Puppy Basics: Selecting the Right Food
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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.
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
- 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-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.
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- adp_description_block223Understanding Puppy Food Nutrition Labels
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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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