How to choose the best puppy food 

Choosing the best food for your puppy is pivotal in making sure they start off on the right paw! A balanced and complete diet ensures your puppy will be set up for a happy, healthy life. Here are a few tips on what to look for and avoid when choosing the best puppy food, how to feed your new  puppy, different types of puppy food to consider, and of course a list of the best ACANA recipes for puppies!

What to look for in puppy food:

There are several factors to consider when choosing the right dog food for your puppy including, but not limited to, ingredient quality and nutrients that are necessary for growth. It is important to recognize that puppies do not have requirements for specific ingredients, but for the nutrients those ingredients provide. This is why it is important to look for food with quality ingredients like fresh or raw meat, poultry or fish balanced with whole vegetables and fruit! Quality animal ingredients provide a greater variety of nutrients, resulting in a food that requires less supplementation.

A growing puppy has several dietary needs that differ from an adult dog’s needs, which is why picking a food that is formulated with puppies in mind is a good idea. Here are a few factors to consider when choosing a puppy food:

    1. Energy: Puppies grow fast and therefore have an increased requirement for energy or calories. This is an especially important consideration for puppies under 4 months old, as their requirements may be as much as twice the adult requirements. Pet Lovers can achieve this by feeding a calorie-dense food. Typically, formulated puppy diets feature a higher fat content to provide more calories. By using puppy specific recipes, Pet Lovers do not have to feed large quantities of food to provide their puppy with the nutrients they need!
    1. Protein: Protein is pivotal to providing puppies with the building blocks for the development of hair, skin, nails, muscles, tendons, ligaments and cartilage. Dog foods high in quality animal protein should be desired over those that are high in plant-derived proteins, as animal proteins provide a more complete amino acid profile, making them a better quality protein source for puppies.
  1. Calcium and Phosphorous: You may be thinking that because a puppy needs more energy and protein, they must need more minerals. This is where Pet Lovers often get confused! While it is certainly important that minerals such as calcium and phosphorus are present in the food, it is equally as important for them to be present at the appropriate levels.
    • A note for large breed puppies: Due to the longer growing period of large breed puppies, their calcium needs are slightly different than small or medium breeds. Foods that are appropriate for large breed puppies will feature a lower calcium content in order to lower their risk of developing orthopedic and joint problems. It is important when choosing a food for a large breed puppy that the food has been formulated to be appropriate for their unique needs, and features an AAFCO or FEDIAF statement.
  2. EPA and DHA: Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) are omega-3 fatty acids commonly found in quality animal ingredients like seafood.

What to avoid:

Our focus when we make ACANA dog food recipes is to include high quality ingredients like animal proteins from fresh or raw chicken and turkey, quail, ranch-raised meats, wild-caught or sustainably farmed fish, and cage-free eggs. Puppies may be able to survive off a diet low in quality animal ingredients and high in carbohydrates, but it won’t help them be their best. Puppies thrive off a diet where the distribution of energy comes from quality animal protein balanced with fruit and vegetables, and low carbohydrates.

So, what is a “bad ingredient” and why should they be avoided? A bad ingredient is one that provides little nutritional benefit. Typically, these ingredients are less expensive. Examples of these are corn, soy, wheat, or tapioca ingredients.

With ACANA, pet lovers can be confident in the food they are feeding their puppy. Our first two ingredients are always fresh or raw, quality animal ingredients sourced from suppliers we know and trust! Every ingredient in our puppy recipes is carefully chosen by our Research & Innovation Team for a puppy’s nutritional benefit, providing them with a complete and balanced diet that meets our food philosophy. Every ingredient plays a role in keeping your puppy happy and healthy!

Best types of puppy food and how to feed puppies:

It is easy to become overwhelmed with the choices you need to make regarding your puppy’s health and well-being. Choosing the best type of food for your growing puppy is no exception!

It is important to note that every puppy is unique, and the same diet type won’t be the best option for every puppy. Here are a few diet options to consider:

  • Dry kibble
  • Wet food
  • Freeze-dried food

Dry kibble is perhaps the most popular way to provide a complete and balanced diet to a puppy. Kibble is generally more cost effective and convenient, especially for new puppy parents. Kibble can easily be portioned out according to your puppy’s weight and growth expectancy, and it’s easy to store.

It is important for puppies that eat a completely dry diet to consume enough water to support proper digestion. Wet food can be a great option for puppies that struggle with this. Additionally, puppies can be rather picky eaters. Wet food tends to have a more palatable texture and smell than dry food, which makes it a great option for puppies that are picky.

