Feeding your Puppy
Puppyhood is an exciting and important time for our furry best friends to set them up for a healthy and long adult life. It is our job as pet parents to make sure our puppies get the right food, which provides all the nutrients they need to develop into happy, fit and strong adult dogs.
When deciding on a food for your puppy, one of the first considerations should be choosing a food that is a ‘complete and balanced’ diet for puppies. This will contain all the right nutrients in the correct amounts for growing dogs. Puppies have very specific nutrient requirements, so adult foods will not be appropriate. Look for foods that are specifically for puppies or for ‘growth and reproduction’ or for ‘all life stages’.
A diet correctly formulated for puppies will contain higher amounts of protein and fat for body development and growth and enough energy for all of that play! It will also contain the right balance of minerals, especially calcium and phosphorus, to ensure that their teeth and bones develop properly. This is especially important for larger breeds of dogs, as too much or too little can lead to disease and discomfort for the pup, which may remain throughout its entire life.
Protein is very important for puppies. The puppy’s body needs this nutrient to be able to form body structures including muscles, cartilage, ligaments, skin and hair and perform important functions within the body such as enzymes or hormones to make sure it “runs” properly. Puppies generally need more protein (on a per kilogram basis) than adults, to allow them to grow and develop properly. It also should be a high quality protein that they can digest well and utilise all the components from – in general terms, animal-based proteins are better for pups than plant proteins.
Fats are important for energy levels and for general health. These are needed for healthy skin and coat, regulating inflammation and wound healing, and much more. Omega 3 DHA is a fatty acid essential for developing the nervous system and vision in puppies, so be sure that the puppy food you choose specifies that it contains this. It will also make your job of training the puppy easier as memory and learning in pups are linked to sufficient DHA in their diet!
Carbohydrates are included in puppy foods as an energy source and to provide fibre for gut health. While not considered essential, carbohydrates have a protein sparing effect for energy, meaning the protein can instead be used for growing and maintaining body tissues.
Vitamins and minerals are very important for growing bodies. Calcium and phosphorus are two important minerals which need to be provided to puppies in the correct amounts and correct ratios – it is a fine balance of not too little and not too much - to avoid abnormal development of the bony skeleton and teeth. This is especially so in large breeds, because they have so much more growing to do to get to their final adult weight. And their bones are going to need to support that weight for many years to come! Adult foods may not contain the right amounts or right ratios of these minerals, so always choose complete and balanced puppy foods to ensure healthy bones and teeth.
Puppies can be fed a variety of foods, including wet, chilled and dry foods or ideally, a mixed diet. Puppies are usually very willing to try new foods, so provide them with lots of variety early in life to help avoid creating a fussy pet. It is important to introduce new foods gradually, over at least one week to avoid stomach upsets. Young pups will need 3-4 meals a day, while older pups can be fed twice.
Don’t forget treats – these are often used for training and for rewarding good behaviour. Just make sure that when feeding treats, you remember to feed a little less food at meal times so that you are not feeding your puppy too many calories! It is important not to overfeed pups as a little extra weight as a pup can make it much more likely that the pet will be overweight as an adult.
Be sure to always follow the feeding guides on packs to ensure that you are not overfeeding - or underfeeding - your puppy. You will need to match the feeding guide up with the age and weight of the pup. The amount of food a puppy requires changes during its growth for two reasons. Firstly, because its weight is changing – a puppy should always be fed according to its current weight, not its expected adult weight. And secondly, the energy needs of a puppy change as it grows – a puppy up to 6 months old requires far more energy per kilogram of bodyweight than an older puppy, as it is growing so fast. The growth rate slows a little after 6 months, so the energy requirement drops back a little too. Puppies should be transitioned onto adult food at around 12 months of age (some large or giant breeds may be a little later than this).
Tucker Time have specific puppy rolls, which can be fed to the pup in a number of ways:
- As a complete meal
- As a topper (on dry food)
- As a healthy treat
Tucker Time Puppy rolls are complete and balanced for canine growth and reproduction. They contain over 70% real meat, for high quality protein; Amaranth, Whey Protein & Egg are also included to further bolster the protein level and help pups make the transition from milk to solid food. DHAgold™ is included to provide DHA omega 3 for healthy brain and eye development. The minerals are carefully balanced for healthy bone and tooth development and the rolls contain our signature Naturebac® prebiotic blend for healthy digestion. They are delicious, fresh and natural (with added vitamins and minerals) and everything a puppy needs for healthy growth and development. Do make sure your puppy has access to clean, fresh drinking water at all times to prevent dehydration. Water is an important nutrient too!