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Dog Food Guide 101: What Should Your Dog Eat?

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Dog Food Recommendations by Veterinarians for Your Dog Across Life Stages: Starter, Puppy and Adult

Newborn to 45 days Old Pups: Milk Replacers

If you have a puppy who is not yet 45 days old, you need to feed them a milk replacer. 

Also known as puppy milk, these are specially formulated to contain all the natural ingredients of dog’s milk. Ideally, newborn puppies need colostrum and the best milk replacers for neonatal puppies contain colostrum. 

Who Needs Milk Replacers?

  • Newly born pups
  • Sick pups
  • Pups with malnutrition 
  • Puppies with digestive issues
  • Weaning puppies 
  • Pups belonging to a large litter
  • Pregnant and lactating mother dogs

Here are some of the puppy milk brands veterinarians recommend –

Venkys Ventri Pro Puppy Feed Supplement

Venky’s Ventri Pro is an economic choice for those trying to keep their new-born pup well-fed and nourished. 

Venky’s Ventri Pro contains Vitamins E, K, C, B1, B2, B6 and B12, Folic acid, Nicotinamide, calcium, biotin, lysine, taurine, colostrum, DHA, Methionine and other micronutrients. It has all the vitamins and minerals necessary for the healthy growth and nutrition of a newborn pup. 

Royal Canin Baby Dog Milk

The Baby Dog Milk by RC is a complete food for all pups. It is ideal for pups between the ages of 0 and 2 months. 

The RC Baby Dog Milk contains Milk retentate, Milk fat, Whey protein, Necessary minerals, DHA from fish oil, Fructo-oligosaccharides and nutritional additives including Vitamin A, Vitamin D3, Iron, Copper, Manganese , Zinc, Taurine, Selenium and Antioxidants.

RC Dog Baby Milk is a unique blend that provides all pups of the Shih Tzu breed complete nutrition necessary for their immunity and rapid growth while maintaining digestive health. 

Drools Absolute Milk For Newborn Puppies

Newborn pups can thrive on the Drools Absolute Milk. It contains all the prebiotics and probiotics, along with vitamins and proteins found in natural dog milk. 

It contains soy protein isolate, DHA, Calcium, Casein, Choline chloride, Lipase, Potassium chloride, L-arginine, Magnesium sulphate, Taurine and it also contains a few more nutritional additives. 

It is palatable and easy to digest even for neonatal pups. The Drools Absolute Milk for Newborn Puppies is suitable for all breeds including Shih Tzu pups. 

Beaphar Lactol Puppy Milk Replacement Powder

Lactol Puppy Milk Replacer by Beaphar supports the growth and development of all pups between 0 and 2 months of age. It is a complete milk replacement for all pups that has been around in the market for almost a century. 

Lactol Puppy milk replacer contains 24% protein that closely resembles mother’s milk. Their newest formula also includes DHA that helps with the immunity, bone development and digestive system stability of the pups. 

 

45 Days to 90 Days Old Puppies

When puppies are around 3 weeks old they will teething. That’s when the mother dog naturally begins to lactate less and puppies gradually transition to solid food from the age of around 30-40 days. 

You can introduce your 45 day old puppy of any breed to starter food as per the recommendation of the veterinarian. 

  1. Farmina N&D Puppy Starter
  2. PRO PLAN Small and Mini Puppy Healthy Start Chicken Dry Dog Food
  3. PRO PLAN Medium Puppy Healthy Start Chicken Dry Dog Food
  4. Canine Creek Advance Pet Nutrition Starter
  5. Drools Focus Starter
  6. Drools Puppy Starter
  7. Farmina N&D Ancestral Grain Chicken & Pomegranate Starter Puppy
  8. Farmina N&D Grain Free Pumpkin, Chicken & Pomegranate Starter Puppy
  9. Royal Canin Maxi Starter Dog Food 
  10. Royal Canin Mini Starter 
  11. Royal Canin Medium Starter

USPs of all Premium Puppy Starter Food –

Puppy starter food includes a special blend of nutrients inspired by the natural components of the dog mom’s milk. 

