Puppy Tips

Best Food for Puppies

Best Food for Puppies

Having a new puppy in your home is such a fun and exciting experience; it can lead to a million questions, however. You’ll wonder what’s safe for them to eat. Grass? A little. Your trash? Probably not. One question you should know the answer to before bringing your new pup home is which dog food you’re going to feed him or her.

If you already have adult dogs at home, you may assume that your puppy can eat their food. However, puppies have different dietary requirements compared to adults. They need more nutrients and protein to help them grow!Their little baby teeth might not be able to handle how hard adult food can be. Because of this, your puppy should be eating specifically formulated puppy foods for about a year for small-to-medium dogs and between 14 and 18 months for large dog breeds.

Even among the food made specially for puppies, there are hundreds of options to choose from. Not only are there too many options to worry about, but there are also terms like “healthy” and “natural” that are simply buzz words used to market the product and don’t actually give you any detail about the food’s nutritional quality. Don’t panic! We’re here to help. We have done the research and compiled a list of the absolute best options to feed your new fur baby.

What makes the best dog food?

When you’re grocery shopping for your dog, it’s important to know what to look for. If your go-to brand is sold out or unavailable, you should know some key ingredients and information to look for in a replacement.

When it comes to dog food, there are tons of special formulas out there. Certain medical conditions may require specialized diets. If you’re worried that your new puppy’s breed has special nutritional requirements or if they have any illnesses, consult your veterinarian about what food to give him or her.

Great dog food starts with the ingredients. In general, experts recommend that owners look for foods that are labeled with a nutritional adequacy statement from the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO). This seal of approval means the food has been thoroughly researched and tested for nutritional value. The food should also have a label saying “all life stages” or be made specifically for puppies. In addition, protein should be the first ingredient listed. Make sure it is a high-quality protein source. It should say what type of meat is in the food instead of just “meat” or “meat by-products.” If your puppy is a larger breed, their food should also contain some sort of grain, as grain-free diets have been linked with a type of heart disease known as cardiomyopathy. Your dog food should not contain preservatives like BHA or BHT, propylene glycol, white flour, or rendered fat.

Don’t be too worried about if your new puppy is getting the right nutrients. Pet food is heavily researched and regulated, so most foods you find at the store will be more than adequate for your pup’s diet. If the food has the AAFCO logo on the bag, then all the ingredients were approved by the FDA and the formula only includes essential nutrients for dogs.

Puppy food recommendations

Best overall food for puppies of all sizes

  1. Puppy Chow Complete with Chicken & Rice Dry Dog Food

This dry food from Purina is good for puppies of all sizes and breeds. It has been tested and approved by AAFCO for nutritional adequacy and comes at a very reasonable price. It can be found at Target or on Amazon and Chewy.

  1. Wellness Complete Health Puppy Food

This food is packed with good nutrients! The first ingredient is deboned chicken and it also mixes in salmon meal and oil as natural omega-3 fatty acid sources. Wellness is a high-quality brand that offers a variety of foods, including both puppy and adult food.

Best food for puppies with sensitive stomachs

  1. Purina Pro Plan Sensitive Skin and Stomach Puppy Dry Dog Food

This food is recommended specifically for the puppies with sensitive tummies. It is made with real meat and probiotics to help nourish and regulate developing stomachs. The size of the dry kibble is okay for puppies, no matter how big or small they are. It is a little expensive ($45), but it comes in 16lb containers so it will last you for a long time. The food can be found at both Amazon and Petco.

Best human-grade food for puppies

If you’re someone who feels their puppy is part of the family, you may want to give him or her something that’s minimally processed and looks like your own dinner. Human-grade pet food is generally minimally processed, does not use preservatives and is gently cooked to retain nutrients and expel harmful bacteria. 

  1. NomNomNow Subscription Dog Food

Nom Nom Now works with a veterinary nutritionist to create diets that adhere to AAFCO’s standards. To order from them, you start by filling out a survey about your pet. It will ask for your pet’s breed, age, activity level and weight goals. The plan starts at around $3 per day for small breads. They also offer a try-before-you-buy solution, which includes a variety pack with four of the brand’s food for a flat $15.

  1. The Farmer’s Dog Subscription Dog Food

This human-grade food option is slightly cheaper than Nom Nom Now, starting at around $2 per day for small dogs. The actual cost of the plan depends on the specific information you provide about your dog when signing up. The Farmer’s Dog makes their food with fresh meat and vegetables that, according to the brand, exceed AAFCO recommendations. They also require a survey detailing your pet’s age, breed, weight, and food issues. Every diet is customized for your dog and shipped directly to your house, ready to serve.

Best wet food

  1. Merrick Grain-Free Puppy Plate

This canned food includes chicken, turkey, sweet potatoes, carrots, apples, and peas. It is grain free and comes from the well trusted brand Merrick. Merrick prides itself on carefully sourcing their ingredients from farmers they trust and for making all their food in the US.

  1. Nutro Puppy Tender Beef, Pea, and Carrot Recipe Bites in Gravy

Nutro is a great option as they craft their food formulas with non-GMO ingredients only. The recipe has real beef as well as chicken and pork broth. In addition, the containers this food comes in make it easy to open and serve, meaning no more half-open containers of wet dog food in your refrigerator!

When to Switch a Puppy to Adult Food

One of the most popular questions about puppies is when to switch them to adult food. According to Canine Journal, "In general, dogs are considered puppies if they are less than 1 year old. During this first year of life, they require a puppy-formulated diet to ensure they are getting the proper nutrients for growth. However, the time your dog needs to be on puppy food can vary based on your dog’s breed size."

Key takeaways

Choosing a puppy food can be overwhelming, but here at Spot Pet Insurance we’re happy to help. Any of the foods on this list will give your pup the foundation and nutrients they need to grow into a happy, healthy adult! We’re excited for you to start your parenting journey. For more advice and assistance on all things puppy, check out Spot Pet Insurance’s webpage!

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