You finally took a leap of faith and decided to get a puppy. You’ve taken him to the vet, had his first check-up, and got him up-to-date on his vaccines. But have you given as much thought to what you will feed your new family member? With so many options out there, it warrants doing a little homework before you decide the right path forward when it comes to developing your dog’s nutritional plan.
One thing is for certain – there has never been a better time to be a dog. Long gone are the days when a few bags or cans, coming from a just a small handful of brands, were your only option. In fact, the dog food industry is absolutely booming – and all it takes is one trip to your local pet supercenter to see what we mean.
But with so many options, how do you even begin to figure out which dog food might be the best fit for your dog? It can be daunting to navigate the plethora of options that are available. Wet or dry? Protein-forward or grain-based? Healthy coat or healthy teeth? The options may seem limitless, but there are a few things you need to consider before determining what is the most ideal dog food to ensure a long, healthy life for your dog. And the good news is, many of the same habits you apply to your own grocery shopping and nutritional goals make perfect sense for your dog too!
READ THE LABELS
Taking the time to read the labels is one of the best ways to determine if a dog food might be right for your dog. When it comes to these labels, less is more. The more whole, real, and easy to understand ingredients you find, the better you can feel about setting up the right foundation for managing your dog’s health through their diet. And with so many options available in today’s dog food market, finding great food for your puppy that is as minimally processed as possible is easier than ever, and can be done without breaking the bank.
ONE SIZE DOES NOT FIT ALL
There are many factors related to your dog’s breed, life stage and overall health that can lead you to the right food designed specifically for your dog’s unique needs. If your dog is a puppy (generally considered 1 year in age or less), a puppy-specific formula is really important to aid in their development and can be formulated very differently than the type of food you might choose for a more mature dog. Ask your vet for recommendations on what the best type of food is for your dog. Certain breeds need extra protein to build their muscles, some might have a grain allergy and require grain-free food, other breeds may be more prone to obesity and need a formulation of dog food that supports weight loss.
Once you find the right dog food for your puppy, you can rest assured that you are doing your part to set your beloved pooch up for a longer, happier life.