Featured image of two pugs canine in the grass

It took less than a minute to go completely mad about your pet pug, right? These likable little pups are so easy to adore.

But did you know that pugs require a great deal of attention and care to stay healthy and content?

Pugs belong to the group of toy dog breeds. To help them stay in good shape and health, it is crucial to feed them with good dog food for pugs. Clearly, their nutrition differs considerably from that of medium or large breeds.

A specifically- shaped muzzle can be an obstacle to picking up and chewing larger kibble. Owners must be aware of this when choosing the type of food for their pal. The fact that they often suffer from allergies is another important issue to consider. Finally, their double coat, prone to excessive shedding, calls for particular attention, too. Nutrition experts and vets have established a link between the skin and coat quality and the type of nutrition a long time ago.

For all these reasons, we will try to describe several high quality dog food blends. They are formulated to provide your pug with all he needs.

We believe our reviews and feeding tips will prove to be useful in making the ideal choice.

Top Picks of Pug Dog Food Reviewed

Best Overall

Small Product image of Blue Buffalo Dry Food
Blue Buffalo
Best Overall
Deboned Chicken
Chicken Meal
Brown Rice
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Active Dogs

Small Product image of Taste of the Wild Appalachian valley
Taste of the Wild
Active Dogs
Lamb Meal
Garbanzo Beans
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For Immunity

Small Product image of Wellness Adult Deboned Turkey
For Immunity
Deboned Turkey
Chicken Meal
Ground Brown Rice
Salmon Meal
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Adult Dogs

Small Product image of Hills Science Diet Small Paws Adult
Hill's Science
Adult Dogs
Chicken Meal
Brewers Rice
Whole Grain Wheat
Soybean Meal
Whole Grain Sorghum
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Strong Muscles

Small Product image of Purina Beneful IncrediBites
Purina Beneful IncrediBites
Strong Muscles
Whole Grain Corn
Chicken By-Product Meal
Corn Gluten Meal
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Weight Management

Small Product image of Royal Canin Pug
Royal Canin
Weight Management
Brewers Rice
Chicken By-Product Meal
Brown Rice
Corn Gluten Meal
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Healthy Skin & Coat

Small Product image of AvoDerm Small Breed
Healthy Skin & Coat
Chicken Meal
Ground Whole Brown Rice
Ground Whole White Rice
Chicken Fat
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Blue Buffalo - Best Overall

First Five Ingredients:

  • Deboned Chicken
  • Chicken Meal
  • Barley
  • Brown Rice
  • Oatmeal

Your lively little canine deserves only the best. This is why Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula, an outstanding blend of top-quality ingredients, makes a great choice. It is packed with protein, featuring real, deboned chicken as the very first ingredient. It meets the energy requirements of your small-breed pup, keeping him lean and in good shape.

Whole grains, providing complex carbs, add to the energy value of this savory food. A wide range of fruits and veggies supply the vital nutrients in the form of minerals, vitamins, and antioxidants. Well-known for its LifeSource Bits, in combination with Super 7 package of antioxidant-rich nutrients, it presents an ideal combination of ingredients.

Omega 3 and 6 Fatty Acids will take care of your furry friend’s skin and coat. Owing to glucosamine, joint health and mobility will be maintained.

This formula is safe for pups with allergies and sensitivities, as it does not include corn, wheat or soy, as well as chicken by-products.  

Do not take things for granted – ensure that your beloved buddy is getting nothing but the top-quality food. With Blue Buffalo, it is easier than ever!

Taste of the Wild - Ideal For Active Dogs

First Five Ingredients:

  • Venison
  • Lamb Meal
  • Peas
  • Garbanzo Beans
  • Lentils

Creators of this tasty dry food believe that it is the taste of the wild that your little pal craves. As a result, their innovative formula includes less common, but equally valuable sources of protein. They used venison as the number one ingredient and primary source of protein.

Lamb meal, ocean fish meal, and duck meal provide additional protein support. They make sure all the important amino-acids find their way to your pet’s feeding bowl. Abundant in fats, too, it caters to the energy needs of your canine.

