Optimal nutrition can lay the foundation for a long and healthy dog life, especially in young dogs. Therefore, high quality food for a puppy is very important in the first weeks. Because the right nutrition in the puppy phase is crucial for the later health of your favorite. Which puppy food is the best? Dry food, wet food or even BARF? We will explain to you and tell you what you should pay attention to so that the little one becomes healthy, tall and strong.
Up to the third week of life, the puppy provides his dog mum with breast milk, after which he can be optimally fed with an individually tailored puppy food. You are right to ask yourself the following questions at the latest at this point:
1.Which ingredients are particularly important?
2.How do I recognize high quality?
3.How does my puppy's or young dog's nutritional needs change with age?
4.How long should I feed him food specifically for growing dogs?
In this guide you will find answers to these and other questions.
Puppies are very sensitive
Feeding a puppy is demanding because it is very sensitive and delicate. Therefore, from the start, choose a dog food that your dog can get through the entire puppy period. We always think we're doing something good for our darling with lots of varied food, but that's a fallacy. Because a constantly changing food quickly leads to irritation of the gastrointestinal tract in puppies and can cause vomiting and diarrhea. That's why choose the right food for your little one.
What requirements do puppies and young dogs place on their food?
For the first three weeks, puppies get their food exclusively from the mother. After the first month, they are gradually weaned from breast milk. For this, you start to feed highly digestible, well-tolerated and tasty feed from the 4th week. This can be both wet and dry feed as a complete feed. You should first offer the dry food in a mushy form. To do this, soak it in water.
Important: Make sure that the temperature of the water is around 30-35 ° C. Too hot water can destroy important vitamins and nutrients in the food, whereas too cold water can quickly lead to stomach problems in your dog.
Adjust the puppy food properly
Adolescent dogs are in the decisive development phase in the first months of their life. It is therefore important to adapt the puppy food to the dog breed. Small dog breeds have a different growth curve than large breeds. The rate at which a puppy grows can be affected by its diet. Too rapid growth is not beneficial. If a puppy gets a food that is too high in energy, it can grow too quickly and its final size is reached too early. His skeleton is not yet sufficiently mineralized and stabilized and so the bones can be damaged because he is too heavy for his age.
So that your dog can grow up healthily, you should give him a food that optimally fits his needs and contains all the important nutrients. This includes amino acids, vitamins, minerals and valuable fatty acids. All dogs need a healthy immune system and therefore food that has sufficient antioxidants, beta-carotene and vitamin E. Omega-6 and Omega-3 fatty acids are crucial for a healthy and shiny coat.
Essential criteria for a high quality puppy food:
1.No added sugar
2.Without the addition of artificial flavors, colors and preservatives
3.Without ingredients modified by genetic engineering
4.Vitamin C and minerals in an easily absorbed form
5.Supports strong bones and healthy joints
6.Calcium-phosphorus ratio for puppies
7.Valuable fatty acids
Criteria for the choice of feed
There are other aspects besides the ones you should pay attention to when choosing feed. You can find out which these are and why they are so important by reading on.
Your puppy needs energy - but not too much either, because otherwise there can be growth disorders that can cause health damage. An excess of energy accelerates the dog's growth, causing it to reach its final size too soon. A dog's body size is genetically determined. You cannot determine how big it will ultimately be via the food, but you can influence when it will reach this size. That is why it is all the more important that your darling grows at the optimal speed.
The reason for a too rapid growth is often an excessive energy consumption. Many puppies that absorb too much energy also simply grow too quickly as a result without excess fat cells being planted. However, this too rapid growth is not without danger, because it can lead to joint malformation. Therefore, you should strictly follow the feeding recommendations for puppy food. You can usually find this on the packaging of the feed.
So pay attention to the appropriate coverage of the energy supply, but definitely avoid over-supply, because only then will the skeleton of your puppy have enough time to adapt to the increasing load from more body mass.
Does your four-legged sweetheart get many rewards for training hard? You should always subtract the energy content of the treats from their total daily requirements and adjust the amount of feed accordingly. If you feed a dry puppy food, you can use part of the daily ration as a treat as a reward. This makes it easy for you to keep an eye on the total amount. Additional treats should generally be kept within limits.
It is important that your puppy takes in enough high-quality proteins. Because they provide valuable building blocks that are necessary for healthy growth. It is not only the quantity that is important here, but above all the supply of high-quality proteins. High-quality and easily digestible proteins can be of both vegetable and animal origin.
Animal sources of protein are meat such as beef, lamb, chickens, etc. and animal by-products such as offal. Vegetable proteins are e.g. in lentils, lupine, peas etc. The protein for dogs is evaluated according to its amino acid composition and digestibility. High quality protein for dogs is easy to digest and contains essential amino acids such as arginine, histidine, lysine or tryptophan.
