Perfect Puppy Care Book – Chapter 5 – Feeding Your Puppy (Part 2)
Chapter 5 – Feeding Your Puppy (Part 2)
There can be a lot of things listed on a dog food label. Are all of them really necessary for your puppy’s health? Start by understanding the basic nutrients that your puppy needs for good health.
Protein is one of the most important nutrients in your puppy’s diet. Identifying good proteins is a way to differentiate between quality dog foods and poor ones. The building blocks that make up protein, called amino acids, are necessary for your puppy’s growth and development and play an important role in her immune system.
Meat is a desirable protein. Look for meat as the first ingredient on your food label’s list, but realize that there are different levels of meat quality. The highest quality is plain meat, such as chicken or lamb. The next level of meat is meal, such as chicken meal or lamb meal. The next level of meat is by-products, such as turkey byproducts, chicken by-products, or lamb by-products.
In general, puppies need higher amounts of protein than do adult dogs. Some debate exists about how much is necessary, though. Some researchers believe that high-protein diets can interfere with a dog’s ability to absorb tryptophan, an amino acid that helps the body produce serotonin. Serotonin is a chemical that acts as a calming agent in the brain. If you have a fearful or aggressive puppy, or if you find that she is very hyper, you may want to consider feeding her a lower amount of protein. In general, puppies do well with 21 percent to 28 percent protein. Very high-protein diets (35 percent to 40 percent) are for working dogs and are not necessary for the average household puppy.
Carbohydrates give your puppy energy. Common carbohydrates in puppy food are rice, millet, barley, corn, and oats. Be wary of dog foods that list carbohydrates first in their lists of ingredients or that use them as fillers. Dog foods with a lot of carbohydrates also can lead to obesity because your puppy will store the excess as fat in her body.
Your puppy needs fats to be healthy. If she doesn’t get enough fat, she could get dandruff and a dry coat. However, as with any foods, there is such a thing as too much. Too much fat in her diet could lead to pancreatitis, a severe and sometimes life-threatening disease.
Look for ingredients that list specific fats, such as flaxseed oil, rather than just “animal fat.”
Vitamins and Minerals
Vitamins and minerals help with digestion, muscle and bone growth and function, healthy skin and fur, the metabolism of fats, proteins, and carbohydrates by the body, and more.
Water is necessary for life. Always make sure that your puppy has access to fresh, clean water. Wash her water bowl daily with warm, soapy water.
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