Puppy Nutrition Basics: What and When to Feed Your New Fur Baby
Doctors say babies are most vulnerable their first year of life. The same is true of puppies. That initial 12 to 24-month stretch also sets the nutritional foundation for the rest of their lives. Feed them a high quality dog food with a balanced intake of vitamins, minerals and calories and they’re likely to thrive. Taking care to feed them the right type and amount of puppy food will also help your new baby fight off disease and illness throughout their lives.
In this starter pack of puppy nutrition basics, we’ll go over a bit of what’s needed to ensure their sustained growth and healthy development.
Before Switching your Puppy’s Food
Assuming your puppy has been weaned and is now eating solids, they’ll likely need to be slowly introduced to any new brand. Between the commotion of being separated from their family and adjusting to a new home, their little systems can easily go into shock. That’s why it’s important to continue mixing a bit of the old food in with your new all-natural puppy food over the course of four to six weeks. Gradually increase the amounts from week to week, keeping careful watch over their appetite and bowel movements. If you see loose stool contact your vet immediately as little bodies can dehydrate quickly.
During this early diet change, it’s also a good idea to consider a quality grain-free feed. This has the potential to mitigate any potential allergies to grains. It also helps avoid the transition and stress that come if the diet needs to be changed down the line.
Other suitable foods could include “All Life Stages” labeled products. That is IF they have quality ingredients with substantial amounts of Omega 3 Fatty Acids or have added “DHA & EPA”. Much like baby formula, these FA’s are instrumental in the development of a healthy mind & body.
What Ingredients do Puppies Need in Their Food?
Puppies have special nutritional needs that center on extra calories and increased calcium intake, among others.
Meal plan around the following when providing puppy provisions:
- Increased calories from protein rather than fat to support a growing body.
- Supplements including vitamins E and selenium to help develop their immune systems.
- A roughly 2:1 ratio of calcium and phosphorus for strong teeth and bones.
Also be careful about feeding too many treats while training. Even though puppies require a few extra calories, you don’t want them to get too overweight. All-natural dog treats or rewarding with bits of kibble are preferable to maintain optimal health.
How often do Puppies Need to Eat?
The short answer is that puppies need to eat multiple times a day. Some will want to nosh as many as three or four times between sun up and sun down. Their appetite could fluctuate slightly depending on the day but expect them to be hungry the majority of the time. As long as you’re not overfeeding them, letting your pup eat as much as they want (within reason) shouldn’t cause any major issues.
Why Feed your Puppy All-Natural Dog Food?
All parents want to keep their babies healthy, so better safe than sorry. Be sure to look for quality foods, free from additives like BHA, BHT and Ethoxyquin. Also best to steer clear of lower-quality ingredients and animal by-product fillers.
In short, part of your responsibility as a pet parent is making sure your puppy gets the proper nutrition once they’ve separated from their other mommy. Doing so will set the two of you up for a long happy and healthy life together.