The right calcium-phosphorus ratio
Calcium is known to be essential for strong bones. If the mineral is missing, mineralization disorders and consequent skeletal disorders can occur. Likewise, too high a proportion in the puppy food is not advisable, because this can favor malformations. This is one of the reasons why dog food for adult animals is often not suitable for puppies. Because the calcium content is often not tailored to the needs of a growing dog.
The calcium-phosphorus ratio plays an important role in healthy bone development. A suitable puppy food should have the right proportions of both nutrients. Experts recommend:
Calcium: phosphorus = 1.2-1.5: 1
Special puppy food usually contains a balanced composition of all ingredients and is precisely tailored to the needs of your four-legged friend. If you are unsure, you can ask an expert, veterinarian or feed manufacturer for advice.
If you choose a dry feed for your puppy, you do not need to feed any additional feed or supplements. Avoid calcium supplements because they can lead to over-supply or inhibit the absorption of other important nutrients.
The right amount of puppy food
A puppy's stomach has a small capacity. That's why you should feed your darling several times a day with small portions rather than a large one. In the first two to three months, you can feed four to five meals a day to the little ones. From the third month, the feed can be reduced. Three meals a day are then sufficient. The portion should be a little more. From the sixth month, it is enough to feed your puppy twice a day.
Remember: after your puppy eats, it should rest. This results in a healthy rhythm of activity, eating and resting phases.
Overview of feed
Depending on whether you choose dry food or wet food, there are a few things to consider. In the following we have put together an overview with advantages and disadvantages for different feeding options.
dried animal food
2.Recipes tailored to the needs of dogs
3.Contains all the important nutrients
4.Various ingredients such as animal protein, cereals, vegetables in fresh or dried form pressed or extruded into pellets or croquettes
1.The right amount of feed / daily ration can be easily determined using measuring cups and feeding recommendations on the packaging
2.Easy to use
5.Store long and uncomplicated
6.Also ideal for on the go, e.g. for office dogs, vacation, trips
7.Can't spoil so quickly, even if it's been in the bowl for a while
8.Promotes natural tooth abrasion
9.Starch is digested in extruded dry food and is therefore easy to digest
10.Sustainable because there is little packaging material
Contains little water
1.Moist, cooked raw materials
2.Feed mix in bowls or cans as a complete feed
3.Also only possible as meat
1.Easy to portion
2.V.a. Ready meals are easy to feed
3.Easy to store unopened and long
4.Easy to take with you when the amount of a bowl / can is intended for one meal
1.If a can is enough for more than one meal, it must be kept refrigerated and used as quickly as possible
2.If wet food is left for a long time or if there is a residue, it spoils very quickly
3.If the quality is poor, the feed often contains sugar, artificial flavors and much more.
5.Greater need to pay attention to dental health because there is no tooth abrasion
1.The basis is the original diet of wolves
Every meal consists of raw meat, vegetables and / or fruit
2.In addition to muscle meat, bones, cartilage, tendons and innards also enter the bowl
1.Individual composition of the feed ration possible
2.Origin is more transparent
3.Varied nutrition possible
3.Exact composition must be observed so that the dog does not suffer from a deficiency
4.Disgust can arise / arise from raw meat
5.Getting used to and sometimes very unpleasant smell (e.g. rumen)
6.Raw meat can lead to hygiene problems
7.If the dog does not eat the raw meat all at once, it must be disposed of after a certain time due to its perishability
8.Bones can cause digestive problems and tooth fractures
9.Digestibility is often lower with raw ingredients than with ingredients that have been pre-digested by cooking or extrusion
Note: If you want to put together puppy food from raw meat, vegetables and fruit, you must always pay close attention to the composition. Because young dogs need certain amounts and ratios of different nutrients, such as calcium to phosphorus. If you don't want to do anything wrong, it's best to consult an expert.
Are you wondering now which is the best puppy food? Basically, it is the one that offers your dog baby all the important nutrients in high quality and thus optimally supports its development. A complete feed is recommended because it enables uncomplicated all-round care. Therefore, dry food is particularly suitable for your puppy. Manufacturers of premium feed pay attention to an optimally coordinated composition. This allows you to easily feed your little one healthy.
What puppies shouldn't eat
A complete feed provides your four-legged friend with everything he needs. You do not have to feed anything extra. It can even happen that anything else you feed can lead to digestive problems. Another danger is that a spoiled puppy in adulthood will become a fussy eater who is hardly satisfied with the same food.
Therefore, pay attention to a high-quality feed and try to feed other foods as little as possible.
