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What is the best puppy food for your puppy?
What is the best puppy food for your puppy?

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Puppy Feeding Guide

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With so many choices, finding a good puppy food can seem outright daunting. Well, it’s about to get a little easier. Watch as Dr. Katy Nelson takes you through the ins and outs of puppy nutrition with information on everything from age appropriate dog food, to the importance of feeding schedules.

 

Hi, I'm Dr. Katy Nelson with IAMS. Today we're going to talk about dog nutrition, and what you should look for in your puppy's food. Just like infants, puppies require different levels of nutrients than older dogs. Physically, puppies grow fastest during the first six months. The right nutrition is critical to support this rapid growth.

 

That said, your puppy should only receive premium puppy food until he reaches his adult height and weight. That's typically in the first year for small and medium breeds, and can be up to two years for large and giant breeds. One more thing to consider is that a puppy's energy requirements can be nearly twice that of an adult dog. And since their stomachs are smaller, they need more nutritionally dense food formulated just for puppies to help them meet their energy needs.

 

There are three types of food: dry kibble, semi-moist—which comes in sealed packages—and moist or canned. Most veterinarians and trainers recommend dry kibble food, because of its fat content, and the fact that moist food can spoil. Dry kibble also helps with tartar control, which is particularly important for his developing teeth.

 

When you're shopping for food, there are a couple of things you want to look for and keep in mind. Number one, look on the label for a statement that says, 'Formulated to meet the nutritional levels established by the AAFCO dog food Nutrient Profiles for growth.' Number two, read the ingredients list on the back of the package, and look for real meat as the first ingredient. Puppies grow the fastest during the first six months of life, and because growth rates differ among breed sizes, you need to feed a formula designed to address the needs of your puppy's breed and size. Ideally, puppy food should also contain animal based protein for strong muscles.

 

The protein requirement for growing poppies is higher than that for adult dogs. High quality protein is critical for puppies to create new body tissue as they grow. Calcium for strong bones and teeth, iron for healthy blood, DHA for the brain, central nervous system, and vision. DHA is a key ingredient found naturally in mother's milk, and is important for a baby's neural development. Just like a baby, your puppy's ability to learn depends on healthy brain development.

 

Prebiotics for healthy immune system, because 65% of your puppy's immune system is in his digestive tract, and high in calories for all the energy a puppy burns. The nutritional needs for puppies differ for different breeds sizes. Large breed puppies grow more quickly. Because of that, they actually need less calcium, so their bones don't grow too fast. Medium breed dogs need a careful balance of calories and nutrients to be sure that they don't gain excess weight, while small breed puppies need nutrient dense food in small bites, because their metabolism tends to be faster, and they have different energy needs than larger dogs.

 

Another important thing to know is that what is good for humans is not necessarily good for animals. Because proper nutrition is critical for optimal development, and because human food doesn't offer the proper balance of nutrients puppies need, it is important to teach your whole family that feeding your puppy or your dog table scraps is a big no-no, and a major health hazard. Now let's talk about feeding schedules. Just like babies, puppies do best on a regular schedule.

 

Schedules teach them that there are times to eat, times to play, and times to potty. Obviously, the feeding schedule will largely be dictated by your own personal schedule. But no matter what, it is critical that puppies younger than four months be fed multiple times per day. Depending on your puppy's breed size, at around six months, you can start to limit feedings to twice a day. Also, keep in mind that eating is soon followed by the urge to go to the bathroom. If you work away from your house and are unable to feed and walk your puppy as often as needed, think about hiring a dog walker, or ask a neighbor to help you keep your puppy on his schedule.

 

For more information on house training, watch 'How to House Train Your Puppy.' Another important nutritional determinant is how much you're supposed to feed your developing puppy. Even though the back of the puppy food bags usually have suggested portion sizes based on weight, they are not always right for your puppy. So it's best to pay attention to your puppy's body and talk to your veterinarian.

 

Remember, a fat puppy is not necessarily a healthy puppy. Just as childhood obesity can lead to adult health issues in humans, monitoring a puppy's weight is very important to ensure proper development. Treats are another food source to consider when determining portion size. It is important to limit treating to less than 10% of your puppy's daily caloric intake. When selecting treats, hard chew treats are ideal, because they improve dental health through gnawing. Also, try to save treating for training sessions to reward good behavior, but be careful not to overdo it. For more information on training, watch our video 'Puppy training basics.' The last part of puppy nutrition we are going to talk about is water.

