Puppies – What makes the healthiest puppy food?
We know and love our sweet puppy dogs. Get to know more about their important nutritional needs.
By Rudy Leschke —
2 Minute Read
Just like any baby, the first several months of life is a crucial stage of development for puppies (age 0-18 months for most dogs). During this time, your little fur ball is experiencing rapid bone, muscle, brain and digestive growth and development, (you can practically SEE their cells dividing), setting them up for a lifetime of health and happiness. During this formative year, it's especially important that your puppy’s nutrition supports his/her growth and development.
3 Primary objectives of a Puppy food:
- Provide the nutrients needed to support the growth and the development of organs and bodily functions
- Provide highly digestible ingredients and a good source of fiber to support the digestive system as your puppy adjusts from weaning to solid food
- Provide a food that's tasty and has the right texture to allow for a smooth transition to solid food
Protein + Fat:
The most basic nutrients essential for growth and development are protein and fat. Protein provides essential amino acids and nitrogen, which are needed to maintain and grow new tissue like muscles, bones, skin and hair. Fat provides building blocks to support bodily functions and is a primary source of energy. Since puppies are changing and growing at such a rapid pace, higher levels are needed to support the energy required for a puppy’s development.
For young puppies, the National Research Council suggests the following:
- Under 14 weeks – 250 grams of protein per Kg of food
- 14 weeks to 18 months – 200 grams of protein per Kg of food
*Note – increases should be made to adjust for lower energy densities or lower protein quality.
- Fat: 8.5% - 33%
- Essential fatty acids:
- 1.3% to 3.5% Linoleic acid – supports healthy skin & coat
- 0.08% Alpha linolenic acid
- DHA – supports brain development
Dietary fiber is not a required nutrient, but the inclusion of optimal amounts of fiber in a dog’s diet is important for normal functioning of the gastrointestinal tract. This is especially important in puppies where food is being transitioned and the puppy is exposed to new stresses. A balance of fermentable and non-fermentable fiber sources is used to deliver a total fiber content of at least 3%. This balance of fermentable and non-fermentable fibers happens through ingredient selection.
- Calcium – essential for bone & tooth development
- Vitamin E – supports immune health
- Vitamin C – supports immune health
- Amino acids – act as building blocks for proteins, which are essential to proper body function
- Taurine – supports heart, eye & brain function
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