Puppies are very similar to infants in their early stages of life. Their growth, neurological, and immune systems development are in overdrive. That’s why you see babies and puppies taking plenty of naps throughout the day; it’s not just laziness!
Their bodies are hard at work setting them up with what they’ll need for the rest of their lives. And the number one way we can help to make this happen is by providing them with proper nutrition!
Dog Specific Nutritional Requirements
Knowing that your pup needs the right food is all well and good, but knowing the difference between the macronutrients that are deemed healthy for humans, and those which best suit our pets is paramount to responsible dog ownership.
For a 30lb mature canine, their protein requirement is 18% of their total food consumption per day and only 9-15% of fat per day.
Puppies have higher fat and protein requirements when young, with a puppy up to 33lbs requiring 28% of their diet to be protein and 17% of fat per day. But be aware – as soon as your dog hits maturity, you must decrease this, as excess fat will cause severe medical conditions such as pancreatitis.
When looking on the back of any dog or puppy food container, you will see a guaranteed analysis of minimum nutritional values. Therefore, on your search for puppy food – you’re looking for this chart to display a minimum of:
If you can’t find food to suit your puppy with those exact nutritional values, it is possible to supplement either the fat or protein with human grade ingredients.
Deciphering the Ingredients
Now that you understand the amount of protein and fat that will best suit your pup; let’s get down to the most important bit – the ingredients.
With more and more of us steering our diets towards minimally processed, natural, plant-based nutrition – we owe it to our four-legged-friends to pay as much attention to what we put into their bowls too.
Some of the big no-noes are foods that consist predominantly of bulking agents such as corn, wheat, or soy. Ideally, your dog should be eating more protein than anything, with the first ingredients being good quality protein either from animal sources or plant proteins.
A great tip for choosing a nutritious puppy food is to look out for which contain the least ingredients. The purer the food, often, the better the nutrition. Having said that, if the ingredient list is longer due to added vitamins and minerals – this can be a benefit to your puppy.
To make your life a little easier, we have come up with a quick list of good and bad ingredients when you’re on the lookout for a new puppy food!
Reading through the nutritional contents on the back of a dog food bag doesn’t take long, and if you’re in a rush – you could call up your preferred dog food company; with your dog’s nutritional requirements in hand and ask them to get back to you once they’ve found a good fit.
Trust us; these companies will go out of their way to help. They got into the dog nutrition business for a reason, and that reason is to ensure the health and happiness of our four-legged friends. When they get these kinds of requests from caring owners, they love it!
Varied Needs by Size And Breed
Not all dogs are the same. In fact, they’re all unique bundles of cuteness, so why would we expect them to require the same food?
It seems simple when you put it that way, but all too often people will buy a generic sack of dog food and throw a scoop of it into Fido’s bowl once or twice a day, and voila – they think that their pet is getting what they need. But this isn’t so, I mean, come on, a Chihuahua and a Great Dane aren’t going to do well having the same meals every day!
Many dog food companies will have their puppy food labeled depending on the size of canine it’s best suited to.
There is a way to calculate the rough amount of calories that your pooch will need, and this is often the way that veterinarians do it, but it does involve some maths so hold on! Take your dog’s weight in kg’s and multiply that by 52.5, the resulting number is the approximate KiloCalorie requirements of your pooch.
Diet to Overcome Health Problems
Many breeds suffer from hereditary medical conditions that can affect their quality of life quite significantly if not managed properly. Luckily, many of these conditions have masses of Veterinary research available for owners to learn about management.
Let’s take a look at some common breeds, the conditions that they are more likely to develop, and the ingredients that can help them overcome symptoms.
BREED CONDITION INGREDIENT
Labrador Cancer Vegetables
German Shepherd Hip Dysplasia Fortified with vitamins and minerals
Beagle Epilepsy Omega fatty acids
Miniature Schnauzer Diabetes High protein
Which Is Better – Wet Or Dry?
There is a big debate as to whether dry or wet food is better for a puppy’s health, but at the end of the day – it doesn’t matter. As long as the food meets the nutritional requirements of your pup, you could be feeding him NASA freeze dried dog food!
One of the biggest benefits that you often get from wet food is the fact that it can be fresher, and offer more water into your pup’s diet. But there is also an argument for dry food, with it being especially useful to help keep your dog’s teeth healthy, not to mention – it keeps for longer and is easy to store as it doesn’t require refrigeration.
Making the Decision
When you bring a puppy into your home, you’re committing to look after him to the best of your ability, and a big part of that is providing him with a healthy diet.
With so many companies adding all-natural, low carb puppy foods to their product lines, the choice has never been so vast, or so good!
Choosing your puppy’s food is a one-off, and for that reason – you have to get it right! We have such a varied diet that if some meals lack in nourishment, we can make up for it elsewhere. But, for our dogs, they eat the same thing day in and day out, so their food needs to have a balance of everything their growing body needs.
P.S Congratulations on your new puppy!