Before you bring your cute puppy home, you need to ensure you’ve stocked up on puppy food. It’s not always easy to know what puppy food is best and how often to feed your puppy.
You might think that you can just feed your new puppy your adult dog’s food, but although this is super-convenient, it’s a really bad idea.
Why do puppies need different food to adult dogs?
Puppies are busy developing and growing, so their nutritional needs vary quite a bit from those of adult dogs. For example, puppies are growing muscles, organs, and bones!
Adult dogs, on the other hand, are maintaining their bodies that have already developed. With the above in mind, let’s look at what you should be feeding your growing puppy and what you should avoid.
Puppies: From Mother’s Milk To Solid Food!
When your puppy is younger than six weeks, he or she will be getting all their nutrients and calories from their mother’s milk. If the mother has inverted nipples, you may need to intervene to ensure every puppy is getting enough milk.
Furthermore, if the mother suddenly stops feeding its pups at around the 3rd week, you may need to address the problem quickly and/or provide alternatives to feed the puppies.
Around the age of six weeks, puppies will be successfully weaned off their mothers – and be looking around for alternative food sources! That’s where you have to step in to take responsibility for feeding your puppy all the right foods.
You should start giving your puppy solid food when he or she hits the four-week or five-week milestone. However, it’s important to make the solid food moist so that it’s spongy and soft.
This makes it easier for your puppy to eat. If you’re weaning your puppy off his or her mother’s milk, then you have to ensure that the food has a mixture of dry or wet food that’s been mixed with a milk replacement formula. A good one to try is PetLac.
This is a formula made from soy, vegetable oil, and dried skim cow milk. It also contains probiotic strains.
Your puppy can eat this spongy food for a few weeks, but slowly add less of the milk formula each time you serve it so that by the time your puppy reaches the age of six or seven weeks, you’ll be able to feed it the food without any milk replacement formula in it.
If you’ve purchased a puppy that’s already around the age of six or seven weeks, you won’t have to try to feed it any of the milk replacement formula because it will already have been weaned off its mother’s milk. You can feed it proper puppy food right away because it’s old enough to handle it.
What Food Should You Choose For Your Puppy?
Your best bet when finding the right food for your puppy is to consult your vet.
This is especially important because your puppy will be growing fast and will therefore have changing needs on a regular basis, so your vet’s the perfect person to help you stay on top of these dietary requirements.
Furthermore, puppies will have developed teeth to varying extents so some dogs may be provided tougher foods earlier than others.
There are other important tips to help you find the right food.
- Check that the food is approved by the Association of American Feed Control Officials, as this organization ensures that nutrient guidelines are met by pet food companies. This will ensure that you give your puppy a balanced and complete diet.
- You should also check that the food is labelled as being for all life stages or specifically for puppies. Some dog food manufacturers do have dog food that’s safe for dogs of all ages.
- When it comes to the nutrients that should be in your puppy’s food, you should ensure that it contains protein, amino acids, calcium, and phosphorus. Protein is particularly important in puppy food. A minimum of 22 percent of a puppy’s calories need to be filled with protein. Make sure protein is one of the main ingredients in the pet food!
- You should also look for foods that have extra vitamins and minerals, like omega-3 fatty acids that will help your puppy’s brain to grow.
- Other important nutrients that your puppy needs are fats, which help to keep puppies’ skin, hair, vision, and brain healthy, and carbohydrates. These will ensure that your puppy has energy to run around and play.
- Make sure the food has been made in a region that follows strict pet-food quality standards, such the U.S. and Western Europe.
- Avoid cheap puppy food. While you don’t need to spend a lot of money to give your puppy the best food, you should steer clear of puppy food that’s really cheap. This is a sign that it lacks the quality that you want.
How To Choose Puppy Food Based On Breed Size
If your dog is a really small – or large – breed, this will influence what type of food you should feed your pooch. Although you might not realize it, if your puppy is of a large breed, it will have different nutritional needs as compared to smaller dogs.
Foods for large-breed puppies will usually have less phosphorus, less calcium, less calories, and less fat than foods that are suitable for smaller-breed puppies.
They also tend to have supplements that support the dog’s joints, such as glucosamine. This is why it’s important to choose puppy food that will cater to your dog’s size. If you’re battling to find the right food for your puppy or you’re not sure which one to get, chat to your vet.
How Can You Tell Your Puppy Is Getting All The Required Nutrients?
It’s not enough to choose a food for your puppy and then forget about it. When your puppy has been eating his or her food for a month, you should check that the food is keeping him or her healthy.
Is your pet playful and happy? Is he energetic? Does he have a shiny coat? Does your puppy’s faeces look brown?
These are all good signs that you’re feeding your pup the right food and is managing to digest the food’s nutrients.
Should You Feed Your Puppy Dry Or Wet Food?
The question of whether you should opt for feeding your puppy wet food or choose for dry food is one that regularly comes up for pet owners. While there’s no definite right or wrong answer, there are some important things to bear in mind when it comes to wet vs dry food for puppies.
- Dry food: This type of food tends to have lots of protein in it and it’s usually the most budget-friendly dog food that’s available. In addition, these crunchy pellets help to remove food and plaque on your dog’s teeth so that their teeth and gums can be healthy.
- Wet food: This food has a high content of water, but it lacks dental benefits. Although it will ensure your dog stays hydrated, wet food also has other benefits: if your puppy is a fussy eater, wet food will be easier for him or her to eat and swallow.
Should You Feed Your Puppy Homemade Puppy Food?
You can feed your puppy food you make yourself, but it requires tons of research and knowledge, otherwise you will risk not giving your puppy all the nutrients it needs.
