Choose the right food option for you and your pup! It’s no secret that bringing a new puppy home is almost akin to a new child. The entire learning process, from potty training to getting to know your new furbaby, can be downright overwhelming. Many owners struggle to determine what is the best puppy food for their new furbabies. Let’s explore some of the dog food options to figure out what the best option is for puppies.
What Is Puppy Food?
Dog food is dog food, right? Wrong. It may be easy to assume that any dog food branded as “puppy food” is just a sales gimmick to raise prices. Puppies have different dietary needs than full-grown dogs. Their rapidly growing bodies have double the daily nutritional requirements of an adult dog. Well-balanced puppy food contains nutrients for the growing muscles, bones, joints, organs, and immune system in your puppy’s tiny body. Food for puppies should contain around 30% protein as well as a high-fat content to support their growth. Once a dog has reached their mature size, they no longer need all these extra nutrients; in fact, puppy food can be detrimental for an adult dog’s health.
When Should You Stop Feeding Puppy Food?
Knowing that puppy-specific food can be unhealthy for an adult dog, your next question is naturally “when do I stop feeding puppy-formulated food?” The short answer is: when your dog stops being a puppy!
Dogs are considered puppies until they reach their adult size, meaning they stop growing. Ideally, you should feed your dog a puppy formula until he or she reaches 80% of his or her adult size, or at about 1 year of age. This is a rough estimate: some smaller breeds reach full size at a younger age and very large breeds can take multiple years to reach their adult size. If you’re unsure when you should stop feeding your dog puppy food, consult your veterinarian.
How Often To Feed Your Puppy?
With all the nutritional requirements puppies have, they need to eat. A lot. Trying to eat all that food in just two meals a day can be a little too much. Plan to feed your puppy three meals a day until they are at least 6 months old, then you can reduce their feedings to twice daily. If you’re worried about feeding 3 meals when you work a regular job 9 to 5, consider feeding once in the morning, once when you arrive home, and again right before bed. This should split meal times enough to ensure your puppy is getting all the food they need.
A set schedule is important for a new puppy. Meals should be offered around the same time each day, ideally in the same place. Feed your puppy in an area where he or she won’t be disturbed while eating.
What Is the Best Food For Puppies?
We all want what’s best for our furbabies, but with so many brands and options on the market, choosing a puppy food can seem like an impossible task. Dog food is usually divided into 3 types: moist, semi-moist, and dry kibble.
Moist dog food usually comes in a can and is identifiable by its wet, mushy consistency. This type of puppy food is easy to digest and more palatable, but is more expensive than dry food, spoils rapidly once opened, and requires refrigeration. Most moist foods are about 75% water, so they contain fewer nutrients than the alternatives. Moist puppy food can be detrimental to your dog’s teeth as well.
Semi-moist dog food is an in-between alternative to moist and dry dog foods. It is easy to digest and practical to use since it does not require refrigeration. This option is still more expensive than dry kibble and lacks dental benefits of hard food as well. Semi-moist dog food has been linked to obesity and hyperactivity due to high concentrations of salts, preservatives, and sugar.
Routinely touted as the best option, dry kibble has no water added and as a result, has higher concentrations of protein and other nutrients. This type of puppy food is by far the most practical, requiring no refrigeration. Dry kibble is more cost-effective, still easy to digest, and helps clean your puppy’s teeth.
Sometimes choosing just one type of food isn’t the best option for your puppy. There are plenty of instances where mixing 2 options is the best alternative. Every puppy is different and will have different requirements. Maybe your puppy will not eat dry kibble; if that’s the case, you might try mixing a little moist food in with the kibble to make it more appetizing.
Choosing Food For Your Puppy
As frustrating as it may sound, sometimes there is no clear choice when selecting dog food for your puppy. Consult your veterinarian with any questions you may have regarding your dog’s specific dietary needs and come up with a feeding plan together that perfectly suits your puppy. A dog’s diet is as unique as the dogs themselves.