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Since we have a new member in the family, the little Puffy, I will focus my next articles around puppy-related topics. This one is dedicated to puppy food. What is the best puppy food? What is the difference between puppy food and dog food? What are the best puppy food brands? How much should I feed my puppy? These are the questions I will answer in this post.
What is the best puppy food?
Although, puppy food is a clear, obvious reality, my impression is that puppy food is just a marketing invention. Basically, the dog food companies looked for a way to extend their products and increase their profit and came up with a new type of food: puppy food. My main arguments rely on common sense evidence: in the wild puppies do not eat a different type of food. After being weaned, they usually eat what their mother provides for them. This used to happen with domesticated dogs some while ago, too, when they were fed primarily table scraps and their puppies received the same treatment. Turning dogs into a business and dog food into another had several side effects. Invading the market with thousands of dog products is one of them.
However, regardless of my personal opinion, puppy food exists. In different types, bags, dimensions, under different names, each claiming to be the best. But what is really the best puppy food? Puppies are more sensitive, requiring more food and a different feeding schedule than adult dogs. This happens because they have growing needs that should be satisfied. My post on weaning puppies explains how much and when a puppy should be fed in his first months.
The type of food you choose for your puppy is highly important. First of all, it should be premium, a high-quality product that has well-defined ingredients and is not based on corn or soy. Commercial dog food can be dry, semi-moist and moist. Dry kibble is difficult to digest, especially after weaning, but it is recommended by most veterinarians. Canned foods contain almost 80% water while the semi-moist (sealed packages) contains around 50% water. Both of them are higher in fats than kibble.
What is the difference between puppy food and dog food?
Dog food companies claim that puppy food contains more proteins, minerals and vitamins that help your puppy in the growing process. It could be true but I don’t see how this would help if the extra proteins come from dead animals. Pet companies have a clear interest in creating a variety of products. In the wild puppies don’t eat puppy food. They eat the same food as adult dogs. So, the difference between puppy food and dog food is just another marketing strategy, a way to get more products, more popularity and more customers. Anyway, probably the high-quality brands are worth considering because they select the ingredients more carefully. If organic meat is the primary ingredient and not grains or by-products, than your puppy should be safe.
What are the best puppy food brands?
As I mentioned in my previous articles, it’s essential to read the label before buying and to avoid ambiguous names for ingredients. From what I’ve checked so far, Castor & Pollux Puppy Fomula is really good and Blue Buffalo Wilderness Grain Free Dry Dog Food too. There is also the dry food from Natural Balance, based on lamb and rice, but the meat source is not organic. All these brands can be found on Amazon.
Puppies need a healthy diet, just like we do. So, probably none of the commercial foods, whether dry or canned will satisfy your puppy’s needs. Only premium brands use relatively good ingredients but they are a bit pricey.
If you have time (around ½ hour/day), I would recommend you boil some chicken meat (or turkey, duck, lamb), cut it into small pieces and then serve it to your puppy. If you boil more than he can eat at once, you can easily store it in the fridge for one or two days. If you choose one type of meat, stick with it for some time and observe your puppy’s reactions. Allergies usually appear later, but it’s better to be cautious. Apart from the boiled (steamed meat), I would also recommend some steamed vegetables like green beans or zucchini. Always be constant and change the diet immediately if you notice negative reactions. Raw meat and vegetables are also good, but you have to buy only fresh meat and to wash both the meat and the vegetables before feeding. Before starting your dog on a specific diet it’s better to consult your veterinarian.
Should I feed my puppy a raw diet?
Yes. Raw food is the healthiest choice you can make for your puppy. There are many raw dog food recipes that don’t require a lot of time nor energy from your part. All you have to do is pay attention when you buy the ingredients; they have to be really fresh. Hygiene is also very important in a raw diet, so, clean your hands and the ingredients before preparing the meals. One of my posts presents 24 raw dog food recipes. Check them out!
How much should I feed my puppy?
The dog food bags generally have a plan of feeding, making recommendations according to the breed. However, the right amount depends on various factors such as your puppy’s appetite, his physical condition, the type of food and his growing needs. Growing needs are usually dictated by genetics. An easy trap is overfeeding. Many dog owners are under the impression that their puppy is not eating enough. Do not accelerate your puppy’s growth by making him eat more. This can cause serious health problems. Let your puppy eat just as much as his body needs. For instance, the Samoyed puppies eat around 1 cup of food, three or four times a day while my Yorkie needs 3-4 tablespoons of food for a meal.
That’s about it! Hope you find this article useful!
Dog Training Tip #1