Congratulations On Your New Puppy!
A big part of keeping your pup healthy and living a long and healthy life is through proper nutrition, so choosing the best quality food is important. Not sure where to start? Are you looking for more information on puppy nutrition? We’re here to help by answering some common questions!
What is the importance of feeding puppy food vs adult dog food?
Puppies need higher amounts of micro and macronutrients, including calcium, protein, fats (i.e. DHA, omega fatty acids), vitamins, minerals and highly digestible carbohydrates than their adult counterpart. These higher amount of nutrients ensure optimal development of the bones, muscles, brain and eyes. Feeding your puppy an adult dog formulation may lead to poor growth and make for an unhealthy puppy.
Does the size of breed of my dog affect which puppy food I should select?
Yes, it does! In fact, large and giant breed dogs require slightly less calcium and phosphorus than small and medium breed dogs, in order to prevent skeletal and growth abnormalities. For this reason, there are specialized puppy diets for small/medium breeds and large/giant breeds.
Should I feed kibble or canned food?
You can feed your puppy canned or dry food as long as it specifies the puppy/developmental stage and breed size (i.e. small/medium vs large/giant). Keep in mind that kibble does have a longer shelf life and is generally cheaper.
Another important factor to look for when selecting puppy food is the AAFCO seal; this ensures the diet has been tested in feeding trials, that it is complete and balanced and that it meets the requirement for growth and development.
How much should I feed my puppy?
The amount of food to feed your puppy relates to the BCS (Body Condition Score) and age. On the 8th week check-up, ask your veterinarian to determine your puppy’s BCS. You can then determine the daily amount of food required.
Between 5 and 12 weeks of age, it is recommended to meal feed a puppy. This means feeding 4 times a day at specific times where they have 30 minutes to consume their food. At around 3-4 months of age, you can decrease the feeding frequency when they appear to be less hungry. Twice a day feedings at this stage will be sufficient for your puppy.
Another option for feeding your puppy is by free choice; this means that there is food available at all times. However, there is a risk of causing your puppy to be overweight or obese and to have skeletal abnormalities that can carry over into adulthood.
How do I transition from puppy food to adult food?
This is dependent on the size of breed of your dog because they mature at different stages of their lives.
Small and medium breeds tend to mature at 12 months of age, so this is when they can be switched to an adult dog diet, whereas large and giant breeds mature later in life, at about 14-18 months of age.
Transitioning to a new food should be done gradually in order to avoid a gastrointestinal upset. Over the course of 7 days, mix a little of the adult diet into the puppy food and gradually increase the amount of adult food in relation to the puppy food each day until all that is left is adult food.
- Day 1 and 2: Feed ¾ puppy food, ¼ adult food
- Day 3 and 4: Feed ½ puppy food, ½ adult food
- Day 5 and 6: Feed ¼ puppy food, ¾ adult food
- Day 7: Feed all adult food
Which puppy foods do you recommend?
Based on the previous information presented, there are a few puppy foods that we carry and recommend: Royal Canin Developmental, Hills Healthy Advantage Puppy and Purina Pro Plan Puppy. These diets are available in kibble and canned format and have options for small/medium and large/giant breeds.
Have more questions about puppy nutrition? Call us today! Our veterinary technicians are more than happy to help you get on the right track!