The right puppy food plays an important role in the development of your fur nose. After all, you want to make the little puppy’s start in life as pleasant as possible. But what do I have to pay attention to? And why is it so important to find the best puppy food for your junior? We have put together a few facts and tips for you.
Why is the Right Puppy Food so Important?
First and foremost, mother’s milk is of great importance for the healthy development of your puppy. During the first weeks of life, the mother provides her puppies with her milk, which is perfectly tailored to the needs of the puppies. Little by little, the puppy food is slowly introduced in addition to the mother’s milk. Small puppies are particularly susceptible to deficiency symptoms and diseases such as vomiting or diarrhoea as they grow into adult dogs, as they still have a very sensitive gastrointestinal tract. The right puppy food lays the foundation for the puppies’ health and healthy growth. Of course also for the time as adult dogs.
What Should Puppy Food Contain?
Since the young puppies gain about five per cent of their body weight a week within the first four weeks, they need a particularly healthy diet. Healthy puppy food is suitable for this, which contains many minerals, vitamins, proteins and a lot of energy. Proteins cover the amino acid requirements. Vitamins strengthen the immune system and promote healthy skeletal structure. All in all, these important nutrients are crucial for the growth of puppies. You should also pay attention to a balanced calcium-phosphorus ratio in the feed.
This is particularly important for the bone development of your dog. Starch, on the other hand, should only be contained in a very small amount in the dog food. These ingredients can cause diarrhoea. The puppy food can be dry food, but also wet food, which is initially diluted with water for the young dogs. The older the puppies get, the less you need to dilute the food. At some point, you can then feed the dry food or wet food pure.
Healthy dogs should always have meat in their food because dogs are omnivores with a preference for meat. Chicken, for example, works well because it’s easy to digest and lean. In combination with rice, it is considered a true classic to refresh sick dogs. Unfortunately, beef is high in fat, but it is nutritious and provides important calories. The game is very low-fat meat. It is easily digestible and hypoallergenic. That means it can be fed to dogs with allergies. Lamb is also very digestible and has a good meat-to-fat ratio. Pieces of loin or fillet are particularly suitable.
With large dog breeds such as the Great Dane, you should make sure that your dog does not receive high-quality, high-energy puppy food for too long. An oversupply of energy can lead to growth that is too rapid. Fat cells also form more and the risk of obesity in adult dogs increases. The still immature bones then develop with insufficient density and stability. The achieved body weight cannot be supported enough. This can lead to hip or elbow dysplasia. To counteract this, it makes sense to feed your dog smaller portions several times a day. But even small dog breeds such as the dachshund and medium-sized breeds such as the Australian Shepherd have a breed- and age-dependent need for minerals that you must take into account.
Which Puppy Food is Suitable for My Puppy?
The variety of offers for puppy food is enormous and can also quickly overwhelm a first-time puppy owner. In addition to cheaper brands from the supermarket, there are many manufacturers who are more expensive and promise the dog owner optimal nutrition for their dog. The types of food often have names with terms such as “Puppy” or “Junior”. This tells you straight away that the food is suitable for puppies and young dogs. To get an overview, a look at tests of wet and dry food for puppies helps. Öko-Test also examines types of puppy food from all price categories.
The test winner at Öko-Test is a high-quality dry food that is specially tailored to the needs of puppies and young dogs and ensures optimal nutrition. The composition of the dry food is based on the food of the original dog puppies. In addition to meat and fish, herbs, vegetables and fruits are also included. This means that the young dogs are optimally cared for and receive all the important nutrients. For example, well-rated types of food contain a high proportion of meat, such as duck meat.
In addition, additives such as potatoes, aniseed, blueberries, fenugreek and dandelion are processed. Duck meat (muscle meat) is very suitable for puppies because it is rich in unsaturated fatty acids and vitamins. This makes the feed well tolerated. It also has a high iron, zinc and copper content. With this type of food, your puppy will certainly have a good start in dog life.
In addition to dry food types, wet food that has a meat content of chicken or lamb was also tested. If the eggshell powder is processed in the types of food, the puppy gets an adequate supply of calcium. Additives such as pollen and seaweed supplement the wet food with vitamins, minerals and unsaturated fatty acids. Depending on the manufacturer, special puppy food has a very low grain content (zero to six per cent). This way your junior’s digestion is not burdened.
