Your puppy is changing in so many ways. In fact, the most rapid growth will take place in these first months of his life. His immune system is developing. Bones are growing. Muscles are getting stronger. All of this requires a nutrient-dense diet, formulated to support a medium-breed puppy's rate of development. To make sure your puppy is getting optimal nutrition to protect and maintain health and well-being, here are some key points to keep in mind.
Feeding Your Puppy
From the time your puppy is weaned until 4 months of age, you should feed your puppy two to three meals a day, with the daily amount based on the guidelines of the food label. After 4 months of age, he should be fed twice a day on a regular schedule. Always have fresh water available.
More Energy, More Protein
Research shows that puppies need up to twice as much energy as adult dogs. Dramatic growth at this stage means your puppy requires an energy-rich, nutrient-dense complete and balanced diet. Puppies also require more protein than adult dogs. High-quality animal-based protein will help your puppy create new body tissue.
One Size Does Not Fit All
Not all puppies have the same nutritional needs. Medium-breed puppies actually have slightly higher metabolism rates per pound than large-breed puppies. And your puppy will reach his mature adult weight at about 12 months, sooner than larger breeds that reach adulthood as late as 24 months. Your puppy needs protein, fat, calcium, and phosphorus to support growth and development of bones, muscles, and other tissues. So giving him a food that supports his medium size is the easiest way to help make sure he's getting the right balance of nutrients for his metabolism and growth rate.
Remember, puppies have small stomachs. Make sure his food is nutrient-dense so he'll get a complete and balanced diet even though his stomach can only handle what seems like a small volume of food.
Choosing Puppy Food
Aside from energy and protein, there are other important nutrients and ingredients vital to your puppy's diet:
- Vitamin-rich fish oils to support overall health
- Essential vitamins and minerals to help support the immune system and help your puppy stay healthy during this critical stage of growth
- Animal-based protein sources to help nourish growing muscles, vital organs, and skin and coat
- A fiber source that will help keep your puppy's sensitive digestive system healthy, so more nutrition stays in your puppy
- Ideal levels of calcium and phosphorus to help your puppy develop strong teeth and bones
These are important building blocks of nutrition. Look for them when you choose dry or canned dog food and when you select treats.
The Switch to Adult Food
A medium-breed puppy reaches adult weight by about 12 months. You can begin feeding an adult dog food at this time, such as IAMS™ ProActive Health™ Adult MiniChunks. Your dog might not welcome the change at first, but don't worry. You can help ease the transition by gradually introducing the adult food. Try mixing 25% of the new food with 75% of his puppy food, then gradually change the proportions over the next three days until he's eating 100% adult food.
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How much do you know about the food you’re buying for your puppy? When shopping for puppy food, pay attention to these three sections of a dog food label.
1. The Ingredient Panel
This section lists all the ingredients that make up the product. The ingredients are listed in descending order according to weight before cooking. In dry food, look for a source of high-quality animal-based protein: chicken or lamb, for example. Dogs thrive on animal proteins.
Manufacturers who use large amounts of vegetable proteins might be saving money by providing basic — but not optimal — nutrition. You should also avoid artificial colors and flavors, which offer no nutritional benefits.
2. The Guaranteed Analysis
Near the ingredient panel should be a chart of percentages called the "guaranteed analysis." These figures reveal the basic nutrient makeup of the dog food's formula and protein content. The minimum percentages of protein and fat and the maximum percentages of fiber and moisture (water) should be listed.
3. The Manufacturer’s Name and Address
This information must be included on the label by law. A toll-free number or web address for the manufacturer may also be listed. Manufacturers who list a phone number, such as IAMS™, generally have a high-quality product and welcome consumer calls and questions. If you would like information about IAMS products, visit our website or call us toll-free at 800-525-4267.
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