The very first expense all first-time dog owners will need to consider is proper dog food. If you've just adopted a young pup, there's no way around this and you'll soon be searching for the best puppy food all over the internet or local pet stores.
Dog nutrition is an integral part of a healthy canine.
As owners become increasingly concerned with ingredients in dog food, more and more dog food companies are beginning to follow the strict rules of AAFCO's recommendations and veterinarians' advice on manufacturing the best dog food for dog parents.
Feeding your dog is simple once you follow certain rules. However, there are several factors that will determine the best puppy food for your specific pooch. For example, some owners like to feed their pets raw diet, while others go along with the advice of science-based methods and choose specifically formulated commercial dog food brands.
Over the years, Top Dog Tips has published multiple articles on dog food from vets and other dog experts. There are several great dog food reviews and lists you can find on this site that will help you make the best choice for a young dog's nutritional needs.
In the meantime, let's take a look at five best tips on choosing the best puppy food for your new dog, and what you should pay attention to when choosing the best brand.
FULL RANKINGS: Top 25 Best Puppy Food Brands (2018)
5 Tips for Choosing the Best Puppy Food
The problem with picking the best puppy food for a young dog is that there are tons of different dog food brand options available on the market today. As dog owners, we quickly get confused: which one to pick?
There are foods for puppies of specific breeds, for puppies with certain illnesses and predetermined genetic issues, for puppies who are to be working dogs that require specific nutrition, puppy foods with no grains and high protein, puppy foods with low protein and tons of grains, hypoallergenic puppy foods… the list goes on and on.
Over the years, I've read tons of articles from reputable sources on puppy nutrition and advice from Universities on how to feed a dog, such as this one. I've learned that only a few things really matter when picking your puppy's food which he will love and that will be healthy for him.
1. Ask for tips from your veterinarian
Duh! The best way to start is by inquiring your veterinarian rather than relying on any other resources. If your puppy has any specific dietary needs, your veterinarian will give you the best advice on what your specific dog needs.
RELATED: 10 Vet Recommended Dog Food Brands
After you've adopted your puppy, you will have to take him to the vet. That's the time to ask not only about how to care for this pup, but what to feed him as well. Please learn a little bit about dog nutrition as well as inquire about specific dog food brands which your vet recommends, and ask why.
If you've already missed your chance, you can take a look at the above list of vet recommended dog foods. But the next time that you take your pooch to the vet for a check-up, consider asking your veterinarian for some pointers on the right foods and dog nutrition. Ask about the ingredients, timing, and anything else that matters.
There's no ONE perfect dog food for every dog. All canines are different, which is why you need to find a dog food brand that works for your own pet.
2. Do your OWN research
I used to obsessively research anything and everything about dog care, including nutrition and specific dog foods that are best for my pets. This is how I eventually got into writing about dogs, since I acquired all this information to share with other owners.
There are countless sources of great information available online about the various types of best puppy foods and how to find them, why they're fit for your pooch, and why it matters. So do your research. Just on this website alone you can find a vast amount of information from experts who chip in and provide some useful advice and actionable tips.
Take a look at these interviews that Samantha has done with some of the industry experts:
- The Low Down on the Paleo Diet for Dogs
- The Risks of Canine Obesity and How To Keep Your Dog Fit
- Is the Raw Food Diet for Dogs a Good Choice for My Pet?
- What’s All the Hype About Cricket Protein For Dogs?
Find out more about the ingredients in dog foods that you buy, how they affect your pet and which ones you should avoid or include. Search for kibble that will provide your puppy with the nutrition that he needs to avoid skeletal and bone health issues as he grows, which is very common among canines with improper nutrition.
3. How does your puppy like it?
If your puppy doesn't seem to take the liking to the taste of a particular dog food type or brand, he might not eat enough and could end up not getting enough nutrition because of it. Give it some time, and if the pattern continues, it may be time for a switch.
Naturally, sometimes dogs might just try to be plain annoying, so make sure you give the “test phase” enough time. Most veterinarians agree that changing dog's food and introducing new brands is a slow process and it takes time, so be patient. If after a 1-2 weeks your dog is still hesitant to eat the food you provide, get something else.
4. Monitor your puppy's health
When you feed your puppy a good diet, chances are that you'll be able to tell from his overall health and activity. With most breeds, puppies are supposed to be very active and adventurous; if there's a lack of enthusiasm, there may be something wrong. It could be food, but it also could be other health issues.
RELATED: Where to Find FREE Dog Food Samples?
Something to look out for: puppies should have clear eyes and soft, healthy and shiny fur; the nose must be wet. If your puppy doesn't look well after you have made the switch from one dog food brand to another, you might not have chosen the best puppy food for your pet. It's time to make the adjustment.
Before you do, however, I recommend calling your vet, or better yet, pay them a visit. Your dog food doesn't necessarily have to be the problem here, so you need to rule out other potential health problems. You can start with online dog health symptom checkers which one give a good indication of where to start looking for problems.
5. Dry or wet puppy food?
Many people argue over whether dry hard kibble or soft canned wet dog food is better for young dogs. Fortunately, vets have chipped in on this and more information is available online; the answer is that dry dog food is the best puppy food you can buy.
Dry puppy food can help your dog maintain strong and healthy teeth, even though many puppies prefer wet dog foods. Nonetheless, for the first year, try to provide your little one with dry foods rather than canned/wet choices. Once his teeth are strong, you can make the switch if you wish, or mix it up.
Here are some more articles I recommend reading for first-time puppy owners on how to feed their dogs properly and avoid any potential health issues:
- A comparison of certified and non-certified pet foods
- Myths and Misconceptions Surrounding Pet Foods
- Discussing Homemade Dog Food
- 9 Best Dog Food Blogs
- Making Your Own Dog Food and Treats
Have you made the choice of the best puppy food for your dog? What have you picked and why? Did you consult with a veterinarian before choosing the brand? Let us know in the comments below!