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10 Best Puppy Foods in the UK in 2021 – Reviews & Top Picks

10 Best Puppy Foods in the UK in 2021 – Reviews & Top Picks Featured Image

puppy eating

Puppy food contains a much higher density of calories per mouthful than adult dog food. If your puppy has the occasional bowl of adult formulated food, it shouldn’t cause any harm, but to provide your little one with all of its nutritional needs, you should find a decent quality puppy food and feed this according to your pup’s age, exercise levels, size, and other factors.

With wet food, dry food, and toppers available, as well as puppy foods for small and large breeds, and even foods that are formulated to meet the nutritional needs of puppy and mother, there is a wide range of foods to choose from. Below, we have written reviews of ten of the best puppy foods in the UK, to help you find the one that best meets your pup’s requirements.

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A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites

Rating Image Product Details
Best Overall
Winner
Barking Heads Dry Food For Puppies Barking Heads Dry Food For Puppies
  • 28% protein
  • Free from artificial ingredients
  • More than 30% of protein comes from meat
  • Best Value
    Second place
    Harringtons Complete Dry Puppy Food Harringtons Complete Dry Puppy Food
  • Inexpensive
  • 28% protein ratio
  • Contains FOS and prebiotics
  • Premium Choice
    Third place
    Lilys Kitchen Complete Puppy Food Lilys Kitchen Complete Puppy Food
  • 29% protein
  • Free from artificial preservatives
  • The main ingredients are chicken and salmon
  • Best for Mothers and Puppies
    Royal Canin Mother and Babydog Mini Starter Royal Canin Mother and Babydog Mini Starter
  • 30% protein
  • The primary ingredient is dehydrated poultry protein
  • Suitable for pregnant and feeding mothers
  • as well as puppies
  • Autarky Hypoallergenic Junior Delicious Chicken Puppy Food Autarky Hypoallergenic Junior Delicious Chicken Puppy Food
  • Cheap
  • 28% protein
  • The primary ingredient is poultry meal
  • The 10 Best Puppy Foods in the UK – Reviews & Top Picks 2021

    1. Barking Heads Dry Food For Puppies – Best Overall

    Barking Heads Dry Food For Puppies

    Food type: Dry
    Protein: 28%
    Primary ingredients: Salmon, Dried Chicken, Sweet Potato

    Barking Heads Dry Food is a dry kibble that gets a lot of its protein from meat sources. Primary ingredients of salmon, dried chicken, and sweet potato, with additional ingredients that include chicken and salmon oil, the list of ingredients is quite limited. The food has 28% protein, 18% fat, and is made up of 3% fiber.

    The ingredients list is free from artificial preservatives and other artificial ingredients, and it is largely free from potential allergens, although the ingredients list does include eggs and salmon oil. Although cheaper foods do exist, the Barking Heads Dry Food For Puppies is well priced for its quality ingredients and represents the best overall puppy food in the UK for those owners that want to ensure a healthy diet that will fill their pup up.

    Pros
    • 28% protein
    • Free from artificial ingredients
    • More than 30% of protein comes from meat
    Cons
    • Contains egg and salmon oil

    2. Harringtons Complete Dry Puppy Food – Best Value

    Harringtons Complete Dry Puppy Food

    Food type: Dry
    Protein: 28%
    Primary ingredients: Meat Meal, Rice, Maize

    Harringtons Complete Dry Puppy Food is an inexpensive dry kibble that contains primary ingredients of meat meal, rice, and maize. The meat meal itself consists of at least 6.5% dried turkey, but it would be better to see named meats and in high concentration when looking for nutritional and high-quality puppy food. The food is fortified with minerals and contains prebiotics and probiotics. These help encourage good gut bacteria and they promote good gut health, which is especially important for puppies that can suffer from poor gastrointestinal health.

    The ingredients also include Fructo-Oligo-Saccharide (FOS), which is an increasingly popular prebiotic. The protein ratio of this food is 28%, which is a good level of protein, while its 12% fat content is lower than most alternative foods. Although the primary ingredients could be better, especially the unnamed and unspecific meat meal, the food is inexpensive, has decent secondary ingredients, and offers healthy protein levels for puppies making it the best puppy food in the UK for the money.

