Originally Posted By: 3K9MomCommercial grain-free diet -- specifically kibble.
A raw (or home cooked) diet is fine for a pup, IMO. Kibbles are really dense, so with grain free kibbles, you can get numbers like 42% protein, 22% fat, 2.5% calcium, 1.4 phosphorus. That's from Instinct Kibble which is what I feed one of my adults, but other grain-free kibbles are similar (not exactly the same, but tend to be similar). That's high for a puppy. I wouldn't feed it to a pup under 1 year, or who still has a lot more growing to do. I know some people do. I wouldn't. I don't feed it to my beagle pup. I'd never feed it to to a larger breed dog, like my GSD.
Canned grain frees (Evo, canned Instinct) are lower because they're about 70-75% moisture. Not as nutrient dense. Raw and home-cooked diets are similar in that we're feeding a lot more water with the nutrients.
My beagle pup eats about 70% kibble, 30% raw. My GSD eats all raw. (I don't feed any grains other than what pup gets in her ALS kibble). My other adult eats Instinct with some homemade. I think raw and homemade diets are great and prefer them for any dog that can tolerate them.
I'll also add that I don't include Natural Balance as a true grain-free because its formulas are high in carbs. (I mean, I know they are "grain-free" but...) So you get numbers that I think tend to be too low for *active* pups: 21-ish% protein and 10% fat. If pup isn't very active, these can work, and are better than kibbles that are loaded with grains, esp the wrong grains. But for active puppies, I prefer something with higher nutrient values. For me, it's all about walking the tightrope between nutrient values and deciding which, if any, grains are ok for a while.