Best Dog Food for Pugs – Are You Feeding Your Pug the Right Food?

Last Updated on 05/21/2021 by Veronica Jones

Pugs are an amazing breed of dog because they are sweet, fun-loving and kind. However, they are also fairly high maintenance when it comes to their health. Pugs have very sensitive bodies, so they need the best food possible to stay healthy. If pugs do not get proper nutrition from their diets, they can get sick easily. Luckily, pug owners can check out this list of the 5 best dog food for pugs to see which dog food they should get for their furry friends.

Best Dog Food for Pugs – Our Top Choices

Dogs need a balanced diet to stay healthy, and that is especially true for pugs. Pugs are prone to many conditions and illnesses because of years of breeding. Therefore, it is critical for pug owners to take special care of their pooches, especially when it comes to their diets. Dogs need a variety of nutrients in their diets, which are protein, carbs, fats, vitamins and minerals. The best dog food for pugs should contain all of those nutrients, but it should focus more on protein with some fats and carbs. The listed dog food below contains these important nutrients for pugs.

Royal Canin Pug Adult Dry Dog Food – Best for Maintaining Weight

  • This dry dog food is a specialty food by Royal Canin for pugs. Each dog breed has different needs, so Royal Canin makes specific formulas for each breed, including pugs. It has the right amount of nutrients to keep a pug healthy and happy while preventing weight gain.
  • Royal Canin Pug Dog Food contains about 23% protein, which is enough for most dogs to stay healthy, maintain muscle tone and prevent weight gain. Excess protein gets stored as fat, so it is important that pugs get just enough. Other dog food brands contain too much protein for small dogs like pugs, so this one is ideal. Moreover, it has plenty of vitamins and minerals to suit a pug’s daily needs. It also has omega 3 fatty acids that support coat and skin health, which is great since pugs are prone to skin and coat problems. Additionally, this kibble was specially made for pugs to pick it up easily and chew it more. Therefore, the kibble will also improve their dental health. Pugs that are 10 months old and older can eat Royal Canin Pug Dog Food, and purebred pugs can eat this as well.
  • Overall, it is great for purebred adult pugs to maintain weight and overall health. It contains everything the average pug needs to be healthy. However, it may not be ideal for dogs that want to gain weight. Most pugs will benefit from this easy to eat dry dog food.


  • Great for maintaining weight
  • Adequate nutrients for a pug’s daily diet
  • Improves dental health by encouraging chewing
  • Suitable for purebred pugs


  • Not ideal for puppies and underweight pugs

Taste of the Wild High Prairie Puppy Formula Grain-Free Dry Dog Food – Best for Puppies


  • This dog food is great for pug owners that want to feed high-quality food to their dogs on a budget. It has a good amount of nutrients for many pugs. It also has unique meat ingredients to replicate a dog’s diet in the wild.
  • The puppy formula of this dog food has 17% fat and 28% protein, which is excellent for most puppies. It has no artificial preservatives. What makes Taste of the Wild stand out is that it uses unique meat in the formula, which includes venison, beef, lamb meal and bison. It contains sweet potato and peas, which are high-quality carbs. Moreover, it has fiber to support a puppy’s digestive system. However, it does have a high amount of carbs, which is why it is not suitable for older and overweight pugs. Additionally, the ingredients list for this dog food is fairly large because it contains a variety of different meats, veggies, etc. That means that dogs with allergies and sensitivities may react badly to this dog food. However, pug puppies with no allergies and sensitivities can eat this brand.
  • This puppy formula is great for growing pugs that need more nutrition. It is also a budget-friendly option for pug puppy owners that want quality food for their pups. However, puppies with allergies and sensitivities may not want to try this because the ingredient list is long. 
  • Enough protein and fat for pug puppies
  • A variety of meat
  • High-quality carbs
  • No artificial preservatives


  • Can irritate some allergies

Wellness CORE Grain-Free Small Breed Turkey & Chicken Recipe – Best for Strong Muscles

  • This dog food focuses on a simple diet to give a pug all their dietary needs without any unnecessary ingredients. It contains lots of good protein, omega fatty acids, etc. The dog food also has many plant-based ingredients that are great for pugs. It can also support joint health.
  • This formula focuses on feeding dogs diets based on their primal ancestry. This brand is grain-free, since most dogs did not eat grain in the wild. This dog food has more protein than the others mentioned earlier, having about 36% protein. However, it mostly comes from lean protein like turkey and chicken, making it ideal for more active pugs who need more protein. The formula provides fiber and extra protein through peas. It has potato as a primary, grain-free carb source. It can support bone health thanks to extra ingredients like chondroitin and glucosamine. Moreover, it has lots of health-boosting ingredients like salmon oil, blueberries, apples, spinach, broccoli, kale, etc. The small breed variants of this dog food brand offer smaller kibble, so a pug would easily be able to pick up and chew the kibble. Another bonus is that it has lots of omega fatty acids to improve a pug’s skin and coat.
  • Overall, this is a great choice for pugs because of the ingredients. However, it may only be ideal for more active pugs because it contains a lot of protein. Therefore, this dog food may not be good for overweight or old pugs.


