8 Best Pug Puppy Foods with Our 2018 Pug Feeding Guide

best puppy food for pugs

The Pug is one of the most easily recognized dog breeds, known for his squat body, wrinkled skin, and bulging eyes. Though these dogs may look a little ridiculous, they have a lot of love to give and they make wonderful family pets. It is no wonder, then, that they are one of the top most popular companion pets – particularly for families with children.

In addition to their friendly personalities, Pugs are also known for being very low-maintenance. Though they may not be the most active breed around, Pugs require a nutrient-rich diet – especially when they are puppies.

If you want your Pug puppy to grow up healthy and strong, take the time to choose a nutritious and balanced diet. Keep reading to learn more about your Pug puppy’s diet requirements and to see our top picks for the 8 best Pug puppy foods.

Pug Puppy Diet Requirements

The Pug is classified as a toy breed, weighing no more than 14 to 18 pounds at maturity. These dogs have very small, compact bodies with short legs and wrinkled skin. With their shortened facial structure, they are prone to breathing problems and their small size also predisposes them to dental issues. You also need to be very careful about overfeeding your Pug, because obesity is a common problem with the breed and it can lead to serious health complications.

So, what should you be looking for in a Pug puppy food?

Small and toy breeds have very fast metabolisms, so they require a more energy-rich diet than larger breeds. As puppies, this is particularly true for Pugs. The best place to start is with a small- or toy-breed puppy recipe because these are typically higher in calories than standard puppy food. Keep in mind, however, that this is usually accomplished through the addition of extra fat, so follow the feeding recommendations according to your Pug puppy’s size to prevent him from gaining too much weight.

The most important nutrient for any growing puppy is protein and it should come from high-quality, animal-based sources like meat, poultry, and fish. Puppies need a minimum of 22% protein in their diets, though more is usually better. A quality source of protein should be the first ingredient in any puppy food you consider for your Pug.

After protein, the next most important ingredient is fat. Fat provides a concentrated source of calories so, again, make sure that your puppy gets enough without going overboard. The minimum requirement for puppies is 8%, but most puppy foods are higher. Try not to go over 15%.

In addition to protein and fat, you should look for digestible carbohydrates as well as fresh fruits and vegetables. Dogs don’t have specific requirements for carbohydrates, but they can provide energy, fiber, and essential nutrients. Digestible sources include whole grains, beans, legumes, and starchy vegetables. Fresh fruits and veggies can also provide carbohydrate energy as well as fiber – they also act as natural sources for key nutrients which are more biologically valuable than synthetic supplements.

In terms of beneficial supplements, vitamins and minerals are usually included for nutritional balance. Chelated minerals are the best mineral supplements because they’ve been chemically bound to protein molecules for improved absorption. Your Pug can also benefit from prebiotics and probiotics for healthy digestion as well as calcium and phosphorus for healthy bones and teeth.

Now that you know what your Pug puppy needs in terms of nutrition, you’re ready to start shopping for puppy food. To get you started, here are our picks for the 8 best Pug puppy foods:

Overall Best Pug Puppy Food

Merrick Lil’ Plates Grain-Free Small Breed Puppy Food

If you’re looking for a healthy and high-quality puppy food for your Pug, consider this Merrick Lil’ Plates Grain-Free Small Breed Puppy Food. This recipe comes in a smaller kibble size for small mouths, and it is formulated to meet the energy requirements of growing small breed puppies. With 28% crude protein and 12% crude fat, this formula will support your Pug puppy’s growth and development without going overboard on calories. You’ll also be glad to know that it contains protein-rich chicken and chicken meal as the main ingredients with digestible grain-free carbohydrates like potatoes, peas, and sweet potatoes. Plus, it is supplemented with fresh fruits and vegetables and probiotics.

