Got a puppy? First things first, congratulations! There’s nothing more exciting than becoming a pet parent to an adorable furry bundle of joy.
But caring for a puppy is no cakewalk. One of the most crucial parts of parenting a puppy is knowing all about their diet and nutritional needs.
Feeding puppies is a little different from feeding dogs and each puppy is different from the next. But one thing’s for certain: their growing bodies demand specific nutrients so they can grow properly and live their best lives.
Because a puppy’s food and their required dosages are different from that of an adult dog’s, feeding a puppy can seem more high maintenance.
So where do you even begin? Take these 4 tips on how to ensure your puppy gets the most nutrition they need for healthy growth!
Learn what to feed your puppy
Puppies have special dietary needs to meet their energy requirements. While your puppy is below 4 weeks old, it’s best to have them be nursed by their mothers.
As soon as they reach 5 weeks of age, you can begin weaning them. Start giving them small portions of solid puppy food. Don’t feed them adult dog food as these may not have sufficient nutrients your puppy needs.
Understand your puppy’s feeding schedule
Your puppy’s mealtime requirements change as they get older. Younger puppies need to be fed more times a day compared to older ones. For reference:
2 to 3 months old: 4 meals a day
3 to 6 months: 3 meals a day
6 to 12 months (up to 24 months for large breeds): 2 meals a day
Familiarise yourself with their special nutritional requirements
Puppy food is formulated specifically to provide growing pups with the nutrients they need for optimal growth!
These are the essential nutrients you should be looking for when choosing puppy food.
Protein. Puppies need more essential amino acids and protein than adult dogs to help their bodies develop properly. While many adult dog foods may contain the same protein levels, they might not have the appropriate levels of other nutrients a puppy needs.
Fat. Fat serves as an energy source for active puppies and ensures fat-soluble vitamins are absorbed by their bodies. Puppies also require higher levels of essential fatty acids for rapid growth and development.
Calcium. All puppies need calcium to help develop strong bones and teeth. Depending on the breed, larger-sized dogs need higher levels of calcium than smaller and medium-sized dogs. Opt for puppy food that’s appropriate for your dog’s breed.
DHA. This omega-3 fatty acid aids in brain development and enhances vision. Puppies first get their fix of this essential nutrient from their mother’s milk. After they’ve been weaned, they rely on their diet to acquire DHA. (Think: fish and fish oil!)
Carbohydrates. These are another energy source for puppies. They can also be an excellent source of fibre, which supports their digestive health.
Don’t skip water
Once puppies begin eating solid food after being weaned, they will need a fresh supply of water within paw’s reach. Make sure they get half a cup of water every two hours – no more, no less for younger puppies.
Older puppies will need 20 to 40 ml of water per pound of body weight per day.
Taking care of a puppy is hard work, but it’s also very rewarding. As long as you’re equipped with the right knowledge of their nutritional requirements, you can be sure your puppy will grow up to live a happy, healthy life.