Best Puppy Food: 2023 Dog Nutritionist Opinion - Natural Dog Supplements and Superfoods by Fetched

Best Puppy Food: 2023 Dog Nutritionist Opinion

by Dr Vivian Loren on Jul 24, 2023.

Choosing the best puppy food can be difficult for new puppy parents. Where do you even start?

Unfortunately not all puppy food is created equal. There's that saying "You are what you eat", so it's only natural that we want to give the best to our new family members, especially in such early days!

To make it easier for you, we have tried and tested several different brands in the UK. As a dog nutritionist, in this article I am going to examine five popular brands present in supermarkets and other stores such as Pets at Home or Amazon.

So let's start with our top puppy food choice.

P.S.: Unlike other dog food review pages, we are proud to say that we do not have any affiliate links in our article, nor have we been influenced in anyway by other incentives 🙂. Our reviews are completely independent and honest as to what the best food is in my professional opinion.


best puppy food awards


Drum roll...


#1 Puppy Food


Lily's Kitchen Puppy Food

lily's kitchen wet puppy food

Rating:  stars stars stars stars stars

Top 5 Label Ingredients: Fresh Chicken 67%, Potatoes 2%, Carrots 1%, Minerals, Salmon Oil

Type: Grain Free

Made For: All puppies from small to large breeds

dog breed icons

Age Range: From weaning to 18 months.

Lily's Kitchen, a B Corp Certified company has come up as the winner of our favorite puppy food. It's easy to see why.

Made with 67% fresh meat, this is three times the amount found in Hill's puppy food and 40% more than Ava's. We all know that puppies need protein to grow and develop. High meat content in their daily food is the best to ensure they are getting the protein required.

The meals are also supplemented with a range of fruits, vegetables and herbs that we know to be safe for dogs to eat. These provide a variety of vitamins and minerals. The herbs such as Aniseed and Marigold Petals will also help with a better than usual taste so your puppy can really look forward to the meal times.

This puppy food formulation also comes with small quantities of Kelp, Alfa Alfa and Milk Thistle which have been cooked together with the rest of the ingredients.

Lily's Kitchen Puppy Food is particularly popular for its emphasis on natural ingredients. The brand often touts the fact that their recipes don't contain any artificial colors, preservatives, or flavor enhancers. Instead, they are packed with a variety of high-quality meats, fruits, and vegetables.

I am also glad to say that compared to the two choices below, you can actually see parts of the orange carrots used in the food picture above.

lily's kitchen tins

Lily's Kitchen also say that all their meat and other products are ethically sourced. This would be in line with their B Corp Certification.

The wet Puppy food range comes in two flavors:

  • Chicken (67%) (the one we have tried)
  • Turkey (41%) & Duck (20%)

The Chicken version is our favorite because of the higher meat content. I have also heard first hand from other puppy owners that their puppy always finishes the chicken wet food faster than the turkey & duck.

You can find this to buy in several supermarkets, as well as Pets at Home. If you prefer to order online, you can order it from Amazon or directly from their website with free delivery over £29.


#2 Ava's Puppy Food

Ava's Puppy Food

Rating: stars stars stars stars

Top 5 Label Ingredients: Chicken 49%, Brown Rice 7%, Minerals, Beet Pulp, Brewer's Yeast.

Type: Grain Free, Hypoallergenic

Made For: All puppies from small to large breeds

dog breed icons

Age Range: From 6 weeks to 18 months

AVA as a brand is sold only under the Pets at Home umbrella, as it is one of their subsidiaries. It's made in the UK and started in the 1990s, managing to persist in a challenging marketplace.

The AVA Hypoallergenic Puppy Food is a great choice in my opinion. It is almost half chicken, and the other half is a combination of natural ingredients, including various extracts (Green tea, Pomegranate and Cranberry) and prebiotics. The prebiotics help with digestion and immunity.

The Brewer's Yeast component contains a variety of minerals and vitamins that are essential for your growing pup.

AVA only sells veterinary approved food so all the contents have been verified as being safe for dogs.

