What Type of Food Should a Puppy Eat?

A puppy's diet requires special attention.
A puppy's diet requires special attention. (Image: Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images)

New pet owners should be aware of their animal's dietary needs. Puppies' diets require a broad range of nutrients, which are essential for healthy growth, as well as a constant supply of fresh water. Choosing the right food for your pet from the start will help to promote a long and healthy life. Check with your veterinarian for more information on your puppy's nutritional needs.

Solid Age-Appropriate Formula

In general, puppies are weaned from their mother's milk and put on to solid foods when they are around four weeks old. Check with your local pet supplier for solid dog kibble that is the appropriate size for your dog's breed, and that contains the required nutrients. Puppies are constantly growing and require an increased level of protein, vitamins and minerals. Smaller breeds should stay on the solid puppy formula until approximately nine months old, and larger breeds until up to 18 months old.

Read the Label

Ensure that your puppy's food contains a high level of nutrients, which are essential for proper growth. Puppies require different levels of nutrients than adult or senior dogs. Calcium and phosphorus are particularly important, as they promote the development of healthy teeth and bones. Dogs are also omnivores, meaning that they require a mixture of both meat and vegetables.

Frequency of Feeding

Puppies require more frequent feeding times than adult or senior dogs and should be fed at regular intervals. Leaving food out on a continuous basis can lead to obesity. Puppies less than 12 weeks old should be fed approximately four times a day, puppies between 12 weeks and six months old should be fed three time a day and puppies and dogs over six months should be fed twice a day. Only allow your puppy to eat as much as he or she can in a 20-minute period.

Things to Avoid

Do not feed your puppy table scraps or real bones. These items can cause indigestion, or lead to obesity and improper growth. A healthy puppy will not require supplemental feeding. No matter how tempting it may be to give your puppy a treat from the table, consider the fact that you will enjoy your pet a lot longer if you disallow anything but nutrient-enriched food at all times.

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