What to Feed Your Puppy

Walking down the dog food aisle at any grocery store can be overwhelming. Even more so if you are a first-time puppy owner. Puppies grow fast. Providing them with the best nutrition is vital. We are trying to maintain our adult dogs weight because they are already full grown. However, puppies require different food. They need extra nutrients that will fuel their growth. This will help establish strong bones and teeth as well as build muscle as they grow. 

What Ingredients are Important for Your Puppies Growth

Including the right nutrients in your puppy’s diet is vital to their growth.  When you buy puppy food pay attention to the words used on the label. Certain words on the label can clue you in on whether or not it’s right for your pet. Phrases like “complete and balanced nutrition” or anything backed up by the AAFCO will ensure your puppy gets the nutrients he needs.

There are some important things you want to include in your puppy’s food. Lots of protein is important. Protein helps build your four-legged friend’s tissues. Fats are also essential. Fat helps develop healthy skin and hair. Additionally, fat helps develop your puppy’s brain and vision. Moreover, it’s important to include carbohydrates for energy and lots of water!

 Different Puppy Food Types to Consider

With so many varieties, it’s important to choose the right food that’s aligns with puppy’s nutritional needs. There are three main types of dog food: 
  1. Kibble/Dry: Kibble is an economical type of dog food. This makes it most popular amongst dog owners. Its crunch can also prevent tartar buildup which helps your pet’s oral hygiene.
  2. Canned/Wet: Not only does canned food have a long shelf life, but dogs love it. However, it’s important to read the labels. Most canned foods don’t provide your puppy with the best nutrients. Reading the label will ensure most of the ingredients are digestible.
  3. Semi-Moist: These are foods shaped like other foods. For example, dog food shaped like pork chops, burgers or other meaty foods. They contain many artificial flavors and colors. This makes them the least nutritional food in the bunch. Semi-Moist dog food can be given as an occasional treat, but shouldn’t be used in their regular diet.

 How Much and How Often to Feed Your Puppy

It is important to know how exactly to feed your puppy. Different breeds require different feeding schedules. Therefore, knowing the specifics can help prevent future obesity, overeating and other diet related side effects.
For a 6-12 week old puppy, feeding them four times a day is ideal. You should make the transition from puppy to un-moistened food by week 9-12 depending on your puppy’s size. By months 3-6 puppies tend to start losing their “baby weight”. This is when you should convert from four to three feeding times a day. However, if your dog isn’t losing their pudge quite yet, continue to feed them puppy sized portions until their body type matures.
During months 6-12 owners can start to feed their puppy twice daily. This is the usual time your dog would get neutered or spayed. After the procedure, you can make the switch from nutrient filled puppy food to maintaining adult foods. However, it depends on how old your puppy is. If you’re unsure it’s better to feed them puppy food longer than cutting it short. By age 1 most owners feed their dogs two half-portions of adult food a day.

What you feed your puppy from the beginning can have an impact on their future health. It can be overwhelming trying to figure out the best route to take with your pet. Likewise, it can get confusing deciding when you should switch from puppy to adult food. This being said, The Bregman Veterinary Group experts have all the answers for you. They can help ease the mind of any and all new puppy owners.

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