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10 Best Grain-Free Puppy Foods of 2023 – Reviews & Top Picks

Nicole Cosgrove Profile Picture

By Nicole Cosgrove

Husky puppy eating from feeding bowl indoors

Whether your furry friend has a food allergy or you just want to experiment with different food, going grain-free can be a plus. For dogs who have a grain allergy, it is essential for their diet. For those who don’t, there are certain advantages, albeit ones not entirely agreed upon by science. Purported advantages include faster digestion and preventive measures for allergies later in life.

Fortunately, there are quite a few grain-free food options if this is the direction you want to go. Unfortunately, knowing which grain-free foods to get can be tough because there are so many out there! Don’t worry, we did the research to find out the best grain-free puppy foods. In these reviews, we’ll go over a few different foods to help you find the best option for your puppy.

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A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites in 2023:

Rating Image Product Details
Best Overall
Nom Nom Fresh Dog Food Pork Potluck Nom Nom Fresh Dog Food Pork Potluck
  • Tailored to your puppy
  • Can help boost your pup’s immune system
  • For all life stages
  • Budget Buy
    Second place
    Purina Grain-Free Dry Puppy Food Purina Grain-Free Dry Puppy Food
  • Made with DHA for brain development
  • Several different types of food
  • Made with high-quality chicken
  • Third place
    CANIDAE Grain-Free Dry Dog Food CANIDAE Grain-Free Dry Dog Food
  • 10 ingredients or fewer
  • Omega 3 and 6
  • plus antioxidants
  • Food for all ages and breeds
  • Merrick Grain-Free Puppy Dry Food Merrick Grain-Free Puppy Dry Food
  • Food for every breed at every age
  • 100% money-back guarantee
  • Good for skin
  • Blue Buffalo Wilderness Grain-Free Dog Food Blue Buffalo Wilderness Grain-Free Dog Food
  • Packed with vitamins and fatty acids
  • Can buy in big quantities
  • Boosts vision
  • The 10 Best Grain-Free Puppy Foods

    1. Nom Nom Fresh Dog Food Pork Potluck Recipe – Best Overall

    Nomnom Pork Potluck dog food

    Nom Nom is the best overall grain-free puppy food because all the recipes from this company based in San Francisco, California, are made with fresh, tasty, nutritious, and human-grade ingredients. Also, certified veterinary nutritionists ensure that the recipes meet or even exceed the nutritional standards established by the AAFCO.

    The Pork Potluck recipe contains 75% moisture to keep your pup well hydrated. It also has 7% ground pork and green bean protein to support your baby dog’s growth. The delicious vegetables in the recipe, such as squash, potatoes, mushrooms, and kale, are an excellent source of carbohydrates, fiber, and micronutrients, which are all essential nutrients for a balanced and healthy diet.

    Common grains used in dog food are wheat, corn, rice, oats, barley, rye, and soy. But of Nom Nom’s four fresh recipes, only Turkey Fare includes brown rice in the ingredients. So, if your puppy is not a fan of pork or if you simply want to vary the recipes, you can opt for the Beef Mash or the Chicken Cuisine, both of which are grain free.

    However, since this food tailored to your pup’s needs is based on a monthly subscription and delivered to your doorstep, the asking price is significantly higher than that of other commercial dog food brands. Still, we think that the cost is justified, given the quality and freshness of the ingredients.

    • Tailored to your puppy
    • All recipes are formulated by board-certified veterinary nutritionists
    • Fresh and human-grade ingredients
    • Can help boost your pup’s immune system
    • Balanced recipes that exceed AAFCO standards for all life stages
    • Requires a subscription

    2. Purina Grain-Free Dry Puppy Food – Budget Buy

    Purina Pro Plan 17995

    Purina’s Pro Plan is definitely pro your dog’s health! Chicken is the number-one ingredient, but it is also packed with all sorts of good stuff for the health of your pup, in both the short and long term. It’s made with vitamin A and Linoleic acid (an omega 6 fatty acid) to help with the health of your pet’s skin and fur, so your pup will be starting off on the right foot in life. This product is also made with DHA, which helps support brain development, especially important during the puppy stage.

    Purina Pro Plan has a variety of offerings depending on what you think is best for your dog. The “Focus” dog food helps with the hyper pups in your life, while “Vision” can help older dogs who might be losing their sight.

    The other great thing about this food from Purina is that it comes in a large quantity, so you won’t have to be constantly going to the grocery store to buy new dog food — unless your pup finds where you hid the stash!

