Puppy Nutrition Basics: What You Need To Know
Puppies have different nutritional requirements than adult dogs do, so you need to feed them a food formulated specifically to address their unique needs.
We have a big guide to the best puppy food that shows a mix of top-tier wet and dry puppy foods make sure to check it out!
Puppy-specific food not only includes differing amounts of amino acids but different total protein contents for the food too.
Adult dogs need only 18% of their calories to come from protein sources, while puppies need 22% of their calories from protein sources.
Additionally, puppies grow best when provided with a little more fat, so the AAFCO recommends that at least 8% of their calories come from fat sources, while adults need only 5% of their calories to come from fat.
Fortunately, you dont have to worry very much about these differences you can just purchase a high-quality, AAFCO-compliant food that is formulated specifically for puppies. This way, you can rest easy knowing that your dog is getting exactly the type of nutrition he needs.
This also means that whether you select a kibble made for puppies or a wet food formula for puppies, either type will provide the nutrition your growing pup needs.
Complete And Balanced Dog Foods
One of the first things you should look for on a dog food label is the statement is formulated to meet the nutritional levels established by the AAFCO Dog Food Nutrient Profiles. This isnt just an advertising slogan. The Association of American Feed Control Officials has strict requirements to make sure that a product is in fact complete and balanced for dogs . Complete and balanced diets must contain the minimum amount of all of the nutrients necessary for dogs, which is also indicated in the guaranteed analysis. This analysis gives the minimum amount of crude protein and fat, along with the maximum amounts of water and crude fiber. The analysis does not, however, give the exact amount of these components, which means there is room for considerable variation. The manufacturers average nutrient profile is often a better tool for evaluating a product.
You can always contact the dog food company directly to get more information about its product. A reputable company that has your dogs interests at heart should be happy to answer your questions and in many cases will give you more information than what is available on the website or product label. The World Small Animal Veterinary Association has a helpful sheet with questions you can ask a company representative.
Should I Feed My Puppy Wet Or Dry Dog Food
The choices available for feeding your puppy can be overwhelming. But one of the first decisions is between two choices will it be wet or dry dog food for puppy? Each has its fans and its detractors. Is one better than the other? Many dog owners have strong feelings on that! Yet some feed their dog a mix or wet and dry foods to make sure they are covering all the bases.
No single food option is the best for every single dog out there. Even dogs of the same breed can have different nutritional needs. Each owner has to weigh up the pros and cons of wet or dry dog food for their puppy and then consider their choices for whichever they pick. Understanding the pros and cons of wet and dry dog food is the first step to making the best choice for your pet.
You May Like: How To Soften Dog Food
Best Dog Food For Senior Dogs
Senior dogs, usually considered 7+, vary in their individual nutritional needs. Younger senior dogs may struggle with being overweight and older senior dogs may struggle with being underweight, which is why there is such a variety.
Choosing the best senior dog food may come down to what your dog finds palatable. Many older dogs prefer wet food while others may need their food warmed up to enhance the aromas. Ultimately, your vet can help choose the best dog food for an older pet.
Best Wet Dog Food Formulas Of 2022
Wed bet its safe to say that pretty much every dog will happily gobble down a can of wet foodbut certain dogs will benefit from a wet food diet more than others. Dogs with kidney issues, senior dogs and puppies, dogs with oral pain or tooth loss, and dogs who are picky eaters will all benefit from a combined or fully wet food diet.
With so many brands on the market and types of dog food, choosing the right one for your pet is a difficult task. The best wet dog food brands should provide both complete nutrition and genuine enjoyment for your pup. Below, we spoke to veterinarians and dog behaviorists in our network to get their insights on exactly how to switch to a wet food dietand which brands and ingredients to look for.
Also Check: Can You Buy Freeze Dried Food With Food Stamps
Mixing Wet And Dry Dog Food
Can you mix wet and dry dog food together? Mixing the two types together might seem like the perfect solution to make sure your dog gets a full and balanced diet. But, I wouldnt recommend doing it with every dog heres why. If you mix both dry and wet dog food regularly your dogs weight will quickly spiral out of control, wet food, in particular, is already calorie high and combine that with the dry Kibble which also contains additional calories could cause your dog to gain unwanted weight.
Now, this might be your goal, some dogs do have problems gaining weight so mixing the two types of dog food together would be the perfect solution to ensuring that your K9 buddy is at the correct weight he needs to be. However, for most dogs mixing dry and wet food is not recommended, sure giving them a combination as a special treat if perfectly okay just dont make it a habit.
Its also worth mentioning that some dogs suffer from sensitive stomachs and mixing their food could cause them to have an upset stomach and diarrhea. My advice is if youve found a food your dog enjoys stick with it, even a change in the dog food brand can an adverse effect on those dogs with sensitive stomachs.
