by Niki Elliot
Proper nutrition for a puppy is key to helping him live a long and healthy life but not many people understand how to correctly care for a young animal. Your new puppy’s first meals, in your home are very important. Continue feeding him the same food used by the breeder or owner you got the puppy from for a day or two after you bring him home. Then if you want to change his diet, gradually introduce a new formula over several days, to avoid tummy upsets.
Proper nutrition aids your puppy with:
- Training, helping the puppy to concentrate and learn with ease.
- Developing a strong immune system.
- Controlled, safe growth.
- A glossy coat and healthy skin
- Firm stools through optimal digestion
- Clean teeth.
- Strong healthy joints.
When choosing a puppy food look for a highly digestible, nutrient dense, and balanced formula. These formulas contain all the vitamins, minerals, protein, fat and carbohydrates your puppy needs.
A premium formula should ensure:
- Sensory-Mental Health – DHA has been identified as a key brain-building nutrient for both babies and puppies. Omega -3 fatty acid is a great source of DHA.
- Immuno Health – Improves immune response to vaccination. Helps support the immune system, helping your puppy to cope with day to day disease challenges. Look for antioxidants such as Vit E, Lutein and Beta Carotene.
- Good muscle tone
- Shiny coat – An optimal balance of Omega 6 and Omega 3 fatty acids which promotes a glossy coat and healthy skin. Supports the natural healing process.
- A good glucose balance to nutritionally manage blood sugar levels, which helps to even out the energy highs and lows and leave puppies feeling fuller for longer.
- Healthy Joints – Glocosamine and Chondroitin Sulphate give cartilage support. They promote proper development of bones and joints and support cartilage and joint health mobility. Reduce inflammation with a safe ratio of Omega 3 & 6 fatty acids. Provide muscular support around the joint with optimal levels of high quality animal protein. Antioxidants reduce intra articular damage and enhance healthy joints.
Puppies experience their most rapid period of growth during the first six months of life and because growth rates differ among breed sizes, you need to feed a formula that addresses their needs. Puppies of large and small breeds in particular need different food or different control on food intake in order to support their different rates of growth.
Read pet food labels carefully and follow the feeding instructions. These are, however, only guidelines, and the amount of food your puppy needs will depend on its weight and age and breed.
A large or giant breed is a dog that, when fully mature will weigh over 25kg, such as German Shepherds, Rottweilers, Labradors, Boxers, Boerbul, Dobermans, and Great Danes.
Overfeeding and rapid weight gain contributes to developmental bone problems. That’s why it is vital to manage food intake for large breeds. EXCESS WEIGHT = EXCESS PAIN = POSSIBLE AGGRESSION. 40% OF LARGE BREED DOGS WILL SUFFER FROM JOINT PROBLEMS AT SOME STAGE OF THEIR LIVES. Start joint support early on in their lives!
A dog is classified as a small or medium breed when as an adult, it will weigh less than 25kg, for example Spaniels, Staffies, Beagles, Yorkshire Terriers, Miniature Pinschers, Maltese Poodles, and Daschunds.
Smaller breed puppies have unique needs due to their smaller mouths and small stomachs, and they reach adulthood quicker than bigger breeds. That’s why it’s important to pack a lot of nutrition and energy into a small amount of food. It is also often necessary to feed meals more often per day than with big or large breeds
A puppy reaches adulthood between 12 and 24 months of age – depending on his breed. When choosing the appropriate adult formula, consider whether your dog gains weight easily, is normally active or has high-energy needs. Feeding good quality food throughout your dog’s adulthood will help promote a long and healthy life.
Low quality food appears less expensive, but does not provide optimum nutrition.
Good quality food makes sense both nutritionally and economically, as the high quality ingredients are normally combined in higher nutrient and energy density that means smaller portions are required. Obesity in dogs, as in humans results in serious health risks, including joint disease, heart strain, diabetes etc.
If you are in any doubt about a particular food, ask your Veterinarian for assistance!