Every day can feel like an exciting adventure after you bring a new puppy home. There is so much to discover about your new furry friend! When it comes to thinking about their nutrition, however, it’s best to not leave it to the last minute. As a new pet parent, you will want to do your research and be prepared ahead of time with the right food so that when your puppy arrives, they have everything they need to grow into a healthy and happy adult.
If you currently have a four-legged family member at home, it may cross your mind to feed your new furry friend the same dog food you’re already buying opposed to puppy food. Can puppies eat adult dog food, though?
The short answer is no. Puppies require specific amounts of certain nutrients like protein, amino acids, essential fatty acids, vitamins, and minerals to help them grow. Oftentimes, adult dog food will have all these ingredients in them but not necessarily at the amounts needed for a growing pup.
Instead of feeding your new best friend adult dog food, use the following information to help you find a puppy food option that meets your dog’s unique nutritional needs.
What is “Good” Dog Food for Puppies?
What exactly makes one dog food “good” and another one “bad” for your growing pup? For the most part, it comes down to ingredients. You want to make sure the food you buy has everything your puppy needs to be healthy.
One easy way to determine whether a dog food is good for your puppy is by learning how to read the nutritional label. This will help you understand if that specific brand or style of dog food is right for your pooch.
How to Read a Dog Food Label
There is important information to look for when checking a dog food’s label. Some things to look out for include:
- Guaranteed analysis
- List of ingredients
- Feeding recommendations
- Statement of nutritional adequacy
Many states have regulations requiring the minimum amount of nutrients a dog food must contain, as well as the maximum amount of moisture and crude fiber. A dog food’s guaranteed analysis breaks down that food’s nutrient composition. In the guaranteed analysis section of a dog food label, you will find what percentage of ingredients like crude protein, crude fat, and moisture are present in that product.
List of ingredients
The ingredients section of a dog food label will list every ingredient that went into that particular product in order of weight. Each ingredient must be listed to comply with the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) strict labelling regulations.
When examining a list of ingredients, keep your eye out for the basic core components you want to see in your dog food: protein, fat, fiber, and water. To make the best quality dog food, you need the right balance of premium ingredients. That is why Bil-Jac makes sure all their dog food formulas include the proper foundation of fresh high-quality ingredients:
- High-quality protein as the #1 ingredient to support growth.
- Omega fatty acids for healthy skin and coat.
- Wholesome carbohydrates for energy and vitality.
- Gentle fiber blend to support healthy digestion.
- Vitamins and minerals for a strong immune system.
On a dog food label, the feeding recommendations offer a guide on how to use that product. Monitoring your puppy’s weight and measuring their food is important to having a healthy puppy. Feeding recommendations are a good starting point, but you should always monitor your puppy’s weight as they grow and adjust the amount of food depending on your puppy’s body condition.
Statement of nutritional adequacy
A Statement of nutritional adequacy indicates that a particular dog food meets the nutritional requirements for a particular life stage, such as growth, reproduction, adult maintenance, or a combination of these. This information is particularly helpful when evaluating whether a food meets your dog’s unique nutritional needs. When feeding a puppy, you’ll want to look for a statement that says the food is for either Growth or All Life Stages (which includes Puppies).
By analyzing a dog food’s label, you can start to get a better idea of whether that is a product you would want to give your best friend every day. Does it have high-quality ingredients? Was it made for puppies or adult dogs? Once you know the answer to questions like these, it is easier to narrow down your options.
How to Choose the Right Puppy Formula for Your Dog
Some dog foods may have all the necessary ingredients for a growing puppy, but that still doesn’t guarantee it is the right food for your best friend. When it is time to pick a puppy food, it is important to take your pup’s breed, size, and dietary needs into consideration.
Breed and Size
Large dog breeds – 50 pounds and up when fully grown – have different nutritional needs than small breeds. For instance, larger dogs are prone to muscle and joint concerns, so they often require a dog food with high protein and ingredients that promote musculoskeletal health, especially as puppies. Small breeds – less than 20 pounds – have special needs as well. Food pieces that are too big may be difficult to chew, or even pose as a choking hazard. Medium Breeds weigh between 20 and 50 pounds.
At Bil-Jac, we have high-quality formulas for pups of all sizes based on the estimated weight they will be when they are fully grown:
Your puppy’s breed and size can also help determine how much food to give them. Even though we want to give our pups everything, they need to grow into healthy adult dogs. We also need to make sure to not overfeed them. Look at the feeding recommendations on the bag to make sure it was made for your type of dog. A vet can also help you calculate a daily calorie amount based on your puppy’s individual body weight and age.
Just like humans, your puppy may have special, individualized dietary needs that you will want to consider when comparing dog food. Some four-legged friends get an upset stomach when they eat too much grain, while others need wet dog food because they have a hard time chewing dry dog food.
Support Your Best Friend with the Perfect Puppy Food
Welcoming a new puppy into your family is an exciting time for everyone. When you do your research and have the right dog food ready to go, it will allow you to spend more time on what matters most: getting to know your new best friend!
Want to learn more about how you can help your puppy lead a happy, healthy life? Join the Puppy Club to receive exclusive puppy information and discounts on Bil-Jac products.