Before you bring home that new puppy remember to buy a supply of the best dry puppy food. While you may be feeling overwhelmed about all the things you will need for your new puppy, providing high quality, the best dry puppy food is a vital and simple way to put your puppy on the path of a long and healthy life. Choosing the best dry puppy food is not so simple though, with dozens of types and brands to choose from. Here are some tips to help you choose the best dry puppy food for your new companion! Desirable Features of the Best Dry Puppy Food Life Stage - The best dry puppy food will be formulated for your puppy's age (life stage) and breed size.
The best dry puppy food will be AAFCO approved – You may want choose diets that conform to minimal Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) standards.
The best dry puppy food will be recommended – Getting a recommendation from your veterinarian or breeder is a good place to start. Additionally, if you got your puppy from a breeder you will want to know what your puppy has been eating so you can avoid making a sudden change that can cause digestive upset. This same rule applies if you got your puppy from a friend or your local shelter.
Consistent quality – You will want to choose the best dry puppy food that remains consistent from one bag to the next, avoiding the digestive problems and inconsistent eating habits that come from constant change.
High quality ingredients – The best dry puppy food will have the proper balance of highly digestible protein, vitamins, minerals, and calories, with little or no indigestible filler. Dry food that is made from a high percentage of bone meal will provide too much calcium and may cause improper or bone growth, particularly in large breed dogs.
Ideal Choice in Best Dry Puppy Food
From weaning (about 8 weeks) to 14 weeks of age puppies have energy and nutrient needs that are two to four times that of an adult dog of their breed. The best dry puppy food for this stage will be a growth formula with high quality protein and no filler.
For the last part of puppy hood (3 to 5 months until adult hood) puppies only have about one and a half times the energy and nutrient needs of an adult. Many veterinarians will recommend a non-growth formula at this stage to avoid the skeletal problems that can result from rapid growth.
The best dry puppy food will have no more than 25 percent protein, a proper balance of calcium and other nutrients, and little or no filler.
Shopping Tips for Best Dry Puppy Food
The Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) publishes feed regulations and ingredient definitions for all stages of dog food. Look on the label on the best dry puppy food for a statement that says "Formulated to meet the AAFCO dog food Nutrient Profile for Puppies.” While this is not a requirement for a quality product, it can be a helpful indicator.
Read the ingredients list on your package of the best dry puppy food and look for real meat, vegetable, and grain products rather than by-products and bone meal.
Read the label on the package of the best dry puppy food for percentage of protein and indigestible fiber. Limit the protein to 25 percent, and keep the fillers to a minimum.
Tips for feeding Best Dry Puppy Food
For small breed puppies, feed him the best dry puppy food at least four meals per day until 12 weeks of age, and then feed three times per day until adult hood. Small breed puppies have very small stomachs and it is difficult for them to get adequate nutrition without regular meals.
For large breed puppies, feed them the best dry puppy food two times per day until adult hood.
For all breeds of puppies, free feeding is not recommended. Feeding regular meals of the best dry puppy food allows the gastric juices to rest and helps your puppy to be eager for the next meal. Small breeds tend toward obesity in adult hood, so limiting intake is a good rule to establish early. Large breeds tend toward skeletal problems like hip dysplasia, and too much energy rich foods can exacerbate these problems and actually stunt growth, so regulating their intake will provide for steady, healthy growth and help maintain long term soundness.
Allow your puppy to eat his best dry puppy food for about five to ten minutes and then withdraw any remaining food. If you have more than one puppy, give them separate spaces for meal time so they don't feel the need to compete for food.
Good nutrition may be the most important factor affecting any dog's health, but especially growing puppies. So, take time to read the label and feed the best dry puppy food you can.