms of nutrients. Plus, each meal plan is specifically designed to meet your dog’s needs, and all the recipes include fresh, high-quality meat from thoroughly vetted sources.
Our reviewer said: “The service is not only convenient for pet parents (easy, no-fuss orders), but the dogs get to enjoy vet-formulated, human-grade, high-quality recipes focused on their health.”
Price: The Farmer’s Dog can get pricey for large breeds ($2/day), but it’s worth it.
Subscription options: The Farmer’s Dog is a subscription-based service, but you can adjust the delivery schedule, postpone orders, or cancel at any time.
Current deal: Get 60% Off Your Starter Box!
Why I like it: Ollie stands out from the multitude of fresh, human-grade dog food services due to its menu variety. While the focus never changes from your pup’s nutritional needs, the menu also includes baked recipes and the possibility to mix baked and fresh food.
This way, your pooch gets to enjoy a plethora of textures and tastes. The fresh food has a soft, palatable texture, while the gently baked bite morsels are crunchy and easy to store outside the fridge. All recipes fit both puppies and adult dogs, contain superfoods (fish oil or chia seeds), and are free from preservatives or fillers.
Our reviewer said: “That's right: after submitting a short quiz about your dog, including its breed, size, activity levels, and food sensitivities, you'll get to choose recipes specially crafted for your pup's needs. No guesswork.”
Price: There are three available plans (Baked, Mixed, and Fresh), with Baked meals starting at $4-$8 per day.
Subscription options: Ollie is subscription-based only, but you have full control over the delivery frequency.
Current deal: Take 60% Off Your First Order
Why I like it: Nom Nom’s delicious recipes are created according to the latest science-backed regulations in the industry. So you can rest assured that your puppy will receive just the right amount of calories and nutrients it needs.
For instance, Nom Nom recipes include the nutrient DHA, which is found in fish oil (good for brain development during the growing phase). Plus, all the recipes are designed with nutrition, flavor, and texture in mind.
Our reviewer said: “Nom Nom crafts delicious, nutritious recipes with fresh, whole ingredients that are balanced with essential nutrients and vitamins. It believes that quality nutrition is critical to the health and well-being of pets.”
Price: Depending on the recipe and your dog’s size and weight, Nom Nom can get quite pricey ($2.40). But there’s a trial period you can use to test it out.
Subscription options: The service is subscription-based, and you have full control over delivery frequency.
Why I like it: Unlike other high-quality dog food services, Spot & Tango gives you the option to choose between fresh food (wet) and dry food. But this doesn’t mean you’ll feed your pup kibble!
Spot & Tango created a unique brand of dry food called UnKibble (get the pun?), formulated by vets, and made using a special process called Fresh Dry that helps retain all the nutrients and flavor.
Fresh recipes are available in 3 flavors, and dry recipes are available in 4 flavors. All of them are designed using only 12 natural ingredients such as fresh meat, fruits, and vegetables. Plus, there’s no trace of GMOs or hormones.
Our reviewer said: “Not only does Spot & Tango offer your dog a healthy, balanced diet, but the whole process is extremely convenient thanks to its pre-portioned meals and auto-delivery options.”
Price: Spot & Tango is a bit on the pricey side, with the UnKibble (the most affordable option) starting at $7 per week.
Subscription options: Spot & Tango is a subscription-based service where you can receive food every week, every two weeks, every four weeks, or every eight weeks.
Why I like it: Besides a passion for high-quality ingredients and delicious meals, Open Farm also offers more variety. For dogs, the menu includes recipes for dry, wet, freeze-dried raw, and gently cooked foods. There are also broths and liquids (as toppers), supplements, and treats.
Open Farm also has special recipes for puppies, available in individual packaging or as part of a bundle pack. The bundle includes three items – dry and freeze-dried raw foods plus treats.
Our reviewer said: “Open Farm is dedicated to providing ethical and sustainable pet food for both cats and dogs, with easily traced ingredients”
Price: $7/lb without auto-shipment per item, you’re overall price will vary depending on the type of food and the quantity you order. You can also save 5% by opting for autoship.
Subscription options: Open Farm accepts both one-time purchases and subscription-based purchases (autoship). If you choose a subscription, the delivery frequency is between one and eight weeks.
Why I like it: A Pup Above uses sous vide, which is a cooking method common in high-end human cuisine. Meals cooked sous vide are tastier, retain more nutrients and flavor, and last longer without needing any preservatives.
So, each of the four available recipes of fresh dog food is prepared to the same standard of quality as human food. Also, the food only contains human-grade ingredients like non-GMO veggies, single-source protein, and superfoods like turmeric, parsley, and thyme.
Our reviewer said: “Veteran nutritionists and food scientists formulate and review each recipe to ensure it meets appropriate American Association of Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) guidelines. And every meal comes with a number you can use to check the “Best By” date and look up where the ingredients came from.”
Price: The cost for a small breed dog starts at $7.50/lb, but it can vary significantly depending on quantity and whether or not you have a subscription (10% less).
Subscription options: One-time purchases and subscription-based purchases are both available.
Why I like it: PetPlate’s menu includes fresh meals (which arrive frozen), organic treats, and supplements. This way, you can feed your dog a complete and balanced diet that fits its needs from puppyhood until seniorhood.
