The Best Food for Puppies: What to Feed Your New Dog
Finding the best food for your young dog can be a challenge. Many brands make different claims about the best food for your dog's breed, size, and weight. How can you decide what to feed your hungry hound?
You need to decide whether you want to feed your dog wet or dry food. Both have benefits and drawbacks, but as long as the food contains all the nutrients your dog needs, it doesn't really matter which you choose.
Wet food is a good choice for puppies because it contains a lot of water, which helps keep their kidneys functioning well. However, it can go bad quickly and attract flies and other bugs. Dry food is not as messy as wet food, but it does not have as much water. This means you will need to make sure your puppy has plenty of water available. A dry kibble is a good option because it is full of nutrients and affordable. The crunchy biscuits will also keep your dog's teeth and gums healthy!
You will need to choose between wet or dry food for your puppy. The Association of American Feed Control Officials recommends that puppies need 22% protein and 8% fat. Puppy food should also contain calcium for strong bones and DHA for peak brain and vision development.
Puppies need more calories than adult dogs. Start your pup on a puppy formula when they are six weeks old and continue until they are about one year old. After that, switch them to adult formula dog food.
Best Puppy Food
Changing your dog’s diet may help lessen the problem if he has sensitive skin. Find a dog food with Omega-6 and Omega-3 fatty acids if your pet has problems with its coat or skin.
1. IAMS for Vitality Puppy & Junior - Chicken
The IAMS for Vitality Puppy & Junior Small & Medium Dog – Chicken food is formulated with 85% animal protein. This protein is vital for the growth and brain development of your puppy.
This food is made with many vitamins, minerals, and fiber. This helps keep bones and the immune system strong, a healthy digestive system, glossy fur, and healthy skin.
This food is also good for dogs classed as small or medium breeds, weighing up to 25kg when they are adults.
Some customers have found the feeding guide confusing. Annabel is one of those customers. She doesn't understand why the amounts decrease as the puppy gets older.
You should feed puppies often, so they have enough energy. Puppies usually have more energy when they are young.
Owners should provide their puppy with four to six meals per day in the first two months. This lowers to four meals a day between four and six months, from five meals a day between two and three months. It decreases further to two to three meals per day and one meal per day around six months.
2. Pedigree Complete Nutrition Puppy Dry Dog Food
If you are looking for a good way to keep your dog healthy and help it grow, then this kibble from Pedigree is a good option. It is affordable and will help your dog stay healthy.
This formula is packed with nutrients similar to those found in mother's milk for puppies from 6 weeks to 18 months old. It contains vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, including calcium for strong teeth and bones and DHA for brain development.
This food has no high fructose corn syrup, artificial flavors, or added sugar. Notable is the use of poultry by-products as opposed to actual chicken.
This inexpensive and cheerful product is full and well-balanced, providing your puppy with all the nutrients necessary for healthy development. Oh, and pet parents remark that their pets enjoy the flavor, which is an additional advantage!
3. Eukanuba Dry Puppy Food
Eukanuba has been involved in taking care of pets since 1969. They have a lot of different food for puppies. Puppy food comes in different flavors, and there is food for different size breeds.
The probiotic in this supplement also contains FOS (Fructooligosaccharides), a prebiotic found in some fruits and vegetables. This helps support and maintain a healthy digestive system.
This dry food has vitamins E and C, which help your pup's immunity. Added calcium helps to develop your pup's bones. Omega 6 and 3 are also naturally present in the food and help keep your pup's skin and coat healthy.
Many people have said that this product is good for fussy eaters. They say that the dog loves it, and their dental health improves. They also like the price and the size of the pieces.
Some puppies just don't like the taste of certain foods. It is all down to personal preference.
4. Royal Canin Puppy Food in Gravy
Royal Canin Puppy Food in Gravy is formulated to suit all of a puppy's nutritional requirements during the most crucial stage of its life. It has extra vitamins and nutrients to provide your dog with energy, maintain digestive health, and encourage bone growth.
This type of wet dog food is also available as dry food. If your dog prefers a semi-crunchy texture, you can mix the two together. Considering this option, you can find the correct portion sizes on the Royal Canin website.
Most puppy foods are only good for puppies until they are 12 months old. But with Royal Canin's Maxi Puppy in Gravy, larger breeds can continue using this food until they grow to 15 months old.
