Best Dog Food For Pugs How to Buy The Right Food

This small dog breed loves to eat! If you’ve ever wondered what’s the best dog food for Pugs you’re in the right place. I’m going to share everything I know about choosing the right food for your pooch.

This is the food that I used to feed Mindy my black Pug and she loved it and never had any weight issues. If you have an older Pug, check out the best dry dog food for senior Pugs.

What Is The Best Dog Food For Pugs?

Choose high-quality foods that are packed with proteins and carbohydrates. The protein content should come from high-quality animal-based sources like meat meals and fresh meats. (we’ll take an in-depth look at what to look for in your Pug’s dog food in a bit)

best dog food for pugs

*This page contains affiliate links to products I recommend. If you purchase something from this page, I may receive a small percentage of the sale at no extra cost to you.

Top Picks For Pug Dog Food

Best Value
Wellness Complete Natural Dog Food For Pugs
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02/18/2024 12:06 pm GMT
Best Choice
Royal Canin Pug Well-Balanced Dog Food For Pugs
$61.99 ($0.39 / Fl Oz)
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02/19/2024 01:01 am GMT

Pugs are adorable, squish-faced little dogs with big personalities. According to the AKC (American Kennel Club), they are the biggest dogs in the Toy group category.

It’s vital to maintain a healthy weight for your pooch. Most dogs will NOT require any type of special diet unless they are prone to allergies. (which can be common among this breed)

This post is based on the assumption that your pooch does not struggle with allergies. If they do, then it’s important to choose dog food for Pugs with allergies. Read this post for the different types of dog foods to feed a Pug

If your Pug currently weighs more than 14-18 pounds, the standard weight for Pugs. (source) You may want to consider feeding them weight management dog food.

Different Types of Dog Food For Pugs

Just like humans, some Pugs require special diets that’s why we’ve done the research to help you find the right type of food for your pooch.

But first…

Ingredients To Look For

All dogs regardless of breed require protein and healthy fats in their daily diet. Of course, not all protein and fat is created equally.

It’s important to make sure that the dog food provides high-quality ingredients without fillers that cause your pooch to stay hungry. You can find food that contains protein and fat in garbage dumpsters, but you don’t want to feed your four-legged trash.

The best commercial dog foods will feature real meat protein, poultry, or fish as the first ingredient aka “meat meal.”

What Is Real Meat AKA Meat Meal?

Basically, it is a form of ground-up meat that has gone through the process of being dried and cooked to remove excess water content. Not all meat meal is created equally.

In fact, some varieties of meat are created with high-quality means that provide your pooch with a great source of nutritious, and natural protein. While other types of meat meal are created with waste materials. (think about hot dogs are made)

How to Choose

Avoid foods that say “whole meat” and choose foods that say “meat meal.” These types of dog food will have the following content of protein:

Whole Meat: Contains 70% water and only 18% protein

Meat Meal: Contains 10% water and 65% protein

As you can see, there’s a huge difference in the amount of protein your Pug can get based on what’s in the ingredients.

The biggest difference between meat and meat meal is fat and moisture.

This is why it’s so important to take the time to read what’s in the ingredients. I’ll share some of the best dog food products for Pugs below in a bit. As I mentioned, the type of food you feed your Pug will vary according to what they get accustomed too.

What About Carbohydrates?

There are many people who are switching for dog foods with carbohydrates to “grain-free foods” because dogs don’t require carbohydrates in their diet.

However, most grain-free dog foods still contain carbs in the form of potatoes, peas, potatoes, or tapioca.

The carbs in your dog’s food help provide your dog with energy to help it function properly in the form of glucose.

While Pugs only require moderate exercise, they still need carbs to help them run, play and live an active lifestyle.

Carbohydrates consist of sugar, fiber, and starch. Just as too many carbs in our diet can cause us to gain weight, it can do the same for your Pug!

Carbs can play a vital role if you’re trying to get your Pug to lose weight.

Types of Carbohydrates

Carbohydrates can be divided into two categories:

Simple Carbs: These consist of sucrose, fructose, and lactose. These can easily be digested by your pooch and are readily absorbed from the small intestine and converted into glucose.

Complex Carbohydrates: These are categorized as either fibers or starches and take longer to digest than simple carbs. Starches need to be broken down by your dog’s enzymes before they can be utilized by your pooch. Starches come from foods such as peas, potatoes, and beans.

