How to Find the Best Puppy Food for Your Dog
There's nothing you want more than to keep your puppy healthy during the important formative months of his energetic life. But to set the stage for a long, happy adulthood, it's important to choose the best puppy food for his development. You want nutritious meals that are specially formulated for young dogs. And if you consider what you're feeding your dog now, you can avoid health issues like obesity, weak muscle and bone development, or poor immune response in the future.
Here's what to keep in mind as you search for the right product for your pup.
The best puppy food is committed to high-quality ingredients formulated with a precise balance of nutrients that meet the needs of a growing pup. And the food brand you choose should care what goes into your dog's food at this critical early stage of development. Look for puppy food products created by experts like veterinarians, PhD nutritionists, and/or food scientists to help create puppy food that's nutritionally balanced so that your beloved dog lives a long and healthy life. The nutritional information on each puppy food label should always be the next step in your search.
Ingredients and Nutrition
To meet certain growth and development checkpoints, puppies require food that provides them with all the nutrients that growing puppies need, including calcium and protein. Puppy food with the right amount of calcium helps him with controlled bone growth, ensuring his bones, muscles, and joints develop properly into adulthood. Protein, also helps with strong growth in the development of lean muscle, so look for foods with proteins like chicken, lamb, salmon, corn, wheat or barley on the label to ensure he's getting what he needs. You'll often see Vitamins C and E on puppy food labels, as well, which help build a strong immune system, while fibersources like flaxseed and whole grain and folic acid help him digest these important nutrients.
Maybe you brought home a dachshund puppy, whose tiny legs are only as long as your pinky finger. Or, perhaps you chose a golden retriever pup whose large (and sometimes clumsy) paws are an indication of the girth to come. Clearly the size of your dog needs your consideration when making a food choice. That's why most puppy foods, including Hill's® Science Diet®, have different options for large and small and toy breeds. Not only do these foods meet the needs of each mouth, but are formulated to ensure proper bone growth, muscle mass, and energy output according to the size of your dog.
You might be tempted to leave food out for your growing and high-energy dog so that he can eat whenever he wants. But don't. Doing that can lead to bad habits, like overeating, and accompanying health problems like obesity and bone development. As a general rule, a young puppy should be fed three times a day to keep up with his high-energy lifestyle. By the time your dog reaches six months of age, you can reduce the number of times a day you feed your dog to two.
What to Avoid
Although some unwelcome ingredients might give your dog a stomach ache, other ingredients can be downright dangerous for your pup. Be on the lookout for xylitol, a sweetener that can be quite toxic to dogs. Also, just like with adult dogs, avoid giving your new puppy table scraps. Foods that are part of your own everyday snacks and meals, like onions and grapes, can be dangerous to him. If you have any questions about what to feed your pup, ask your veterinarian for advice.
You love your sweet puppy dog, and he knows it. After all, you prove it every time you play with him, shower him with affection, and feed him the high-quality kibbles that will help keep him become healthy now and stay fit in the years ahead.
Kara Murphy is a freelance writer in Erie, Pa.