The Best Dog Food for Pugs for 2022

Written by Judie Sigdel
Published: April 2, 2022

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Pugs originated in China around 2,000 years ago. The breed was developed for one purpose only: to love and to be loved. Today, these small, muscular dogs with their big round eyes, wrinkly foreheads, and curly-Q tails still take their job very seriously. They’re perfectly happy to hang out on the couch watching Netflix with their humans. They don’t need a lot of exercise, but, surprisingly, they can excel at certain canine sports, including agility, obedience, and rally. This breed is prone to obesity and a number of health concerns, so choosing the best dog food for Pugs is critical for your pet’s wellbeing.

Your Pug will thrive on high-quality dog food that’s formulated for toy dogs. You’ll need to take your dog’s stage of life into consideration, too, since puppies, adults, and seniors have very different nutritional and caloric requirements. Finally, if your Pug is a little pudgy, you’ll want to select a food with reduced calories. 

We’ve taken the guesswork out of selecting the best food for your Pug by researching, ranking, and rating our top choices.

A-Z-Animals Top Picks for Dog Food for Pugs

  1. Royal Canin Breed Health Nutrition Pug Adult Dry Dog Food
  2. Royal Canin Breed Health Nutrition Pug Adult Dry Dog Food
    • Specially formulated for purebred Pugs
    • Help maintain optimal body weight
    • The kibble is easy to pick up with their square muzzles
    • Added L-carnitine for turning fat into energy
    Check Chewy Check Amazon
  3. Royal Canin Breed Health Nutrition Pug Puppy
  4. Royal Canin Breed Health Nutrition Pug Puppy
    • Specially formulated for the nutritional needs of purebred Pug puppies
    • Contains prebiotics for healthy digestion
    • Added antioxidants for a healthy immune system
    • Contains EPA and DHA derived from fish oil
    Check Chewy Check Amazon
  5. Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula
  6. Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula
    • Contains the ingredients to support the overall health and well-being of older dogs
    • Features real meat as the first ingredient
    • Contains glucosamine and chondroitin to support your aging dog’s joint health and mobility
    • Doesn’t include chicken or poultry by-products
    Check Chewy Check Amazon
  7. Hill's Science Diet Adult Small Paws Variety Pack Wet Dog Food Trays
  8. Hill's Science Diet Adult Small Paws Variety Pack Wet Dog Food Trays
    • Delicious formula
    • Comes in single-serving trays
    • Contains lean, high-quality proteins
    • No artificial colors or flavors
    Check Chewy Check Amazon
  9. Pedigree Small Dog Complete Nutrition
  10. Pedigree Small Dog Complete Nutrition
    • Affordable option
    • Specially formulated for small dog breeds
    • Supplemented with antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals
    • Kibble helps to clean dog's teeth
    Check Chewy Check Amazon

#1 Overall Best: Royal Canin Breed Health Nutrition Pug

The best dog food for adult Pugs is Royal Canin Breed Health Nutrition Pug. This dry food is specially formulated to meet the nutritional requirements of purebred Pugs that are at least 10 months old. Plus, the kibble is designed to be easy for your pup to pick up with her short, blunt, square muzzle.

Since the breed is prone to weight gain, this recipe features a balanced formula to help your pet maintain her optimal body weight. It contains adapted protein content to maintain muscle tone and added L-carnitine, which supports muscles by turning fat into energy. In addition, EPA and DHA from fish oil will keep your Pug’s skin and coat in peak condition, so she looks as good on the outside as she feels on the inside.

In 1968, French veterinarian Dr. Jean Cathary founded Royal Canin, a science-based pet food brand. In the United States, the company has manufacturing facilities in Missouri and South Dakota.

Overall Best
Royal Canin Breed Health Nutrition Pug Adult Dry Dog Food
  • Specially formulated for purebred Pugs
  • Help maintain optimal body weight
  • The kibble is easy to pick up with their square muzzles
  • Added L-carnitine for turning fat into energy
Check Chewy Check Amazon

2. Best Puppy Food – Royal Canin Pug Puppy Breed Specific

If your Pug is eight weeks to 10 months old, your search for the perfect puppy food is over. Royal Canin created this dry food to meet the unique nutritional needs of purebred Pug puppies. It contains high-quality protein to support the growth and development of your new pup’s muscles, skin, and coat. Nutrients like EPA and DHA, which are derived from fish oil, will also contribute to the condition of her skin and coat.

