There are dozens of brands of dog food on the market, but not all of them are good for your dog. Choosing a dog food means looking for one that’s nutritionally balanced and complete and made with top quality ingredients. Fortunately, dog foods have nutritional labels that outline the ingredients so that you can see for yourself what you’re feeding your new puppy.
Here are a few things to look for in a good dog food:
- At least 30% protein from meat (not meat by-products). The first two or three ingredients on the list should be meat from chicken, lamb, beef or poultry.
- Egg and fish are also excellent ingredients that can be near the top of the list.
- Fat content should be at around 18%. Look for specific fats such as chicken fat or lamb fat. When the label isn’t specific, the fats being used are sometimes difficult to digest. The more specific, the better.
- Vitamin C and E are natural preservatives that are also good for your dog’s overall health. Avoid chemical preservatives like BHA, BHT and ethoxyquin.
- Omega 3 fatty acids promote a healthy coat and are a powerful source of antioxidants.
- Avoid any artificial colors or preservatives. These aren’t necessary and can cause digestive problems and allergic reactions in some dogs.
- Dog foods will contain some grains, but be aware of what kind. Rice and barley are the most easily digestible. Corn and wheat are the least desirable.
Your puppy will have slightly different nutritional needs than an adult dog, so look for a dog food formula that has “junior,” “puppy,” or “growth formula” in the name. These are puppy food versions of adult dog foods and will have more protein and fat and a higher calorie content to promote healthy growth. Generally, large dogs should eat puppy food until they are about eighteen months old, while the smaller breeds can usually graduate from puppy food to adult dog food at around eight to ten months.
If you’re still unsure of the right puppy food or dog food for the new addition to your family, talk to your veterinarian for guidance.