Ever since Paleo and gluten-free diets become popular for people who suffer from food sensitivities many pet owners started to consider grain-free food as the best choice for their pups. Grain-free dog food is now so popular that you can find dry, canned and life stage appropriate formula for your pooch.
The main reason why so many people are deciding to go grain-free is that this type of food is made from high-quality ingredients. It contains more proteins and fats, it’s easier to digest and a perfect choice for pups with grain allergies. High levels of protein and fats are extremely important for puppies who need extra nutrients to grow and develop properly.
With so many different products it can be hard to find the one that will suit the needs of your puppy. So we decided to make your job easier by introducing you with the best grain free puppy food in 2018. It is important to state that there isn’t one magical formula that will work for all puppies. But our choices can give you an idea what to look for.
|Name||Image||Best For||Main Ingredient||Proteins||Size||Price|
|BLUE Freedom Grain Free Puppy Dry Food||Digestive problems, grain allergies||Deboned Chicken||27%||All sizes|
|Taste Of The Wild Pacific Stream Puppy Dry Food||Digestive problems, sensitivities to grains and poultry||Salmon||27%||All sizes|
|CANIDAE Grain Free PURE Dry Puppy Food||Food sensitivities||Chicken||30%||All sizes|
|Merrick Grain Free Puppy Recipe||Digestive problems, energetic puppies||Deboned Chicken||28%||All sizes|
|Wellness Core Natural Grain Free Puppy Dry Food||Digestive problems, healthy bone development||Deboned Chicken||36%||Large breed puppies|
How to find the best grain free puppy food in 2018?
Puppies are energetic and still developing so they need special amounts of nutrients to fuel them. That includes carbs as sources of energy as well. Special considerations when it comes to puppy food is that it needs to have all the vitamins, minerals, and omega fatty acids. They are necessary for a proper brain, eye, and bone development.
What does grain-free mean?
It is a common misconception that grain-free puppy food is also carbohydrate free. Carbs are sources of energy and are usually present as potatoes and peas in grain-free formulas.
Some puppies have problems digesting grains and develop allergies. In that case, you must transition your pup onto a zero grain diet. Some of the commonly used grains in puppy food include:
- White Rice
- Brown Rice
The most common culprits when it comes to grain allergies are wheat, corn, and soy. They are hard to digest and shouldn’t be present in your puppy’s food even if he doesn’t have allergies.
What are the benefits of this type of diet?
No one can say for sure if dogs are omnivores or carnivores. But we can say with certainty that they are able to digest grains. Still, the bulk of your puppies food should be made from fresh and high-quality meat and not from fillers like corn and soy. With that being said going grain-free does have its benefits.
- Higher levels of protein: The best grain free puppy food is made from more meat, and contains higher levels of proteins that are essential for a still-developing puppy.
- Easier to digest: Refined grains are harder to digest and can cause gastrointestinal problems. When you are feeding your puppy with whole or no grains, he won’t experience stomach problems like diarrhea and gases.
- Good for allergies: Beef, poultry, dairy, and fleas are most common sources of allergies in puppies. Still some puppies can develop grain allergies. In this case, your only option is to change your pup’s diet onto a grain free food.
- Perfect weight: Too much grains can make your puppy overweight and even obese. Some manufacturers even list grains as their main ingredient. If your puppy has predispositions to become obese it is better to switch him onto a grain free formula.
What to look for in grain free puppy food?
The nutritional requirements of adult dogs and puppies differ. To provide a good start for a future healthy life you need to find the best puppy grain free food with all the macro and micronutrients. Always choose a food that is complete and balanced and has all of these things:
- DHA: This is a special strain of omega 3 fatty acids and it will support proper brain and vision development. Natural source of DHA is salmon oil that is also great for healthy skin and glossy coat.
- Calcium-phosphorus ratio: You should consider your puppy’s breed to find out the perfect ratio for him. The best grain free large breed puppy food will have a ratio of 1:1 to 1:1.8. This will help the bones of large and giant breeds can develop nicely and be strong.
