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Choosing a dog food

As you consider what to feed your new pup, evaluate both the products and the pet food manufacturers.

Choosing a dog food

Q: What brand of food should we feed our new puppy?

A: As you consider what to feed your new pup, evaluate both the products and the pet food manufacturers. Choose a manufacturer that has board-certified veterinary nutritionists or at least PhD-level animal nutritionists on the full-time staff, not just serving as consultants. You’ll need to contact the company for this information.

The manufacturer also should test its food in pets, not simply formulate it according to a standard recipe. A statement on the container will indicate whether the food has been formulated according to the guidelines or actually tested in feeding trials. In addition, the manufacturer should publish its research results.

Buy from a company that makes food in manufacturing facilities it owns. Consider a large company that sells a lot of food, because, if there’s a problem with a product, your dog is statistically less likely to be harmed. Frighteningly, canned Gravy Train, Kibbles & Bits, Ole Roy, Skippy and Evangers were recently recalled because some lots were contaminated with the euthanasia drug pentobarbital.

A dog’s stage of life determines its nutrient requirements, so choose a diet designed for puppies or all life stages, which includes puppyhood. Life stage information is included on the product’s label. No one dog food is ideal for all dogs, because each dog is an individual with its own specific needs.

To learn more about what’s best for your new pup, study the World Small Animal Veterinary Association’s nutrition toolkit (PDF).

Editor’s Note: Pet food isn’t just about pouring kibble and opening cans. From high-tech serving to delivered meal kits, today’s pet has many more options. Here are the latest pet food trends.

Lee Pickett, V.M.D. practices companion animal medicine. Contact her at

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