Prebiotic and probiotic formulas promote easy digestion. The kibble of small size suits little pups, encouraging them to chew. Vitamins and minerals in this blend come from a variety of fruits and vegetables. They bolster your pup’s immunity system.

The skin and coat will have a healthy, glossy appearance due to high contents of Omega 3 and 6 Fatty Acids. To be safe even for the most sensitive of pups, it eliminates soy, corn, wheat, fillers, preservatives as well as artificial flavors or colors.

Your little pal is unique. This exquisite formula is definitely something he deserves!

Wellness - Great For Immunity

First Five Ingredients:

  • Deboned Turkey
  • Chicken Meal
  • Ground Brown Rice
  • Salmon Meal
  • Oatmeal

Your bold little buddy will feel all the benefits of this formula. It is specially designed for small dog breeds, taking care of the optimal calorie density. Rich in protein and fats, it will fuel your pup with sufficient energy for an active day.

Wellness takes care of your little pet’s healthy weight, helping him have a lean body. Its protein is sourced from turkey, oatmeal and salmon. Whole grains serve as a provider of fibers and complex carbs. Omega Fatty Acids help your pup have a healthy skin and soft, glossy coat.

Addition of C and A vitamins help your canine have a stronger body defense system. The small-sized kibble suits the specific shape of the jaw of your small-breed pet. Chondroitin Sulfate in this delicious mix keeps the joints in your pup healthy and mobile.

Proper nutrition and good health go hand in hand. This is what the manufacturers of Wellness Small Breed Complete Health had in mind in the first place!

Hill's Science - Fit For Adult Dogs

First Five Ingredients:

  • Chicken Meal
  • Brewers Rice
  • Whole Grain Wheat
  • Soybean Meal
  • Whole Grain Sorghum

The precise formulation of Hill’s Science dry dog food addresses every aspect of your adult canine’s wellbeing. It is made to meet the dietary needs of small and toy breeds, aged between 1 and 6 years. It will keep them healthy and energized. Quality, carefully-selected ingredients combine to achieve the best effect.

Savory chicken meal, supported by brown rice, supplies the necessary nutrients for your lovely little pup. Addition of calcium makes it beneficial for the bones. Rich in antioxidants, with vitamins C and E, it strengthens the immune system, making your pet more resistant to diseases.

Omega 6 Fatty Acids keep your pup’s skin and coat in great condition. Pure, carefully selected ingredients go well above the standard in the dog food industry. It contains no artificial flavors, colors, and preservatives.

Great commitment invested in this USA-made dry dog food formula reflects in its outstanding quality. Choose wisely and go for Hill’s Science Diet!

Purina Beneful IncrediBites - Best For Strong Muscles

First Five Ingredients:

  • Beef
  • Whole Grain Corn
  • Chicken By-Product Meal
  • Barley
  • Corn Gluten Meal

Farm-raised beef, as the number one ingredient, testifies about the quality of this dry dog food formula. It ensures the intake of the necessary levels of quality protein – or more precisely, 27g per serving cup.  It is what your beloved little pup needs to thrive and stay strong and muscular.

Carrots and peas combine to make this blend even tastier. The total of 23 essential minerals and vitamins support all the body functions in your canine. Apart from enhancing the metabolic processes, it boosts your pal’s metabolism. High contents of antioxidants help your pup get rid of toxins and harmful elements easily.

The kibble in Purina Beneful IncrediBites is perfectly sized. It will make picking up and chewing an easy task for your small-breed pup.

Optimal weight and strong muscles are one of many owners’ main priority when it comes to their pets. Purina is there to help you achieve this goal!

Royal Canin - Best For Weight Management

First Five Ingredients:

  • Brewers Rice
  • Chicken By-Product Meal
  • Brown Rice
  • Corn Gluten Meal
  • Corn

Experts at Royal Canin created this delicious formula specifically for pure breed Pugs. While doing so, they took into consideration all the relevant aspects of this breed’s health and overall wellbeing. Skin sensitivities, tendency to gain weight and susceptibility to allergies are all considered important when this breed is in question.

