Puppy Growth: Getting Off to a Healthy Start
Providing a good home for your puppy involves planning for all the nutritional and management needs of your new companion.
Puppy Diet and Nutrition
Puppies experience the most rapid growth phase during the first months of their lives. As a result, puppies have demanding nutritional requirements which differ from adult dogs.
Their protein requirements are higher than for adult dogs. Protein is critical for growth of bones, joints and muscle. Puppies’ energy needs are about twice that of adult dogs the same size. Puppies require a nutrient-rich and dense, complete diet to meet this need.
The dietary demands of growing puppies vary with their growth rate. The goal is to achieve a well-balanced diet and maintain an average, not excessive growth. Smaller breed puppies have a higher metabolic rate per pound than those of medium and large breeds. As a result, there are specially designed puppy foods to meet the requirements of all sizes of puppies.
The precise amount of food your puppy needs should be discussed with your veterinarian because the amount will vary by breed. Most puppies require three feedings a day from weaning to 4 months.. Thereafter, the nutritional requirements can be met in twice daily feedings. It's best to feed puppies on a schedule with the same food and time of the day. Dogs, unlike people, do not benefit from change in routine or diet.
Hard food, such as kibble, will provide your puppy with jaw exercise and may aid in keeping teeth clean.
Avoid feeding your puppy treats from the table. This type of feeding not only will cause behavioral problems, but the puppy will not receive the correct balance of nutrients in this type of food.
Puppies require special care in the following areas and your Veterinarian can assist you with meeting these goals:
- Basic obedience
- Basic grooming, brushing teeth