Thursday, September 28, 2023

What Is The Best Dog Food For Puppies

Good Ingredients In Puppy Food

BEST & WORST Dog Food for PUPPIES ð¤ð?¶
  • Real meat: Puppies need high amounts of lean protein to fuel muscular growth. And theres no better source for it than real, whole meat. The best protein sources for puppies include chicken, beef, and salmon. Rabbit and duck are ideal meats for sensitive pups.
  • Whole grains or simple carbs: Its crucial to select the right carbs for your puppy to prevent stomach problems. Whole grains like barley, oatmeal, and brown rice are some of our recommended choices since theyre rich in fiber and promote better digestion. But if your puppy is sensitive to grains, choose a recipe with easily digestible carbs like sweet potatoes, lentils, and peas.
  • Natural fats and oils: Fats play a vital role in fueling your puppys body and nourishing their coat. The best fats for puppies are natural fats that are either animal-based or vegetable-based. Animal-based fats like salmon oil, chicken fat, and fish oil are excellent fatty acids and DHA sources. Similarly, vegetable-based oils like sunflower oil, flaxseed oil, and canola oil contain many beneficial omega fatty acids and nutrients.
  • Natural preservatives: When buying puppy food, make sure it doesnt contain artificial preservatives, especially BHA and BHT. Instead, look for natural ones such as vitamin E and vitamin C , which are much healthier and non-harmful.

What To Look For In Dog Food In Order Of Importance:

AAFCO nutritional adequacy statement: The most important benchmark of a healthy dog food is a statement on the label that says it meets the nutritional standards established by the AAFCO, demonstrating that the food is complete and balanced for the dog’s life stage. All foods mentioned in this guide are AAFCO complete and balanced. Read more about those standards and definitions in the next slide.

Guaranteed analysis: The guaranteed analysis lists the percentages of the most vital nutrients in the food: protein, fat, fiber, and moisture. Sometimes, other nutrients like glucosamine, chondroitin, and omega fatty acids are also listed in the guaranteed analysis. Foods selected in this guide contain moderate to high protein and low to moderate fat .

Ingredients list: The ingredients list can be tricky to navigate, especially when taking water content into account, but in general, you want to see clearly identified animal sources of protein at the top of the list. Whole meat is great, but it is heavier due to its moisture content. Once that water is removed, the meat content might not be as high as you think. Don’t automatically write off meat meals. High-quality meat meals can be an excellent source of protein the water has been removed, so they may provide more protein than whole meat. The ingredients lists of all the foods in this guide contain animal sources of protein at the top of the list.

Holistic Select Grain Free Puppy Food Blend

Ingredients: If youre a St. Bernard owner, you already know youre in for some unique health challenges with your pupnot to mention the cost of feeding such a huge animal! But dont worry, because Holistic Select understands the concern and is here with this grain-free puppy food for giant breeds. Featuring premium lamb and chicken, probiotics, and natural fiber for optimal digestion.

Price/Where To Buy: A 24-lb. is available on for just $62, and anything over $50 qualifies for free shipping with Chewy.

The Difference: Large breeds require special care, and Holistic Select wants to make sure your puppy makes it to adulthood happy and healthy with premium blend dog foods for larger breeds.

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Victor Purpose Active Dog & Puppy Formula Dry Food

Victor pet foods are sourced and made in the U.S. and boast a composition of 77% meat protein. This grain-free recipe is marketed for sensitive stomachs, thanks to Victors proprietary blend of supplements including prebiotics, probiotics, and selenium yeast. This particular food is good for adult dogs as well as puppies.

How Can I Tell If A Dog Food Is Safe For Large Breed Puppies

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According to the Association of American Feed Control Officials

The maximum amount of calcium recommended for large breed puppies is 4.5 grams of calcium per every 1000 kcal in the food or 1.8% calcium.12

Keep in mind the calcium content printed on the label does not reveal this amount.

Thats because those figures are based on MINIMUMS which is NOT acceptable.

You want to know the EXACT amount of calcium obtained by actual lab testing

Or the MAXIMUM amount the manufacturer is willing to guarantee to you on the label.


AAFCO now requires13 those calcium standards to be guaranteed in each products Nutritional Adequacy Statement on the packaging.

You should see meets AAFCO nutrient profiles for either growth or all life stages AND the wordsincluding growth of large size dogs .

Like this

Since we never know the adult weight of a puppy before its fully grown, we recommend using a more conservative 50 pound definition for large breeds.

All The Dog Food Advisors recommended large breed puppy foods meet these requirements. So, theres no need for you to do any calculations yourself.

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Ingredients To Avoid In Your Shetland Sheepdogs Dog Food

Corn and soy are two ingredients often used to reduce the overall cost of the food. These ingredients might make your wallet feel good now, but later when you’re scheduling more than average vet appointments for issues related to your Shelties diet, you may not be so pleased.

