Nutrition is very important for dogs of all ages but particularly for puppies and geriatric dogs.
Puppies have different nutritional requirements to dogs of other ages as they need just the right combination of nutrients to allow them to grow and develop normally. Because large breed puppies grow very quickly and have very rapidly growing bones, their nutritional requirements are also different from other types of puppies. Providing large breed puppies with quality nutrition is vital to support normal bone and joint development and to reduce bone and joint problems in future. There are so many puppy and dog foods on the market these days and so many different groups with strong opinions on the internet, that it can be really overwhelming. As vets we recommend that a premium brand puppy food such as Hills’ Vet Essentials Puppy or Eukanuba Puppy is fed for the first 12-18 months of life. A complete and balanced puppy biscuit is all that your puppy needs however some people like to supplement this with small amounts of quality canned puppy food for extra variety.
- Buy the best puppy biscuits (also known as kibble) you can afford, as puppy food is a real investment in your puppy’s future health. A good quality brand of puppy biscuit and free access to water is all your puppy needs.
- If you have a large breed puppy (a puppy that will grow to be a large breed adult dog), then make sure you are buying a specific large breed puppy food. If a food says it is appropriate for all ages of dog or all sized breeds of puppy, then it will not have the specific nutrients your puppy requires.
- Premium puppy foods contain no fillers (ingredients that bulk up the volume of the food but are not digested) so the volume of faeces your puppy will produce on a premium food is significantly less - this can assist in toilet training.
- Split your puppy’s daily food requirement over 2-3 meals. Smaller breed puppies may find it easier to have 4 small meals over the day.
- Because premium puppy foods contain no fillers the total volume of food your puppy will need in a day is smaller. This is helpful when your puppy is young as it will have a very small stomach.
- Do not feed too many treats or supplemental foods. Well balanced puppy foods have strictly regulated amounts and ratios of some nutrients (for example calcium and phosphorus) and adding supplemental food to the diet will unbalance your puppy's diet.
- Never exercise your puppy or dog directly after a meal. Large breed puppies and dogs in particular, can twist their stomachs if they are too active after a large meal. Feed your dog after exercise or play, rather than beforehand.
Quality puppy biscuits. Appropriate biscuits for the size of your puppy’s breed. 2-4 small meals a day.