The nutrition requirements of growing puppies and young dogs are different from those of adult dogs. Puppies grow fast; their bones and muscle need an adequate supply of nutrition to grow at a rate ideal for their breed and age. Thus, pet parents need to know about the best diet for their puppies and the manner in which puppy chow differs from dog chow.
Puppy nutrition requirements change fast in the first six months and by the time the puppy is ready to be weaned from milk to a solid diet, you should have a clear idea of what it needs and the kind of diet plan to follow. Your vet is best placed to advice you in this matter.
Puppy food should contain proteins, carbohydrates, minerals, fats, and water in the right proportion. You can provide these to a puppy by giving it home-cooked food, leftovers, etc or by purchasing commercially prepared puppy chow. If you choose to take the former option, you should check with the vet if any supplementation is required. It is important to know that over-supplementation must be avoided at all costs. You do not require giving the puppy any supplementation if you choose to give it commercial food.
If the commercial food for your puppy or dog carries a certificate from the American Association of Feed Control Officials (AAFCO), then you can buy it with assurance. Companies can use the phrase “compete and balanced” on the package only if the product meets AAFCO requirements. Purina Dog Chow and Purina Puppy Chow are carefully formulated foods that meet AAFCO requirements. Avoid falling for marketing hype and put your trust in established brands. A shiny coat, bright eyes, and a healthy appearance will let you know that the puppy chow of your choice is doing its work.
Basically, puppy chow can be differentiated from dog chow simply by reading the label; you will notice a difference in ingredients and their proportions. Puppy food contains more protein, fat, and minerals such as calcium, phosphorous, sodium, and chloride as compared to adult dog food. In other words, it is the nutritional density that varies. Puppy food will also contain ingredients that make the food easy to digest so that the dog does not suffer from indigestion and poor absorption of nutrients. The objective of puppy food is to enable the puppy to grow at an adequate rate and the aim of dog food is to enable the animal to lead a healthy life. As a pet owner, you should also be aware of the nutrition profile of foods for senior adult dogs. This kind of food has even less protein, sodium and fats while the amount of kidney-friendly nutrients is increased.
It is interesting to note that while you can specially formulated puppy food, you can also buy food labeled “for all life stages”. These life stages include growth, gestation, lactation, and maintenance. Check with your vet if weaning your pup is a better idea given its breed and health.
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