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4 Things you need to know about your puppy's nutritional needs

Virginia Chavez-Nelson is an avid contributor of words for the greater good (see: writer) and a fun-loving Phoenician by way of Argentina. With a degree in Journalism from Arizona State University, Virginia has more than 10 years of expe...

If you're feeding your puppy the same food as your dog, watch out

When it comes to raising puppies, nutrition ranks high in importance, not only for their early development but also their long-term health and well-being. Although introducing a new puppy to your family can be very exciting, it also brings on a load of new responsibilities. Raising a healthy puppy brings on an overwhelming amount of questions, varying from what to feed to how much to feed and when. We’ve got your puppy’s nutritional needs sorted out to help you enjoy many years with your new best friend.

Early development

Just like us, nutrition plays a huge role in your puppy's long-term health. The first six months of your dog's development are crucial to a positive health record. Because young pups exhibit a rapid growth early on, starting your pooch on a top-grade meal plan helps ensure your pet receives all of the essential vitamins and nutrients in order to reach a healthy adult height and weight. Choosing puppy-specific foods instead of regular dog food helps provide your fur-baby with the proper nutrition necessary for a healthy journey into adulthood.

Must-have nutrients

  • Animal protein: Among the most important nutrients for your growing best friend is a healthy source of protein. Animal protein like chicken, lamb and beef helps pets develop strong muscles, vibrant skin and coat and promotes hormone and enzyme production.
  • Calcium: Much like an infant, your puppy needs calcium to develop strong teeth and bones. Most puppy foods are formulated with the right balance of calcium to meet a growing pup's needs; however, because small breeds and large breeds require different amounts of calcium, a breed-specific or size-conscious puppy food is highly recommended.
  • DHA: This natural omega-3 fatty acid is essential for proper brain development as well as your pup's central nervous system and vision. Most dog foods contain healthy amounts of DHA from fish oils.

Stay away from

Steer clear from pet foods that do not contain the Association of American Feed Control Officials' (AAFCO) nutritional adequacy statement that reads "... product formulated to meet the nutritional levels established by the AAFCO dog food nutrient profiles for growth." This means the food you have chosen for your new best friend is marked to be "complete and balanced" for a specific life stage.

Stick to a routine

Feeding your pup on a steady routine that works for your schedule is essential to an orderly and well-run lifestyle for both you and your pup. Additionally, feeding your pet on a schedule means you'll also help your pup establish routine potty breaks, which will provide ease in potty training and peace of mind knowing your pet is not in discomfort while you are away.

More on puppy love

How to choose the right puppy for your family
10 Facts about puppies
12 Puppy eyes to swoon over

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