The grain free diet is a hit with pet owners who want to mimic the diet of their canine’s ancestors. Wild dogs ate a diet that largely consisted of meat. While they did ingest the plants in the digestive tracts of their pray, grains were not a staple in their daily meals. The best grain free puppy food is the perfect way to get your fur baby started on this diet.
A diet that is lower in grain is more easily digestible for dogs. By reducing the grain content, it also increases the protein content and healthy fats provided by meat sources. For these reasons, many experts argue that feeding a dog a grain free diet will keep your pooch healthier and extend his lifespan.
Keep in mind that grain free and gluten free are not the same thing. Gluten is a protein found in certain types of grain, like wheat, rye and barley. However, not all grains contain gluten, so gluten free dog foods are not necessarily grain free. But, grain free dog food is always gluten free.
You now understand that puppy foods mentioned below are grain and gluten free. They offer a healthier alternative to most commercial foods that are made with fillers and artificial ingredients. Here’s a peek at the best grain free puppy food brands:
* Click on the best grain free puppy food brands for more information, prices and details. Scroll below to read reviews.
Feeding Puppies Grain Free Puppy Dog Food
The biological makeup of canines indicate that they are very close carnivores – their sharp teeth are made for tearing meat, and their short digestive tracts are made for digesting meat and fat. Nature has designed dogs to eat protein-rich meat.
Grains and other food high in simple sugars and starches are not the normal diet of dogs historically. The incompatibility between the dog’s biological design and a grain-based diet is often the root cause of diseases and disorders in dogs.
Before switching your dog to a grain free diet, you need to discuss the transition with your veterinarian to avoid complications. It’s important to ask the breeder or shelter organization where your pup came from what food they were feeding him. If they weren’t feeding grain free, you’re going to need to make a very gradual transition to this new diet.
Transitioning your new companion to the best grain free puppy food should be done over the course of about 10 days. For the first 3 days, use a blend of 25% new food and 75% old food. The next 3 days should be a blend of 50% new food and 50% old food.
You can probably guess the next step, right? Use a blend of 75% new food and 25% old food for the final 3 days. Then, make the transition to 100% new food. If your puppy shows signs of diarrhea, upset stomach or vomiting, go back to the previous phase and slow the transition.
What’re the Best Grain Free Puppy Food Brands?
top 7 best grain free dog food for puppies
1Natural Grain-Free Dry Dog Food
by Wellness Core
CRUDE PROTEIN 36.0% min
CRUDE FAT 18.0% min
CRUDE FIBER 5.0% max
MOISTURE 10.0% max
CALCIUM 1.5% max
PHOSPHORUS 1.0% max
CALORIES 417 kcal/cup
Wellness Core Natural Grain-free Dry Dog Food is an optimally balanced dog food providing 80% more protein than grain-based dog food. It is made of only natural and real ingredients, such as chicken, turkey, fruits, and vegetables. This dry food is a complete source of protein, antioxidants, and probiotics.
Ingredients: Deboned Chicken, Chicken Meal, Turkey Meal, Potatoes, Peas, Potato Protein, Chicken Fat (preserved with Mixed Tocopherols), Dried Ground Potatoes, Tomato Pomace, Natural Chicken Flavor, Salmon Oil, Ground Flaxseed, Potassium Chloride, Salt, Vitamins [Vitamin E Supplement, Beta-Carotene, Niacin, d-Calcium Pantothenate, Vitamin A Supplement, Riboflavin, Vitamin D-3 Supplement, Vitamin B-12 Supplement, Pyroxidine Hydrochloride, Thiamine Mononitrate, Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C), Biotin, Folic Acid], Minerals [Zinc Proteinate, Zinc Sulfate, Iron Proteinate, Ferrous Sulfate, Copper Sulfate, Copper Proteinate, Manganese Proteinate, Manganese Sulfate, Sodium Selenite, Calcium Iodate], Carrots, Sweet Potatoes, Kale, Broccoli, Spinach, Parsley, Apples, Blueberries, Bananas, Choline Chloride, Mixed Tocopherols added to preserve freshness, Chicory Root Extract, Yucca Schidigera Extract, Taurine, Dried Lactobacillus plantarum Fermentation Product, Dried Enterococcus faecium Fermentation Product, Dried Lactobacillus casei Fermentation Product, Dried Lactobacillus acidophilus Fermentation Product, Rosemary Extract
This best grain free puppy food does not contain grains, entrails, animal by-products, or artificial ingredients. There are 7 recipes, but this Puppy Recipe is our best bet for young dogs. Wellness Core Natural Grain-Free Dry Dog Food available in bags of 4 lb, 12 lb, and 26 lb.
