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How To Feed a Puppy - How To Choose the Best Puppy Food

Hi, I'm Dr. Katy Nelson for Iams with Howdini.

Today we're going to talk about dog nutrition and what

you should look for in your puppy's food.

Just like infants, puppies require different levels of

nutrients than older dogs.

Physically puppies grow fastest during

the first six months.

The right nutrition is critical to

support this rapid growth.

That said, your puppy should only receive premium puppy

food until he reaches his adult height and weight.

That's typically in the first year for small and medium

breeds and can be up to two years for

large and giant breeds.

One more thing to consider is that a puppy's energy

requirements can be nearly twice that of an adult dog.

And since their stomachs are smaller they need more

nutritionally dense food formulated just for puppies to

help them meet their energy needs.

There are three types of food.

Dry kibble.

Semi-moist, which comes in sealed packages.

And moist, or canned.

Most veterinarians and trainers recommend dry kibble

food because of its fat content and the fact that

moist food can spoil.

Dry kibble also helps with tartar control which is

particularly important for his developing teeth.

When you're shopping for food, there a couple of things you

want to look for and keep in mind.

Number one, look on the label for a statement that says

formulated to meet the nutritional levels established

by the AAFCO dog food Nutrient Profiles for Growth.

Number two, read the ingredients list on the back

of the package and look for real meat as the first

ingredient.

Puppies grow the fastest during the first

six months of life.

And because growth rates differ among breed sizes, you

need to feed a formula designed to address the needs

of your puppy's breed and size.

Ideally, puppy food should also contain animal-based

protein for strong muscles.

The protein requirement for growing poppies is higher than

that for adult dogs.

High quality protein is critical for puppies to create

new body tissue as they grow.

Calcium for strong bones and teeth.

Iron for healthy blood.

DHA for the brain, central nervous system, and vision.

DHA is a key ingredient found naturally in mother's milk and

is important for a baby's neural development.

Just like a baby, your puppy's ability to learn depends on

healthy brain development.

Probiotics for a healthy immune system, because 65% of

your puppy's immune system is in its digestive tract.

And high in calories for all the energy a puppy burns.

The nutritional needs for puppies differ for different

breeds sizes.

Large breed puppies grow more quickly.

Because of that, they actually need less calcium so their

bones don't grow too fast. Medium breed dogs need a

careful balance of calories and nutrients to be sure that

they don't gain excess weight.

While small breed puppies need nutrient dense food in small

bites because their metabolism tends to be faster.

and they have different energy needs than larger dogs.

Another important thing to know is that what is good for

humans is not necessarily good for animals.

Because proper nutrition is critical for optimal

development, and because human food doesn't offer the proper

balance of nutrients puppies need, it is important teach

your whole family that feeding your puppy or your dog table

scraps is a big no-no and a major health hazard.

Now let's talk about feeding schedules.

Just like babies, puppies do best on a regular schedule.

Schedules teach them that there are times to eat, times

to play, and times to potty.

Obviously the feeding schedule will largely be dictated by

your own personal schedule.

But no matter what, it is critical that puppies younger

than four months be feed multiple times per day.

Depending on your puppies breed size at around six

months you can start to limit feelings to twice a day.

Also keep in mind that eating is soon followed by the urge

to go to the bathroom.

If you work away from your house and are unable to feed

and walk your puppy as often as needed, think hiring a dog

walker or ask a neighbor to help you keep your puppy on

his schedule.

For more information on house training, watch "How to house

train your puppy."

Another important nutritional determinant is how much you

were supposed to feed your developing puppy.

Even though the back of the puppy food bags usually have

suggested portion sizes based on weight, they are not always

right for your puppy.

So it's best to pay attention to your puppy's body and talk

to your veterinarian.

Remember a fat puppy is not necessarily a healthy puppy.

Just as childhood obesity can lead to adult health issues in

humans, monitoring a puppy's weight is very important to

ensure proper development.

Treats are another food source to consider when determining

portion size.

It is important to limit treating to less than 10% of

your puppy's daily caloric intake.

When selecting treats, hard chew treats are ideal because

they improve dental health through gnawing.

Also try to save treating for training sessions to reward

good behavior, but be careful not to overdo it.

For more information on training, watch our video

"Puppy training basics."

The last part of puppy nutrition we are going to talk

about is water.

Puppies need fresh, clean water available at all times.

Like us, is their most important nutrient.

You should change your puppy's water often, at

least once a day.

Providing fresh, clean water greatly reduces the risk of

disease, and therefore keeps your pet happy and healthy.

I'm Dr. Katy Nelson for Iams with Howdini.

And I hope that you found this helpful as you welcome your

new addition into your family.

For more information on puppy care and training, visit

iams.com/puppy.