How to Choose The Best Wet Puppy Food
Though most new puppy owners continue their breeder’s tradition by feeding their new canine pals a dry kibble, wet food is an excellent alternative for puppies. Wet foods can be quite dense in calories and are easy to eat. They are also highly flavorful, making them a natural puppy attractant.
There are several benefits to feeding puppies wet food. Since puppies are naturally busy little creatures, many of them aren’t interested in stopping long enough to consume a meal. For the active pup, wet food is quick and easy to consume. It is calorie-dense, providing maximum nutrition in a compact meal.
Canned foods include water in their formulation to help keep the food moist and delicious for puppies to enjoy. Many puppies are not optimal drinkers, making it quite easy for them to become dehydrated. Since wet foods are high in water content, they replenish water while also nourishing the pup’s body, providing maximum nutritional benefits in one delicious meal.
For puppies who have lost interest in their kibble, the addition of a little bit of wet food can help pique the pup’s interest, encouraging a hearty appetite once again.
As puppies age, it is recommended that they be transitioned to a kibble, raw food, or homecooked diet as their primary source of nutrition. Wet foods can lead to plaque accumulation leading to tartar buildup and early tooth decay.
Any food for a puppy should have the correct ratio of calcium to phosphorus to encourage a healthy rate of growth. Look for a food that lists 1.2 parts of calcium to each single unit of phosphorus.
Puppies should be fed a puppy food until they reach one year of age or 75 percent of their adult size. At this time, the dog can be transitioned to an appropriate adult diet.
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Choosing the Correct Calorie Count for Wet Puppy Foods
To help determine how much of the best wet food to feed a puppy, it is an excellent idea to use the suggested serving sizes on the can of food as a starting point. This amount can then be adjusted to meet the puppy’s nutritional needs based on its weight, appetite, breed, and activity level.
As puppies grow, the amount of food they should be fed will change. Use the puppy’s body condition and appetite to help make adjustments on an as-needed basis.
Care should be taken not to overfeed as this can lead to weight gain.
Dietary Requirements for Wet Puppy Foods
Any diet suitable for a puppy’s needs should contain an excellent quality meat-based protein as its first ingredient. Whole meats are the preferred choice, but meat meals are also acceptable. By-products are not of sufficient quality to meet the nutritional requirements of developing puppies.
Plant-based proteins such as soy, wheat, and corn are very hard for puppies to process and utilize effectively. They are also common food allergens for many dogs, and thus, any diets containing them are best avoided.
Carbohydrates form only a small part of a good diet for puppies, but they do provide valuable dietary fiber and antioxidants. Of primary importance for any carbohydrates included in a food for a puppy is its ease of digestibility, whether the carb is derived from whole grains, fruits, or vegetables.
Healthy fats are a critical component of any diet for a puppy. They are the source from which puppies obtain the energy to maintain an active lifestyle. Healthy fats also assist with healthy coat and skin. The best wet puppy food ingredients for healthy fats are animal-based and include such items as chicken fat and oily fish such as salmon, mackerel, anchovies, and sardines.
Things to Look for in the Best Wet Food for Puppies
Here is a basic list of the most important things to look for in a wet food for puppies:
- Whole meat or meat meal proteins heading up the ingredients list
- Prepared without the addition of chemicals, flavorings, fillers, or mystery ingredients
- Enriched with probiotics, digestive enzymes, and helpful supplements
- Meets AAFCO nutritional requirements for a complete and balanced food
- Includes healthy fats such as chicken fat or salmon oil
- Enriched with the correct ratio of calcium to phosphorus to promote healthy growth