How you should be feeding your puppy is perhaps one of the first concerns of the new puppy owner. After all, you want the little guy to grow up big and strong, or at least as big as he will grow. So just how will this puppy feeding be carried out?
First off, realize that your puppy is not just a miniature version of an adult dog. He has his own nutritional requirements that go into puppy feeding. Pound for pound a puppy needs about twice the nutrition of the adult dog. What the requirements are for feeding an adult dog varies with breed, size, activity level, etc.
And although you may have thought dogs were carnivores, understand that they are really omnivores just like us. This means they can and will eat more than just meat. In fact to have a balanced diet, they require more than just meat. So, first off, don’t begin your puppy feeding with just meat. (Have I repeated that enough?)
Dogs, like humans to some extent, require protein, fat, minerals and vitamins. Studies have shown that dogs seem to have no need for carbohydrates although many prepared dog foods and puppy foods may be up to 50% or more carbohydrates. This is why it is very important to read puppy food and dog food labels.
When feeding puppy, realize he usually requires about 28 – 30% protein in his diet. Protein can, and should, come from more sources than just meat. Include milk, eggs and cheese along with meat when feeding your puppy.
When considering feeding fat to your dog, the amount you feed varies by the requirements of the dog. An inactive dog may only need 5% fat. A very active working dog may need up to 20% fat. Going with puppies needing generally twice what adults need, you can see you need quite a bit of fat when feeding your puppy but it does vary. Best thing to do when adding fat to your puppy food is to keep an eye on your puppy. Don’t let him start getting fat.
Just like with humans, too many carbohydrates can be bad for your puppy. Usually carbs are used to bulk up a prepared dog food with 50% or more of the food coming from inexpensive carbohydrate, and especially starchy, sources. This is not necessary for dogs and studies have found that dogs do not need carbs as an essential part of their diets.
Reading puppy and dog food labels you may find carbohydrate sources such as grains, potatoes, rice, milk and even sugar in some form. As these usually have been cooked, a dog can digest them somewhat. Give a dog a raw potato or whole grains and you will find a dog that will not be able to handle these. In other words, you will have a dog with an upset digestive system. Some uncooked starches cause diarrhea and some, such as whole grains, pass right through untouched by his digestive system. Not a good thing when puppy feeding.
So read your dog food labels and make sure the puppy food or dog food you buy has these elements within it. Don’t buy anything with too much carbohydrates in it as dogs just don’t need it. But do buy puppy food and dog food with protein sources, fat and vitamins and minerals. Some green vegetables in the mix won’t hurt at all.
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