Puppies have different nutrition needs than adult dogs. Puppies go through several stages of development very quickly and require a special diet, while adult dogs only need to eat to maintain their proper weight and good health. Puppy food is for puppies and adult dog food is for dogs who have outgrown their puppyhood.
In the first few months of a puppy’s life, it will cycle through many changes including cognitive development, muscle development, bone and joint development, internal organ growth, and development of its immune system.
In order for puppies to meet these requirements, they will need to eat more protein than adult dogs. Puppy foods are formulated with a higher protein count, but the quality of the protein is very important. Check the labels on any puppy food you’re considering buying to be sure the first three ingredients are protein sources, not “meat by-products” or grains such as corn, white rice or wheat. Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids are also important, but if they are not listed on the puppy food label you can easily buy the capsules at any grocery or drugstore.
Puppy foods containing some fats will provide energy and make the food more appetizing to a puppy. Puppies require 25 percent protein and 17 percent fat content in their food. Calcium and phosphorus are also important for the proper growth and development of a puppy’s teeth.
You should vary the type of food and sources of protein while a puppy is young, gradually introducing different foods to its diet. A dog’s stomach is designed to attack any foreign object, including a different type of food after becoming accustomed to only one taste or type of food for a long period of time.
Puppies usually are switched to adult dog food between the ages of one and two years. Smaller dog breeds will mature more quickly than larger breeds and may begin eating adult dog food when they are as young as one year. Larger breed dogs may not be able to eat adult dog food until they are at least two years old.
When a puppy starts putting on extra weight you may be overfeeding it or giving it a food with too many fillers that a puppy can’t digest.
Adult dog food is unlike a puppy’s food because an adult dog’s nutritional requirements are very different given that they have stopped growing and developing. They need fewer calories and a more balanced diet to maintain healthy bones, muscles and internal organs. Adult dogs require at least 18 percent protein and 15 percent fat.
As in puppies, the quality of protein for adult dogs is just as important, and the first three ingredients in an adult dog’s food should also contain protein from the healthiest sources available. There are many cheap dog foods on the market these days, especially dry foods like kibble, so please, please carefully read the labels on these foods and choose the best and healthiest food you can afford for your dog.
Proper nutrition is important for a dog at all stages of its life but is even more important during a dog’s first year while important development in its body is taking place. Shop wisely and buy the best puppy food and adult dog food your budget can handle.