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Best Dog Food For Pugs

Dog Breeds Dog Food Nutrition April 2, 2019


Best Dog Food For Pugs

Best Dog Food for Pugs

All the way from the Ming dynasty of China comes to this ancient dog breed. Pugs are popular toy dogs that are very companionable, well-tempered and energetic.

Their mood is usually dependent on that of their own because of their sensitive and intuitive nature. Moreover, these dogs are small-sized, attention-seeking and also love to get a lot of sleep. Although they are not big barkers, they will captivate you with their large, dark and round eyes.

Quick Look at Our Top Picks:

Our criteria

There are all kinds of theories about the best way to feed dogs today. Unfortunately, many of the current popular ideas are based on dog food marketing. Your dog is not a wolf and doesn’t need to eat an “ancestral” diet. And, as much as you love your dog, he doesn’t need to eat foods that mimic your human diet either.

He has the gastrointestinal system of a dog, not a human, and he won’t thrive if you feed him a diet based on foods that sound appealing to you.

Keeping your dog healthy and helping him live a long life depends on following the best canine nutritional research.

We try to follow the criteria provided by the World Small Animal Veterinary Association when choosing foods for the Pugs and other dogs.

Using the WSAVA guidelines, we look for dog foods that meet the following standards:

  • We look for foods that meet AAFCO guidelines, preferably by means of a food trial instead of a nutrient profile.
  • We prefer dog food companies that invest in nutritional research to back up their formulations.
  • We look for pet food companies that have canine/veterinary nutritionists on staff to formulate their foods.
  • Strong quality control measures are essential for any pet food company and the company should be willing to discuss them.
  • Good nutrition is more important that clever marketing. Keep in mind that the dog food you are buying is for your dog. You won’t be eating it. You need to select the food that is most nutritious for your dog even if the ingredients don’t appeal to you personally.

The 5 Best Dog Food for Pugs Reviewed

The decision to feed your Pug with food specifically for small breeds is important to nurture your pet. Such foods usually contain more calories per ounce compared to the other dog foods. A nutritious and healthy diet will be great for the health and mood of your Pug. From the many small-breed dog food types to choose from, we select some of the best.

Best Overall: Wellness Complete Health Small Breed Adult Recipe

Nutritional info:

  • Protein – 28% Min
  • Fat – 15% Min
  • Fiber – 4% Max
  • Moisture– 11% Max
  • Caloric Content: 420 kcal/cup

If you’re looking for a healthy, high-quality diet for your pug try this Wellness Complete Health Small Breed Adult Recipe. Made with deboned turkey and oatmeal, it is protein-rich and highly digestible.

It features three animal proteins for high energy and strong muscles, plus plenty of healthy fats for beautiful skin and coat. It is also optimized to support your dog’s ideal body weight.


  • Made with deboned turkey and oatmeal
  • Optimized to support ideal body weight in small breeds
  • Plenty of essential fatty acids for healthy skin and coat


  • Some dogs are sensitive to chicken ingredients
  • Not a grain-free recipe

Eukanuba Lifestage Formulas Small Breed Dog Food

Nutritional info:

  • Protein – 28%
  • Fat – 18%
  • Fiber – 4%
  • Calories – 406.42 kcal/cup

Eukanuba Lifestage Formlas Small Breed Dog Food has a specialized fiber system made from natural beet pulp and prebiotic FOS (fructooligosaccharides), a natural sugar, to promote nutrient absorption and healthy digestion. This formula is rich in antioxidants to support a strong, healthy immune system.

This Eukanuba formula also has a smaller, nutrient-dense kibble that makes it easier for your small dog to grasp and chew the food. The 3D DentaDefense System has been proven to reduce tartar build-up in 28 days.


  • Prebiotics that are good for your Pug’s digestion
  • Antioxidants to support your dog’s immune system
  • 3D DentaDefense System to reduce tartar build-up


  • This is a maintenance dog food, not suitable for puppies
  • Suitable for small dogs but if your Pug is larger you should look for a different food

Hill's Science Diet Adult Sensitive Stomach & Skin Dog Food

Nutritional info:

  • Protein – 19.2% Min
  • Fat – 12% Min
  • Fiber –4% Max
  • Caloric Content: 392 kcal/cup

For Pugs with sensitive digestion or food sensitivities, we like Hill’s Science Diet Adult Sensitive Stomach & Skin Dog Food. This formula contains omega-6 fatty acids and other nutrients to help your dog regain his healthy skin and glossy coat.

