Best 5-Star Dry Puppy Foods

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The following is a list of 5-star dog food brands… each containing not less than one dry puppy food.
Basset Hound Puppy Waits for Food
To qualify, every puppy food must meet AAFCO nutritional profiles for either all life stages or growth.

Or it must be recommended for puppies by the manufacturer.

If you know of a puppy food you believe we should have included on this list, please feel free to share your own suggestions in the Comments section below.

Or if you’re looking for some suggestions yourself, why not check out that same Comments area to find more candidates.

Links to More Good Puppy Foods

For yet more ideas, you may wish to visit one of our other puppy food lists or articles…

How to Find the Best 5-Star
Dry Puppy Foods

The following is a list of 5-star dry dog food brands that are known to contain at least one puppy food. Within each brand, search for products that include the word “puppy” in their names.

In addition, many other products are designed for all life stages… a category that includes puppies, too.

Best 5-Star Dry Puppy Foods

  • Pitlove

    The feeding guidelines are always just that, a guideline. You will see how your dog eats and you will figure out if you need to or can feed more or less. Sounds like your guy needs less.

  • Jourdan

    Right. I agree. We are feeding him what the directions say but its too rich for him. I have heard good things about Fromm as well. Thanks for the recommendation.

  • Pitlove

    It’s not really with Orijen that overfeeding can cause loose stool, it’s with any food. It is also extremely bad to overfed a large breed puppy/adult dog. Overfeeding a LBP not only leads to loose stool, but to growth and development issues as well. My large breed did really well on Orijen Regional Red and Adult Dog formulas. I like Orijen a lot, however it’s not always for every dog. I am however impressed that a breeder is using it. Very expensive! Consider also looking at Fromm Gold Large Breed Puppy. It’s a really good food.

  • Jourdan

    Thanks! We added a little rice to his food and fed him less kibble in each serving and he had one solid stool. I have heard the complaints with orijen regarding overfeeding even a slight amount causes loose stool, so I’m really hoping that this is the problem. Then I can switch him to something he can eat more of.

  • Pitlove

    I’m about to put my dog on California Natural Lamb and Rice Large Bites to start an elimination diet to find out what he’s allergic to. They also make a chicken one. It has only 4 ingredients.

  • Pitlove

    The loose stool could be because his stomach isn’t healthy enough to try a new food for one meal. Dogs who don’t produce natural healthy bacteria in the gut that allow for constant change in diet with no GI upset need 7+ days to transition to a new food. If you want to feed Earthborn, add a pro/prebiotic to his diet and a digestive supplement and that will ease him into the new food with no loose stool.

  • Nikki Rakowiecki

    I have a Bullmastiff/boxer male intact, that is 85lbs and will be a year old on July 22nd. I started him on 4health Grain free, we have gone through all the flavors to find him the right one and he still acts like he is “missing” something. I grabbed some samples of Earthborn Primitive Natural Grain Free…he seems to like it alright…but now he has loose stool. HELP!

  • Jourdan

    Thanks for your prompt response. Any recommendations?

  • DogFoodie

    It’s likely a food intolerance. Goldens are famous for it. The problem with Orijen is that it contains so many proteins and botanicals, there’s no telling to what he’s reacting. I’d look for a simple food with a single, novel protein and starch to start. You need to continue to watch the calcium for a while longer, so be sure the calcium level is appropriate.

  • Jourdan

    I have a 7 month old English cream golden. The breeder had him on Origen large breed puppy. It is noted to be one of the best foods but after 5 months with us we just haven’t had luck. His stool is always soft and his breath stinks. Does anyone have any recommendations? My labs in the past were on Iams (which is not rated very well) and did fine. Our contract for the dog does not allow us to feed him lower quality dog food.

  • Alexander Strelnikov

    what dog food for my weiner dog getting him soon.

  • Crazy4dogs

    Hi Gaby!
    Many, but not all, goldendoodles are in the large breed category. You might want to take a look at the large breed puppy section.
    Here’s the link:
    http://www.dogfoodadvisor.com/best-dog-foods/best-large-breed-puppy-food/

  • Crazy4cats

    Wellness is a highly regarded brand on this site. Here is a link with some information on nutrition and other areas of raising a large breed pup. Awww, I bet he’s cute!
    http://www.dogfoodadvisor.com/best-dog-foods/best-large-breed-puppy-food/

    Let us know how it is going!

  • Bobby dog

    Hi glenda:
    I would like to add to C4c’s info. You can order on-line from Petco.com too. It’s a handy option if you can’t make it to the brick and mortar store. Normal shipping rates are about $6.00 for orders under $49, free for orders over $49. If you sign up for e-mail alerts from their site they will send you info on sales and other specials as well. I order from their site regularly and have been satisfied with their service.

  • Crazy4cats

    Ok, good. Yes, sign up for their pals rewards program and you will get a $5 coupon for every $100 spent. In my opinion, some of their best brands are: Merrick, Nature’s Variety, Wellness and Whole Earth Farms. I am feeding my dogs Whole Earth Farms Turkey and Duck right now and they really like it. Good luck!

  • Gaby Toromoreno

    I have a 6 month old goldendoodle and I need a cheap good food for him

  • glenda rennie

    I found a Petco close to me. I did a lot of reading. They have lots of fog food on sale. This makes me happy. And dog bowels, beds seems like all of it

  • Crazy4cats

    Hi Glenda-
    Congrats on the new pup! I bet it is a cutie! Shitzu’s make great pets. Are you willing to order food online? Do you have any smaller pet supply stores closer to you than the Walmart? I would, however for now try to feed it the same food it is already eating for a while before starting your rotation. That will make the transition to her new home go a little smoother. I order a lot of pet food and supplies from chewy.com, Petflow.com and Amazon. I’ve had great results with all, but I think chewy has the best over all prices and customer service. Good luck. Let us all know how it goes and where you shop so we can help with a food.

  • glenda rennie

    Hi I am getting a 9 month old shitzu tomorrow. All I have ever had is large dogs, and we go by what the vet says to get her. What would be a good food for my new little dog. I am not around a big store. I have to drive over a hour to get to walmart. Any help is welcome

  • Monica

    Hello! I recently got a 7 week old Siberian Husky, I bought him the wellness core grain free puppy food, would you say this is a good choice to keep feeding him or should i look for something better? Thanks for the help!