Fiber: A diet that is high in fiber is great for your pooch because it helps regulate your dog’s poop. Standard dog food will contain between 2% and 4% fiber, and a high fiber dog food will contain between 6% and 10%.

Dietary fiber is not only found in plant foods, but it can be found in some fruits, vegetables, and grains.

Now let’s take a look at some of the dog foods that are perfect for healthy adult Pugs that have no allergies or special diet requirements.

Recommended Pug Dog Food

#1 Royal Canine Pug Adult Dry Dog Food

Top Recommended Choice
Royal Canin Pug Adult Breed Specific Dry Dog Food, 10 lb. bag
$61.99 ($0.39 / Fl Oz)

Royal Canin Dry Dog formulated specifically for pure breed Pugs that are over 10 months of age. It provides this brachycephalic dog breed with the essential nutrients and vitamins they need.

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This dog food is specially designed for purebred Pugs over 10 months of age. The kibble is small enough for your pooch to pick up and chew their food.

Royal Canine dog food only contains ingredients that won’t irritate your Pug’s skin, and help protect their folded skin (adorable wrinkles).

It’s important to feed your pooch food that is tailor-made for their specific needs.


L-Carnitine: And a proper protein content to help maintain a Pug’s muscular body.

Nutrition: Designed for Pugs over 10 months old and is formulated to meet the nutritional requirements of this breed.

Kibble: Clover-shape design tailor-made for a Pug’s short, square muzzle.

Healthy Coat: DHA and EPA from fish oil to help protect and maintain healthy skin and coat.

Ingredients and Nutritional Information

Let’s take a look at what’s inside this dog food:

Chicken Meal, Oat Meal, Brown Rice, Ground Corn, Natural Chicken Flavor, Corn, Oat Groats, Chicken Fat, Wheat Gluten, Sodium Silico, L-Lysine, Potassium, Aluminate, Chloride, Vegetable Oil, Choline Chloride, Taurine, Sodium Tripolyphosphate, Tocopherol Acetate (Source of Vitamin E), Thiamine Mononitrate (Vitam B6) Tea, Sulfate, Hydrochloride, Riboflavin Supplement, Vitamin A Acetate, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Magnesium Oxide, Glucosamine Hydrochloride, Manganese Proteinate, L-Ascorbyl-2-Polyphosphate (Source of Vitamin C),cand etc.

These are just a few of the ingredients, you can read the ingredients when you click to view the price below.

Calorie Content

3763 Kilocalories of metabolized energy (ME) or 369 kilocalories ME per cup.


Expensive: Unlike the dog foods you get from Walmart, it is more expensive. However, if you can afford it, it’s a great product and provides your pooch with the nutrients they require.

Contains Grains: Not ideal for dogs with grain allergies.

#2 Wellness Complete Health Natural Small Breed Dog Food

Budget Friendly Pug Dog Food
Wellness Complete Health Pug Dog Food

Wellness Small Breed Complete is designed specifically for small dog breeds like the Pug. You can rest assured that your dog will get a well-balanced diet that will help them live a healthy lifestyle.

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This dog food is specially formulated for small dog breeds. It comes in over five different flavors which your pooch will love. Comes in either a 4-pound or 12-pound bag.

Comes in wet food, dry food, toppers, and treats. This brand can be purchased for puppies, adults, and senior dogs.

I used to buy Mindy a 30-pound bag of food, which lasted about 3 months. (just make sure you have an air-tight container to keep it fresh)


Complete Health: Complete balanced diet and nutritional requirements for small breeds.

Kibble Size: Designed for dogs with smaller mouths.

Yucca Schidiger Extract: Shredded, dried, and ground-up plants are added to food to help reduce odor waste.

Chondroitin Sulfate: Helps maintain healthy joints

Complex Carbohydrates: Provides long-lasting energy for your pooch.

Meat: Made with deboned chicken and whitefish.

All Natural Ingredients: Does NOT Contain any meat by-products, Wheat, Corn, Soy, Artificial Flavors or Preservatives.

Ingredients And Nutritional Information

I’ll list some of the ingredients you can find in this food, but make sure that you read them on Amazon or Chewy before making your purchase.