It has a clinically-proven blend of antioxidants with Vitamins C and E to help support your dog’s immune system. This formula contains no artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives. Also available in a canned version.


  • Affordable and high in quality
  • Made in the USA
  • Picky eaters may love this dog food


  • Contains some plant protein (pea protein)

Royal Canin Health Nutrition Small Adult Dry Dog Food

Nutritional info:

  • Protein – 25.0% Min
  • Fat – 14.0% Min
  • Fiber – 3.0% Max
  • Calories: 370 kcal/cup

Our top pick for the best dog food for Pugs is Royal Canin Health Nutrition Small Adult Dry Dog Food.

Royal Canin has several product lines including a line based on breed size. Small dogs, like Pugs, can burn up more calories per pound than bigger dogs.

They are dynamos! This Royal Canin formula meets the high energy needs of small dogs and uses L-Carnitine to ensure calories don’t get turned into fat.

Ideal levels of EPA and DHA give your Pug a healthy skin and coat. Plus, the kibble formula can help reduce the formation of tartar.


  • Perfect for a small dog’s metabolism
  • Helps a small dog maintain a healthy weight
  • Enhanced palatability
  • Reduces the formation of tartar


  • Royal Canin formulas can be confusing to buyers because they have so many
  • Not suitable for puppies

Farmina Chicken & Pomegranate Adult Mini

Nutritional info:

  • Protein – 30% Min
  • Fat – 18% Min
  • Fiber – 2.9% Max
  • Calories: 435 kcal/cup

Deboned chicken is the first ingredient in Farmina Chicken & Pomegranate Adult Mini dry dog food. This formula is high in protein with limited carbohydrates and lower fiber. It has a smaller kibble size that makes it easy for small and mini breeds to eat.

Unlike many dog foods that are higher in protein, this food has 92 percent protein from animal sources. Farmina foods are also low-glycemic and GMO-free.

This low grain formula does not contain peas, lentils, pea protein, chickpeas, or added plant oils. Farmina is one of the dog food brands that have been testing very well with dogs tested for DCM and taurine levels. Made in Italy.


  • This formula is 60 percent protein, 20 percent organic spelt and organic oats, and 20 percent vegetables and fruits, vitamins and minerals
  • 92 percent of the protein comes from animal sources
  • Farmina has chicken, lamb, and cod low grain formulas
  • Comes in Medium and Maxi sizes with larger kibble pieces for bigger dogs


  • This food is more expensive than some of the American brands we have recommended
  • Customers report that the food has a strong, fresh odor, especially the cod formula, that some buyers don’t like; but dogs like it

Considerations When Buying the Best Dog Food for Pug


It is very important to feed Pugs a complete and balanced diet. This should, however, be done in a bowl that is wide and low-rimmed. This helps them breathe better while eating. Some of the factors to consider when buying the best dog food for Pug include:

  • Calorie-Dense. Pugs have very fast metabolisms which, you may be surprised to learn, means that they need more calories per pound of body weight than larger breeds. In fact, small dogs may need up to 40 calories per pound versus 30 for an average-sized dog and 20 for a large breed.
  • Fatty Acids. Healthy fats provide a concentrated source of energy for small breed dogs, but they also play a role in supporting healthy skin and coat as well as brain development in puppies.
  • Antioxidants- Not only do small breed dogs have fast metabolisms, but they also have long lifespans. Feeding your dog an antioxidant-rich diet will help keep it healthy for as long as possible by boosting its immune system.
  • Watch Your Pug’s Weight – Before getting a new bag of dog food, watch your dog’s weight. You should not get dog food with too many calories if your dog seems to be adding too much weight already. As a matter of fact, you should weigh your dog regularly or check the ribs and waist. You should take weight management seriously when dealing with Pugs. This is because of the many health issues that happen with extra weight.
  • Consult Your Veterinarian – Veterinarians help make right decisions when it comes to your Pugs’ health. Knowing the best dog food for your pet can be a hard decision to make. Thus, you should consult a good vet to make sure you do not miss any important details.

Nutritional Requirements

Pug nutrition is very important for their steady growth and overall development. The nutritional requirements here are recommended by AAFCO (Association of American Feed Control Officials).

