A Comprehensive Guide to Puppy Food and Nutrition
Puppy Food and Nutrition
Dogs are more than just friendly canines. They offer us their unconditional love and alleviate our sense of emotional well-being.
Green Fresh Pets understands that they are lovable beings who need to be cared for, if you wish to set the foundation for a long and healthy life with your canine companion. The basic requirements for a dog to grow healthy are different than ours. This small guide will enhance your knowledge on providing good care for your puppy. With our tips and your guidance, you will have raised a good dog!
There is a Difference Between Feeding and Love
We understand you love your dog. But overfeeding and/or feeding the wrong type of food will only harm your puppy in future, causing obesity or pancreatitis (a painful condition). For your dog to grow up healthy, you must always feed them good-quality chow in sensible/advised portions. Avoid giving them snacks too often and never feed them your food.
Dogs are clever and understand how to exploit humans with whom they live with and consider them a part of their family. Back in pre-historic times, semi-domestic canines understood humans to be food providers. With time, as the humans and dogs progressed with their association, the dogs improvised their begging behaviours for enhanced results. The more pitiful they looked, the more scraps they were given. Ever since, the dogs have polished this unique approach into a low-risk, high-reward hunting practise.
It is indeed a deceiving way to hunt, but humans should not be fooled into this. Begging should not be considered as a test of your love towards the dog or an emotional crisis. The scientists refer to this as a survival skill, but we may call it a scam. If you permit your dog to trick you into guilt feeding or serving him continuously with table scraps as a way to show your affection, then the results are going to be fatal or harmful for the dog.
So, if you find the tiny little cute pup pawing your feet and whimpering in pitiful noises under the table, then choose to ignore the show. Your pup will grow up to be a healthy dog.
Foundation of Right Feeding: First Year of Puppies
- 6–12 weeks – Pups between this age should be given a specially formulated nutritious diet that is significant for their development. Adult food does not comprise of the important nutrients required by a growing pup. To meet the daily nutritional demands of a pup, you must feed them four times a day. Small breed dogs must be provided with unmoistened dry food for 12-13 weeks, whereas dogs belonging to larger breeds should be fed similarly for 9-10 weeks.
- 3–6 months – You must occasionally reduce the number of feedings from four times a day to three. By the time they are 12 weeks, pups should lose their potbelly and plumpness. If they continue looking chubby, then you must feed them puppy-sized portions till their body ceases to look tubby.
- 6–12 months – Feed them twice a day only. After undergoing the neutering or spaying procedure the energy requirement of the pups is reduced. You must switch to adult food at this time. For bigger breeds, the switch can be made when they are between 12 and 14 months. But for the smaller breeds, the switch can be done between 7 and 9 months. Make sure the switch isn’t early, you’d rather give them puppy food for a bit longer than jump them into eating adult food early.
Big Pup, Small Pup
Generally, the rules to feed any puppy are usually the same. However, there are some differences in feeding when it comes to large and small breed dogs. Either of them has special nutritional requirements.
Compared to other animals the range of sizes different breeds of dogs, is greater. For instance, a Newfoundland weighs approximately 150 pounds, whereas a Pomeranian is just about 3 pounds. The former breed happens to be almost 50 times greater in size than the latter.
To get a better understanding, imagine a human weighing 150 pounds and then visualize a fully-grown human weighing just about 3 pounds.
Puppies that belong to larger breeds will weigh 50 pounds once they are fully grown. They tend to reach their actual adult size only once they are between 18 and 24 months. Quick and untimely growth can cause problems in their bones and joints. Restricted-calorie foods that are low in calcium help in a controlled rate of growth for large breed puppies.
Small breed dogs will weigh less than 20 pounds once they reach adulthood. They tend to grow quickly and are usually fully grown adults by the time they are 9 months.
Small breed pups have very small mouths and tummies, so they cannot hold much food in their belly. They need high-calorie foods so they can get proper nutrition for their growth. This is why several dog food manufacturing companies, make mini kibbles so they can eat them easily and get the required nutrition too.
In order to maintain their body heat, small dogs need a lot of calories because, unlike the large breed dogs, they produce lesser heat and radiate more from their skin.
Small breed dogs are usually less active than the large breeds and often more pampered than them. Therefore, if you are feeding a specially formulated high-calorie food for your pup belonging to a small breed, then you must follow the directions strictly – do not overfeed! There are several companies that have worked together with scientists for canine nutrition and developed specially formulated foods for small and large breed companies.
What You Should Know
- It is common for puppies to skip a meal, probably because they have eaten more than their capacity. You must reduce the quantity of food next time.
- Commonly dogs will finish their meal quickly, but there are several pups that act picky. Feed normal amounts at their regular times and don’t leave their food down for more than 20 minutes. This will discourage their picky habits.
