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puppy eating puppy food

What Should I feed My Puppy?

Dr Carol Doyle Veterinarian

Carol Doyle, BSc VN DVM

Carol DoyIe is a small pet veterinarian in a practice in Ashbourne, Co. Meath and is the human companion to her cats, Nala and Donal, two horses - Indie and Bella, and her dog Phoebe.

As a guest blogger and advisor, Carol shares her professional advice with pet owners, answering many of the questions that she gets asked regularly in-clinic.

What’s the Best Food for Your Puppy?

New puppy owners often ask me how do they know their puppy thrives, and I always say that starting with a good diet is key to ensuring your puppy gets off to the right start. There are many different puppy foods available, but with a little bit of research you will find the right one for your pup, so what are the things to consider when choosing a food for your puppy?

Choosing the right food for your puppy

Throughout your puppy’s first year, it is important to choose a food that will support his rapid growth and development. Every breed is different and some will reach full growth and development from as early as 8 months, while others will continue growing until as late as 24 months of age, so choosing the best food for your puppy will depend on his breed, and expected adult size.

With lots of different foods available, choosing food that has been specifically developed for a puppy is the first step to finding the right food. Many brands will offer a small breed or large breed variant for puppies, which have been tailors to the growth needs to these breed types, while some brands, have taken it a step further with foods developed for specific breeds.

I recommend choosing the best food that you can afford, that has been developed to suit your puppy’s needs, and the pet care advisors at Petmania can help you navigate your way through the different options available for you.

What to consider when choosing a puppy food

When considering your puppy’s food, look for a complete diet which will support his growth and development and includes:

  • High protein levels for muscle and bone development
  • Calcium and phosphorus for strong and healthy bone growth
  • Highly digestible carbohydrates for developing tums
  • Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids
  • Essential Vitamins & Minerals for overall health
  • Antioxidants for a healthy immune system
  • Additional glucosamine and chondroitin for bone strength for larger breeds.

Signs that indicate you chose the right food for your puppy

As your puppy grows, there are a number of indicators that will confirm that you made the right choice of food for your pup. Look out for these signs, and if you feel that the food is not agreeing with your pup, speak with your Petmania Pet Care Advisor about other options that might be available.

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Signs that your puppy’s diet is right for him will include:

  • A healthy rate of growth
  • High energy levels
  • A shiny coat
  • Good stool quality

As always, if you are concerned about any aspect of your puppy’s health and development, making an appointment with your vet is recommended.

When should I feed my puppy?

I often get asked when is the best time to feed a puppy and the best recommendation I can give is to set a feeding routine, which will help to settle your puppy into your family and reduce stress. Feeding times will also influence your pup’s toilet training, so your feeding routine is key!

  • Set a routine for feeding times
  • Measure portion size accurately to prevent over or under feeding
  • Place food and water bowls in a quiet area to allow your pup to eat at his own pace

How often should you feed your puppy?

Because of their small tummies, puppies will need to be fed smaller, more frequent meals than an adult dog. As a general rule, the following feeding guide is recommended:

Weaning age: all breeds will need to be fed four times a day

Small breeds

  • up to four months, feed 3 times per day
  • 4-10 months, feed twice per day

Large breeds

  • up to four months, feed 3 times per day
  • 6-12 months, feed twice per day
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Weight & Body Condition

Monitoring your puppy’s weight and body condition score will help you to track his growth and development and guide you in knowing if / when a change in food or activity is required.

Monthly weight checks are recommended for your puppy while he is growing, after which your adult dog should have a weight check at least once every three months. By regularly monitoring your puppy’s weight you can quickly identify if there is any cause for concern, and allow you to take early action to prevent weight related problems from developing.

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