The Importance of Proper Nutrition for Puppies
Nowadays, there are literally hundreds of brands and types of dog foods to choose from, which can make it doubly hard for a pet owner to know which is best. While it is all but impossible to create a comparison of each pet food brand out there, there are a few fundamentals that you can use as a guide for choosing the right food for your puppy.
What Exactly is Puppy Food?
Puppy food is designed specifically for the nutritional needs of young and still growing dogs, with twice the daily nutritional requirements that a mature dog needs. Puppies are growing and developing rapidly -- in their bones, muscles, joints, internal organs and immune system, to name but a few of the developmental needs that are being met by nutrition. A well balanced puppy food contains those nutrients that a puppy specifically need for this purpose, nutrients that are not necessary once the puppy has finished growing into a dog and that are not added to adult formula dog foods. For example, to build a strong body, puppy food contains about 30 percent protein, as well as the vitamins and minerals that are needed for a puppy to be healthy.
How Long Can a Puppy Still Eat Puppy Food?
Ideally, a puppy should be fed puppy food until he is about a year old. There are rare instances when you may need to stop giving puppy food before then; especially if the puppy is developing too quickly and your veterinarian is concerned of complications (e.g., long bone disease and panosteosis are two growth diseases of concern). In cases such as this you will need to follow your veterinarian’s recommendations.
What is the Best Type of Puppy Food to Use?
Dog food is divided into three types: moist, semi-moist, and dry kibble. Among the three, the best one to use would be the dry type of puppy food because it contains more meat protein. It is also more practical, cost-effective, better for keeping the teeth clean, and easy to digest. Moist puppy food is also easy to digest, but it is more expensive and spoils more rapidly if not stored properly. In addition, moist foods are commonly composed of 75 percent water, so they contain fewer nutrients. Another concern with moist puppy food is its affect on the teeth. Its soft texture means that more of it will get in between the teeth and stay on the surface of the teeth, making them more prone to cavities.
The best option is usually to feed your puppy a combined diet of dry kibble with moist dog food. You may either mix them together or vary them from meal to meal. You can also use raw meat in combination with the dry kibble.
Semi-moist puppy food is also a good option, as it is easy to digest and practical to use (i.e., it has measured packaging and does not need to be refrigerated). The downside is that it can be expensive and does not have any dental benefits. Semi-moist food is also believed to lead to obesity and hyperactivity in some dogs because it contains high levels of salt, preservatives and sugar.
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