Expert opinions vary significantly, but some recommended brands include Canidae, Orijen and Wellness. All of these brands make puppy formulas as well as foods designed to meet the nutritional needs of dogs at any stage of life.
Puppy owners should consult with their veterinarians for food recommendations and develop a feeding plan. Different breeds may have different nutritional requirements. Large and giant breed puppies, such as Great Danes, need a particularly careful feeding plan because they are prone to bone and joint problems. Too much calcium is particularly dangerous.
Any high-quality puppy food should be certified by the Association of American Feed Control Officials. This organization certifies that the food meets the recommended nutritional guidelines for puppies. AAFCO certification is typically listed on each container or bag of food, and most manufacturers list it on their websites as well. Some foods are also certified with the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, which is the European equivalent of AAFCO.
Some experts also recommend a raw or homemade diet, which allows the pet owner to tailor the diet to the dog and avoids heavily processed foods and low-quality ingredients. While many dogs do well on a homemade diet, puppy owners in particular need to be very careful to make sure the meals are nutritionally balanced. Many commercial raw foods are also not nutritionally balanced for puppies, which can cause growth problems.