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Puppies, being in their developmental period, need all the nutrients that they can get to help the bones and muscles develop. On the other hand, adult dogs need food to just maintain their body, due to which they do not need nutrients in the same way. What this also means is that while an adult dog can eat the same food as a puppy, a puppy cannot live off adult dog food and needs a more nutrient-rich diet.
What should my puppy’s diet include?
The AAFCO (Association of American Feed Control Officials) outlines the nutrient profile for growing puppies. According to the nutrient profile, puppy food contain a minimum of 37 nutrients which should include 11 vitamins, 12 minerals and 10 amino acids. You can check the packaging on the dog food to see if it meets the nutritional standards set by the AAFCO to see if it is the right food for your puppy. While we are on the subject of dog food, you should know that choosing an economic dog food brand is not a great idea, as it may feature cheap ingredients with low biological values, that do little to fuel your puppy’s growth. You want to look at trusted puppy food brands that use quality ingredients, are easily digestible, and have greater nutritional value.
When you are planning a diet for new puppy, you want to have optimal amounts of protein, fat, fiber and calcium, not going overboard with any of it. Too much calcium and your puppy can develop a skeletal disease, too little and it can find itself in the same place. Don’t forget water, one of the most crucial nutrients that your puppy needs. Dogs can survive even after losing half the protein mass and all the body fat, but they cannot live if they lose even just 15 percent of the water in the body. Be sure to refill the dog bowl with water regularly. As far as treats go, you want to keep it limited to about 5-10 percent of its calorie intake. Too much and your puppy will fill itself up on treats, leaving little space for nutrient-rich food and supplements.
Making the switch to the new diet
If you have just brought in your new puppy home, then you should start with the same diet that the puppy has been accustomed to, and then gradually make a switch to the new diet over ten days. A sudden switch can cause intestinal upsets. If your puppy shows signs of constipation, loose stools or vomiting, then cut back on the amount of new food in its diet, and make the switch to the new diet slower.