Nutrition Basics: Selecting the Right Food For Your Dog

Dogs are as unique as people, but despite their differences, they all need a well-balanced diet for good health. However, dogs of different ages have different nutritional needs. When you factor in developmental needs and ingredients, choosing the right dog food can be quite a task. To make it easier for you, we’ve broken it down into two life stages...

Puppy food

The energy requirements of a puppy can be nearly twice those of an adult dog. This means that a puppy might not have the stomach capacity to eat enough food to meet his needs unless the food is specially formulated.

When choosing a puppy food, select one that provides a highly digestible, nutrient-dense, 100% complete premium formula for growth. Such high-quality formulas contain the vitamins, minerals, protein, fat and carbohydrates your dog needs for sound and healthy development. With a premium formula, your puppy may have:

  • Exceptional muscle tone
  • A shiny, luxurious coat
  • Healthy skin, bones, and teeth
  • Clear, bright eyes
  • Small, firm stools
  • Playfulness
  • A happy, healthy attitude

Puppies grow fastest during the first six months of life, and because growth rates differ among breed sizes, you need a formula designed to address the needs of your puppy’s breed or size.

 
 

Adult dog food

No two dogs are alike. So when choosing your pet's food, you'll want to take into consideration the dog's breed, size, age, weight, and lifestyle. Full growth will happen at around 1 to 2 years, with the exact age determined by your dog's breed—small-breed dogs mature faster than large-breed dogs. “Grown dogs, especially ones who are more athletic, will start to eat more quantities in one feeding,” says Madan Khare, DVM. “You want to limit his feeding to one or two times a day, depending on his activity level.” Exact quantities should be determined by consulting your vet or by reading the package labels (just remember to split a daily serving in half if you choose to feed the dog twice a day).

When transitioning your dog from puppy food to premium adult food you want to do it gradually. “Never change a dog's diet abruptly,” Khare says. Here's a schedule for transitioning your pet from puppy food to an adult dog food:

Daily exercise and a diet packed with high-quality protein from chicken, lamb, or fish and essential nutrients will keep him happy and healthy throughout his lifetime. Premium dry pet food has all of the daily nutrition your pet needs. It helps promote healthy teeth and gums, too.

“When it comes to feeding your dog human food, I have three words,” Khare says. “No. No. No.” Interfering with your pet's food regimen by frequent change in diet or nutritionally inadequate human food can disturb the animal's digestive system.

Always remember to pick premium, tailor-made dog food based on the life stage and unique needs of your pet.