During the final stages of pregnancy and while nursing, mama dogs have incredibly high energy needs. That’s why puppy starter food is tailor-made to meet those requirements and keep both mom and her little ones happy and healthy.

Puppy starter food is super easy to prepare! Just add water to create a yummy porridge-like meal for the pups and the mama dog. This makes the transition of pups from milk (or milk replacer) to solid food a breeze!

 

90 Days to 10 months

Between 90 days and 10 months (approx) your puppy will likely be consuming puppy food. Puppies grow rapidly during this period and they require more calories than the adults of the same breed. 

They need enough nutrition to support rapid bone and muscle development. Along with fortifying their immunity. 

What Should Your Puppy Food Ideally Contain?

  • Higher calorie content: Puppy food has more calories to support their rapid growth and high energy levels.
  • Increased protein levels: Puppies need extra protein to develop strong muscles and tissues.
  • Balanced calcium and phosphorus: Crucial for proper bone and teeth development in growing puppies.
  • Essential DHA: Supports brain and vision development in puppies.
  • Smaller kibble size: Easier for puppies to chew and swallow with their smaller mouths.
  • Fortified with vitamins and minerals: Helps in overall growth and immune system support.
  • Controlled fat content: Promotes healthy weight gain in puppies without excessive fat.
  • Easily digestible ingredients: Specially formulated to be gentle on a puppy’s sensitive digestive system.

The Different Food Options Available For Puppies 

While there are several breed-specific and breed size-specific puppy food types in the market, today we will mention the top puppy foods our veterinarians recommend –

  1. Canine Creek Advance Pet Nutrition Puppy
  2. Drools Focus Puppy 
  3. Drools German Shepherd Puppy 
  4. Farmina N&D Ancestral Grain Chicken & Pomegranate Puppy Mini
  5. Farmina N&D Ancestral Grain Chicken & Pomegranate Puppy Medium & Maxi
  6. Farmina N&D Grain Free Pumpkin, Chicken & Pomegranate Puppy Mini 
  7. Farmina N&D Grain Free Pumpkin, Chicken & Pomegranate Puppy Medium & Maxi
  8. Farmina N&D Grain Free Pumpkin, Lamb & Blueberry Puppy Mini
  9. Farmina N&D Grain Free Pumpkin, Lamb & Blueberry Puppy Medium & Maxi 
  10. Pedigree Pro Puppy Large Breed 

Dog Food for Adult Dogs

Adult dogs require less nutrition as compared to puppies. Feeding your adult dog puppy food can result in your dog gaining unwanted weight. 

"Dog" written out of dog food and dog bowl

Adults need food that will maintain their body weight and provide them with enough nutrition to remain healthy. 

There are hundreds of food options for adult dogs in the market, but here are some of the top recommended dog foods for all adults ones –

  1. Purina Supercoat Adult Small Breed Chicken 
  2. Purina pro plan Adult Large Breed Chicken
  3. Purina Pro Plan Adult Medium Chicken 
  4. Drools Chicken and Egg Adult
  5. Pedigree Adult Chicken and Vegetables 
  6. Pedigree Adult Meat and Rice 
  7. Purina Supercoat Adult All breed Chicken 
  8. Royal Canin Maxi Adult
  9. Royal Canin Medium Adult 
  10. Royal Canin Mini Adult 
  11. Drools Focus Adult
  12. Farmina N&D Ancestral Grain Chicken & Pomegranate Adult Mini 
  13. Farmina N&D Grain Free Pumpkin Dog lamb and Blueberry Adult mini 

Adult dog food should cater to the individual necessities of your dog. That will depend on their breed, weight, and health conditions. Follow your veterinarian’s advice about which type of food your dog needs and how much you should feed your pupper every time. 

Dog Food Recommendations by Veterinarians According to Your Dog’s Breed (Size)

Food Recommendations for Large Breed Dogs

Today, we have quite a few large dog breeds in India. They include German Shepherd, Great Dane and Malamutes. 

