Best Dog Food for Pugs (Top 10 in 2022)

Cute overweight pug and bowl full of food on floor at home

Pugs, or pug dogs, are sturdy small breed dogs known for their highly expressive, wrinkled faces and ravenous appetites.

Your pug needs high-quality dog food designed to meet their breed-specific nutritional needs to lower their risk of developing health problems like obesity, respiratory stress, eye issues such as corneal ulcers, and bone deformities like hip dysplasia. This may seem like a lot to consider, but we’re here to help you with our top picks for pug food; all of which are conveniently available through online retailers like Amazon!

Best Dog Food for Pugs (Top 10 in 2021) – Overview

Here are the top 5 picks (keep scrolling for more details and picks 6-10).

ImageProductFeaturesPrice
Best Overall
Merrick Lil' Plates Grain Free Small Breed Dry Dog Food Real Salmon + Sweet Potato Recipe
Merrick Lil' Plates Grain Free Small Breed Dry Dog Food Real Salmon + Sweet Potato Recipe
  • Great tasting salmon is rich in omega fatty acids
  • Sweet potato is a great source of essential fiber
  • Contains probiotics to help with digestion
10
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Best for Seniors
NUTRO ULTRA Senior High Protein Natural Dry Dog Food with a Trio of Proteins, Chicken, Lamb and Salmon
NUTRO ULTRA Senior High Protein Natural Dry Dog Food with a Trio of Proteins, Chicken, Lamb and Salmon
  • Great source of glucosamine and chondroitin to support joint health
  • Contains salmon and flaxseed oil for a shiny coat and healthy skin
  • Superfood medley provides complete nutrition for your senior dog
9.7
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Best for Puppies
NUTRO ULTRA High Protein Natural Dry Puppy Food Trio Proteins from Chicken Lamb and Salmon
NUTRO ULTRA High Protein Natural Dry Puppy Food Trio Proteins from Chicken Lamb and Salmon
  • Delicious trio of proteins from chicken, lamb and salmon
  • Superfood blends with chia, coconut and kale for healthy digestion
  • No soy, corn or wheat
9.9
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Best Grain-Free
Instinct Raw Boost Small Breed Grain Free Recipe with Real Chicken Natural Dry Dog Food
Instinct Raw Boost Small Breed Grain Free Recipe with Real Chicken Natural Dry Dog Food
  • Formulated specifically for small breeds
  • Contains raw, cage-free chicken
  • Freeze-dried raw pieces are great tasting bites
9.8
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Best Value
Merrick Classic Healthy Grains Dry Dog Food Small Breed Recipe
Merrick Classic Healthy Grains Dry Dog Food Small Breed Recipe
  • Contains 54% protein and healthy fats
  • Whole grains including quinoa aid in healthy digestion
  • Glucosamine and chondroitin support healthy joints
9.6
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Best Overall for Adults
1. Merrick Lil’ Plates Grain Free Small Breed, Salmon & Sweet Potato Recipe

Merrick Lil’ Plates Small Breed offers grain-free, bite-sized kibble made with omega-rich salmon to promote vision health and a blend of prebiotic and probiotic fiber to support healthy digestion.

Merrick Lil' Plates Grain Free Small Breed Dry Dog Food Real Salmon + Sweet Potato Recipe
10/10Our Score
  • Great tasting salmon is rich in omega fatty acids
  • Sweet potato is a great source of essential fiber
  • Contains probiotics to help with digestion

As a poultry-free recipe, this dry dog food is a great option for pugs with traditional meat allergies.

  • First 5 ingredients: Deboned salmon, salmon meal, whitefish meal, sweet potatoes, potatoes
  • Type: Grain-free
  • Best for: Adult Pugs
  • Sample buyer review: “We have a pug puppy who has a super sensitive stomach. Everything we gave him, gave him diarrhea. Eventually, we found Merrick grain-free, poultry-free that’s safe for small breed puppies with probiotics. This literally checked all out boxes. It is on the more expensive side, but our pup now has normal poops and we cannot be happier!”

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Best for Senior Dogs
2. Nutro Ultra Senior Formula

Nutro Ultra Senior Formula kibble includes a blend of antioxidant-rich fruits and veggies, as well as high-quality chicken, lamb, and salmon protein.

NUTRO ULTRA Senior High Protein Natural Dry Dog Food with a Trio of Proteins, Chicken, Lamb and Salmon
9.7/10Our Score
  • Great source of glucosamine and chondroitin to support joint health
  • Contains salmon and flaxseed oil for a shiny coat and healthy skin
  • Superfood medley provides complete nutrition for your senior dog

You can trust the quality of this dog food, as it contains no chicken by-product meal, corn, soy, wheat, fillers, or GMO ingredients.

  • First 5 ingredients: Chicken, chicken meal (source of glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate), whole brown rice, brewers rice, rice bran
  • Type: Grain-inclusive (oats, rice)
  • Best for: Senior Pugs
  • Sample buyer review: “We’ve been feeding our senior dog this food for a few years now and it’s exceeded our expectations. Our dog is 13 now but she still acts like she is 3 thanks to the food change. She’s trimmed up and lost some weight, she has more energy and her overall health has improved significantly since we switched her food to Nutro Ultra. Even our vet is impressed.”