    Pros
    • Inexpensive
    • Contains FOS and prebiotics
    • 28% protein ratio
    Cons
    • High in carbs, even for puppy food
    • The primary ingredient is an unnamed and unspecific meat meal
    • Contains maize, which is a common allergen

    3. Lilys Kitchen Complete Puppy Food – Premium Choice

    Lilys Kitchen Complete Puppy Food

    Food type: Dry
    Protein: 29%
    Primary ingredients: Chicken & Salmon, Sweet Potato, Pea Protein

    Lily’s Kitchen Complete Puppy Food is a premium food that does cost more than most other foods. But its primary ingredients are chicken and salmon, which are high-quality named meat sources. The kibble is made up of 29% protein and additional beneficial ingredients include chicken fat and chicken gravy, salmon oil, and a mixture of prebiotics and probiotics to aid in good digestion. The food can be quite rich and sensitive for some puppies, but if you introduce it gradually this should prevent any sickness or diarrhea that might come from swapping foods.

    The food is high in omega fatty acids, which are good for the coat as well as the immune system and nervous systems. However, while Lily’s Kitchen is considered a premium food and does not contain artificial preservatives, it could be higher in meat protein sources.

    Pros
    • 29% protein
    • Free from artificial preservatives
    • The main ingredients are chicken and salmon
    Cons
    • Expensive
    • Quite rich
    • Not as high in meat protein sources as less premium foods

    4. Royal Canin Mother and Babydog Mini Starter – Best for Mothers and Puppies

    Royal Canin Mother and Babydog Mini Starter

    Food type: Dry
    Protein: 30%
    Primary ingredients: Dehydrated Poultry Protein, Rice, Animal Fats

    Royal Canin Mother and Babydog Mini Starter is called a starter food. In this case, that not only means that it is suitable as a first food for puppies, but it can be given to mother dogs that are still pregnant or that have recently given birth to puppies. The aim is to enhance the nutrients that mum provides to puppies when they suckle. The Royal Canin food is a dry kibble that can be rehydrated by mixing with some water, creating a food that is similar in consistency to porridge.

    The food’s primary ingredient is dehydrated poultry protein, which may not sound appealing but is considered a decent source of meat protein. Not all ingredients are as high quality. Vegetable protein isolate and antioxidants are listed ingredients, and both are vague and non-specific. The food does boast 30% protein, but less than 30% of the protein is believed to come from meat sources. The ingredients also contain allergens like maize while the listed antioxidants are likely to be artificial rather than natural.

    Pros
    • Suitable for pregnant and feeding mothers, as well as puppies
    • The primary ingredient is dehydrated poultry protein
    • 30% protein
    Cons
    • Contains maize and other allergens
    • Contains artificial ingredients
    • Some of the ingredients are vague and non-specific

    5. Autarky Hypoallergenic Junior Delicious Chicken Puppy Food

    Autarky Hypoallergenic Junior Delicious Chicken Puppy Food

    Food type: Dry
    Protein: 28%
    Primary ingredients: Poultry Meal, Maize, Chicken Fat

    Autarky Hypoallergenic Junior Delicious Chicken Puppy Food is a dry kibble that utilizes poultry meal as its first ingredient. Poultry meal is essentially a concentrated form of poultry, which means that it is a good source of meat-based protein.

    Overall, the food is believed to get a lot of its 28% protein from meat sources. However, despite being described as hypoallergenic, it is worth noting that the ingredients of this inexpensive food include maize and maize gluten, both of which are allergens, so if your puppy has shown signs of an allergic reaction to maize, you should avoid this food.

    The ingredients are natural, which means that there are no artificial preservatives or additives, which is especially beneficial for a food that is one of the cheapest on our list of puppy foods.