What Are The Nutritional Requirements For Cats And Dogs
It can vary widely, and will be dependent on the size, breed and age of your pet.
“Cats and dogs have some fundamental differences in what and how they can metabolise and utilise different food sources that mean they have different nutritional requirements,” says Zito.
“Cats have evolved as obligate carnivores, which means they not only eat meat but have become dependent on a meat diet and can’t be healthy or survive without meat in their diet.”
But Zito says cats need more than just meat.
“Naturally they’d eat the whole prey including the meat, organs and bones so a diet of meat only would be deficient in certain important components, for example calcium,” she says.
“Cats don’t possess the special enzymes and metabolic pathways that other animals do to digest and convert plant nutrients, and therefore can’t utilise plant-based foods in the same way that dogs can.”
Even though dogs are largely carnivores, Zito says they’ll also eat plant-based foods to provide them with the nutrition they need.
While cats and dogs have different nutritional needs, what they share is a need for a healthy, balanced diet containing proteins, fats and carbohydrates to produce all the essential vitamins and minerals they need for a happy and healthy life.
While cats and dogs have different nutritional needs, what they share is a need for a healthy, balanced diet.
Cats need more protein than dogs and protein is especially important for growing kittens and nursing cats.
Also Check: Is Caesars Dog Food Good
How To Shop For The Best Food For Dogs
One of the most important steps in figuring out the best dog food is through the ingredient list, said Freeman, noting the first three are the most critical. This will help you determine if the formula is vegetable-based with things like corn and rice or meat-based with chicken, fish, or lamb, said Freeman. While each dog is different, they generally do best on a protein-rich, meat-based diet, she added.
Next, analyze what type of meat is within. Look for brands that specifically name the type of meat, like beef, chicken, or lamb, said Morgan. She noted that meat, bone meal or meat byproducts could come from any animal. Similarly, poultry meal signals any bird, she said.
The ingredients will also highlight some of what you want to avoid. Freeman suggested avoiding dog food that includes: dyes , sugar and high salt , as well as other solvents and preservatives like propylene glycol, BHA, BHT and ethoxyquin.
Wet Food Provides Comfort During Dental Pain
We often think of dental problems as striking elderly dogs, but the truth is, periodontal disease strikes 85% of dogs by the time they turn 5 years old. During treatment and recovery, a switch to a softer canned diet helps afflicted dogs eat in comfort. Meanwhile, discover more about the prevention and treatment of canine dental problems.
Recommended Reading: Can You Buy Dog Food On Food Stamps
Making The Choice Between Dog Foods
Although some people decide to stick with exclusively feeding their dog dry or canned food, many veterinarians actually recommend offering a mixture of both types of foods. “Depending on your needs,” says Dr. Jennifer Coates, “you can primarily feed your dry food with just a meal or two of canned food per week.” Another option is to feed your dog canned food every day with a few dry kibbles sprinkled on top. It is, however, important to pay attention to the added calories when feeding your pet a mix of canned and dry food in order to avoid weight issues.
Ultimately what’s most important is that you discuss with your veterinarian the options. Your dog needs a well-balanced diet that benefits his or her lifestyle and health condition. This may mean dry dog food, canned food, or even a combination of both.
Should You Consider Giving Your Dog Both Dry And Wet Dog Food
Combining both dry and wet dog food means you can benefit from the budgetary and logistical benefits of kibble while providing your pup with the added flavor canned dog food brings.
Whether you opt for dry kibble only, a wet food diet, or a mixture of both, consistency is essential.
Its best to stick with a regular diet for your pet as any sudden change to your dogs diet can cause an upset stomach and result in your pup not eating their meals.
Also Check: Softening Dry Dog Food
Puppy Feeding Schedule: How Often To Feed Your Pup
Your puppys nutritional requirements not only mean that he should be given a different type of food than adult dogs, they also mean that your pup should be fed on a different schedule than adult dogs should.
For example, weaned puppies should typically be fed four times per day until they reach 12 weeks of age. It may be necessary to moisten the food of young puppies with a bit of water, but they should be able to handle crunchy kibble by about 9 to 13 weeks of age larger breeds are capable of making the switch more quickly than small breeds are.
Sometime between 3 and 6 months of age, youll want to provide the same amount of food each day, but youll want to split it up into three meals, rather than four. After another 6 months, you can further reduce the number of daily feedings to two.
Once your dog is about 12 months old, hell probably be ready for adult food. However, you should always consult with your vet before making the switch and stick with puppy food if you have any doubt.
Additionally, as when making any food change, try to do so gradually, by mixing increasingly large portions of the new food in with your dogs current food over a period of a week or so.
Best Dog Food For Puppies
The nutritional needs of dogs vary throughout their life. Puppies have different nutritional needs than adult dogs, and senior dogs have their own nutritional considerations. Most dog food companies carry specially formulated puppy foods for each stage of a dogs life, making it easier to narrow down your choices. If you are concerned about which is the best dog food for your dogs life stage, consult your veterinarian to see what stage food is appropriate for your dog.
