What is the best puppy food for your new pet?

Posted by Dr Dog. July 10th 2015.

Cute, furry and incredibly hungry; it’s time to get your lovable pet ready for their puppy food and it’s important to make sure you get it right. Puppies grow extremely fast and providing the best nutrition is important for ensuring they build strong bones and teeth and add muscle in all the right places.

But what should you feed them? With so many varieties of puppy food on offer in local supermarkets and specialist pet stores, it’s important to find out the facts first.

You’ll find that a puppies’ nutritional needs will differ greatly from adult dogs because they are growing at such a rapid pace, developing their organs ready to lead a happy and healthy life. Therefore, your puppy will need additional nutrients and vitamins to fuel this growth, providing them with the energy they need to play and learn.


A five-week old border collie puppy steals a sandwich

Choosing the best puppy food

Choosing the very best puppy food for your pet is a daunting task, especially with thousands of commercial dog foods currently on the market. So, where do you start? Begin by understanding what good puppy food looks like and what your puppy needs to help them grow.

The most favoured puppy foods will be:

  1. High in meat based protein
  2. High in natural fats and oils
  3. Low in carbohydrates
  4. Free from animal and/or vegetable by-products
  5. Free from all preservatives
  6. Complete in all essential minerals and vitamins

Are high protein foods a problem?

It’s a common misconception that puppy food with high levels of protein can cause hip and joint problems in young puppies. This isn’t the case, but overfeeding your little friend can.

With this in mind, you should also be aware skeletal diseases in dogs are not related in any way to the amount of protein in their diet. In fact, it’s normally caused by genetics and excessive amounts of calcium, along with overfeeding during the time of growth.

To decrease the chances of your beloved puppy developing any growth problems, you should avoid leaving puppy food in the bowl all day. Instead, try to serve measured amounts of food on a regular basis; you could even set yourself up with a schedule to maintain regularity.

Puppy nutrition

When you have a new puppy you should pay close attention to the protein, fibre and fat content of foods because too little or too much can cause growth and bone problems. As this can be challenging, the Association of American Dog Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) recommends no less than 37 nutrients should be in puppy food, including:

  • 10 amino acids
  • 11 vitamins
  • 12 minerals

Whilst there are lots of different brands of puppy foods to choose from, the following types are known to be well recommended:

  • A balanced homemade diet (raw or uncooked).
  • Commercially-available raw food.
  • Human-grade canned food & dry food.
  • Super premium canned food & dry food.
  • Veterinary-recommended canned food & dry food.


A cute puppy eating some dog food

How much do you need to feed your pup?

Puppies grow most within the first five months of their life and this means to begin with you need to feed them twice as much per pound as you would an adult dog of the same breed. Take a look at feeding charts which are often on puppy food labels in supermarkets and pet stores as a guide to help you. They will also provide recommended amounts based on the puppy’s age and weight.

Can you reward your puppy with treats?

Many of us like to begin training our puppy from an early age and, in turn, reward them with dog treats. However, while this is safe, you should keep these to a limit.

Because puppies need the right amount of minerals and nutrients to grow, it’s essential they get the majority of their calories from their puppy food rather than treats.

Hopefully, with these tips in mind, your new little puppy will grow up in no time to be a strong and fit member of your family.

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