A Comprehensive Puppy Food Guide
A Comprehensive Puppy Food Guide

A Comprehensive Puppy Food Guide

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Nutrition is an important part of pet care, and food is one of the basic needs of a dog. So, we cannot go wrong when it comes to feeding our fur babies. And how would anyone mess it up? As humans, we are used to satisfying the nutritional needs of ourselves. How difficult could it possibly be to do the same for a dog? Well, thanks to the endless varieties of dog food available in the market, choosing the right kind of puppy food has become a challenge. But fret not! With this comprehensive feeding guide, you can plan a healthy and balanced diet for your new-born puppy. It also covers questions like what, when, and how often to feed a puppy.

Puppy food guide for the first year

Complete and balanced nutrition is critical for the healthy growth of your puppy. In fact, according to Dr. Saza Curaming, “A puppy grows about 12x faster than a human child. That’s why the first year of a dog’s life is a critical stage and this will dictate its further development. It is at this stage where you must constantly monitor its nutrition and feeding regimen.” So, let’s look at the food guide for the first year of a newborn pup:

  • 6-12 weeks: The first few weeks of growth are the most important for your puppy, and as a caregiver, you need to be on top of it. Puppies need to eat good puppy food at this stage of life. You do not want to go for the adult dog food as of now. Foods developed for grownup dogs will not meet the nutritional needs of a new-born pup. Moreover, ensure that you feed it four times in a day.
  • 3-6 months: Once your pup enters this growth stage, gradually decrease the number of feedings to three times a day. Puppies generally start losing their potbelly by the time they turn 12 weeks old. If your furry friend is not doing so, continue feeding puppy-sized portions until you start seeing a change.
  • 6-12 months: Once your puppy turns 6 to 12 months old, start feeding it only twice a day. Speak with your vet and get a thorough understanding of when and how to switch to adult dog food. If you have considered neutering or spaying your pup, consult the vet and slowly transition to adult maintenance food.

Nutritional needs of a puppy

As compared to adult dogs, puppies need a higher protein intake. It helps with muscle development and tissue repair. Hence, it is imperative to include protein-rich foods in their diet. While iron helps create red blood cells, calcium strengthens bones and teeth. As your puppy grows, it will start learning new things. And to ensure that your pooch can see and conceive new things, it needs DHA – an omega-3 fatty acid that supports healthy vision and brain development. You must also include prebiotics in its diet as your pet cannot have a healthy gut without it!

Give your dog the food that’s specifically formulated for its breed and age. Since small breed dogs have a tiny mouth, they require smaller kibbles. Moreover, large breed dogs have a slower metabolism; hence, they require fewer calories per kilogram of their bodyweight when compared to a small or medium breed dog.

IAMS™ Proactive Health™ Starter Mother and Baby Dog is loaded with essential nutrients like protein, vitamins, and minerals. It is scientifically formulated to raise your pup’s training potential and brain development. With IAMS™, you make sure that your little pooch receives a balanced and complete meal. This dog food is perfect for newbie mother dogs as well. It ensures production of quality milk for healthy growth of the puppy.

Foods that must be kept out of your puppy’s reach

Now that you know the nutritional requirements of a dog, let us check out the food items that are harmful for your pooch:

  • Xylitol (artificial sweetener)
  • Grapes
  • Raisins
  • Onions
  • Garlic
  • Chocolates
  • Macadamia Nuts

Keep a check on your pup’s weight

A fat puppy might not necessarily mean a healthy pet. The way childhood obesity often leads to medical complications in humans, an overweight puppy can also grow up to have health problems. So, make sure you monitor your furry friend’s calorie intake. This includes keeping an eye on the amount of treats you give your pup each day! Remember that treats are not the only way of rewarding a dog. You can make it feel loved and appreciated with praises, pats, and belly rubs as well.

Frequently asked questions

  1. How do I know what food is best for my puppy?
  2. While choosing a food for your puppy, go for the one that is specially made for your pet. Today, dog food brands have different food for different age groups and breeds. So, choose the one that fits your pet’s age, breed, and needs. In case you are having a hard time choosing the right puppy food, you can also consult your vet regarding the same.

  3. What should I feed my puppy daily?
  4. You should feed complete and balanced puppy food to your puppy every day. Choose between dry and wet puppy food or mix the two. 

  5. How much food should I give to my puppy?
  6. Check out the below table to understand how much food you should feed your puppy:

    Age Feedings  
    6 to 12 weeks 4
    3 to 6 months 3
    6 to 12 months   2

  7. What are some healthy foods for puppies?
  8. Chicken, beef, fish, fruits, and vegetables are a few healthy ingredients in dog food. However, the best food for puppies would always be rich in protein. So, go for dog foods with chicken, beef, or fish as main ingredients.

  • Understanding Puppy Food Nutrition Labels
    Understanding Puppy Food Nutrition Labels
    Understanding Puppy Food Nutrition Labels

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    How much do you know about the food you’re buying for your puppy? When shopping for puppy food, pay attention to these three sections of a dog food label.


    1. The Ingredient Panel

    This section lists all the ingredients that make up the product. The ingredients are listed in descending order according to weight before cooking. In dry food, look for a source of high-quality animal-based protein: chicken or lamb, for example. Dogs thrive on animal proteins.

    Manufacturers who use large amounts of vegetable proteins might be saving money by providing basic — but not optimal — nutrition. You should also avoid artificial colors and flavors, which offer no nutritional benefits.


    2. The Guaranteed Analysis

    Near the ingredient panel should be a chart of percentages called the 'guaranteed analysis.' These figures reveal the basic nutrient makeup of the dog food's formula and protein content. The minimum percentages of protein and fat and the maximum percentages of fiber and moisture (water) should be listed.


    3. The Manufacturer’s Name and Address

    This information must be included on the label by law. A toll-free number or web address for the manufacturer may also be listed. Manufacturers who list a phone number, such as IAMS™, generally have a high-quality product and welcome consumer calls and questions. If you would like information about IAMS products, visit our website or call us toll-free at 800-525-4267.

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