Best Dry Dog Food For Puppies
If you’re wondering whether your puppy really needs a special food just for younger dogs, the answer is yes! Puppies need more calories, more fat, and a different vitamin and mineral balance to support healthy growth, Shepherd explains. Typically, puppy food is made for dogs under 1 year of age.
Though there aren’t any official AAFCO nutrient standards specifically for small and large breeds, some puppy foods are made specially for dogs of different sizes. “Balancing the nutrient needs of dogs given their wide size variety and ages is wise and common sense,” says Dodds. For instance, large breed puppies need a special ratio of calcium to phosphorus for their growing big bones, and they can benefit from supplements such as glucosamine and chondroitin to help keep their joints healthy, according to Shepherd. On the flip side, puppy foods for smaller breeds often have smaller kibble pieces for smaller mouths. They may also be a bit higher in calories, since smaller breeds can have higher metabolisms.
If you want to make sure a food is appropriate for puppies, check the label for an AAFCO complete and balanced statement that says it’s intended for growth for all life stages. Some foods might also specifically state that they’re for younger dogs. Keep an eye out for any food that says “maintenance” on the package. These are meant specifically for adult dogs, so they won’t be right for a puppy.
Also When Choosing Food There Are A Few Things To Keep In Mind:
- Should be high in calories and fat, but have fish oils to keep the fatty acids balanced
- Lots of nutrients high in vitamins, minerals, calcium, and protein
- Easy to digest
- If have supplements, make sure theyre vet-approved
- If you have never given your pet the ingredients that are in the new food, be sure to check with your vet to see if your dog is not allergic to it
Our Picks For Fresh Dog Food:
There’s definitely a relationship between price and quality when it comes to dog food. So it’s not a great idea to buy the absolute cheapest dog food you can find. That’s because ultra-cheap dog foods tend to be filled with lower-quality ingredients to bulk them up and keep their prices down.
“But it’s important to remember that there are many more affordable dog foods that are perfectly good options,” Richardson notes. Translation: You definitely don’t need to break the bank to feed your dog a healthy diet.
There are plenty of high-quality dog foods available at lower prices. As long as a food meets AAFCO complete and balanced standards like the options listed below and makes sense for your dog’s life stage, you’re good to go.
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What Vitamins Can I Give My Nursing Dog
Progenys multi-use prenatal supplement for dogs is also ideal for use during the time leading up to pregnancy and to help support lactation after birth. The powder formula contains amino acids to build protein and develop muscles and organs with vitamins and minerals that support the mom and the pups.
How To Feed A Nursing Dog
You may be thinking its as simple as putting out a dog bowl packed full with a meal full of nutrients to feed your nursing dog, but you also need to know the proportions for an ideal meal. Since the food should be bioavailable, the meal can go straight to her system to help produce milk, but not feeding her often enough wont do any good. If you have a large portion of a meal prepared for the nursing dog, consider breaking it down into smaller portions.
This ensures that you can feed the dog as much as you like and as often, it is recommended with this technique that you feed in 2-3 hour increments. This is just to make sure the mother dog is getting nutrients in as quick as they are leaving her body, from her milk being sucked out by the puppies and from her milk being produced.
This takes a lot out of the momma dog to be able to perform all of these actions, so you can help her best if you give her the right food and do it the right way. Another reason for 2 to 3 hour smaller portions is because it will not upset the dogs stomach while still letting her be full at all times.
But, of course, not all dogs will want to be fed that often, so work with your nursing dog in order to learn what they need and when they need it, since this is a very crucial time in their life as well as yours communication is key.
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What To Feed A Picky Nursing Dog
As mentioned before, there are good tasting puppy food out there that can be purchased. It might be frustrating to see that your dog does not like a certain brand when you bought a whole bag, but at least you have some for when your puppies come off milk.
You can provide them with alternatives to puppy food, as we mentioned before, it is most meats and some grains and greens. The thing that needs to be done here, though, is careful integration of puppy food. They can survive on human food but it is easier to prepare and care for the nursing dogs needs financially if they are on puppy food.
If these things do not work, you can trying feeding the nursing dog food from your hand, or on the floor. Whatever she needs to be comfortable eating. If you are unsure about other methods, speak with your vet to see if there is something in the food that is causing the dog pain, if they have a parasite that keeps them from eating or just methods of feeding in general for your picky nursing mom.
Infection And Nursing Dogs Milk Production
This is another one that will usually require a vet to diagnose. If you see a pus-like discharge from either moms teets or her vagina, this requires an immediate trip to the vet for evaluation and treatment, usually with antibiotics.