According to many dog owners, they have used many other brands of puppy food including breed-specific food but nothing worked. Many reviews claim how they were happy to switch to Wellness grain free puppy food brand and this particular recipe because it was perfect for their dog. The constipation, eye stains, allergies, and previous issues were all gone in just one week. Now their puppies are a picture of good health and they could only thank Wellness Core Natural Grain-free dry dog food for it.
Most helpful review (read the full Amazon review): ” am a dog owner and dog trainer with a thirst for knowledge. When I first started hunting for a great dog food I did my research and began with Blue Buffalo. I tried a number of premium brands and formulas…”
2Instinct Raw Boost Grain-Free Recipe
by Nature’s Variety
CRUDE PROTEIN 33.5% min
CRUDE FAT 15.5% min
CRUDE FIBER 4.5% max
MOISTURE 9.0% max
CALCIUM 1.6% max
PHOSPHORUS 1.0% min
CALORIES 495 kcal/cup
Dogs may well survive on grain or carb-based diets, but that would be biologically incompatible to what a canine’s diet should be. Ideally, dogs must be fed with meals that are closest as possible to what their ancestors thrived on many centuries ago. Instinct Raw Boost Grain-Free Recipe from Nature’s Variety provides high-protein meal (at least 33% crude protein) with cage-free chicken as its first ingredient. It is conveniently packed in a bag that contains grain-free kibble and freeze-dried real raw meat.
Ingredients: Chicken Meal, Peas, Chickpeas, Tapioca, Chicken, Chicken Eggs, Chicken Fat (preserved with Mixed Tocopherols and Citric Acid), Tomato Pomace, Salmon Meal, Freeze Dried Chicken (including Freeze Dried Ground Chicken Bone), Montmorillonite Clay, Natural Flavor, Freeze Dried Turkey, Freeze Dried Turkey Liver, Freeze Dried Turkey Heart, Pumpkinseeds, Salmon Oil (source of DHA), Potassium Chloride, Salt, Vitamins (Vitamin A Supplement, Vitamin D3Supplement, Vitamin E Supplement, Niacin Supplement,L-Ascorbyl-2-Polyphosphate, d-Calcium Pantothenate, Thiamine Mononitrate, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Riboflavin Supplement, Folic Acid, Biotin, Vitamin B12 Supplement), Carrots, Apples, Minerals (Zinc Proteinate, Iron Proteinate, Copper Proteinate, Manganese Proteinate, Ethylenediamine Dihydriodide, Sodium Selenite), Butternut Squash, Choline Chloride, Ground Flaxseed, Dried Kelp, Broccoli, Rosemary Extract, Dried Bacillus coagulans Fermentation Product, Apple Cider Vinegar, Dried Chicory Root, Blueberries.
Nature’s Variety grain free puppy food contains optimal amounts of nutrients needed by an actively-growing puppy. It has live naturally-occurring microorganisms that promote a healthy digestive system and strong immunity against diseases. Nature’s Variety Instinct Raw Boost Grain-Free Recipe Natural Dry Puppy Food made in the USA, and puppy owners couldn’t be more satisfied with that. For them, they can’t completely trust the best grain free puppy food unless it’s manufactured in this country.
According to a large number of reviews, Instinct grain free puppy food was the only kibble pet owners’ picky dogs would eat. This is protein-packed with real chicken meat that even finicky eaters wolf it down without a fuss. Results become visible in just a few weeks – puppies grow bigger but leaner, not obese. They’re vibrant, and their gleaming coat says it.
Most helpful review (read the full Amazon review): “My over-enthusiastic cavalier (that would not gain weight) has tried every premium food at the local petstore, but continued to have bones showing and a steady sub 10lb weight. He is just too active. I started him…”
3Grain-Free Dry Food for Puppy
by Taste of the Wild
Your dogs, the modern-day relative of wolves, may still be able to have access to wholesome high-protein diet in these modern times. The Taste of the Wild (TOTW) Grain-Free Dry Dog Food for Puppy High Prairie Recipe has real buffalo meat as the first ingredient, roasted bison and venison, carefully selected fruits and vegetables, and sources of probiotics, essential fatty acids, vitamins, and minerals. For variation, you may also try the same grain-free goodness from the Pacific Stream recipe, which has smoked salmon and other fish protein sources.