This formula is the best for pugs older than 10 months. Its combination of ingredients maintains your pup’s skin healthy. Appropriate levels of protein in combination with L-carnitine promote a healthy weight in your pup.

The manufacturers of this dry dog food formula paid close attention to the proper balance of essential nutrients. They shaped the kibble to look like a clover-leaf. By doing so, they made picking up of food easy and stimulated the process of chewing.

Royal Canin will provide your frisky little Pug with well-rounded nutrition, maintaining the healthy body weight, too.

AvoDerm - For Healthy Skin & Coat

First Five Ingredients:

  • Chicken Meal
  • Ground Whole Brown Rice
  • Ground Whole White Rice
  • Chicken Fat
  • Oatmeal

Chicken meal serves as the primary source of quality protein. It is of vital importance for your small canine’s sound nutrition. In combination with brown rice, it supplies substantial levels of energy – just what an active little athlete needs on a daily basis.

Vitamins and minerals included in this formula take care of your pup on a holistic level, making him stronger and healthier. With the addition of California avocado, your pup’s skin will remain healthy. At the same time, the coat will obtain a soft, glossy look. The proper ratio of Omega 3 and 6 Fatty Acids is one of this formula’s greatest advantages.

For all pups with sensitive tummies, AvoDerm makes a safe dietary option. It does not include any wheat, corn, and soy – the most common allergy triggers.

Tasty, optimally-balanced and nutrient-rich – there are certainly plenty of reasons to make AvoDerm your pet’s favorite choice

Common Health Problems In Pug Breeds


Pugs are at a greater risk of developing epilepsy than some other dog breeds. This neurological disorder involves abnormal electrical activity in your pet’s brain. When it occurs, your canine undergoes the so-called fits, or untypical movement and behavior.

This condition has a repetitive pattern, manifesting through convulsions and involuntary twitching of muscles. It can present a very serious problem and requires consultation, treatment, and monitoring by a vet.

Pug Dog Encephalitis

It is not completely clear what causes this neurological condition in pugs. It usually affects pups younger than three years of age. Simply speaking, it is an inflammation of the brain tissue. Veterinary specialists believe it is rooted in the breed’s genetics. Also, it is often associated with canine’s wrong immune response. In these cases, the body’s immune system attacks its own cells, mistaking them for bad ones.

It is not so easy to diagnose, as it shares many symptoms with related neurological disorders, such as epilepsy, tumors, etc

Eye Problems

In addition to suffering different traumas owing it to the shape of their face and size of their eyes, pugs tend to develop a number of vision issues. Cataract in pugs exists in the form of a cloudy tint on the eyeball and can lead to blindness. Vets treat it surgically with great success. The folding of the eyelid outwards is known as entropion and is frequently encountered in pugs. When a tear gland gets inflamed and enlarged, resembling a cherry, it is known as a cherry eye.

When an eye in pugs dries and becomes sore, due to the tear gland failure, we are dealing with the condition called a dry eye. Progressive retinal atrophy manifests through a limited reaction of your pug’s retina to light, causing blindness eventually.


About a fifth of all pugs may show signs of allergies at a certain point in life. These may include skin issues, respiratory or digestive problems as well. It may take some effort to identify what your pug’s allergy actually stems from. Specific allergy tests may be of great assistance.

Some of the symptoms connected with allergies are sneezing, coughing and wheezing. It may also reflect through excessive scratching, licking of paws and rubbing of eyes, nose and eye discharge. Your pup may also develop diarrhea.

Proper nutrition can make a great difference in alleviating the majority of the aforementioned symptoms.

Hip Dysplasia

Although more widespread among larger and medium-sized breeds, pugs as small dogs often develop this orthopedic condition.

It is characterized by the malformation of a hip joint, causing a great deal of discomfort to your furry pal. It results in restricted joint mobility, damaged and rubbing bones and cartilage. Your affected canine will move with difficulty, feel pain and eventually develop osteoarthritis.

Help your dog with this unpleasant condition by feeding him with food rich in Glucosamine and Chondroitin (check our top picks here).