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Best Overall for Puppies
3. Nutro Ultra Puppy Food

Nutro Ultra Puppy Food offers a variety of quality high-protein sources combined with an antioxidant-rich superfood blend to provide your puppy with a complete, balanced diet.

NUTRO ULTRA High Protein Natural Dry Puppy Food Trio Proteins from Chicken Lamb and Salmon
9.9/10Our Score
  • Delicious trio of proteins from chicken, lamb and salmon
  • Superfood blends with chia, coconut and kale for healthy digestion
  • No soy, corn or wheat

This recipe also contains omega-rich inclusions like chicken fat, sunflower oil, and fish oil to nourish your pug’s skin and coat.

  • First 5 ingredients: Chicken, chicken meal, whole brown rice, brewers rice, rice bran
  • Type: Grain-inclusive (rice, oats)
  • Best for: Pug Puppies
  • Sample buyer review: “This food changed my puppy experience. We switched from Purina to Nutro shortly after getting our first Scottie. He went from having loose stools and gas to solid and healthy stools overnight. The same thing happened when we got our second Scottie. A friend complained to me that his Pitbull was having skin issues/allergies and loose stools and I recommended this product; he immediately noticed a difference in his dog’s stools and with her skin/coat. Overall we have had great luck with Nutro products.”

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Best Grain-Free
4. Instinct Raw Boost Grain Free Small Breed Formula

Instinct Raw Boost Small Breed dog food is a grain-free kibble that features real, cage-free chicken as its first ingredient.

Instinct Raw Boost Small Breed Grain Free Recipe with Real Chicken Natural Dry Dog Food
9.8/10Our Score
  • Formulated specifically for small breeds
  • Contains raw, cage-free chicken
  • Freeze-dried raw pieces are great tasting bites

This recipe also includes minimally processed, freeze-dried raw bites for a flavor your dog will crave and an ideal balance of protein, fat, and carbohydrates for overall health maintenance.

  • First 5 ingredients: Chicken, chicken meal (source of glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate), chickpeas, turkey meal, tapioca
  • Type: Grain-free
  • Best for: Adult Pugs
  • Sample buyer review: “My fur baby is doing so well on this food. After all the pet food recalls, and all the talk about the additives and chemicals in pet foods I did some research and I decided it was time to change my baby from Science Diet to a better food that had less additives. She gets so much more vitamins that her body needs and keeps with this food and she loves it!”

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Best Value
5. Merrick Classic Healthy Grains Small Breed Recipe

Merrick Classic Healthy Grains Small Breed dog food packs real whole food ingredients into a pea, lentil, and potato-free recipe designed to ensure optimal nutrition for your pooch.

Merrick Classic Healthy Grains Dry Dog Food Small Breed Recipe
9.6/10Our Score
  • Contains 54% protein and healthy fats
  • Whole grains including quinoa aid in healthy digestion
  • Glucosamine and chondroitin support healthy joints

This kibble boasts high levels of glucosamine and chondroitin for joint health, as well as a blend of grains high in dietary fiber for digestive health.

  • First 5 ingredients: Deboned chicken, chicken meal, brown rice, barley, turkey meal
  • Type: Grain-inclusive (barley, oats, rice)
  • Best for: Adult Pugs
  • Sample buyer review: “One of the ONLY brands of commercial dog food that I trust. With a pug, one is always looking out for dietary problems with food allergies and such. But this food is enjoyed and tolerated well by my dog. She really seems to enjoy it. They also make excellent canned food.”

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6. Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Small Breed Puppy, Chicken & Oatmeal

Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula features high-quality, real chicken protein packed in calcium-enriched, bite-sized kibble to support your puppy’s developing muscles and bones.

Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Puppy Small Breed Dry Dog Food, Chicken and Oatmeal
9.4/10Our Score

Additionally, this recipe contains DHA and ARA fatty acids to promote cognitive and retinal health in your pup.

  • First 5 ingredients: Deboned chicken, chicken meal, oatmeal, barley, menhaden fish meal (source of omega 3 fatty acids)
  • Type: Grain-inclusive (barley, oats, rice)
  • Best for: Pug Puppies
  • Sample buyer review: “Because we have had dogs in the past that have reacted poorly to food, we are now very selective. We chose this food for our new puppy because it does not contain by-product meal from chicken or poultry. It doesn’t contain wheat, soy, corn, preservatives, or artificial flavors. On top of that, our puppy loves it, and it’s much cheaper buying through amazon rather than the big box store down the street. Highly recommended.”

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7. Natural Balance Limited Ingredient Diet Small Breed Bites, Lamb & Brown Rice

Natural Balance Limited Ingredient Diet Small Breed recipe is made with quality ingredients like real lamb protein and easily-digestible, fiber-rich whole grain brown rice packed in a smaller kibble size more suitable for tiny jaws.