    As some dogs don’t love dry food, you can add a simple broth to help encourage your dog to eat it. Another useful trick is adding canned green beans. While Purina can’t help that some dogs are picky, it can be proud of making a wonderful product. As such, we think that Purina Pro Plan is the best grain-free puppy food for the money.

    • Made with DHA for brain development
    • Several different types of food
    • Made with high-quality chicken
    • Some dogs don’t like it

    3. CANIDAE Grain-Free Dry Dog Food


    Canidae believes that simplicity is the way to the best product possible. They promise that each bag of dog food is made with 10 or fewer simple and natural ingredients. Canidae never uses fillers like corn, soy, or wheat. You will be able to choose between six different proteins, though all come with omega 3 and 6 fatty acids to promote good skin and healthy hair growth. Probiotics are added to every single cooked kibble to help with good digestion, and antioxidants are added to help strengthen your dog’s immune system.

    Dog food from Canidae is made with comfort in mind. Since there isn’t filler in this food, it is good for dogs with sensitive stomachs. Your dog will not only love the taste but also how they feel after eating.

    You may think that once your puppy is grown, they will have to graduate from Canidae food, but that is not the case! Canidae makes food for dogs of all ages and breeds, so your dog can grow old with Canidae.

    There have been complaints that the product is different when bought online as opposed to local vets or pet stores. The kibbles are much smaller and harder and seem to be less of a quality product.

    • 10 ingredients or fewer
    • Omega 3 and 6, plus antioxidants
    • Food for all ages and breeds
    • Product not as good when ordered online

    Looking for dog food with grains? Click here!

    4. Merrick Grain-Free Puppy Dry Food

    Merrick 38458

    Packed with protein, this stuff is sure to make your dog to do circles. Made out of high-quality meat, there are several flavors to choose from. All the recipes boast a high protein content, which is advantageous for your dog’s health, as well as omega 3 and omega 6, which are good for your pet’s skin and coat. The glucosamine and chondroitin will keep your dog’s joints and hips healthy for years down the line.

    While the quality of meat is great, it doesn’t stop there. This dog food from Merrick is also loaded with fruits and veggies, such as blueberries, sweet potatoes, peas, and apples. You can rest assured that there are no preservatives, gluten, wheat, corn, or soy products.

    Merrick has recipes for specific types of dogs as well. If your puppy absolutely falls in love with this offering from Merrick, there is a food for them even as they grow! The brand has foods for specific ages, as well as specific breeds.

    Merrick is so confident in its product that if you (or your dog) doesn’t like it, it offers a 100% money-back guarantee.

    The only concern we have with this product is that sometimes the batches come out a bit inconsistent, but with Merrick’s money-back policy, this is hardly an issue.

    • Food for every breed at every age
    • 100% money-back guarantee
    • Good for skin, fur, hips, and joints
    • Inconsistent batches

    5. Blue Buffalo Wilderness Grain-Free Dog Food

    Blue Buffalo Wilderness

    Blue Buffalo understands that puppies need a good amount of protein, so they packed it in their grain-free dry puppy food. Made out of high-quality chicken, this food has all the meat that your little dog desires. Not only does it taste good, but all that protein also helps promote strong muscle growth from an early age. Your pup will develop healthy muscles, as well as a healthy mind and sight. This product is made with two important fatty acids, DHA and ARA, which boost mental health and vision. On top of that, each kibble is packed with antioxidants and other vitamins recommended by vets to help maintain and strengthen the immune system.

    You can buy several sizes of this dog food, from 4.5 pounds all the way to 24 pounds. You can even have it scheduled for delivery! Once it shows up at your door, you can confidently serve it to your dog knowing that this product is made of high-quality meat and never has any corn, wheat, or soy in it.

    We have heard from users that this food is not necessarily the best for pups with sensitive tummies. There’s also a risk of some bags containing mold, salmonella, and other contaminants. This dog food is seemingly different when ordered online as opposed to at the local shop.

    • Packed with vitamins and fatty acids
    • Can buy in big quantities
    • Boosts vision
    • Not great for pups with sensitive tummies
    • Possibly contains contaminants
    • Different seeming product online vs. in store

    6. Wellness Natural Grain-Free Dry Dog Food

    Wellness 89147

    Made with deboned chicken and whitefish, this is a popular food for young pups. The ingredients are 100% all natural. It also doesn’t include any fillers, so you won’t have to worry about corn, wheat, or soy being in your little pal’s breakfast and dinner. Along with chicken, this dog food has three super foods in it that are great for your pup: blueberries, spinach, and flax seeds.

    Wellness loves dogs, so it made this food with different signs of wellness in mind: the skin and coat of your pup, their immune system, how much energy they have on a daily basis, and their digestive health.