  • Grain-free formula for active pugs
  • A variety of holistic ingredients
  • Contains lean protein like turkey and chicken
  • Can improve joint health


  • High protein content unsuitable for overweight pugs

Holistic Select Natural Dry Dog Food Lamb – Best for All-Natural Dog Food

  • This dry dog food is not specifically for pugs, but the formulation makes it great for pugs. It has high-quality ingredients to provide a balanced diet for small pugs. It is particularly great for supporting the digestive system. It is also an all-natural dog food choice.
  • Pug owners that want natural dog food will love this brand. There is no wheat gluten, wheat, fillers or meat by-products in this formulation. It also does not contain preservatives, flavors and artificial colors, making it a holistic choice. This brand boasts high-quality ingredients in their dog food, which includes a variety of meats, veggies and fruits. Some examples of the ingredients are lamb meal, peas, oatmeal, etc. It has about 23% of protein and 15% fat, which is ideal for most adult pugs. What makes this brand stand out is that it has lots of natural ingredients to support a healthy digestive system, such as probiotics, prebiotics, natural fibers and digestive enzymes. It contains a lot of meat meals, which is a highly concentrated source of protein. This formula does contain grain, but it is grains that are suitable for dogs like oatmeal.
  • Overall, this is a grain-inclusive formula that is great as a natural dog food because it contains no fillers or artificial ingredients. It contains just the right amount of protein and fat to help pugs maintain weight. It is also ideal for pugs that need help with their digestion.


  • Helps the digestive system
  • Enough protein and fat for pugs
  • No preservatives, fillers and meat by-products
  • High-quality ingredient list


  • Not ideal for grain-free pugs

Blue Buffalo Life Protection Adult Small Breed Chicken & Brown Rice Recipe – Best for a Strong Immune System

  • This formulation is great for small dogs like pugs because it contains enough protein, vitamins and antioxidants to support overall health and the immune system. It is also small enough for pugs to eat. It also contains ingredients that support joint health, which is important for pugs.
  • This formulation has no artificial flavors, colors or preservatives. It is a good quality dog food at a low price. This formula focuses on improving the immune system and muscle development. It contains Menhaden fish and deboned chicken meal as its lean, good-quality protein sources. Veterinarians helped create the Lite Protection line, which is why it features an excellent ingredients list. Some ingredients Blue Buffalo includes in their formulations are salmon, trout, probiotics, enzymes, fruits, etc., to provide protein, carbs and vitamins. It also contains chicken fat as its primary fat source. This dog food is also excellent for gassy and small dogs, making it a great choice for pugs. Moreover, it does not contain corn, soy or wheat, which can trigger food sensitivities and allergies in pugs. However, it does contain grain like oatmeal, which is not ideal for those who want to feed their pugs a grain-free diet.
  • This is one of the best dog foods for pugs because it contains great ingredients and just enough fat and protein for pugs. It has a variety of ingredients to support overall health and has no artificial ingredients, fillers, wheat, corn and soy. However, it does have some grain ingredients.


  • Contains lots of high-quality protein
  • Excellent for gassy small dogs
  • No artificial ingredients and fillers
  • Good balance between nutrients


  • Contains grains like oatmeal

Choosing the Best Dog Food for Pugs – The Only Buying Guide You’ll Ever Need

While the list of dog foods mentioned above is a great choice for most pugs, it does not mean that it is right for every pug. Pug owners need to learn more about what they should look for in their dog food to make a better choice for their pugs. Pugs need a variety of nutrients to stay healthy and prevent disease, especially since they are prone to many conditions. Here is a quick look at what to look for in dog food formulas if they want to choose a different dog food brand.

best dog food for pugs

High-Quality Proteins

High-quality protein is one of the top things pug owners should look for in dog food. Dogs in the wild relied heavily on meat as a food source for survival, so domesticated dogs still need a lot of protein as well. When looking at the ingredients list, dog food should always be at the top because it will mean that the meat is the primary ingredient. Other ingredients like grains, fillers, etc., should not be the first ingredient. Other filler products should be low on the list or not on the list at all. 

However, pug owners should not just settle for any kind of protein. Most common commercial dog food brands contain little protein, mostly meat by-products and low-quality meats. If the ingredients show a lot of processed meat by-products and vague labels like “meat and fish product,” it is best to avoid it because the manufacturers could not proudly state what products they used. It could harm a pug’s sensitive tummy and cause other health issues.

Instead, opt for dog foods that contain high-quality meats. Ideally, the species of meat should be specified in the ingredients list. For instance, “deboned salmon meal” is a good sign that the brand uses good meat for their products. Do not be afraid if the dog food says “meal” as the type of meat because it is very good. Meat meal like lamb meal is a highly concentrated form of protein, so dogs will get more protein out of their food.