These empty fillers, along with by-product meals, artificial colors, and artificial flavors, can wreak havoc on your Shelties digestion, skin health, and weight. Its best to avoid all of them and choose foods that use none of these ingredients at all in the formula.

One particular concern with gluten and grain free diets is the prevalence of potatoes, peas, and legumes. These ingredients have been tentatively linked to a condition known as Canine Dilated Cardiomyopathy or an enlarged heart. We aren’t sure of exactly whats causing the link yet, but just to be safe, speak with your vet and try to avoid foods that list those ingredients in the first three positions.

Best Fresh Foods For Puppies

If you want one of the very best foods available for your cute-and-cuddly new canine, its hard to beat fresh foods. Most are made with super-premium ingredients, cooked up in US-based kitchens, and custom-formulated for your specific pet.

Fresh foods certainly arent cheap, but many owners are glad to cough up a little more cash to reap the rewards they provide!

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Blue Wilderness Turkey & Chicken Grill Wet Puppy Food

This is a sponsored placement, in which an advertiser pays a fee to be featured in this article. Learn more

Turkey, Chicken Broth, Chicken, Chicken Liver, Potatoes…,

Pea Protein, Flaxseed , Fish Oil , Dicalcium Phosphate, Carrageenan, Cassia Gum, Potassium Chloride, Salt, Guar Gum, Choline Chloride, Zinc Amino Acid Chelate, Iron Amino Acid Chelate, Vitamin E Supplement, Copper Amino Acid Chelate, Manganese Amino Acid Chelate, Sodium Selenite, Thiamine Mononitrate , Cobalt Amino Acid Chelate, Niacin Supplement , Calcium Pantothenate , Vitamin A Supplement, Riboflavin Supplement , Biotin , Vitamin B12 Supplement, Potassium Iodide, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride , Vitamin D3 Supplement, Folic Acid , preserved with Mixed Tocopherols.


Most dogs appear to love the taste of Blue Wilderness Turkey & Chicken Grill, while owners appreciated the foods coat- and skin-supporting benefits. Many owners were also pleased with the foods reasonable price point.


There arent many problems with this food, although a few dogs didnt seem to digest it very well.

Evolve Classic Deboned Chicken Puppy Recipe Dry Dog Food

What is the Best Diet for Your Dog?

Ingredients: A grain-free diet can help your puppy grow up strong and healthy, but you need premium ingredients like whole vegetables and high-quality meats to make up the difference. Thats where Evolves classic deboned chicken puppy recipe comes in, with premium chicken, sweet potatoes, and berries.

Price/Where To Buy: This blend is available from, and is not eligible for free shipping. A 14-lb. bag costs about $26.

The Difference: Evolve is a brand dedicated to helping dogs grow up happy and healthy with premium grain-free options like this tasty chicken blend. Your puppy will love it, and your wallet will, too.

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Merrick Real Texas Beef & Sweet Potato Recipe

If you are specifically looking for grain-free canine formula, then you can’t go wrong with this Merrick recipe.

It’s perfect for all breeds, ages, and sizes and is available in a variety of different flavors. We recommend the beef and sweet potato recipe as it is poultry-free .

Containing a whopping 38% protein and 15% fat, Merrick’s philosophy is that these two properties in combination with a host of vitamins and minerals will do wonders for promoting the overall dog’s health.

They are extremely transparent with regards to the ingredient composition, choosing only the best available products and containing no corn, wheat, soy or gluten ingredients.

This helps give us tremendous confidence in recommending the brand. At $60 for a 25-lb bag, this does fall into the premium category.

Whether the exceptional nutritional content is worth the increased price is up to you.

Hills Science Diet Puppy Large Breed Chicken Meal And Oat Recipe Dry

Protein 26.0% min, Fat 16% min, Fiber 3% max, Moisture 10% max

Top 5 ingredients: 1. Chicken Meal, 2. Whole Grain Wheat, 3. Whole Grain Oats, 4. Whole Grain Sorghum, 5. Corn Gluten Meal

This formula makes for one of the best puppy foods for large breeds. Hills controls the amount of calcium in their formula to ensure it is within safe limits for large breed puppies. Whats more, this formula contains chondroitin and glucosamine for optimum growth and muscle strength. Additionally, the vitamin E and C in this food for puppies help greatly in supporting the immune system.

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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.