- Calorie content: Since small breed puppies need less time to grow up and are more active, they need a calorie rich diet. For large breeds look for a specially designed puppy food that has fewer calories for a steady growth that won’t cause hip dysplasia.
What are the signs of allergies?
If you are suspecting that your pup is suffering from food-related allergies you should take your puppy to the vet. Best thing is to start with the limited ingredient diet until the culprit is found. Although only 10% of dogs are suffering from food-related allergies they are very unpleasant for your pup and accompanied by these symptoms:
- Obsessive scratching
- Obsessive licking
- Hair loss
- Dry skin
- Gastrointestinal upset
- Skin rashes
There is no doubt that zero grain diet has health benefits even if your puppy isn’t allergic to them. But we still advise you to talk to your vet prior to transitioning your puppy onto this type of food. And for all of you who are wondering what is the best grain free puppy food, we reviewed five formulas that contain all the necessary nutrients a still growing puppy needs.
Top 5 best grain free puppy foods
Freedom puppy line is specially designed to contain zero grains. And it’s for all puppies who have grain allergies or simply thrive better on this type of food. Made with high-quality and natural ingredients this food contain LifeSource bits. They are cooked at lower temperatures in order to contain all the necessary nutrients.
The main ingredient here is Deboned Chicken, followed by Chicken Meal, and Turkey Meal. They provide a variety of poultry flavors puppies find delicious and create a minimum of 27% crude protein. If you suspect that your dog is allergic to chicken, this isn’t the right choice for you.
Since this is a grain-free food it contains only easily digestible carbohydrates like Peas and Potatoes. They will give your puppy enough energy and keep his belly full for longer periods of time. Combined they create a maximum of 5% crude fiber, that won’t cause any gastrointestinal problems.
The main source of fat is Chicken Fat combined with Flaxseed which is a source of omega 3 and 6 fatty acids. Together they create a minimum of 16% crude fat, that will keep your puppy active and his skin and coat healthy.
Carrots, Parsley, Kelp, Blueberries, and Cranberries are fresh sources of vitamins and minerals. They are also supplemented in order to provide all the micronutrients your puppy needs. Calcium and phosphorus are present in the right amounts to support strong teeth and well-developed and healthy bones.
Blue Buffalo also included DHA that supports brain development and good vision. Furthermore, Dried Chicory root as a source of natural prebiotic fibers for easy digestion. With 421 kcal/cup, this is a complete and balanced food that is suitable for small and medium-sized breeds.
If you feel that your puppy should eat like his ancestors did, then this is the right food for you. This brand makes grain free food from high-end ingredients and novel proteins. This can be a great choice if your puppy is suffering from food allergies.
The main ingredient is Salmon, followed by Ocean Fish Meal, Smoked Salmon, and Salmon Meal. They provide a variety of fishy meat flavors and a minimum of 27% crude protein. This is a great amount for well-developed muscles.
Sweet Potatoes, Potatoes, and Peas are sources of carbohydrates that are easy to digest and won’t cause any allergies. Combined they make a maximum of 5% crude fiber, that will give energy and keep your puppy full for longer periods of time.
The main source of fat is Canola oil, followed by Salmon oil which is a natural source of DHA. As main sources of energy, they create a minimum of 15% crude fat, that will maintain you puppy’s coat to be nice.
Tomatoes, Blueberries, and Raspberries are natural sources of vitamins and antioxidants for a strong immune system. They are fortified with supplements that provide all the essential minerals necessary for a healthy growth.
Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids are present to support a healthy and shiny coat. Dried Chicory root is a source of prebiotics for easy digestion and healthy gastrointestinal system. This has been one the best grain free puppy foods since 2016, and with 360 kcal/cup is suitable even for large breeds.
This is a limited ingredient formula that is designed for puppies that have food sensitivities. With easily recognizable ingredients and all the necessary vitamins and minerals, you know that your pup is getting all the right nutrients for a healthy growth.
The main source of fat is Chicken fat, followed by Flaxseed for a healthy and radiant coat. As main sources of energy they create a minimum of 12% crude fat. This is a bit on the low side for small breed puppies that are full of energy.