Freeze-dried food is another great option for puppies. Freeze-dried foods are often high in fat and flavour, which can help to entice picky eaters. Rehydration and water consumption are important to consider when feeding a freeze-dried diet.

As mentioned earlier, puppies have a greater energy requirement than adult dogs. To ensure they receive enough calories, puppies will often need to have an increased feeding amount in comparison to adults. The exact amount of food that your puppy will require may depend on several factors such as: food type, specific formula, breed, their current weight, and mature weight expectancy.

In general, it is best to spread out your puppy’s daily feeding amount into several meals throughout the day. We recommend at least two meals per day, however Pet Lovers can feed in three or four meals if their schedule allows, and if it is what works best for your puppy. Feeding multiple times a day can help to distribute calories and energy throughout the day. This type of schedule works for any type of diet!

The best ACANA dog foods for puppies

Luckily, ACANA pet food comes in several nutritious recipes for puppies.

Your growing puppy needs protein and fat from quality animal protein to support their development. ACANA Puppy recipe is balanced with 60% quality animal ingredients like free-run chicken and turkey, cage-free eggs, and 40% fruit, vegetables, and botanicals like whole pumpkin. Please know that artificial colours, flavours or preservatives are never added in our kitchen.

Our ACANA Puppy recipe features no grain ingredients, with no added soy, corn, wheat or tapioca ingredients. Each kibble is freeze-dried coated for a delicious taste your puppy will crave!

Your small-breed puppy is growing fast, requiring a diet that is rich in protein and fat from premium animal ingredients to support proper development. Rich with animal ingredients like free-run chicken and wild-caught flounder, plus nourishing cage-free eggs delivered fresh or raw to our kitchen by suppliers we know and trust, ACANA Puppy Small Breed has everything your growing puppy needs for optimal growth and development.

All puppies are not created equal. Your large-breed puppy has unique nutritional needs to support their rapid growth and bone development, including protein and fat from whole animal ingredients. ACANA Puppy Large Breed is rich in free-run chicken and wild-caught flounder, with the added nutrition of delicious cage-free eggs, for a recipe that gives your growing puppy everything they need to grow up healthy, happy, and strong.

Rich with protein and flavour, ACANA Freeze-Dried Treats are made with 100%, raw animal ingredients, including meat, poultry or fish and organs. Our animal ingredients are delivered to our kitchen where they are freeze-dried, locking in the rich nutrients and savoury taste. These treats are soft and easy to break apart making them ideal for training or treating your puppy!

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Leaving your dog alone and preventing separation anxiety

Having to leave your dog on its own at home will happen frequently so both you and your dog need to feel comfortable. If your dog is not properly introduced to the idea of being left alone, you may experience the consequences of separation anxiety. This could manifest itself as destructive behaviour, barking and whining, toilet accidents in the house etc.


To be able to prevent this happening you must encourage your dog to feel comfortable alone over time. For a puppy this training should occur when it’s 12-14 weeks old, however if you are bringing an older dog into your home you should start this within 1-2 weeks.


  1. Make sure your dog knows its bed and this space should always be accessible when you leave them. This bed could be in a dog crate if you are using one.
  2. Make sure your dog is tired, not hungry and has been to the toilet before you leave them. This will encourage them to sleep and relax whilst you are away
  3. Decide on the environment you are going to leave them in, such as lights off, radio on quietly, and keep this consistent whenever they are left. The actions to create this environment will serve as a cue so your dog knows when it is about to be left.
  4. Your dog should always have access to fresh, clean water
  5. As you leave, speak in a normal voice saying things like “Good dog”, “I won’t be long” as even though they won’t understand the words they will recognise the tone and find comfort in that. You could also give them a pat before you leave or a small treat. Consistency is key so try to maintain the same routine every time you leave.
  6. To begin with, only leave for short intervals, maybe even 5 minutes, just enough time for your dog to register your departure. It is best to stay unseen but within earshot so you can intervene if you can hear your dog becoming stressed or destructive.
  7. Continue to make several short departures a day making sure to follow the decided routine. Once you have reached a high success rate and you are happy with your dog’s progress you can begin to leave them for longer, maybe an hour at a time. This period can increase again as the training progresses.
  8. Practice makes perfect and every dog is different. Some dogs may take longer to get used to being left alone whilst older rescue dogs may adjust to it easily from past experience. Pay attention to your dog and use some common sense to work out the best training routine for your dog.


Good Luck!


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