An adult German Shepherd laying on the grass with the front legs sprawled in front but head held high. They are looking directly at the camera and their ears are perked up. Lots of trees are visible in the background.

Large breeds have very unique dietary and nutritional needs. 

Nutritional Needs of Large Breeds (e.g., German Shepherds, Great Danes, Malamutes) include:

  • Controlled calcium and phosphorus levels reduce the risk of skeletal issues. 
  • Glucosamine and chondroitin are essential for maintaining healthy cartilage and joint function in large dogs. 
  • Omega-3 fatty acids promote healthy skin, shiny coat, and reduce joint inflammation.
  • Glucosamine and chondroitin reduce the risk of joint disorders and improves mobility.
  • Added vitamins and minerals support overall health and fill in any nutritional gaps to prevent deficiencies.
  • Taurine supports heart health. Promotes a healthy heart and reduces the risk of cardiac-related problems.
  • Complex carbohydrates provide energy for large breeds without causing digestive issues. Support sustained energy levels and better digestion.

Providing a well-balanced diet that meets the unique nutritional needs of large breeds is essential for their overall health, growth, and longevity. Always consult with a veterinarian to ensure you are feeding your large dog appropriately based on its individual needs, age, and activity level.

Recommended Dog Food for Large Breeds

  • Puppies: Pedigree Pro Puppy Large Breed, Arden Grange Puppy Junior Large Breed, Orijen Puppy Large Dog Food 
  • Adult Dogs: Acana Puppy Large Breed Dog Food, Arden Grange Adult Large Breed Dog Food, Purina Pro Plan Adult Large Breed Chicken 

Dog Food for German Shepherd

You can also find large breed specific food for your dog. For example, you can find specialised dog food for large breeds, such as the German Shepherd. Here is a list of the different foods that your GSD can have at the different life stages of their life –

Starter

  • Royal Canin Maxi Starter Food (This isn’t specific for the GSD breed, but all large breeds can have it)

Puppy

  • Drools German Shepherd Puppy Premium Pellet Dog Food, Chicken Flavor
  • Royal Canin German Shepherd Puppy Dry Pellet Dog Food, Chicken

Adult

  • Royal Canin German Shepherd 5+ Adult Dog Dry Food
  • IAMS Proactive Health German Shepherd Premium Dog Dry Food
  • Drools German Shepherd Adult dog food

Food Recommendations for Medium Sized Breeds

Medium breeds such as labrador retriever, golden retriever and rottweiler are very popular. However, they have the common issue of gaining weight rapidly. They also suffer from joint issues including hip dysplasia and luxating patella. 

Happy labrador retriever sitting

These risk of these common health problems can be minimised by giving the medium sized dogs the right food which has the perfect balance of protein, carbohydrates and fatty acids. 

Here are some of the most recommended dog foods for medium sized breeds. These food options are not breed-specific, but they are suitable for all medium breeds –

  • Starter: Royal Canin Medium Starter
  • Puppy: Royal Canin Medium Puppy, Orijen Puppy SMALL & MEDIUM Dog Food
  • Adult: Purina Pro Plan Adult Medium Chicken, Royal Canin Medium Adult 

A few brands do have breed-specific dog food for the medium-sized dogs. For example –

Breed-specific Food for Labrador Retriever

If you have a Labrador, you can opt for:

  • Drools Labrador Retriever Starter Premium Dog Food for a puppy switching from milk replacer to puppy kibbles. 
  • Royal Canin Labrador Retriever Puppy Food for your Labrador Retriever puppy. 
  • Royal Canin Labrador Retriever Adult Dog Dry Food

Opting for breed-specific food gives your pup the advantage of receiving tailored nutrition from the time they receive their first solid food. 

Ideal Breed-Specific Food for Rottweiler

If you have a Rottweiler, you may want to consider giving them a breed-specific diet to strengthen their joints and avoid digestive problems. You should check out –

  • Royal Canin Rottweiler Puppy Dog Dry Food
  • Royal Canin Rottweiler Adult Dog Dry Food

Choose the brand and type of food for your medium-sized dog after talking to your vet. Even medium-sized dogs have varying requirements based on their health, activity levels, weight and neutering status. 