  • Protein – This is the most important nutritional requirement for your energetic friend. You should feed your Pug between 18 and 22 percent protein. This should depend on their age and energy needs. Although some high-quality dog foods tend to exceed this protein requirement, each serving should depend on your observation of the dog’s activities.
  • Carbs – Many people believe that carbohydrates in dog foods are empty calories or filler ingredients but this is false.Carbs provide your dog with energy, fiber, and other nutrients. Simple sugars and starches in carbohydrates help your Cockapoo’s brain function.Complex carbohydrates help regulate your dog’s glucose levels, preventing sugar spikes.They keep your dog from feeling hungry all the time. The fiber from some carbohydrates help regulate digestion.
  • Fiber –Your dog also needs fiber in his diet. Fiber generally comes in soluble and insoluble forms. Soluble fiber, found in beet pulp, chicory, and inulin, attracts water and turns material into a gel. This slows down the digestive process. Insoluble fiber, such as cellulose, adds bulk to your dog’s digestive matter and can help speed the process. It is also used in some weight control diets.
  • Mineral and Vitamin – Fruits and vegetables like carrots, broccoli, and green beans are great additions to your dog’s meal. Moreover, you should not force them to eat this exclusively because their digestive system is not for a vegetarian diet.

How Much Should You Feed Your Pug by Age

Puggle food

Every pug is unique in its own way and also has unique needs. Moreover, they have different energy levels which may require that they are fed according to their caloric needs. Feeding your Pug with the right kind of food in proper amounts will go a long way. Furthermore, a good feeding pattern will keep your dog very healthy and happy.

  • Puppy – Puppies require about 22% protein for rapid growth and development. They also will need 50 calories per pound of the puppy’s body weight. Also, 1/4 – 1/2 cup of puppy food is necessary 4 times a day when they are 8 – 12 weeks old. Furthermore, at 3 – 6 months, they should be fed 1/4 – 1/3 cups of dog food 3 times a day.
  • Adult – Adults need about 18% protein to help maintain the body organs. You should also give them 40 calories per pound of body weight. They will also require 1/3 to 1/2 cups of quality food twice a day. Moreover, as they approach their senior years, you can reduce this gradually.
  • Senior –Senior pugs have a slow metabolism and little or no activity level. You should also give them 1/2 cup of quality dog food once a day.

Pug Food Allergies and Food Related Health Issues

There are a lot of health issues with Pugs, and most of them have a lot to do with their weight. Additionally, weight management is essential for this dog breed. Some of the food allergies and other food-related health issues are:

  • Allergies – Most of the allergic reactions your dog may have could come in the form of skin problems. Allergies may come up as a result of a weak immune system. So, your Pug’s diet should contain low carbohydrates and no grain to avoid allergic reactions. Moreover, as a Pug owner, you should know the kind of ingredients that trigger your pet’s allergies. Also, your veterinarian can help you identify these triggers. Knowing these allergens can help to carefully select the right food for your dog.
  • Arthritis – These compact and sturdy dogs are often bulky. This will put too much weight on their joints. Also, this may, in turn, lead to arthritis. Moreover, canine glucosamine is great for arthritic joints and comes highly recommended.
  • Hip Dysplasia – This condition occurs when the hip joint’s ball and socket do not fit well together. It could be caused by several factors including genetics, injuries, trauma, and overfeeding. The resultant effect is mobility problems which may or may not show on the outside. When it comes to hip dysplasia in small breed dogs, Pugs rank the second most likely to have such a condition. This ranking was done by the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA). Moreover, to prevent or provide relief from this condition, your dog should maintain a lean diet. Guard against extra weight and include glucosamine and chondroitin in their diet to act as joint supplements. Furthermore, if you notice your dog having problems with mobility, get the joint support or weight management dog food.
  • Breathing Difficulties – The narrow nostrils of these dogs cause them to have short snouts. This can develop into severe issues if your Pugs become overweight. Additionally, extra weight can put their breathing under too much pressure and obstruct their airway. Conditions like stroke and heart disease are not uncommon in this breed. Furthermore, pugs should be placed on a very healthy lean diet, complemented by frequent exercise. These measures can help manage their weight effectively. 

Final Thoughts

In summary, Pugs are ideal house dogs that are comfortable with anyone in any place. They love to eat as much as they love to play. Moreover, they require a high level of protein in their diet, along with other essential nutrients. These nutrients have to be well-proportioned in order to prevent excess weight. Although these adorable dogs should not be over-exercised, a little daily exercise will help keep them fit. Therefore, this review of best dog food for Pugs will help you make the perfect choice for your eager-to-please pet.


Damilola's relationship with dogs started back when he was a child. His family had a beautiful, smart Australian Shepherd. It was then, he found a great interest in canines, which would later turn into his desire to learn and understand more about them. Dami has taken several courses on Canine Behavior and Training.
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