Pet Food 101: What to Feed Your Pup

March 16, 2022 | We Care

Do you have a new dog in your life?  Maybe you’ve rescued a brand new puppy, or maybe you have adopted an older dog who has already seen a few days.  You are excited to embark on this new relationship!  You want to make sure your dog lives a happy, long, and healthy life. 

When my sister brought her new puppy home last week, she was given an arm-load of dog food the puppy had been eating.  She wondered if it was the best food for her little guy?

She knew that what you decide to feed your pup can play a big role in your dog’s well-being and longevity.  But with all the varied opinions and marketing techniques out there, it can be confusing to know what food is best for your dog.


The world’s pet food market is an enormous business.  It is projected to grow to $128.4 billion by the year 2024.  With so much at stake when it comes to your dog’s health – and so much money to be made by industry giants – it is not surprising that there are many different recommendations and opinions on what kind of diet is best for the animals in your life.  


In basic terms, “pet food” is animal feed intended for consumption by pets. These foods are designed to be specific to the type of animal who will be consuming it, such as dog food or cat food.  Most commercial meat used for pets is a byproduct of the human food industry, and is not regarded as “human grade.”

Pet food ingredients are regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO).  The FDA determines the quality of the ingredients and the AAFCO decides what nutrients animal food should contain.

Most experts agree that dogs need about 40 nutrients in their diets in varying amounts depending on factors like age and activity level.  These nutrients include proteins, carbohydrates, fats, fiber, vitamins, and minerals.  But beyond that, finding the right food for your pet can be a daunting task.

“…what you decide to feed your pup can play a big role in your dog’s well-being and longevity.


Pet food labels can be confusing, and looser regulations have enabled some less-than-reputable companies to fill pet foods with unhealthy ingredients.  For instance, if a label contains the phrase “meat meal” or just “meat,” it will be difficult to determine what exactly is in your pet’s food. It is always better to stick with specific, known ingredients like “chicken” or “lamb” and grains like “rice.”  

That’s because the wrong combination of ingredients can cause digestive problems, allergic reactions, and even a decline in mental health in your pet.


It is always important to consult with your dog’s doctor about what he or she recommends when it comes to your dog’s food, but it is a good idea to understand the basics involved before beginning the conversation.

A great, comprehensive guide to help dog owners learn all about the feeding and nutrition of their four-legged friend can be found here, on  Their research-backed articles can help you navigate the ins and outs of this complicated – but critical – topic so that your dog can live a long and tummy-happy life!

Photo by M Burke on Unsplash

If you enjoyed this post, you should read Exorcising the Witching Hour Out of Your Puppy here.

What do you feed your dog?

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