Best Dog Food Choices For Pugs

Many people that pet food is just that: Pet food. However, there are many different types and some are good for your pet and some are bad. With dogs, for example, there is a big difference between high-quality protein dry food, grain-free dog food and commercial dog food, as well as puppy food and adult dog food.

It also depends on the breed of dog you have and love. When it comes to dog breeds, there are few that are as cute as a wrinkly pug puppy. They’re funny, affectionate, and bred to be companions. Pugs are generally a healthy breed, but they do suffer from some common ailments, including food allergies.

A proper diet is especially important to a pug’s health. One health issue with pugs is that they’re prone to allergies, so you have to watch what you feed them to make sure they don’t exhibit any signs of a reaction. They can also suffer from spine, hip, and knee problems and are notorious for breathing issues, so keeping their weight under control is an important part of keeping them healthy.


Dog Food Name

Price per lb.

Our Rating



Blue Buffalo Freedom Small Breed Adult Chicken



Wellness Core Dry Dog Food for Small Breeds: Turkey and Chicken



Orijen Original Dry Dog Food



Royal Canin Pug Adult Dry Dog Food



AvoDerm Brown Rice and Chicken Formula


Special Considerations

Here are some nutrition tips to keep in mind when choosing a dog food for your pug:

All dogs, including pugs, will need varying calories depending on their age, activity level, and metabolism. For example, a growing puppy will need to eat more than an older pug and a pug that isn’t very active would need less than one that is.

Protein – An important part of pug food, protein is needed for cell growth, maintenance, and repair. Protein is usually present in dog food in the form of animal-based meats, like chicken, turkey, and beef.

Fats – A concentrated form of energy that is essential for cell structure and hormone production.

Carbohydrates – A provider of fast energy, carbs provide the brain with necessary sugars. Easily digestible fibrous carbohydrates can help manage intestinal health in dogs and are usually found in dog food in the form of beet pulp.

Vitamins – It’s essential that pugs get their vitamin requirements from their food, but it’s important not to give your pug or any dog a vitamin supplement unless prescribed by your vet. This will make sure your pug avoids the adverse effects of too many vitamins.

Minerals – Minerals must also be obtained through diet and are important for providing bone and teeth structure as well as maintaining a healthy fluid balance. There are special formulas of food available if your pug suffers from joint problems.

Grain-free and low-carb diets can help a pug with food allergies. Consult with your vet to figure out what foods your pug can safely eat.

Some Great Pug Foods to Try

Here are some really good options of dry dog food that your pug will love.

1. Blue Buffalo Freedom

This comes in a variety of formulas, including Chicken, Lamb, and Beef in large breed, small breed, and healthy weight varieties. Blue Buffalo also has a number of other great dog foods for seniors and puppies. All of their recipes contain no artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives.

This chicken recipe has real deboned chicken as the top ingredient, which is a great source of protein. There’s no meat by-product, wheat, or soy. Because their recipes are grain and gluten-free, Blue Buffalo is a great choice for pugs because it helps avoid some of the things that could trigger an allergic reaction.

2. Wellness Core

Wellness Core comes in a variety of formulas, including Original Turkey & Chicken, Puppy, Reduced Fat, Small Breed, Small Breed, and Ocean Whitefish, Herring and Salmon. They’re 100% grain free and contain 80% more meat than traditional dog foods which will help increase lean muscle mass and help your pug burn excess fat and calories.

Necessary antioxidants that promote immune health, fatty acids, and probiotics which aid your pet with digestion occur naturally. In addition, they don’t use any soy, corn, or fillers. Overall;, Wellness provides your pug with everything it needs to be healthy and get all of the nutrients it needs.

3. Orijen

This grain-free formula has several sources of high-quality protein, including chicken, turkey, flounder, mackerel, and eggs. A third of the meats are dehydrated and provide a good amount of concentrated protein. The protein provided by Orijen is actually very impressive. In fact, the first fifteen items on the ingredients list are proteins.

The fresh meat in this recipe also serves as a natural way to include glucosamine and chondroitin, which could help any joint issues your pug might be experiencing. Orijen also adds locally sourced fruits and vegetables to make this a tasty treat for your pug. It contains 85% protein and 15% fruits and vegetables, with no fillers, grains, or plant proteins. It’s also fresh, natural, and sustainably farmed.

What’s on the Label?