Pros: High protein and moderate fat, high-quality animal proteins, digestible grain-free carbohydrates, fresh fruits and vegetables, chelated minerals, probiotics for digestion

Cons: Some puppies are sensitive to chicken ingredients, contains some plant protein (potato protein)

Our Most Popular Pick

Taste of the Wild Pacific Stream Puppy Grain-Free Dry Food

Easily one of the most popular brands on the market, Taste of the Wild offers two puppy food recipe. This particular recipe features smoked salmon as the main ingredient which makes it a protein-rich recipe that is also high in omega fatty acids to support your Pug puppy’s skin and coat. This recipe contains 27% protein and 15% fat, plus it is naturally grain-free for maximum digestibility. With fresh fruits and vegetables as natural sources for key nutrients, this formula is nutritionally balanced, and it contains both chelated minerals and probiotics. Just keep in mind that that fat content is a little higher than some recipes, so pay attention to the feeding recommendations.

  • Pros: Rich in protein and omega fatty acids, digestible grain-free carbohydrates, fresh fruits and vegetables for nutrients, chelated minerals, probiotics
  • Cons: Not formulated for small breeds, may be a little high in fat for some Pugs

Our Most Affordable Pick

American Journey Lamb & Sweet Potato Puppy Food

Not all high-quality puppy foods are extremely expensive. In fact, this American Journey Lamb & Sweet Potato Puppy Food is an affordable and nutritious option for your Pug puppy. Made with deboned lamb and chicken meal, this recipe is protein-rich and highly digestible thanks to grain-free carbohydrates like chickpeas and sweet potatoes. It contains 30% protein to support your Pug puppy’s growth and development but just 12% fat to prevent overgrowth. It is supplemented with prebiotics and probiotics for healthy digestion as well as chelated minerals for nutritional balance.

  • Pros: High in protein with moderate fat, high-quality animal proteins, digestible grain-free carbohydrates, plenty of omega fatty acids, prebiotics and probiotics, chelated minerals
  • Cons: Some dogs are sensitive to chicken ingredients, contains some plant protein (pea protein)

Our Pick for Pug Puppy Allergies

Canidae Grain-Free PURE Foundations Puppy Food

If your Pug puppy suffers from food allergies, a limited ingredient diet may be the way to go. This Canidae Grain-Free PURE Foundations Puppy Food is made with just 9 primary ingredients which greatly reduces the risk for triggering food allergies and sensitivities. It features fresh chicken as the main source of protein with grain-free carbohydrates like lentils, peas, and potatoes. Menhaden fish meal and chicken fat provide essential fatty acids for healthy skin and coat as well as concentrated sources of energy. This recipe also contains chelated minerals for optimal nutrient absorption as well as probiotics for healthy digestion. All in all, it contains 30% protein and 12% fat with 4% crude fiber.

  • Pros: Made with just 9 main ingredients, premium animal proteins, digestible grain-free carbohydrates, rich in omega fatty acids, chelated minerals, probiotics
  • Cons: Some dogs are sensitive to chicken ingredients, very expensive compared to other options

Our Pick for Pug Puppy with Sensitive Stomach

Nutro Wholesome Essentials Puppy Recipe

Puppies with sensitive stomachs need limited ingredient diets made with high-quality, digestible ingredients. This Nutro Wholesome Essentials Puppy Recipe is a great choice because it features pasture-fed lamb as a premium source of animal protein with whole brown rice and whole grain oatmeal for digestible carbohydrates. This recipe also contains prebiotic fibers to support healthy digestion with plenty of essential fatty acids for healthy skin and coat. You’ll also be glad to know that it contains plenty of calcium to help your Pug puppy grow strong bones and joints.

  • Pros: Made with a limited number of ingredients, highly digestible, premium animal proteins, digestible whole grain carbohydrates, prebiotic fibers, chelated minerals
  • Cons: Some dogs are sensitive to chicken ingredients, contains some plant protein, not grain-free

3 More 5-Star Pug Puppy Foods

If the four recipes above don’t seem like the right fit for your Pug puppy, don’t worry! There are plenty of other great options out there – here are three more to consider:

Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Small Breed Puppy Recipe

This Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Small Breed Puppy Recipe is a healthy and affordable option for your Pug puppy. Made with digestible chicken and oatmeal, it is easy on his stomach and loaded with healthy nutrients. Plus, like all Blue Buffalo formulas, it is supplemented with LifeSource Bits which contain a proprietary blend of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants to ensure healthy and balanced nutrition. It’s also formulated to meet the energy needs of small breeds and comes in small kibbles.