The appearance is that of a pate which is appropriate for young puppies as it prevents choking on any big chunks. The meat we used for this review is the Chicken one, but they also come with beef and other flavours, in about the same meat concentrations (49%). You can also see the pieces of brown rice making up the pate consistency.


#3 Hill's Puppy Food

hill's food for puppies


Rating:  stars stars stars stars

Top 5 Label Ingredients: Meat and animal derivatives (21%), cereals, derivatives of vegetable origin, minerals, oils and fats

Type: Grain Free

Made For: All puppies from small to large breeds

dog breed icons

Age Range: From weaning 1 year old

Hill's is an American food company specifically making cat and dog food. They also claim that the recipes are scientifically and veterinarian developed. What you may not know is that this big organisation is also owned by Colgate-Palmolive.

They certainly seem very popular in America and even Pets at Home here stock a lot of their products.

As a dog nutritionist I would say that the food is average quality. Each tin has about 21% meat products which is on the low end when compared to the other available options. We don't know how much of it is cereal but it's the second listed ingredient so there will be more of this than vegetables.

The appearance is average for puppy food in general as the food is all mashed up. As it is cooked, there is no clear evidence of coloured vegetables as with our number one choice.

Wet and Dry: Wainwrights Puppy Food

wainwrights puppy food

Rating:  stars stars stars

Top 5 Label Ingredients:  Salmon 36%, Rice 26%, Whole Grain Barley 9%, Maize protein, Rapeseed oil

Type: Dry Food, Hypoallergenic

Made For: All puppies from small to large breeds

dog breed icons

Age Range: From 8 weeks to 18 months.

Wainwrights puppy food is another option for your puppy that is available either direct from Amazon or Pets at Home. The brand is focused on hypoallergenic foods, and they do not add any artificial colours, flavours or preservatives.

They offer both a dry and wet puppy food option and the wet option comes in trays or pouches.

Both of these are suitable to use on their own or in combination with either each other or a mix of other brands.

One thing I do like about their wet foods is that they contain a high amount of carrots (4%) and peas (4%). Other brands seem to have less of these two ingredients. The disadvantage is that the meat content is quite low at only 45% for the wet food.

Royal Canin Dry Puppy Food

royal canin puppy food mini and maxi

Rating:  stars stars stars stars stars

Top 5 Label Ingredients:  Dehydrated Poultry Protein, Rice, Animal Fats, Wheat Gluten, Maize

Type: Dry Food

Made For: All puppies from small to large breeds

dog breed icons

Age Range: From 8 weeks to 10-15 months (size dependent).

Royal Canin is a french brand of dog and puppy food that has been around since the 1960s. Its long history make it a reliable choice for your puppy's first year of development.

They have a range of products from puppy milk to dry and wet puppy food and then finally matured and for senior dogs. In addition, they have a range of specifically veterinary formulas for dogs with certain intolerances or those with digestive issues or other sensitivities.

Their unique selling point is their wide variety of specifically targeted food depending on breed and final dog size, in the case of puppy food.

In our full article on Royal Canin Puppy Food you can see all the different choices, such as puppy food for labradors, golden retrievers and german shepherds.

Overall, the brand is a solid choice and you can't go wrong with it, hence why we have rated it as 5 stars. Although not the best you can buy in our opinion, mostly because of the lack of pure meat, Royal Canin is a reputable, safe and reliable company.

Dry and Wet Skinners Puppy Food

dry skinners puppy food

Rating:  stars stars stars

Top 5 Label Ingredients:  30% Poultry meat meal (min. 95% chicken), Maize, Brown Rice, Poultry Fat, naked oats

Type: Dry & Wet Food

Made For: All puppies from small to large breeds

dog breed icons

Age Range: From 8 weeks to 6 months for the puppy chicken flavour range. Skinner's then have a junior chicken range that you can use until you wean your puppy on to adult dog food. Alternatively, the other flavours (Duck & Rice and Lamb & Rice) can be used all the way from puppy to adulthood.