This brand of puppy food has a lot of ingredients, but it doesn't have a lot of protein, which is important for puppies' growth. It also lists "various sugars" as an ingredient. If your dog consumes this food, you should be cautious about what snacks and treats you provide.
5. Burgess Sensitive Hypoallergenic Dog Food Puppy Turkey and Rice
Purina offers a variety of canned and dry dog and cat food. A team of 350 nutritionists, veterinarians, and scientists developed the recipes.
Several Purina PRO PLAN Puppy Sensitive Digestion components with OPTIDIGEST are easily digestible, including egg and a natural clay called bentonite. In addition, it contains several healthful fats, including omega 6 and omega 3, and numerous vitamins, such as A, D3, E, and C.
Purina also produces a range of food specifically for puppies with sensitive skin. This range includes both chicken and lamb flavors.
The majority of online reviews for this range are positive. People have written that this food has eased their puppies' stomach problems.
6. Taste of the Wild High Prairie Puppy Recipe
This all-natural taste of the Wild puppy food is one of the best options on the shelves. It is made with pasture-raised Bison and Venison as the first ingredients, making it a healthy and delicious choice for your pup.
The taste of the Wild kibble has propriety K9 Strain Probiotics that are added to the kibble after the cooking process. This helps to make sure that the probiotics are still alive. The kibble also has Omega-3 fatty acids from Salmon oil. This supports a growing puppy's brain and vision development.
This formula has a lot of different fruits and vegetables. They help puppies stay healthy by giving them the necessary zinc, selenium, and vitamin E. Dried chicory root is added to help keep the digestive system running smoothly.
7. Wellness CORE Grain-Free Puppy Chicken & Turkey Recipe Dry Dog Food
If you have a huge breed puppy, you should feed it the best diet. Wellness CORE, Large Breed Puppy Food, is a good choice because it is made with all-natural ingredients and has fresh chicken as the number one ingredient. This food provides 32-37% protein in the final kibble, which can help promote a healthy coat, skin, and lean body.
This food is especially good for large breed puppies aged 1 to 18 months old. The high calcium and protein levels will help them grow and develop strong bones and muscles.
The kibble also contains DHA from salmon oil which helps with brain and eye development. It also has glucosamine and chondroitin added to help keep your pet's hips and joints healthy.
This food is good for sensitive dogs and will not cause any bad reactions. It also does not have any grains, wheat, gluten, eggs, artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives. It is all-natural! Keep in mind that this food is not recommended for pregnant or nursing dogs.
8. Diamond Naturals Small Breed Puppy Formula Dry Dog Food
This Diamond Naturals blend is specially formulated to support the growth of small breed puppies and nursing adult dogs. It balances fat, protein, and essential nutrients to make your pup grow healthy and strong. The small pea-sized kibble is perfect for smallmouths, making it easy for your little fur-baby to chew and digest their food.
This Diamond Naturals formula contains cage-free chicken as the main protein source. It also has superfoods like chia seed and quinoa to give your pup a protein boost. This formula is free from all grains except rice and cracked pearled barley. The formula includes real fruits and vegetables like kale, pumpkin, blueberries, and oranges. These fruits and vegetables are natural sources of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals which help with your pup's development and overall health.
Adding salmon oil to the mix helps support your new furry friend's skin and coat. The smaller kibble pieces also include natural additives such as probiotic bacteria to help support your pup's digestive and immune systems.
The 6-pound bag of kibble has enough to last your small breed pup, almost 24 cups. It is a good price for the high quality of the ingredients, and your pup will love the meaty taste.
9. Hill's Science Diet Dry Puppy Food
One of the best brands of puppy food is this specially formulated kibble. It has everything your young furkid needs to thrive and be healthy.
This kibble is free from corn, wheat, and soy. It also has a lot of vitamins and minerals in it. This kibble has DHA for brain and vision health, vitamin C to help the immune system, and quality protein for lean muscle growth.
Hill's Science is the best vet-recommended dog food brand. This kibble uses only the best ingredients, making it a favorite with professionals, pet parents, and dogs.