There are some specific things to look for on the dog food label to make sure your pug is getting the right things.

First, meat proteins should be the main ingredients. You’ll know this is the case if they show up at the beginning of the ingredient list. Ingredients are listed from most to least and you want the largest part of the dog food to be a meat protein, not a grain.

You might see something like “meat meal” listed. This is an animal protein that has had the water removed. Some people prefer a whole meat protein, which is fine. But keep in mind that meat proteins are going to have a lot of water in them.

Meat meals have a protein that is more concentrated and are a really good item to have listed at the start of the ingredients. Avoid dog foods with anything listed as a meat by-product, as this can mean bones as well as other indigestible parts of the animal. It can also signify road kill or expired meat products.

Fat is also an important part of pug food because it’s needed for the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins. Look for fats like chicken fat, fish oil, and omega-3. Fatty acids keep your dog’s skin healthy and its coat shiny.

Finally, when you are selecting a dog food for your sweet pup, make sure that the formula includes high-quality sources of carbohydrates. Good examples are sweet potatoes, peas, and flaxseed. Not only will carbs provide fiber and keep your dog’s digestive system working properly, but they also provide your dog a source of slow burning energy and will allow him to feel fuller, longer.

Pug Dog Food Recipes

If you wish to make homemade dog food for your pug then you can follow some very basic recipes that we've put together. These are easy to follow these nutritional and meal guidelines.

There may be times when preparing homemade meals for your Pug is too much of a chore, or you're going to be traveling and cooking is not practical and we would suggest referring to the suggested dog food we mentioned above.

Recipe #1: Stewed Chicken and Brown Rice

Stewed chicken and brown rice is an excellent meal for any Pug. Use dark meat only; chicken legs are a great choice. Stew the legs until the meat can be easily separated. Let the mixture cool until the meat can be safely handled.

Remove the meat from the bone and strain the liquid through a cheesecloth strainer to remove all fat and gristle. Return the liquid to the pot and add enough water to cook the rice. Cut the chicken into Pug-sized pieces while the rice is cooking. When the rice is ready, add the meat and it's dinnertime! You can make extra and freeze it for another day.

Recipe #2: Ground Turkey

Ground turkey is another healthy and delicious choice for your best friend. Brown the meat in a skillet with a bit of vegetable or olive oil. Lower the heat to simmer, add some fresh veggies (green beans carrots, asparagus, bits of baked potato or sweet potatoes, but not corn or peas) and continue cooking until the meat is cooked throughout and the vegetables are done but not mushy. Let cool and serve. Freeze or refrigerate leftovers for another day.

Recipe #3: Chicken/Beef Liver

Chicken or Beef liver is another Pug favorite that goes well with veggies. Brown the liver in skillet with a little bit of vegetable or olive oil, reduce to simmer and add the veggies. When the vegetables are done, let cool, chop the mixture up and serve.

Some recipes suggest adding a tablespoon of honey and fresh yogurt. Liver doesn't store well so make just enough for one or two day's meals.

Recipe #4: Eggs and Vegetables

Scrambled Eggs and Vegetables are a great way to get your Pug off to an energetic start. If you're using two eggs, remove one yolk and scramble the rest in a skillet with low fat milk. Mix in some diced green beans and a bit of shredded reduced fat cheese. Let cool and serve.

Final Thoughts

Like any dog, pugs can be picky about switching foods and may even develop an upset stomach if the transition is done too quickly. It’s commonly recommended to make the switch a little at a time, mixing the new food with the old more and more until eventually the old recipe is completely phased out.

Remember, it’s important that you choose a high-protein dog food recipe for your pug and avoid meat by-products and grains as much as you can. This is one of the most important ways to help your canine friend stay happy and healthy for years to come.

1 thought on “Best Dog Food Choices For Pugs”

  1. This is an excellent article and I will try several of the recipes mentioned. My problem with my 14 year old pug is that she has become very picky. My vet wants her on a urinary care diet (she had one urinary episode several months ago) and since starting her on Royal Canine Urinry SO and Hills CD urinary care , she won’t eat it by itself even when I mix the two together. I have to doctor her food and add a bit of chicken or turkey, sweet potatoes, green beans and carrots into the mixture. This is the only way she will eat if at all.
    The problem with these products however have many of the ingredients (meat by-products) you say to stay away from, and I’m considering not using them at all. Do you have any suggestions?
    Many thanks for your help.

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