Puppy diet and nutrition

We don’t feel there is one right way to feed a dog. There are multiple factors, including the individual dog and your lifestyle. For some, kibble is the only option due to the convenience factor. For others, pleasure is found in taking the time to research and prepare wholesome, whole raw food meals for their dog. We have found PawTree food to be comparable in terms of quality and results while being more convenient and more economical than raw feeding.

PawTree food is made in the United States and is made with real meat or fish as the first ingredient. It has no artificial colors, preservatives, poultry by-products, corn, wheat, or soy. Don’t be fooled by cheaper dogs foods: Because PawTree is a quality food, dogs don’t eat as much and have less waste to clean up. A good quality food like PawTree ends up being more economical than cheaper foods because you feed less and give your dog better health, which translates to fewer vet bills.

PawTree food is a premium food with a premium price. We feel it’s worth the price to feed the best to our dogs and puppies. We also find value in the food. Because it’s such a high-quality food, we end up feeding about 30 percent less than we do with other foods. We are amazed at how much better our puppies do on PawTree food. On the other end of things, there’s less poop and much less smell to the poop there is. Plus, we feel that high-quality dog food pays off in the long run in terms of fewer health problems later in life.


One of the important reasons we have selected and recommend PawTree is that the company has NEVER had a recall. Looking at “premium” commercial dog foods, such as Blue Buffalo or Merrick or Purina, you will see a history of frightening recalls. Other companies have histories of fraudulent practices related to ingredient quality or sourcing as shown here, here, here, here, and here.

Many dog food companies do not show as having recalls, but it’s important to note that the dog food industry is huge, and as such, has gone the way of other thriving industries with larger companies constantly subsuming smaller ones. So, for example, a company like Sojos (which until recently was an independently owned small business) was recently purchased by WellPet, which is owned by the multinational coal mining company Berwind Corporation. We prefer not to feed food that is ultimately controlled by the mining industry. We want food produced by a company whose only focus is the health of our pets. ​

As pet parents ourselves, we feel happy and safe feeding PawTree and have become a representative so that we are able to provide to our customers the same food their puppy was weaned to.

The picture below shows the equivalent nutrition of other brands compared to Pawtree.

This graphic represents just how much wasted fillers and junk is in some other dog foods, versus the savings from all of the dense nutritional value with PawTree. PawTree uses no fillers or by-products.

Because PawTree is a more nutritionally dense food with no fillers, you need to feed less. If you overfeed you may see gastric disturbances (gas, loose stool) or your dog may gain weight. Start with feeding 25-30 percent less PawTree than your previous food.


Some people look at the cost of a bag of PawTree food and think it appears high priced, but a closer look proves otherwise. First, when you go to the website, the regular size price shows up, but if you select the XL bag, then you save almost 30 percent. We have found that we feed 25-50 percent less of PawTree than other kibbles, so there’s additional savings there.

As an example, we fed our large medium/small standard dogs 4 cups of other kibbles per day. They are eating 2-2.5 cups of PawTree and maintaining their weight and condition beautifully, and are very satisfied on that amount since it’s nutritious, quality food and not empty fillers and empty calories. PawTree food costs less than $1 per cup. So for this example, we are spending about $2 a day for top-quality food.

If you’d like to do your own math, there are about 36 cups in a Regular size bag, 72 cups in a Large bag, and 108 cups in an Extra Large bag. At 2 cups a day, an Extra Large bag will last almost 2 months. ($107.99/108 cups = $1/cup)

Most of our puppies go home eating 1/4-3/4 cup of food per day, depending on their size; the daily cost for that is about 25 to 75 cents per day.

Dog food rotation

We cycle the food of our dogs. It provides them with variety, which is important not just for appetite, but for health. Like with humans, a varied diet is healthy for dogs. It keeps them interested in their food. It enhances the diversity of their microbiome. It reduces the risk of allergies and food intolerances, as well as helping avoid potential issues, such as the nutritionally associated dilated cardiomyopathy that has been in the pet health news recently.

Food rotation can be done on any schedule, from daily to quarterly (every few months), depending on your lifestyle.

Depending on your dog’s individual digestive system and the robustness of their microbiome, the only consideration is to avoid digestive upset in food changes.

You can read more about food rotation here and here.


We rotate food on an almost daily basis. Because of that, our dogs have a robust digestion and don’t get tummy upsets from food changes. When you start rotating food, you need to change over slowly; start by changing over the course of a week. (Our puppy families can see our My Puppy book for details on how to do this.) If your dog experiences gas or loos stool, you are likely changing too quickly.

Not all dogs can tolerate food rotation. If you are one of our puppy families, please refer to your My Puppy book or contact us for assistance. Consultations such as this are part of your Lifetime Breeder Support, so please reach out if you need us.


Not all dogs can tolerate food rotation and not all families want to deal with rotating food. We understand—It can be confusing and time consuming. As an alternative, you can add a variety of superfood seasoning topper, such as PawTree Seasonings.

We find these seasonings are a great substitution for food rotation. They are our first recommendation for any picky eater, add nutrition, boost your pet’s immune system, and are suitable for both dogs and cats, so all of your furry friends can share. Like other PawTree foods, they are made in the USA.

Dog Food Advisor

We used to recommend Dog Food Advisor to families to help select foods, but we no longer consider their ratings and information reliable. Recently we have discovered that they don’t take into account factors we deem critical when evaluating food quality. This means that a food that is made in China and has had 6 recalls can get a 4.5 or 5 star rating, which we find absolutely unacceptable. Additionally, when they rate a food, they don’t actually rate every recipe, they rate a single recipe in a food line, which does not tell you anything about other recipes in the same product line.

