Proper nutrition begins in puppyhood. Depending on the breed, puppies go through different growth patterns until they reach adulthood. The following applies: Smaller breeds have a higher growth rate than medium to large breeds. Small dog breeds are often fully grown at the age of eight months, while large ones are more than two years old. The quality of the food and the right amount of food is particularly important for the healthy growth of your puppy. Growing dogs need food that provides them with sufficient energy and an optimal mix of nutrients.
Special puppy food, which the young dog gets up to the age of about one and a half years, is ideal for this. The food is specially tailored to the needs of growing dogs.
What do growing puppies need?
Up to the third week, puppies are strengthened exclusively with rich mother’s milk, which contains all the important nutrients, vitamins, and minerals. After that, it can also be some puppy food or high-quality puppy porridge to cover the increased need for nutrients. In the eighth to tenth week, the puppies are weaned from their mother’s milk and only puppy food is put in the bowl.
Reputable breeders only place the little dogs after they have been weaned from their mother’s milk and give the new owners a good portion of the usual puppy food for the adjustment period.
How often do I need to feed my puppy?
By about six months, you should feed your puppy three to four times a day. After that, two to three servings throughout the day are sufficient until the little friend has almost grown-up. Adult dogs do best with one or two meals a day. Of course, every dog can have different preferences and needs. Here it is important to observe your own dog closely and to develop the ideal procedure. For large breeds, you should continue to feed twice a day to reduce the potential risk of stomach overload or torsion. Also, remember to take a break after each meal.
The larger the dog breed, the longer the growth phase. But no matter how big or small: During this time, a puppy needs enough energy and the right nutrients to become a healthy, adult dog. For this, he needs an adapted diet.
What do I have to consider with puppies of small breeds?
Puppies take about a year to grow – and you should not waste this time with inferior food or wrong puppy nutrition. Above all, puppies need energy, minerals, and protein. However, an overdose of it can be harmful. Too much energy accelerates the growth process and affects the development of bones, ligaments, tendons, and joints. These are often overloaded by strong weight gain. Well-intentioned feeding of vitamins and nutritional supplements is also not necessary and even harmful if you give high-quality puppy food. High-quality products contain everything your dog needs during the growth phase. You should also think about the treats.
What do I have to consider with puppies of large breeds?
Most dogs have reached half of their final weight by four months and will maintain this growth rate for at least the first year of life. In fact, large breeds only go off the growth accelerator after about 18 months. A Great Dane only reaches its final weight at the age of two – and it also needs this time. Too much feed and therefore too much energy accelerates growth and can later lead to joint and bone problems. For example, calcium is very important for bone structure, but it is already contained in sufficient quantities in a high-quality puppy or young dog food for large breeds.
Many owners of large breeds give adult food directly because they fear that the high energy content of puppy food could accelerate the growth of large puppies too much. However, they also deprive the dog of other important components of puppy food, which are also contained in reduced amounts in adult food. Ideally, large breeds should be fed a special large breed puppy food up to about a year of age (very large dog breeds even up to two years of age).
How can I make puppy milk myself?
Sometimes it is not possible for puppies to be fed through their mother’s milk. Perhaps the mother animal has died or there is another emergency. Then it is necessary to hand raise the puppy. It is strongly discouraged to make your own puppy milk with questionable recipes. At the veterinarian or in specialist shops there is a special puppy milk that contains all the vital nutrients.
As puppies are growing, they need balanced and high-quality puppy food as the basis for a healthy dog life. The amount should be based on the size and the nutrient requirements in the growth phase.
Puppy feeding – all facts:
- Dry food:
light dosage; less spoilage in summer; less smell.
- Wet food:
helping with the extra water intake; better “hiding” of medicine
- Mixed feeding:
Alternate dry and wet food: In the first 1-2 weeks after the puppy has moved in, do not change the food and continue with the usual food.
- Feeding frequency:
at least three small meals instead of fewer large ones