As a pet owner, you obviously want what is best for your furry friend. People who care for new puppies often go to great lengths to ensure that the treats they buy and toys they use with their pets are safe.
It is just as important to pay close attention to the type of food you are feeding your playful pup.
Puppies in particular have specific dietary needs that must be met if they are to grow up to be healthy and strong dogs. Here are some things that you should do if wondering what to look for in puppy food.
The first thing you should look for when purchasing any type of puppy food, regardless of type, is that it has passed AAFCO feeding trial tests. Basically, this certification means that the food produced by that brand contains all dietary requirements for your dog.
Most companies that successfully pass the AAFCO feeding trials do test out their products on dogs, rather than relying on a scientific formula alone. While this does not impact the nutritional content, it does mean that AAFCO certified foods are more likely to be palatable to your puppy. Many brands even consult with vet to be sure that the food is completely nutritionally balanced, without any additives that are harmful to puppy health.
Unlike adult diets, puppy food needs to be high in calories. This is because puppies lead very full and active lives. About half of all the calories they ingest go toward keeping them active and playful.
The rest goes towards their development. Puppies are constantly growing and need all the energy they can get to ensure healthy bone and muscle growth. Failure to ingest an adequate amount of calories per day can lead to lethargy, inadequate bone growth, and significant health problems later on in life.
You may know that you need to buy food specially formulated for puppies, but did you know that puppy food is further categorized by breed size?
The dietary requirements of toy breeds, for example, are not nearly as high as those for larger dogs. Puppy food designed to suit different types of breeds contain different ratios of calcium and phosphorus. This ensures that bone and muscle growth can occur.
Never feed your dog food that is meant for a different breed. If you are raising a mixed-breed dog, buy the food product that specifically mentions their weight or size. This is the best way to be sure the food you purchase contributes to healthy development.
Most puppy food brands contain kibble or other canned food product that is well-balanced, nutritionally speaking. However, you should still take the time to carefully read all the ingredients. Make sure that the product has a balance of everything your dog needs. In addition to elements such as calcium and protein, you should also look for DHA.
This is an essential fatty acid that leads to the development of your puppy’s eyes, ears, and brains. Puppies who get an adequate amount of DHA in their diets often have better memory and are more easily trained. DHA is less important in adult food but is an essential ingredient in anything you feed your puppy.
Even dogs who are fed the perfect foods based on their size, stage of development, and breed can develop dietary issues. Many of these problems start when the dog is just a puppy. Be sure you pay attention to your dog’s weight as they age. Underweight puppies may not develop well, losing memory, or developing poor eyesight and reactivity.
Conversely, overweight dogs can also develop numerous health issues, including heart disease and diabetes. Make sure you have your vet evaluate your puppy’s weight at each visit. Contact them at the first sign of weight issues to have them addressed while your dog is still young.
Grocery and pet stores have an obligation to remove products from the shelves once they reach their use by or best before date. Unfortunately, this does not always happen on time, especially in understaffed locations. Make sure you always double check the expiry date on any product you feed your dog, especially canned and semi-moist food options.
Understanding the basics behind buying food products for your beloved family pet can lead to much healthier choices and help you answer the question of what to look for in puppy food. It can be tricky to figure out which brand and type of food is best, especially if your vet provides you with vague answers and if your dog is not a picky eater.
Review the tips above and keep them in mind as you shop for your dog’s food. If you are in doubt, seek out a secondary opinion from a different vet or speak with your dog’s breeder to get personalized advice about the best way to keep them nourished.
Hello, my name is Angela Miller. Several years ago, I rescued a little seven-year-old Bichon Frise. I started looking into dog nutrition so I could keep my little love bug for as long as I possibly could. I love my dog too much to feed him unhealthy food. I hope some of the things I've learned along the way will help you and your dog.