Deformities in the spine bones are frequently encountered in pugs and other flat-faced pooches. A screw-tail is considered to be responsible for this kind of problem.

This bone deformity creates additional pressure on the spinal cord. It can cause the pain of various intensity. In more severe cases, hind legs may even get paralyzed. Sometimes, affected pups lose control over their bowel, too.

Vaccination Sensitivity

Sometimes, your pug’s body may overreact to vaccination. These symptoms usually disappear after a couple of days, but if they persist, you should definitely consult your vet.

After your pup gets a vaccine shot, he may develop diarrhea, vomiting, bumps all over the body, swelling of the region around the vaccination spot. In more serious situations, these excessive reactions can result in collapsing and even fatal outcomes.

Image of pug doggy tongue out

How To Feed Your Pug

Diet & Nutritional Needs

Small in size, but with a great heart – this is probably the best way to describe a pug. Accordingly, you should provide your active, playful little buddy with well-rounded nutrition, catering to his daily energy needs. So, what is it that your small dog favorite food should contain?

Pugs thrive on a diet abundant in protein. This vital nutrient, preferably of animal origin, helps them stay energized, without packing on extra pounds. In combination with complex carbohydrates, it will be a substantial source of important dietary components. Nutrition experts believe it should make at least 18% of all the nutrients.

Fats are beneficial for pups. Good quality fats of both animal and plant origin address several important aspects of your pup’s development and overall wellbeing. Omega Fatty Acids have an extremely positive impact on his skin and coat, too.

To stay strong and fight disease, necessary mineral and vitamin complexes supported by antioxidants bring about a number of benefits for your pup.

Ideally, your pug should take 50 calories per pound of his body weight daily.

Ingredients To Look For & Avoid

Quality animal protein is definitely what any good pug food formula should contain. It usually comes from real poultry, beef, lamb, salmon, and fish. Less commonly, its source can be venison or rabbit, too.

Whole grains, like brown rice, oat or barley serve as a substantial source of complex carbohydrates. Chicken fat, salmon oil or flaxseed oil make good sources of useful fats, too.

A wide choice of tasty fruit and garden veggies enrich your pug’s diet to a great extent. These may include peas, carrots, sweet potatoes, apples, blueberries, cranberries, avocado and so on.

As with any other dog, you should avoid certain ingredients (check our best grain free dog food guide) for the sake of your pug. Meal by-products are usually on top of this list. Moreover, fillers such as soy or corn are not ideal ingredients for pugs’ food either.

Several types of vegetables and fruits should also not be present in your pet’s diet. Some of them are onions, grapes, raisins as well as chocolate.

We create a full list of 30 human foods dogs can and can’t Eat, check it here.

Feeding Tips

Pugs are usually keen eaters. Responsible owners typically establish a strict and disciplined feeding routine. This way, they can monitor the intake of food and create positive feeding habits.

Baby pugs up to 6 months of age ideally have three meals a day. This is due to their increased activity and energy levels. Grown-up canines do best if you divide their daily food amounts into two equal portions. Seniors may need several smaller meals a day, to sustain their energy and facilitate digestion.

It is not always simple to establish the right quantity of food for your pet. Individual needs vary depending on several factors. Quality food formulas’ manufacturers provide general feeding guidelines. You can also consult your vet regarding the best feeding options for your beloved buddy.

For extra information about proper nutrition for small breed puppy check our guide.


Owning a pug is undoubtedly an amazing experience. These funny little mischiefs will bring lots of joy and amusement to you and your family.

They can be quite sensitive and fragile, though.  Their well-being largely depends on your care and attention.

It is crucial to feed your pug properly. Such a diet should be varied, well-balanced and rich in vital nutrients. Blue Buffalo, our top choice, meets all the criteria set by both owners and nutrition experts.

Take no chances and provide your beloved furry friend with nothing but the best. He will certainly feel all the benefits of your wise choices!


Recommended reading:

  1. Brachycephaly in Dogs: Health Issues for Brachycephalic Dog Breeds