  • Crazy4dogs

    You might try switching to a different protein source as a first step. If he continues, it might be something in the Nature’s Variety formula.

  • Alison

    Hey everyone! My puppy is a 6 mo old Sheltie. He’s around 12 lbs currently. I notice he’s itching a lot lately, has red eyes at times, and vomiting here and there. Vet said he’s perfectly healthy. We did an extensive exam and everything came back above average. No sign of parasite or anything like that. So I’m hoping if I switch his food his irritations will go away. Right now I’m feeding him Nature’s Variety raw boost for small breeds. What do you think I should try out and what ingredients are common allergens in his current food?

    Thank you!

  • aquariangt

    For the record, I was not supporting staying on the same food once you’ve found one. I find that dangerous. Rotation is the way to go, but I don’t mix foods

  • neil brown

    Areed, get to know which is the best, liked by the dog, value for money, then leave it, wolves do not have some massively interchangeble diet, we know almost exactly what they eat and one thing they do not eat are grains. Its a marketing con.

  • JeremyScott10

    I change my pups’ food every day, and rotate many different brands. I don’t feed extruded kibble b/c it’s highly processed, and not best choice for both dogs and cats. If you must feed kibble mix in some canned or healthy human leftovers.

    The only dry I feed are air dried (Real Meat Food Co, Ziwi Peak and Wellness Air Dried), and also the baked Wellness, they offer puppy foods. The majority of their food is a variety of commercial dehydrated raw like Stella and Chewy’s, Primal, Orijen, etc….crumble, add water, soak a few minutes and feed.

  • Patrick Joseph

    I’m getting a shitzu/chihuahua mix this weekend who is the same age. What food did you choose and was it a good fit?

  • BGRoss

    try fromm gold large breed puppy food… have a 11mos intact male cbr and it is absolutely the best food i’ve ever give my dogs. had a gsp on merrick for his entire life and that worked for him as well

  • Melody T

    Hello . i have a 3 months old mini goldendoodle .she is about 5lbs now .this is my first dog and i have no experience and i have been reading a lot about the 5 star dry puppy foods and im very confused . when i got her she came with a bag of nutri source small to med puppy food and she was on that food for about 2 weekd and i got a bag of Nutro small breed. after reading a lot of reviews and information about puppy foods i bought her a bag of nulo medal series but i feel like she got tiered of it very early . now i need help. what is the best small puppy food ??
    can i change her food daily ??? 1 day nulo 1 day nutro ?
    i have been feeding my cats blue buffalo for years and i have been happy but somehow at petsmart they did not suggest blue for my dog
    please helppppppppppppppppppp

  • Crazy4dogs

    Agreed! That’s why I don’t mix and tend to use formulas with fewer or single proteins. My lab is reactive to lamb and the reason I found it so quickly is because she was on lamb. We moved to a different protein on the next bag and it was gone!

  • aquariangt

    Reasons I don’t like to mix are twofold: Well, sorta threefold, but the third isn’t really why i don’t mix. If you have a problem, you don’t always know which food it is. So you can’t narrow down what is causing a reaction. In addition, you then waste almost two bags of food. The other reason is i rotate every bag, so no real reason to mix them.

  • Crazy4dogs

    All the dogs I have and foster are adults so I have a bit of flexibility as I don’t have to use specific formulas (i.e. puppy). I actually rotate every bag with my dogs. Different company, different protein each bag. I generally use 4-5 companies that I like. I also rotate my canned food as well and that can even be daily, it just depends on what I’ve bought.
    For my fosters, depending on how long I have them and how well they’re doing, I may stay with a food a bit longer. It just depends.
    I don’t use Performatrin. I’ve never seen it in a store near me. I did look up where to buy and it appears to only be available on the East coast and available at Pet Valu(?). It might be packaged as a house brand for that store. The rating looks decent.

  • Mary

    Thanks so much! How often do you rotate between foods? Also, I only see Performatrin Ultra on here. How does Performatrin rank on your list?

  • Crazy4dogs

    Some people mix formulas together. I don’t think It’s a problem, but a lot of people, myself included, rotate between foods. That way the dog isn’t getting the same thing on a daily basis. This will help the gut to be stronger and able to adapt to a variety of food.

  • Mary

    Is it okay to mix dry dog food? I like both Performatrin Small Breed Puppy and Whole Earth Farms Small Breed All Life Stages, so I’m wondering if it’s okay to feed both by mixing the two up (with the portions equaling the recommended daily total, of course)?

  • Valerie Moreno

    Really I’ve never tried fish I bought it once for my husky and he didn’t like it so I never bought it again but I got a venison formula if that doesnt work I will try the fish hopefully it works

  • Sherri Fonseca

    Pedigree is crap try taste of the wild Pacific stream it’s salmon most dogs with allergies do well on it

  • Crazy4dogs

    Maybe a fish formula? My labs love the fish ones!

  • Valerie Moreno

    Yea I think I’m gonna have to do that I tried feeding him a lamb formula but he won’t eat it

  • Crazy4dogs

    It’s hard to say, since that’s a grain free food and it’s tough to feed puppies limited ingredient diets. You might try a different brand of grain free large breed puppy. If that doesn’t work, you might try one with a different protein source.

  • Valerie Moreno

    right now he’s eating blue buffalo wilderness puppy

  • Crazy4dogs

    What are you currently feeding?

  • Valerie Moreno

    hello everyone i have a 7 month old lab that has really bad allergies i was told it may be his food and was wondering if anyone had any recommendations

  • Nichole

    Just look up the food. http://www.dogfoodadvisor.com/dog-food-reviews/halo-dog-food-dry/

    We don’t know your dog so we don’t know how much to feed him. Read the back of the bag for feeding guidelines and because most dog food companies don’t want to be responsible for dog malnutrition, they are VERY generous with servings. I usually go with their guideline and base it on if my dog is active, not active, or overweight and go from there. For my dog, who isn’t very active, I usually do about 2/3 of the recommended serving size for my dog’s weight.

  • Crazy4dogs

    The dry Pedigree gets a 1 star rating, Some of the canned varieties get 2 stars, so the answer is no. If you click on Dog Food Reviews Brands A-Z, on the left hand side near the top of the DFA site, you can easily research any food that you are considering feeding to you dog and find it’s rating.

  • margaret johnston

    Is Pedigree a good dog food for puppies and adult rottweilers?