Since your puppy’s digestive system is still developing, Royal Canin Pug Puppy Breed Specific is formulated with prebiotics for healthy digestion and optimal stool quality. And the company’s exclusive blend of antioxidants, including vitamin E, will support her immune system and her body’s overall growth.

Royal Canin’s Breed Specific line of dog foods tailors their recipes to meet the specific nutritional needs of different purebred dogs, including antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, fiber, protein, and prebiotics, The line also includes formulas to meet the nutritional needs of each breed at every stage of life.

Best for Puppies
Royal Canin Breed Health Nutrition Pug Puppy
  • Specially formulated for the nutritional needs of purebred Pug puppies
  • Contains prebiotics for healthy digestion
  • Added antioxidants for a healthy immune system
  • Contains EPA and DHA derived from fish oil
Check Chewy Check Amazon

3. Best Food for Seniors – Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Natural Senior Small Breed

Blue Buffalo developed this recipe to meet the nutritional needs of aging small breed dogs. The first ingredient is high-quality, protein-rich deboned chicken to help your senior Pug maintain her healthy muscles. It also contains glucosamine and chondroitin for the joint health and mobility support older dogs need and carbohydrates so she’ll still have plenty of energy to play.

All of Blue Buffalo’s recipes include real meat, whole grains, vegetables, and fruit. And each bag is made with Lifesource Bits. This proprietary blend of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals was formulated by holistic veterinarians and animal nutritionists to support your dog’s immune system health and life-stage requirements while maintaining a healthy oxidative balance.  

This natural formula contains no chicken or poultry by-product meals, corn, wheat, soy, artificial flavors, or artificial preservatives.

Best for Senior Dogs
Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula
  • Contains the ingredients to support the overall health and well-being of older dogs
  • Features real meat as the first ingredient
  • Contains glucosamine and chondroitin to support your aging dog’s joint health and mobility
  • Doesn’t include chicken or poultry by-products
Check Chewy Check Amazon

4. Best Canned Dog Food: Hill’s Science Diet, Adult, Small & Toy

If your Pug prefers wet dog food, they’ll beg for this delicious formula from Hill’s Science Diet. This 12-tray pack includes two yummy varieties – Savory Beef & Vegetable and Savory Chicken & Vegetable –in peel-and-serve, single-serving trays. The recipe is made with lean, high-quality proteins to nourish your buddy’s muscles and organs. And gentle fibers will help to promote her healthy digestion.  

You can feed this wet formula as a nutritionally complete meal or mix it with dry food for variety.  

It’s precisely formulated to meet the nutritional needs of adult dogs from one to six years old. It includes taurine for heart health and omega-6 fatty acids and vitamin E to maintain your pup’s healthy skin and shiny coat.  

Hill’s manufactures its pet foods in the U.S.A. from high-quality, real food ingredients sourced from North America, Europe, and New Zealand. All of their products are free from artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives.

Best Canned Food
Hill's Science Diet Adult Small Paws Variety Pack Wet Dog Food Trays
  • Delicious formula
  • Comes in single-serving trays
  • Contains lean, high-quality proteins
  • No artificial colors or flavors
Check Chewy Check Amazon

5. Best Bargain Food – Pedigree Small Dog Complete Nutrition

Nutritious dog food doesn’t have to be expensive. This one is specially formulated to give adult small breed dogs like your Pug the energy they need with nutritious whole grains, protein, and vegetables. It’s supplemented with antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals to support your pal’s healthy immune system and omega fatty acids and zinc to keep her skin healthy and coat shiny.

Pedigree Small Dog Complete Nutrition’s unique small, oral-care kibble will gently clean your Pug’s teeth and freshen her breath as she chews. Plus, its special blend of fibers promotes healthy digestion and optimal droppings.

Pedigree is a subsidiary of Mars, Incorporated, with headquarters in McLean, Virginia. Their products are made in the U.S.A. without fructose corn syrup, artificial flavors, or added sugar.  

Best Bargain
Pedigree Small Dog Complete Nutrition
  • Affordable option
  • Specially formulated for small dog breeds
  • Supplemented with antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals
  • Kibble helps to clean dog's teeth
Check Chewy Check Amazon

Special Food Considerations for Pugs

Pugs love food almost as much as they love their humans, so they’re prone to obesity. You can help them maintain their ideal weight by feeding them one of the foods listed above in the appropriate amount. Monitor their weight to make sure the pounds don’t creep up on them since even an extra pound can place a big strain on a toy dog.

