Choosing food for your puppy
Give your puppy the healthiest start in life by choosing the best puppy food for him.
Dog food for thought
Even before your puppy comes home, you should decide on a puppy food. It has to be healthy and tasty, and it also needs to fit your lifestyle.
Dog food nutritional tips
NOTE: Foods balanced for "the maintenance of an adult dog" won't give a puppy the correct nutrition for their growing bodies.
Types of dog food
There is a wide variety of commercially produced puppy food available in a variety of styles. Choose the one that fits your needs, your dog's needs and your budget. Here are some possibilities:
- Dry food is an extremely popular choice for puppy owners. It tastes good, is easy to store, and has more nutrition per kilogram on a dry matter basis than other types. It can also help keep teeth clean.
- Soft and moist food is increasing in popularity. Moist chunks are enjoyable for your dog to eat, meaning he's likely to eat all his food and get all the nutrition he needs.
- Canned food (sometimes known as ‘wet food’) is the most palatable for your dog. However, due to its high water content, it contains less nutrition per kilogram of food, so you may need to feed your dog a higher volume. Also, watch for dental issues – soft foods don't scrape the teeth like dry diets.
Comparing puppy food
As you would when buying food for yourself or family, always look at the packaging to see the levels of calories, protein, fat and other nutrients in the puppy food you’re considering. You can then compare these levels – as long as you only do so between foods of the same type (so dry to dry or canned to canned, not dry to canned).
For example, all canned food will have less protein per kilogram or cup than dry food, because canned foods contain so much moisture. So with canned food you need to compare them by daily feeding amount, as you will be feeding your dog more of the canned food per day.
This comparison can help you select the food you require for certain circumstances. So if you have an overweight dog, you’ll want to feed him less calories per serve, while a hard-working dog will need more calories per serve.
The key point
Use the nutritional information on the package to choose a food that is appropriate for your dog's life stage. More or less of a particular nutrient may be good or it may not – too much calcium can lead to bone problems, for instance.
Other considerations when choosing puppy food
Since this is a decision you want to make once and stick with, you should be well informed on all aspects of feeding puppies well is one of the most important ways to keep them happy and healthy.
If you’d like more help selecting food for your puppy, try our Purina Brand Tool or contact our Petcare Advice Centre who can recommend a product to suit your needs.
About the Purina PetCare Advice Centre
The Purina PetCare Advice Centre brings together a team with in-depth knowledge, experience and special interests with the skills to advise about health and nutrition, behaviour, training, socialisation, as well as basic first aid for your cat or dog. Our team of dedicated pet lovers can also provide information about Purina products and services to help you give your pet the best possible care. If you've got a question about any aspect of pet care, then ask the Purina PetCare Advice team.