Our favourite puppy food8 June 2023
Written and reviewed by Dr Jill McMaster BVM&S MBA MRCVS, Veterinary Surgeon and in-house expert at BorrowMyDoggy
You’ve got a new addition to your family, congratulations! Puppies are loads of fun but also a lot of work, and as a loving new pup owner, you want to be sure you’re feeding them the right food. But with so many people and ads telling you what you should and shouldn’t be doing, it can be tough, so let BorrowMyDoggy lend a helping paw with our guide to feeding your puppy.
Overview of article
What should you feed your puppy?
When you take home your pup, always make sure to take a bit of the food they have been on with the breeder or previous owner. You don’t have to keep them on that food long term, but moving to their furever home is a lot for our puppy pals, and there’s so much going on that keeping their food the same for a couple of days, can help settle them, and reduce the risk of upset stomachs.
If you want to change their food, after a couple of days settling in time, you can gradually introduce a new good quality puppy food over a week, every day giving a little bit more of the new food, and a bit less of the old. If they get an upset stomach, slow down the change over and ask your vet for advice. It might be that you’ve changed too quickly for your individual pooch, or it might be that the new food isn’t for them.
And good quality puppy food is all they need. These balanced diets are great because they mean you don’t have to worry about adding milk, eggs, supplements or anything else to their diet. Dry puppy kibble can even be used as training treats!
How often should you feed your puppy?
When pups are very small they should be fed 3-4 times a day as pups have little stomachs. You can gradually reduce the number of meals they have a day to 2 by the time they reach 6 months old.
What most people find is when your pup first comes home they eat really fast, then they slow down, although this is not the case for all breeds, see labrador (ok so not all labs, but quite a lot of them like their grub!). This is often because they were used to the competition of their puppy brothers and sisters, but now they’re on their own, they don’t need to rush anymore.
Ideally pups should be given 20 minutes with their food. And if they haven’t eaten it, and are not just slowly munching away, lift their food and take it away for a few hours, then put it back down for another 20 minutes (as long as the food is still fresh!).
Training your pup to eat when their dinner is put down can be very useful in the future for lots of reasons including if you have to give them medication that needs to be taken with food or are heading out for the day with them. Dogs that have their food down all day to graze on can sometimes just expect that long term, and this can lead to weight gain in some cases as well.
If your pup is a fast eater all the time though, consider a slow feeder, as they can reduce the risk of indigestion and food going ‘down the wrong way’.
How much should you feed a puppy?
Generally, you should follow the amounts of food recommended on the pack, unless told otherwise by your vet. Some pups might seem hungry, but if they are growing well, are wormed properly and your vet has no concerns, then be careful not to overfeed them. Overfeeding is a common cause of diarrhoea in puppies.
It’s also impawtant for puppies to grow slow and steady, particularly large breeds, so you don’t want them grow too quickly. Regular weight checks at your local vet (see RCVS find a vet) are a great way to see how your pup is growing, get your pooch used to the vets and also discuss any worries you might have with the practice team.
How long should you feed puppy food for?
A lot of brands have puppy food versions of their foods, that have a different nutritional balance than adult or senior food. How long you should be on puppy food for, really depends on the brand. Some brands will have different life stage diets for different ages of puppy, while some will simply say change over to adult food when they have stopped most of their growing.
As a general rule puppy food should be fed until 9-12 months in smaller breeds, and 15-18 months in larger. When you do make the change to adult food though, be sure to change over slowly, gradually changing food over about a week. Your food brand and/or veterinary surgery can help you more with your individual dog’s needs.
See our guide on our favourite dog food!
So what puppy foods can you think about trying?
There are so many brands out there with wonderful puppy foods, so here’s a selection of dinner for your doodle, lunch for your lurcher, chow for your well Chow Chow (we’ll stop now!)
(Although we appreciate puppy sizes vary massively, prices are based on a 4kg size puppy, so about ‘Paddington the Tibetan Terrier at 4 months old size’ when approx 1 month of dry food is purchased and bulk boxes of wet food, as possible)
James Wellbeloved Turkey and Rice Puppy (Dry)
Price: £1.19 per day for 4kg Paddington
What we love:
- Easy to buy in pet shops or online, and subscription options direct from James Wellbeloved
- Environmental commitment - Packaging is recyclable, electricity in processing is from renewable sources and no factory waste goes to landfill
- Sensitive tummies
- Puppies up to 6 months of age
- Small mouths as the kibble is nice and small
Lily’s Kitchen Chicken Puppy Recipe (Wet)
Price: £2.40 per day for 4kg Paddington
What we love
- Handy online calculator to work out how much to feed
- Easy to buy online, in supermarkets or in pet shops
- Known for their good quality ingredients
- Puppies who prefer wet food
- Pups who are sensitive to richer meats
- Pooches up to 8-14 months depending on breed
Arden Grange Dry Puppy Junior (Dry)
Price: £0.66 per day for 4kg Paddington
What we love
- No artificial preservatives or colourings
- Easy to buy at pet shops or online
- There is a large breed specific version with increase joint support and larger kibble size also available
- Sensitive pups, as it is naturally low in allergens
- Fussy eaters
- The standard dry food is suitable for small to medium sized pooches from 2 to 12 months old
AVA Sensitive Skin and Stomach Dry Puppy Food White Fish (Dry)
Price: £0.50 per day for 4kg Paddington
What we love
- Can be bought online or at Pets At Home
- A gentle and natural tasty food for sensitive pups, that still makes sure they get the nutrition they need to grow
- Sensitive pups with either skin or gut problems, or both!
- Can be fed from 6 weeks to 12 months
- Pups that prefer fishy flavours to meaty
(Prices correct as of 20th October 2022)
Choosing the right food for your new puppy pal can be really challenging. But you should do well if you choose a complete puppy food, made with good quality ingredients, and get in touch with your vet for advice if there’s ever any issues!
This article is for information only, and should never replace any advice, diagnosis or treatment from your veterinary surgeon. Always contact your local vet or out of hours vet without delay if you have any concerns about your dog.
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