Best Dog Food for Poodles: Nutrient-Dense Canine Eats!

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November 4, 2022 / Dog Food / By: Melanie Evans

Nutrition for Poodles of All Sizes

This is one of the smartest dog breeds - and as anyone who has ever spent time watching competitive dog shows knows it's not just their fancy haircuts that win poodles the big honors but their obedience and movement skills as well.

But what’s the best dog food for Poodles?

We consulted with several dog experts and handlers, and we’ve compiled a list of great dog foods that’ll provide - your cute toy, the diminutive but elegant miniature or the majestic and beautiful standard poodle - with all the nutrients he needs.

Our Top Picks for the Best Dog Food for Poodles:

The Best Dry and Wet Foods for Poodles

We have come up with a short list of the best dog food for poodles of all sizes to help you make smarter choices the next time you shop. Our picks are based on breeder and owner experiences, their ancestral native diet as well as intensive brand research and recipe analysis.

#1. Expert Choice - CANIDAE Grain-Free PURE Wild with Wild Boar LID

First 5 Ingredients: Wild Boar, Pork Meal, Sweet Potatoes, Peas, Garbanzo Beans

This grain free dry dog food may be the very best choice for any poodle as it really is very close to that ancestral diet we just described. Its primary ingredient is real wild boar and the ingredients that follow it on the list include pork meal, sweet potatoes and alfalfa, all of which the long ago German poodle would certainly have enjoyed.

The concept behind all of Canidae's dog food products is that simple is better, so they only make use of seven 'key' ingredients. These however are carefully chosen for their nutritional value and their appealing taste (because even the best dog food for poodles is useless if your pup won't eat it).

The formula is also supplemented with extra vitamins and minerals, including Vitamins A, B12, C, D and E as well as folic acid and DHA (a substance found in canine mother's milk) It is designed to be gentle on the stomach - something that is a plus for smaller toy and miniature poodles who often have rather sensitive digestive systems - while also providing great nutrition for poodles of all sizes.

Poodle pet parents who prefer this formula - and there are a lot of them - tend to do so because it is so well tolerated by their sensitive tummied furkids. Many also remark upon an improvement in skin and coat condition since they began choosing to feed it to their pup. The fact that the ingredients are so simple is also a plus for poodles with allergies (a lack of tolerance for chicken is quite common) making this Canidae recipe the overall choice for best dog food for poodles in the minds of many.

#2. Top Rated - Wellness Core Grain-Free Wild Game Duck, Turkey, Boar & Rabbit 

First 5 ingredients: Duck, Lamb Meal, Chickpeas, Peas, Turkey Meal.

This is another dog food formula that mimics the 'original' diet of the poodle rather closely. In this case the primary meats featured are wild game duck, rabbit, turkey and wild boar, all of which the working poodle would have encountered in their German workplaces.

Like the Canidae formula this is a grain free dog food and it features a very limited number of added ingredients. For the most part the fruits and vegetables included are freeze dried fresh and include carrots, spinach, apples and blueberries. Fish oils are also added to provide additional omega 3 fatty acids and the kibble is enriched with additional vitamins including A, B12, C, D and E. Finally, egg is also high on the ingredient list, which adds easily digestible protein, riboflavin, and selenium, essential minerals for a poodle's overall health.

Pet parents who prefer Wellness Core for their poodle often cite the fact that it seems to cause fewer stomach upsets and is well-tolerated by pups who have issues with sensitivity to chicken or meal products. Owners also like the smaller size of the kibble of this Wellness Core Grain-Free recipe and the slightly softer than usual texture.

#3. Best Canned Food - Blue Buffalo Homestyle Recipe Chicken Dinner 

First 5 ingredients: Chicken, Chicken Broth, Chicken Liver, Carrots, Peas.

Most vets and breeders agree that the best way to feed any pup is via a mixture of wet and dry dog foods. When it comes to the wet portion of their poodle's diet many pet parents prefer this grain free formula from Blue Buffalo, one of the best known names in premium dog food on the market today.

The chicken that is used in this formula is freeze dried raw, and is, many pet parents say as close to feeding their dog a raw diet - something that an increasing number of experts recommend - as you can get. Both muscle and organ meat is included, as there are certain vitamins and minerals - especially D, E and K - that are found in higher quantities in organ meat than anywhere else. Chicken meal is also included for added protein.

The remaining ingredients are very simple and include peas, carrots and spinach. The formula also features Blue Buffalo's 'lifebits' which are concentrated vitamin rich kibble bits that are similar to the vitamin supplements you might take yourself.

Pet parents who prefer this canned formula comment primarily upon how much their dogs seem to enjoy it, as well as upon a marked improvement in the health of their pups coat.

#4. Best Puppy Food - Victor Active Dog & Puppy Grain-Free 

First 5 ingredients: Beef Meal, Peas, Sweet Potato, Chicken Fat, Menhaden Fish Meal.