Puppies need fresh, clean water available at all times. Like us, it is their most important nutrient. You should change your puppy's water often, at least once a day. Providing fresh, clean water greatly reduces the risk of disease, and therefore keeps your pet happy and healthy. I'm Dr. Katy Nelson for IAMS, and I hope that you found this helpful as you welcome your new addition into your family.

  • Choosing the Right Dog Food
    Choosing the Right Dog Food
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    Choosing the Right Dog Food

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    Author: Dr. Diah Pawitri
     

    When visiting the store, dog owners can get overwhelmed by the array of dog food options available, from dry kibble to canned wet food and more. These processed foods may not be appealing to humans, but they contain all the nutrients that dogs need to stay healthy. Like humans, dogs also need a variety of nutrients from their food, not just from meat as their main diet, but also from grains, vegetables, and fruits. This kind of balance is usually weighed by pet food labels in kibbles or wet food in grams for different types of dogs. 
     

    For optimum health, dogs need food that is tailored and customized to their life stages, starting from when they are puppies and all the way into adulthood. Puppies have completely different nutrient needs compared to adult dogs as they are still in their early stages of life. They need enough nutrients to fuel a speedy growth, especially after transitioning away from their mother's milk. Puppies require complete and balanced nutrition with protein to help build their tissues, fats or healthy skin, hair, brain, and vision, carbohydrates for energy, vitamins, minerals, and water.

    The need for balanced nutrients in puppies starts with the mother during pregnancy, followed by lactation and growth. Sufficient nourishment for the mother is pivotal in enhancing the puppies’ growth inside the womb and preparing them for life after birth. Both mother and puppy should receive well-proportioned antioxidants, DHA, and prebiotics to support their health and growth as provided by the IAMS product line, which contains DHA that is essential for puppies' brain development while also supporting the mother's pregnancy and quality of milk produced. 
     

    While puppies need the primary nutrients for growth, adult dog food has a different level of complexity. Adult dog food requires the same make-up of nutrients as puppies do but tailored to their specific needs. Recent research indicates that an adult dog requires at least 10% of its daily calories from protein and at least 5.5% from fat. Adult dogs need quality protein for firm muscles and a healthy immune system. Additionally, an adult diet can contain up to 50% carbohydrates, with fiber ranging from 2.5 to 4.5%. There is no specific prescribed amount of fibre for adult dog consumption daily, however, it is still one of the most important components in dog food to address constipation and support a healthy weight.
     

    Adult dogs in their prime also require a balance in antioxidants to reduce systemic inflammation and restore active muscles. They should receive Vitamin E and C to support their immune system, joint health, and prevent inflammation. As they grow older, they may be exposed to different diseases from diabetes to cancers, which can be prevented by polyphenols.  Parents to adult dogs must acknowledge the most suitable food for their loved one that is comprised of the right amount of nutrients and can look to the IAMS line as they are formulated to support healthy bones and joint health, scientifically proven for healthy digestion with a good fibre and prebiotic blend, as well as antioxidants for a strong immune system.
     

    Besides life stage, balanced nutrition should be adjusted to their breed, which give insight to different factors like weight, mouth size, and energy level. This will then determine the type of kibble and food given. Smaller breeds tend to be more active, requiring the same essential nutrients and prebiotics for a healthy body as well as smaller-sized kibble designed specifically for their smaller mouths. As smaller dogs relatively have a high metabolism, higher levels of protein, fat, and essential fatty acids like omega 3 and omega 6 are some of the important nutrients that should be available in their food. On the other hand, larger breeds require foods that are lower in fat and calories, contain slightly lower levels of calcium and phosphorus, and have a specific balance of calcium-to-phosphorus ratio to support stronger bones and muscles.  Owners can look to products like the small breed line from IAMS, containing 7 essential nutrients to build strong muscles, support their tiny immune system while protecting their healthy skin and coat, and the product line for adults for large breeds.
     

    Dog parents must acknowledge and understand the unique needs, life stage and characteristics in their dog to choose the right dog food so their furry ones can grow into their healthiest selves. Make sure to visit your vet regularly to check these components as well!