    Pros
    • Cheap
    • The primary ingredient is poultry meal
    • 28% protein
    Cons
    • Contains allergens despite claims to the contrary
    • High in carbs

    6. Arden Grange Puppy/Junior Dog Food Large Breed

    Arden Grange Puppy Junior Dog Food Large Breed

    Food type: Dry
    Protein: 26%
    Primary ingredients: Chicken Meat Meal, Rice, Maize

    Arden Grange Puppy Dog Food is a dry puppy food that is geared primarily towards large and giant breeds. It consists of 26% protein and has the primary ingredients of chicken meat meal, rice, and maize. It does not contain any artificial additives, although maize is considered an allergen because some dogs can be sensitive to the grain.

    As well as the chicken meal primary ingredient, you will also find a combination of chicken oil, fresh chicken, chicken digest, and fish oil. Although the protein ratio could be a little higher, the price of this food is very competitive, and its ingredients are mostly of good quality.

    Pros
    • Cheap
    • No artificial additives
    • The primary ingredient is chicken meat meal
    Cons
    • Contains maize, which is an allergen
    • 26% protein could be higher

    7. James Wellbeloved Junior Pouches

    James Wellbeloved Junior Pouches

    Food type: Wet
    Protein: 5.5%
    Primary ingredients: Lamb, Rice, Minerals

    James Wellbeloved Junior Pouches are a combination of lamb, rice, and minerals, with vegetables and fortified with extra vitamins and minerals. It is wet food, which enables you to ensure your pup is properly hydrated, which can also help combat gastrointestinal problems, and wet food can be more appealing, especially to picky puppies.

    The ingredients are good quality, with no artificial ingredients, and free from common allergens, although there could be a higher concentration of meat proteins to make the food an even higher quality. Priced reasonably, the food does have a higher-than-average fat content, but protein is as expected in a wet food pouch. It could be higher in meat content, but everything is well labeled and clear to follow, making it a popular choice with owners looking for a wet puppy food option.

    Pros
    • Wet food offers decent hydration
    • No allergens
    • Free from artificial ingredients
    Cons
    • Could contain more meat protein
    • Wet food can be rich for some puppies

    8. Lily’s Kitchen Puppy Turkey Complete Food

    Lily’s Kitchen Puppy Turkey Complete Food

    Food type: Wet
    Protein: 10.6%
    Primary ingredients: Fresh Chicken, Potatoes, Carrots

    Lily’s Kitchen Puppy Turkey Complete Food is a wet food that consists of 80% moisture and has primary ingredients of fresh chicken, potatoes, and carrots. The ingredients also include a host of vitamins and chelated minerals. Chelated minerals are bound to protein, which means that they are better absorbed by the body, further ensuring that your puppy takes on more of the minerals offered.

    Approximately two-thirds of the packet ingredients are made up of fresh chicken which means that the protein comes primarily from meat sources. The price of the packs is reasonable, and the 10.6% protein is very good for wet food that is 80% moisture.

    Pros
    • 6% protein
    • Decent source of meat-based protein
    • Inexpensive
    Cons
    • High in fat
    • High protein might make it too rich for some puppies

    9. Pooch & Mutt Puppy Dry Food

    Pooch & Mutt Puppy Dry Food

    Food type: Dry
    Protein: 25%
    Primary ingredients: Dried Chicken, Sweet Potato, Potato

    Pooch & Mutt Puppy Dry Food is made with dried chicken, sweet potato, and potato as its main ingredients. While a lot of foods leave buyers guessing as to the exact amount of ingredients found in the food, Pooch & Mutt lists the percentage breakdown of every ingredient making it a transparent food label. It is on the expensive end of the scale, and its 25% protein level could really do with being higher. It uses only natural ingredients and includes salmon oil, kale, and other superfoods that are designed to enhance the vitamins and minerals you give your pup.

    Pros
    • Made from natural ingredients
    • Very clear ingredient labeling
    Cons
    • 25% protein could be higher
    • Not cheap

    10. Wainwrights Hypoallergenic Nutrient Sensitive Digestion

    Wainwrights Hypoallergenic Nutrient Sensitive Digestion

    Food type: Dry
    Protein: 28.5%
    Primary ingredients: Lamb, Brown Rice, Maize Protein

    Wainwright’s Hypoallergenic Nutrient Sensitive Digestion is a limited ingredient food that is designed for puppies with sensitive stomachs. It is quite an expensive food, but it has the primary ingredients of lamb, brown rice, and maize protein.