Puppies - and active adult poodles - do require a little extra in terms of nutrition than the 'standard' adult food might offer. Victor take this into consideration and ensure that 75% of the protein in their grain free formula comes directly from a combination of USA sourced fresh beef, pork and fish.

The formula also included sweet potatoes, which are a great source of vitamin A, vitamin C, manganese as well as calcium for strong bones. 

Pet parents who choose this puppy food for their poodles say they do so because it improves their digestive health noticeably and even picky eaters seem to enjoy the smaller sized kibble.

Others point to the fact that with fish high on their ingredient list their pups are getting plenty of the Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids that are so beneficial to brain development. This is truly a well balanced recipe designed especially for active dogs and growing puppies of all sizes.

Victor is also a reliable brand with no recall history and carefully researched and formulated recipes to keep a dog healthy and happy for longer - something we all want for our fur kids.

Poodles' Nutrition - Buying Guide

A red and white toy poodle sitting on grass

A Toy Poodle

Because they have now been adopted as the national dog of France, and have a rather sophisticated reputation it's easy to dismiss the poodle - no matter what size - as a show dog and little more. However, the poodle does not come from France at all.

The poodle actually originated in Germany, dogs bred as water retrievers for the local hunters.

Back then they were known as tough creatures who stood up well to long work hours and bad weather and were exceptionally good at staying focused on their tasks. 

It was not until the poodle was introduced to England and France that breeders began to create the three poodle categories that exist today; toy, miniature and standard.

At home the poodle is a very loyal pup - although standards tend to be more vocal in this loyalty than the shyer toy or miniature - and they can be very energetic as well. This does mean that they need a diet that can support all those smarts and all that energy, which is why many poodle pet parents put a lot of time and effort into finding the best dog food for poodles. 

The poodles who worked the German forests with their hunter masters and so it is believed that they ate whatever was left of the hunting spoils. This would have included plenty of waterfowl and freshwater fish, game birds like pheasants and even the wild boar that were native to the area. They also would have consumed plenty of the fruits and vegetables they would have been able to forage for, especially root vegetables, berries and apples.

Many Poodle breeders feel that the best foods for poodles - of any size - mimic this diet and are as 'natural' and free from fillers as possible.

Poodles also need to consume the right amounts of vitamins and minerals to keep their big brains sharp and to help ensure that they can remain as energetic as they prefer to be (especially the standard poodle).

Health Concerns in Poodles

Like many popular breed of dogs, there are certain health conditions that poodles are more prone to than other dogs. These include the following:

Progressive Retinal Atrophy

Progressive retinal atrophy is a disease of the eye that causes the degeneration of the retina, which often eventually leads to blindness. This is, for the most part, a genetically based disease.

While it cannot be prevented completely in some cases making sure that your poodle's diet includes eye friendly vitamins and minerals - which include Vitamins A and C - as well as plenty of Omega 3 fatty acids, an amino acid that has been found to be especially good for eye health, can help poodles retain good eyesight for as long as possible.

Hip Dysplasia

A condition that is found in a number of breeds of all sizes, hip dysplasia is a potentially debilitating deformation of the ball and socket joints that make up the hip. This deformation results in the joint becoming inflamed and it may, over time, degrade to the point that walking becomes very painful for a pup or, in extreme cases, impossible.

How the condition is treated will vary according to the progression of the disease but most experts do feel that the right nutrition can be very helpful. This should include adequate amounts of calcium to help strengthen the bones as well as Vitamin D3 and phosphorus as well as vitamin K2.


Dog bloat happens when gas or food stretch a dog's stomach and it begins to fill with air. Although uncomfortable bloat is common and often resolves by itself, but if it is not resolved and develops into gastric torsion, a twisting of the stomach, it can be serious and even life-threatening.

What your pup eats can affect the likelihood that they develop bloat. Foods that are fiber rich keep the digestive system in better working order and some feel that avoiding grains is important as well.

Click here for a list of variety specific tests that Poodle Club of America, Inc., recommends breeders screen for.

Best Food for Poodles: Summed Up

Poodles are some of the most charming and lively pups and they are always fun to have around. By choosing the best dog food for poodles pet parents can help ensure that they remain that way for as long as possible.

While this is not in any way a definitive list -there are lots of choices out there and every poodle is a unique individual - the foods on this list do contain the nutrients and other features considered to be the best choices for a poodle of any size, so they are certainly a great place to start. 


Have you found a food a perfect food for your poodle? Tell us all about it in the comments below.


Melanie Evans

Melanie Evans is a professional freelance writer based in Scranton, PA, who, enjoys sharing her lifelong knowledge about dogs. When not working, Melanie enjoys playing a wide variety of sports, traveling and hanging out with her energetic boxer dog Bruce.

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