Choosing the best dry dog food for you puppy is one of the most important decisions you’ll make when you bring home your new friend. Up until recently, your pup was getting the absolute best food on the planet: mom’s milk. Chances are, your puppy was weaned shortly before coming to your home. Now you need to make sure he’s getting the right nutrition to continue to grow healthy and happy!
The problem is, a trip to the grocery store will reveal dozens of potential choices. It can be overwhelming. Here’s a bit of advice to get you started: get out of the grocery store! Honestly, you will not find the best dry food for your puppy there. In fact, aside from Rachel Ray’s Nutrish Zero-Grain (affiliate link) option, you really won’t find any healthy dog food in the grocery store. Instead, head to your nearest pet store or feed store.
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Choosing the Best Dry Dog Food For Your Puppy
Once you reach the right store, your choices become even more overwhelming! Here are a few tips to get you started.
It’s all About Balance
The right dry dog food for your puppy will have the right balance of protein, fat, and fiber. The easiest way to do this is to look for a statement that indicates the food meets the Association of American Feed Control Officers (AAFCO) standards. The AAFCO has incredibly strict guidelines for what must go into puppy food to meet their standards. You’ll see a statement like this somewhere on the package (the name of the product replaces the XXXX)
“ XXXX is formulated to meet the nutritional levels established by the AAFCO Dog Food Nutrient Profiles”
Don’t skip stages
While it may be tempting to buy adult dry dog food for your puppy- especially if you already have adult dogs- puppies require more of some nutrients than adults. You may be able to get away with feeding your puppy adult food in a pinch, like if you run out and can’t get to the store. Just don’t make a habit of it. You wouldn’t give your infant a steak dinner, right? So don’t give you puppy food that is meant for older dogs.
The Right Food at the Right Time
Simply getting the right dry dog food for your puppy isn’t enough. You also have to know how to feed your puppy properly. Most vets recommend giving a measured serving at a specific time each day. While I raised two grazers without problems, it’s a rare dog that will simply graze on their food without gobbling up more than they should. Once I got my third dog, we had to go to measured servings at specific times because he was a rescue and ate everything in sight.
Consider the Breed
There are a few larger breeds that have special rules when it comes to feeding. My aunt has an Irish Wolfhound and all the standard dry dog food rules go right out the window with him. These very large breeds aren’t supposed to eat puppy food for too long. They also shouldn’t have high-protein foods too often. Before you go out and look for the best dry dog food for your puppy, have a conversation with your vet to learn about the guidelines for the breed.
Hopefully these tips will help you choose the best dry dog food for your puppy!