Welcoming a new puppy into your home is a joyous occasion, but it comes with a lot of work and a lot of decisions.
The first of which, is what is the best puppy food to buy? With so many pet food companies to choose from, it can be difficult to know which one is going to be the right dog food for your puppy and give your growing puppy everything he needs to mature into a healthy, and happy dog!
Research shows that the canine digestive system has evolved along with ours. Much of this is thanks to dogs cohabitation with humans for thousands of years. They have evolved to thrive off of the food available to them, and often – this was scraps from their owners.
So, while dogs descend from wolves. Their digestive system has moved away from needing just meat. Nowadays, you can find healthy dogs thriving off of varied and even fully vegetarian diets.
The first question you need to ask when it comes to selecting the right puppy food is – what is in the list of ingredients?
We put together a list to make it easier for you to know what you should be looking for, and what you might prefer to avoid.
- Human grade ingredients
- Whole animal products
- Added vitamins and minerals
NOT SO GOOD INGREDIENTS
- Food dyes
- Meat meal
- Corn Syrup
- Growth Hormones
- Bone meal
As well as evolving to share similarities with our digestion. Our dogs have also developed food allergies too.
Not all puppies will suffer from allergies, but if you notice health issues cropping up. It may be worth checking your current puppy’s food, to see if it contains any common allergens:
2. SIZE AND BREED
First thing’s first. A puppy’s nutritional needs vary drastically depending on his stature. If you’ve adopted your first Labrador, his food requirements will be different than that of a Great Dane pup!
With over three-hundred unique breeds of dog around the world. This variety makes it impossible to have a “one size fits all” mindset when it comes to choosing your puppy’s food.
Specifically in the case of breeds known to suffer health issues.
BREED AT RISK OF NUTRITION NEEDS
Labrador Cancer Whole foods, no bulking agents
French Bulldog Hip Dysplasia Weight maintenance
Dalmatian Allergies Hypoallergenic food
Beagle Epilepsy Feeding small and often
Rottweiler Elbow Dysplasia Natural fatty acids, weight maintenance
Pug Breathing problems Weight maintenance
3. TYPE OF FOOD
To make your decision a little bit harder. You also have to decide whether you want to feed dry, canned, and homemade food.
Each option has its merits;
- Dry food is a nice choice for a healthy pup with no known health issues.
- Canned food can be a better option for a breed that is likely to suffer from health problems.
- And homemade food is often a great option for pups with more severe allergies.
We did some research into some of the best puppy food options. Here are our top picks!
Wellness Complete Health Natural Wet Canned Dog Food
FOOD TYPE: Canned
The Wellness brand of food contains ingredients ideal for dogs with skin conditions. And benefits from being palatable for many of the fussiest eaters.
- All natural
- Premium ingredients
- No meat meal
- Mushy consistency
FOOD TYPE: Dry
A favorite with owners looking for optimum health. With a lot of owners saying that this food leaves them with active, healthy fur babies!
- Nutrient balance ideal for small breed puppies
- Tiny kibble for ease of chewing
- Premium protein sources
- Filled with antioxidant rich ingredients
- Might not work for the pickiest of eaters
FOOD TYPE: Dry
Royal Canin has been in business since the late 60’s and offers a vast selection of products. With options for specific breeds, sizes, and dogs with medical conditions.
- Very palatable
- Many vets recommend
- Easy to switch from this to Royal Canin adult food
- Many common allergens
- Contains meat meal
FOOD TYPE: Rehydrate
The Honest Kitchen is making a name for themselves. They’re seen as the place to go for healthy, natural, rehydratable dog and cat food products.
- Grain free
- High in protein
- Human grade ingredients
- No GMO
- Not always the best choice for especially fussy pups
5. Switching diet
Now that you’ve found the perfect food for your new pup. It’s important to switch him over to this food very gradually to avoid upset tummies, and a sickly pup.
Puppies have sensitive digestive systems, and should they suffer from diarrhea. It’s very easy for them to become life threateningly ill through dehydration.
The switchover process will likely take you anywhere from nine to twelve days in total.
Day 1 – 3
Start by mixing one part new food with three parts current food.
Day 4 – 6
Increase to two parts new food, with two parts current food.
Day 7 – 8
You can now mix three parts new food with one part current food.
Today is the first day that you can feed only the new food.
If your puppy gets an upset tummy at any point during this transition. Go back a step and take it twice as slow on the next attempt.
There are a lot of great options when it comes to selecting the perfect food for your precious pup! Take your time, do the research, and ask the professionals! Your veterinarian, puppy’s breeder, or local rescue center are great places to start. And often, they’re more than happy to spend time helping responsible dog owners who care about their dog!