Helpful Tips for Selecting a Diet for Your New Puppy.
How do you pick the right diet for your new puppy? Have you ever stood in the dog food aisle and felt overwhelmed? There are SO many choices. How do you pick what’s best? Do you choose the one with the cutest picture on the bag or the one your grandmother always fed her dogs, or do you go with the newest boutique company with all the yummy-sounding ingredients?
Grr. What do you do?
First, let’s ask what determines the health of your new bundle of joy?
Answer: Healthy pups need to get all of the necessary nutrients they need for growing bodies in the right amounts and in the proper balance with all of the other ingredients. In other words, we want a diet that is complete and balanced.
All those ingredient lists! Your head is spinning again. How do you know if they make up the right combination?
Answer: AAFCO. The Association of American Feed Control Officials. This organization requires nutritional adequacy statements from dog food producers that the diets are complete and balanced. They monitor for deficiencies, imbalances, and toxicities. They are supported by experts in the field of animal nutrition and agencies such as the National Resource Council.
**If the bag has an AAFCO statement, their “seal of approval,” you can feel confident buying it. **
Lots of labels say, “AAFCO approved.” What next?
Answer: Manufacturers have three ways to claim that a diet is complete and balanced: calculation, chemical analysis, and food trials. Of the three, feeding trials are the best method to establish a nutritional claim. Companies that study the effectiveness of feeding diets over time ensures that the food meets the dietary needs. The best point of all: the companies determine if the pet likes the food! It’s called “palatability.” Nothing’s worse than picking something your puppy doesn’t like!
**Find a company that does feeding trials. **
But there are so many companies!
Answer: Don’t get caught up in marketing gimmicks. Just because the dog food contains ingredients that we would even eat doesn’t mean it’s nutritionally adequate.
· Go with a reputable company. Stay away from fad diets. Some are dangerous to your pet’s health.
· Try to take out emotional buying. Do your research.
· If your pet has an illness or a medical condition, special diets may be recommended.
· Consult your veterinarian, not your great aunt Martha.
· Consult a government-regulated organization:
· Consult a Board Certified Veterinary Nutritionist. An excellent website to check out is:
**Best of all: add love, exercise, and water, and your puppy will grow up happy and healthy! **
Special thanks to C.A. Tony Buffington, DVM, MS, PhD Diplomate ACVN.