When getting a new puppy meeting their nutritional needs is a must. There is no shortage of different puppy food brands available to buy and narrowing it down can be difficult. In the face of so much information, it can be hard knowing where to start and which foods are best.
There are several ways to make sure your puppy is getting the best nutrition. In addition to carefully reviewing their diet and foods they eat custom made premixes can also assure all their nutritional needs are being met. Here is a brief overview of puppy nutritional needs and feeding times.
A Puppy’s Nutritional Needs
How Many Meals Per Day?
The number of daily feedings depends on the age of the puppy. For the first 2 to 3 months a puppy requires a lot of nutrition so four daily feedings are recommended. At ages, 3 to 6 months’ feedings can be reduced to three times daily. Finally, for ages 6 to 12 months’ feedings can be reduced to two per day, note that for larger breeds this can last until 24 months.
A puppy much like a human requires a balanced diet rich in different nutrients, vitamins, and minerals. The most important are as follows.
- Proteins: as puppies grow up quite fast they need healthy amounts of protein for proper muscle and tissue development.
- Carbohydrates: carbs in your puppy’s diet serve the same purpose they do in yours as an energy source for daily activity.
- Fats: despite the bad reputations fats have they are essential for good health. The proper amount of fat in their diet helps keep your puppies fur and skin healthy. Fats are also needed for proper eye and brain health.
- Vitamins: dogs require many of the same vitamins as humans do. These include vitamins you’ve likely heard of such as vitamin C, K, D, and B vitamins among others. When buying puppy food look for terms such as balanced, complete, or those that meet the standards of the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO). Many pet food manufacturers also work with organizations such as the AKC to assure their products meet high-quality standards.
- Water Content: the use of canned food instead of dry kibble does not remove the need for water. Even though your puppy does receive water from canned food (which are up to 78% water) that is still not enough moisture. Your puppy should still have a water dish or access to fresh water available at all times.
What Type Of Food To Feed Your Puppy
Puppy food comes in both larger and small breed varieties to fit the specific nutritional needs of different sized dogs. Canned foods are the most expensive but puppies tend to enjoy it more than other choices. Semi-moist food splits the difference between canned and kibble and is also enjoyed by many breeds. Finally, dry kibble is the most affordable, easy to serve, and easily meets nutritional needs provided you buy a good brand.
As an aside, treats are acceptable provided they don’t make up more than 10% of a dog’s diet. These should be rare as too many treats can lead to obesity and other health concerns.
What Not To Feed Your Puppy
Many of the common foods you eat can be poisonous if fed to your puppy. When considering a treat avoid chocolate, carbonated drinks, grapes, onions, garlic, avocados, alcohol, or bread dough. Other unhealthy foods include these. Dogs also like to chew but the traditional dog bone can be hazardous if it splinters, consider a simulated bone or chew toy.
A healthy diet for your puppy requires focus and commitment from you and your whole family. Make sure your puppy is being fed on an exact schedule and that they aren’t being fed too many treats or table scraps. Carefully dietary monitoring will allow your puppy to grow up into a healthy and well-adjusted dog who will bring your family many years of joy.