How to Choose the Right Food for Your Puppy

Dr. Pendergrass earned her veterinary degree from the Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine, then completed a research fellowship at Emory University’s Yerkes National Primate Research Center. During this fellowship, she decided to combine her love of science and writing by becoming a medical writer. Read more about how we research and test pet products here. This article was medically reviewed by Karie Johnson, DVM, a veterinarian in the south suburbs of Chicago whose focus is on nutrition, osteoarthritis, behavior, and end-of-life care. She is published in the Journal of the American Veterinary Association. Adult dogs generally do better when they are fed twice daily, rather than just having one larger meal per day.

Furthermore, the protein and amino acid content and digestibility were similar between the two types. We independently pick all the products we recommend because we love them and think you will too. If you buy a product from a link on our site, we may earn a commission. Links are updated when possible, but note that deals can expire and all prices are subject to change. Large-breed formulas tend to incorporate more fiber to help improve stool quality/firmness.

Joseph Wakshlag, DVM, PhD, is assistant professor of clinical nutrition at Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine. He says that for puppies younger than 8 weeks, you may need to moisten dry food until it feels spongy. Puppies are growing rapidly, building bone and muscle, and developing organs. After an exhaustive search and series of point-system style showdowns we came up with this list. We are very confident that all of the foods on the list are amongst the very best food for puppies choices available today.

There’s a relationship between price and quality when it comes to dog food. Ultra-cheap options tend to be filled with lower-quality ingredients to bulk them up and keep their prices down. Wet food often has more protein and fat and fewer carbohydrates. Before you switch your pet from dry to wet food, talk to your vet about potential issues your dog may have digesting a lot of protein or fat. We suggest feeding your puppy approximately 2.5% of their ideal adult weight, adjusting the exact amount according to your dog’s activity level and weight goal. You will know that your pup is at a healthy weight when you’re able to feel your pup’s ribs but not see them.

Tony Buffington, DVM, PhD. Buffington is a professor of veterinary clinical sciences at The Ohio State University Veterinary Hospital. “In the first six months or so, the nutrient needs are changing very quickly. And, they leave the least margin for error.” So asking your vet is a good idea since veterinarians typically recommend diets they’ve had the most experience with. If you want to be sure you are buying from a brand that cares about the health of your puppy as much as you do, JustFoodForDogs should be one of the first brands you look at.

A pet food cannot be approved for sale commercially unless its formula includes essential nutrients for dogs. Overall, feeding your pup the right diet based on their size and breed can help ensure they stay happy, healthy and growing properly throughout their development. Be sure to check with your veterinarian before making any changes to assess which formula is best for your pup’s nutritional needs.

When it comes to the feeding amount, it is ideal to feed them 4 times a day as pups eat a lot during their growth phase. The best thing about premium branded food is its high nutrient density and their unparalleled freshness. Also, these foods are age targeted as each of its ingredients have been designed to address the specific needs of a certain breed. Puppies are delicate creatures; for instance, their immune system and digestive mechanism are immature and hence sensitive. Healthy food for puppies should be such that it supports its developing body and also encourages the pet to eat, i.e. enable an easy transition from mother’s milk. It’s like a human trying to live on the leftover charred food on the grill grates.

“Puppy food is appropriate for adult dogs only if the adult dog will not become overweight on a higher calorie food,” Shepherd noted. This food is formulated to be biologically appropriate and offers complete nutrition for growing puppies. The first five ingredients are free-run chicken, turkey, turkey giblets, wild-caught flounder and whole mackerel, and cage-free eggs. Semi-moist dog food, especially the kind shaped like human meat, has very low nutritional value.

With grain and gluten-free and grain-inclusive recipes, they can serve pups with a diverse number of dietary needs. They have alternatives for vet-prescribed custom recipes as well as wet PantryFresh Line. This company provides vet-trained consultants to help develop the perfect nutrition plan for every pup. Canidae Pure Small Breed Puppy is a limited-ingredient formula made just for small breeds.

Expert pet nutritionist and formulator, James Pendergast,to create a complete and balanced meal. Dog food labeled as “”all life-stage appropriate”” are often used as a marketing buzz-word to catch puppy owner’s attention. Raw food is the best dog food you can feed young puppies to ensure that their immune system, eyes, brain & more develops properly. In general, it’s safe to give up to 10 per cent of your dog’s daily diet as household scraps, added to their main meal.

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