Things You Should Never Feed Your Puppy
Most people already know that chocolate is a no-no for dogs, but heres a list of other harmful foods:
- Raw bread dough
- Corn itself is safe, but no corn cobs!
- Keep dirty cooking utensils out of reachthat grill brush is pretty tempting after a barbecue, and the steak knife used for dinner can slid right down the gullet of at least a few hungry pups!
is a canine nutrition, health, & wellness connoisseur. She has a combined 10 years of experience in clinical medicine, research, and educationthats 70 dog years of know-howand graduated from Colorado State University as a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine. She completed specialized training in internal medicine prior to working as a general practitioner in Colorado, has authored peer-reviewed publications and textbook chapters, holds certification in veterinary medical acupuncture, and is a member of the American Academy of Veterinary Nutrition and American Veterinary Medical Association.
Best Overall: Hills Science Diet Healthy Development Small Bites
Hills Science Diet Healthy Development Small Bites is our best overall for many reasons. Firstly, this food has a delicious chicken flavor because it contains real chicken. This food also has balanced vitamins and minerals to promote good strong bones and teeth.
There is also DHA from fish oil which is great for your puppys eyesight and brain development. It also has proteins that are important for lean muscle growth. It is also great that this food is made with all-natural ingredients.
Veterinarians specifically recommend this food for its high-quality content. It is also great for your dogs stomach because its unique fiber blend aids digestion. Fish oil and flaxseed in this food make it rich in omega 3 and 6. This is known to promote healthy skin and coats in dogs.
There is also DHA from fish oil which is great for your puppys eyesight and brain development.
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Puppy Food Has More Calories
We all know that puppies can be rambunctious and full of energy. Their bodies are busy growing and becoming strong.
Because of this, they need more calories because they burn more!
Puppy food is more calorie-dense, meaning its ingredients have a higher calorie count to meet the puppy’s needs.
Puppies need four key ingredients to have an optimal nutritional diet. These ingredients are:
Depending on the breed and size of the puppy, the amounts of these nutrients that are needed may vary.
However, puppies need more of these nutrients than adult dogs do.
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Regulations On Adult Dog Food And Puppy Food
AAFCO, or Association of American Feed Control Officials, has guidelines and regulations for what goes into adult dog food and puppy food. They have standards in place to define what is categorized as a puppy food and what is labeled as an adult dog food. Here is a list of a couple of the main ingredients in dog food as well as the minimum requirements and how they differ between adult dog food and puppy food.
Protein 22% for puppy food and 18% for adult dog foodFat 8% for puppy food and 5% for adult dog foodCalcium 1% for puppy food and 0.6% for adult dog foodPhosphorus 0.8% for puppy food and 0.5% for adult dog foodSodium 0.3% forpuppy food and 0.06% for adult dog food
Purina Pro Plan High Protein Dha Lamb Rice Formula Puppy Food
Our final top-choice recipe is based on lamb as the first ingredient, but extra protein is added through chicken by-product meal and beef fat. This high-protein recipe ultimately delivers 28% protein and 18% fat.
Fish meal and fish oil are used as a source of DHA, and the whole recipe is reinforced with a nutrient pack that delivers 1.1% calcium and 0.9% phosphorus. It is balanced to contain everything vets recommend for growing puppies.
This puppy food uses a high-energy recipe with 447 calories per cup, and there is nothing artificial added. However, it is fortified with live probiotics to help establish your puppyâs gut health from the outset.
- 447 calories per cup
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The Difference Between Puppy And Adult Food
Since your puppy is growing, he needs more nutrients and calories than an adult dog. This is why puppy foods have a higher level of protein and fat to support growth, as well as nutrients like DHA, an omega fatty acid found in mothers milk.
Once your puppy reaches adulthood, he doesnt need as many calories. Puppy food can quickly lead to excessive weight gain for adult dogs, so the transition is important. Dont wait until you see weight gain in your dog to make the switch, a proactive approach is better for puppy health. If youre still feeding puppy food and want to know how much your puppy should be eating, read our article on how much to feed your puppy.
What Can Puppies Eat
The Association of American Feed Control Officials establishes dog food guidelines, and in order for a dog food to be sold in stores as complete and balanced, it must meet AAFCOs nutritional profile standards. There are two dog food nutrient profiles that you should be aware of when choosing food for your puppy. One is growth and reproduction . The other is adult maintenance . Look at the label to ensure that you are buying a food that is right for your dogs life stage.
Can you feed a puppy adult food? If the label says that the dog food inside is formulated for all life stages, that means it meets the standards for both growth and reproduction and adult maintenance. In other words, its a food that has all the nutrients your growing puppy needs, and you wont have to switch to a new food when your puppy becomes an adult dog.
