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Do Puppies Really Need Puppy Food?

 by michelle on 30 Aug 2014 |
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Puppies, like babies, receive complete nutrition from their mother’s milk. Eventually though, they’ll need to be weaned off which typically begins around the four week mark, when mama dog’s milk is no longer 100% sufficient. By 7-8 weeks, the puppies should be completely weaned from their mother and eating solid food regularly, and by solid food I mean puppy food.

To answer your question, yes puppies need puppy food. Because puppies grow so fast, they need to take in more calories and more nutrients, and puppy food has just that. Your veterinarian should be able to recommend specific brands, but in general quality puppy food is high in protein, calcium, and calories. Look for brands that list meat as the first ingredient. Most brands will have a feeding chart printed on the bag for you to use as a guide. The amount of food recommended for your puppy will likely change on a weekly basis as they grow. When choosing a puppy food, also make sure to select the type right for your breed. Large-breed puppy food is different, with less calcium and phosphorus than other puppy food to help prevent future skeletal issues.

When a puppy is almost at their expected adult weight, it’s time to switch to a food that will work to maintain their weight and nutrition. Generally, smaller dogs reach maturity faster, around 9-12 months, while larger breeds can take up to 12 -18 months. If you feed your dog puppy food for too long, your dog will be taking in more calories than they need, and could be at risk of obesity.

If you have any questions on weaning your puppies or choosing a brand of puppy food, remember to consult your veterinarian!
 

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