Deciding on the right dog breed for our family was a hard decision, but finding the best food for our new puppy, Hudson, was also tough! There are so many options available in pet stores, sometimes it’s hard to know which food is best. Below are five things to consider when deciding what to feed your new puppy.
Large and Small Breed Puppies
Did you know that puppies have higher nutrient requirements during growth than any other life stage? As a puppy approaches adulthood, their growth and energy requirements begin to slow down. For puppies, the most rapid growth period is during the first 3 to 6 months of life. Large and giant breeds have a longer growth and maturation period compared to small and toy breeds. This means that small and toy breeds can reach their full adult size around 9-12 months old, whereas large and giant breeds can continue to develop until they are 18 to 24 months old1
. It’s always best to check with your veterinarian and breeder to gauge how your puppy is growing and maturing.
Large and giant breed puppies can grow rapidly in the first 6 months and it’s important that they have a steady and stable growth rate. To support this, large and giant breeds can benefit from a formula that has reduced fat, energy density and slightly lower calcium and phosphorus levels compared to small and toy breed puppies1
Small and toy breed puppies have a higher energy requirement per unit of body weight when compared to large and giant breeds. They can benefit from a formula that is higher in energy (or calories) and is more nutrient dense as they can only fit so much food in their small bellies. The size and shape of the kibble designed for their smaller mouths can help facilitate chewing1
Feeding a formula that is highly digestible can have an impact on your puppy. What does highly digestible really mean? A highly digestible food is one in which the nutrients are more readily available and absorbed. With a highly digestible formula, less food would be needed to provide all the nutrients a puppy needs, as the food is nutrient dense. There will be a smaller stool as more nutrients are absorbed in the body and less is going to waste
Protein is an important nutrient for our puppies and they require more protein than adult dogs. Protein helps to build new tissues and support muscle and hair growth1
. Examples of proteins you may see are chicken, turkey, lamb or salmon. A puppy can benefit from not only more protein in the diet but a highly digestible and high quality source of protein as well.
Docosahexaenoic acid or DHA, which you may sometimes see advertised for growing children, is a type of fatty acid that can benefit puppies. DHA has been shown to help nourish a puppy’s brain and help with their vision development1
. Furthermore, DHA can also improve trainability in puppies2
. The ability to learn a new task and remember learned tasks were significantly improved in puppies that were fed high DHA levels throughout gestation, lactation and weaning compared to lower DHA levels3
. After all, we all want our puppies to be as smart as they can be!
Feeding to a Lean Body Condition
Measuring our dog’s food is more important than you may think. A study conducted over the course of 14 years, found that feeding dogs to maintain an ideal body condition throughout their lives can help extend their healthy years (by an average of 1.8 years for the dogs in the study)4
Get in the habit of measuring your puppy’s food with a measuring cup. Excessive calorie intake during growth can promote a rapid growth rate and an overweight body condition. Overweight puppies are more likely to be overweight as adult dogs so growth should always be slow and steady.
When Hudson was almost a year old, we decided to slowly transition him to his adult food. He was done growing and was ready for this change. We slowing transitioned him to his new adult food over a 7-day period. Doing this transition slowly helped Hudson to adapt to his new food and reduce the chances of him getting an upset stomach.
Overall, Hudson is in great body condition and has an amazing coat and I have to thank the nutrition he gets for that!
There is a lot to consider when choosing the right puppy food for your new puppy. Talk to your breeder and veterinarian and with a little research, you’ll be sure to find a food that fulfills all your puppy’s needs!
Why Pro Plan®?
stands for advanced nutrition. Everything we do has a singular focus - creating nutrition that helps bring out the very best in your dog. Our formulas are backed by science and research from a team of over 500 global pet experts including pet nutrition experts, veterinarians, behaviourists, and immunologists. Every high-quality ingredient is carefully chosen for a specific purpose.
Nutrition that Performs®
Year after year exceptional dogs are fueled by our food
11 of the last 12 Westminster Best in Show Champions were fed Pro Plan®†
In Canada in 2018, 7 of the top 10 conformation dogs were fed Pro Plan®
†Handlers or owners of these champions may have received PRO PLAN Food as Purina ambassadors.
1. Case et al. (2006). Canine and Feline Nutrition. Mosby Elsevier.
2. Kelly RL, Lepine AJ, Shyan-Norwalt MR, Burr JR, Reinhart GA. (2005). Nutrition and DHA. Impact of maternal and post-weaning nutrition on puppy trainability.
3.Kelley RL, Lepine AJ. (2005) Improving puppy trainability through nutrition. In Proc. NAVC, pp 21-26.
4. Kealy RD et al. (2002). The effects of diet restriction on life span and age-related changes in dogs, J Am Vet Med Assoc 220:1315-1320.