All new born babies in this world require special diets. Usually the first thing ingested by mammals is milk from their mothers, and following that is baby versions of what adults eat, that can be drastically different than what adults need. Of course there are exceptions, so let’s just skip to our topic of what puppies should eat. Puppies require special nutrition as they are setting the ground work for a long life ahead. It is extremely important that your puppy is getting the correct amounts and balance of nutrients as they grow into adulthood. Depending upon your puppy’s breed, gender, temper, environment, metabolism and exercise the amount of food he requires changes while growing.
Puppies are more sensitive to toxins, low nutrients, and poor ingredients in their foods and this can affect them for life. The first year of a puppies life is crucial so all puppy owners need to be on heightened alert. Please read labels and information regarding feeding your new puppy. They mature quickly making it important from the start to feed them a healthy diet. Steer away from artificial fillers, coloring, and by-products. Something that is not mentioned often but should be is that fresh, clean water is as important to your puppy’s health as his diet. Please make sure the pups always have plenty of water at their disposal.
First thing we will visit today is calories. Puppies need more calories, more fuel in their system than adult dogs. Read the label and check the caloric quantities against the adult food of the same brand. The puppy food should contain approximately 15-20% more calories. On top of calories pups are going to need more minerals, amino acids, fat and protein than an adult dog. High quality diets will contain specific Omega 3’s that boost a dog’s coat, skin and brain power. Zoom-Zoom-Zoom, we like dogs with quick and smart brains, so that is definitely important. Owners need to be aware of their breed’s special needs. The larger breeds need strong bones and grow quickly so their diets will vary from smaller breeds.
Feed your puppy for an average growth rate in lieu of a quick growth rate, this will cut down on the potential for any skeletal deformity to take place. At the end of growth they will reach a similar adult weight and size as if fed for quick growth. Just as the adult dogs, puppies need the same list of proteins, and 23 amino acids, 13 of which a dog can manufacture them self. Ten of the amino acids have to come from a source besides meat or plants, and those ten are labeled “essential”. The amino acids come from protein and in general meats provide a higher content than a soybean or corn meal.
Fats = Energy, and they benefit your puppy with a healthy coat and skin, but you still need to make sure it is at the proper levels, as too much fat can have negative effects such as obesity and issues from growing too quickly. Also if a fat has gone bad it can destroy other vitamins such as E & A, and linoleic acid. Most commercial dog foods have an additive to keep the fat from going rancid.
Carbohydrates=Energy as well, but the energy source comes from sugars and starches contained inside grains and veggies. Plant starches should be cooked before feeding, or the puppy cannot digest and will not get the benefit. Note here that fats and carb’s help with protein and if they are not getting the carb’s through sugar the puppy’s body will have to produce them and will deplete protein from its own body to do so.
Vitamins and Minerals are necessary for the body to function properly. Vitamins create chemical reactions inside the puppy’s body. B & C vitamins are water soluble and quickly absorbed, but C does not need to be added to a puppy’s diet because they can make it themselves. Vitamins A, D, E, and K need fat to be absorbed. Minerals react making chemical reactions for structural building. A complete and balanced puppy food should contain all of the vitamins and minerals puppy’s need and should not have to be added to their diet.
Take all of the items above and put them together and feed your puppy, right? Well, sort of. The fact is that a proper balance of those vitamins and nutrients, along with the all important fresh and clean water, is necessary for optimal efficiency into the little puppy system to keep his motor running at peak performance. A bit of studying needs to be done to feed your dog and breed the correct proportions.
What Kinda Food Do I Pick Off of The Shelf?
This is the place where you have to read the labels and about manufacturers and look for key words such as “complete or balanced nutrition”. After finding those words read some reviews from veterinarians and other regulatory agencies both private and public. In your reading you may come across this “Meets the nutritional requirements of puppies established by the American Association of Feed Control Officials (AAFCO).” This label is supposed to guarantee a complete and balanced concoction of nutrients to keep your pup healthy. Some commercial dog foods are breed specific depending upon breed size, cross check with your breed to find out his size and the correct food for him.
We have covered other diets such as raw foods and human foods in our other articles so you can read a little about those diets and find out if it is something that you would like to feed your growing fur-ball of joy. Remember that your puppy does not need supplements on top of being fed a balanced nutritional diet. Adding supplements can cause diseases and abnormalities in your growing pup.
See the above mentioned articles regarding treating and also reference my book on page 11 where I mention some treating food types while training, treating size, which should only be the size of a corn kernel. Larger treats are OK now and again, but never exceed Ã‚ï¿½ of their daily ration (adult dog) 10% for the pups, and remember to subtract it from their regular feeding. Try to keep the puppy treats intake of calcium consistent with their balanced diet, also treating can rev them up due to increased energy, so be aware.
Figuring out portion size:
Alrighty then! You have a new fur-ball pup at home and you have done your diligence and read up on his breed, future size, and the proper balance for his tribe, but you are scratching your head still, and not from his fleas. According to some EXPERTS the best way is to estimate his energy needs and calculate the amount of puppy food needed for his age. Probably best to ask your vet, for example that a Jack Russell will use much more energy than a Poodle. Look at this chart for some help vet.osu >. An easier way is to look at the food labels and look at the rough estimates and see how your dog responds to that portion and brand. These little pups grow like weeds but keep measuring the amount you feed so you know precisely how much you are feeding and or increasing if necessary. Feed them 2-4 times a day and eventually taper back to twice a day after six months of age.
If feeding a raw food different calculations will have to be made based upon those foods. This will take active investigation to find raw food date for feeding of your puppy breed, or recipes that provide the balance of nutrients you know your puppy needs.
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