Keep in mind that puppies need to go with mom so the vet can evaluate them too. Besides, it is usually stressful to be separated from her pups.
Related Reading: Tips to Fatten Up Your Dog
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What To Feed Your Pregnant Or Nursing Dog
A dogs pregnancy averages 63 days in length and nursing continues for a few more weeks. This may be the most important time in your dogs life when it comes to precise nutrition. For a pregnant or nursing dog, malnutrition can lead to serious health issues and jeopardize the health of her puppies.1 Talk to your veterinarian about your specific dogs unique needs and keep these critical nutritional considerations in mind:
- Food for pregnant or nursing dogs must include sufficient calories to meet increased energy needs for milk production and the growth of puppies
- Increased fat helps satisfy the higher demand for calories
- High digestibility is important to help maximize calorie intake from smaller amounts of food
- The mothers milk production and the bone growth of her puppies require more calcium and phosphorus
- More protein is needed to nourish the healthy development of puppies
- DHA for developing puppies nervous systems
What Causes Weight Loss In Dogs
There are several reasons why your dog may not gain weight when it should. Here are a few to look at:
- Insufficient or poor nutrition
- Low food intake due to dental problems
- Poor absorption or digestion of nutrients
- Prolonged exposure to cold temperatures
- Acute conditions causing diarrhea or vomiting
- Increase in stress, resulting in anorexia
- Your dog is a picky eater.
Although 10% weight loss is required to become a clinical problem, any changes in your dogs eating habits or body condition should be a cause for concern and be discussed with your veterinarian. Your vet can determine the underlying cause of your dogs weight loss, as well as the appropriate course of treatment.
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Are Homemade Food Recommended For Nursing Dogs
When your furry friend is nursing, it is best to provide him with commercially prepared kibbles. The lactating dog has unique nutritional requirements, including minerals and vitamins that you might not find in a homemade diet. Raw meals contain bacteria that could affect puppies as they have a fragile, immature immune system.
Although it cannot bother the mother dog, you shouldnt feed it with this kind of food. The mother and puppies require a special diet and a lot of nutrients for this lactation period. According to research, nursing pets need 4 to 8 times the energy requirements of normal adult canine. That is why it is better to feed your dog with commercial dog food.
Homemade meals, might not have all the supplements, minerals or vitamins, which might affect the development of the puppies. So, to answer this question, we think it is better not to feed your pooch with the homemade food.
Water Alternatives For Nursing Dogs Milk Production
As an alternative, you can offer your nursing dog a few different things to help convince her to drink more. Like humans, dogs like some variety too, and even without puppies and pregnancy, your dog may spend a lot of time teetering on the edge of dehydration on a fairly regular basis.
This can make it hard for her to change her water drinking habits. Consider some of these alternatives to water that will help your nursing dog increase her fluid intake and therefore increase their milk production:
Broth: Whether you go for homemade, canned, or just bullion in warm water, broth, in all of its forms can help a new nursing dog stay hydrated enough to feed her litter, whether it is one squirming bundle of joy or ten. Just dont get the low sodium kind, the extra salt may help to convince her to drink more as it will make her feel more thirsty .
Puppy formula: This one is a little unconventional and on the more expensive side, but it may help a nursing dog get some extra needed calories and help keep her fluid intake up. It also has the bonus of extra nutrients that new nursing dogs need. To make it go a bit further, you can offer it weaker than the directions, as long as she is taking in liquids.
Weak tea: This is especially useful if the new mom has an upset tummy or vomiting. Using tea with milk thistle in it can help with added milk production as this herb is known for it. If you plan to sweeten it, use it sparingly and limit it to natural sweeteners like honey.
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Key Things To Look For
Before you purchase your dog food, there are a few things that you should keep an eye out for when doing your research.
Age. Make sure the dog food is right for your dogs age. This is important because it will contain different nutrients, calories, and ingredients that cater to a specific age group.
For example, puppies need more nutrients than adults, and their food is usually higher in calories because they are growing. Similarly, an elderly dog will have a different balance of nutrients and fewer calories.
Size. The size of your dog is more important than you might think, and this is both in relation to the contents of the dog food and the size of the kibble.
Dog food that is made for small breeds tends to have smaller chunks of kibble to make it easier for them to eat, just as the dog food for larger breeds is bigger so that they can eat it safely. There are also some minor nutritional differences.
Activity Level. Is your dog a couch potato, or are you two trekking for miles each day? The more active your dog, the more calories they need to stay in shape.
Food that has a little more fat and calories will keep them healthy. Dogs that dont do a lot will need less fat and calories to help them avoid becoming overweight.