I also like that all its meals are well-balanced in terms of nutrients and ingredients, as PetPlate’s vet nutritionist tries to satisfy the needs of most breeds.
Our reviewer said: “The meal recipes were developed by Cornell University-trained Veterinary Nutritionist Dr. Renee Streeter, DVM, DACVN.”
Price: For a puppy, your price can start at $2.85/day, but there’ll be variations depending on breed and level of activity.
Subscription options: The meal plans are a subscription-only service, but you can get the 4-pack treat option as a one-time purchase.
Why I like it: Darwin’s was one of the first pet food delivery services to bring raw dog food to your door safely. That’s because the preparation, packaging, and delivery processes are incredibly thorough. Plus, all the ingredients are USDA-approved and meticulously chosen.
Darwin’s recipes are recommended for healthy puppies four months and older, and they introduce your pooch to a well-balanced mixture of raw meat and veggies. And, if you choose the Natural Selections line, you’ll treat your young one to premium, organic meat.
Our reviewer said: “Each recipe has different vegetables and ingredients to provide the necessary vitamins and nutrients. For example, cod-liver oil from wild-caught Alaskan codfish is added to provide additional vitamin D from a natural source.”
Price: Darwin’s BioLogics recipes are more affordable (starting at $10.84 per pack), but if you want organic meats and veggies, the price will go up.
Subscription options: Darwin’s is a subscription-based service, but you can control the delivery frequency and dates using your online account.
Why I like it: JustFoodForDogs offers eight fresh food recipes, of which two are recommended for growing puppies. The Chicken & White Rice is nutritionally balanced and includes high amounts of calcium and phosphorus, which is perfect for puppies.
The Fish & Sweet Potato is high in protein and low in calorie count and works for both puppies and adult dogs. The company also provides nutrient blends (for DIY recipes), treats, and supplements.
Our reviewer said: "JustFoodForDogs is, without doubt, a reliable brand fully committed to helping pooches of all ages achieve their full potential."
Price: JustFoodForDogs fits most budgets, with prices starting at $6.45 per meal. However, if you’re feeding a large breed, your bill may get pretty steep.
Subscription options: A subscription isn’t necessary to make purchases from JustFoodForDogs, but it’ll save you 5% for each new order.
1 week’s worth of food
Get 60% off on your first order! from The Farmer’s Dog
$4-$8 per day
1 week’s worth of food
Get 60% Off Your Starter Box! from Ollie
1 week’s worth of food
Take 60% Off Your First Order from Nom Nom
$7 per week
1 week’s worth of food
Get 50% Off Your First Box from Spot & Tango
$7/lb without auto-shipment
1 week’s worth of food for subscriptions
1 item for one-time purchases
Fresh, Dry, Raw
$5.99 for orders under $50
Save 15% Off Your First Order With Code: HELLO15 from Open Farm
2 bags of food
Free Shipping on orders with 3+ bags
$15 for smaller orders
$50 Off your 1st Order with code TRYNOW from A Pup Above
1 week’s worth of food
A 4-pack of treats
$10.84 per pack
1 week’s worth of food
Get 10 Pounds For $14.95! from Darwin’s
$10 for non-autoship orders
Save 40% off your first order and 5% off recurring autoship orders! from JustFoodForDogs
While you have to consider your puppy’s taste, it’s just as important to make sure they get the right type of food and nutrients. So if you’re still in doubt, here are a few tips on how to choose the best food for puppies:
Vet-formulated recipes: Make sure the recipes are created with the help of a board-certified veterinary nutritionist. This can be someone that’s part of the staff or through collaboration with scientists in the field (who continue to supervise the process).
Human-grade ingredients: Dogs need real meats and veggies in their diet, so check the list of ingredients. The recipes should be simple (only a few ingredients), and the ratio between protein, fats, and fibers must respect AAFCO standards.
Customized meal plan: Not all puppies and dogs need the same amount or type of food. The amount and nutrients needed vary depending on size, breed, and health state. So choose a service that helps you build a customized meal plan that’s tailored to your puppy’s needs.
GMO and preservatives-free: Food mustn’t contain any additives, fillers, or preservatives. To preserve fresh and raw meals, companies use temperature control during delivery, and you’ll have to store them in the fridge or freezer.
It all comes down to what your little puppy needs and what your vet says is best. Most puppies will love a service like The Farmer’s Dog. The food is softly cooked and easy to chew, which is great for their small teeth.
If your puppy happens to be a picky eater, you might want to consider a different service that caters to their specific taste preferences. Additionally, you can try using toppers or a combination of wet and baked food to find out what your little buddy enjoys the most. It's always a good idea to consult with your veterinarian before subscribing to ensure that the combination of ingredients is suitable for your canine or feline companion's diet.
The Farmer’s Dog wet food recipes exceed AAFCO standards in terms of nutrient requirements and are perfect for puppies 8 weeks and older. But if your puppy prefers dry food, you can try Spot & Tango’s UnKibble.
Young puppies have small teeth and mouths, so they’re better off with wet food. If you don’t want to feed them food that’s been frozen, A Pup Above is a great option because it uses sous vide as a method of cooking and preservation.
It depends on your puppy. If they don’t enjoy The Farmer’s Dog wet food recipes, they may like Darwin’s raw food recipes. You may have to go through several trials before you find the best food for your puppy.