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The Right Foods for Puppies and Kittens




Puppies and kittens need certain nutrients to grow strong bones and muscles, to feed their developing brains, and to build their immune systems. There are a lot of foods on the market. Some foods are obviously made for specific life stages, and say so on the packaging, while other foods appear to cover all of life's stages of development. Keeping in mind that starting off well is important for long term health and long life, you will want to choose the food that is tailored to meet your pet's needs during this crucial stage, or you may have to pay for it in veterinary services, medications and special diets later in life.


Once you know what the nutritional requirements are for developing kittens and puppies, and what ingredients you need to look for, choosing the right food will be a snap.


Carbohydrates and Protein


Protein is essential for the healthy growth of muscle and tissue. Proteins supply essential amino acids, which are considered the building blocks of tissues, and some amino acids are more important that others. For example, an important amino acid for kittens (and cats) is taurine. Taurine is necessary for the normal performance of the heart, vision, and reproduction. Without it, cats will go blind and suffer from cardiac problems. This amino acid can only be found in meat sources and must be a part of a healthy daily diet.


Also important to consider is that cats are carnivores. They do not subsist on vegetables, so meat proteins should be the main component of a kitten's diet. If your cat does not receive the correct amount of meat proteins, his body will be deficient and will break down its own muscle.


Dogs, on the other hand, are omnivores, so their diets will be balanced out differently, with carbohydrates like rice, vegetables, and barley mixed in with the meat proteins in the food. Carbohydrates are an energy source for active puppies, giving them something to burn off as they go about the business of growing up strong.


Fats: They're Good for You – Really!


Fats are an important component in the diet of young animals, helping to absorb important vitamins, such as vitamin A, D, E, and K, adding flavor to the food to increase enjoyment, and adding oils to the body to maintain healthy skin and hair coats. Fats are also an excellent source of energy.


Far from being bad for the health, fats and fatty acids are necessary for strong development in puppies and kittens. Kittens in particular must be fed a source of arachidonic fatty acids. These acids are essential for blood clotting and skin growth.


Both kittens and puppies need linoleic acid for a healthy inflammatory response, and in puppies, studies have shown that the fatty acid DHA is helpful for the normal development of brain function.


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