  • Lorrie Ford

    I have been feeding my Irish red and white setter puppy
    Earthborn large puppy dry food. It’s an amazing food. Liam’s coat is very shiny and his weight is perfect.
    Lorrie Ford
    Ivy Hill Pointers

  • Anna

    Hi Rose!

    Congrats on the new puppy!!! Our mini aussie is such a pleasure to have around and im sure you will have a great time with yours :)

    We chose the Orijen puppy food. It was around $20 for a 5lb bag. I didn’t see it at PetSmart but they carried it at a local pet store.

    We also got a bit of wet food (I think it is instinct but I am not positive) to mix in. We are transitioning her from Kirkland Signature Puppy to Orijen. At first she wouldn’t eat much in a sitting but now that we have mixed a bit of the wet food in she is doing much better. She eats all of her food and so far I haven’t noticed any signs of upset stomach.

    We are feeding her 1/4 of a cup with a 50/50 mix of old and new food. We put about half a tablespoon of wet food mixed in and she gobbles it down.

    Hope this helps!

    Anna

  • Rose

    Hi Anna,
    We just got a 10 week old mini Aussie. Which food did you choose and how’s your puppy doing on it?

  • jana

    I am getting a shitzu puppy 8 wks old. I have heard alot about halo puppy food what do you think?
    How much would I give him per feeding.

  • Paula Sterling

    Hi Anna

    I have two frenchie pups who we got in
    November of 2014. The breeder was feeding Orijen dry puppy, so we decided to keep them on that. However, it seemed to be too “rich” for their stomachs and it is one of the most expensive, if not the most expensive dog food in our local store, not to mention there are very few pet stores that carry Orijen. I decided to switch them to Wellness Core dry puppy. It is much more reasonable in price while still providing our puppies with the nutrients they need. I would recommend the Wellness Core. I slowly introduced it to them, but they seem to be doing perfectly fine on it. Hope this helps!

  • Taylor Jaramillo

    I have a possibly pregnant pitty black mouth cur mix and I am looking for a great decent priced grain free (she is allergic to grain) puppy food to mix into her food or one for all life stages to switch her to. I’ve already started her on the cottage cheese in her food, but I plan to start mixing puppy food into her kibble at around 3-4 weeks along.she snuck out for an adventure while in heat and now is showing signs of pregnancy.

  • Anna

    Hello everyone!

    I am getting a mini Australian Shepherd puppy next week! She will be 11 weeks old and she weighed around 8lbs last Thursday.

    Obviously, I want to give her the best food possible. This list is so overwhelming with so many choices and I am finding it difficult to pick.

    I went on the petsmart website and saw which foods they have that are on this list. I have read from people’s comments that I should stay away from Blue.

    I have narrowed down to these foods: Nature’s Variety Instinct Raw Boost, Wellness Core Puppy Grain Free, and Simply Nourish Source.

    Can anyone give me feedback on these foods? Are there any more recommendations?

    I am leaning towards the Nature’s Variety Raw Boost because then I do not have to top with wet food. I would also like to rotate food.

    Please help! :)

  • Crazy4dogs

    There are many excellent dog foods listed above. Some even have a small breed formula. I have large dogs so I don’t feed any small breed or puppy food. The best thing you can do is look through some of the foods listed above and try a bag doing a slow transistion. Royal Canin is a really expensive per pound food for the ingredients.

    I don’t know of any dry food that is “tender” unless is is wet or has artifical additives to soften it. If you want to give your dog a softer food, you could feed wet or add some wet food to the dry food. Good luck in your search.

  • Wilson

    My Maltipoo is 6 Months old. He is currently on Royal Canine Puppy brand and he loves it! They are very small bits and tender! But I have heard some very bad reviews. Can anyone suggest something that has similar bits and that would be good for a maltipoo puppy? Thanks :)

  • LabsRawesome

    Oh my. Another one. Seems to be going around lately. How do these people function in every day life? Seriously?! Oh the over sensitive drama. lol

  • theBCnut

    Then you would be surprised.

  • Paul V

    My apologies also, but this is a forum & I asked for advice. Telling a person who makes the initiative to inquire about their animal’s diet/needs, might lead someone to think they are already aware of not wanting to over-feed/under-feed their animal.

  • theBCnut

    Whoa! Seriously, I don’t even know how you took my reply like that. I’m so sorry I didn’t word my thoughts in a manner more acceptable to you. I honestly meant no offense in any way. Nevermind animal obesity problems, many people think that puppies are supposed to be rolly polly and that that is healthy. That’s how I took your comment about so much flabby excess skin that needs to be filled. I thought I was gently putting out there the idea that puppies have excess skin because they need to grow into it. Again, I’m sorry I worded that so clumsily.

  • Paul V

    BCnut. That was uncalled for! I know animal obesity is a very big problem, but this is an educational/help forum. Do you also respond to people that ask for advice/help with assault trauma by telling them “you shouldn’t walk home alone?”

  • theBCnut

    The page I recommended is part of DFA. Just remember that it gets 4.5 stars based on the ingredient list and the GA, not the manufacturer, which is Diamond, and they have had recall after recall. I just don’t trust them with my dog’s health.

  • Erin Kirkpatrick

    Thank you!! Ava’s dad is a beautiful, black and a little white, Great Dane and her mother is a beautiful black Lab. She could get up to 100lbs.

  • Erin Kirkpatrick

    Thanks! The Dog Advisor gave it 4.5 stars…but will check the site you recommend.

  • Crazy4cats

    Hi Erin-
    Congrats on new pup! Check out the article on this site on how to choose the best large breed puppy food. It has a calcium calculator and states that a safe ball park is between .9% to 1.35% calcium on the label. Like BC said, if the current food isn’t appropriate you could start transitioning to a new food and use it up with no long term consequences. A labradane, huh? Could get pretty big! Lol! Good luck!

  • theBCnut

    I can’t tell you about their calcium, but over on the forum side, there is a thread in the Diet and Health forum called Large Breed Puppy Nutrition. Read the first few pages, so you have a good understanding of what the issues are, then skip to page 15 and find the post by Hound Dog Mom with a list of foods that have the appropriate calcium levels. This list is a bit old, but the foods shouldn’t have changed their calcium levels unless they have had huge formula changes. I can’t think of any brands on the list that have had major changes. With a dog as big as your pup, you should be ok with getting another bag of food and mixing in a small amount of the Chicken Soup(to use it up), if it isn’t on the list.