Ingredients: Buffalo, lamb meal, sweet potatoes, egg product, pea protein, peas, potatoes, canola oil, tomato pomace, roasted bison, roasted venison, beef, flaxseed, potato fiber, natural flavor, ocean fish meal, salmon oil (a source of DHA), salt, choline chloride, dried chicory root, yucca schidigera extract, tomatoes, blueberries, raspberries, dried Lactobacillus acidophilus fermentation product, dried Bifidobacterium animalis fermentation product, dried Lactobacillus reuteri fermentation product, vitamin E supplement, iron proteinate, zinc proteinate, copper proteinate, ferrous sulfate, zinc sulfate, copper sulfate, potassium iodide, thiamine mononitrate (vitamin B1), manganese proteinate, manganous oxide, ascorbic acid, vitamin A supplement, biotin, niacin, calcium pantothenate, manganese sulfate, sodium selenite, pyridoxine hydrochloride (vitamin B6), vitamin B12 supplement, riboflavin(vitamin B2), vitamin D supplement, folic acid
The Taste of the Wild grain free puppy food is more digestible, and it tastes meatier and heartier. These are probably the reasons why puppies take very well to it. Puppies eating Taste of the Wild Grain-Free Dry Dog Food for Puppy for the first time instantly loved it, gobbled everything actually, and would never have anything to do with their previous puppy chow again. They did have some tummy trouble initially, but with gradual transition, everything normalized again.
Though not really cheap, the TOTW is very cost-effective. Pet owners say that they give their puppies this grain-free dry puppy meal at only half the amount of the previous brand used. They clean their bowls and look contented after every meal. The puppies have a healthy weight, are very active, and their coats have become noticeably shinier.
Most helpful review (read the full Amazon review + PHOTO): “I have 2 eight week old shepherd puppies that I had been feeding puppy chow since 5 weeks old. They had started going through it like candy and seemed not to be getting the nutrients they needed. After researching and…”
4Grain-Free Puppy Recipe Dry Food
Merrick Grain-free Puppy Recipe is optimally formulated to support a puppy’s fast physical growth and mental development. It has high protein content sourced from real deboned chicken, chicken meal, and peas. This best grain free puppy food also contains a good balance of high-quality carbs, such as sweet potatoes and potatoes, and choice farm-fresh fruits and vegetables. This food product is not only grain-free; it’s also free from any ingredient sourced from China and is entirely prepared in the USA.
Ingredients: Deboned Chicken, Chicken Meal, Potatoes, Peas, Sweet Potatoes, Natural Flavor, Potato Protein, Chicken Fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols), Deboned Salmon, Flaxseed Oil, Apples, Blueberries, Gelatin, Salt, Organic Dried Alfalfa Meal, Yucca Schidigera Extract, Minerals (Zinc Sulfate, Iron Amino Acid Complex, Zinc Amino Acid Complex, Manganese Amino Acid Complex, Copper Amino Acid Complex, Potassium Iodide, Cobalt Proteinate, Sodium Selenite, Cobalt Carbonate), Choline Chloride, Vitamins (Vitamin E Supplement, Vitamin A Acetate, Vitamin B12 Supplement, d-Calcium Pantothenate, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Niacin, Riboflavin Supplement, Biotin, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Folic Acid, Thiamine Mononitrate), Dried Lactobacillus plantarum Fermentation Product, Dried Lactobacillus casei Fermentation Product, Dried Enterococcus faecium Fermentation Product, Dried Lactobacillus acidophilus Fermentation Product, Rosemary Extract.
The first approval for the Merrick grain free puppy food often comes from the puppies themselves and how accepting dogs are of this formula, and it’s always a case of love at first bite. Even picky pups that seem to have lost interest in all kinds of dog food seem to enjoy Merrick Grain-Free Puppy Recipe Dry Dog Food straightaway. Then that’s when their humans notice the more age-appropriate weight gain, fewer gas and tummy issues, and more solid and consistent stool.
Since this is grain-free, it has also been very beneficial to dogs with grain allergies and other forms of sensitivities. It has a good dose of omega 3 and 6 fatty acids, glucosamine, chondroitin, and antioxidants, so it’s great for the joints, the immune system, and for the skin and coat. There were some issues of tummy upset, but these were attributed to drastic change from the dogs’ previous diet. So it’s important to remember that Merrick, or any dog food for that matter, must always be introduced gradually.
