By Guest Writer, Jackie Edwards

For many people, a puppy is the best present in the world – and this is especially true in the US. America is the country with the highest pet dog population in the whole world (there are around 68 million dogs in total) so we seriously love our pooches!

If you have just bought a puppy, you have a lot to consider. From puppy proofing your home to buying dog food, there are a few essential steps you need to take – and right now, you may be thinking all dog food is the same. However this isn’t the case at all; food that is made for puppies is very different to food for older dogs, and this is because brain, bone and organ development is very rapid for puppies. For this reason, you need to make sure that you feeding your dog the right food at the right time. Here is a full guide to feeding your puppy during the first year of its life.

Nutrients your puppy needs

Puppies need lots of nutrients to help their brains and organs to grow. They need higher levels of fat, protein, calcium, and phosphorus than older dogs, which is hard to find in standard human foods. This is the reason why it is best to feed your puppy with dog food that is made for dogs aged under one year old, as this will give them all of the nutrients they need.

Setting a feeding schedule

For the first three months, your puppy will be growing rapidly, so it is important to make sure that they have enough food. Most people buy their pups at about a month old when they are able to start eating semi-solid foods. Make sure you put moist or semi-moist food out four times a day so that they are eating enough, but put less food out if you sense that they are overeating.

At four months you can reduce this to three meals a day, and then at six months, you can move this down to twice a day. At this point the most important thing is to monitor your puppies weight; they should be growing quickly, but they shouldn’t be gaining too much fat. This is very important as the main reason for dog obesity is overfeeding, which can result in bone problems further down the line, so it is essential to make sure you are feeding your dog the right amount! You can stick with a regulated puppy feeding plan until your pup reaches 12 months, and then you can consider moving on to adult food.

Should you feed your pup human food?

Lots of dog owners like the idea of feeding their dog human food, but in reality, human food shouldn’t make up more than 10% of your dog’s diet. This is because the food you buy will meet all of your dog’s nutritional needs, and food for humans could upset their nutritional balance. If you do decide to give your canine companion the occasional treat, stick to healthy foods like lean white meat and carrots.

It is important to set a proper diet for your puppy. This will ensure that they get the right nutrients that they need to grow without becoming fat or unhealthy.

About Jackie: Now working as a writer, Jackie initially trained and worked as a vet’s nurse, but after becoming a mom refocused and decided to spend more time with her family. When she’s not writing, she volunteers for a number of animal welfare charities and also has a menagerie of pets to look after.

Photo by nomao saeki on Unsplash