5 Best Dog Foods For Pugs [2021]

Pugs are man’s best friend, isn’t that how the saying goes? Well, something along those lines anyway! So for all of you owners of those wrinkly-faced, curly-tailed bundles of fun – we know that you want to be the very best dog owner that you can be.

From looking after their health to keeping them happy, and what better way to make your Pug happy than with food?!

But what is the best dog food for pugs? With so many choices out there, it can be hard to know where to begin, especially if you’re not entirely sure about canine nutritional requirements, and how they vary from our own.

But we’re going to try and make your life a little easier by compiling a list of our top five food choices to keep your little pooch happy and healthy for the long run!

Best Dog Foods For Pugs

This specially formulated pug food has been made by the dog food experts Royal Canin.

Key Specifications

  • Grain-Free –  NO
  • Type of Food – DRY
  • Common Allergens –  YES
  • Recommended Age – 10 months +
  • Why We Recommend – Specially formulated for pugs

The company has been making canine kibble for over fifty years, and pride themselves on working together with veterinarians, nutritionists, and breed experts to create specially formulated, breed-specific diets for breeds that could do with an extra helping hand in the health department.

Pugs have a very specific jaw shape, so as well as ensuring that the ingredients of the food support their body once ingested — such as improving the skin, coat, bone, and joint health — but the shape and size of the kibble has been made to improve chewing and digestion too!


  • Supports skin and coat health
  • Kibble is the ideal shape and size for a pug
  • Nutritional balance to help avoid weight gain
  • Contains L-Carnitine
  • Aids in strong bone and joint health
  • Formulated by experts


  • Might not work for fussy eaters
  • Contains common allergens including corn
  • Sensitive tummies may become upset

This Royal Canine food is specifically for mature pugs, and should only be given to those over the age of ten months – prior to this, they may be on a puppy-specific formula, taking extra care to avoid excessive weight gain — which pugs are prone to — as this can cause future medical issues.

2. Blue Buffalo

This small breed dog food from Blue Buffalo happens to have a small bite kibble ideal for the skeletal structure of the Pug’s jaw and chewing mechanics.

Key Specifications

  • Grain-Free –  NO
  • Type of Food – DRY
  • Common Allergens –  NO
  • Recommended Age – Adult
  • Why We Recommend -First ingredient is pure deboned chicken

 Available in a wide range of flavors, you should be able to find plenty of options that will go down a treat with even the fussiest of pooches.

Blue Buffalo pride themselves in using quality ingredients, they don’t use by-products that would otherwise be thrown in the garbage – instead, they use human-grade ingredients such as pure 100% protein-rich deboned chicken.

As well as using the best ingredients, they also add in all of the vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants to keep your Pug as his optimal health – and avoid using common allergens such as soy, corn, and wheat!

If you are worried about switching a fussy dog over to the food, consider mixing with some warm water, or chicken stock to make for an especially palatable meal.


  • Does not contain meat by-products
  • No corn, wheat, or soy used
  • Enhanced vitamins and minerals
  • Contains protein-rich deboned chicken
  • Small bite kibble size
  • Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids
  • Can be fed dry or with added water


  • Lack of continuity and some batches aren’t as palatable
  • High in carbohydrates which can cause weight gain if not carefully managed

This kibble is protein and carbohydrate-rich, therefore you may find that you have to adjust the recommended feeding amounts of Blue Buffalo due to the ease of weight gain with pugs.

3. Hill’s Science

Hills are one of the oldest dog food makers out there, they’ve been doing this for about eighty years, and given the fact that they’re still one of the most popular dog food brands out there – they clearly know what they’re doing!

Key Specifications

  • Grain-Free –  NO
  • Type of Food – DRY
  • Common Allergens –  YES
  • Recommended Age – Adult 1-6 years old
  • Why We Recommend – Filled with vegetables!

As well as being vitamin-enriched, Hills use masses of veggies and fruits in their foods which you would think would make it off-putting for fussy pets, but in fact – the very clever recipe is both healthful, and great at keeping small dogs healthy.

But, it also entices fussy dogs, and those suffering from a diminished appetite due to illness.

Ingredients include cracked pearled barley, pork fat, flaxseed, spinach, dried grape pomace, brewers rice, oat fiber, folic acid, dried citrus pulp, riboflavin supplement, whole grain sorghum, and vitamin b12 to name but a few!


