Feeding Puppies for Optimal Health and Wellness
As you may well know by now, puppies are endlessly fascinating, endlessly animated balls of energy. Your puppy's appetite may seem to know no bounds as well -- but what's the best dog food for puppies, and how should you dole it out to your little friend so he can keep his energy up without getting fat? Here's a quick guide to feeding puppies from your friends at Bluestar Pet Hospital & Grooming.
Puppies vs. Adult Dogs
It might seem reasonable on the surface to feed your puppy the same food you're already buying for your adult dog, but the truth is that puppies have significantly different nutritional requirements at this stage of their lives. For one thing, puppies need considerably more protein that adult dogs to accommodate their rapid growth and development. How long you'll need to give your pet high-protein puppy food depends partly on his size and breed. Large breeds tend to mature more slowly than smaller ones, so they may need to stay on the puppy diet a bit longer. Our animal hospital can advise you as to when you make the switch to adult dog food.
What's the Best Dog Food for Puppies?
During the first 6 or so weeks of their lives, the best dog for puppies is actually their mother's milk. This milk is formulated to give them the perfect mix of nutrients, but it also contains antibodies that their little bodies haven't begun producing yet. (Once your pet is weaned, we will begin administering vaccinations to jump-start this process.) Canned meat, moist foods and kibble can all be equally nutritious choices as long as you choose a food that features real meat protein instead of mere byproducts. Small breeds of puppies require multiple daily feedings of calorie-dense food to avoid hypoglycemia; large breeds should receive formulations that are relatively low in calcium, phosphorus, fat and Vitamin D to prevent excessive growth. No puppy should ever be treated to table scraps, since human foods have the wrong nutrient mix, frequently contain unhealthy additives, and can even cause poisoning or pancreatitis.
Feeding puppies can feel like a constant job, but this feeling doesn't last forever. Your puppy may need four feedings a day up to 12 weeks, then three feedings a day until the 6 -month mark, then just two daily feedings until adulthood is reached.
Let Bluestar Pet Hospital & Grooming Be Your Guide
Of course, this puppy nutrition guide is only part of what you need to know as a proud puppy owner -- but fortunately, Bluestar Pet Hospital & Grooming is standing by to provide all the ongoing guidance and recommendations you may need to help you puppy achieve healthy adulthood. Call our Jacksonville or St. John's office to schedule a puppy wellness exam so we can evaluate your puppy's current state of health and administer the necessary care to keep it at its peak!