    Wellness understands that some dogs can be particular about dry food, so it sells complementing stews and broths that will make your dog love this food!

    Users report that while they (their dogs) are satisfied with this product, this is yet another dog food that pets with sensitive stomachs should avoid.

    • Made with chicken and superfoods
    • Complementing stews and broths available
    • Not great for pups with sensitive bellies

    7. Instinct Grain-Free Dry Dog Food

    Instinct 769949658399

    Made with cage-free chicken, this puppy food is not only good for your dog but made ethically as well. It is high in protein, and the chicken is freeze dried and raw. The calcium and phosphate components of this food ensure strong teeth and bones, and it is also full of DHA, which promotes brain health. Instinct claims that they are the first to make raw dog food, so if you are on a raw diet, your pup can join you in solidarity. You also won’t have to worry about fillers such as soy, wheat, or corn.

    You may wonder why Instinct would make a raw food for pups. Raw foods are minimally processed and contain a maximum amount of protein, as well as healthy omega acids and probiotics. With this bag of food. there are two different colored kibbles, a dark one and a pale one. The dark stuff is the dried food, while the pale bits are the freeze-dried raw chicken. This is called a “raw food topper.” Some dogs may still prefer this to be topped with a broth or stew of some kind, though Instinct does make a wet food offering.

    While dogs and pups alike seem to absolutely love it, recent science suggests that raw food diets might not be all that they are cracked up to be, with some scientists claiming that they could be flat-out dangerous. Basically, raw food diets are not supported by everyone.

    • High protein
    • Raw food topper
    • Skeptical science surrounding raw food diets

    8. Taste of The Wild Grain-Free Dry Dog Food

    Taste of The Wild 9573

    While most grain-free foods are made mostly out of chicken, Taste of the Wild’s food is made out of mainly salmon, promoting lean muscle growth that will lead to strong muscles over the duration of your dog’s life. The salmon itself is sustainably sourced, so you can feed this to your pup knowing that you are still being a good steward of the land.

    This puppy food is packed with good stuff. It has probiotics, amino acids, and DHA for brain health. It’s made to help build a strong and active digestion system and all naturally too — you will never find any artificial flavors or colors, preservatives, corn, wheat, or soy.

    There is an open customer service line if you would like to speak to a rep — and it is possible that you might. There have been reports of ant infestations in deliveries of this package. Also, there was a recent FDA court case against grain-free foods for dogs, and Taste of the Wild was mentioned. Most users report that they (and their dogs) absolutely love it, but when it comes to a member of your family, you can never be too safe.

    • Made with sustainably sourced salmon
    • Loaded with amino acids and probiotics
    • Named in FDA court case
    • Ant infestations

    9. Castor & Pollux Grain-Free Dry Dog Food

    Castor & Pollux 35038

    Made in a USDA-certified organic kitchen, this puppy food is made with range-free chicken and a whole bunch of other good stuff. The DHA will get your pup’s brain kicking, while the included superfoods will make you feel confident in your doggie’s dinner. The superfoods included are flaxseeds, blueberries, and coconut oil. Of course, the main ingredient is something your pup will especially love: chicken!

    This food is made without any chemical interference. There are no synthetic fertilizers, chemical pesticides, preservatives, or added growth hormones. You want only the cleanest for your dog, and with this food, you can rest assured that you aren’t putting anything weird into your pup’s body.

    One thing to watch out for is that the bag the food comes in is quite flimsy, so support it well!

    • Made with range-free chicken
    • Made in a certified organic kitchen
    • Bag is flimsy

    10. Natural Balance Grain-Free Dry Puppy Food

    Natural Balance 2363377401

    This dog food is another good one, it just doesn’t stand out from the rest. Made with chicken as the main ingredient, this food is also packed with omega acids and lacks all the things that you don’t want to be there.

    The reason it is so low on our list is because there isn’t that much known about it! If you decide to buy it, please leave a comment and tell us what you think!

    • Omega acids
    • Not much known about it

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    While the science is still out on grain-free diets, there are certain vets who swear by it. If it is the route that you choose to go with your pup, then we hope you will be able to use these reviews as a guide to find the best food possible for them.

    Of course, it is important to start your dog off on the right paw, but it might take a bit of experimenting when it comes to selecting the best grain-free puppy foods. While we stand by our research, we absolutely recommend consulting a vet for dietary advice first. Whether you choose our top pick from Nom Nom or the budget pick from Purina, we are so happy to be a part of you and your new pup’s life!

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    Featured Image Credit: Andrii Spy_k, Shutterstock

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