Nutritional Pet Food
Dog/Cat Feeding Guide
Pet Health Guide
Dog Nutrition & Health
Low Appetite Dogs
Weaning Puppies (with puppy feeding guide)
Dog Weight and Condition
Feeding Bitches During Pregnancy
Cat Nutrition & Health
General Pet Nutrition & Health
Nutritional Pet Food / Pet Health Guide / Dog Nutrition & Health / Puppy Nutrition
The growth period is the most important stage in a dog's life. For a puppy to develop healthily he requires a diet that provides optimal levels of the nutrients required for growth, and sufficient calories to maintain his energy requirements. Puppies have greater structural and functional demands upon their bodies, a faster metabolic rate, and a subsequently higher need for calories than an adult dog of the same weight. This is why diets formulated for the early growth period have a higher energy density. You’ll also see if you look at our feeding guidelines that in some cases the volumes of food do drop as the puppy gets older. As the pup grows and gets heavier, these figures tend to balance themselves out, but the reductions occur because a 10kg pup of 5 months who still has a lot of upward growth to complete would need more calories than an older pup of equivalent weight who has little further sprouting left to go.
Nutrition is not only a vital contributing factor to the dog’s outward appearance, but also can affect general demeanor and temperament. A hungry dog or one suffering pain from developmental growth defects as a result of inadequate nutrition is likely to be far less easy to handle and train. Over-nutrition can be equally detrimental, with problems most frequently arising from the supplementation of an already complete diet with mineral and/or calorie-rich foods, and free-feeding or over-feeding.
Too much food can manifest in bone disease, loose stools and over-exuberance as a result of too much fuel for energy. Feeding a super-premium quality complete food such as Arden Grange reduces the risk of over or under-nutrition as every recipe contains not only the essential nutrients for controlled and healthy growth, but many safe and natural healthcare supplements that may optimise your puppy’s overall general health and well-being.
A puppy requires a balanced diet that provides optimal levels of protein, fat, carbohydrate, fibre, vitamins, minerals and water. Whilst each nutrient can be evaluated as a single entity, it is also important to remember that the calorie content of the food will affect the true amount of each that is ingested in milligrams or grams per day. The quality and digestibility of every ingredient are also important, as is the proportion of each in relation to the other nutrients in the food. The Arden Grange Weaning Puppy and Puppy Junior (for small and medium breeds) are energy-dense to ensure that the immature digestive system is not over-worked with large quantities of food. During early growth, the digestive system is at its most sensitive. It is important to choose a very highly digestible food that will ensure balanced intestinal flora and a regular intestinal transit resulting in firm stools. Arden Grange Weaning Puppy, Puppy Junior and Puppy Junior Large Breed contain fresh chicken, chicken meal and egg - providing protein of a high biological value that is extremely palatable, easily digested and efficiently metabolised. The balanced minerals and micro-minerals ensure efficient function of all the metabolic processes, whilst the inclusion of prebiotics, nucleotides and powerful natural antioxidants may provide further benefit to the digestive and immune systems.
The Puppy Junior Large Breed is lower in calories to help to reduce the risk of developmental bone disease associated with over-nutrition in large and giant breeds, and to help promote a slow and steady rate of growth over a longer period of time.
Every recipe in the Arden Grange Growth Range has been specially formulated to meet the increased nutritional demands of the developing dog. The weight of large breed puppies such as the German Shepherd increases 70 to 90-fold from birth during a growth period lasting up to 12 months. This long period means the puppy needs a controlled energy intake food with a moderate fat content to guarantee ossification of the skeleton without excessive weight gain. The unique Arden Grange ‘Bone Plus’ icon guarantees a balanced calcium : phosphorous ratio and the correct levels of vitamins to aid bone development and growth. The correct calcium : phosphorous ratio is essential for healthy structure and strength of teeth and bones, whilst calcium is also necessary for the normal clotting of blood and for nerve and muscle function. Skeletal health is further promoted by the addition of Glucosamine, Chondroitin and MSM.
Many owners are unsure as to when to change their puppy from a growth diet to an adult recipe. Arden Grange advises that as with any dietary adjustment, changes should always be made gradually. This enables the digestive system to adapt to the new nutrient balance, ingredients and volume of food. As a guideline, it is recommended that when a puppy reaches his optimal skeletal height (i.e. he is as tall as he will be as an adult), then an adult food will be suitable. There is naturally a huge variation between breeds, with larger breeds maturing much more slowly than miniature, toy and small breeds. There is also a difference in developmental rates between every dog as an individual which will be dependent upon genetic build, metabolism and digestion. If in doubt it is sensible to contact the breeder of your puppy, your vet or our nutrition advisers.
Hints & Tips
- Weigh your puppy regularly so that you can ensure that his food intake is appropriate.
- If you are not sure if your puppy still has some upward growth to complete once he is older, use a tape measure to measure his height at the withers. You can then compare this to the breed standard. Obviously this is going to be trickier with cross-breeds! If you measure him again in 2 weeks, you can then easily tell whether any further growth has occurred.
- Poo watching is one of the best ways to check the feed volume is suitable. If the stools are normal in the morning but get progressively looser throughout the day, it may be a sign that he is getting a little too much food (although this can be indicative of other problems too, so do watch carefully and seek veterinary advice if a small food reduction doesn’t improve the situation).
- If you need to make any changes to the feed volume, be it more or less, do it gradually. The immature digestive system and small stomach mean that large increases can be too much to cope with if undertaken suddenly. Rapid large decreases can result in a hungry pup who may indulge in some antisocial behaviours such as stool eating (coprophagia), begging and bin-raiding.
- To soak or not to soak? We recommend that the majority of the dry kibble is lightly soaked with a little warm water for about 20-30 minutes for younger pups. This softens the food and makes the initial work of the digestive enzymes easier. It also brings out the aromas of the food, and a soft texture is usually more appealing when a pup is teething. For large and giant breeds, we recommend soaking the food throughout adulthood, particularly if the dog is a fast eater. This helps to deter the natural heavy thirst that occurs after a dry meal. A belly full of water on top of a full stomach may well increase the risk of bloat. Do take care not to soak the food for overly long periods otherwise it may be subject to bacterial or mycotoxin growth, especially if it is left somewhere warm or the weather is hot.
- Frequency of feeding – We’d initially suggest following the breeder’s instructions as puppies develop at different rates. A Jack Russell for example will be almost fully grown by 6 months of age, whilst a giant breed will develop for much longer! As a general guide, younger puppies up to 12 weeks will thrive on 4 meals per day. From 12 weeks to 6 months we’d suggest 3 meals per day. Small frequent feeds give the digestive system less work to do at any one time, keep the digestive enzymes ticking over nicely and help to maintain stable blood sugar levels. These are by no means hard and fast rules, as much depends on the individual’s appetite and rate of development. We recommend twice daily feeding for adults, although dogs with digestive problems may benefit from more frequent mealtimes.