    Despite being called hypoallergenic, maize is considered an allergen because the protein has caused allergic reactions in dogs. The protein ratio of 28.5% is good while fat levels, approximately 13%, are considered average for this type of food. However, Wainwright’s puppy food is high in carbs. It is well labeled and uses natural ingredients.

    Pros
    • 28.5% protein
    • Uses natural ingredients
    Cons
    • Contains maize protein, an allergen
    • Pricey food

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    Buyer’s Guide

    Puppies grow at a much faster rate than adult dogs, and they have specific nutritional and dietary requirements. As such, most experts agree that puppies should be fed specialist puppy food until they reach about 12 months of age. This food has appropriate levels of vitamins and minerals, as well as proper protein and calorie levels for a dog of that age. Beyond this, you can choose between wet and dry food, choose a recipe that contains or is free from allergens, and you can choose any of several different ingredients and recipes.

    Can Puppies Eat Adult Food?

    There is nothing toxic about adult dog food: in this respect, it is safe to feed to your puppy, and if you feed it as a one-off then there is no need to worry about the impact on your pup. However, adult food does not contain the nutrients that a puppy needs. Continued feeding of the wrong life-stage food could lead to long-term problems.

    Prebiotics and Probiotics

    Puppies tend to have sensitive stomachs. They can suffer from diarrhea or constipation, as well as other gastrointestinal upset. Ensuring that puppy food contains prebiotics and probiotics can help. These ingredients encourage good bacteria in the gut, and they ensure that the bacteria that is prevalent in your puppy’s stomach are positive: bacteria like lactobacillus. These good bacteria can prevent poor gut health and not only is this linked to fewer instances of diarrhea but good gut health is linked to improved immune system response and even to reduces instances of depression and anxiety.

    Protein Ratio

    You should look for a protein ratio of 25% at an absolute minimum, ideally more like 28%, but you also need to ensure that the protein is from a beneficial source. Although dogs are omnivores, so can eat both plant and meat-based protein, they tend to do better with food that gets most of its protein from meat sources. Typical meat protein sources include chicken, lamb, and beef.

    pomeranian puppy eating
    Image Credit: aonip, Shutterstock

    Allergens

    Some dogs are allergic to certain food types, while other dogs suffer sensitivities to specific ingredients. Grains and grain-based foods can cause stomach upset. Look for ingredients like maize, as well as corn and soy. If you are worried about your dog’s sensitive stomach, avoid allergens completely, or have your dog tested to determine the foods that cause an allergic reaction.

    Dry or Wet Food

    One of the biggest decisions you will have to make when buying puppy food is whether to feed wet food or dry food.

    • Wet food tends to be more palatable and appealing. It contains plenty of moisture, so your puppy will get enough water and moisture in its food. However, wet food has a limited shelf life, and you can only leave it down for an hour or two before you have to pick it up.
    • Dry food lasts longer on the shelf and can be left down all day for your dog to graze on. It is drier, however, and if you feed dry food then you will have to ensure that your dog gets plenty of fresh water every day.

    Does Dry Food Need Soaking?

    Dry food does not need soaking, but if your puppy is very young, you may choose to soak dry kibble for a few minutes before feeding it. This will make it easier for your puppy to eat and make it a more appealing food.

    When to Switch to Adult Food

    Most puppies switch to adult food at the age of 12 months, although some may stay on puppy food for a couple of months longer.

    puppy German Shepherd eating_Sidorov_ruslan_shutterstock
    Image Credit: Sidorov ruslan, Shutterstock

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    Conclusion

    Puppies have specific dietary and nutritional requirements that need to be met. This means feeding them decent quality puppy food. While writing the review, we found Barking Heads Dry Food For Puppies to offer the best combination of value and nutrition, while Harrington’s Complete Dry Puppy Food offers the best value for money of those on the list.


    Featured Image Credit: Switlana Sonyashna, Shutterstock

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