Food Recommendations for Small-sized Dog Breeds

Small sized breeds include Shih Tzus, Pomeranian, Beagle, Pug, Boston Terrier, French Bulldog, Toy Poodle and Chihuahua. All these breeds have completely different nutrition requirements as compared to the larger breeds. 

For example, they need higher protein content, but lower simple carbohydrates. They require tons of good fats (EPA, Omega-3 fatty acids and DHA), minerals and vitamins. 

Here are some food options ideal for your small breed dog –

  • Starter: Pedigree PRO Expert Nutrition Lactating/Pregnant Mother & Puppy Starter (3 to 12 Weeks) Small Breed Dog Dry Food
  • Puppy: Pedigree Lamb & Milk Small Puppy Dry Dog Food
  • Adult: Acana Adult Small Breed Dog Food, Orijen Small Breed All Life Stage Dry Dog Food

However, if you find a small breed-specific food for your pup, that’s the best options. For example –

Royal Canin Beagle Dog Food is a smart choice for Beagle owners who want to keep their pupper active, slim and trim. 

Royal Canin Shih Tzu Dog Food is a great choice since it has additional essential amino acids and fatty acids that keep your pupper’s skin and coat shiny without adding excess weight. 

Vet Recommended Specialty Dog Food for Your Dog

Premium Low-Grain, Grain-Free, and Gluten-Free Dog Food:

  1. Acana Free-Run Duck Dry Dog Food – All Breeds & Ages: This grain-free option is suitable for dogs with sensitive tummies.
  2. Farmina Dog Food – N&D Pumpkin Dog Chicken & Pomegranate Adult Mini: With pumpkin for added nutrition, this food is gentle on your dog’s digestion.
  3. Farmina N&D Ancestral Grain Chicken & Pomegranate Puppy (Mini, or Medium & Maxi): This puppy food is low-grain and gluten-free. It’s made with chicken, pumpkin, and pomegranate to give puppies the important nutrients they need for healthy growth.
  4. Farmina N&D Grain Free Pumpkin, Chicken & Pomegranate Puppy (Mini or Medium & Maxi): This grain-free, gluten-free puppy food is formulated with high-quality chicken, pumpkin, and pomegranate to provide essential nutrients and support healthy growth in puppies.
  5. Farmina N&D Grain Free Pumpkin, Lamb & Blueberry Puppy (Min, or Medium & Maxi): Crafted with lamb and blueberry, this gluten-free and grain-free puppy food is a complete diet for puppies.
  6. Farmina N&D Grain Free Pumpkin, Lamb & Blueberry Adult (Mini or Medium & Maxi): High in antioxidants, vitamins and proteins, and zero gluten, this dog food is perfect for all dogs with a sensitive stomach and propensity for allergies. 

Dog Food Options for Neutered or Spayed Dogs:

  1. Purina SuperCoat Adult Healthy Weight Dog Dry Food: Perfect for maintaining a healthy weight in neutered or spayed adult dogs.
  2. Farmina Vet Life Neutered 1-10kg Canine Formula Dog Food: Formulated to cater to the specific nutritional needs of neutered small-breed dogs.
  3. Farmina Vet Life Neutered >10kg Canine Formula Dog Food: Perfect for all dogs weighing more than 10 kg. Ideal for medium to large dogs. 

Specialty foods for dogs need to be recommended by the veterinarian. Do not try to introduce your puppy or dog to gluten-free, grain-free or neutered food options on your own.  

Prescription Food for All Dog Breeds with Unique Health Problems:

Prescription foods contain special ingredients that complement supportive therapy and treatment of one or multiple chronic health problems. Always speak to a veterinarian before buying a prescription food for your dog. 