  • Erin Kirkpatrick

    Thanks! Now I’m nervous about the puppy food I bought tonight. .I didn’t look at the calcium. I bought a 30lb bag of Chicken Soup For The Soul.

  • Jeana Peters

    I have a large breed dog I feed the “Chicken Soup” food to and for 13 years old she is in fantastic shape. I just got a new puppy and will stick to that brand. I have cats on their version of cat food too and they are also extremely healthy. I don’t have science to back it up but I have 3 very healthy senior animals that make me put my trust in this food.

  • theBCnut

    Most large breed puppy foods were formulated based on bad science and now that they has studied the issues a bit more, those foods need to be reformulated. Don’t hold your breath. They would have to admit that they have been doing it wrong for years if they reformulated now.

    Most of them are too high in calcium, which, along with overfeeding, is a huge issue for large breeds. Your dog’s food does not need to be labeled large breed puppy, it just needs to have the right calcium levels. So the foods on the large breed puppy list are good, even though they aren’t labeled specifically for LBP.

  • Erin Kirkpatrick

    Help! Sooo many choices!! My Labradane is 11wks. What should I feed her? I started her off on Science Diet…I didn’t know I needed a Large/Giant breed puppy food. I see a list on this site, but not any 5 star large breed puppy food. I need a brand please. My vet said Iams or Science Diet Large Breed…but I don’t agree…..

  • LabsRawesome

    Hi ShelbySue, I personally wouldn’t use Blue. There are a lot of complaints about it. My cousins Pit had diarrhea on Blue, and also drank huge amounts of water on it. Try giving him just Fromm if he’ll eat it. You should rotate foods, for gut health. Find several foods that he likes. Some pet stores have free trial size bags. My 3 do very well on Victor, so it’s one of the foods in their rotation. I use the grain free Yukon River, and Ultra Professional. Both receive 5 stars from this site. And are around $45 for 30lb bags. Be sure to find foods that are Large breed puppy approved. Here’s Victor’s site. victordogfood.com

  • theBCnut

    Puppies should have excess skin to grow into. Please don’t fill it with fat. Let him have time to grow.

  • Bobby dog

    Awwwwww, homework is good for you! If you still feel he is underweight you could find a more calorie dense food, or up the portions of his current food, or add a topper. I always add canned, lightly cooked fresh meat, or commercial raw freeze dried or frozen to my dog’s kibble. Canned foods are less processed, add more moisture, and it probably tastes better than kibble. Be sure any foods you choose are labeled for growth and reproduction until he is an adult; they are marketed as puppy or all life stages.

    My favorite kibble brands are Wellness, Precise, Nutrisource, and Annamaet. For canned foods I feed Wal-Mart’s Pure Balance stews & tubs only, Weruva Human styles only, Wellness, Holistic Select, Innova, Tractor Supply 4Health grain inclusive recipes only, and Red Barn.

    If you have a budget to stick to Wal-Mart’s Pure Balance and Tractor Supply 4Health are about a $1/can. Pure Balance tubs are under a dollar, can’t remember the price. Costco’s Nature’s Domain Turkey & Pea is about $20/case if you or someone you know has a membership.

  • Paul V

    Thanks Bobby.I should add you to the list of my professors. Always giving me more homework. :) I think he is supposed to get no more than 35lb as an adult. I just feel so much flabby excess skin that needs to be filled.

  • Alberto Ruiz

    Thank you very much, I appreciate the help.

  • ShelbySue

    I have a 4 month old husky/black lab mix, who has been doing a hunger strike against his food for about 5 days now (he will try and eat other dogs food). When I first got him he would pick at his food throughout the day, then he began to eat all of his food in one sitting. Now he barely looks at it, sometimes he will nibble on it if I crumble the natural balance on it. Other than that i haven’t noticed any other changes with him, still playful and drinks ALOT of water. His stools have been a little runny though (not sure if tats from sneaking and eating other dogs food) But I’ve heard huskies can be picky eaters (apparently his mom was) He is currently on blue buffalo wilderness puppy but last night I mixed it with Fromm gold puppy and he almost ate it all right away, but today not so much luck. I don’t know if I should be concerned for his health or if he is just a picky eater and I have to experiment with different foods. Any advice will be helpful thanks!

  • Bobby dog

    Hi Alberto:
    I have seen tests for sale that claim to help identify the breed(s) of dogs, but I have read they are not accurate.

    The amount of calcium being fed to large and giant breed dogs is what needs to be addressed, not protein, for healthy development. Here is an article with references for further research:
    http://www.dogfoodadvisor.com/best-dog-foods/best-large-breed-puppy-food/

    It is important to keep your puppy on the lean side and avoid over exercising because his bones and joints are still developing.

    Here is a link to the large/giant breed puppy thread on the forum side. Read the first three or four pages and the links posted on the first page:
    http://www.dogfoodadvisor.com/forums/topic/large-and-giant-breed-puppy-nutrition/

    On this page look for a post dated July 23, 2013 at 1:51 pm for a link to recommended foods that fall within the recommended % of calcium levels:
    http://www.dogfoodadvisor.com/forums/topic/large-and-giant-breed-puppy-nutrition/page/15/

    I suggest calling the manufacturer of any food you choose to feed even if it is from the link above to make sure the calcium is still in the recommended range. Recipes change and the list has not been updated recently. You can also join the Dog Food Advisors Editors Choice for an updated list of foods recommended for large/giant breed puppies.

    Good luck with your new puppy!

  • Bobby dog

    Hi Paul:
    Is your dog going to reach an adult weight of 50 lbs. or more?
    If that’s the case he has special nutritional needs that should be met to help his bones and joints develop properly. Here’s some info:
    http://www.dogfoodadvisor.com/best-dog-foods/best-large-breed-puppy-food/

    It’s best to keep puppies on the lean side, but of course not too thin, for optimal health. Here’s some body condition charts to give you an idea of how to
    evaluate his weight:
    http://research.unc.edu/files/2012/11/CCM3_032387.pdf
    http://www.hillspet.com/weight-management/pet-weight-score.html

  • Paul V

    Hello again… My puppy is now in 5 months and his stools are fine. He currently eats Chicken Soup for dog lover’s soul. He has done well with it. I plan on moving him to a dry food that is grain-free and preferably a lot of protein, because I think he is underweight! I prob went on the low side of what too feed early on, which I blame on seeing my Mom over-feed her dogs or giving them bad human food, so I was paranoid. Now I think he is too skinny because he is 5 months old & still has a lot of loose skin that needs to be filled out. Do you suggest any specific dry food to fatten him up or toppers to go with dry food for muscle bulk?