Why We No Longer Recommend Foods You Can Purchase at Big-Box Stores

We have become increasingly disappointed with foods that are readily available through large distraction channels, such as the big-name pet suppliers or Amazon or Chewy.

Dog food manufacturers often start off with great recipes and quality ingredients. However, once they start to do well and become available through the larger retailers, those retailers start pressuring them to significantly reduce their wholesale prices and the dog food companies more often than not end up using inferior ingredients or sources or changing their recipes (there’s no requirement for them to report any of this, including up to a 15% change in formulation).

Here’s an example:

Because of its growing market power, Amazon has immense leverage over its suppliers.

One supplier, who declined to be identified due to privacy concerns, said Amazon reviews its contract every year and plays hardball tactics to put pricing pressure on its deal. Some of the concessions include forcing the supplier to take on more of the freight cost between warehouses, or to buy more ads on Amazon, in return for remaining a major wholesale partner.

“It’s just a never-ending ask on every line item,” this person said. “Every year they try to get more, so we fight with them every year not to give it up.”

Because of the lack of transparency and the corresponding loss of quality (often without notice), we are much more comfortable working with direct sellers for our consumable pet products and recommend products from direct sellers whenever possible. We may sometimes receive a small commission or referral fee from these sales, and we use those fees to help cover the time we spend researching and recommending products to families like yours. Your puppy and our reputation are our primary priorities and we base selections of products recommend entirely on product quality.


For EVERY dog or puppy, we recommend two products: Gastro Pro Plus and Wild Alaskan Salmon Oil.

Gastro Pro Plus is a probiotic/prebiotic/digestive supplement. This is the best product we have found on the market. The CFU (amount of probiotics in each portion) is very high and the formulation is very well thought out. The probiotics are soil-based, which current research is showing to be the best for building a healthy microbiome. All of our puppies are raised on Gastro Pro Plus, and we also use it for all of our own adult dogs and cats.

Wild Alaskan Salmon Oil is outstanding for immunity and coat and skin health. Wild Alaskan Salmon Oil is full of anti-inflammatory omega 3 fatty acids and is a great for heart health, vision support, skin health, bone health, and mental health. It is also notable as a preventative or supplement for dry skin, dull coat, itching, allergies, or hot spots.


Initially, your puppy receives most of her immunity from her mother through nursing, but once weaned we use and recommend a wellness supplement to provide potent antioxidants and enhanced nutrition for your puppy and adult dog. NuVet is highly recommended if you are feeding a food other than PawTree and not using the Wild Alaskan Salmon Oil; if you are, they are fine as an additional supplement but not necessary


Once dogs reach 1 year of age, we recommend adding a joint supplement in addition to the Gastro Pro Plus and Wild Alaskan Salmon Oil. These supplements provide MSM, glucosamine, and hyaluronic acid to support joint integrity and aid cartilage strength and mobility.

Our preferred joint supplement is PawTree Joint Support Plus


We recommend the following premium chews, training treats and baked goodies offer wholesome, healthy and delicious canine rewards.

None of these selections contain any artificial flavors or colors,  nor corn, wheat or corn/wheat glutens.

Everyday Treats

All-natural, healthy, real-food treats

Dry Roasted Chicken, Pumpkin, & Cinnamon Strips. Powerful antioxidants help maintain a healthy immune system.

Dry Roasted Turkey & Papaya Strips.

Dry Roasted Duck & Orange Strips. For best training results, break into small pieces.

Training Treats

Training treats should be small, no bigger than a piece of kibble. Most treats these days come super sized, so you’ll need to cut them down to training size.

Freeze Dried Beef Liver. Reinforcement never tasted so good. For best training results, break into small pieces.

Freeze Dried Chicken Liver.
​Freeze Dried Pufferz Salmon and Cranberry. Excellent for pets on limited ingredient diets.

Dental Chews

Dental Sticks. Give daily for healthy gums and fresher breath. Also available in a large size.

Sampler Pack

Not sure which to try first? Then start with a Treat Me Right Sampler Pack


Urine and Odor Remover

Urine and odor removers are enzyme- and bacteria-based products that are effective on pet messes, including urine, feces, and vomit—truly a must for any new puppy home. They are safe and gentle for most surfaces, including dog beds, crates, and carpets. The enzymes and bacteria actually break down the mess, rather than just covering it, and this helps prevent re-soiling of the area.

The PawTree Urine Eliminator is virtually scent-free, so if you are sensitive to scents, this is definitely the way to go.

We have tried other popular products out there, including Nature’s Miracle, and prefer this product because it leaves a lot less residue and smells much better.

Pet Safe Cleaners

Many of the cleaners we use in our homes are actually toxic to our pets. These are the products we use to keep surfaces clean and sanitized without exposing our four-footed friends to dangerous chemicals.

Oxy-Shot Surface Stain Remover. Removes pet and household stains and odors.

Affiliate Statement

Disclaimer: We recommend certain select products that we have used ourselves on this site and think are good enough to share. Some of those products have affiliate links, where we get a very small commission for referral. Those commissions help support the time we spend in testing, reviewing, and sharing our experiences with those products. Most of the products we recommend are manufactured in the USA by small family companies. These small American companies can’t compete with the big dollar marketing campaigns of the large multinational conglomerates that control most of the pet supply business. We hope you will choose to support small family companies like ours and many of the manufacturers we recommend, instead of large multinational conglomerates that are known for food and product recalls as well as off-shore sourcing and manufacturing. WE ARE NOT PAID FOR FAVORABLE PRODUCT REVIEWS and our opinions are our own.