Office Puppy Diaries Volume 5: Nutrition
Learning how to raise a puppy before you bring one into your life is crucial for giving them a happy and healthy upbringing. This is raising a puppy 101! In our Office Puppy Diaries we provide helpful tips and tricks regarding how to take care of a puppy (featuring the perfect puppy Mikey, our office Border Collie). Raising puppies while working has its challenges, but the PetDoors.com office is here to help. Today's volume: nutrition! Diet is important to your dog growing strong, so keep reading for some pointers about your pup's nutrition.
Puppies grow…fast. In fact, dogs usually reach 90% of their adult weight by the age of 6 months. Since Mikey is a Border Collie, she’ll likely grow to be 35-40 lbs range. This means that at 6 months she’ll likely be ~32-36 lbs or so. We got her at 8 weeks when she weighed only about 8 pounds, meaning she’s going to gain 6-7 pounds for each of the next 4 months. Because puppies are growing, their nutritional requirements differ from those of an adult dog whose size is largely static. The time frame for feeding your dog puppy food can vary, but in general it lasts until they are a year old. However, it’s always suggested that you consult with your vet as there could be instances where the switch might be made earlier.
Puppies need diets made especially for growing dogs with up to 2x the requirements of those for dogs who are already full-grown. This means that foods especially for puppies should contain a larger fat content for their energy requirements (something that is not needed for adult pets as it could lead to them being overweight), more protein to help in building up their bodies, and all the vitamins and minerals to keep them healthy. Puppies should be fed 3 times a day until about 6 months and then scale it back to twice a day.
Another question is what type of food should they eat? Moist and wet foods are easier to chew and digest, but don’t have as much protein as the kibble and since they have more water that means less nutrients. They also tend to cost more and will spoil faster so they need to be sealed and stored properly. Dry food has some good benefits for cleaning the teeth and is easy to digest too! The favored route is to do a combination, mixing some kibble with the wet or semi-moist food. You can switch it up from meal to meal, say dry for breakfast and wet for dinner. I personally combine kibble with moist or semi-moist food along with a small amount of water which helps to be able to mix it all together.
Be wary of grocery store foods and “fad” diets at the pet and feed stores, they can suffer from lower quality ingredients. Bargain brands many times will only have the bare minimum of requirements, and are not the most highly recommended for a rapidly growing dog. Our vet recommended we stick with ProPlan, Science Diet by Hills, Iams, Nutro and Eukanuba (also recommended by our breeder). Many of the “premium” diets need to be fed in smaller volume, which conveniently makes picking up after your puppy easier! That said since some vets and stores tend to push certain brands of pet food more than others it’s up to you to really dive in and read the labels to make sure that what you are feeding your new puppy is the best choice for them. We compiled the general recommendations and puppy tips for this blog from PetMd. We also have more articles in the Office Puppy Diaries Saga!