- Nutrition

Puppy Nutrition What You Should Know

Bringing home a puppy is a joyous occasion that brings an exciting addition to any family. But taking on a canine can be challenging, from finding ways to expend their seemingly endless energy reserve to potty training to proper nutrition. Canine health professionals have some tips on what food will help puppies grow into healthy adulthood.

A jaunt through the puppy food section of any pet supply store is enough to intimidate any new pet owner. There are many choices and picking the right one isnt easy. As always, the first order of business is to consult a veterinarian. The vet can determine from the size and breed of dog what is best. This is also a good place to ask what time of day, how much food per serving, and how much water or supplements the puppy should get per day.

Most puppies are adopted at eight weeks of age. By the time theyve arrived at a new owners home, theyre weaned off their mothers milk and eating solid foods. Its wise not to take them off what theyve been eating at the kennel or breeder because a sudden change in diet can disrupt their digestive tract and cause diarrhea.

The Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) has determined a standard in puppy foods that must contain a certain balance of puppy nutrition, including fats, minerals, protein and carbohydrates. While these recipes provide a good foundation for proper nutrition, a veterinarian might suggest supplements for any number of reasons.

Most pet food producers make it easier for dog owners by clearly labeling which items are for puppies, adults or senior canines. Puppy nutrition is generally packed with more protein. However, some producers also break it down into small to large breed varieties. Whats the difference? Puppies that fall into the smaller breeds have more active metabolism rates than larger breeds, so theyve got food packed with more ingredients that feed that energy. Larger breeds of puppies dont require as much of the energy-rich ingredients in their food. Packing too much into a larger breed will cause weight gain, which has a variety of risks associated with it, including joint issues.

Its important to follow a feeding schedule and to monitor how much the puppy is eating. A puppy less than 12 weeks old will likely eat four times a day. A thin or constantly sluggish puppy is likely not getting enough puppy nutrition and should be allowed more feedings per day. Most food packages have the recommended feeding amounts printed on the side, but veterinarians are quick to warn that those directions are merely suggestions.

Companies like ProLabs and others follow AAFCO guidelines to ensure that their products meet all the puppy nutrition needs.