10. Nature's Recipe Grain-Free Dry Puppy Food
If you are looking for a portion of good and healthy food for your pet, Nature's Recipe makes a great grain-free kibble packed with chicken and vegetables. It has a limited ingredient list and is clean of any harmful chemicals.
This recipe for dog food has real chicken as the main ingredient. It also contains fiber-rich sweet potatoes, pumpkin, and peas. These all help give your pup the balanced nutrition they need as they grow into adulthood.
This formula includes important vitamins, minerals, and fatty acids like calcium for strong bones, taurine for heart health, omega 3 & 6 for healthy skin, a shiny coat, and selenium to aid metabolism.
This recipe is nutrient-dense and free from corn, soy, wheat, artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives. This is an excellent kibble with a rich, meaty flavor that your pet will adore if you can afford it.
11. Purina Pro Plan Puppy Chicken & Rice Dry Dog Food
This kibble from Purina is a great choice for a formula that has everything your little one needs to grow big and strong. It has high levels of DHA from omega-rich fish oil, which helps with brain and vision development. Plus, it comes with plenty of calcium and phosphorus to help build strong bones and teeth.
This formula is rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. It also has live probiotics for digestive and immune health. This formulation is gentle on the digestive system and stomach. It also has a delicious, meaty taste that your fur baby will love.
12. Instinct Raw Boost Grain-Free Puppy Food
Suppose you are thinking about transitioning your puppy to a raw food diet. In that case, Instinct Raw Boost Grain-Free Puppy Food is an ideal product to use as a foundation. It is a blend of grain-free kibble and freeze-dried raw dog food. This food is focused on providing your pup with a complete nutritional balance.
The Instinct brand of dog food provides your pet with essential vitamins, minerals, and proteins. The food is made with calcium, DHA, zinc, and omega-6 fatty acids. It is also available for large breed dogs.
However, quality ingredients do come at a cost for pet owners. Instinct Raw Boost Grain-Free Puppy Food is more expensive than other leading dog foods. Still, it might be perfect for you if you are looking for a mix of dry and softer textures and are interested in raw puppy food and grain-free diets.
Buyer's Guide: Best Food for Puppies
Each meal included on this page meets the nutritional requirements of pups. These diets ensure that your puppy receives the nutrients it requires after weaning. In addition to containing a high quantity of protein, the most proper puppy diets should have all the essential nutrients for your dog's development and growth.
The good news is:
This guide offers all the necessary facts for making the best decision.
Good Ingredients in Puppy Food
- Real meat: Muscle growth requires a lot of lean protein for puppies. And there is no greater source than actual, unprocessed meat. The most acceptable protein sources for pups are chicken, beef, and salmon. The meats of rabbits and ducks are suitable for sensitive dogs.
- Whole grains or simple carbs: It is vital to choose the good carbohydrates for your dog to avoid stomach troubles. Whole grains like barley, oats and brown rice are recommended because they have a lot of fiber and make digestion easier. Choose a meal containing easily digestible carbohydrates, such as sweet potatoes, lentils, and peas, if your dog is sensitive to wheat.
- Natural fats and oils: Fats are essential for providing your puppy with energy and nourishing their coat. The greatest fats for pups are natural fats derived from animals or plants. Animal fats such as salmon, chicken, and fish oil are great for fatty acids and DHA. Similarly, oils derived from plants, such as sunflower oil, flaxseed oil, and canola oil, include several omega fatty acids and minerals.
- Natural preservatives: When purchasing puppy food, check for the absence of artificial preservatives, particularly BHA and BHT. Look for healthier and non-harmful alternatives, such as vitamin E (mixed tocopherols) and vitamin C (ascorbic acid).
Harmful ingredients in puppy food
- Meat by-products: Some dog food makers use meat by-products as a source of protein to minimize expenses. Compared to actual meat, these by-products typically consist of scraps such as bones and organs and have little nutritional value.
- Corn and wheat: Corn and wheat are rich cereals that puppies with immature digestive systems find difficult to digest. They are typically fillers and add no nutrients to your dog's development.
- Rendered fats: Numerous dog food manufacturers disguise low-quality fats with generic terms such as "animal fat." These rendered fats may originate from ill or deceased animals, whose fat typically contains poisons.
