Building the foundation of a dog’s nutrition starts at the breeder. The best possible start for balanced growth and development is achieved by food that is diverse, high-quality, and meets the growing dog’s nutritional needs – either complete nutrition products or self-made meals.
In the new home, it is safest to continue feeding the puppy with familiar foods, at least for the first few days. You should therefore know what the breeder was feeding your puppy and what ingredients it was introduced to before adoption. At the age of adoption, puppies are used to eating 4–5 meals per day. In the new home, meals should be served 3–4 times per day for the first few weeks while the puppy and its stomach continue to grow. Puppies can only eat limited portions but require a lot of calories. For healthy growth and development, puppies need plenty of protein, fat, and beneficial fatty acids. EPA and DHA are particularly beneficial omega-3 fatty acids because they support the development of the brain and nervous system. Balancing calcium and phosphorus is also important for bones, and sufficient vitamin C, D, and E intake is important for disease resistance.
After about four months, daily meals can be reduced to two or so. Although puppies need more calories relative to their size compared to adult dogs, excess energy intake should be avoided to prevent excessive weight from affecting the development of the dog’s joints and bones. The final size of the adult dog is also a consideration for feeding and energy intake: the puppies of large breeds should be allowed to grow slower to avoid developmental disorders.
Feeding puppies a diverse diet helps diversify their microbiome and prevent later intestinal issues. A diverse diet makes the digestive system more robust and better able to cope with changes in diet. For healthy bowel movements, puppies should also be fed prebiotics such as dietary fibre. Courses of lactic acid bacteria supplements are also a good idea, especially when the puppy’s digestive system is under stress.
Proper exercise enhances the development of the puppy’s joints and bones, builds muscle, and benefits the digestive system. For best results, puppies should be allowed to exercise on their terms, off the leash, and on different types of terrain. Exercise will increase the puppy’s appetite, so meals should be served after exercise.
Diet and exercise are crucial for ensuring your puppy’s well-balanced growth. Their joints and bones require proper exercise.