  • Alberto Ruiz

    I am first time puppy owner. He is currently 4 months old and weighs 18 lbs. According to the previous owner, he is a mix of Pitbull, Rottweiller and Choco-Lab (I only see choco-lab and pitbull characteristics). I wanted to ask 2 questions with a few subquestions……

    First question: Can anyone tell me where I can go to see what kind of breed My dog is (Blood test and such style of ID)? second question: I am trying to put my dog on a high protein diet, low carbs, medium fat and just enough of Fiber to help him handle it all (Ideally I want a 32-38% protein maybe higher, 24-29% fats, carbs 18-24%).

    Subquestions for question number 2: I want to do this diet to help my dog build up strong muscles and look a little buff (Nothing exaggerating), but due to hip displaysia warnings from feeding high proteins I wanted to lower it to 38% max. I want to know if the above range would be good enough to feed a puppy to grow up strong and not be in huge danger to get hip dysplasia at an early age?

    Subquestion: I would like to apply the range for Protein, Fats and Carbs until he is at least 1 yr old, how much more should I increase his intakes if range is usable?

    subqestion: Which food brand would you recommend for me to buy that fits the range I have provided (32-38+% Protein, 24-29% Fats, 18-24 Carbs)

    Subqestion: What else would you recommend to help me prevent Hip Dysplasia and other common Diseases/health issues for large breads?

    I do not want to see my beautiful shadow in pain nor suffering.

    Please email me at [email protected] with any and all advice you might have for me and for answers to my question.

    Thank you
    -Alberto

  • Lynn

    Try Petflow, Natural Pet store

  • Lynn

    I’ve been feeding my 4 mos old English Bulldog with that too since his breeder put him on it. U just ordered TOTW High Prairie so hopefully this is better than that. Fromm is a little too pricey for me but if this brand isn’t that good. Next is Fromm.

  • Bobby dog

    Hi Sonya:
    Good first step to rule out health issues. I am assuming you are aware of the different nutritional needs of large and giant breed puppies, if not here’s a good article to read:
    http://www.dogfoodadvisor.com/best-dog-foods/best-large-breed-puppy-food/

    Another thing to keep in mind is something in his environment could also be contributing to his symptoms. Laundry soap, lawn fertilizers, floor cleaners are some common irritants.

    This is probably an instance of a particular brand and recipe ingredients not agreeing with your dog. Just in case it isn’t I suggest keeping a list of all foods (including treats) you feed your dog and how he does on them. If your dog has a sensitivity to certain foods it will be individual to him, each dog is different so it is important to find what he is sensitive to if it turns out to be a food related. With the list you can compare ingredients of different foods and narrow down the possible culprits by finding what ingredients they have in common. It could be protein from animals, grains, fruits, veggies etc. Just remember what works for one dog does not necessarily work for another.

    As a first step I would probably look for a food with a different main protein, preferably a single protein food, and a different carb than what is used in the Fromm recipe you currently feed.

    Here is a link to the large and giant breed puppy forum. Look for a post dated July 23, 2013 at 1:51 pm there is a link to a Google document with foods that fall into the parameters suggested for large breed puppies.
    http://www.dogfoodadvisor.com/forums/topic/large-and-giant-breed-puppy-nutrition/page/15/

    You can also join the Dog Food Advisor’s Editors Choice for a current list of approved foods for large/giant breed puppies.

    Regardless of what food you choose to feed I would call the manufacturer and ask for specific calcium percentages to be sure it’s appropriate for your dog. Good luck!

  • Diane

    we’re in the same boat. Used the exact same brand and am thinking to try buffalo blue.

  • aquariangt

    definitely, definitely never feed a cooked bone. They can splinter. As far as whether or not it’s safe for raw bones-it depends on the dog and his chewing style. Never leave your dog with something you aren’t 100% he will chew safely without you there to watch, and it’s best to take them before they get so small they choke. I can give both my girls rib bones when I leave for work, because I know they don’t chomp too hard to break teeth, and they usually have 1/2 left when I get home, so I scoop them up. Knee caps, sliced knuckle bones-all good as well. I won’t do something like a shin bone, because it’s too big for them for me to be comfortable with when I’m not there. Marrow bones are solid as well.
    There are lots of other chews out there as well, BDog mentioned tendon-that’s a good one too. Bully sticks, I like sweet potato chews…the list goes on. I don’t recommend rawhide either. I will again stress my point-never leave them alone with something until you know how they will chew it

  • Bobby dog

    I don’t feed my dog bones. He just buries them in the yard. LOL I give Bobby a beef tendon once a week, normally Merrick Wishbones, sometimes other brands.
    You can find opinions either way for feeding or not feeding bones. One thing I will always agree upon is never to feed a cooked bone, yes they can splinter. Vet’s may advise against bones for the following reasons, fractured teeth, choking, or bones having problems traveling through the digestive system and other reasons I may not be aware of. People who recommend bones find it improves dental health, the added nutritional benefits from the bone, and other reasons I can’t remember. I can’t comment either way other than you need to do your homework!

  • Paul V

    Do you give your dog bones? The vet said not to, but I’ve read that the raw bones can be beneficial. Some say to cook them & some say keep them uncooked so they don’t splinter. I get the bones from one of the local butchers.

  • Bobby dog

    You are welcome! I think Pablo will be happy with any and all of the selections! I wrote a book for you below, I hope you were able to read it and that I did not overwhelm you! Currently I feed a recipe (both grain inclusive and grain free) from each of the brands you mentioned above to Bobby and he does very well on all of them.

  • Paul V

    Hello again Bobby. Thanks for the advice. Yes, Pablo is doing well on the Chicken Soup. Once I go through that bag I’m thinking of going to one of these (Wellness Puppy, NutriSource Grain Free Chicken, Fromm Four Star Nutritionals Grain Free Surf & Turf,
    Precise Holistic Complete Grain Free Salmon Meal and Garbanzo Bean Formula,
    Rach Ray’s Nutrish Zero Grain Turkey and Potato). Wellness Puppy looked like it was economically best for me.

