When you bring home a new puppy, life gets a little crazy, to say the least. There is no doubt that you want to supply your new best friend with good puppy food to keep them healthy and happy.
But it is challenging to know exactly how to make the right choice, especially when you’re dealing with all that comes with having a new pup in your home.
Plus, you will find numerous answers online pointing you in many different directions, which can be confusing. But the process of picking the best dog food for puppies doesn’t have to be hard. Here is the perfect guide to finding the best dog food for puppies.
What’s Different about Puppy Food?
Pet owners might tell you it’s fine to simply feed your new pup with regular dog food. But there is a vast difference between regular dog chow and the best puppy food brands. The reason for this comes down to the healthy growth of puppies.
When dogs are young, they must receive enough of the right nutrients to encourage healthy and timely development and avoid ingredients that may be harmful or stunt growth. A good rule of thumb is that puppies benefit from having extra protein and fat in their diet.
Many vets suggest that whichever puppy food brand you choose should include approximately 22% protein, which is quite a bit higher than the 18% protein recommended for traditional dog food. Be sure to take this into account when researching and choosing puppy food brands.
On top of that, be sure to check with your vet throughout your new pet’s puppyhood to keep development on track and learn exactly when you should switch your puppy to adult food.
Key Factors For The Best Dog Food For Puppies
Let’s begin by going through the key factors that are often considered when determining the best puppy food:
AAFCO Feeding Trials
The Association of American Feed Control Officials conducts trials to help manufacturers become classified as good puppy food. The trials track participants’ development in relation to particular brands and nutrients.
Be wary of brands that do not pass through the AAFCO or similar trials because you could be robbing your new puppy of essential nutrients. However, also keep in mind that the AAFCO doesn’t hold an official list of certified healthy brands, and testing periods do not track more long-term growth in pets.
Still, it’s a great resource to understanding a well-balanced diet for your puppy, so be sure to take advantage of it. Check out their website here.
Puppies need high quantities of calorie-rich food to grow into strong, healthy dogs. For this reason, understanding how many calories your puppy needs and what makes a puppy food brand have a suitable amount of calories is an important step in choosing the right food for your pet.
Generally, puppies need high-protein and high-fat content to ensure the best growth into their adult years.
High-calorie foods for your little one will surely help, especially if he or she is underweight. If you are looking for the best kibble for puppies, follow the AAFCO guidelines of 3.5 calories per gram for proteins and 8.5 calories per gram for fat content.
For more information on which caloric intake is best for your dog’s size and weight, review this easy table.
Consistency is also important. Keep feeding your puppy the correct and steady amount of calories to let them develop over time.
To help keep yourself accountable, make it a priority to stock up on puppy food so you don’t end up feeding your fur baby adult food for even a couple of days while you wait for free time to go to the pet store.
If you easily forget to stock up on puppy food, buy in bulk. It will save you money in the long run and help keep your feeding routine consistent.
Find Your Best Puppy Food Brand That is High in Calories.
Here are some great options:
- Adirondack Pet Food 30% Protein High-Fat Recipe For Puppy & Performance Dogs: If you are looking for a little extra protein than what’s generally recommended for your puppy, check out this 30% protein and 20% fat puppy chow that will help your pal gain weight and stay healthy. It has a tasty combination of chicken and brown rice that your dog will love. Find it on Chewy here.
- Purina Pro Plan Sport, Energy & Vitality Support, High Protein Dry Dog Food: Another product your furry friend will love is this dry food from Purina. It has high protein at 30% and high fat at 20%. Find it on Amazon here.
Easy To Eat And Digest
Another important factor to consider when searching for the best dog food for puppies is how easy it is for your dog to eat and process.
Depending on your dog’s breed and behavior, you may choose different types of food to ensure healthy digestion and simple consumption. Some dogs are picky eaters or have sensitive stomachs, which is another reason to consider specialized puppy food.
Though many pet owners prefer to feed their dogs kibble, cooked dog food may be a better choice if your pal doesn’t digest his or her food well.
You can also choose a raw food diet for your puppy. Raw pet foods are barely processed, unlike traditional kibble, and can be better for your pet’s stomach as the natural ingredients can prevent indigestion.
Many of these foods are also formulated with nutritious ingredients that promote healthy digestion. Here are some great puppy food brands that will be easy to consume:
- Purina Pro Plan Puppy Sensitive Skin & Stomach Dry Dog Food: This delicious salmon and rice combo is easy on the stomach and will help puppies with stomach sensitivity. You can purchase it here on Chewy.
- Wellness Complete Health Puppy: The Wellness brand is known for its tasty food meant for smooth digestion. Their recipes include ingredients containing important antioxidants that promote energy so that your furry pal can spend his or her energy running around instead of laying around with a tummy ache. Find it here.
The most important component of any puppy food is its ingredients. You could spend hours online searching for the most healthy ingredients for your puppy. But it truly comes down to a balance of flavor and natural ingredients.
Why flavor? If your puppy doesn’t love his or her food, they could avoid eating. That will lead to a serious stunt in growth that will affect your puppy for the rest of his or her life.
Not only that, it is important to avoid stressing your puppy, especially at such a formative time of his or her life. To make dinner time run smoothly, find a food your puppy loves and is excited to eat every day.
The most important ingredients that will lead to a puppy’s healthy development are meat-based proteins, fats, carbs, sources of fiber, electrolytes, and other vitamins. Organ meat is a healthy component of any best puppy food brand. Without these essentials, your puppy will lose its full potential in growth.
Now that you know which types of ingredients are healthy for your pup, it’s important to understand that merely containing these ingredients isn’t enough to deem a brand the best puppy food.
An essential tip to learning about how much of the preferred ingredient is used is to see whether or not it appears in the first few lines of the ingredient list.
If it appears first, second, or third, it’s more likely to be the main source of nutrients for the food as a whole. If it’s listed toward the end, don’t bother with it.
Your new best friend’s size will uniquely shape which brand of food is best to keep him or her happy and healthy.
Have a Big Puppy?
If you have a large breed like Saint Bernards, Great Danes, or German shepherds, look for brands that specifically point out they are made for them. Labels that say the kibble is for large- breed pups will stand out as the most nutritious due to its consideration for potential growth issues like joint pain. For large puppies, try choosing from fantastic puppy food brands like Hill’s Science Diet.
Their Hill’s Science Diet Puppy Large Breed Chicken Meal & Oat Recipe Dry Dog Food can be found here on Chewy. This is an amazing brand that will improve the health of your large-breed dog without sacrificing bold flavors. It also makes the mental and physical development of your new puppy its top priority.
Have a Tiny Companion?
For smaller puppies, your brand should focus more on accessibility and nutrition. Since smaller breeds have smaller features, be sure to take into consideration how easy it will be to consume.
Smaller bits of food will best suit dogs like Corgis, Chihuahuas, and other tiny companions. Try a classic example of good puppy food for smaller and medium breeds with Royal Canin Small Puppy Wet Dog Food.
The food pieces are in smaller chunks than larger dog food, and the wet consistency makes it simple to eat. You can buy it here on Amazon.
Now that you know the aspects to consider while choosing the best dog food for puppies, it’s time to discover the perfect match for your new best pal.