Puppy-parenting is a fun time, but it can also be difficult due to the plethora of questions you’ll have to answer.
One of the most common concerns among new puppy parents is the food they feed their pets. Owners also question if they should feed their new puppy wet or dry food.
We’ll go over the details below and suggest the best choice for your new pup (spoiler alert: there isn’t really a straightforward “winner,” so expect a lot of fence-sitting).
There are three types of puppy food: wet, dry, and semi-moist.
All dog food is made up of the same basic ingredients: proteins, fats, carbohydrates, water, and a tiny bit of other stuff that doesn’t matter right now (apologies for the technical jargon).
The proportions of each vary from one food to the next, but the main distinction between wet, dry, and semi-moist foods is their water content.
Wet foods have a lot of humidity, dry foods don’t, and semi-moist foods are somewhere in between, as I’m sure you already know.
Wet foods are normally dried, but they can also be packaged or tinned individually. The words “wet food” and “canned food” are often interchanged (as I will from now on).
Although some recipes are packed in cardboard boxes, dry foods are typically packaged in large waxed paper bags. Kibble is another term for dry foods.
Semi-moist foods are similar to ground meat, but they can also be shaped into long, spaghetti-like strands. It’s normally wrapped in plastic bags that are individually proportioned.
In general, the three forms of food differ along a fairly consistent gradient. This suggests that semi-moist foods fall somewhere in the center of the two extremes.
Given this, as well as the fact that semi-moist foods are less common and sometimes more costly than the other two types, we’ll be focusing on wet and dry foods from now on.
What You Should Do About Puppy Nutrition?
Puppies have different dietary needs than adult dogs, so you can feed them a diet that is specifically designed to meet those needs.
Different quantities of amino acids, as well as different total protein contents, are used in puppy-specific food.
Adult dogs need just 18% of their calories from protein sources, while puppies need 22% of their calories from protein sources.
Furthermore, puppies grow better when given a little more fat, so the AAFCO suggests that at least 8% of their calories come from fat sources, while adults only need 5% of their calories from fat sources.
Fortunately, you don’t have to be concerned about these differences; simply buy high-quality, AAFCO-compliant puppy food. You’ll be able to rest easy knowing that your dog is getting the nutrition he needs.
This also ensures that if you choose a puppy kibble or a puppy wet food formula, your developing dog will get the nutrition he or she needs.
The Pros and Cons of Wet Food
Wet puppy food offers a variety of benefits for dogs, including:
- Wet food is preferred by most dogs over kibble. Wet foods can also be used as “toppers” to entice your picky dog to eat his kibble.
- Artificial colors and preservatives are seldom used in canned dog foods.
- Wet foods contain more water than dry foods, so your dog can feel fuller for longer than dry kibble with the same amount of calories. The high water content of wet food also helps to keep your dog hydrated, which is especially beneficial if you’re concerned about dehydration in hotter climates.
- Meats in canned foods are often, but not always, in a more “normal” state than those in kibbles.
- Wet foods, on the whole, are higher in protein and fats than dry foods, which appear to be higher in carbohydrates.
- Unopened, it has a very long shelf life.
- Canned foods have a higher cost per calorie than dry foods.
- It’s more difficult to open and prepare canned foods than it is to open and prepare dry foods.
- Canned foods can only be left in your puppy’s bowl for about an hour before they spoil.
- Cans of food that haven’t been opened must be kept refrigerated.
- After being opened, the product has a very short shelf life.
- Wet foods can be a nightmare to clean up.
The Pros and Cons of Dry Food
Dry foods, like wet foods, have a mix of advantages and disadvantages.
The following are some of the advantages of kibble:
- Wet food is usually much more expensive than dry food.
- Dry food, according to some owners and veterinarians, aids in the cleaning of your puppy’s teeth.
- There is no need to prepare dry food in any way: Simply measure out the appropriate amount of food and place it in your dog’s bowl.
- Ingredients rich in omega-3 fatty acids are often found in dry foods.
- Probiotic supplements are used in some dry foods to help with digestion.
- Whether opened or still sealed, the shelf life is very long.
- When you feed kibble, cleanup is easy.
- Dogs don’t seem to like it as much.
- Some young puppies have a harder time chewing dried food.
- Artificial preservatives and colors are used in many dry foods.
Puppy Feeding Routine: How Much Do You Feed Your Puppy?
Your puppy’s dietary needs not only dictate that he be fed a different form of food than adult dogs, but they also dictate that he be fed at a different time than adult dogs.
Weaned puppies, for example, should be fed four times a day before they reach the age of 12 weeks. Young puppies’ food will need to be moistened with a little water, but by 9 to 13 weeks of age, they should be able to handle crunchy kibble (if that’s what you plan to provide) – larger breeds may make the transition more easily than small breeds.
You should feed your baby the same amount of food every day between the ages of 3 and 6 months, but divide it into three meals rather than four. You will reduce the number of daily feedings to two after another six months.
Your dog will most likely be ready for adult food when he is around 12 months old. However, you should still check with your veterinarian before making the move, and if in doubt, stick with puppy food.
Additionally, as with any diet transition, aim to do so gradually over the course of a week or so, by gradually adding larger amounts of the new food into your dog’s current food.
There is no definite “right” or “wrong” solution in the wet vs. dry controversy, but most owners will generally accept that the benefits of wet food outweigh the convenience of dry kibble for those who can afford it.
However, the consistency of the food you provide is unquestionably more important than the amount of moisture in it, so no matter which kind you choose, concentrate on choosing the best food for your puppy.