  • Tanya Mitchell

    I am a first time puppy owner of a 2 month old yorkie. The food she was eating when I got her made her poop smell really bad so I took her to the vet. The vet said she is healthy and recommended royal canin specifically for yorkies. Unfortunately, her poop is still really strong for a puppy that is only 1.9lbs so Im starting to think royal canin may not be as good as they said.

  • LabsRawesome

    Oh I agree, with you about the “large dog no grain” issue. No dog needs grains in their diet, no matter what size they are. No one should ever say if you feed your dog raw it will never get a disease. That is just not true. Some people are so crazy.

  • GSDsForever

    I hear ya! I was just responding to her comment that it’s a “big no no” for all “large dogs,” which I think is not a supportable claim period — like most universal declarations — and might not even be the root of the OP’s problem.

    It kinda reminded me of when a neighbor once told me that if you feed your dog raw, it will NEVER get cancer. That just struck me as factually untrue (and in fact my vet was treating a raw fed dog with cancer at the time) and an irresponsible claim.

  • LabsRawesome

    Bridget might have a dog like mine. My Springer Spaniel STINKS if he eats any grain. I seriously mean he wreaks! HORRIBLE BODY ODOR!!! He actually smells like hot garbage. That is just one of the reasons we don’t do grain in our house.

  • GSDsForever

    Carol, you might look into Fromm’s formulas.

    Fromm Classic and Gold are pretty inexpensive, good quality from an exceptionally trustworthy company, and highly digestible across all formulas. You can often find Classic online or at a feed store for under $1/lb. The Gold and Gold Puppy would be a step up from this. These are chicken based.

    I see very, very small stools on Fromm formulas — most recently on the 4 Star Nutritionals Whitefish & Potato (grain inclusive).

  • GSDsForever

    “Grains in large dogs are a big no no, so rices and corn make for big stink!”

    That’s not necessarily true. Many dogs do very well with rice in particular, as white rice is highly digestible. Many dogs produce far less stool with white rice. And homemade boiled white rice & chicken breast or cottage cheese is often used medically FOR diarrhea & digestive upset.

    –Large breed person who has fed both grain free & grain inclusive

  • Susan

    Hi Paul have a look at the Fat% & try & get a kibble with a lower fat% & see how he does….Get a diary & write the name of the food & how his poos were on that food, then write down the Fiber % the fat % the Protein % & see if you start to see a pattern also look at the ingredients, is there 1 ingredient that has been in all the foods, say brown rice, potatoes, chicken or peas when his poos have been very soft…also treats does he have any treats? treats are normally higher in fat & can cause sloppy poos in puppies & older dogs…. If his poos don’t firm up, you may need to see a vet & have a few test done & get a 2 week course of Metronidazole antibiotic for the stomach & bowel, Metronidazole normally helps & kills any bad bacteria in the bowel… sometimes the cheaper foods (3stars) work better for poo problems then the dearer 5 star foods…You sound like a really good dad, Pablo is a very lucky boy… just remember, less is best, when you have poo problems…that’s for the dog, lol

  • Carol Dwyer Petree

    Have 2 Pomuauas, Pom and chi, pups about 11 weeks. Got from local shelter at 1 lb and they are now over 4. We were given purine puppy chow and put them on a homemade formula until recently. When we finished the purine we bought Kirkland from Costco but have noticed smelly poop and on and off again diarrhea. They hVe been vet checked and treated for worms etc. Looking for a good food that will help with this and be better for them but also can’t break the bank. What are ingredients to be aware of and avoid. I also heard with a good food they will eat and poop less. Always had cats so pups are new.

  • Bobby dog

    Hi Paul:
    For soft or loose stools you can feed some plain canned pumpkin, not pie filling. Pumpkin is good for diarrhea or constipation in both cats and dogs.
    http://www.petmd.com/dog/slideshows/nutrition/3-health-benefits-pumpkin-dogs
    Here are some other products regular DFA posters recommend:
    Firm Up pumpkin supplement (dehydrated pumpkin), Fruitables – canned fruit supplement, Honest Kitchen Perfect Form supplement, Gastriplex by Thorne, Vetri Pro BD by Vetri-Science, and Phytomucil by Animal Essentials

  • Carrie

    Super cute pup! :) I used Banfield one time for a foster dog and they seemed to be more like salesmen than a vets office. Just my 2 cents worth. I don’t know if all of them are like that.

  • MJDiLo

    I have a 7-month-old Border Collie puppy who has been on Purina One since I’ve had him at my vet’s recommendation (and the shelter where I adopted him). With the latest Purina mess, I’d really like to switch to a higher-quality food. I just got back from the pet store where I bought Blue Buffalo based on this site’s 4-star review but then read many negative user comments. Does anyone have other great personal experiences with a great puppy food? My other dog is an older JRT who is on prescription Royal Canin for GI issues. Thanks so much!

  • Dori

    You rock Bobby dog! Dog Wise is a new site for me. I’m on my way over to that site right now. Glad you posted all that you did and that I keep learning on DFA. ☺️

  • Crazy4cats

    Definitely, adorable! I’m not sure why Banfield wants you to bring him in every day. That would take a toll. Is it because they are worried about him not eating?
    It is surprising that he doesn’t want to eat. I have lab/retriever mixes and they have always wanted to eat! I think mixing something in it to entice him is a great idea. How about a little lean meat or scrambled eggs? How long have you had him?
    I don’t see Iams or Blue on the recommended list. Eukanuba Large Breed Puppy is on the list, however, and they are made by Iams. Do you have Nutrisource, Victor or Pro Pac available in your area? I sure hope you find something appropriate for him that he loves! Good luck.

  • Denise R.

    Good morning. Yes’ he’s absolutely adorable and here’s picture of him at 7 weeks. No the puppy cheese is when he uses the restroom outside especially with it being cold. I’m looking at Blue Buffalo or maybe Iams for him. He’s under the Banfield Hospital but they just want me to continue to bring him in and I don’t have time for that every single day.

  • Crazy4cats

    Hi Denise-

    A Shar Pei Lab sounds adorable! Congratulations! Puppy cheese? LOL! I’m going to guess that your pup is going to get pretty big. Large breed puppies have special food requirements to help avoid joint problems in the future. Here is a link that helps explain: http://www.dogfoodadvisor.com/best-dog-foods/best-large-breed-puppy-food/

    I’m not sure the milk bone treats are that good for him if he is eating those instead of his food. You want to make sure that he gets all of his vitamins and minerals everyday especially while he is growing.

