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How To Choose the Right Food for Your Puppy

How To Choose the Right Food for Your Puppy

There are basically 3 types of diet that you may choose to feed your new puppy.  The choice will depend on how much time you have to invest in diet preparation, the budget you have to feed your puppy, and the recommendations of your veterinarian.  Any of the diets mentioned below have been recommended by various veterinarians, breeders, and dog owners.  You may choose one or a combination of these foods.  Over time, you will find what suits you and your new canine friend best. 

When you first bring your new puppy or dog home, you should find out what it was eating, and start with that food. Any sudden changes in diet can cause intestinal upset, diarrhea, vomiting, and refusal to eat.  Over the course of a couple of weeks, you can slowly transition your pet to a food of your choice, by gradually adding small amounts of that food to the food they are currently using.

The first, and easiest way to feed your puppy is by using a high- quality premium commercial puppy food. These foods come in several forms the most popular being dry kibble, canned or wet food, and freeze- dried foods. You will also find some commercially prepared fresh food diets. 

When choosing a puppy food, check out the ingredients.  The quality of a dog food is always determined by the percentage of its protein content, in other words the amount of meat or fish it contains. The higher the meat/fish content of the food, the higher its quality, and the price usually increases in direct proportion to that. Look for some real meat ingredients, or meat meal ingredients.   If you see a food that doesn’t specify the meat and uses labels like animal protein don’t buy it.  You will also likely see some grains and or  legume protein listed, along with some vitamins, fats, vegetables, fruit.  You should also look for prebiotic and or probiotics in the food.

The bag should have a chart like this one, and you can use it to compare nutritional information among various foods.

Crude Protein

23.0% min

Crude Fat

12.0% min

Crude Fiber

3.2% max


10.0% max


0.13% min


0.05% min

Omega 3 Fatty Acids

0.39% min











You may choose to use the dry kibble alone, either with or without water added. I recommending some water to aid with keeping your puppy properly hydrated. You may choose to serve part dry, and part wet or canned.  You may also choose to use a freeze dried topper to add flavor to your food.

When choosing a dry food, I recommend that you go with one that has veterinary food trials and scientific food trials behind them. There are three brands that I recommend, and they have all been developed by veterinarians in collaboration with animal nutritionists. They consistently continue to test and modify recipes to keep the foods as nutrient dense and as high quality as possible.

The brands most recommended by vets are Royal Canin, Pro Plan, Science Diet, and Eukanuba ( a subsidiary of Royal Canin.)

You can read about the science behind these foods here:


Another popular diet used by many breeders and pet parents, and recommended by holistic veterinarians is the BARF diet. It is based on the work of Dr. Ian Billinghurst, who has written several books about the research behind the diet.

B.A.R.F is the acronym for Biologically Appropriate Raw Food (or Bones And Raw Food). In any case, the main point is that it’s a homemade diet consisting of a combination of raw muscle meat, raw meaty bones, vegetables, and fruit, avoiding processed food.

 B.A.R.F. is all about feeding your dog the way nature intended. From their short intestines to their teeth designed to rip and eat flesh, this is the best way to keep them healthy and well-fed.

  • Raw meat: 70%As we described above, raw meat (with or without bones) should take up the major proportion of your pup’s diet. It can include a mixture of muscle meat, saturated fat, and muscular organs such as heart muscle meat. This provides them with the protein, energy, amino acids, and water-soluble vitamins they need.
  • Raw edible bone: 10%. Despite some common misbeliefs, Frenchies do need raw meaty bones. It’s crucial that these are raw, as cooking bones makes them brittle and therefore, more likely to splinter and this is why you should avoid feeding them cooked bones.
  • Inner organs: 10%Liver is essential to provide fat-soluble vitamins, the recommended ratio starts at 5%. Other organs, like kidney, give your puppy the essential water-soluble vitamins.
  • Vegetables and fruits: 8%While vegetables are not essential in a French Bulldog’s diet, it provides them with the fibres they need to keep their digestive system clean and antioxidants to keep them healthy. 
  • Seeds and nuts: 1%Raw seeds and nuts provide essential vitamins, fatty acids, and fat-soluble vitamins.

A homemade cooked diet is basically the same diet as a BARF diet, but the meat is lightly steamed, as are the vegetables.  Owners who can’t bear the thought of giving their furry friends raw meat can provide some of the benefits of the raw food diet this way.

Please note, dogs should never be given cooked bones!

Finally, in the realm of commercial foods, there are prescription diets available to address a myriad of health issues, such as gastrointestinal problems, skin sensitivities, organ problems, aging, and protein sensitivities. The main brands of these foods are Royal Canin, Pro Plan, and Science Diet.

I use the gastrointestinal prescription food when I have a dog with diarrhea. The other foods are generally used regularly to aid with various health issues.  You can get a prescription for these foods from your veterinarian.

Feeding your dog a premium, high quality diet is probably the single most important thing you can do to increase life span and decrease health issues.

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