Your puppy requires a different nutrient balance than an adult dog. This is especially true for large breeds. Feeding a large breed puppy food can help, as their growth needs to be monitored carefully to prevent bone and joint problems. Other puppies do well on both puppy food and food labeled for all life stages. The best food for your puppy depends on your puppys size and breed. Always consult your veterinarian for recommendations on puppy feeding, and advice on how to switch puppies to adult dog food.
Read Also: Can Chickens Eat Avocado
Wet Food May Contain More Protein Than Dry Food
Wet food often contains more protein and fewer carbs than dry food. Even if it looks, at first glance, like canned food has less protein in it than dry food, you may be surprised to find out it often contains a higher percentage of protein.
Its challenging to compare nutritional labels on a can of wet food and a package of dry kibble and figure out what has more protein. In order to determine which has more protein, you need to calculate dry matter for each product you want to compare.
Dry matter basis is a representation of nutrients which ignores the moisture content of the food. In other words, its the amount of protein, fat, and fiber which would be reported if the products moisture were completely removed, according to PawDiet, which offers a basic dry matter calculator.
You can also do the math yourself.
The Pet Food Institute has instructions on how to determine dry matter in foods.
Health Benefits Of Dry Food
There are a few instances where dry food might be the best route for your pet. Dry foods often have more fiber bulk which can be good for many gastrointestinal diseases, Dr. Youello says. Dogs with chronic diarrhea, for example, may do better on a dry food formulated with more fiber. Similarly, dogs with diabetes mellitus generally do better on a dry food, as theres usually more complex carbohydrates compared to a canned food.
While dry food is also touted as a good option to keep your dogs teeth clean, its not recommended to feed them dry food for this reason alone. There are many toys and treats on the market that tackle plaque and nothing will ever compare to cleaning your dogs teeth yourself.
Recommended Reading: Can I Get Dog Food With Food Stamps
What Is The Best Dog Food Type: Canned Dog Food Or Dry Dog Food
Many dog owners believe that canned or wet dog food is superior to kibble because it contains more meat protein and fewer carbs.
Canned dog food also has more moisture and can help make your dog feel fuller faster and longer.
However, dry kibble also has its advantages. From the ease of convenience and affordability to assisting with your dogs dental health.
Lets take a closer look at the pros and cons of each type of dog food.
The Best Dog Food According To Experts And Veterinarians
Select is editorially independent. Our editors selected these deals and items because we think you will enjoy them at these prices. If you purchase something through our links, we may earn a commission. Pricing and availability are accurate as of publish time.
Dogs provide humans with unconditional love and emotional support, which pet owners might be especially thankful for during the stressful times we are living through. Feeding your dog a nutritious diet is just one way to show them how much you care, in addition to providing them with the right dog bed, toys to play with and the occasional dog treat. Simply put, dogs deserve to eat well in fact, appropriate food is fourth in the American Veterinary Medical Associations Guidelines for Responsible Pet Ownership. And with currently underway, you can find savings on many top-rated pet products.
SKIP AHEAD How to shop for dog food
Aiming for the best food for dogs gives them distinct health advantages, too, said Jennifer Freeman, DVM, resident veterinarian and pet care expert at PetSmart. Premium dog food will include meat for protein, vitamin-packed vegetables and fruit, and omega fatty acids for a shiny coat, Freeman said, adding its also likely to have fewer fillers such as corn, wheat, and soy.
Recommended Reading: Can You Buy Shampoo With Food Stamps
Help Us Get Safer Pet Food
Prepared wet and dry pet food and packaged raw meat are covered by the Australian Standard for the Manufacturing and Marketing of Pet Food, AS 5812:2017. But the standard is voluntary, so there’s no regulator or mandatory recall system in place should something go wrong.
So far in 2019, there have been two significant pet food recalls: Hill’s Pet Nutrition globally recalled their canned dog food because it carried potentially toxic levels of vitamin D and was found to potentially contain plastic.
But in the absence of government regulation, there’s no guarantee that further instances of unsafe pet food would be recalled instead of, say, quietly withdrawn from sale.
While we do have good standards here in Australia compliance is encouraged but not mandatory
Dr Julia Crawford
“While we do have good standards here in Australia, and a lot of Australian companies comply with the Australian Standards, compliance is encouraged but not mandatory and the industry is self-regulated,” Crawford explains.
Last year’s Senate inquiry into pet food regulation is promising to change all that by demanding a higher level of scrutiny and quality control be put in place to protect our pets from contamination in commercial pet foods.
The inquiry demanded that the voluntary standards be made mandatory and publicly accessible, that a national pet food manufacturing and safety policy framework be established and that the ACCC create a consumer reporting mechanism and improved recall systems.