Nutrition for Puppies
Feb 24, 2021
Puppies have different nutritional requirements than an adult dog. This is why it is important to assure that their needs are met so they grow and develop to their full potential while maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
Dietary requirements of puppies differ from those of adult dogs. Mostly, they have different requirements for amino acids and for vitamins and minerals, especially calcium and phosphorus, which are required for bone growth, and Of course, puppies also have a higher calorie requirement than adult dogs of a similar size — pups simply burn more energy!
An appropriate diet for growth should be fed until the dog reaches approximately 80% of the anticipated adult size. This generally occurs by 12 months of age for small and medium-breed dogs, and by 18-24 months for large and giant-breed dogs.
Care should be taken to ensure the dog maintains an ideal (lean) body condition, so keep in mind that growth diets may be fairly energy dense and could contribute to unwanted weight gain.
Yes – puppies have distinct nutritional needs. However, checking the Nutritional Adequacy Statement on the label is the best way to determine if the diet is appropriate for the specified life stage.
Feed slightly less and increase low-impact activity such as swimming or leash walking. In most cases, reducing calorie intake while continuing to feed the large-breed growth diet should allow the dog to return to a normal body condition while maintaining appropriate balances of other nutrients.
The major differences between regular and large-breed growth diets are the energy density and calcium content. Large-breed growth diets are typically lower in calcium and are less energy dense in order to reduce the risk of overfeeding, which will lead to obesity – an all-too-common problem in today’s pets. Being overweight is an important risk factor for developmental orthopedic disease. All puppies should be kept lean throughout growth and beyond to promote health and longevity.
Credit: Dr. Jennifer A. Larsen, DVM, PhD, DACVN