So you brought home a new four-legged addition to your family. Congratulations! Bringing home a new dog is one of the happiest, most exciting experiences any dog lover can have.
But it’s also a lot of work! When you transition a new pup into your new household, you need to train them, get them used to other people in the family, and get them all the things they need to feel comfortable, like a dog bed, toys, and—most importantly—food.
Choosing the right dog food for your new dog is super important—but it’s not as simple as going to the pet store, grabbing something off the shelves, and calling it a day. If you want your dog to be their happiest and healthiest self, you need to choose the right dog food.
But how, exactly, do you do that? How do you choose the best food for your new pup?
How Do I Choose Food For My New Dog?
So, if you’re wondering “how do I choose food for my new dog?” there’s no simple answer.
The best food for your new dog is going to depend on a number of factors—and what works for one pup’s diet might not be the best fit for another pup.
Some things you want to consider when choosing the right dog food for your new pet include:
- Your dog’s age. Growing puppies have different nutritional needs than older dogs. If your dog is less than one year (and still entrenched in puppyhood), it’s important to look for dog food that’s specifically formulated for puppies. That way, you can rest assured they’re getting all the nutrients they need to grow healthy and strong.
- Your dog’s size, breed, and activity level. A 75-lb Labrador Retriever who can run three miles at a stretch is going to have completely different caloric needs than a 7-lb Shih Tzu who spends the majority of their day napping at your feet. When choosing dog food, it’s important to consider your pup’s size, breed, and activity level—and choose the food that’s going to deliver the right amount of calories based on those criteria.
- Any potential food intolerances or allergies. If you adopt a dog, the shelter or dog rescue may clue you in to potential food intolerances or allergies your dog has. If they do, you’ll want to use that information to guide your dog food choices—and make sure any food you bring home won’t cause any digestive issues for your pup.
What To Look For In Dog Food
So, now that you know the individual factors to consider when choosing the right food for your dog, let’s talk about some of the universal criteria for high quality dog food.
The kind of dog food you want to feed your dog in order to make sure they stay happy and healthy should:
- Have high-quality ingredients. Dogs need a variety of nutrient-dense ingredients (like meat, fruits, and vegetables) in order to stay healthy. Make sure any dog food you give them has a variety of these ingredients and packs a real nutritional punch.
- Have a short ingredient list. Many mass produced dog foods contain a ton of “fillers”—ingredients that don’t add any nutritional value and can cause digestive issues with your dog. If a dog food’s ingredient list is a mile long—and contains a ton of ingredients you’ve never heard of—it’s probably not the best fit for your pup.
- Read “complete and balanced” on the label. The Association of American Feed Control Officials has strict requirements pet food manufacturers must follow in order to label their products “complete and balanced”—namely, that a product must meet the minimum amount of all nutrients necessary for your dog. So, if you see “complete and balanced” on the label, it means that the product meets AAFCO’s standards—and the dog food will give your dog the nutrients they need to thrive.
Getting your dog the right food is important—but it’s certainly not the only thing you’ll need to get them! So why not keep them stocked in all the other things they need (like toys, treats, and chews) with BarkBox
Every month BarkBox delivers 2 original toys, designed in-house, 2 full bags of all-natural treats, and a chew. Sign up here and receive a free extra toy every month
. <-- This deal is worth up to $120 in value if you sign up for a 12-month subscription! :)
Looking For More Articles Like This?
My New Dog Doesn't Like Treats: What Do I Do?
Clicker Training 101: How Do I Use It to Communicate With My Dog?
My New Dog Is Marking In the House: What Do I Do?
How Do I Find A Trainer For My Dog?