Bringing home a new puppy is something worth celebrating! You’re at the beginning of a beautiful friendship with an adorable miniature version of your future adult dog. But a new puppy also means stocking up on many supplies, and one of the most critical things on your list will be puppy food. A new puppy also means you have your hands full, so finding the time to research the best food for your new pup can be daunting.
That’s why we created reviews of 10 of the best puppy foods for those living in Canada. There’s also a buyer’s guide full of additional information to help you on this journey of finding the right food for your puppy.
A Quick Look at the Winners (2023 Update)
|Best Overall||Purina ONE Smartblend Dry Puppy Food||
|Best Value||IAMS Dry Puppy Food||
|Premium Choice||ACANA Heritage Puppy & Junior||
|Vet’s Choice||Hill’s Science Diet Canned Puppy Food||
|Nutro Natural Choice Large Breed||
The 10 Best Puppy Foods in Canada
1. Purina ONE Smartblend Dry Puppy Food — Best Overall
|Main ingredients:||Chicken, rice flour, corn|
Our choice for the best overall puppy food in Canada is Purina ONE Smartblend Dry Puppy Food. The first and main ingredient is lamb, and it is a complete and balanced meal perfect for growing puppies. It includes DHA, which helps eye and brain development, and calcium and phosphorus for healthy joints, bones, and teeth. It contains zinc and selenium and antioxidants in the form of vitamins E and A for immune system support. These same vitamins also help your puppy’s skin and coat, and the high-quality sources of protein will give your pup strong and healthy muscles.
However, there are a few flaws. While lamb is the primary source of protein, it also includes chicken, so if your pup has any food sensitivities to chicken, you should avoid this one. It also contains artificial colour.
2. IAMS Dry Puppy Food — Best Value
|Main ingredients:||Chicken, corn, whole grain sorghum, dried beet pulp|
The best puppy food in Canada for the money is IAMS Dry Puppy Food. It has DHA for vision and brain development and whole grains to support your puppy’s energy. There are plenty of antioxidants for a robust immune system and omega-6 for healthy skin and coat. Whole chicken is the main ingredient, and it includes 22 nutrients that are found in a mother dog’s milk for a balanced and nutritious diet.
The main issue is that this food does contain artificial colour.
3. ACANA Heritage Puppy Recipe Dry Food — Premium Choice
|Main ingredients:||Chicken, turkey, peas, red lentils|
ACANA Heritage Puppy & Junior Dry Dog Food is our premium pick and is made in Canada. Around 60% of the ingredients are protein-rich animal sources. In fact, the first two ingredients are whole meat. The other 40% are fruit, veggies, and nutrients, and all ingredients are obtained ethically. Free-run turkey and chicken (which are also the main ingredients) are used, as are wild-caught fish and nest-laid eggs. This food doesn’t contain any fillers or artificial colours, flavours, or preservatives.
This product is expensive, though, and peas are the fourth ingredient, which are currently under investigation by the FDA over heart disease concerns.
4. Hill’s Science Diet Canned Puppy Food — Vet’s Choice
|Main ingredients:||Chicken, corn, barley, soybean|
Our vet’s choice goes to Hill’s Science Diet Canned Puppy Food, which is also the only canned food on this list. It’s a minced texture that contains whole chicken and grains, making for a highly digestible food. It includes strong antioxidants for overall health and balanced minerals to support growing teeth and bones. It’s made with natural ingredients.
Unfortunately, this puppy food is expensive, and sometimes the food can be dry, which is odd for a canned food.
5. Nutro Natural Choice Large Breed Dry Puppy Food
|Main ingredients:||Lamb, chicken, brewers rice, split peas|
Nutro Natural Choice Large Breed Dry Puppy Food is a great choice for your puppy, particularly if they are a large breed. It contains natural sources of chondroitin and glucosamine, which support healthy joints. The main ingredient is deboned lamb, so it’s an excellent source of high-quality protein, and it doesn’t have any GMO ingredients or any artificial flavours, colours, or preservatives.
The cons with this food are that it is pricey and that it might cause stomach upset in some puppies.
6. Purina Pro Plan Dry Puppy Food
|Main ingredients:||Chicken, rice, corn, wheat|
Purina’s Pro Plan Dry Puppy Food has whole chicken as the main ingredient, which gives puppies a high-quality source of protein to support growing muscles. It also includes DHA from omega fish oil for eye and brain development and immune system support through rich sources of antioxidants. It also contains the right balance of vitamins and minerals, which includes sources of phosphorus and calcium for strong bones and teeth.