Natures Variety Instinct Ultimate Protein Duck Recipe

Best Dog Food For Small Dogs With Allergies

Natures Variety Instinct Ultimate Protein dry dog food comes in two flavors chicken and duck. Both of these formulas offer high-quality protein in a diet that is formulated to mimic the ancestral diet of wild dogs. This formula is free from grains and it is designed to provide balanced nutrition for dogs of all life stages, including puppies. This Natures Variety Instinct Ultimate Protein dry dog food is made with duck, chicken, eggs, tapioca, and ground flaxseed as the top five ingredients. Having two high-quality sources of animal-based protein listed first is an excellent feature for this dry dog food eggs are also an excellent source of protein for dogs. Tapioca is included as a gluten-free, grain-free source of carbohydrate and ground flaxseed provides omega-3 fatty acids as well as plant-based protein. Other beneficial ingredients include canola oil, freeze-dried turkey and duck, fresh vegetables, salmon oil, chelated minerals, and dried fermentation products.

Read Reviews Of This Product

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What About Foods Marketed For All Life Stages

Some dog food manufacturers try to fish with a big net, and market foods designed to be suitable for puppies and adults.

To do so in accordance with the AAFCOs labelling requirements, such foods need only demonstrate that they meet the nutritional requirements for puppies and adults.

But because the nutritional requirements of foods designed for growing dogs exceed those required for adults, these foods are essentially puppy food.

It is therefore perfectly acceptable to offer all life stages foods to young puppies.

However, problems with such foods may manifest in adult dogs, who may not need the higher protein and fat content that characterizes puppy foods.

Some adult dogs particularly those with high caloric needs may be able to tolerate such rich food on a daily basis, but others will become overweight, and subject to joint problems and other ailments.

How Much Do I Need To Feed My Puppy

When you are considering how much you need to feed your new puppy, think of this as a process rather than an event. Be flexible and adaptable until you find what works for your puppy.

There are many variables at play that will impact the amount you need to feed your dog. Large breeds require more food than smaller breeds. The calorie content of each food also impacts portion size.

To get started, use the guidelines on the food package as a baseline. You can then tweak this accordingly so youll have no problem keeping your dog at his ideal weight.

Purina offers this very useful feeding chart thats well worth a glance.

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How Do I Know My Puppy Is Getting The Right Nutrition

Dont get too worried about whether your pup is getting a certain amount of, say, Vitamin E, calcium, or antioxidants.

Thats because commercial pet food is heavily regulated. You can read more from the Pet Food Institute, which explains the complex regulatory process for pet foods. They explain that an ingredient cannot be used in pet food until it has been accepted by FDA and adopted by the Association of American Feed Officials.

If you purchase a pet food with a nutritional adequacy statement by AAFCO just look for that AAFCO logo on the bag! you can rest assured that your fur ball is getting the right vitamins and minerals. A pet food cannot be approved for sale commercially unless its formula includes essential nutrients for dogs.

You should also check for any current recalls. These happen from time to time due to ingredient or formula concerns.

Lets dive into our recommendations now. If youre looking for even more in-depth information on puppy food, have no fear jump ahead past the recommendations and youll find more answers to common questions about puppy nutrition and pet food guidelines.

Best Poultry Free Dog Food : Castor & Pollux Pristine Grain Free And Poultry Free Salmon

What is the Best Food for My Dog?

In our opinion, Castor & Pollux Pristine Salmon recipe is the best option out there if you want to stick with a grain free and poultry free recipe. The #1 ingredient is salmon, followed by real fruits and vegetables that you can actually see in the bag! Along with these wholesome ingredients, Pristine is packed with Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids , calcium , and contains zero synthetic fertilizers or chemical pesticides. This recipe contains zero soy, corn, or wheat as well. Pristine is a good fit for pretty much any dog size or breed, and is typically for dogs in their adult stage of life . Pristine is just one of the product lines for Castor & Pollux, who also make great recipes under their Organix product line.

We also really liked their Natural Ultramix, but unfortunately they stopped producing it. You can check out our full review of Natural Ultramix for more.

What We Like

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How Often How Much And How Long Should You Feed Your Puppy

The number of times you feed your puppy will be related to each stage of puppyhood.

  • 6 – 12 weeks. Puppies are growing at this point and need a diet specially formulated to give them the nutrition they need for optimum development. Four feedings a day will be enough to meet nutritional requirements. Large breed puppies can eat unmoistened dry food around 9 – 10 weeks, while smaller breeds can do so at 12 weeks.
  • 3 – 6 months. Feedings can be reduced during this time frame from four to three feedings a day. At this point, puppies should begin to lose their rounded belly and become leaner.
  • 6 – 12 months. Puppies should be fed twice daily. After spaying or neutering, switch your puppy from puppy food to adult maintenance food. Small breeds should make this switch between 7 – 9 months larger breeds can switch after 12 months.
  • After age 1: Feed your adult dog two half-portions a day.

When Should I Switch My Puppy To Adult Food

Its critical not to switch your puppy to adult food too soon.

Thats because adult dog food can contain too much calcium which can make it unsafe for a growing puppy.

Truth is

The best time to switch your puppy to adult food depends on your puppys breed type. The following table can help you determine when its safe to switch your puppy to adult food.910

Breed Type

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