Most helpful review (read the full Amazon review): “We have a puppy cocker spaniel that we fed a mix of solid and soft Pedegree dog food. At about 4 months old, he started to have diarrhea, twice in 2 weeks. Vet prescribed a temporary food, which help, but we needed…”
Crude protein (min.) 38 %
Crude fat (min.) 20 %
Crude fiber (max.) 6 %
Moisture (max.) 12 %
Calcium (min.) 1.2 %
Phosphorus (min.) 0.9 %
Calories 451 kcal/cup
Wholesome puppy food must include high levels of protein from real meat, fish, and poultry, and a good amount of fresh fruits and vegetables. This is what Orijen Puppy Formula offers – a combination of carefully selected and well-proportioned ingredients to optimally benefit your puppies. The first five ingredients are fresh chicken meat, fresh turkey meat, fresh whole eggs, fresh whole herring, and fresh chicken liver. Except for the added zinc, the rest are all real food, such as fresh beet greens and whole blueberries.
Ingredients: Deboned chicken, deboned turkey, yellowtail ﬂounder, whole eggs, whole atlantic mackerel, chicken liver, turkey liver, chicken heart, turkey heart, whole atlantic herring, dehydrated chicken, dehydrated turkey, dehydrated mackerel, dehydrated chicken liver, dehydrated turkey liver, whole green peas, whole navy beans, red lentils, chicken necks, chicken kidney, chicken fat, pinto beans, chickpeas, green lentils, natural chicken ﬂavor, lentil ﬁber, herring oil, ground chicken bone, chicken cartilage, turkey cartilage, dried kelp, freeze-dried chicken liver, freeze-dried turkey liver, whole pumpkin, whole butternut squash, kale, spinach, mustard greens, collard greens, turnip greens, whole carrots, apples, pears, pumpkin seeds, sunﬂower seeds, zinc proteinate, mixed tocopherols (preservative), chicory root, turmeric, sarsaparilla root, althea root, rosehips, juniper berries, dried lactobacillus acidophilus fermentation product, dried biﬁdobacterium animalis fermentation product, dried lactobacillus casei fermentation product.
Orijen grain free puppy food formulas are known for their quality, and many dog owners are often amazed at Orijen’s long list of natural ingredients when comparing to other brands. What they find more amazing is the ratio of 85% animal-derived ingredients to 15% botanical ingredients. This proportion closely matches the biological makeup of dogs, and health-conscious pet owners truly appreciate that. They believe that Orijen Puppy Formula is the best grain free puppy food.
Pet owners who have been using this all-natural grain-free dog food have become keener in spotting junk on dog food shops. They have also become staunch supporters of Orijen puppy food. They believe that it is responsible for helping their runts grow as big as, or even bigger than the rest of the brood. Indeed, your puppy’s health begins with what you feed it.
Most helpful review (read the full Amazon review): “Noticeably worse than Canada-sourced version. We finished one 28lb bag of Orijen Puppy, and ordered this 25lb bag as an immediate follow-up. Feeding at the same rate as the previous bag, our dog’s poops…”
6Freedom Grain-Free Dry Puppy Food
by BLUE Freedom
CRUDE PROTEIN 27.0% min
CRUDE FAT 16.0% min
CRUDE FIBER 5.0% max
MOISTURE 10.0% max
CALCIUM 1.2% min
PHOSPHORUS 0.9% min
CALORIES 421 kcal/cup
Blue Buffalo Freedom Grain-Free Puppy Food was carefully formulated by animal specialists for the demanding needs of growing puppies. This dry puppy food does not contain grains, chicken by-products, or artificial components. Instead, it contains protein-rich deboned chicken meat, whole carrots, sweet potatoes, blueberries, and cranberries, and other wholesome ingredients for your puppies’ holistic growth. This is the Grain-Free Chicken Recipe, but there are two other recipes for small and large breeds. The kibble size is small, which is ideal for puppies. The shape and texture of the kibble also help to keep the puppies’ mouth clean and healthy.