Price: £££

Skinner's has been around for centuries, but only started producing dog and puppy food in the 1900s. Nonetheless, they are one of the oldest dog food brands in the UK. For this reason, you would think they are well versed into what needs to go into dog food and what should stay out.

However, as a dog nutritionist, I am quite disappointed that the content of meat in this dry food is on the low side (less than 30%). For this reason, the dry food only scores 3 out of 5 stars from me.

As mentioned in our full Skinners puppy food article, the rest of the ingredients is a mix of vegetables, rice, other seeds and a tinge of herbs and seaweed.

Although ingredients such as seaweedglucosamine and chondroitin sound like a good addition, my belief is that these are too low in concentration to offer any significant benefit to a puppy. It also doesn't specify what type of seaweed; we  know that certain types such as Ascophyllum Nodosum have proven benefits for a dog's oral health, but other types not so much.

With regards to Skinner's wet puppy food, this only comes in one flavour: Chicken & Garden Veg. The meal content here is much better, at 60%! It also has carrots, potatos and parsnip in 1-2% each. Their wet food gets 4 stars from me and you can read why on the full Skinner's brand review page.

Frequent Asked Questions about Puppy Food/ FAQs

When and how often should I feed my puppy?

The feeding schedule will depend on the age of your puppy. The younger, the more frequent feeding your puppy will need.

Here is a table that you can use as a guideline:

Age of Puppy Feeding Frequency per Day Notes
8 to 12 weeks 4 times Puppies start to be weaned from their mother's milk from about 8 weeks of age. The four meals help maintain their energy levels and avoid potential dips in blood sugar levels.
3 to 6 months 3 times As puppies grow, their growth rate slows and their energy needs slightly decrease. They are also now used to the solid food you provide them.
6 months + 2-3 times Most puppies can transition to being fed twice a day. Smaller breeds might benefit from continuing with three meals due to their faster metabolism.. and smaller stomach!

How much food should I feed my puppy?

The daily recommended puppy food intake is usually written on the back of the cans if you choose to go for the wet puppy food we mentioned above. This can cary from half a can a day for small breeds of puppies to 2-3 of those cans for the larger breeds.

Remember that the younger the puppy, the more food they will require and the amount of food required is based on both weight and age.

Each different dog food contains different amounts of calories in a can, so always read the label.

Your puppy's needs may also be different, so it's important to monitor their weight and adjust the food portions accordingly. You can gradually increase or decrease the amount of daily food intake, depending on physical appearance. It's important not to get them too thing or too overweight as this comes with health problems.

Practice, practice, practice and you will get there eventually :).

Here's a table that you can use as a rough guide to guide how much you should feed your puppy per day:

Age of Puppy Percentage of Body Weight Per Day Meals Per Day Notes
Under 5 months 5% 3 - 4 Puppies in this age range are rapidly growing and need a diet that supports their growth and development.
6 months to 1 year 4% 2 - 3 At this age, puppies are growing less rapidly and need less food to support their growth.


This is also a good video walking you through how much food to feed your puppy, when in combination with dry puppy food:





How do I know what size breed my puppy is?

You can never be certain, especially if you don't have a clear lineage or the puppy is of a mixed breed.

 If you do have a mixed breed, your veterinarian can help with an estimate based on a physical exam and taking into account factors like the puppy's current weight, paw size, and the breed characteristics they exhibit

When should I switch my puppy to adult food?

If unsure, it's best to continue your dog on the puppy food until they are 12-18 months.

Switching them to adult dog food too early can be detrimental to their health because adult dog food contains larger amounts of calcium.

In addition, the transition from puppy to adult dog food should be done gradually. This will reduce their chance of digestive upset. 

Start by replacing about 25% of the puppy food with adult food, and gradually increase the amount of adult food over the course of the week.

Before you go...

Deciding on the best puppy food is not an easy gig. Even among the three choices, there are lots of similarities and different pros and cons with each. And we haven't even mentioned the 20+ other brands that also offer food choices. 

Read my next article on what dogs should and should not eat so you're prepared for when your puppy grows up and starts craving human food!

What Can Dogs Not Eat


1. "American Kennel Club"

2. "RSPCA"

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