Difference Between Puppies and Adult Dogs
Puppies develop quickly, creating muscles and bones and maturing organs. In contrast, adult dogs are preserving their health and bodies. Feeding your puppy the proper food is essential to ensure its growth is adequately fueled.
In simple terms, a puppy has much more extensive nutritional needs than an adult dog. Puppies have significantly more energy and require more food to sustain their growing bones and bodies. As a puppy owner, you should ensure that every calorie delivers nutritious food.
The Association of American Feed Control Officials has established norms and guidelines that specify what ingredients are permitted in puppy and adult dog food. AAFCO has developed recommendations to categorize foods based on their nutritional value and primary constituents.
Here is a list of the AAFCO-recommended nutrients and how they differ between puppy food and adult dog food:
- Protein: 22% or higher for puppies and 18% for adult dogs
- Fat: 8% for puppies and 5% for adult dogs
- Calcium: 1% for puppies and 0.6% for adult dogs
- Phosphorus: 0.8% for puppies and 0.5% for adult dogs
- Sodium: 0.3% for puppies and 0.06% for adult dogs
Please note that these are general dog and puppy calculations. These figures can vary significantly based on your dog's breed and size.
Purchasing the Appropriate Puppy Food – Considerations
It is critical to ensure that the puppy food you select contains the nutrients and characteristics your pet needs to grow. Here are several things to think about to assist you in making your choice:
Wet vs. Dry Food
When your puppy is making the initial move away from his mother's milk, wet food may be essential. Wet food is softer and makes it easier to consume solids. Introduce your puppy to moist food when they are less than a few months old. Since dietary requirements will continue to evolve, you can add dry foods. Most puppy foods are not very tough, but you can soften kibble further by mixing it with wet food or adding a little water. After three months, you can transition your dog to dry food if you believe they are ready.
Puppies require critical omegas, especially omega-3 fatty acids, for their fur and bodily functions. In addition to maintaining a healthy coat, it aids in vision development.
Options Free of Grain
If your puppy has a sensitive stomach, grain-free food is the best alternative. Although whole grains provide calcium and vitamins, they are typically utilized as fillers in dog food. Consequently, a meal consisting of vegetables, fruits, and meat will give a greater proportion of the healthier elements required by growing puppies.
Appropriate Portion Size
Establishing a routine and dividing daily caloric and nutrient needs into multiple little meals is better. Consult the serving size recommendations on the food's packaging for clarification.
Consider your puppy's dietary requirements when shopping for food. The transition period ranges between nine and thirteen months, depending on the breed. Introduce your puppy to adult food once daily to simplify the transition.
It's important to gradually switch your puppy to a new food brand so their digestive system can get used to it. Not all types of puppy food are good for every puppy. So if you notice any changes or are unsure what kind of food to get, talk to your vet.
Frequently Asked Questions About Best Food for Puppies
Feeding your puppy a high-quality commercial kibble is the best way to ensure they get all the nutrients they need for growth and development. You can also add cooked meats and vegetables or rice as you wish, but the main part of their diet must come from the commercial kibble.
Once your puppy is around 8 weeks old, you can start feeding them soft foods like canned or dehydrated dog food. However, you will not want to start feeding them any hard foods until they are at least 9-10 weeks old.
Puppies should be fed three or four times a day. If you are currently feeding them ¾ of a cup of food twice a day, you should try feeding them ½ cup of food three times a day instead.
Wet food is a good choice for young puppies because it is easier to chew and swallow. Puppies who have just transitioned to solid foods can find it difficult to chew and swallow, so wet food is a better option.
Puppies should not be bathed until at least four weeks old, and six or eight weeks is better. Puppies have difficulty controlling their body temperature and can become chilly at this age. If the puppies get sick with diarrhea, you may need to give them a bath, but the stress of the bath can make the illness worse.
Puppies should have three meals every day until they are between four and six months of age. After that, they can eat twice a day. If you cannot feed them three times a day, that's okay.
Young puppies generally poop four to five times a day. As they grow older, this number decreases because they can control their bowels for longer and eat less frequently. Puppies typically poop more because they eat more frequently and can't control their bowels than older dogs.
Feeding your dog chicken and rice every day is not a good idea. While this dish is healthy for dogs, it does not have all the nutrients they need. Dogs get nutrients from other food sources, such as red meats and vegetables.