Feeding a Puppy
Properly feeding a puppy is very important for their optimum health and long term well being. Puppy’s are rapidly growing and require a higher level of protein, nutrients and fat than an adult dog food contains. As an example, puppies need 28% protein and 17% fat and dogs require 18% protein 9-15% fat. (Listed under guaranteed analysis) Always choose a food especially formulated for puppies and purchase the very best quality that you can afford.
Consumers have a huge choice when looking to purchase the best puppy food. The quality of the food can vary tremendously. Some foods have lots of unhealthy fillers such as corn, corn meal, soybeans, soybean meal, wheat and a host of other ingredients. As an example, corn metabolizes in dogs similar to the way sugar metabolizes in humans. Not only do these ingredients have little or no nutritional value they will not be metabolized well and will just be pooped out. In addition these fillers have also been linked to joint inflammation and allergies.
So what does a quality food that provides good puppy nutrition look like? Basically you want the first three ingredients to be meat, not meat-by-product but a specified meat such as chicken, salmon, beef. Pet food manufactures know that consumers are looking to see meat as an ingredient. They will put chicken as a first ingredient and high carbohydrate filler such as corn meal second. Don't be fooled.
A low cost puppy will have poor quality ingredients, predominantly carbohydrates, and a small amount of protein and of poor quality. Even higher cost, quality sounding brands do not necessarily have good ingredients. Natural, organic, does not mean it provides quality ingredients and is a good puppy food; you must read the list of ingredients to really know the true nutritional value.
Another piece of important information is available on the bag, the guaranteed analysis. This will list the percentages of protein, fat, vitamins and mineral etc. which provide another insight to what your're actually feeding your puppy.
The best puppy food type is a quality dry food. Canned food can be good quality from a nutrition stand point but you are paying for a lot of water content. In addition dry foods are good for keeping teeth clean and gums stimulated. Mix some warm water with the dried food and you’ll have a very tasty meal for your pooch.
It is recommended to feed a high quality food, formulated specifically for puppies for their first year. Feeding should be three times per day until they are 12 weeks of age and then twice per day until they are six months, then once or twice per day thereafter. Do try to feed around the same time each day. Also if you do change your puppy’s food, do it slowly over the course of five to seven days.
As for the amount you should be feeding a puppy start with checking the recommended amount on the bag. I look to put the food down and see what they have finished within approximately 15 minutes. I adjust the amount to feed based upon them cleaning up what’s been provided. If they clean their food up very quickly I’ll add more. You’ll also need to adjust the amounts as the puppy grows.
Puppy food is now formulated for the size of the breed of the puppy. There are foods specifically for large breed puppies. Too rapid growth in a large breed puppy can lead to deformities therefore look for the puppy food that matches your breed of puppy. Also dry food comes in different bite sizes for small, medium and large puppies.
Do not feed your puppy table scraps or cow’s milk. Both can cause diarrhea. A puppy’s digestive tract is not fully developed and table scraps can upset their digestive track and dogs do not have the enzymes needed to digest cow’s milk. Stick to a high quality puppy food.
Your puppy will have a healthy start in life if you provide them with truly high quality puppy food.
Also see dog food nutrition