Monday, April 30, 2012

The Best Food for your Puppy

A puppy grows amazingly quickly during its first year of life. A puppy can grow from about 450 g or less at birth to 22 kg pounds by its first birthday, which is astounding. For the first couple of months its mother can provide its nutritional needs, but then it's up to the owner to see to the puppy's diet. Until it's about half grown a puppy will need about twice the energy needed to maintain its body, then it’ll need 50 percent more energy till it's grown.

To know how many calories to feed a growing puppy, the owner will need to know what it's adult weight is going to be, which admittedly can be tough if the puppy is a mixed breed. But if the person figures that their puppy is going to grow into an active dog that’ll weight about 50 pounds when they're grown, it will probably need about 1,400 calories for body maintenance. So, for the first six months a puppy will need 2,800 calories a day, then 2,100 calories for the next six months.

Four Parts Protein, One Part Fat

One rule of thumb claims that a growing puppy's diet should have at least 22 percent protein and 5 percent fat. Though dogs can get all of their amino acids from vegetables, a vegetarian diet isn’t the best for a growing puppy, whose system was made to work best with a mostly meat diet. Fat gives the puppy energy and makes the food taste good. The amount of fat and the type of fat the puppy eats will affect not only its weight, but can affect its immune system as well. Fiber is also important, for in the wild a dog would eat the fur and the intestinal and stomach contents of other animals, which would usually be herbivores. Fiber can slow down the absorption of food and digestion and can help in preventing constipation, diabetes, obesity and too much fat in the bloodstream.

Nothing Raw!

Though some puppies grow more rapidly if they’re given raw meat to eat, raw meat is dicey, as it might contain bacteria or parasites. The puppy shouldn’t be fed meat exclusively whether cooked or raw, because meat and nothing else imbalances the calcium to phosphorus ratio in the dog’s body, which can eventually lead to bone disorders and cardiovascular failure. Remember that a wild dog eats just about everything of their prey, including what the prey has eaten.

The best food for a growing puppy is cooked poultry. One hundred grams of chicken meat has 121 kcals of energy, 20.5 g of protein and 4.3 g of fat. Chicken meat with the skin has even more energy, even though it only has 17.6 g of protein and 17.7 g of fat. Rabbit, on the other hand, has 124 kcals of energy, 22 g of protein and 4 grams of fat.

As for fiber, beet pulp, rice bran and bran breakfast cereals can also be fed to the puppy, as can psyllium. Some high quality puppy foods have a good balance of protein, fats, fiber, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals.

However, the owner should be careful of giving the puppy food with too many kcals of energy. This sort of food causes fat cells to be created, which might lead the dog to obesity. A fat puppy is cute, but it’s not healthy!

Preparing for Summer Fun with Your Dog is a Guest Post by Jane:

Jane is a veterinarian of 22 years and says it is a common mistake for people to use the wrong puppy food. By following her tips you can ensure that your puppy's diet will full of all the nutrients it requires. When Jane isn't working, she enjoys spending time with her family, travelling, hiking and swimming at the beach.

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