Prescription Food for Dogs with Allergies (Dermatitis and Other Skin Allergies)

  • Arden Grange Adult Dry Dog Food – Sensitive Ocean White Fish & Potato, All Breeds: Ideal for Shih Tzu with sensitive skin and coat issues.
  • Farmina Dry Food – N&D Quinoa Dog Skin & Coat Quail Adult, All Breeds: Designed to support skin and coat health with the goodness of quinoa.
  • Farmina Vet Life Dog Hypoallergenic: Fish & potato is a complete food for dogs that provides complete nutrition to dogs who have a history of  alimentary intolerance.
  • Farmina Vet Life UltraHypo: UltraHypo is the ideal elimination diet for dogs who have recurring alimentary intolerance and skin allergies. 

Weight Management and Obesity Food for All Dog Breeds

  • Farmina N&D Lamb, Quinoa, Broccoli, and Asparagus Weight Management Grain-Free Adult: Perfect for adult dogs prone to gaining weight.
  • Farmina Vet Life Obesity for Adult Dogs of All Breeds: A specially formulated option to help your dogs maintain a healthy weight.

Gastrointestinal Food or Digestive Food for All Dog Breeds:

  • Farmina N&D Quinoa (Digestion) Lamb, Mint, and Fennel Grain-Free Dry Adult Dog Food (All Breeds): Ideal for any dog of any age with sensitive digestion.
  • Farmina Vet Life Gastrointestinal Adults for All Breeds: A prescription food to support your dog’s digestive health.

Dog Food Recommendations for Dogs with Liver Problems

  • Farmina Vet Life Hepatic Canine Formula Dog Food: A specially formulated complete dietetic food for dogs that provides support for liver function in cases of chronic liver insufficiency.
  • The Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Hepatic Dog Food: Custom-designed to meet the nutritional requirements of dogs with liver issues.
  • Hills Hepatic Health L/D Canine Liver Care Dog: Perfected over decades for dogs suffering from liver disorders.

Food Recommendations for Dogs with Kidney Problems

  • Farmina Vet Life Renal Canine Formula Dog Dry Food: This dog food is specially made to help dogs with kidney issues, whether it’s long-term or temporary, by supporting their kidney function.
  • Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Canine Renal Support: This dog food provides all the necessary nutrition for adult dogs who need support for their kidneys when they are not working as well as they should, such as in cases of CKD. 
  • Hill’s Prescription Diet k/d: This is a full and balanced meal that gives your dog all the nutrition they need without stressing their kidneys.

Food Recommendations for dogs with Joint Problems

  • Farmina Vet Life Dog Joint: This is special dog food for adult dogs that helps support their joint health and metabolism, especially when they have osteoarthritis.

Other prescription food options for different health issues in all breeds

  • Farmina Vet Life Dog Growth: This food is designed to help puppies with growth issues and nutritional deficiencies recover fully, while also boosting their immune system.
  • Farmina Vet Life Dog Cardiac: This dog food is specially made for adult dogs to help support their heart health when they have long-term heart issues.
  • Farmina Vet Life Dog Diabetic: This dog food is for adult dogs, and it’s recommended to help control their blood sugar levels (Diabetes mellitus) and also to help them lose extra weight.
  • Farmina Vet Life Dog Oxalate: This dog food is specially made for adult dogs to prevent certain types of stones in their urinary system, and it’s also good for dogs with serious kidney problems.
  • Farmina Vet Life Dog Struvite: This dog food helps to get rid of certain types of stones in their kidneys and urinary tract, and lowers the chance of those stones coming back.
  • Farmina Vet Life Dog Convalescence Wet Food:  This food is made for dogs who need to get healthy again and recover from being sick or after surgery.

Remember, NEVER give your dog prescription food or specialty food without the recommendation of a veterinarian. The type of specialty and prescription food will depend upon your dog’s biochemistry results and health status. 

These are special, tailor-made food for dogs suffering from specific health problems. You should never put your dog on prescription food on your own. Your veterinarian should clearly prescribe the type of prescription food and the quantities. You must adhere to their instructions for your pupper’s complete recovery. 

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