DOG - Nine key ingredients that nourish growing puppies

Nine key ingredients that nourish growing puppies

Mother’s milk is all a newborn pup needs but when they wean at around 4 to 5 weeks of age, in anticipation to moving to a new home a few weeks later, a high quality substitute is required. Fortunately, there are great options to choose from.


QUALITY BRANDS

Dog food has come a long way with a variety of top brands producing excellent products to ensure balanced dietary intake. “The science that goes into commercial pet food these days is comprehensive. It’s great as a veterinarian because it makes advising clients about food easy,” says Dr. James Cook, a veterinarian and professor at the University of Missouri College of Veterinary Medicine, USA.

BREED AND SIZE

The nutritional needs of your puppy differ from those of adult or senior dogs. Equally important are their size-specific needs. “Small breeds need higher protein and higher calories relative to their size. Large-breed puppies must have a more controlled calorie and calcium intake to avoid joint and bone problems as they grow. Be sure to select the right nutrition for your pup,” says Katy Nelson, a Virginia-based emergency veterinarian from the USA. Premium brands like Eukanuba and IAMS offer puppy foods specific to different breed sizes.

GOING SOLID

When puppies wean at 4 or 5 weeks, they consume both mother’s milk (a milk replacement) and solid food. Initially their solid food should be mixed with water and provided once or twice daily. “Mix water with puppy formula to make a porridge like gruel,” says Amy Dicke, a technical services veterinarian with Procter & Gamble. “Typically, more food will end up on them than in them. They’ll progress slowly and by 6 weeks they should be eating more skillfully. Slowly decrease the water content as the puppy adjusts to eating the dry kibble. By 8 weeks, they should be ready for just a dry food diet.”

SUPER INGREDIENTS

Chicken & Egg: Puppies need a good-quality protein source, similar to what humans consume. “Egg, lamb, chicken and turkey are all ideal,“ says Nelson, “they are an animal based protein source and provide a good mix of amino acids”

Vitamins & Other Nutrients: Like human infants, puppies have specific nutrient requirements. A balanced intake of calcium and phosphorus is essential for healthy bone development. The same is true for amino acids and vitamins. “The proper ratio is key,” says Nelson. Look for commercial food that is labeled “complete and balanced” and that comes from a reputable manufacturer.

Beet Pulp & Fructooligosaccharide (FOS): These moderately fermentable fibres help keep the digestive tract healthy which means they help enhance nutrient absorption, and additionally FOS also helps with the puppy’s good bacteria found in its gut.

Antioxidants: Thought to protect cells from harmful chemicals called free radicals which are produced due to normal metabolism in the body. Heart disease, cancer and ageing have all been linked to free radical exposure. Early consumption of foods containing antioxidants is thought to help protect puppies from potential health issues and to promote health in later life.

Omega-3 & Omega-6 Fatty Acids: Teaching a new dog old tricks? Fish oils, rich in omega-3 fatty acids, may do just that. “They help with all body systems. I think we’ve only reached the tip of the iceberg in understanding their benefits,” explains Nelson. Apart from healthy skin and glossy coats, omega-3 fatty acids also support joints and digestive health.  And one in particular, called DHA, helps with brain development. By feeding your puppy right in the first year, you create a solid nutritional foundation for it to grow on.

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That picture is fabulous. Brings a visual meaning to the term 'puppy fat'

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