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Your Puppy's Diet

It can be difficult to choose the right diet for your puppy

We are now the proud owners of “Moss”, a wonderful fourteen-week-old Border Collie puppy. 

“Moss” loves his food, and he is growing so quickly, his diet is one of the most important factors in his development right now. 

It can be so difficult to choose the right diet for your puppy when there is such a huge variety of pet foods on the market now, with so much choice to decide on which is best.  

Puppy food is designed specifically for the nutritional needs of still growing dogs, with twice the daily nutritional requirements than that of an adult dog food. 

A good commercial puppy food, appropriate for the age and size of your dog and described as a ‘complete’ diet, will be nutritionally balanced for your pup, and will not need to be mixed with anything else. It is also better for keeping their young teeth clean. 

Puppies grow and develop in a remarkably short space of time, so it is particularly important that they are fed a diet that is correctly formulated for their nutritional needs during this growth phase.  

Puppy diets should have adequate levels of high-quality protein to support healthy tissue and organ development, and appropriate levels of vitamins , Omega fatty acids, and minerals to develop a good immune system, healthy bones, teeth, skin and coat, and calories for energy and to support adequate growth. A good, well-balanced, complete puppy food will contain all these essential important nutrients that your puppy will need. 

Before you collect your puppy from the breeder, ask them what brand and type of food your puppy has been weaned onto. A reputable breeder should provide you with a few days’ supply of this food to take home. Sometimes though, these diets can be very strange concoctions and not at all balanced in minerals and vitamins. The best option is to use an advised complete puppy food that has been properly formulated and has a clear feeding guide, to enable you to supply the correct amounts of nutrients and calories as your puppy grows. 

If you do decide to change your puppy to a different advised brand of food, you will need to do this gradually over a week to 10 days, to avoid causing an upset stomach.  

Puppies should always have access to fresh water and do avoid play or exercise immediately before or after eating, which can lead to vomiting and potentially bloat. Make a set routine and feed your pup in the same place and at the same times each day. Find a quiet spot in the house where your pup can eat in peace and will not be disturbed.  

The amount of food that your puppy requires will depend on size and breed and on their individual nutritional needs. A good diet usually indicates the recommended amounts of food for growth and development. Large and higher energy dog breeds will need more calories than the smaller breeds. Feed your puppy four meals a day up until the age of 4 months, and then reduce their feed to three meals a day until they are 6 months old. They can then move to two meals a day from there. 

Dogs are considered puppies until they reach their expected adult size for type and breed. Ideally, a puppy should be fed on a puppy food until he reaches 80% of his expected adult size. So, the large or giant breeds may require a puppy diet for longer than a year. 

Do be careful with amounts and measure their food carefully using a Digital Kitchen scales. Overfeeding your puppy can cause digestive upsets and could lead to painful bone problems, also, overweight puppies often become overweight dogs. Pet Obesity is a huge problem in the UK, with studies suggesting that 56 per cent of U.K. dogs are overweight or obese. Overweight puppies will commonly develop health problems as they mature. Managing your pup’s food intake alongside suitable exercise for their age and stage, is the best way to prevent them getting fat.  

Puppies are constantly growing and so their nutritional requirements change rapidly. If you are concerned about whether you are feeding your puppy enough, or too much food, weigh your puppy each week and you can check on an appropriate and advised feeding guide for their age and stage from there with your Vet practice. They will still be able to advise you during these difficult times. 

 

Alison Laurie-Chalmers, 

Senior Consultant, 

Crown Vets 

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