  • Pros: Affordable option, high-quality animal protein, digestible carbohydrates, supplemented with LifeSource Bits, probiotics for healthy digestion
  • Cons: Some dogs are sensitive to chicken ingredients,

Wellness Complete Health Small Breed Puppy Recipe

This Wellness Complete Health Small Breed Puppy Recipe is a great choice for your Pug puppy because it comes in small kibbles and is formulated to meet your puppy’s high energy requirements. This recipe features deboned turkey and chicken meal as the primary proteins with whole-grain carbohydrates like barley, brown rice, and oats. It is supplemented with omega fatty acids for healthy skin and coat, plus prebiotics and probiotics for healthy digestion. It also contains guaranteed levels of calcium and phosphorus for healthy bones and teeth.

  • Pros: Premium animal proteins, digestible whole grain carbohydrates, plenty of omega fatty acids for healthy skin and coat, prebiotics and probiotics, guaranteed levels of calcium and phosphorus
  • Cons: Some dogs are sensitive to chicken ingredients, may be a little high in fat for some Pugs

Holistic Select Small & Mini Breed Puppy Recipe

If you’re looking for a puppy food made with unique ingredients, try this Holistic Select Small & Mini Breed Puppy Recipe. It features anchovy and sardine meal as the primary protein which also supplies a wealth of omega fatty acids. This recipe contains grain-free carbohydrates like chickpeas and peas, with fresh fruits and vegetables for nutritional balance. It is also supplemented with prebiotic fibers and probiotics for healthy digestion, plus chelated minerals.

  • Pros: Premium animal proteins, rich in omega fatty acids, grain-free digestible carbohydrates, fresh fruits and veggies, prebiotics and probiotics for healthy digestion
  • Cons: Some dogs are sensitive to chicken ingredients, fairly expensive, may be a little high in fat

Our Pug Puppy Feeding Guide – Frequently Asked Questions

With what you’ve learned about your Pug puppy’s nutritional requirements, you’re ready to start shopping for puppy food. Once you’ve followed our advice above to select a quality Pug puppy food, follow these tips for feeding your puppy:

  1. How Much Should I Feed a Pug Puppy? – The amount of food you give your Pug puppy depends on several factors. First and foremost, his age and weight. Next, you’ll need to consider the calorie content of the recipe, as all puppy foods are different. The best thing you can do is start with a small-breed puppy formula and follow the feeding recommendations on the package. Keep in mind that your puppy’s needs will change as he grows, so be ready to make adjustments to his feeding every couple of weeks.
  2. How Many Times Should a Pug Puppy Eat a Day? – Puppies need a steady stream of energy to fuel their rapid growth and development – this is particularly true for small-breed puppies. Your Pug has a very fast metabolism as it is, so he’ll need extra energy as a puppy to grow properly. Feed your pug 4 meals a day until he is 6 months old then drop down to 3 meals a day. This should be adequate to fuel his metabolism without encouraging unhealthy weight gain. Just keep an eye on his body weight and condition, making adjustments as needed.
  3. How Long Should I Feed a Pug Puppy Food? – The standard recommendation is to feed your Pug puppy food until he reaches 12 months of age. Some vets recommend switching to adult food when the dog reaches 80% of its maximum size, but that happens very quickly with a small breed like the Pug. To ensure that your puppy gets all the nutrients he needs to grow and develop properly, wait to switch to adult food until he hits 1 year old.

Now that you understand your Pug puppy’s nutritional needs, you’re fully equipped to hit the pet store. Look for a high-quality small-breed puppy food that is rich in protein with moderate fat as well as plenty of beneficial supplements. If you’re still not sure where to start, try one of our top picks for the 8 best Pug puppy foods reviewed above.

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