Deboned Chicken, Chicken Meal, Peas, Tomato Pomace, Ground Barley, Ground Brown Rice, Chicken Fat, Ground Flaxseed, Tomatoes, Apples, Spinach, Mixed Tocopherols (preserves freshness), Choline Chloride, Vitamin E Supplement, Galic Powder, Calcium Iodate, Sweet Potatoes, Ferrous Sulfate, Blueberries, Iron Proteinate, Copper Proteinate, Manganese Sulfate, Biotin, Yucca Schidigera Extract, Dried Lactobacillus Acidophilus, Thiamine Mononitrate, Vitamin A Supplement, Zinc Sulfate, Chicory Root Extract, Green Tea Extract, and etc.

Calorie Content

434 kcal per cup


Contains Barley: Not ideal for Pugs that have grain allergies.

#3 Earthborn Holistic Grain-Free Dog Food

Premium Dog Food For Pugs
Earthborn Holistic Small Breed Grain-Free Dry Dog Food

Earthborn Holistic Small breed dog food formulated to fit the needs of small dogs. It offers premium protein with fruits & veggies that will provide your dog with the essential vitamins and nutrients they need.

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Earthborn is a holistic dog food specially formulated for small dogs under 20 pounds at maturity. It comes in the following bag sizes:

  • 5 pounds
  • 14 pounds
  • 28 pounds

The shelf life of dog food will vary, especially, if you’re using an air-tight container to keep it fresh.


L-Carnitine: Important protein for burning fat, and helping maintain your dog’s muscle mass.

Healthy Coat: Contains a proper ratio of both Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids to help support healthy skin and coat.

Grain-Free: Great alternative if you’re trying to avoid grain-based foods.

Nutrients and Antioxidants: Contains Vitamin E and Vitamin C as well as nutrients from vegetables such as apples, blueberries, cranberries, and spinach to help with your dog’s immune system and overall optimal health.

Fibers: Easy to digest fibers to help maintain a healthy intestinal tract.

BPA Free Packaging: Made with 100% recyclable products of plants and trees.

Ingredients And Nutritional Information

400 kCalories per cup (food portions will vary depending on your dog’s size, age, and activity level)

Calorie Content

As usual, I’ll list some of the ingredients you can find in this food. However, make sure you read the ingredient labels before buying.

Herring Meal, Pea Protein, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Dried Lactobacillus, Copper Sulfate, L-Ascorbyl-2=Polyphosphate (Vitamin C source), Calcium Iodate, Yucca Schidigera Extract, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Rosemary Extract, Whiting Meal, Cranberries, Carrots, Salt, DL-Methionine, Dried Egg, Natural Flavors, Spinach, Vitamin E Supplement, Calcium Pantothenate, and etc.


Grain-Free: Not all flavors are grain-free, so make sure you read the entire ingredient label before buying.

What About Pug Puppy Food?

Obviously, puppies have different nutritional needs than your adult Pug. You’ll want to choose foods that are specifically developed for puppies. I’ve put together a huge list of the best dog food for Pug puppies to help you find the right one for your adorable new puppy.

How To Choose The Right Dog Food Brand?

The US pet food industry continues to grow at a rapid pace. The most popular dog food companies formulate foods based on breed and life stage of the dog. This can make it hard for a new pet owner to know which brands are best for their dogs.

The main thing you’ll want to do is look at the wording on the packaging. Here are some of the most popular dog food brands that we’ve researched and found all the answers for you.

Do Pugs Need Special Food?

Below you’ll find some of the different types of dog foods based on life stages, puppies, weight loss, and other types of dog foods based on the condition of your dog.

Click on the type of dog food your Pug needs, if you’re not sure to consult with your veterinarian.

Pug Puppy FoodSenior Pug Dog Food
Weight ManagementWet Pug Food
Fresh Cooked Dog Food for PugsDog Food for Pugs With Skin Allergies

Final Word on Pug’s Food

Every Pug is different and will have their preference on the type of food they like to eat. I’ve done my best to provide you with some of the small breed dog foods that are perfect for this breed.

If you’re not sure what type of dog food to feed your Pug, or are considering changing their diet, consult with your veterinarian.

They will be able to tell you which brand of dog food will help your Pug thrive.

References and Further Reading

Bully Max – The Truth About “Meat Meal” In Your Dog Food

Just Right Pet – “Carbs” In Dog Dog Food – What’s The Secret

Black Pug Site