Can adult dogs eat puppy food? Adult dogs can eat puppy food, but should they? As a general rule, adult dogs do not need the highly caloric food, but there are some exceptions. Some extremely active dogs can handle the high caloric values in puppy food. And some food labels indicate that the food inside is formulated for all life stages, but generally it is best to feed foods appropriately formulated for adult dogs. Dogs have different nutritional needs than puppies, and it is important that they get the nutrients they require.
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What Other Users Are Saying
From all of our research, it seems that Nulo gets a big thumbs up from dog food experts and customers alike. Nulo is an ever-expanding brand that continues to make excellent recipes for everyday health and complicated issues as well.
If youve wanted to try Nulo but you werent exactly sure if other people approved, dog food advisor scores this brand Five stars out of five stars. That means it is a top-quality, highly recommended brand that upholds its promise to put your pet first, taking the nutritional aspects to another level.
Ultimately, one of our favorite things about Nulo is their specially tailored variety to match the puppys needs. So, if youre having trouble finding a recipe that works well for your young dog, Nulo has several recipes to choose from if one doesnt work out for you.
We think its a dog food company you can definitely stick with as your dog ages.
Large Breed Puppies Keep Special Considerations For Their Diet
Large breed puppies have a higher risk of developing certain diseases like developmental orthopedic diseases like dysplasia of the hip and elbows.
Large breed puppies are also more sensitive, and calcium and often need reduced fat intakes to prevent developing orthopedic diseases.
This is why larger breed puppy food formulas have restricted amounts of fats and other nutrients in their food to ensure that these pups are growing at a healthy rate.
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Overview Of Adult Dog Food:
Your dog can switch over to adult dog food once they stop growing. Small breeds like Chihuahuas and pugs could reach adulthood as early as 9 months. Larger breeds like Great Danes can continue to grow for two years. Most dogs reach adulthood on their 1st birthday. Adults dogs who eat puppy food are at risk for obesity, as puppy food is calorie-dense. There are many more options for adult dogs, including specialty foods tailored to specific breeds and allergies. However, not all dogs benefit from transitioning to a . Talk with your veterinarian before switching to a diet that eliminates any one specific food group.
One advantage of having an older dog is that adult dog food often costs less per ounce. Your dogs nutritional needs will change again when they reach the senior stage, around 7 years of age. Senior dog food prevents older dogs from gaining weight while still meeting their dietary requirements.
- More choices for dogs with allergies and other specialty diets
- While heavily marketed, grain-free diets may pose a health risk to many dogs
Variety In Nulo Puppy Food Recipes
We are incredibly pleased with the variety of puppy food offered by this company. Many companies only have a single puppy food recipe, but thats not the case here. You can choose from various flavors, dietary specifics, and wet or dry formulas.
In addition to these wonderful puppy recipes, there are also a series of supplements and enhancers on the website that you can try out.
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Hills Science Diet Dry Dog Food Adult Perfect Weight For Weight Management
This foods ingredients list is very similar to the kibble above, with one key difference: its absolutely packed with fiber. Youll find pea fiber, oat fiber, and dried beet pulp inside, all of which should get your dogs bowels in tip-top shape.
The idea behind all that roughage is that fiber is good for overweight dogs, as it makes them feel full for longer, even if they havent eaten as much as they normally do. Also, being able to fully eliminate any waste can also improve their entire digestive system.
This food has more protein than the one above it, but its still on the low end of the spectrum. We like that they added coconut oil, though, as its full of omega fatty acids.
There are artificial flavors in here, which isnt something you really ever want to see, plus theres a fair amount of salt. Its surprising to find those ingredients in a weight-control food, but we suppose the fiber offsets them somewhat.
This recipe also has highly nutritious fruits and veggies like broccoli, cranberries, and apples, but theyre buried so far down the ingredients list that we doubt theyll have much of an impact.
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Other Vitamins And Nutrients
Of course, puppy food composition is not just about energy. Because puppies are building their bodies pretty much from scratch, they need a lot of specific amino acids to create muscle and tissue.
These amino acids are principally found in meat proteins, which is another reason why protein needs to be such a big part of a puppyâs diet.
Specifically, the amino acids puppies need include:
Puppies need to ingest about twice as much of these amino acids as adult dogs. If adult dogs eat foods too high in these acids, they can develop high cholesterol and heart problems.
Puppies also need to continue consuming lots of DHA, which is a fatty acid found naturally in motherâs milk. It is usually added to puppy foods through fish oils. This is essential for cognitive development and eyesight.