- Feeding is should be done routinely and not as a part of love. For instance, giving them to eat as soon as you are back home, encourages separation anxiety. Instead, you must play with them or pet them, it is a positive way of saying you missed them.
- For dog owners who are training their pets based on treat-training then the quantity of food should be adjusted during the mealtime. Portion control is the key to train them and keep them healthy too. The treats should be small when giving them treats during their training.
- If required for medical purposes, you can buy dry or canned prescribed diets from veterinarians to your pups suffering from diabetes, kidney issues, heart disease, or similar such serious conditions. Prescription is significant to ensure your pup is safe and healthy.
- Mineral supplements or vitamins can be harmful when given in incorrect doses. A large breed dog who is already on a healthy diet doesn’t require extra calcium. You must always consult a veterinary before using supplements.
- You must refrain from making any sudden and major changes to the diet of your pup without consulting from the veterinary or the breeder. Once a certain way of giving them meals is decided, you must stick to it as it is likely that they will suffer from digestion problems when sudden changes are made in their diet plan.
- Consider giving them snacks like pieces of apples or carrots. These are low-calorie snacks, tasty and good for their health. They must have access to fresh and clean water at all times. You must have more than one water container placed inside and outside the house. This water in the bowl should be changed, and the bowl should be washed every day to prevent any build-up of bacteria.
Monitor Your Puppy’s Condition
- A young dog that is overweight is under the risk of acquiring orthopaedic issues because their weight tends to put excessive pressure on their immature joints.
- Overweight dogs can easily get diabetes, have heart issues, and problems with other organs too. They will also be lazy and lethargic.
- There are many printable weight and growth charts available online. Download a chart of the specific breed of dog that you own. You must keep a track of their growth and weight with the help of this chart. The chart also mentions about the right quantity of food intake for various ages. You can use this chart to adjust their food to achieve the right growth rate in your pup.
- It is easy to weight a pup or a dog. All you need to do is weight yourself on the scales. Then carry the pup and stand on the scales again. The difference in two weights taken in the actual weight of the puppy. A couple of ounces here and there shouldn’t matter much because every dog is unique and has a distinct build.
Say No to French Fries
Even a single French fry is addictive. They are super high in calories, and in no time, you will find your dog looking obese and unhealthy. Table scraps are equally bad and they upset the nutritional value of the specially formulated food that they are given. Our food contains certain spices that do not agree with the stomach of dogs. Discourage begging at all times. Owners who allow table begging also have behavioural and training problems. You must reveal that you are superior and will not give into whatever they ask for.
Quality Food Gives Good Health
High-quality foods are nutritious and loaded with vitamins and minerals required for the growth of the pup. Feeding in a controlled/prescribed way will achieve good results. Premium foods have stable ingredient profiles, although the composition may not be the same for every brand. Most dog food manufacturing companies have conducted intense research and development before creating a specific formula for food. They also upgrade the formulas to stay up with the recent industry standards. Foods from premium brands will help your dog to stay healthy and safe.
Deciding the Correct Portion Size
It is the condition of your pup or the advice from the veterinary for that specific breed that should decide the portion for each meal. The quantity eaten or wasted does not define the right portion size for them. Portion sizes should be decided based on points like – complete body growth, body type, and metabolism of the pup. Nutritional requirement of one dog will completely differ from that of another dog, even if they belong to the same breed.
Your Family Should Also Follow the Same Rules for Feeding
It is not just you that should be familiar with the portion size of their meals; instead, your whole family should follow the same feeding regime. If there are children at home, they must be advised strictly to give them the exact quantity as decided. Dogs are really good in trying their luck with every family member.
Types of Food
There are three types of dog food that are available in the market: dry, semi-moist, and canned.
1. Dry food or kibble is the most common and affordable dog food that can be given to all types of dogs irrespective of their size and age. Kibble is considered to be orally compatible for them as the friction caused when chewing keeps their teeth and gums healthy. You can add broth or water to moisten kibble for a different taste. Even canned food can be added to kibble to make it tastier.
2. Semi-moist food for dogs is packed in single-serving packets. Generally, they resemble a hamburger.
3. Canned foods are expensive, but the dogs love them. Most companies have labels like “all-meat” which may not fulfil the daily nutritional value required for proper growth of the dog.
This guide provides you with basic knowledge and some tips for feeding your pups in the right way. If there are detailed questions or queries that you would like to know, then you must speak to your veterinary.
Since our establishment in 2015, Green Fresh Pets has dedicatedly manufactured healthy and balanced meals for dogs. All the food is prepared by hand from raw materials that are freshly sourced. All the meals pass a quality check before they are packaged for your dogs.