What is an Appropriate Amount of Puppy Food?
Finding the right puppy food can be quite tricky, but the timing and amount of food should also be right because one thing is clear: never just let your puppy eat as much as he wants! A puppy can already eat solid food after eight weeks, but this should only be done in small portions. That’s why four meals a day are important. In addition, the amount of food must be adjusted to the target weight according to the puppy’s growth curve.
At the same time, a puppy needs a lot of energy to grow and romp around. At the age of six months, a puppy can already eat larger portions and you can switch to three meals a day. After a year, the small and medium-sized dogs are usually fully grown and two meals a day are usually sufficient. For the largest breeds, on the other hand, it must be three meals. The small dogs would also get by with a meal.
If you got the puppy freshly home, then it is important not to give your own food immediately, because changing the food is not so easy for the dwarf and the digestive tract is additionally burdened, especially when it is exciting. So get some dog food from the breeder or animal shelter and only start to get the puppy used to the new food after a few days. You can do this by mixing both types of food and gradually adding more of your purchased puppy food.
What you Should Definitely Pay Attention to
First of all, it doesn’t matter whether you feed your puppy wet food or dry puppy food. Healthy nutrients such as vitamins, minerals and so on are important. However, dog food should not contain grain. The starch puts too much strain on your pet’s digestion. Depending on the size, age and weight of the little junior, you should feed them several times a day and stop the puppy food a little earlier for large breeds. In this way, you avoid your young dog growing too quickly and the risk of later joint problems. Get advice from experienced people and adjust the food precisely, regardless of whether you have a small breed or a large dog. Even small dogs should never be overweight, as their bones and joints can be subjected to less stress than large, sturdily built dogs.
How Long Do You Feed Your Puppy Food?
The larger the breed, the longer the dog will need to be fed puppy food as well, as puppy food supports growth. The rule of thumb is that for miniature breeds, small and medium-sized dogs, the puppy food should be given up to the 9th or 12th month. For large dogs such as a Labrador, it should be 12 to 15 months and for very large breeds puppy food can even be given up to 2 years. When you finally switch to a different food depends on the breed and the puppy and if you are unsure just ask your vet as this is always the safest option.
Puppy food is also often declared as “puppy” food. Puppy is English and simply means puppy. Puppy food is available in dry food and wet food versions. However, you should always know whether you are buying complete food or supplementary food because only complete food has all the nutrients you need. There is also young dog food and it is usually designated as “Junior” food. The packaging then states exactly from which age and for which dog breed this junior food is suitable because we cannot say which food is the best for your dog. Just like humans, dogs diet is extremely individual.
Common Puppy Feeding Mistakes
The required amount of calcium and phosphorus is often not reached. But that can only happen if you don’t feed puppies food. If, on the other hand, you stick to the guidelines of first feeding puppy food, then young dog food and only feeding adult dogs after one to two years, nothing should actually go wrong. However, a deficiency or excess of these nutrients can have serious health consequences. Dietary supplements should not be given if you are feeding your dog a complete food. You can also get a puppy and young dog food recipes from your veterinarian. But be prepared for a lot of math, because the exact amounts of ingredients have to be adapted to every dog and every age.
Often a puppy is not given the right amount of dog food. You should always be guided by the growth curve and the target weight of the little one and under no circumstances give it as much to eat as it wants. Treats shouldn’t be given just like that, either, as they can mess up nutrition and have a lot of unhealthy calories. Additionally, chews are calorie bombs, and while puppies should and should be happy to eat these chews, it’s important not to just lay down one dog bone at a time.
Tips for changing the puppy’s diet
It makes sense to get some food from the breeder or vet after buying the puppy or to buy the same kind. In any case, a puppy should not be fed directly with new food, because the digestive tract simply cannot handle it yet. It has proven useful to mix the feed after a while. In the beginning, you mix ¼ new food into the old one and gradually change the proportions so that after about seven days you feed ¾ new food and ¼ old food. This is generally a gentle transition for the puppy, but of course, you have to keep a close eye on the animal’s reaction because some are more sensitive than others.