Making sure that your puppy has the food that it needs is incredibly important. However, if you have never owned a dog before, you might not know where to start.
At first, looking at all the different kinds of food can quickly become overwhelming when you have no clue what to look for. With that being said, when you choose to look into purchasing dog food and determining which one is best for your dog based on a number of different factors, you can rest assured knowing that you will be able to choose the best type of dog food for your growing puppy.
What Makes Puppy Food Different Than Typical Dog Food?
You might not realize it at first, but puppies actually need a different kind of food than dogs do. This is because puppies, much like human children, are still growing rapidly and they need the nutritional support to supplement that growth.
Because of this, most puppy foods are designed to have as many nutrients for your puppy as possible, while still being easy for a very young puppy to eat. Of course, you should never try to feed a puppy that is still getting the majority of its nourishment from its mother.
You should wait until the puppy has been weaned off the mother before attempting to feed it puppy food, although there are some brands that make their food soft specifically for younger puppies. Another thing that separates puppy food from other traditional dog foods is that the kibble pieces are smaller, making it easier for the puppy to chew and swallow them without a problem.
Learning What Separates Different Types of Puppy Food
As you begin to search for food for your puppies, you will begin to notice that some foods specify whether or not they are good for all breeds of dogs. Depending on the breed of dog you have, the puppies are going to grow a lot, very quickly.
If your dog doesn’t have the nutrients that it needs, this can spell trouble for the nourishment of your dog. While just about all foods will be suitable for the smaller breeds out there, for some medium and all large breeds you will need to be on the lookout for foods that are specifically meant for these types of dogs.
Large dog breeds need to have the nutrients necessary to prevent specific bone disorders that can occur because of their immensely fast growth rate, whereas smaller breeds need to be fed many times a day because of how small their stomachs are. This is just one example of what you are going to have to pay attention to when you are searching for the perfect puppy food brand.
Additionally, some people prefer to check the ingredients of a puppy’s meal. After all, you want to make sure that your puppy is eating healthy and not eating more chemical flavors than actual food. If you want to go down this route, you should make sure that any puppy food you buy doesn’t have any of the following ingredients:
- Meat meal
- Synthetic vitamins
- Propylene glycol
- Butylated Hydroxyanisole (BHA)
- Butylated Hydroxytoluene (BHT)
These ingredients all cause more trouble than good for your puppy, and when the puppy is still developing, you will want to give it as much good food as you possibly can. This ensures that your puppy will get as much true nutrients from its food than it otherwise would, giving it all the energy that it needs to grow into a strong, playful dog that will be your family’s companion for many years to come.
Another major category of dog food are the grain-free foods. Some people avoid giving dogs grains simply because it is believed to be better for some dogs. Other dogs might have a sensitive digestive system that acts up whenever grains are introduced.
Whatever your reasoning might be, there is a whole separate category of puppy food that is specifically grain-free, so you won’t have to worry about your dog ingesting anything that you wouldn’t want it to ingest.
Additionally, just as cats have the option to eat wet food, there are wet foods that are specifically made for dogs as well. These foods can be used as a topper for kibble if you have picky dogs, or it can be used as a main food source on its own. For people who are concerned about grains, this is another great option as the wet dog food is often grain-free and is mostly different kinds of meats.
Finally, you can consider creating a home-cooked diet for your dog. Of course, you are going to have to do a considerable amount of research on what kind of meals you can make your dog, what ingredients you will need to purchase, and what you will need to do to get the nutrients that your dog will need, and it will be a huge time commitment each and every day, but if your devotion to your dog is something that means a lot to you, then creating a home-cooked meal for your puppy is not necessarily out of the question.
Choosing a Pet Food Based on Your Budget
As with many things in life, you are going to want to make sure that you are choosing a puppy food that fits within your budget. For most people, this isn’t going to be much of an issue.
On the other hand, if you have some spare money that you would want to dedicate to your puppy’s well-being, there are a few things that you can do. Keep in mind that these things are going to be far more expensive than simply purchasing your pet food at the local pet store, but they will be far better in other aspects.
Many people know that meal delivery plans are a thing that you can invest in to try new meals and learn how to cook something new. There are actually a few companies that do something similar for dogs. There are meal plans that you can customize and tailor specifically to your puppy’s ideal adult weight, tastes, and so on.
This ensures that all breeds can benefit from such a service, budget allowing. These types of meal delivery plans are designed to provide the same type of home-cooked foods for your dog, even if you don’t have the time to make them yourself. You can usually choose from an assortment of meats such as beef, chicken, turkey, and pork.
After a customized meal that uses restaurant-grade meats, there are the meals that need to be refrigerated because they use fresh meat in them. More and more stores are including these in their pet food areas, and they are the second most expensive type of puppy food that you can purchase.
Of course, with this kind of meat, you can be absolutely certain that you are feeding your dog something all-natural and preservative-free, since it needs to be refrigerated to keep it fresh,so do some kinds of fruits and vegetables. This is another type of puppy food that you can invest in.
Finally, there are the traditional wet foods and kibbles that you can buy. The more natural, authentic, and specialized the meals are, the more that you are going to end up spending on your dog.
For many pet owners, this is less of an issue and more something to just keep in mind. Regular kibble is not something you should be ashamed of purchasing because it is the least expensive, as most pet owners use kibble as a puppy’s main sustenance. This is one of the better cost-value meals that you can get for your puppy as well.
Choosing a Best Suitable Puppy Food Based on Content
Some people are okay with meals that are fortified with nutrients and might not have a real taste to them. Some people would rather ensure that their pets are eating something that is as close to what they would eat in the wild as they normally would be. There are some types of puppy food out there that caters to the idea of an “Ancestral,” or a “wild” diet.
More often than not, these meals will have a considerable amount of meat in them, as dogs in the wild eat nothing but meat. You can also ensure that these meals will have the fatty acids and probiotics that a dog will need to feel happy and healthy in their digestive system. Typically, these will cost a little bit more than a standard kibble meal, but they might be tastier to a puppy that has a particularly picky taste.
Finally, there are the grain-free meals. As the name might suggest, these are meals that are specifically grain free. This includes no wheat gluten, no rice, and in more extreme cases, no corn, soy, or potatoes. Of course, you will probably want to talk to your vet about the idea of going on such a strict grain-free diet, as there are some dogs that will not benefit from this in any way.
Assuming that a grain-free diet is best for your pet, there are some types of puppy foods out there that cater specifically to this. You won’t have to worry about what your pet ingests either, as these meals will be sure to meet the nutritional requirements of a growing puppy.