Just had a new addition to the family? Getting a puppy can be one of the most exciting times but it’s important to make sure your little one has the right diet to support their healthy growth. We’ve answered some of the commonly asked questions about puppy food and also put together a list of the best dog food for puppies recommended by our experts.
When Can a Puppy Eat Dry Food?
For the first 6 to 8 weeks, your puppy should still be nursing from their mother. Mother’s milk will provide the best nutrition for your pup and will provide antibodies to help protect them from disease which is very important. If you have received your puppy from a breeder before 6 weeks then that is poor breeding practice and should not have happened – it could cause health issues for your puppy. If this is the case, or if the mother is unable to feed milk for whatever reason, the recommended process is to use milk replacer which is supplemented with all the vitamins and minerals required for healthy growth.
After about 4 weeks, puppies will usually start to take an interest in solid food. This is the time when you can start slowly weaning them onto solid food alongside their milk. You can add some water to a dry dog food and mix it into a thin porridge like consistency to make it easier for them to eat. You can then add less and less water as they get older to make a gradual transition onto dry food when they stop receiving milk at around 8 weeks.
How Much Food Can You Feed a Puppy?
The key to feeding a puppy is to do it little and often. Your pup may well be excited by food but it’s important not to give them too much at once as their digestive system won’t be able to deal with it properly. The amount of food will obviously depend on the size and breed of the dog and you should check the food packaging for exactly how much to feed. If unsure it’s always best to consult with your vet – too much or too little can be bad for your puppy. You should space out your feeds to 3 or 4 times a day and gradually reduce this to 2 times a day as your puppy grows older.
Do You Have to Feed Your Puppy Puppy Food?
Puppy food is specially designed for puppies for a reason. Any good puppy food will be properly tailored to the needs of a puppy which differ to that of a fully grown dog. For example, high meat content dog foods will not be suitable for puppies as they can damage the kidneys of a growing dog. Puppy food is higher in calories but with no extra bulk to help give your puppy the energy they need to grow without putting too much pressure on their stomachs.
A complete puppy food contains higher levels of nutrients such as phosphorous, calcium, magnesium, iron and zinc to support your dogs development. Adult dog food can not only be harder to digest for puppies but can also be difficult to eat due to larger pieces that aren’t suitable for the little mouths of puppies. All in all, we definitely advise you stick to specialised puppy food for your little one! Our recommendations for the best dog food for puppies can be found below.
What Should You Not Feed a Puppy?
Never feed raw meat to your puppy as this presents a risk of food poisoning. As mentioned earlier, it’s also best to avoid dog foods with extremely high meat content until your puppy is fully grown. Don’t feed your puppy too many treats, if treats account for more than 10% of your dogs diet then you could be putting them at risk of health issues. Avoid feeding your puppy foods such as:
- Chocolate (apart from dog friendly chocolate!)
- Macadamia Nuts
- Raisins, Sultanas or Grapes
- Foods such as Rhubarb, Garlic, Spinach, Beetroot, Onions or Mushrooms
How Long Do You Give a Dog Puppy Food?
There is no set age on when you should move on from puppy food to adult food, it will vary between breeds and even varies for individual dogs. Smaller dogs will generally reach maturity sooner and therefore can be moved onto adult food earlier. The rough guidelines are that small dogs reach maturity after 10 – 12 months, medium dogs between 12 – 16 months and large dogs can take up to 2 years to be fully matured and ready for adult food.
As always, it’s best to transition your dog slowly from puppy food to adult food and monitor them closely to make sure they are not having any issues. We recommend making the change over one or two weeks where you mix adult food in with the puppy food and slowly increase the amount of adult food until that is all that remains.
What is the Best Dog Food for Puppies?
There are plenty of things to take into account when feeding a puppy, so here are our recommendations on the best dog food for puppies:
- Dr Green Puppy Food
- Acana Puppy Food
- Symply Puppy Food
- Beta Puppy Food
- Skinners Life Puppy Food
- James Wellbeloved Puppy Food
Don’t forget that there may be better alternatives for puppies of larger breeds as well as foods that are more suitable for puppies of smaller breeds. Below are more details about the best dog food for puppies.
Dr Green is Farm and Pet Place’s own brand of dog food and we have a specially formulated recipe for puppies. The food is grain free and contains a minimum 26% Freshly Prepared Chicken, Turkey and Salmon. There is a high meat content but not too high so it’s perfect for puppies. Dr Green Puppy Food offers great value for money at just £11.99 for a 2kg bag!
Acana produce a great puppy food full of fresh ingredients to support their rapid growth early in life. Acana puppy food has a recipe proven to boost metabolism, strengthen organs and help cleanse the body of toxins. It is also low in carbohydrates and is infused with Omega 3 to give your puppy a gorgeous coat and skin. Acana Puppy Food is priced at £13.99 for a 2kg bag!
Symply Puppy Food contains all the necessary vitamins and minerals for healthy growth and a strong immune system in your puppy. Symply Turkey and Rice uses turkey meat from non-cage and non-battery birds and has been formulated free of the ingredients that are known to cause food intolerances. Added Salmon oil provides levels of DHA to assist your puppy’s brain development and eyesight. Symply Puppy Food is also a fantastic £10.99 for a 2kg bag!
Beta Complete Puppy/Junior with Lamb and Rice is a 100% complete and balanced food developed specifically for Puppy and Junior Dogs. As well as providing protein in the form of chicken, BETA Puppy also contains a mix of fast and slow burning wholegrain cereals to provide your puppy with energy to last all day! Our Beta puppy is now also reduced to the incredible price of just £8.29 for a 2kg bag!
Skinners Life Puppy Food
Skinners Life Puppy Chicken is a complete food for puppies and has been carefully formulated to support the immune system and offer essential vitamins, minerals and nutritious ingredients to give them an excellent start in their exciting life. Skinners Life puppy food is suitable from weaning and is endorsed by vets to be great for your pet on the inside and out. Available in our online store now at just £8.99 for a 2.5kg bag.
James Wellbeloved have a complete balanced dog food, which is naturally healthy and is hypo-allergenic to cater for any sensitive puppies. All of James Wellbeloved’s dog food is free from soya, wheat, dairy, eggs and filler to ensure your dog gets nothing but goodness in their meals. This turkey and rice mix contains calcium and phosphorus to help support bone development and is gentle on your puppies digestive system. Our 2kg bag of James Wellbeloved Puppy Food is great value at £9.89.
We hope that this guide will help you choose the best dog food for puppies and allow you to get the best nutrition for your pup. You can find our full range of puppy food here and you can always contact us if you need any help or advice on finding the right food.