Since puppies need the right balance of nutrients, and their nutritional requirements are more difficult to meet than those of adult dogs, homemade food can be difficult to get right.
Due to this, it’s a smarter idea to choose a commercial puppy diet that has been scientifically and specifically designed for puppy’s dietary needs.
If you really want to put your dogs on a homemade food diet, wait until your puppies are adults. It’s also a good idea to consult with your vet about the type of homemade diet that you’re interested in trying to find out if it will be healthy for your dog.
How Often To Feed Your Puppy
Once you have found the right food for your puppy, you need to ensure that you’re feeding it regularly throughout the day to meet its needs. Puppies need to eat three times a day all the way up to the age of six months. When they’re six months old, they can eat twice a day.
You also need to ensure that you’re putting enough food on the plate for them at each mealtime. Puppies need a high amount of calories so that they can grow, and since they’re growing quickly they’ll need lots of food!
Check the puppy food pack as many come with feeding charts to help you settle on the right amount of food.
You can tell that your puppy is eating enough (but not overeating) by monitoring its appearance. You should be able to see your puppy’s ribs and the top of its back bones. Try picking up your puppy. You shouldn’t feel fat on his or her ribs.
When you look down at your puppy, you should be able to see a waist. An abdominal tuck should be visible when you look at your puppy from the side. These are all signs that your puppy is eating enough food but isn’t becoming overweight.
When To Switch Your Puppy Over To Adult Food
When is your puppy ready to eat adult dog food?
When your puppy has hit 90 percent of their adult weight, it’s good to switch them over to adult dog food so that they can start to maintain their nutrients.
Small dog breeds will be completely grown when they’re around the age of between nine or 12 months. Large dog breeds, on the other hand, will be grown by the time they’re between 12 to 18 months old.
How To Put Your Puppy On A New Diet
When putting your puppy on a new diet, such as an adult diet, it’s always advisable to do it slowly. This helps your pooch get used to the new diet, and can prevent your puppy from not wanting to eat because it’s wondering where its tasty food has gone. It also prevents issues such as upset stomachs.
So, to help your puppy make the change, you should fill his or her bowl 90 percent of the way with the old food and mix in 10 percent of the new food. As the days progress, you can adjust these numbers.
So, on the second or third day, fill your pup’s food bowl with 75 percent of their old food and mix in 25 percent of their new food. After about a week or so, you can ensure that you’re feeding your pup 100 percent of their new food. You’ll have given him or her a chance to adjust to it and like it!
What To Do If Your Puppy Doesn’t Want To Eat Food
Your worst nightmare as a puppy owner is that your puppy won’t want to eat his or her food. It can terrify you to think that your puppy won’t be getting their required daily nutrients or could be sick, but there are important ways in which you can help your puppy.
If your puppy’s on dry food and doesn’t want to eat it, the reason could be simple: maybe you haven’t made it soft enough to eat. Try mixing in a bit of warm water or wet food to make your puppy’s food easier and tastier to eat.
If your puppy is eating other foods and snacks, but not touching their dry food, then he or she could be a picky eater so making their dry food more palatable will help.
If your puppy’s suddenly not eating, that warrants a trip to the vet. This is because your puppy might have an upset stomach or something else that should be seen by a professional.
Try feeding your pup something other than their regular food and see if they eat it. If they eat one type of food but not another, then they could be fussy about food. If they won’t eat any food, then there could be a health issue at play.
Your pup could be teething. This can cause puppies to eat a bit less – you’ll know they’re teething if they’re chewing things around the house a lot more! To make eating food easier during this tricky time for your pup, add some warm water or wet food to it.
What To Do If Your Puppy Has Digestive Problems?
If your puppy appears to have digestive problems, you shouldn’t wait long before taking him or her to the vet. This is because puppies need more food than adult dogs – you don’t want them to miss out on meals.
To help your puppy get back on track with their food when they have digestion problems, give them lots of fresh water to drink and feed them plain white rice and boiled chicken as this is tummy-friendly.
If your dog’s got a basic upset tummy, they should be back to their normal selves within a day or so.
A common reason why puppies get upset stomachs is that they eat too quickly. If your puppy has a rumbling stomach, is gassy, or vomits his or her food after eating, then those are also signs that they could be eating way too fast.
To deal with this, give your puppy smaller food portions throughout the day instead of a lot of food at once. You can also try giving your puppy food bit by bit at mealtimes so that they have to wait a little between mouthfuls. This will prevent them from gobbling all their food at once.
Can you give your puppy treats?
While you might want to give your puppy lots of treats, limit these to being no more than five percent of your dog’s daily calories. Choose healthy treats that are soft, such as those by Dynamic Chewo Tuna and Chicken.
Are table scraps okay to give a puppy?
Most human food, even in small amounts, should be avoided as it can lead to an upset stomach as well as more serious conditions, such as pancreatitis. You can, however, give your puppy healthy snacks, such as carrots or green beans, from time to time.
Your puppy needs the right food in order to grow into a healthy adult dog. In this article, we’ve looked at the best puppy feeding tips to follow as well as answered some important questions surrounding puppy nutrition, such as how much to feed your puppy and what to do when it comes to treats.
Now you know exactly what to feed your pup so it can be happy and healthy, and grow into a strong adult.
Heather Abraham is a professional blogger who owns two dogs, a cat, a parrot, and a leopard gecko. She has a connection with animals since she was a child. She shares her love for all pet breeds and provides information on pet food, toys, medications, beds, and everything else.
She is committed to learning about the internal workings of animals. Her work permits her to work closely with knowledgeable vets and obtain practical expertise in animal care. When she is not working, her love of animals continues in her writing. Her goal is to educate and uplift readers who also have a passion for animals through her writing.