Next, puppiesâ growing bones also need lots of calcium and phosphorus. While adult dogs only need about 0.6% calcium in their diet, puppies need at least 1%. Similarly, while adult dogs need just 0.5% phosphorus, puppies need at least 0.8%.
With all of this in mind, it is not hard to see why puppy food is more expensive. The particular ingredients puppies need more of are the most expensive ingredients in the recipe, specifically meat and fish oils.
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When Can Puppies Eat Adult Dog Food
Puppies can usually start eating adult maintenance food between 6 to 12 months of age. But the exact timing will vary by dog. As long as your dog is showing signs of rapid growth and development, they should remain on a puppy formula. However, once the growth levels off, they can be transitioned onto an adult diet.
This timing often coincides with your dogs spaying or neutering procedure, which will reduce their energy requirements. However, if your dog is spayed or neutered before this age, you may want to keep them on a puppy diet for a few months longer. Just ask your vet when you visit for the procedure.
If youre already a dog owner, and youve just added a young puppy to your pack, you may be tempted to stick both dogs on the same pet food. While this may be a practical solution later on, dont do it just yet.
If youre still feeding your dog the food they were given by the shelter or breeder, but its time to transition them to an adult formula, now is also an excellent time to upgrade their food to a more nutritious diet. If you take nutrition very seriously, check out a fresh food subscription brand such as Just Food for Dogs or The Farmers Dog. If you prefer dry food, try out Spot & Tangos UnKibble line or at least a clean brand that doesnt use meat meals, such as Halo.
Science Diet Puppy Large Breed Analysis Quality Control And Recalls
Because the product is positioned to meet very specific demands, no wonder it is reflected on the quality of its ingredients. I think that is the main reason why manufacturer was lucky to escape much quality trouble. Science Hills diet for dog food recalls history includes one mention of five products being suspected in melamine-tainted gluten content as a result of widespread China imported food problem. Then there were two more recalls in 2014 and 2015 due to labeling issues and salmonella problems.
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Number Of Daily Meals
Due to the smaller size of their tummies, puppies need to eat more frequently. Puppies that are 8 to 12 weeks of age should be fed four times daily. Between 3 to 6 months, a pup should be fed three times daily. At 6 months, reduce the feedings to twice daily. Adult dogs only need to have a morning and evening meal, spaced 8 to 12 hours a part. Regularly scheduled meals that fall at the same time every day are best.
Why Cant Puppies Eat Adult Dog Food
Since puppies are still growing, they burn a ton of calories and need a lot of protein, fat, calories and minerals in their food to keep them healthy, and adult dog food just isnt sufficient for all of a puppys needs.
Adult food does not have the proper nutrients needed for a growing puppy, Dr. Ochoa told The Dodo. Puppies need higher protein content, fats and minerals than adult dogs do. These puppies are quickly growing and have high energy levels that need more nutrients than older dogs.
Protein and calcium help with muscle and bone development, DHA promotes brain development, and fat and calories are used up by all the playing and growing.
A puppy whos fed adult food and doesnt get all the nutrients he needs could have developmental problems, so its super important to feed your pup a food thats appropriate for his life stage.
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Dont Worry Too Much About The Guaranteed Analysis Section
The guaranteed analysis is required to provide the percentage of protein, fat, fiber, and moisture content, but it shows only the minimum and maximum amounts that are guaranteed, notes Petfoodology veterinarian Lisa M. Freeman. Therefore, its fairly useless as a way to compare pet foods or judge the nutrient levels of an individual food, she writes.
So if your vet tells you your dog needs to up their moisture intake, for example, and youre comparing a few different products, call the manufacturers to confirm the amounts, rather than just referencing the guaranteed analysis. Ask them for the average or typical nutrient percentages, or the figures per 100 or 1,000 kilocalories, so its easier to compare. Remember that a good pet food company should employ nutritional experts and have quality-control measures to ensure consistency across products.
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Why Do Puppies And Adult Dogs Need Different Food
Theyre all dogs. It all goes down the same way. Why do they even need different food?
If youre having a hard time understanding why puppies need a different diet than adult dogs, just think of humans. Would you feed a newborn baby a steak dinner with chips and salad?
Puppies have different dietary needs than adult dogs, just as human babies do compared to adults. At this life stage, parts of a puppys body and brain are still developing, and the food they eat needs to reflect these particular requirements.
Puppies have small stomachs, but big caloric needs, so how much energy is packed into each mouthful is important. Whether its wet food or dry food, the fat and protein content, and the caloric density of different portion sizes all matter.
For toy breeds, such as Yorkshire Terriers, getting a small-breed puppy food is also important, as these little pups will have a hard time getting their teeth around big pieces of kibble that larger breeds could easily eat.
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