Natural Balance Limited Ingredient Diet | Small-Breed Adult Dry Dog Food Lamb and Brown Rice
9.2/10Our Score

This food also includes taurine to promote cardiac health in your dog.

  • First 5 ingredients: Lamb, brown rice, lamb meal, brewers rice, rice bran
  • Type: Grain-inclusive (rice)
  • Best for: Adult Pugs
  • Sample buyer review: “This brand is what my Vet wanted for my dog. The first bowl I gave my dog was her favorite. And it continued. Great sturdy bag to keep fresh for a while. The small kibble bites are just what I need for my little 12 pounder. She loves all the different flavors I have brought home. This is a must-buy for your dogs.”

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8. Canidae Pure Grain Free Healthy Weight, Chicken & Pea Recipe

Canidae Pure Healthy Weight formula is designed with select natural ingredients that make this an excellent option for dogs with food sensitivities.

Canidae PURE Healthy Weight Limited Ingredient Premium Adult Dry Dog Food, Chicken and Pea Recipe
9.1/10Our Score

This weight-conscious formula is also a balanced choice to ensure that your dog maintains an appropriate body weight while still meeting all nutritional requirements.

  • First 5 ingredients: Chicken, chicken meal, turkey meal, sweet potatoes, peas
  • Type: Grain-free
  • Best for: Adult Pugs
  • Sample buyer review: “I am a Dog Obedience Instructor, and have taken classes specializing in Nutrition. I have reviewed plenty of other dog foods and found that Canidae out beats most of them by a landslide. A lot of grocery store brand foods are full of junk. Canidae is a great food. Main ingredient is meat.”

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9. Wellness Complete Health Small Breed Healthy Weight Formula

Wellness Complete Health Small Breed Healthy Weight dry food combines high-quality turkey and chicken protein with wholesome grains like oatmeal and barley to support your dog’s whole body health while preventing unintentional weight gain.

Wellness Complete Health Dry Dog Food, Small Breed, Healthy Weight Turkey & Brown Rice
9/10Our Score

Antioxidant-rich blueberries and spinach encourage a healthy immune system, while omega-rich flaxseed supports healthy skin and coats.

  • First 5 ingredients: Deboned turkey, chicken meal, salmon meal, oatmeal, rice
  • Type: Grain-inclusive (barley, oats, rice)
  • Best for: Adult Pugs
  • Sample buyer review: “We have two small dogs, one 4 and one 6 years old. They don’t get a lot of exercise and this small breed healthy weight dry food is perfect for them. They just had their check-up for the year and both dogs lost a little weight – the vet was very pleased. The flavor must be good because when they hear the bag open, they are right there to have their meal! We will continue using this brand as it’s recommended by the agency we adopted the dogs from as one of the top brands.”

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10. Merrick Lil’ Plates Grain Free Small Breed Senior, Chicken & Sweet Potato

Merrick Lil’ Plates Small Breed Senior is made to supply your older dog with the whole body nutrition they need to stay happy, healthy, and active for years to come.

Merrick Lil Plates Grain Free Small Breed Puppy and Senior Dry Dog Food with Real Chicken + Sweet Potato
8.9/10Our Score

With prebiotic and probiotic fiber to support aged guts and digestive tracts, leading levels of glucosamine and chondroitin to maintain joints, and omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids for skin and coat health, this food is an all-around great choice for your senior dog.

  • First 5 ingredients: Deboned chicken, chicken meal, turkey meal, sweet potatoes, potatoes
  • Type: Grain-free
  • Best for: Senior Pugs
  • Sample buyer review: “My dog is 11 years old now, so I recently started looking for alternative dog foods for him. I wanted something more natural that would give him the proper nutrients he needed. I started looking at the Merrick brand and I loved the great reviews and ingredients they put in their dog food. I also loved the fact that Merrick Lil’ Plates is geared towards small breeds and they also had a senior version. How awesome is that! Overall, I slowly transitioned my dog into his new dog food and he loves it. I can also see the difference in his bowels as they seem more healthy and he doesn’t get constipated like he used to.”

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Final Thoughts

It’s not unusual to see your pug gobbling down their food almost as soon as their bowl hits the ground. It’s important to address this habit before it gets too out of hand though, as speed eating can cause serious health issues if not handled properly. Check out our article on why your dog eats so fast to find out more and to figure out how to slow their dining down.

Pug Staring at Camera

0/5 (0 Reviews)

Sarah Brady

Sarah Brady is an animal lover and the proud dog-mom of a Golden Retriever named Brody and an Italian Greyhound named Jessup. Unfortunately, Jessup developed serious allergies to many different types of dog foods and ingredients when she was just a puppy. Meanwhile, Brody could eat seemingly anything and carry on as healthy as could be. Sarah spent hours of time researching and testing different foods and brands before finding something that worked for little Jessup. She wants Dog Food Care to simplify this experience for future dog-parents who face food allergy or tolerance issues of their own.