Finding the best food for pug puppies is important.
Pugs are so precious, with their scrunched-up faces and sweet expressions. And the puppies are even more adorable.
But that level of charm comes at a cost.
Pugs are brachycephalic; this means that they have been bred for their flattened faces and wider muzzles.
That look, which humans often find more appealing, unfortunately makes pugs and other brachycephalic dogs less healthy.
Pugs often suffer from respiratory issues, which can cause restricted breathing problems, especially while eating.
Their jaws and teeth often have problems because they’re smaller than they should be.
They are also prone to obesity, which can cause additional health problems.
As a result, pug owners must deal with some special considerations when looking at pug puppy food.
Choosing the Best Food for Pug Puppies
Like all puppies, pug puppies have different nutritional requirements than adult dogs.
They need more fat and more protein, along with additional amino acids and minerals.
They should also have more omega-3 fatty acids (such as DHA) for brain and eye development.
But the nutrition at different stages must be properly balanced because too many of certain nutrients at some times can increase the odds of certain diseases and conditions.
Feeding growing puppies the right balanced commercial diet can protect against infection, strengthen the immune system, result in more acute hearing and vision, enforce healthy levels of gut bacteria, and promote good health generally.
Feeding the best diet to pug pups is especially important because the right foods can help to reduce their potential health problems.
Feeding Impacts Health
Areas of concern in pugs that can potentially be assisted by a healthy diet include obesity-related health conditions, eye damage, unsound movement and dermatitis.
Scientific studies have noted that there are dozens of health conditions that have become overrepresented in the pug population.
Some of these involve the jaw and teeth.
For example, pugs are prone to retained deciduous teeth—a fancy way of saying their baby teeth don’t fall out, causing adult teeth to erupt in odd places.
This can cause problems in eating, allowing for higher levels of tooth decay.
Find out more about brachycephaly and its associated problems here.
So, when you’re choosing the best dog food for for pug puppies, you really do have to think about breed-specific issues that might affect your pug.
Choosing Specialist Dog Foods
As you embark upon your search for the best pug puppy food, you’ll quickly discover that there are tons of options, all designed for different breeds, sizes and ages of dog.
You should know that a good percentage of all this is down to marketing, especially when it comes to breed-specific formulas.
But research does show that different ages of dog and different sizes of dog do have different nutritional needs, and that’s what many of these dog food brands are addressing.
Which food is the best food for Pug puppies?
Puppy food, for example, is good for puppies because it includes more energy-intensive ingredients.
However, you should be cautious.
Research shows our understanding of specialist dog foods needs to be more nuanced.
For example, researchers have found that even dogs within the same family had a 20 percent difference in energy requirements from their food.
It also showed that temperature may play a role in their needed energy requirements.
Basically, your dog has individual needs that must be balanced against each other when it comes to health and growth.
Additionally, there’s no real objective evidence that currently exists in this growing field to determine how different dog foods must actually be for different life stages or differing breeds.
We simply don’t have enough information to scientifically formulate specialist dog foods.
That doesn’t mean they aren’t helpful, though.
Are specialist foods still the best food for pug puppies?
We do have some information on how nutritional requirements vary based on size and age, and dog food companies use that information to formulate their foods.
Dog food companies may have internal research that shows their balanced commercial diets work just fine for different types of dogs.
Vets certainly recommend food for dogs based on life stages, and many pet owners swear by their specialist food choice.
We just need more evidence-based information to create an industry-wide consensus about the effectiveness of specialist foods.
Just remember, if you use one, to temper your expectations.
Specialist dog foods aren’t the same as medicine.
Even if they do work, they can only do so much.
Best Puppy Food for Pugs
Having said that, pugs are one of the breeds that may be able to benefit from specialist dog foods because of their conformational and health issues, and their low energy level.
Specialist foods may be able to address their obesity issues and come in sizes that are easier for their teeth to pick up, for example.
So, here are some great specialist foods you may want to consider for your pug puppy.
Royal Canin Breed Health Nutrition Pug Puppy Dry Dog Food, 2.5-Pound. Royal Canin is known for its specialist kibble, and this puppy brand is designed with a shape that’s easy for short-nosed pups to pick up.
The formula supports skin and digestive health as a pug puppy is growing, but without adult natural defenses.
This pug puppy dog food includes prebiotics, antioxidants and balanced nutrition.
BLUE Life Protection Formula Puppy Chicken and Brown Rice Dry Dog Food. Designed with protein-rich chicken, wholesome whole grains, and garden veggies and fruit, Blue Buffalo Co’s puppy formula can start your puppy’s nutrition off right.
This specialist food uses natural ingredients, a precise vitamin blend, and great quality designed to support the healthy growth and development of puppies.
For puppies, this formula includes DHA to support cognitive development and is designed to bolster immunity, give strong bones and teeth, and support healthy skin.
NUTRO Grain Free Natural Dry Dog Food. Nutro’s grain-free puppy formula features farm-raised chicken, and is designed for easy digestion and weight management in young dogs.
The kibble is small so puppies of small breeds can pick it up more easily.
High-quality ingredients include a blend of veggies and fruit. The puppy formula offers more calories for energy and a high nutrient content.
Hill’s Science Diet Small & Toy Breed Wet Dog Food. The Puppy Stew version of this puppy food for small breeds provides balanced nutrition for little dogs under a year old.
The formula includes high-quality lean protein.
It promotes healthy digestion, and comes in a tiny peel and serve tray with the exact serving for a small pup.
No colors or preservatives are added.
Pugs seem to love the taste of this food, and the wet food style is great for dogs with problem dentition, which they may be at risk for.
Wellness Complete Health Natural Dry Puppy Food. The formula used to create this chicken, oatmeal and salmon recipe supports complete, balanced health. All natural ingredients are used.
Wellness Complete Health uses a guaranteed level of minerals to promote bone growth, contains natural sources of DHA for brain development and has more protein for building muscles.
Pug owners swear by this puppy food for pugs, which they say keeps their dog’s weight healthy and reduces flatulence.
How Much Food Should I Feed My Pug Puppy?
Pugs gain weight easily. In such small dogs even 1 lb. can make a big difference.
And extra weight can exacerbate the breathing problems that pugs may already have.
The amount of food a pug puppy needs depends on a lot of factors, including age and activity level.
You should feed a puppy at least three to four times a day, with snacks in between, until about 6 months of age, when their metabolism slows and you can go to two times a day.
Aim for 1 oz. of densely nutritional food for each pound of puppy weight.
Best Food for Pug Puppies
So what’s the best food for pug puppies?
Puppies need more protein and calories than adult pugs for the development of tissues, muscles and bones. They need the right balance of nutrition for each stage.
You’ll also need to consider the pug’s distinctive health issues, especially when it comes to obesity and that shortened jaw, when choosing the right specialist food for your puppy.
We hope we’ve helped you find your best food for pug puppies. Tell us in the comments what works for yours.
Resources and Further Reading:
Beckmann, M., et al., 2010, “Metabolite Fingerprinting of Urine Suggests Breed-Specific Dietary Metabolism Differences in Domestic Dogs,” British Journal of Nutrition, 103(8)
Greco, D.S., 2014, “Pediatric Nutrition,” Veterinary Clinics: Small Animal Practice, 44(2)
Lawler, D.F., 2008, “Neonatal and Pediatric Care of the Puppy and Kitten,” Theriogenology, 70(3)
O’Neill, D.G., et al., 2016, “Demography and Health of Pugs Under Primary and Veterinary Care in England,” Canine Genetics and Epidemiology, 3(5)