Some of the basic components necessary to the health and growth of a puppy are water, calories, protein, fats, vitamins and minerals. Grain is difficult for dogs to digest so look for a grain free dry puppy food - grains include white and brown rice, wheat, barley, oats.
Calories - One of the most important factors of a puppy’s diet is to ensure that there is a large number of calories that fits into a small stomach for healthy digestion.
Protein - Protein provides amino acids which are the building blocks to growth. Puppies require significantly more protein than healthy adult dogs and this is particularly important during the rapid growth phase up to 14 weeks of age. Dry puppy food with an insufficient supply of protein can lead to poor growth and development. Look for puppy food with an animal protein content of not less than 60%.
Fats - This is an important source of energy for growing dogs. It is estimated that fat has approximately twice as many calories per gram compared with protein or carbohydrates, making this an ideal component of a dry puppy food recipe.
Vitamins and Minerals - Puppies have specific vitamin and mineral requirements that differ from adult dogs. They require minerals that help develop healthy bones and teeth such as calcium and phosphorous, as well as zinc that play a role in skin health and protein metabolism. Dry puppy food should meet these requirements.
Multi-Protein - There are many advantages of a multi-protein source dry puppy food and this can be especially advantageous for puppies. By exposing a puppy to various fish & meat protein in their dry puppy food (fresh chicken, turkey, lamb, salmon to name a few), puppies are less likely to develop a sensitivity or intolerance to other meat protein sources in their adult years.
You don't have to choose, you can mix wet and dry puppy food together if your puppy isn't interested in dry puppy food alone. Whatever you feed, make sure your dog food is specifically for puppies.
Puppies are typically weaned off their mother’s milk from around the age of 8 weeks. The goal of feeding a growing dog is to lay the foundations for healthy adulthood. Proper nutrition is required to achieve healthy growth, optimise immune function and minimise the potential for obesity and diseases. It’s important to note that a puppy’s nutritional needs are a lot different from an adult dog. The dry puppy food you choose should meet the needs of your growing dog.
It is advised that to feed puppies little and often which helps to fuel them until their next feeding. Guidelines state to feed your puppy based on their expected adult weight.
Up to 12 weeks - feed 4 times per day
12 to 24 weeks - feed 3 times per day
24 weeks+ - feed 2 times per day
Smaller breeds, standard and medium breed puppies should be fed dry puppy food until they are approximately 10-12 months old.
Large breed puppies need to stay on the puppy food for longer than small/medium breeds. This is because large breeds can have another growth spurt between 12-18 months and the calcium/phosphorous balance helps to build stronger bones for the additional weight bearing. When they reach maturity and the bones stop growing, they need a different balance to maintain the bone density.