There are lots of great foods on the market but who can be sure which is the best for your doodle?
Pet food and nutrition have both been in the news a lot lately. One day grain-free is the way to go, the next day research is published saying grain-free can be harmful. One day a brand of kibble is top-rated on dogfoodadvisor.com and the next day there is a lawsuit against it or it is being pulled from shelves for dangerous levels of copper. It is difficult being a puppy parent and deciding what is best to feed your pups to ensure they consume the proper and balanced nutrition they need so they can live a long, happy, healthy life.
At AwesomeDoodle, we are not nutrition experts, but we do our best to keep up with research about dog food. We take this research and information seriously and consistently re-evaluate what we are feeding our mama and daddy dogs, as well as your puppies.
The benefits of rotating your dog’s food
Do you think there is one single dog food that has the EXACT ingredients in it, to provide a diverse diet for the life of your dog? Nope! This is why we suggest rotating your dog’s food every few months. Your dog will get a more diverse diet and you will train their digestive system to enjoy different types of protein. Also, if you’ve been feeding a single food for years, and then that food is found to have a concern with toxins, you’ll regret it!
1. Help prevent any type of toxic build up, which could be in a certain food.
2. You don’t eat the same thing every day, do you?
3. By rotating your dog’s food, you help your dog get a more diverse diet, including different vitamins.
4. Rotating your dog’s food will help their digestive systems and they will be less likely to have sensitive stomachs.
Remember to always switch foods slowly, over a 10 day period, as to not upset your dog’s stomach.
Transitioning to a new food
We recommend you keep your puppy on the food they started on with us for at least a few weeks after they come home. Then, if you want to transition to another high quality food, you can transition slowly. If you transition from a food that is grain-free to something with grain, your puppy could have an upset tummy or possibly even loose stool. Take this transition very slowly.
We recommend slowly adding the new food to the old food over the course of about 2 weeks. Each increase in percentage of new food should take place after you observe your puppy for a few days and they are handling the increased portion of new food well. All-natural canned pumpkin (not pumpkin pie mix) can be a good option to mix in each meal (a tablespoon) to help settle their stomach during the transition.
25 % new / 75% old
50% new / 50% old
75% new / 25 % old
Dog food recommendations
We recommend any food rated 4 or 5 stars on dogfoodadvisor.com. Warning: these ratings have been known to change, so be sure to check back often to ensure your dog’s food is still highly rated and no warnings regarding the food have been issued. For many dogs, it can be good for you to vary their food flavor/brand every 6 months or so. This gives them access to a variety of nutrients and also keeps them interested. For other dogs, who may be more prone to issues with itchy skin, anal glands, or digestive concerns, varying food flavors and brand can be challenging because then it is difficult to pinpoint the culprit of their ailments. Work closely with your vet to determine the best course of action for your pet’s nutrition long term.
At AwesomeDoodle, we don’t have recommendations regarding choosing grain-free vs. foods with grain. We believe more research needs to be done on this before taking a position. We do believe some dogs have a difficult time digesting grain, just as some humans have a difficult time with gluten. Observe your puppy and make the grain decision based on how they handle those foods.
Raw food vs. kibble
The raw food movement is also a hot-button issue in pet nutrition today, in part likely due to the documentary Pet Fooled on Netflix. Many people are passionate on both sides of the issue, in support of raw food and adamantly against it. Making this even more difficult of a decision, most traditionally trained veterinarians are against it. This is not too surprising though as research is fairly new, most vets don’t focus on nutrition (as human doctors don’t), and are often sponsored by food/kibble companies who are threatened by the raw food movement.
At AwesomeDoodle, we see the benefits of offering raw food to your pet. Providing some raw treats or snacks to supplement their diet is a good idea. But we find it best to only offer the raw food as treats, rather than putting it into their bowl. If you mix it into their food bowl, they won’t want to eat their regular kibble any longer, and you’ll be locked into the routine, as you might create a picky eater.
When we say raw food, it does not mean going to the grocery store and picking up some ground beef and throwing it in your dog’s bowl! There are many great brands of raw food delivery services as well as raw food brands sold in specialty pet shops (look in the freezer section). You can find a section of ratings on dogfoodadvisor.com specifically for raw food brands. You can also make your own, if you have access
to a local co-op or trusted butcher, and you do thorough research on how to prepare a raw meal full of all of the nutrients and vitamins your pup needs.
Treats and snacks
The same principles apply for treats and snacks for your pup – read the labels, know what ingredients you are feeding your pup, and try to find the highest quality treats. While we don’t recommend you feed your pup from your table or your plate, we do believe “human food” can be a great option for training treats. Things like boiled unseasoned chicken, fresh green beans, raw carrots, some cheeses and yogurts, and even scrambled eggs when given in moderation can be excellent snacks options. Don’t go too wild giving your pet human foods though, as some things can be very bad or even dangerous for them (see the food chart to the right).
Raw bones (in the freezer section of your all natural local pet store or your trusted butcher), bully sticks, and filled Kongs can be a great option for a longer-term snack to keep them busy. Always monitor your pup when they chew on bones and bully sticks, and limit the time to a few minutes per day.
Purina Pro Plan
We don’t suggest feeding entirely Raw, but it’s a great addition to your dog’s diet, and works great for treats as well. Use caution as giving too much at one time could upset your puppy’s stomach.