Got a new furry pup home? You might have got your cuddles and spent quality time with this new furry addition in your home. Now come to the most important aspect of being a pet owner. What and how do you feed your puppy? You might have searched the whole town to find the best dog fellow, but have you paid attention to their feeding requirements?
The proper nutritious food is paramount in keeping your pup healthy, strong, and lively. But what should you feed your puppy? With dozens of varieties of food available in the market for puppies, selecting the right food is an uphill battle. How do you know which is best as every brand claims to be the ideal choice? So here we develop a comprehensive guide on choosing the best food that perfectly fits your furry baby’s needs.
Breed & Energy Requirements for Your Puppy
No matter their size or breed, every puppy needs the energy to strengthen their muscles and allow the best development. But then come breed-specific requirements that you cannot afford to miss.
For instance, larger breeds grow faster than their smaller counterparts, requiring additional joint support. Therefore, should be Omega 3s and 6s incorporated into their diet. Besides, the energy level of your furry pooch also matters the most. For instance, Sighthound breeds, with a 270-degree field of vision, need a high amount of energy to grow their muscles to hunt down prey once they become adults.
Puppies take at least 12 months to develop their skeleton correctly, so you should keep feeding them with nutrient-rich puppy-specific food till they hit one year. So larger breeds like German shepherds, Irish Wolfhounds, and Great Danes take more time to develop their skeleton fully, so they should be fed such food for up to 1 and a half years.
What if you skip puppy breed/size-appropriate food for your little fur babies? Well! You can go for it if you want to see your pup suffer from joint and limb deformities, poor growth, and a weak immune system.
Select the Right Kibble
Commercial puppy food contains the right balance of proteins, carbohydrates, minerals, fats, and vitamin requirements. But how to know which brand owns the most suitable formula?
The Association of American Feed Control Officials has set some guidelines for pet food manufacturers. Ensure the brand you choose contains a label stating it meets AAFCO nutrient guidelines for complete nutrition.
In addition to the statement, it’s essential to check the food label for the specific life stage it’s intended for. For puppies, look for food labeled as suitable for growth or all life stages.
After your puppy has been on this food for about a month or six weeks, take a moment to evaluate their well-being. But how? Keep an eye on their energy level. Your pup will be active and energetic if you are on the right track. They will produce well-formed, brown stools that indicate your puppy is effectively digesting the nutrients from their food.
Make a Feeding Schedule
Unlike humans, they can’t tell how much appetite they have. They may eat the whole bowl up but still crave more. Get them another bowl? Not at all! Overfeeding will create havoc in their stomachs.
According to the Association of Pet Obesity Prevention, almost 60 percent of pet cats and dogs in the USA are obese or overweight. So how do you know if they have satisfied their appetite without feeding them too much?
This is by creating a feeding schedule for your furry friend. As a general rule of thumb, puppies under 3 months of age require 3 to 4 daily feeding sessions. When they cross 12 months, you should reduce their feeding sessions to 2 or 3 times a day.
What about portion size? Well! There is no standard equation here, as everyone has different portion size requirements based on size, breed, weight, and medical conditions. For instance, one way to check if they have an appropriate portion size is to evaluate their condition.
- If they look a little fudgy or leave food in their bowl, chances are you are overfeeding them.
- If they seem too thin or lethargic, you may be feeding little.
How do we avoid instances of overfeeding and less feeding-associated weight alterations? Follow these tips to maintain the proper body weight for your pup;
Label Instructions: Food bags list the appropriate portion size based on the weight or size of your puppy. This is a suitable starting point but know that generalized levels may not meet the individual requirements of your puppy. Plus, dog breeds tend to overestimate the food your puppy requires.
Calculate: The most effective way is to ask your pet to calculate the calorie requirements of your puppy based on their age and individual body weight.
Transitioning to Adult Food
As your pup grows, its nutritional needs will change. Most puppies can transition to adult dog food between 12 and 24 months, depending on their breed size. When switching to adult food, do it slowly by mixing increased amounts of the new food with the old food for about a week. This helps prevent digestive upset.
Follow this process to ensure a smooth transition of your puppy to adult food:
- Days 1-2: 25% new food + 75% current food
- Days 3-4: 50% new food + 50% current food
- Days 5-6: 75% new food + 25% current food
- Day 7 onwards: 100% new (adult) food
Puppy Feeding Mistakes to Avoid
Despite knowing the appropriate portion size, food types, and schedule, we still make mistakes that can trouble our furry pooch. So do your level best to avoid these mistakes.
- Not storing your dog food in an air-tight container.
- Leaving your dog’s food uncovered.
- Not doing the nutritional analysis on puppy food.
- Ignoring the activity levels of your puppy.
- Including fewer proteins in your pup’s diet.
- Not providing sufficient water with meals.
- Not reading the back label and nutritional analysis on puppy food.
The moment you bring the pup home for the first time, your responsibility starts. As the puppies grow, their requirements also evolve, so you must stay informed to ensure the best care for your pup. From appropriate portion size to nutritional requirements, ensure your dog has the best possible diet.
It is also worth mentioning that every puppy and their feeding requirements differ. So, consult your veterinarian for personalized guidance on your furry friend’s nutritional needs. Don’t get swapped by the notion that you know everything about your pup. A professional vet’s advice is always in your pup’s best interest. Enjoy this precious time with your furry fellow!