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6 Essential Puppy Nutrition Tips

It is amazing to witness the phenomenal growth that takes place over a puppy’s first six months. This accelerated development means they are particularly fragile though – and are therefore left vulnerable to sickness, injury and health problems if not cared for properly. The following simple, essential tips should aid your mission of doggy nutrition.

Puppy sleeping

1. Go with specially-made puppy food. Unlike some items in the marketplace which may have questionable value, puppy food is designed to fortify their bones and body as they grow. Significant amounts of protein– as well as certain vitamins – are built into these meals to bolster their growth as much as possible.

2. Feed your puppy three times a day. Unlike full grown dogs, the digestion and development of puppies respond better to more frequent meals. Professional sources at PetMD confirm that the three times a day rule should be followed strictly until the pup reaches 4 or 5 months of age; then, two feeding times per day is acceptable.

3. Dry food is a sound puppy food choice. The benefits of dry food are pretty clear: nutrition-rich, keeps teeth cleaner, and more affordable. Moist food is not a bad option to mix in with dry food to make it easier to eat (or just add water to the dry food dish). Moist or semi-moist foods tend to be more expensive and lacking an equivalent degree of nutrients. They are also temperature-sensitive, requiring refrigeration.

Yorkshire Terrier Puppy

4. Listen to trusted friends for puppy food brand recommendations. As a baseline standard, choosing puppy food in accordance with the Association of American Feed Control Officials’ nutrition suggestions is recommended. Beyond that, look to friends, family and co-workers who have or used to have a puppy for sage advice. Generic versus established brands doesn’t matter necessarily, but be sure to check the nutrition facts.

5. Meet a consistent schedule each day for feeding times. By conditioning your pup to eat at morning, midday and dinner hour, they will grow less expectant of food during other times of day. Establishing a set eating schedule also helps potty train them by giving them predictable, repeated windows to go. Make sure their last meal isn’t put out too late into the evening so their body has a chance to fully digest before bed.

6. Provide water at designated times rather than leaving it out all day. Once your puppy has grown up and can go for long periods without relieving itself, feel free. But during puppyhood, it’s important to minimize bathroom accidents by limiting their water. This goes hand in hand with proper nutrition as a model for training your puppy well.

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6 Responses to 6 Essential Puppy Nutrition Tips

  1. Caroline says:

    I am horrified that you would recommend only providing water at designated times, especially if you are promoting a dry food diet (which also is not the best choice for anything other than the owner’s convenience). Far better to have puddles on the floor than a dehydrated puppy.

    • Deb A says:

      Regulating water while potty training is perfectly OK as long as the owner is paying attention and watching their puppy. Having accidents in the house only sets back housetraining and having a puppy on a scheduled intake for water and food makes it much easier.

      My only other comment to this post is that, if you own a giant breed (Great Dane or other Mastiff breed) you do NOT want to feed puppy food. A good quality adult diet with not more than 21-23% protein and normal calcium levels will keep them from growing too quickly and causing skeletal issues.

  2. Peggy Evans says:

    Very helpfull !!!

  3. kim says:

    Kibble is not a healthy food .I feed raw balanced diet which is what nature intended. Also remember kibble is mostly cereal which is not what a carnivore was intended to eat. Even the really good brands have most of the nutrition cooked out, which is why they have to add all those vitamins back in

  4. Lilly says:

    Is it not normal for my pomeranian puppy to not be able to eat normally unless we hand feed her the kibble? Oh and she is 6 months old

    • Belle says:

      Hi Lilly,
      I, too have a Pomeranian who is 5.5 months old. 🙂 When we first got him, we were hand feeding him to make sure he was eating. Then I was worried that he would not eat on his own unless I feed him (because that’s what he’s used to). So I read that if you acclimate him to eating out of a bowl or a plate, little by little, he would get used to eating out of the bowl. I did this by putting his favorite treat on the bowl, which he grabbed right away. Then I put a few wet kibbles on there and he ate that too. Eventually he would eat on his own accord after a few tries of doing this. This took only a couple days to establish and he mainly eats 2x a day. I do free feed him and I watch his eating habits, which I noticed is mainly in the late morning and early evening.

      I hope this helps with your puppy!

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