We all know that puppies are young dogs. You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to know that. But just like babies have a different nutritional requirement than adults; puppies have a completely different need than adult dogs. While they are growing, their body is in overdrive to produce many things like getting bigger on pretty much anything.
Growth is hard work and that means they need a lot of calories. Puppies need a denser source of calories than adult dogs to act as fuel for all of the changes that are happening in their bodies. A good puppy food brand like Acana dog food should have at least 445 kcal per cup while an equally good adult dog food will have around 375 kcal per cup.
It doesn’t look like a big difference you say? Well considering that puppies will eat four times a day and most adult dogs only eat twice a day, the calories tend to add up in the long run. But the differences do not just stop on calories.
The difference in nutritional requirement runs the whole gamut of the spectrum. Puppy foods should contain 22% protein while adult dog only has about 18%. Fat for puppy foods is at 8% while it’s just at 5%. Calcium is 1% for puppies and just 0.6% for adults and the list goes on.
Puppies tend to develop nutritional deficiencies if feed with adult food on extended amounts of time. AAFCO also makes sure that there are adequately high levels of Omega 3 fatty acids not just for healthy skin and coat but for better brain and eye development.
Adult foods also have a lower level of fat and caloric density because they are avoiding any risks associated with rapid growth like hip dysplasia. But for puppies, that is exactly what they need, a higher level of calories to aid their growth.
Responsible dog food manufacturers actually try to limit the levels of calcium and phosphorus to avoid any chance of developing any orthopedic diseases, specifically for large breeds. But a growing puppy actually needs elevated levels of these just to stay healthy.
Whether your fur ball is a Shih Tzu or a St. Bernard, puppies all pretty much have the same nutritional requirements. Obviously that will change as they grow older but as puppies, they need elevated levels of pretty much everything.
It is important that you consider your young dog’s nutritional requirements because they are in the time of their lives where they are very delicate and greatly needs your help. They cannot depend on anybody but you and it is your responsibility to make sure that they get what they need to grow up healthy.
Most of us consider our dogs as part of the family and that is not that hard to believe. They are one, if not the most loyal and lovable pets that one can have. That bond is one of the strongest man-to-animal relationships in the world and it all starts with puppyhood so make sure that you start it the right way.