However, it is quite expensive, and some puppies might experience stomach upset.
7. Nature’s Recipe Grain-Free Dry Puppy Food
|Main ingredients:||Chicken, garbanzo beans, peas, sweet potatoes|
Nature’s Recipe Grain-Free Dry Puppy Food is a great option if your puppy has food sensitivities with grains. It has whole chicken as the primary ingredient, which provides your puppy with high-quality protein to maintain healthy muscles. It also has added vitamins and minerals, including DHA, for developing brain and vision. It doesn’t contain any artificial colours, preservatives, or flavours.
However, it contains peas within the first four ingredients, and it’s a bit expensive.
8. Royal Canin Medium Puppy Dry Food
|Main ingredients:||Chicken, Brewers Rice, Corn, Wheat|
Royal Canin Medium Puppy Dry Food is made specifically for the needs of medium-sized puppy breeds. This means your puppy should be expected to reach an adult weight of 23 to 55 pounds. The combination of vitamins and antioxidants supports the developing immune system, as well as growing bones and joints. It has prebiotics for perfect poops and is highly digestible.
The flaws here are that this is an expensive puppy food and that it might cause stomach upset.
9. Hill’s Science Diet Small Bites Puppy Dry Food
|Main ingredients:||Chicken, wheat, barley|
Hill’s Science Diet Small Bites Puppy Dry Food is excellent for small-breed puppies, which means the kibble size is small. It provides the right balance of protein for the energy needs of puppies of small stature. It has DHA for developing vision and brain and contains high-quality protein for building lean muscles. There are balanced minerals for strong teeth and bones, and it’s made with tasty and natural ingredients.
The downside is that this food is expensive, though it may last longer for those with tiny puppies. It might also make some puppies experience stomach upset.
10. Purina Pro Plan Large Breed Dry Puppy Food
|Main ingredients:||Chicken, rice, corn|
Purina’s Pro Plan Large Breed Dry Puppy Food is a great option for those with large breed puppies. It contains live probiotics for immune and digestive system health and has glucosamine for developing joints. There’s rice, which is an easily digested carbohydrate, and it doesn’t contain any artificial flavours or colours.
The negatives are that this is an expensive puppy food and that picky puppies might not like it.
Buyer’s Guide: Selecting the Best Puppy Food in Canada
Before you purchase your puppy’s food, there are a few points for you to go over. It might influence the food that you buy for your pup!
Calories and Protein
Puppy food is typically high in calories, which is vital for supporting the development of a growing puppy. Food high in protein is also essential. The protein and calories provide the right amount of energy for your puppy’s needs and enable them to gain the appropriate amount of weight.
DHA is an essential element that is sourced from the omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oil and helps support the puppy’s central nervous system and brain and vision development.
The general rule is that the first three ingredients listed on dog food packaging are the main ingredients and therefore, are the most important. Some people are worried about fillers and believe that dog food should be grain free, but most foods with ingredients listed as “meals” or “by-products” or that include corn and wheat are still healthy. The most common allergy triggers tend to be the protein source, which is usually chicken or beef. Speak to your veterinarian before choosing a grain-free food.
Introducing New Food
It’s always best to talk with your vet if you are switching your puppy to a new food. Most breeders or rescue groups will send your puppy home with food that they have already been eating. Switching your puppy to a new food needs to be done very slowly.
Start by adding a small amount of the new food to the usual amount of the old, and gradually build up from there. This is particularly important for puppies because they have sensitive little tummies.
Our overall favourite puppy food in Canada is Purina ONE Smartblend Dry Puppy Food for its use of high-quality protein in the form of lamb, and it’s also a complete and balanced meal perfect for growing puppies. IAMS Dry Puppy Food has the 22 nutrients found in a mother dog’s milk for a balanced and nutritious diet for puppies, and it has a great price!
Our premium choice is ACANA’s Heritage Puppy & Junior Dry Dog Food, which is made in Canada. It has ingredients that are ethically sourced from local farms using free-range livestock. Finally, our vet’s choice is Hill’s Science Diet Canned Puppy Food, the only canned food on he list! It has a minced texture with whole chicken and grains and is a highly digestible food.
We hope that these reviews of 10 excellent choices in puppy food have brought you closer to finding the perfect food for your adorable new addition to the family!