Choosing the Right Food for your Puppy

blog Food nutrition overfeeding Petland Florida puppy food

What should I feed my new puppy? Young puppies should be fed puppy food that’s specially formulated to meet their nutritional needs. There are different nutritional needs between small-breed and large-breed puppies so make sure you are giving your pup the right well-balanced food they need. A puppy’s diet should be carefully monitored to make […]

Puppy nutrition plays a key role in your puppy’s overall health and wellbeing. If we lived in a perfect world, you would be able to buy the first dog food brand you see on a shelf at your local pet store. 

Unfortunately, that’s not the reality we live in.

Most dog owners face the daunting task of searching for the right puppy food brand among thousands available in pet stores. And the number of dog food brands hasn’t stopped growing.

According to Pet Food Processing, since 2011, the number of brands has increased by 71% and totals 630 in the U.S. alone.

With an overwhelming array of options to choose from, how do you know what food is good for your puppy? 

We want to make your search less stressful. In this blog, we’ve put together a guide that’ll help you pick out the best dog food for your puppy!

What should I feed my new puppy?

Young puppies should be fed puppy food that’s specially formulated to meet their nutritional needs. Puppies grow quickly so their food needs to have the right amount of calories, proteins, and minerals to nourish them.

Small-breed and large-breed puppies have different nutritional needs so it’s incredibly important to ensure you’re providing your furry friend with the right food. 

You should monitor your puppy’s diet regularly so they are getting balanced nutrition and gaining weight at the proper rate.

When shopping for puppy food at the store, always read the packaging label to see what beneficial ingredients the food offers your puppy. Some foods contain more nutrients than others and could affect the amount of food that your puppy should have daily.

Other foods do not contain enough nutritional value. This could lead to your puppy becoming overweight or gaining a serious health condition.

Aside from the occasional dog treats, your puppy should only be eating dog food. If you get into the habit of feeding him human food, your puppy may become a picky eater and exercise bad habits.

What food can puppies have?

Puppies have an appetite for just about anything you give them. That doesn’t mean you should give your puppy your table scraps. Not all foods are safe for puppies to eat.

Many human foods are considered toxic for puppies. When ingested, these foods can cause a variety of illnesses like vomiting, diarrhea, and even seizures. Large quantities of toxic human foods can also lead to serious health problems like organ failure and even death.

Keep your puppy away from the following toxic human foods: 

  • Chocolate
  • Onions
  • Raisins
  • Xylitol (any human candy)
  • Garlic
  • Ice cream

There are also human foods your puppy can eat in moderation. If you plan to give your puppy safe human foods, be sure they don’t contain toxic ingredients. Even the smallest hint of garlic or chocolate can make your puppy sick.

Here are a few human foods that your puppy can eat:

  • Peanut butter (make sure it doesn’t contain xylitol)
  • Fish
  • Eggs
  • Cheese (in moderation)
  • Bread
  • Honey

For more information on what human foods your puppy can eat (and why), check out our blog, Human Foods Your Pup Can And Cannot Eat.

How much food should your puppy eat?

The amount of food your puppy eats depends on factors, such as their age, size, breed, activity level, environment, and health. Generally, puppies should be fed three to four times a day. Try to space out your puppy’s feeding schedule throughout the day.

The amount of food you provide also varies on their age and size. We recommend smaller meals to allow your puppy to fully digest their food and feel energized

As your puppy grows, you can increase or decrease the quantity of food your puppy eats based on their size and breed. However, don’t just take our word for it.

When in doubt, always consult with your vet about how much your puppy should be eating each day and the type of food.

What factors should I consider when choosing my puppy’s food?

  • Your pet’s age and activity level. 

When your puppy becomes older, they will need a different level of nutrients than they did when they were younger. Depending on the size and breed, your puppy should be switched from puppy to adult food somewhere between 1 and 2 years of age.

  • Evaluate the specific nutritional needs of your dog. 

You should ask the question of whether your dog is in healthy shape. It can be fairly easy to see if your dog is a little on the thin side or if they have been packing on the pounds.

  • Don’t be afraid to ask questions. 

When comparing dog foods inside a pet supply store, let the employees help you by asking questions about each dog food brand you’re looking into.

They are usually pretty knowledgeable about the dog food they stock and can help point you in the right direction or give suggestions about your pet’s individual needs.

  • Talk to your veterinarian. 

If you’re worried about your pet being at their optimal weight or if they have very specific health problems that are affected by diet, then your first resource should be your veterinarian. You should be able to discuss options and develop a plan that’s right for your pet.

Can my puppy eat homemade food for puppies?

Yes! Puppies can eat homemade dog food as long as they don’t contain bad ingredients. We also suggest consulting with your licensed veterinarian to understand your puppy’s nutritional needs and whether a homemade diet is right for them. 

If your vet gives you the go-ahead, start by understanding what makes up a nutritional homemade diet for canines. Puppies have strict nutritional needs that must be met to keep them healthy.

A nutritionally balanced canine diet has:

  • Protein
  • Carbohydrates
  • Vitamins
  • Fats and fatty acids
  • Minerals

If you aren’t sure how to start making homemade meals for your puppy, try searching for yummy recipes online. Our blogs, Delicious Puppy Treats! and 5 Best Homemade Dog Biscuits For Your Puppy offer creative ideas for mouthwatering puppy treats. 

Is wet dog food better than dry dog food (or vice versa)?

The topic of wet dog food vs. dry dog food is an ongoing debate among dog owners. In truth, there isn’t a real answer to this question.

Puppy food is available in wet or dry forms, and each has its own nutritional benefits and disadvantages. Also, you may find your puppy prefers wet dog food over dry (or vice versa). 

Your puppy is an individual so their food preferences may end up surprising you. To see what your furry friend likes better, mix it up and give them both types of food. Your puppy’s reaction will be a clear sign of which food they like the most.

Can you overfeed your puppy?

Yes, it’s very possible to overfeed your puppy. It’s crucial for dogs to have the right balance of nutrients for their bodies. 

Puppies that aren’t fed balanced meals will develop numerous health problems. You’ll want to ensure that you’re feeding your puppy the right amount of food to prevent obesity. 

An obese dog is not a healthy dog and can have some serious consequences you should try to avoid. The key element here is that a little research can go a long way to picking the perfect dog food for your best friend!

The best dog food for your dog is ultimately up to you to decide. As an owner, you are the one who sees your dog on a regular basis. If your dog produces firm, healthy stool, is active and fit, and has a healthy appetite, then your dog food is probably working just fine. 

Your veterinarian is a valuable resource to you during this process. They know more about pet nutrition than the average owner, and they also have access to research and resources that owners do not have. 

Your vet can help you narrow down your options and should be more than happy to help you find the answers to your questions about your dog’s food.
Check out our blog, How To Train Your Puppy To Eat Solid Food to learn to transition your puppy to solid foods.