Ingredients: Deboned Chicken, Chicken Meal, Pea Starch, Peas, Turkey Meal, Chicken Fat (preserved with Mixed Tocopherols and Citric Acid), Potatoes, Pea Fiber, Tomato Pomace (source of Lycopene), Flaxseed (source of Omega 3 and 6 Fatty Acids), Natural Chicken Flavor, Fish Oil (source of DHA-Docosahexaenoic Acid), Alfalfa Meal, Potato Starch, Whole Carrots, Whole Sweet Potatoes, Blueberries, Cranberries, Barley Grass, Dried Parsley, Garlic, Dried Kelp, Taurine, Yucca Schidigera Extract, L-Carnitine, L-Lysine, Turmeric, Oil of Rosemary, Dried Chicory Root, Beta Carotene, Vitamin A Supplement, Thiamine Mononitrate (Vitamin B1), Riboflavin (Vitamin B2), Niacin (Vitamin B3), d-Calcium Pantothenate (Vitamin B5), Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (Vitamin B6), Biotin (Vitamin B7), Folic Acid (Vitamin B9), Vitamin B12 Supplement, Calcium Ascorbate (source of Vitamin C), Vitamin D3 Supplement, Vitamin E Supplement, Iron Amino Acid Chelate, Zinc Amino Acid Chelate, Manganese Amino Acid Chelate, Copper Amino Acid Chelate, Choline Chloride, Sodium Selenite, Calcium Iodate, Salt, Caramel, Potassium Chloride, Calcium Carbonate, Dicalcium Phosphate, Dried Yeast (source of Saccharomyces cerevisiae), Dried Lactobacillus acidophilus fermentation product, Dried Bacillus subtilis fermentation product, Dried Enterococcus faecium fermentation product
Dog owners realize the importance of feeding their pets with food that their bodies need, and this cannot be truer for growing puppies. They need meat protein, not grain fillers, to grow optimally. Blue Buffalo Freedom Grain-Free Dry Puppy Food also contains just the right proportion of carbs, vitamins and minerals, fiber, essential fatty acids, and antioxidants to keep your pet glowing and going.
Tummy issues are common when introducing new food especially to puppies, but this dog food seems to be well-tolerated. In fact, even food-sensitive puppies take well to the Blue Buffalo grain free puppy food. This sixth best grain free puppy food keeps them full until the next meal – enthusiastic for their food but definitely not starving. They’re full of energy always and their coat always has that enviable sheen.
Most helpful review (read the full Amazon review): “LOVE THIS! Blue Buffalo will always be what I buy for my pups because of their commitment to quality ingredients, and because they make food dogs are supposed to eat… not wheat filled garbage dog…”
7Grain-Free PURE Dry Dog Food
CRUDE PROTEIN 30.0% min
CRUDE FAT 12.0% min
CRUDE FIBER 4.0% max
MOISTURE 10.0% max
CALORIES 520 kcal/cup
Some dogs tend to be fussy with food, reacting to grains, certain meats, and other ingredients. Pet owners respond by looking for food that has fewer ingredients or antigens. This way, the number of possible triggers to their pets’ hypersensitivities becomes greatly reduced. Canidae Grain-Free Pure Dry Dog Food is the manufacturer’s response to this growing demand. This Limited Ingredient Diet Fresh Chicken for Puppies contains only 9 key ingredients, plus vitamins, minerals, and probiotic blend.
Ingredient: Chicken, menhaden fish meal, lentils, peas, potatoes, dried whole egg, chicken fat, suncured alfalfa, flaxseed, natural flavor, minerals (iron proteinate, zinc proteinate, copper proteinate, ferrous sulfate, zinc sulfate, copper sulfate, potassium iodide, manganese proteinate, manganous oxide, manganese sulfate, sodium selenite), vitamins (vitamin E supplement, thiamine mononitrate, ascorbic acid, vitamin A supplement, biotin, niacin, calcium pantothenate, pyridoxine hydrochloride, vitamin B12 supplement, riboflavin, vitamin D3 supplement, folic acid), salt, choline chloride, dried enterococcus faecium fermentation product, dried lactobacillus acidophilus fermentation product, dried lactobacillus casei fermentation product, dried lactobacillus plantarum fermentation product, dried trichoderma longibrachiatum fermentation extract, mixed tocopherols (a natural source of vitamin E)
This last best grain free puppy food is gentle on the tummy and is highly recommended for dogs with a queasy stomach. Pet owners happily revealed how, after just a few days of eating Canidae Grain-Free PURE Dry Dog Food, their dog’s stool firmed up and became more consistent. They also observed that stools were much smaller than before, an indication that their dog is absorbing well the nutrients from its food.
The natural flavors of fresh meat, fruits, and vegetables make this a very delectable dish for pets, so transitioning to Canidae grain free puppy food is easy. Dog owners found out that this is great for their sickly dogs and those with constant stomach issues. This is not surprising, of course, because this best grain free puppy food contains a good dose of antioxidants and probiotics. Clearly, Canidae tells us that good health does not need to be complicated; 9 key ingredients could just be what your puppy needs.
Most helpful review (read the full Amazon review): “I have fed Natural Balance for 7 years and when they raised their prices and lowered the bags from 15 pounds to 12 pounds I started looking for an alternative. Plus my border collie mix seemed to not want…”