Puppy Visit 2 – Feeding Your Puppy
Most young puppies should be fed three times daily, changing to twice daily once they are 3 months old. Canned foods add palatability and moisture to the food. Fresh meats or cooked vegetables can be added in limited quantity – be sure they are not the bulk of the diet as the nutrient content may be deficient. Avoid all processed human foods, fatty foods, sweets, and dairy products, as their consumption can lead to serious health issues. For snacks, offer dog treats made in the USA. Foods which are toxic to dogs include chocolate, raisins, grapes, macadamia nuts, and onions.
At VMC we believe pets should eat a good quality food that your pet likes and that suits your budget. A few recommended brands include Royal Canin, Science Diet, and Purina ProPlan. Many popular brands spend more money on advertising and packaging than on the quality of ingredients. Other brands use gimmicks to make the food sound more appealing: for example, terms like all natural, holistic, and fresh. What is most important is to feed a product that supplies the three essentials: vitamins, minerals and energy supplying nutrients.
Recently grain-free diets have become popular, but have shown to cause cardiac problems in certain breeds of dogs, such as golden retrievers. It is unclear what the cause is, but legumes, potatoes, and novel proteins play a role, in addition to the pet’s breed and genetics. Dogs are “carnivorous” omnivores, which mean they do not have a strict meat-based diet requirement. Some of their diet can include vegetable-based protein. The exact amount of protein, fat, and other nutrients depends upon your dog’s life stage (puppy, senior, large breed vs small breed), lifestyle (working vs. sedentary) and health related needs (weight management). Feed a diet appropriate for your pet’s stage of life.
Avoid foods that contain a lot of dyes or fat, which are often used to either make the product more palatable or appear more interesting to us as pet owners. Chicken meal is basically the entire chicken ground up into a meal. Chicken by-product meal uses the animal parts not consumed by people. By-products are a less expensive yet still nutritious protein source. Whole grains, fish meal, corn gluten meal, and brewers rice are other examples of inexpensive protein sources. Be sure the diet names the meat source- for example, chicken, beef, lamb. Avoid diets which list meat meal or meat by-products, as the source of this meat is unknown.
Any pet food should be AAFCO labeled. AAFCO stands for the Association of American Feed Control Officials and is defined as a voluntary membership association of local, state and federal agencies charged by law to regulate the sale and distribution of animal feeds and animal drug remedies. Essentially, they are the only group in the industry that has established a standard at which you as the consumer will know that your pet food is delivering the nutrients that it is formulated to provide.
Nutrition Websites and Resources
• American Animal Hospital Association
• American College of Veterinary Nutrition
• AAFCO does not differentiate between the qualities of the protein source.
• Petdoor – Nutritional Requirements of Cats and Dogs – Easy to Read Pet Nutrition Booklets: http://dels.nas.edu/global/banr/petdoor
• Animal Nutrition Resources – The American Academy of Veterinary Nutrition: https://www.aavn.org/
• An Indoor Pet Environmental Enrichment Guide: https://indoorpet.osu.edu