    There is a large breed topic thread on the forum side of this site. On it, on about page 35 or 36, there is a chart with several foods that fall within the correct calcium range.

    Make sure he grows at a slow steady pace not getting too chubby and take it easy on the exercise while his joints are developing.

    This may be over whelming, so please reply back with any questions. Good luck!

  • Denise R.

    Hello everyone! We’re the new family to a 7 week old Shar Pei Lab who’s been on Purina Puppy Chow since getting him however I’m noticing that he only wants to eat it when he’s really hungry. He would drink water rather than eat his food unless I put a little puppy cheese on it. Plus he loves his Milk Bone Soft Chewy Treats which are good for him. Can you please provide a recommendation for a great dry food for him?

  • Bobby dog

    I know it’s ridiculous, but where to start with a new dog owner, lol!! 😉

  • Crazy4cats

    Hi Paul V- Congrats on the new pup. I have no doubt that you are going to be a great pet owner! I agree with Bobby dog. I think it would be a food idea to have a fecal test done on your new pup. It is a fairly routine test for new puppies. It is not unusual for puppies to have parasites, worms or coccidia. Mine have had all 3! I rotate between Victor grain free, California Natural and Eagle Pack kibble and add canned and fresh toppers to their meals. I have two golden labs. Good luck!

  • Crazy4cats

    Wow, BDog! I’m exhausted after reading your reply! Excellent advice!

  • Bobby dog

    Hello Paul:
    You will be able to make the best use of your budget since you can buy on-line or in store! I shop everywhere. Sign up for e-mails for sale promos, or frequent buyer programs (if they are offered) from anyplace you buy food, on-line or in store. Also, check out manufacturer websites because they often e-mail coupons or other promos when you sign up for their newsletters. Wellpet, the manufacturers of Wellness, Holistic Select, and Eagle pack, offer such programs as does Nature’s Variety. On-line I buy and have received excellent customer service from Petco, Petsmart, Chewy, and Petflow. Here is a coupon & sale thread on the forum side that you can subscribe to if interested. It’s a great resource:
    http://www.dogfoodadvisor.com/forums/topic/coupons/

    Be sure to keep your puppy on the lean side as he is growing and throughout his adult life. A chubby puppy is adorable but extra weight is detrimental to their health. Here is some info on keeping your dog at a healthy weight:
    http://www.dogfoodadvisor.com/dog-feeding-tips/dog-ideal-weight/

    I feed my dog a rotational diet of kibble (both grain free and grain inclusive), canned, commercial raw, and lightly cooked vegetables and lean meats. I believe it is a healthy choice for him and he is doing great. I suggest finding at least three different foods your dog likes and does well on with different proteins and carb sources. If there is ever a recall, the recipe changes and he doesn’t like the new formula , or your store is out of your food you always have a food he can eat. When transitioning to a new food sometimes it’s helpful to match or come close to the protein, fiber, and fat %’s of another food he did well on. If you choose to feed a rotational diet as time goes on you more than likely will be able to switch foods with no transition. I routinely feed my dog a new food with completely different guaranteed analysis, carbs, and proteins daily, weekly, and monthly with no digestive upsets. There are other healthy benefits you can read about here:
    http://www.dogfoodadvisor.com/frequently-asked-questions/diet-rotation-for-dogs/

    Here is a download about adding fresh foods to your dog’s diet. I follow this guide, but I add the fresh foods over several days as toppers rather than feeding as a meal once a week.
    http://www.dogwise.com/ItemDetails.cfm?ID=DN330EBK

    I can’t recommend feeding any food made by the manufacturer of the two foods you currently feed due to their lack of quality control. They have a repeated history of recalls, the last being for cat food within the past several years. I might consider them in the future if they are ever able to rectify this issue for any length of time. Ultimately as a pet owner you will make your own choices and choose what you feel safe feeding. Here’s Diamond’s recall history:
    http://www.dogfoodadvisor.com/?s=diamond+recall

    Sign up for pet food recalls here:
    http://www.dogfoodadvisor.com/dog-food-recall-alerts/

    Until your puppy reaches maturity you need a food that is AAFCO approved for growth and reproduction. You will usually see food labeled for puppies or all life stages. Here’s some more info:
    http://www.dogfoodadvisor.com/frequently-asked-questions/aafco-nutrient-profiles/

    I stick with budget friendly foods myself. For kibble I regularly feed and have great results with Wellness, Nutrisource, Precise, Annamaet, Fromm’s, Nature’s Variety, and Infinia. Some other budget friendly kibbles are Pro Pac, Victor, and Eagle Pack. Here’s some threads from the forum side on budget friendly foods:
    http://www.dogfoodadvisor.com/forums/topic/budget-friendly-food-for-puppy/

    http://www.dogfoodadvisor.com/forums/topic/budget-friendly-dog-foods/
    You can also join Dog Food Advisor Editor’s Choice for a list of budget friendly foods.

    Lastly, I would have a fecal exam to be sure your puppy does not have worms. Be sure the test includes giardia and coccidia.
    http://www.drsfostersmith.com/pic/article.cfm?dept_id=&aid=168
    http://www.peteducation.com/article.cfm?c=2+1622&aid=739
    http://www.peteducation.com/article.cfm?c=2+1622&aid=727
    http://www.veterinarypartner.com/Content.plx?P=A&A=2386&S=0&EVetID=3001644
    http://www.veterinarypartner.com/Content.plx?P=A&S=1&C=0&A=680&EVetID=3001644

    All right, it’s a book. Come back if you need anymore help and have fun with your pup!

  • Dori

    A lot of people on this site that order foods on line seem to be very pleased with chewy.com They also have a lot of good things to say about their helpful customer service dept. I believe they also typically have free shipping for orders over $49.00 and apparently have specials now and then.

  • aquariangt

    Most people here suggest a rotational diet. Mix up brands, protein sources, starches, etc… try to expose him to a little of everything. It’s good to have 3-5 foods that you are comfortable feeding-allergies aside. I have 3 brands in my mainstays and then I try to include others in every 5 foods or so.

