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.
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.
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.