What Kind of Food Should I Feed My Puppy?

Feeding your puppy or dog good food is important because you want to make sure they stay as healthy as possible.  A healthy dog is not only a happier dog, but it means less expensive trips to the vet!  Just like humans, it's easy for dogs to fall into the trap of obesity from poor food choices, lack of exercise, and overeating.  To prevent health issues in the long term, we should research food and provide a nourishing diet for our lovable companions. 

With all the choices out in the world, this may sound daunting.  After-all, what is the difference between buying the cheapest food possible at your local grocery store versus going to an expensive pet boutique?  We'll discuss some of the major differences and what to look for.  Making the right food choices is something we have to coach ourselves to do, much like how we as humans should avoid over-processed junk food.  The same goes for our furry little friends.  

Bite Sized Kibble

Newborn puppies will need their mother's milk and eventually a milk replacer, this is up to the breeder to provide for the little ones so that's up to them. Once the puppy comes home with you, typically around 8 weeks, they are ready to transition to bite sized puppy food.  It's important to go with a puppy-specific formula to provide the right nutrients and keep your puppy properly energized.  

When we brought Eggy home, we gave him Orijen Puppy food - because it had a ton of healthy ingredients without any unnecessary additives or fillers.  Acana is another great dry food brand for dogs.  

Why We Like to Go Grain Free

In recent years, the pet industry has started to recognize the need for healthier options for dogs.  The last few decades we've seen some really bad scares regarding cheap food, and food tainted with toxic ingredients that have unfortunately cost precious dogs' lives.  There were many pet food recalls that frightened all of us - an alarming number of our four footed friends were getting severely sick from the food they ate.  A lot of companies who cheaply sourced foods either overseas or just did not oversee the quality of their ingredients, oftentimes opted for the "cheaper" ingredients to have a higher profit margin.  This resulted in pet owners questioning whether the food we were giving our dogs was safe enough to consume.

To keep products cheap, a lot of the big corporations used "fillers" like corn which is readily available.  It was the same with corporations using a lot of corn based products in human food as well - a way to keep costs down and profits up.  Unfortunately, corn itself isn't truly digestible, nor does it offer any nutritional value.  Simply put, corn derivatives aren't really good for you at all.

That's also why the price difference matters.  The cheaper the food, the more likely they have used cheaper ingredients or mass produce without much quality control.  It's the same with human food - if we want to avoid chemicals and foods with unknown additives and preservatives, we end up having to spend a little more to source the good stuff.  

Just say no to the cheap generic food.  It might sound like a harder hit on your wallet, but down the line, keeping you dog healthier will mean he or she will have less expensive trips to the vet.  

 

Healthy Spotlight - October 2010 from Healthy Spot on Vimeo.

 How much should I feed my puppy?

Important!  READ the back of the food you have purchased for portioned amounts.  They will usually instruct how many cups or ounces you should give your dog based on how much they weigh.  Every puppy is a different size so always go by your specific dog's weight. 

How often should I feed my puppy?

We typically stick to at least 2 a day with snacks in between, even to this day.  Much like humans, you want to keep your dog's metabolism pretty routine.  It's easiest to give your dog breakfast shortly after they wake up and go out to do their morning bathroom routine.  Follow this up with a healthy dinner at night to replenish their energy. 

When is my dog no longer considered a puppy? 

I'm biased to think Eggy will forever be our little puppy.  However, he cannot continue to eat puppy food.  I think we weaned him off his puppy food around 1 year old - and moved him onto the big boy club with adult food.  Adult food is typically a little larger.  

We found out since Eggy is a french bulldog, his teeth are more on the flat side and not as sharp as other dogs.  A.K.A. he has very little bite.  They are the cutest little Chiclet teeth - he tries to chew on things but doesn't get too far.

Because of this unique trait, pair with his food allergies we would discover later on, we transitioned him to what we believe as some of the most healthiest foods ever invented.  

Eggy's Favorite Dog Food Recommendations

Ziwipeak

This product has been Eggy Approved!  We absolutely endorse Ziwipeak as a must-eat for our Eggy.  We love the Ziwipeak air-dried food, which is a blend of New Zealand meat product varieties, blended with nutritious ingredients such as tripe and mussels!  Because they do NOT include any corn, soy, wheat, or any other fillers, this is simply the purest food we could find for Eggy to help him battle a few of the food allergies he has. 

The texture of the air-dried food almost feels like jerky bits, bursting with nutrients and apparently flavor, because Eggy always scarfs his bowl down without any complaints. 

On top of the delicious air-dried food, we love the Ziwipeak canned food as well. We stir in and mix a little scoop (about 1/3 of a can) of canned and (1 supplied scoop) of the air dried Ziwipeak so that Eggy gets the best of both worlds.  

Honest Kitchen

This product is also Eggy Approved!  While we primarily feed Eggy Ziwipeak for breakfast and dinner which is packed with protein, we wanted to incorporate some vegetable for added digestive properties.  My husband and I are not vegetarians, however, we strongly believe incorporating vegetables in our diet is the key to good health and regular bowel movements.  

Similarly for dogs, Honest Kitchen offers a core vegetable based mix food, which has helped Eggy go to the bathroom with less of a struggle.  Instead of hard to squeeze, solely meat-based poops, the 1 serving of veggies per day has helped make his puppy waste much spongier and easier to exit his body.  TMI, anyone?  In laymen's terms, veggies really help you stay regular! 

To make life easier, we have an electric water boiler / kettle, and since it always has hot water ready, we just mix that in to rehydrate his Honest Kitchen meal as soon as it's lunch time. Just be careful to let it sit on the counter for a few minutes to make sure it's not too hot for your buddy to eat.  I sometimes stir in lukewarm water to help cool it down.  It has a soft consistency, almost porridge-like, easy for him to lap up every bite.  As he gets older, we are considering increasing the ratio of veggies to meat eventually, since he will be less active.

The Choice is Yours

People always ask us, how we keep Eggy so buff and lean!  While most of it is due to exercising at the park at least 3-4 times a week, we highly believe his healthy stature is largely due to what we feed him.  The above diet was just a glimpse at what we give our little guy, but there are a multitude of ways and types of food that work for every dog.  This is just what we found works best for us. 

We know a lot of pet owners swear by raw food as well.  Bone broth is another nutrient filled addition to a healthy diet.  Some people stick to dry food because it's just easier for them to keep on hand.  There's no real incorrect way to feed your dog, the most important way is to make sure that they're regularly fed daily.  If you have kids in your family, be sure to teach them how important it is to make sure you feed your dog everyday, at least twice a day, on time.  

It's About That Time

Does your dog remind you when it's dinner time?  I'm sure other dog parents out there can relate!  We always eye the clock around 7am for breakfast, noon for a light lunch and 5:30PM for dinner.  Somehow, Eggy knows EXACTLY when feeding time is.  Even if we're a few minutes late, he will know to stare at his bowl in the kitchen and whine to let us know it's time.  Because we keep him so regular, it's almost like he has an internal eating clock. 

The core of his diet relies on these 2-3 meals a day.  We also intermittently offer him healthy treats.  More on snacks and food allergies later.

I hope this is enlightening for anyone who is interested in learning more about a dog's diet.  As I mentioned, every dog is different but hopefully, by seeing what works for us, it will inspire you to try healthy foods for your pup!   

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