  • Added calcium
  • Easy to eat small kibble
  • Contains antioxidants for a strong immune system
  • Available in wet variety too for fussy eaters
  • Made in the USA
  • Recommended by many veterinarians


  • Contains meat by-products
  • If your dog has any food allergies – they likely won’t be able to eat this
  • Can cause upset stomachs

For years, veterinarians have recommended Hills to dog owners, and it’s because of their well thought out, unique, and nutritious combinations of ingredients that makes this food such a great balanced diet for your pug.

4. Taste of the Wild

This grain-free Taste of The Wild is high in protein, with the very first ingredient being 100% pure venison, a great source of energy for your wriggly little pug!

Key Specifications

  • Grain-Free –  YES
  • Type of Food – DRY
  • Common Allergens –  YES
  • Recommended Age – Adult
  • Why We Recommend -Probiotic blend right in the food for healthy guts

Other ingredients include lamb meal, garbanzo beans, peas, lentils, pea protein, canola oil, egg product, duck meal, pea flour, tomato pomace, natural flavor, ocean fish meal, salt, choline chloride, dried chicory root, tomatoes, blueberries, raspberries.

And a proprietary probiotic mix that has proven to fill your dogs with vim and vigor!

Sounds like quite the mouthful doesn’t it! But actually, we looked into – and most of these are found in our own food, and health supplements.


  • Made in the USA
  • Trusted and sustainable ingredients
  • Family-owned company
  • The first ingredient is real venison
  • Small kibble size for easy chewing
  • Contains probiotics
  • Crude protein 28% minimum
  • Crude Fat 15% minimum
  • Crude fiber 5.5% maximum
  • Moisture 10% maximum


  • Lack of quality control so food size and shape varies by bag

All in all Taste of the Wild is one of the top products out there!

5. Wellness CORE

Wellness Core has created this grain-free dog food for small breeds who either have a grain sensitivity or require a more nutrient-dense rich diet.

Key Specifications

  • Grain-Free –  YES
  • Type of Food – DRY
  • Common Allergens –  YES
  • Recommended Age – Adult
  • Why We Recommend – Grain Free

This specific type of food is designed for mature small breed dogs, but if you happen to be the proud owner of a multi-dog household, it can be stressful to have one dog who suffers from a grain sensitivity in case all of your dogs eat together.

As you run the risk of them sneaking bites from each other’s bowls – cheeky monkeys!

But now, you can relax in the knowledge that there are multiple “types” of grain-free food within their product line – meaning that even if you have a pug puppy, or a mature large breed dog, you can find a dog food for them that will be safe for your grain sensitive pug to be around.


  • 80% more meat than traditional dog food
  • 100% grain-free
  • Specially designed for small breeds
  • Nutrient-rich
  • Contains omega fatty acids
  • Also available in the wet food formula
  • It contains live active prebiotics, probiotics, and fiber to promote a healthy digestive tract.


  • Can cause diarrhea and vomiting for sensitive tummies
  • Is not designed for puppies
  • Quality control has been known to be a problem

Canines with grain sensitivity are usually diagnosed after some damage to the gut — from long term eating of grain — has occurred, so as well as making sure that this food has the right nutrients to keep your pooch happy.

There are added pre and probiotics in Wellness Core to help aid the gut in recovery and ensure that it stays strong for the long-term.

Bottom Line

With so many dog foods available on the market, there are a couple of additional requirements that you really do need to take into consideration when looking for a dog food that will fit the needs and issues of the pug breed.

The Pug does gain weight easily, so a lower carbohydrate diet or smaller serving size will likely be appropriate, there are many medical problem that can be worsened from pugs gaining excessive weight, these include hip dysplasia, skin infections, allergies, and seizures.

Our stand out winner for the best dog food for your pug has to be the ROYAL CANIN which has not only been specially formulated to take into consideration the dogs ease of weight gain.

But also, their jaw shape which can make chewing larger size kibble a problem which has the opposite problem – weight loss. For all other specialized foods click here.

Razvan is a dog trainer and veterinary technician with over 10 years of experience working with dog daycares, animal shelters, vet clinics and private dog training. Razvan is one of the lead publishers on Dog Struggles covering the latest product reviews and dog health advice.

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