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DOG / nutrition

What to Feed Your Puppy

Choose a food that meets a growing pup’s needs

Overview

Puppy food vs. adult dog food

Growing up burns calories, which is why puppies need twice as much energy as grown dogs do! Puppy food is more densely packed with fat and protein to support your pup’s growing skeleton and muscles.

Be careful not to overfeed your puppy because gaining too much weight so early can cause health problems down the road.

Be particularly careful not to overfeed large-breed pups. Too much rapid growth in these pups can cause painful skeletal complications. So be sure to count those calories! Choose a large-breed puppy food to help control your little giant’s weight.

How do I pick the healthiest brand of puppy food?

Talk to your vet and look for brands approved by the American Association of Feed Control Officials. To get the AAFCO label, the food must contain 36 nutrients and all the vitamins and minerals growing pups need. Without that label, you don’t know what you’re getting.

How often should puppies eat?

Growing pups need a steady supply of nutrition and energy, so divide their total daily portion of food into two to three feedings a day. Puppies and dogs should have constant access to fresh, clean drinking water. If you’re still worried about how much to feed them, it’s always a safe bet to consult your vet.

When should I switch to adult dog food?

Dogs are generally considered puppies for the first year of their lives, though the puppy phase can be shorter or longer depending on the breed. Small breeds might be done growing by nine months, while giant breeds can take two whole years to reach their full size. If you’re unsure when to make the switch, again, talk to your vet.

Once your dog is an adult, you can scale back the feedings to twice or once a day.

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