Complex Carbohydrates and Healthy Fats

All dog owners know that protein is crucial for a dog’s health, but they still need carbs and fats to survive. Proteins, fats and carbs all work together as energy sources for dogs. Therefore, there needs to be a balance between carbs, proteins and fat in their dog food. Even older and overweight pugs will still need some fats and carbs to stay healthy and energetic. Therefore, protein is not the only important ingredient to look for when finding the best dog food for pugs.

The exact ratio that pugs need of carbs, protein and fat will vary based on each dog’s unique needs. For instance, an overweight dog may need a dog food that is low in fat and carbs but with enough protein. Most pugs will need 18-35% protein, 5-10% fat and about 40-50% carbs. However, the exact number of carbs a pug needs a day is still unsure. It would be best to ask a vet for the exact amount a specific pug needs.

However, it would be best to choose dog foods that contain complex carbs because they are easier to digest because they are already cooked. Examples of complex carbs are veggies and whole grains, like peas, oatmeal, brown rice, potatoes, etc. Additionally, the fat should be from natural fat sources, like chicken fat, salmon oil, etc. Avoid bad fats and carbs, like corn, soy, etc. Choosing complex cans and healthier fat sources will help a pug get their nutrients from high-quality ingredients.

Supplements, Vitamins and Minerals

As stated above, it is important for a pug to consume protein, fats and carbs to stay healthy. However, a pug owner should never forget that vitamins and minerals are important as well. These nutrients will help support a pug’s organs, muscles, growth, immune system and more. Dogs can get lots of vitamins and minerals from the right kind of dog food. Therefore, it is important to look for ingredients that contain a variety of vitamins and minerals for pugs.

It is also great to look for ingredients that work as supplements. While it may not be enough for dogs with deficiencies or special needs, it can definitely help keep a normal dog healthy and prevent potential health problems. For instance, some dog foods contain antioxidants that can ward off illness, strengthen the immune system and potentially delay aging. Supplements are also crucial for a pug to have healthy skin, coat, etc. Dogs with deficiencies tend to be more prone to sickness, sluggish, lose their appetite, etc.

Pug owners may want to look for specific ingredients to support their pug’s sensitive bodies. Pugs are very prone to skeletal and joint issues, even early in life. Pugs can get conditions like arthritis as early as 3 years old because of breeding. Supplements like chondroitin and glucosamine are great to look for in the best dog food for pugs because the dog food can prevent joint problems. Therefore, it can potentially reduce pain and slow down joint issues in pugs as they age.

The Best Dog Food for Pugs – Frequently Asked Questions

Do Pugs Need Special Food?

It mostly depends on the pug itself since they are not all the same. However, most pugs are fairly susceptible to getting sick, so it would be wise to choose better dog food for them. Typically, natural dog foods that contain 18-30% protein made for small dogs are ideal for most pugs.

Do pugs need special food

Will Pugs Get Sick from the Wrong Kind of Dog Food?

Yes, pugs can get sick from bad dog food. Most common store-bought dog food does not contain proper ingredients for dogs. It can lead to many deficiencies in dogs because they do not have the proper nutrients, causing the pug to get sick.

What Kind of Dog Food Do Pug Puppies Need?

Ideally, pug puppies should consume food that is specially formulated for puppies. Adult dog food does not contain the right nutrients puppies need. A good example is Taste of the Wild High Prairie Puppy Formula Grain-Free Dry Dog Food because it contains enough fats and proteins for growing pugs.

Conclusion: Picking the Best Dog Food for Pugs – How to Make the Right Selection

Overall, choosing the best dog food for pugs will depend on the pug’s special needs. The 5 products listed above are great for most healthy pugs with slight variation in each formula to suit active pugs, puppies, maintaining weight, etc. Each pug will have a slightly different set of requirements, so it would be best for pug owners to choose a dog food formulation that caters to their pug.

Do pugs need special food

Ideally, the dog food should be specially made for small breeds like pugs because it will be easier for them to eat. Additionally, it will also have the right fat, protein and carb content that smaller breeds require. Moreover, the ingredients should be of high quality. Harmful ingredients can cause more problems in dogs, while good ingredients can prevent health issues in pugs.

If a pug has special needs, it would be best to consult a veterinarian. Some pugs may need special diets if they have certain conditions. For instance, dogs with joint problems may need to eat a diet prescribed by a veterinarian. A dog with bladder issues may need to eat a wet food diet. Therefore, it may be best to talk to a vet for a diet plan for a pug with conditions.


  1. People’s Dispensary for Sick Animals, ‘Pug’,, Accessed – 13 May, 2021
  2. American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, ‘Dog Nutrition Tips’,, Accessed – 13 May, 2021
  3. American Kennel Club, ‘Can Dogs Eat Wheat And Other Grains?’,, Accessed – 13 May, 2021
  4. Dog Food Advisor, ‘Meat Meal — The Mysterious Meat Concentrate Most People Know Little (or Nothing) About’,, Accessed – 13 May, 2021

Veterinary Centers of America, ‘Nutrition – General Feeding Guidelines for Dogs’,, Accessed – 13 May, 2021

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