Recommended Dry Dog Foods
Puppy buyer's should always ask any breeder what they are feeding their puppy. You should check into all foods using DogFoodAdvisor.com
Even name brand puppy foods can be lower quality than you think or have "controversial" ingredients that could be detrimental to your puppy during these critical months of growth. Just for the record, we don't get anything from anyone for making recommendations.
While your puppy is here and when it is old enough, besides the dry dog food below, we feed the puppies some raw chicken, liver and egg. They also get some venison if we have it available. We have a high quality meat grinder that we put the raw chicken into and it obliterates the bone and the meat for a puppy to eat. There is loads of nutrition in this and it will give your puppy an excellent advantage in development if you'd like to carry on with feeding some raw chicken. You don't have to, but it's good if you do continue feeding some raw chicken to your dog. Raw feeding absolutely has to be done correctly, so if you are interested please let us know and we will share some info.
You have put your trust in us and so we are proud to have done our homework to identify some of the best dry foods available. We feed a mixture of foods so your puppy can transition easiest to whatever you can find in your area, with different main protein sources. We only feed your puppy a food that is rated "All Life Stages" or rated as "Puppy" or "Growth" food by the AAFCO. Occasionally, we feed our other adults foods that are rated for "Maintenance" or "Adult", but usually we feed them an "All Life Stage" food.
The foods we use are listed in blue below as a link to a photo of what the bag looks like and it's ingredients. Since dry dog food will lose a significant amount of nutrition in manufacturing, we also give our dogs RAW chicken leg quarters in addition to the food we feed below. These chicken leg quarters are usually sold frozen in 10 lb bags. Each dog gets a chicken leg quarter for their evening meal. They LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this. The bone cleans their teeth and the unprocessed chicken meat and skin is the equivalent of a high quality vitamin supplement that is naturally easy for their bodies to recognize and digest. The raw chicken has nutrients that are lost when dry dog food is made, but it is not a balanced diet by itself, so raw chicken should not be the majority of your dog's diet. We also crack a raw egg or two over the dry dog food a couple times per week. It's also fine for the dog to eat the shell since it's a natural source of many nutrients a dog's digestive system can process.
To make life easiest, you can select several dry foods from the "All Life Stages" list and then you won't have to transition from "Puppy" to "Adult" foods later on.
We are currently feeding these brands:
Pure Balance Chicken and Brown Rice Recipe
Taste of the Wild - Southwest Canyon
Taste of the Wild - High Prairie Puppy recipe
Diamond Naturals - All Life Stages Chicken and Rice Formula
4Health Puppy Formula -
4Health Large Breed Puppy Formula
4Health Salmon and Potato Formula (for adult dogs)
For our health guarantee, we also require the use of a Fish Oil supplement for anyone using kibble. Click here to find the Fish Oil on Amazon. Use 1 "pump" per day over the kibble at a minimum. You can use up to 3 pumps per day in order to provide optimal nutrition for healthy skin, coat and brain development. If the kibble you are using has chicken, or chicken meal, or chicken fat anywhere in the ingredient list you will likely need to use 2 or 3 pumps per day in order to provide the balanced Omega 3 that fish oil provides.
And we also feed some raw meat which is the Foster Farms "Fresh and Natural" Chicken that can be found in most grocery stores. The "Fresh and Natural" is important since it has no added hormones or steroids.
We strongly believe in and recommend a variety in your dog's diet. Your dog will appreciate the different flavors. We recommend using a few different dog foods with high protein from different main meat sources (beef, chicken, venison, turkey, fish, bison, etc.) We buy a few bags at a time and mix the varieties together in a large container. If you don't want to bother with mixing all the time, then you could also feed one kind on one day and another kind on a different day. Your dog may appreciate the variety of flavor, as long as your dog doesn't get picky about a certain kind and just not eat that day. If you are going to alternate days/food types then just get them used to all of them mixed and then feed individually. It is true that a major change in diet in a short time can upset your dog's tummy. So, when changing food types, feed 90% what they are used to and 10% new food for a few days. Then go 80% and 20% new food for a few days. Then move to 70% and 30% and so forth. If you find any approach is upsetting to your dog's tummy (diarrhea, etc) then just revert back to what works and go slower or adjust what you think works best.
Price can be somewhat of an indicator of food quality, but not entirely. Sometimes we may think a brand is high quality, when in reality it isn't that good for our dogs.
We searched high and low for independent evaluations of different dog foods. The guy behind DogFoodAdvisor.com sadly had a dog die from contaminated kibble that was later recalled, and it became his passion to not let it happen to other people. They took the tedious task of looking into each ingredient and then rated the different foods that he's researched and we are using this for the basis of our list below.
We would like to help you sort through this "dog food maze." Below is a list of foods that are higher quality. These foods are either entirely grain free, or very low grain. Most dog food brands are loaded with grain because it's cheap. Dogs are resilient and so some can "tolerate" the grain in their food, but they don't naturally digest grain. They have a very short digestive tract, not allowing the time for proper digestion of nutrients from grains.
Some people may choose to go with an all raw diet. While we do believe this is good for your dog, there is also a lot to learn in order to do a raw diet safely. If this is your plan, please contact us to discuss it. For raw feeders, the 3 yr. guarantee will be on a case by case basis.
On a 5 star scale, the above listed foods are 4 to 5 star. Please pay special attention to the exact recipe listed, as not all kinds within a brand are rated the same. Also please note the AAFCO statement on each bag you buy. Our list contains our latest known rating for each kind. BUT the maker could change their recipe and you would want to be aware if the rating changes. A food rated for "Growth and Reproduction" is for puppies and pregnant or lactating females. A food rated for "Adult Maintenance" is for dogs over 2 years old. A food rated for "All Stages" can be fed to dogs of any age, including puppies.
Do not feed foods without an AAFCO adequacy statement. If it says it is intended for intermittent feeding, this means it is not a complete food and do not use it. As we do not feed our dogs ALL of these foods, we will not be aware of all changes. If you happen to notice a change in the AAFCO statement from what our below list states, please let us know. We will do our best to keep our list current.
Again, may we stress, check EVERY bag of food for the AAFCO adequacy statement since the manufacturers can change recipes! Even if it says "puppy" in the name, still check. If puppies are fed food rated only for "Adult Maintenance" it can cause painful joint problems that requires costly surgery!!! Make sure puppies are given food rated by AAFCO for "Growth and Reproduction" or "All Stages" or "Puppy".