Congratulations on your new puppy. You’re in for a real treat! Puppies are one of the most fun stages of a dog’s life of which you can be a part. It can also be one of the most frustrating times (you might lose a shoe here or there… maybe even your bagel in the morning). But aside from some of the frustrations, puppies bring laughter and joy into your world. Finding the best dog food for puppies to make them grow is the least you can do for these adorable fur balls.
That’s why finding them the healthiest and most appropriate food for their growing brain and body is so important—even as older dogs. Adult dog food doesn’t contain balanced nutrition like puppy food, which can lead to your sweet pup lacking in some of the more critical areas of nutrition.
Regardless if you have a large breed or a small one, as your puppy grows bigger, their appetite will increase as well! Though there is wet food, canned food, and raw food, dry food (kibble) will become a staple in your dog’s diet and the need for something found in good dog food brands that will promote healthy brain, muscles, and good vision, as well as reduce the risk of food allergies, will be of the utmost importance. Of course, you need food that is going to give them the energy they need to keep you up all night! (We’re kidding… well, kind of)
What to Look for in the Best Dog Food for Puppies
From freeze-dried dog food grain-free puppy food, there are good and bad brands; therefore, when considering which puppy food is the best dog food for puppies that will be running around your feet, there are a couple of things to keep in mind:
1. Avoid Animal By-Products (Specifically Poultry)
By-products are what manufacturers call “the extras” of an animal. When an animal by-product is listed, you are not going to get all meat. There will be other parts of the body including the lungs, liver, and other bodily parts. This is why it is so important to either completely avoid by-products are research fully what type of animal by-products the company uses.
2. Avoid “Artificial” Anything
The word “artificial” should be enough to make you steer clear of any ingredients that are listed this way. Artificial means fake, therefore whatever ingredients sound as artificial are not wholesome or natural. Avoid puppy food that includes artificial flavors, preservatives, or colors to ensure that your pup is receiving only the best of the best ingredients. Any unnatural ingredients could lead to allergies, digestive issues, or other health concerns later down the road.
3. Be Cautious with Grains, Soy, Corn, and Other Allergens
This is kind of a tough one to include because some puppies will not be allergic to grains, soy, corn, or gluten. However, it is more than likely that dogs respond negatively to these types of ingredients in their food. While significant health concerns may not arise due to the inclusion of these ingredients, there are consequences your dog could suffer if they are, in fact, allergic to these ingredients.
For example, grains and gluten can cause severe skin allergies which can lead to infections, itching, or dry skin. This is simply uncomfortable and unnecessary for your dog to suffer through. Soy and corn are other allergens that can cause digestive issues for your dog. If you want to try these types of ingredients in your puppy’s food, introduce them slowly, one at a time. Monitor their reaction and eliminate anything that causes concern.
4. Balanced Nutrition
Your puppy needs many different nutrients to give him the best chance of growing healthy and strong. As a new puppy owner, it is your job to ensure that he is getting all of the nutrition he needs!
For your puppy to grow strong, you will need to ensure that the food you buy contains at least 30% protein. Lean protein builds muscle and allows the body to use it for energy. Another great source of energy is fat, which is why puppy food is high in fat. You will also need to look for the inclusion of vitamins and minerals that will promote strong bones, healthy eyesight, and so much more. Of course, make sure that your puppy’s food has enough calories in it to sustain your puppy throughout the day.
How Long Is Your Puppy a Puppy?
Just like children, pet owners want their puppies to grow up quickly. They’re ready for their pup to be more independent and (a lot) less active. However, the answer the question of how long your puppy is actually a puppy may surprise you.
According to veterinarians, dogs are considered puppies until they reach their adult size. This means Fido will be eating puppy food a little bit longer than you probably anticipated. Most experts agree that dogs should be fed puppy food until they get up to at least 80% of their expected adult weight. But what does this mean? It means that your puppy will probably be around one to one and a half years old before he gets off of the puppy food and onto adult formula.
Because puppies develop and grow rapidly, it is important to keep them on the puppy food as long as your veterinarian recommends it to make sure that their bodies develop fully.
Dry? Moist? Semi-Moist?
Finding puppy food that is easy to digest can be somewhat of a challenge at first. Many things come into play when deciding whether dry, moist, or semi-moist is the right route to take for your puppy.
Dry Puppy Food
Dry puppy food will contain more meat protein as compared to other options. This is why most puppy owners go straight to the dry kibble for their pup. It’s also one of the most cost-efficient options and helps keep their teeth and gums cleaner for longer. The only issue with dry kibble is for smaller breeds. The kibble bites can sometimes be too large or hard to digest, leaving your pup to feel rather uncomfortable while eating.
Semi-wet Puppy Food
If you are looking for a nutrient-packed puppy food that also allows for easier digestion, semi-moist is a good option. It is not quite as expensive as moist dog food and is easier to digest. Semi-moist puppy food also does not require refrigeration, which can be a hassle at times. The only downside to this style of puppy food is that some veterinarians and research experts have found that it might lead to obesity or hyperactivity in certain dogs. Due to the higher levels of salt and preservatives, some dogs cannot handle the extras that are simply not needed in a puppy’s diet.
Wet Puppy Food
Moist puppy food is the opposite of dry puppy food and is composed of 75% water. What this means for your puppy is that he is getting fewer nutrients than his puppy friends which are eating dry or semi-moist puppy food! The water content is so high that there is really not enough room for other nutrients that need to be in there. Moist dog food also does little-to-nothing for a dog’s teeth! You will have to resort to frequent brushings on your own if you choose wet dog food.
Inquire with your vet which is the best option for your dog, or you will need to mix them up.
Now that you are aware of what to look for (and avoid) in your puppy’s new food, let’s look at some excellent choices and select the best dog food for puppies, which will give your pup the head start he deserves!
Finding the best dog food for puppies for your new fur baby is no small task. Being armed with this information and a raft of recommendations, however, you should easily find a puppy food that works for you and your pup. With the right nutrition and a loving home, your puppy will grow up to be strong and healthy in no time. However, while you’re waiting, it is probably best to hide your shoes. You can thank us later.
Remember to always consult with your veterinarian if you have any concerns or are considering switching your puppy’s food.