Puppies, adults, and seniors all have very different nutritional and calorie requirements, so you’ll need to adjust their food as they grow. You should discuss your dog’s weight, age, and food with your veterinarian during every visit.

Finally, don’t forget that the calories in treats can add up fast. Use them judiciously as a training aid, but don’t give in to those big, sad eyes when she begs.  

Choosing the Best Dog Food for Pugs: What to Look for

When choosing the best dog food for your Pug you should consider price, quality, and type (dry or wet).

Price

Inexpensive dog food often includes fillers and ingredients that take up room in the bag but won’t nourish your dog. That’s why it’s important to read labels to ensure that the brand you choose doesn’t include ingredients like chicken or poultry by-product meal, artificial flavors, or artificial colors.

Quality dog food doesn’t include fillers. It costs more, but you’ll save in the long run because you won’t have as many unscheduled vet visits.

Quality

Premium-quality dog foods include real food such as meat, vegetables, and fruits. They also feature essential fatty acids, vitamins, and minerals to enhance your pet’s health.

Type (Dry or Wet)

The dog food discussed in this review is available in dry (kibble) and wet (canned) recipes.

The Different Types of Dog Foods for Pugs: Pros and Cons Compared

When choosing the best dog food for your Pug, you need to understand the different types: dry (kibble) and wet (canned). Let’s look at the pros and cons of each type:

Dry Dog Food

Pros!Cons!
Lower per-calorie cost than wet foodNot as appetizing as canned food
Won’t spoil if left outTends to include more grains than wet food

Wet (Canned) Dog Food

Pros!Cons!
Can increase hydrationDo not remove tarter or plaque from teeth like dry food can
More appetizing than dry foodMore expensive per calorie than dry

Verified Pug Dog Food Review: User Experience

Some reviewers said that their Pugs wouldn’t eat the featured food, like this one who wrote, “My dog didn’t like [Royal Canin Pug Adult Breed Specific Dry Dog Food]. He refuses to eat it and you guys know Pugs. They eat anything! But, yeah. Did not work for me. Hopefully, it works for another Puggie.” Another said this about Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Natural Senior Small Breed, “Ingredients are healthy, small pieces. I have two senior small dogs, but they don’t like it.”

A common complaint was the price. This reviewer said, “[Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Natural Senior Small Breed] is a good product but it’s too expensive. My dog liked it but I had to find another product because of the price.”

Most reviewers were pleased with the dog foods that appeared in this review, like this one who wrote, “I’ve fed my little girl Blue Buffalo brand since we got her. I feed her this with a little wet food as a topping, and she cleans the bowl every time. I feed her three times a day, which I’ve read is better for their overall health. She is over seven now, so I’ve switched to the Senior variety. Her overall health is very good and her stools are nice and firm. Good food and she is worth it!”

This reviewer exclaimed, “If you have a smelly Pug like mine [Royal Canin Pug Puppy Breed Specific Dry Dog Food] is the food for your fur baby!!! My son, who is an experienced dog owner, suggested I try a better food brand to improve my Pug’s stinkiness. It worked immediately! I can’t believe how much a dog’s diet influences its smell, skin, and hair health! She still smells like a dog obviously but no longer smells like corn chips and smelly feet! Buy it! My family and friends even comment on how much better she smells.”

Finally, one reviewer wrote the following about the bargain brand featured in this review, “I started getting Pedigree after a neighbor recommended it. I usually get the small dog formula because my dogs prefer the smaller pellet size. I also love the packaging and how the ziplock opening keeps the food fresh. The price is right as well!”

Products for This Review

About the Author

My passion is writing about animals. I’ve published articles on pet parrots, birds, and small animal care and reviews about pet food and products. I have an ever-evolving aviary and menagerie that has included cockatiels, parakeets, conures, European starlings, a chukar partridge, guinea pigs, dogs, and cats. I’m also the author of Faith without Labels: a Guide to Eclectic Spirituality.

The Best Dog Food for Pugs for 2022 FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) 

How do I find out if my dog’s food has been recalled?

As of March 19, 2022, none of the food featured here has been recalled according to the FDA recall database.

Is corn bad for dogs?

No. While corn is often lumped in with “fillers,” animal nutritionists say that it’s good for dogs. It includes protein, carbohydrates, linoleic acid (omega-6 fatty acid), antioxidants, and fiber.

Does quality dog food make a difference?

High-quality dog food generally contains ingredients that are appropriate for your dog’s breed and their stage of life, making it the best choice for your BFF (Best Furry Friend).