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2. When to Start Puppy Food
3. What Food Can Puppies Eat?
4. Is Dry Dog Food Good For Puppies?
5. Is Wet Dog Food Good For Puppies?
Bringing a puppy home is an adventure. Playful and adorable, puppies bring much joy and laughter to a home. While they are a great addition to the family, puppies need a lot of care.
This is especially so when it comes to their dietary needs as theirs bones, muscles and organs are still developing. Hence, one of the key steps in taking good care of a puppy is to provide it with the correct type of nutrition, depending on its breed, size, weight and activity level.
A puppy’s life can generally be divided into 3 stages – 0 to 2 months, 3 to 6 months and 7 months and above. During the 0-2 month stage, a puppy’s diet should be its mother’s milk or if that is not possible, a milk replacement formula. Milk replacement formulas can easily be bought at pet stores.
Puppies usually begin to wean at about 8 weeks, or at the end of the second month when their front incisors start to grow. This is the best time to start them on puppy food, and it is important that they are fed food specifically for puppy’s growth. The transition from milk to solids should be gradual, over 1 to 2 weeks.
A puppy’s diet should differ from an adult dog’s diet as a puppy is growing and is more active. On the other hand, adult dogs need nutrition to maintain their bodies, and as they age, their metabolism slows down.
Ideally, a puppy’s diet should contain 20 to 30% animal protein which is vital for growth. Total carbohydrates should amount to about 20% and 10 to 25% fats. Essential fatty acids will help with digestion and also keep your puppy’s skin and coat healthy. Last but not least, it is of utmost importance to make sure that your puppy is well hydrated at all times.
After the transition from milk to solid food, puppies will be able to eat dry puppy food as well as wet food that are readily available in stores.
Dry food is usually in the form of kibbles or dog biscuits that come in a huge array of sizes and flavours. Be sure to choose one that has the correct nutritional content as mentioned earlier.
Small dog breeds have tiny mouths, so pick a brand that has tiny kibbles. Large dog breeds can cope with bigger bites.
Other types of dry food are air dried and freeze dried dog food. Also known as lyophilization, freeze dried foods are preserved using cold air. Freeze dried foods have almost no moisture and are packed in vacuum bags.
With air dried food, raw ingredients, such as meat, are placed into ‘drying chambers’. Moisture from the meat is slowly evaporated by continuously circulating air in the chambers.
Wet food can be divided into three types – wet canned food, gently cooked fresh food and raw food. Wet canned food usually contains grounded fresh or frozen meat that is blended with grains, vitamins and minerals.
Gently cooked fresh food refers to food that is heated or cooked to ensure that the bacteria present in raw food is killed, but still preserving the natural integrity of the ingredients. This can include meat, fish, organs, eggs, fruits, vegetables and grains. Fresh food that is gently cooked can be homemade or store bought.
It is recommended that you give your puppy only human grade raw meat and meaty bones. Raw bones can be given to your puppy when they are around 12 weeks old. This will help keep their teeth and gums healthy. Do not give them cooked bones as cooked bones may splinter when chewed and this may cause internal damage. One of the best benefits of raw food is that it does not contain any preservatives.
When introducing raw bones to your puppy, make sure that the bones are large enough to avoid your puppy from choking on it by swallowing it whole. Thus, it is important that you supervise your little pup when it is chewing on bones.
It is important to keep track of what you are giving your puppy and not to overfeed as this may cause muscle or bone problems in the future. Also, always make sure that you do not give your puppy food that is harmful to dogs such as onions, garlic, avocado and grapes, among others.
There are several reasons why dry dog food is a popular choice for puppies among dog owners.
Firstly, it is generally cheaper than wet dog food. Dry dog food also has a high energy content, because it contains higher carbohydrate content than wet food.
Another reason why dry dog food is a good option for dog owners is that it is clean. There is less cleaning up to do especially if you have a messy little puppy. One can simply sweep or vacuum up dry dog food that is on the floor. This saves owners from arduous cleaning sessions after each meal.
