Best Puppy Food for Labs – What Does the Trick
Did you ever wonder if your puppy was getting the right food to eat? The best puppy food for labs, the breed that I grew up with, was whatever they could catch, right?
Well, yes and no. Most dogs don’t catch their daily chow anymore, but tradition does play a part in this. One can assume most pet owners who have puppy chow on their grocery list drive to the store and head for the brand that their parents bought for their pets when they were growing up. There are some brand name pet foods, like Purina and Alpo that have been around for many years. But who looked at the labels in the old days? I doubt my parents ever did.
In fact, we are often told that is better not to question what might be in your hot dog, for example, because the answer might be horse meat and sawdust. So how unusual do you think the ingredients of your average pet food might be? Some pet food companies now use the term “rendered” to describe some of their ingredients, but rendered what?
The word means “to make,” but it is often used in the context of rendering a carcass. But that carcass can be anything at all. Don’t let’s think about it.
You should go straight to the veterinarian and ask them directly what might be the right food for your puppy, because each breed has different needs, given small dogs reach puberty faster than large dogs. One research paper for the Journal of Nutrition starts out by explaining, “As a species, the dog is unique. Depending on the breed, body weight varies 100-fold.” It points out that the Chihuahua full grown weighs 1 kilogram – about 2.2 pounds. A full grown St. Bernard weighs 115 kilograms, about 253 pounds. So, why would you think the best puppy food for one breed is the same as another?
One formula people often use for puppy chow is to look for foods that are 30 percent protein and 18 percent fat. So long as the food also includes omega-3s, fiber and vitamins you dog should be all right.
For the average dog in the prime of life, that would be fine. After all, when I buy for my dog, depending on my mood, I’ll go for the brand I like which includes a choice of salmon and duck. But my dog doesn’t care what fancy or yummy sounding animal name is on the label. I read one dog food review that warned of brands that might contain road kill. But my dog would probably love road kill, as long as it didn’t have nasty pathogens or parasites in it.
Humans like comfortable associations with their dog food, so this week duck, next week salmon. But if your dog could read, he or she would just look for one word: Meat. The variety isn’t so important, as far as Woof is concerned.
For my pup, I found a dry food in which the first three listed ingredients were meat. I wasn’t paying attention to the brand and threw the bag away, but the next time I went shopping, I looked for the list of ingredients with meat at the top. I could not find one! It took me several tries at various stores to re-locate the brand in which meat was No. 1, No. 2 and No. 3 on the ingredient list. I have clung to that brand ever since.
But you should still consult your veterinarian before you settle on one brand and you should ask about nutrition at every visit for shots or as your pup grows older.
Not only do different breeds mature at different ages, they also reach old age at different ages. That idea that a dog year is seven times a human year is pretty close to accurate on average. But small dogs and big dogs do not have the same life spans and nutritional needs changes as you (or your dog) ages.
WebMd has a handy chart: How old is my dog in human years? A dog of any size is the human equivalent of 15 years old after one calendar year. By the time the dog is six, a small dog is the same age as a 40-year-old human, but a medium and large dog are, respectively, the same age as a 42-year old and 50-year-year-old human. You can see how big dogs age much faster than a small dog.
By the time a dog is 13 calendar years old, a small dog’s maturity matches that of a 68-year-old human, while a large dog’s maturity matches an 82-year-old human.
Us old folks, (I am now the equivalent age of an 11-year-old small dog or a 9-year-old large dog) have different nutritional needs. Our metabolism seems only to be on standby some days. I can look at a meal and gain weight, where my son eats everything in sight and doesn’t gain an ounce.
The same with dogs. Elder dogs don’t need a overflowing bowl, anymore. A pup – all get up and go, then sleep and do it again. They burn up what the put down much faster they will later on.