All the necessary vitamins and minerals are added through supplements for a strong immune system. DHA is also included for a healthy vision and brain development.
Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids are present to ensure that your puppy has a healthy skin and glossy coat. With 520 kcal/cup, this is a calorie dense food suitable also for nursing and pregnant dogs.
Beside this chicken flavored grain-free puppy food, Merrick has a variety of other flavors if you puppy has poultry related allergies. Made from premium quality ingredients this food is suitable for all breeds and is equipped with all the necessary nutrients a growing puppy needs.
The main ingredient is Deboned Chicken, followed by Chicken Meal and Deboned Salmon. They provide a variety of healthy flavors and create a minimum of 28% crude protein. This is a great amount for well-developed muscles and enough energy.
Since this is a grain-free formula it contains only Potatoes, Peas, and Sweet Potatoes that won’t cause any allergic reactions. Combined they create a maximum of 4.5% crude fiber, that is easy to digest and won’t cause any gastrointestinal problems.
The main source of energy is Chicken fat, followed by Flaxseed oil as optimal providers of energy. Combined they create a minimum of 12% crude fat, that supports healthy skin and coat.
Apples and Blueberries are fresh sources of vitamins for a strong immune system and healthy puppy. Merrick included all the necessary vitamins and minerals through supplements to make this grain-free food suitable for still-developing puppies.
DHA is included for brain development and sharp eyesight. And omega 3 and 6 fatty acids to support healthy skin and shiny coat. Yucca extract is present in this formula in order to support healthy digestion and optimal nutrient absorption.
With optimal calcium-phosphorus ratio Merrick also included Glucosamine and Chondroitin for strong bones and joint mobility. With 381 kcal/cup, this is a complete and balanced formula and one of the best large breed puppy grain free foods since it will provide a steady growth.
Indeed, this brand makes their foods following the philosophy that dog’s diet should consist primarily of meats. This puppy grain-free food is made with natural high-quality ingredients. And will benefit your puppy and provide a great start to a healthy life.
The main ingredient is Deboned Chicken, followed by Chicken Meal and Turkey meal. These are great protein sources but if your dog has allergies on poultry you should try something else. Thus, combined they create a minimum of 36% crude protein, that is a great amount for toned and well-developed muscles.
Potatoes, Peas and Ground Potatoes are sources of carbohydrates that won’t cause any allergies or problems with digestion. Combined they create a maximum of 5% crude fiber, that will keep your pup’s stomach full for longer periods of time.
What’s more, the main source of fat is Chicken fat, followed by Salmon oil that is the source of DHA, and Ground Flaxseed. Combined they create a minimum of 17.5% crude fat, that is the main source of energy and also serves as skin and coat support.
Bananas, Spinach, Broccoli, Carrots, Apples, Parsley, and Blueberries just to name a few support strong immune system. Moreover, wellness also included supplements in order to provide all the necessary micronutrients for a normal development and healthy growth. Calcium is present in the amount of 1.5% and phosphorus with 1.2% for strong and healthy bones.
Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids are included for a healthy skin and glossy coat, and Beta-carotene for a good eyesight. Chicory root extract and Yucca extract are added prebiotics to help with digestion and better absorption of essential nutrients.
This is a complete and balanced grain-free food that is suitable for everyday feeding of still developing puppies. With 417 kcal/cup, this is a calorie dense formula that will give your pup enough energy and nutrients for healthy growth.
To sum up, changing your puppy’s diet onto a zero grain one can be a great choice even if he isn’t suffering from allergies or food sensitivities. This diet is rich in proteins and fats that are essential for a still growing puppy. It is also easy to digest, made from better ingredients, and won’t cause obesity.
We advise you to talk with your vet before you change your puppy’s diet. Take special consideration about the future size of your dog. Larger breed puppies need special calcium-phosphorus ratio and fewer calories in order to have a steady growth. Indeed, with so many formulas and choices, finding a great food for your puppy can be overwhelming. We hope that our list of best grain free puppy foods in 2018 showed you where to start.