In addition to this, dry dog food is the easiest and most convenient type of dog food. There is practically no preparation involved other than pouring it into a bowl. It is easy to store and storing it properly takes little effort.
Thus, it is very convenient and the best choice for going out or travelling as you do not have to pack much along.
A big disadvantage of dry dog food is that it hardly has any moisture. This is especially an issue for dogs that do not drink much water during the day, as it results in dehydration. Long-term dehydration will cause health issues.
Besides this, dry dog food - especially the cheaper and lower quality ones - contain preservatives and artificial flavoring that is not good for your puppy’s health.
More and more pet owners are turning to wet dog food. Here are a few reasons why wet dog food is good for puppies. If given a choice, a puppy would most likely gravitate to wet dog food. This is because wet food smells and tastes better to them.
While some wet canned food may contain some preservatives or artificial flavors, it is highly unlikely that gently cooked food would contain preservatives or artificial flavours. Even more so if the food is prepared at home or if it is raw dog food.
For those who do not have the time to prepare fresh food for your doggos, flash frozen food is a good option. Flash frozen dog food - whether gently cooked or raw - will have intact moisture as well as intact nutrients, making it a healthy option for your puppies.
Currently in Singapore, there is only one brand that offers this option, specially made for puppies. The recipe was formulated by a renowned nutritionist, Dr. Francis Cabana, who curated healthy diets for 10,000 Singapore Zoo animals in 2019.
If you have a puppy who’s a picky eater, giving it wet dog food might just do the trick. The downside to this is that it can become really messy if pup is a messy eater.
Wet dog food has a higher water content and it is packed with all the nutrients that are needed by your puppy. It is a good choice to help puppies to maintain their weight. You will be able to opt for foods that are low in fat and calories to help your puppy achieve their optimum weight.
Besides this, fresh food will help with your puppy’s digestion. This option works well for puppies that have a sensitive stomach as you will be able to remove foods that your puppy is not agreeable with.
The nutrients that gently cooked food and raw food provides will also play a role in giving your furry pet a shiny coat, and help in correcting skin problems.
Wet dog food has a long shelf life, but once it is opened it needs to be eaten quickly. Food that is exposed spoils quickly and leftovers should be disposed of to make sure that your puppy does not consume spoilt food.
Choosing the right puppy food for the adorable addition in your life is essential for ensuring a healthy puppy. Most of the advantages for dry puppy food lean towards the owner. On the other hand, the advantages of wet dog food leans towards the puppies, with puppies being naturally inclined towards wet food. The benefits of gently cooked food and raw food, especially, far outweigh the benefits of dry food.
Avoderm. 2018. Wet vs. Dry Dog Food: Advantages & Disadvantages. [online] Available at: https://www.avodermnatural.com/blog/wet-vs-dry-dog-food [Accessed on 27 July 2020]
Petcubes. 2020. Puppy Food - Feeding Guide for 2020: What, When and How to Feed a Puppy. [online] Available at:https://www.petcubes.com/blogs/articles/puppy-food [Accessed on 27 July 2020]
RSPCA. 2019. What Should I Feed My Puppy? [online]. Available at: https://kb.rspca.org.au/knowledge-base/what-should-i-feed-my-puppy/ [Accessed on 28 July 2020]
WebMD. 2020. Puppy Food - Types, Feeding, Schedule, and Nutrition. [online] Available at: https://pets.webmd.com/dogs/guide/puppy-food-types#1 [Accessed 27 July 2020]
Zooplus. 2020. Dry vs Wet Food - Which is Better for Your Dog? [online] Available at: https://www.zooplus.co.uk/magazine/dog/dog-nutrition/dog-food-dry-vs-wet#:~:text=Whilst%20dry%20food%20mainly%20brings,simply%20tastes%20better%20to%20them. [Accessed on 27 July 2020]
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