Puppy Basics: Selecting the Right Food

Dogs are as unique as people, but despite their differences, they all need a well-balanced diet for good health. However, dogs of different ages and sizes have different nutritional needs, and this is especially true for puppies. When you factor in developmental needs, ingredients and your puppy’s size and breed, choosing the right food can be difficult.

5 white puppies in a row in front of a tree
 

How to Select a Puppy Food

The energy requirements of a puppy can be nearly twice those of an adult dog. This means that a puppy might not have the stomach capacity to eat enough food to meet his needs unless the food is specially formulated.

When choosing a puppy food, select one that provides a highly digestible, nutrient-dense, 100% complete premium formula for growth. Such high-quality formulas contain the vitamins, minerals, protein, fat and carbohydrates your dog needs for sound and healthy development. With a premium formula, your puppy may have:

  • Exceptional muscle tone
  • A shiny, luxurious coat
  • Healthy skin, bones, and teeth
  • Clear, bright eyes
  • Small, firm stools
  • Playfulness
  • A happy, healthy attitude

Puppies grow fastest during the first six months of life, and because growth rates differ among breed sizes, you need a formula designed to address the needs of your puppy’s breed or size. Feed your puppy this formula based on the recommended amounts for his weight and age until he is an adult.

 

Large-breed Puppy Nutrition

Although large-breed dogs have bigger bones than medium or small breeds, large-breed puppies do not need more calcium. University studies have shown that:

  • Rapidly growing large-breed pups are more inclined to exhibit developmental bone problems.
  • Controlling the rate of growth is more beneficial than promoting rapid growth.
  • Moderating calcium, phosphorus and calorie levels in the diet of large-breed puppies promotes normal skeletal development.

Overfeeding and weight gain can contribute to developmental bone problems. This makes managing food intake even more critical. Puppies are at greater risk for developmental bone problems if they are overfed.

A formula with reduced fat and calories promotes optimum growth. Controlling the rate of growth to promote normal development is another reason to feed a large-breed diet, such as IAMS™ ProActive Health™ Smart Puppy Large Breed.

 

Medium-breed Puppy Nutrition

Medium-breed puppies have needs between those of large- and small-breed dogs. A medium-breed puppy’s nutritional demands can be satisfied by feeding a 100% complete and balanced formula that features moderate amounts of all the essential vitamins and nutrients, such as IAMS ProActive Health Smart Puppy Original.

Small brown puppy standing in mud
 

Small-breed Puppy Nutrition

Small-breed puppies have unique needs due to their small mouths and small stomachs, as well as the rapid growth spurt they experience when growing to adult size. That’s why it’s important to pack a lot of nutrition and energy into a small amount of food. A poor-quality diet might fill a puppy’s stomach before he can eat enough food to satisfy his nutritional needs. The result can be improper muscle and skeletal development and growth impairment.

IAMS™ puppy foods are formulated to be energy- and nutrient-dense to meet the needs of growing puppies. The IAMS™ formula for small and toy puppy breeds, IAMS™ ProActive Health™ Smart Puppy Small & Toy Breed, has concentrated nutrition for the lifelong health of your small- or toy-breed dog.