What To Do With The Puppies Immediately After Birth
Make sure the momma is cleaning off the puppies immediately after they are born, this is because there is a sac that the puppies were created in that is still attached to them. The mother dog works to get it off by licking them. If she does not lick them, you can vigorously rub the puppy dry, which gets rid of the sack while stimulating breathing.
Then once it has been 1 to 3 hours after the birth, if the puppies still are not nursing, you have a few options. You can place the puppy in front of one of the nipples and gently squeeze some milk from the nipple into the puppys mouth area, but if the puppy is still not feeding, it most likely means that there is something further wrong with the puppy such as cleft palate. In order to further inspect, open the puppys mouth.
If there are any holes in the sinuses, call your veterinarian because this is a condition that needs to be addressed quickly. In the meantime, you may need to bottle or tube feed the puppy with puppy formula to make sure they still are able to survive.
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How We Research Dog Food
Over the course of our decades of writing and editing for pet and veterinary publications, we’ve interviewed many veterinarians and veterinary nutritionists. We’ve also had the chance to feed our own dogs lots of different brands and types of foods.
It’s important to note that our veterinary experts didn’t specifically endorse any of the products in this guide. When you think about it, this makes sense, since most veterinarians agree that the best food for each individual dog will vary based on a variety of factors. So, to make picks for this guide, we consulted four veterinarians, including a board certified veterinary nutritionist and a professor of animal and nutrition science, on what qualities to look for in a healthy dog food and what to avoid. From there, we used the information gathered to guide our selections.
Every food in this guide is complete and balanced according to the Association of American Feed Control Officials guidelines, contains high-quality ingredients, and offers the right levels of protein, fat, and fiber for their respective categories.
When making choices, we also referred to educational resources from the Association of American Feed Control Officials and the Global Nutrition Guidelines published by the World Small Animal Veterinary Association .
My Dog Is Eating But Not Gaining Weight Why
If your dog appears to be eating normally but is still underweight and not gaining weight, one of two things usually happens: you are not feeding him enough, or there is an underlying problem preventing him from gaining weight. You can try feeding them more at mealtimes, but if they dont gain weight no matter what you do, take your pup to the vet to make sure nothing else is causing their weight problems.
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Best Nutrition For Pregnant Dogs
Feeding a pregnant dog can be a delicate balance. Before becoming pregnant, a dog should be brought to her ideal weight and then fed a maintenance diet with high fat and protein. There are several dog food brands that fit this description, but Taste of the Wild, The Honest Kitchen, and Bully Max stand out as some of the better options.
Owners who choose to feed their pregnant dog a food with lower protein and fat may want to supplement their dogs diet with a canned food like Wild Calling, which offers high quality protein sources that dogs love. This might be the case if your dog is on a limited ingredient diet like Natural Balance due to allergies and sensitivities but isnt getting quite enough protein and fat.
Pregnant dogs may need to be switched from a maintenance food to a puppy or performance formula towards the end of gestation and after the puppies are born.
Keep in mind that your dog will need to eat a lot more during lactation, up until her puppies are weaned.
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What To Feed A Nursing Dog
Your vet will give you a week by week diet plan to ensure that your pregnant dogs nutritional needs are met. Many dog owners believe that new mothers need lot of proteins and fats after giving birth. While this is true to some extent, you should not go overboard with it. It is especially important that the food not contain too much protein that takes all day to digest. Your dog will be nursing all day and she wont get too much exercise. So her diet should contain moderate, easy to digest protein. Slow-digesting proteins can cause a lot of discomfort to sedentary nursing bitches. Talk to your doctor about the right protein sources for pregnant and nursing dogs. As stated before, a week by week, specific layout can help and most vets can give you that.
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Pet Parents Turmeric & Curcumin
Great for inflammation and arthritis
What we love: Pet Parents Tumeric & Curcuma Supplements work on all dog breeds, ages, and sizes, helping with arthritis pain relief and joint health. The company focuses on adding whole meats and veggies to their chewable tablets instead of carbohydrates like rice or oats. Even the inactive ingredients are nutrient-rich, like sweet potatoes and carrots. Plus, natural turmeric and curcumin are anti-inflammatory agents, and the doggie coconut oil helps with joint aches and pains.
What customer reviews say: Pet owners that have dogs with arthritis, hip dysplasia, and other joint issues generally love this product. Its especially helpful for dogs recovering from injuries or surgery, and reviewers also mentioned the fair price. Some dogs loved the taste, though, while others didnt.
Ingredients: Organic turmeric, coconut oil, organic hemp seed oil, CurQmin, boswellia serrata, and bioperine® .