Not sure whether you want to feed canned puppy food or dry kibble? Need advice on choosing the best wet puppy food? The answers you need are right here.
Although dry puppy food, aka 'puppy kibble', is the most popular choice of food for pups these days, the canned variety does have it's supporters and can (sorry, no pun intended!) be a good choice for some.... especially young puppies, tiny breeds, older dogs, and those with certain health conditions.
If you want to feed your puppy a canned diet, there are a few things you need to know in order to pick a premium food with the right balance of nutrition.
Just as with the dry kibble, the most important thing you need to consider is the food's ingredients.
The AAFCO (The Association of American Feed Control Officials) lay down guidelines for dog food manufacturers to follow, and one of them is that every dog or puppy food must meet some minimum levels of all the basic nutrient components (ie protein, fiber, fat & moisture).
On my Best Puppy Food Choices page (this link will open in a new window) you can see which ingredients are the ones you want to see, and the ones that you don't. It also has information on the recommendations for percentage value of each component.
The type of ingredients don't change very much from dry to canned food, and in short the best puppy foods contain:
The percentage ratios/figures on the page I mentioned above are for DRY PUPPY FOOD, but you'll need to make an adjustment for canned puppy food.
This is because it usually contains between 75% and 80% water (while dry food only contains about 10% water). So, in order to compare 'apples to apples', you want to be comparing the ingredients without the moisture.
Here's a simple way to do this:
I know this sounds confusing, but it's really very simple. Here's an example:
You know the canned puppy food you're considering contains 78% moisture and 10% protein because it says so on the label. So start out by subtractiing 78% from 100% which gives you 22%
Take the 10 (%) protein figure and divide it by 22, which gives you .45, and multiply that by 100, which equals 45.45... which is 45.45% - that's the percentage of protein in this food.
100 - 78 = 22
10 ÷ 22 = .45
.45 x 100 = 45.45
...... so the percentage of protein is actually just over 45%
You can do this for each ingredient and then you can compare that to dry puppy food to see the differences between them.
Overall puppy or dog food that is canned generally contains a higher percentage of protein than the dry variety, and a lower percentage of carbohydrates.
This makes it a not-so-great choice for large or giant breed puppies who need a below-average and strictly controlled amount of protein (a recommended maximum of around 25%) to prevent potential bone/joint problems caused by too-rapid growth.
Using canned puppy food does have it's advantages. Here are a few of them:
And here are some of the disadvantages:
Sometimes you can strike a 'happy medium' by feeding both dry puppy kibble and wet puppy food, mixed together.
If you have a 'picky eater' or a small breed puppy who needs a bit more protein, this may be a good solution. But try to stick to a ratio of 25% canned food to 75% dry, or at the most a 30:70 split.
Here are some more of the best canned puppy food choices on the market right now. If you've decided that this is the way to go in terms of feeding your little guy, there will be one here that will suit him....