  • Paul V

    By the way. I shop where ever I need to go in order to get what he needs. I’ve gotten food from Petsmart, Amazon, Jungle Jims.Whole foods. I’m not restricted to one place.

  • Paul V

    Hi Bobby:
    Not had his stools checked, but I don’t think there is anything wrong. His stools are better today, he only had one runny bowel movement. I think it as the switch in foods.

    My fourth grade teacher is whom I got the puppy from. She is a foster dog parent I guess you call it. He was raised with his Mother & siblings till three months old. He had all his shots, & Neutered. He’s only eating organic things mostly. His bones come from the local Butcher. He gets organic boiled apples for treats or treats from Whole foods. Until I got him, he only drank filtered water from a brita pitcher, I think I’ll buy one for him to drink that instead of straight tap water. Both of his snack toys are puzzle things he has to work at, but he figured them out.
    Price is in my mind, but his well-being is most important. I’m just not needing top-line that is going to be in a dog show or anything. I plan on making him a service dog when he gets older. What kinds of food do you all suggest for him to grow strong & healthy?

  • DogFoodie

    He knows. He just overlooked the “Italian” part of the post when he first read it as stated in his post below.

  • Kate

    http://dogtime.com/dog-breeds/italian-greyhound
    Italian greyhounds are small dogs. Different from regular greyhounds.

  • Bobby dog

    Hi Paul V:
    Sounds like your puppy has a nice and loving home! Where do you shop, on-line or in stores? I am assuming your budget is about what you are paying for his current food, I understand having to follow a budget! I suspect my rescue has some blue heeler in him, they are a lot of fun. Have you had a fecal exam done to rule out any parasites in your puppy? Sometimes soft or runny BM’s are a symptom of parasites.

  • Bobby dog

    Hi Sherri B:
    With large and giant breed dogs controlling the amount of calcium being fed is important until they reach maturity. Avoid over-exercising because their bones have not developed enough to support intense physical activity. Here is a link to an article with current information on feeding large and giant breed dogs:
    http://www.dogfoodadvisor.com/

    Check out this forum for info on feeding large and giant breed dogs. Read the links provided on the first page and at least the first three or four pages of the forum:
    http://www.dogfoodadvisor.com/

    Here’s a link to a Google document with some recommended foods. My suggestion is to contact the manufacturer of any food you would like to feed to be sure the calcium is within the recommended percentages; recipes can change without notice. Look for a post dated July 23, 2013 at 1:51 pm:
    http://www.dogfoodadvisor.com/

    You can also join Dog Food Advisor’s Editor’s Choice for a current list of approved foods for large and giant breeds. Good luck with your puppy!

  • Sherri B

    Hello everyone! I am a first time puppy/dog mom of a 12 week old German Shepherd Husky mix. Lucy (the puppy) is very active and plays with my two cats. She has started her series of vaccinations since her previous owner was very neglectful. However, my friend posted on facebook something that alarmed me and I began researching the best food for her regardless of what a Vet says since I am her mom now, so it’s up to me. However, I have been looking on the Internet for days and I can’t find a credible site that informs me on her diet that best suits her. I hope someone on her can help me :) Thank you in advance!

  • Paul V

    Hello all! I am a first-time puppy/dog owner of a 4 month old Blue Heeler mix. He came from a foster dog that had her liter while my former 4th grade teacher was taking care of her. Pablo (the puppy) stayed with the other puppies until they were 3 months old to make sure that they didn’t get any abandonment issues or anxiety.
    I think I’m a little over protective since I was an only sibling & didn’t have brothers or sisters to take care of either. Every scratch or new bump I see on him, scares me, but I can’t take him to a vet just because he plays. I guess I need to buy a scale so I keep track of how much he weighs to know how much to feed him.I started feeding him Kirkland’s Puppy Supreme from COSTCO since it was what he had before I got him. He did really well on it I think. his bowels seemed a little too difficult, but better than too tunny. He is no being feed Chicken Soup for The Dog Lover’s Soul for puppies. He likes it but I notice that his bowel movement softer, * & occasionally runny. Is this bad or just getting used to new food?I’d like to get him on one food I know is trustworthy to you members that put thought into your dog’s food.
    I would love to feed him 5 star foods, but doubt that can fit my college student income. I am thankful for any advice you all can give me, even if it has nothing to do with food!

  • Paul V

    I have a 4 month old Bluee Heeler, what is a good quality & economical food for him?

  • Salty2

    So true Dori…

  • Dori

    We say it every time we lose a companion animal because the suffering is so great but yet we do it all over again and will continue to do so. They bring so much into our lives, much more than we could ever bring into theirs no matter how much we try.

  • Salty2

    I would include a good Probiotic/Prebiotic when feeding Raw. I used Primal Raw for my dogs.

  • Salty2

    Thank you Dori. I said I would never do this again! The heartbreak was so bad, but I couldn’t even last a month without looking for a pup. I still cry everyday, but I’m excited about our new pup! I know he will bring joy back into our home.

  • Dori

    Sorry for your loss. We all know how painful it is to lose one of our companions. I’m glad you’re adding to your family. Good Luck with the new puppy.

  • Salty2

    Thanks Mike, I always fed my adult, senior Standards, Primal Raw, they did great on it! Lived a good long life. Lost my last one in Dec., he was over 15, I miss him terribly. So I’m getting a pup on Monday. I will feed him raw, but I want a dry, grain-free (of course) kibble to leave out in bowl during the day. I’m told doing that keeps dogs from bloat (Standard Poodles are prone to it), not eating like a meal won’t be their last.

  • http://DogFoodAdvisor.com/ Mike Sagman

    Hi Salty2,

    Feeding a dog food that meets AAFCO profiles for growth (puppies) is a great starting place. However, some puppy foods are NOT appropriate for larger breeds.

    To learn more, be sure to check out my article about How to Choose the Best Large Breed Puppy Foods by clicking this link.

    Hope this helps.

  • http://DogFoodAdvisor.com/ Mike Sagman

    Hi JS,

    I have posted an article that explains in detail how to choose the best large breed puppy food for your pet.

    That same article also includes a specialized Calcium Calculator Tool we developed that allows you to check any puppy food to be sure it has the proper amount of calorie weighted calcium content to help lower your dog’s risk of hip dysplasia.

    You can read it by clicking the following link:

    http://www.dogfoodadvisor.com/best-dog-foods/best-large-breed-puppy-food/

    Hope this helps.