With all of the ads that we are bombarded with, it’s hard to know which puppy food we should go for. And puppy is most likely going to gobble up anything that we put in front of him. So, it is not a matter of which food he is happy to eat but rather which food is actually good for him. Let’s get some input from Vets.
Regardless of the food you have chosen for your puppy, there is a need to watch for any adverse reactions. Your particular dog might be more sensitive than others to certain food groups. If you observe any such reaction, make sure you take pup to the local veterinary clinic ASAP for advice.
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3 Puppy Food Sources to Choose From
Needless to say, growing, active puppies require their own specialised diet; adult dog food is not the right choice for a very young dog.
You do have choices when it comes to feeding your puppy the best nutritious food possible:
1. Home-Prepared Puppy Food
If you go for this option, you really do need to do some extensive research and then spend considerable time in the kitchen making sure that your puppy food recipe contains all the ingredients considered necessary for a balanced canine diet.
Scraps from the table, or left-overs from the night before are not going to cut it.
However, if you are keen and willing to put in the required effort, the results can pay dividends.
You can find some excellent preparation tips in this article.
I suggest following a couple of high quality dog food recipes after inviting input from your vet.
2. Off-The-Shelf Supermarket Food
You would get a fair idea of the different commercial dog foods just by walking through the pet aisles in your supermarket. And in fact, dog owners often talk about these categories as well:
- Dry dog food
- Dry food is usually less expensive and of course doesn’t have to take up room in your fridge.
- Wet dog food
- This would include canned food and packaged meats.
However, there is a lot more to finding the right puppy food than randomly choosing a dry or wet dog food from the supermarket shelf.
Supermarket food certainly comes under the heading of convenience shopping but there is supermarket dog food and supermarket dog food. There are certainly some top-quality puppy food options to be found. However, which of these contain the nutrients your puppy needs and deserves? Reading the labels takes time and patience, not to mention a fair degree of expertise to fully understand label contents.
You certainly want to avoid packaged foods with lots of fillers and preservatives:
These additives can reduce palatability and digestibility, and increase flatulence and odorous stools.Greencross Vets
Commercial dog food should be labelled with information that indicates its purpose. In other words, you can find dog food that is specially formulated for mature dogs. This is not what you would buy for your young puppy. Instead, look for a dog food where the label suggests growth (affiliate link).
- In the USA
- You can look for puppy food in which the label indicates that it meets AAFCO standards. This will mean that it meets with the standards established by the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO).
- In Australia
- Here you can look for puppy food that meets the standards of the Pet Food Industry Association of Australia (PFIAA).
Look for the AAFCO or PFIAA label or the registered label in your particular country to make sure that the food you select is right for your puppy.
3. Puppy Food from Vet Outlets & Pet Stores
‘Growth’ is probably the one word that comes to mind when thinking of puppy nutritional needs. Experts in the veterinary field know what it takes to raise a bouncy puppy into a strong, healthy adult dog.
Vets typically will cite nutritional requirements such as:
- Essential Fats
- Amino Acids
There are a number of brands that come under this category, and we can find veterinary recommendations to support their choice.
Examples of these brands include the following (affiliate links):
What Do Vets Say About Puppy Food?
The advice provided at this site favours premium puppy food, as developed by experts in the veterinary science field.
“Premium dog biscuits offer the best all round diet for growing puppies.”AdelaideVet
Small kibble biscuits can provide a good transition to solids after the pup has been weaned, typically around 8 weeks. These biscuits can be soaked beforehand if the pup is very, very young.
The ideal is to find a puppy food mix that can promote growth without laying the foundation for an overweight adult dog.
Whilst you can refer to packaging labels for a guide on how much to feed your pup, these labels do not take into account the size and breed of your own pup. Your vet can work out the caloric requirements of your particular puppy and this will provide a much more reliable guide.
It is far better to provide specific meals rather than leave the food out for all-day grazing.
Again, BondVet recommends 3 to 4 meals a day while puppy is young. They also recommend that you weigh your puppy every couple of weeks.
As we know, training should start at an early age and along with this, comes the usual treat rewards. However, keep in mind that these treats are much more than just rewards; they are food!!
“Treats and snacks should make up no more than 10% of your puppy’s calorie intake per day. …..BondVet
A great alternative is to use the puppy kibble as treats”
Lombard Veterinary Hospital
It is advisable to consult your vet so that puppy’s weight can be monitored and caloric intake adjusted accordingly.
“Puppies need about twice as many calories per pound of body weight as an adult dog of the same breed.”www.lombardvet.com
If your puppy food contains about 25% to 30% protein, you know you are on the right track.
Small Door Veterinary
Keep in mind that there is a difference between small breed puppies and large breed puppies. The label on dog food should indicate if the food is suitable for smaller or bigger breeds.
Tiny breed pups of course will have smaller mouths than their big breed counterpart. Choose your kibble accordingly; i.e. go for smaller sized kibble so that your tiny pup can manage chewing with ease.
Scientific Research into Puppy Food Requirements
Again,, rather than using guesswork or hearsay, I like to refer to the experts.
Puppy growth charts remove most doubts as to whether puppy is making the progress he should be making. I love the fact that the findings discussed at www.waltham.com are based on extensive research with something like 50,000 dogs.
General Puppy Feeding Tips
Make sure that there is an ample supply of water all the time. Choose a container that puppy can easily drink from, but not knock over.
Keep in mind that a very young pup, 8 to 12 weeks old, will still have a small tummy. As mentioned before, it is desirable to offer small amounts of food periodically during the early days. Some vets recommend 4 meals a day up to 16 weeks of age. Between 4 and 6 months, this frequency can be reduced to 3 times a day and then 2 until fully grown. Of course this pattern has to fit in with your hours of work.
Teething is also an issue to keep in mind. Permanent teeth usually start to appear after 4 months of age, some as late as 6 months. This is when you can start to include nutritional chews.
When it is time to introduce some adult dog food, possibly around the age of 12 months, it is important to make this transition gradual. This change could be done over a 7 day period as recommended by BondiVet.