There are a few foods your puppy shouldn't eat. Which includes:
1.Dairy products. A high content of milk sugar (lactose) cannot be completely broken down in the intestine, so that the excessive intake is usually accompanied by diarrhea.Chocolate is poison for dogs. The ingredient theobromine affects the dog's central nervous system and can even lead to death. Other foods containing cocoa can also lead to theobromine poisoning in dogs.
2."Eating from the table" is well meant, but it can lead to many problems, such as diabetes, kidney and liver problems or being overweight.
3.Bones and the additional addition of meat upset the calcium-phosphorus ratio, which is so important in growth.
Therefore, only feed the right dry or wet food.
How do I change puppy food?
Usually the breeder of your puppy gives you a certain amount of food, which he feeds his dogs. You can either continue to choose this or you can switch to a different variety or a different type of feeding. If you want to do this, it is best to give your new four-legged roommate a few days to settle in. He should be able to get used to the new situation and his new family in peace before you change his food. A sudden change of feed could quickly lead to gastrointestinal problems. Therefore, you should wait at least two weeks before changing the puppy food. It is important to switch over slowly, i.e. You mix a small portion of the new feed into the previous feed over a few days to ensure a moderate transition. This will reduce the risk of digestive problems.
Our article on dry food tells you how exactly you change feed properly.
You should also make a slow change if you want to switch to a product for adult dogs after your puppy's growth phase has ended. The time for this depends on the breed and its usual final weight. This is why the growth phase takes longer for large dogs than for small ones. Chihuahuas, Yorkshire Terriers and Co. often only need 8 months of puppy food. Medium-sized dogs up to 40 kg, such as Labrador Retrievers, German Shepherds and Setters, on the other hand, are only fully grown at around 12 months. Large dogs weighing 40 kg or more, such as the Doberman Pinscher, giant schnauzer and Great Dane, are only around 20 months old.
Difference between puppy food and adult food
As already mentioned, the supply of nutrients in the growth phase differs from that of an adult dog. A suitable phosphorus and calcium content is therefore necessary. Adult foods are not designed for an adolescent dog. Adolescent dogs should therefore not simply be fed adult food.
When your four-legged friend is fully grown, you can of course switch to adult food. How long the growth phase lasts depends on the expected final weight of your dog.
How can I sustainably feed my puppy?
If a puppy moves into your home, you take responsibility for it. You have this not only towards him, but also towards the environment. With a sustainable puppy food you can actively contribute to environmental protection as well as with your own diet. It is advisable to look for alternatives to products with animal protein from conventional livestock farming.
Green Petfood is known for sustainable feed and also offers dog food with meat from animal welfare. Part of the product range is the FarmDog Mini grainfree, which can be optimally used as puppy food for all growing breeds.
This dry dog food with dried chicken protein comes from regional, committed farmers who care about animal welfare. With this puppy food, your little darling is not only supplied with all the nutrients it needs for healthy growth, but you also make an additional contribution to animal welfare.
1.Calcium, phosphorus and many other minerals, vitamins and amino acids are important in the puppy food in the right amounts and proportions, so that your dog can develop optimally.
2.A high-quality dry food as complete feed provides the puppy and later the young dog with optimal care in the entire development process.
3.With a sustainable feed, you can not only do something good for your four-legged treasure, but also make a contribution to animal and environmental protection.
4.The FarmDog puppy food from Green Petfood provides all the important nutrients and relies on chicken from more appropriate animal husbandry. The animals grow up under better conditions than in conventional livestock farming.You and your darling want to work for animal welfare beyond the puppy age? 5.Then our FarmDog feed is the right choice for you. Because the various FarmDog products offer your dog optimal nutrition across its entire life cycle - from puppies to seniors.
6.If your puppy is fully grown, you can switch to our products with insects as an alternative protein source or to a vegetarian diet, but you can also stay with the FarmDog.
You can find more information about our dog food and a sustainable diet for dogs in our other guide articles.
The correct feeding of a puppy is not only related to high-quality puppy food, but also to the amount of food. Puppies need food four to five times a day because their stomach is small but their energy consumption is high. From the third month of life, the little one needs three to four meals, from the sixth month two to three a day is enough. Especially with large dog breeds, it is important that they are not fed more energy than they need or consume. Too much food could make them grow faster, which can be a common cause of later joint problems. The risk is lower for small breeds, but the feed should not be freely accessible for them either. Small dogs are fully grown from their ninth month - until then you should also give puppy food. For medium-sized breeds, the timing is just under 12 months, for larger breeds it can be up to 20 months. Only when the four-legged friends are fully grown should you switch to dog food for adult dogs.
Puppies of all dog breeds need a food that contains antioxidants, beta-carotene and vitamin E for an intact immune system. Omega-6 and Omega-3 fatty acids are particularly important for a healthy coat. A balanced calcium-phosphorus ratio is equally important.
To be on the safe side, you can always consult your veterinarian or the nutrition experts on our hotline.