The scientific point of view: Feeding Puppies – Less is often more!

Puppy owners naturally want to see their baby grow into a handsome, strong and active adult dog. But often this involves too much of a good thing: Home-mixed food rations, giving powders and tablets – some dog owners even resort to an injection for an extra portion of vitamins. Unfortunately some things are not only unnecessary but can be harmful to the growing dog. Many growth problems are caused by over-feeding.


Puppies growing into an adult dog is one of nature’s top performances: In just twelve months this little creature increases its weight many times. The energy and building blocks needed for this enormous growth are provided by the daily food intake. This means that the quality of the food absolutely determines the “quality of the body”, i.e. the dog’s health. Of course, all ingredients must be carefully balanced.

Three components are of particular importance for healthy growth

Protein contains amino acids, important as body building blocks. As the body cannot utilise all amino acids equally well, puppy food should contain appropriately high quality, i.e. animal protein. If this type of protein is also easily digestible, the body will be able to use these building blocks optimally and grow properly.

Minerals are not only important for the skeletal system but are also needed by many metabolic functions. As minerals interact, any deficiency or excess of one mineral can affect growth. This is why balanced puppy food should not be mixed with other ingredients such as fresh meat as the high phosphorus content of the meat may cause a calcium deficiency which in turn could lead to rickets (the bone becomes soft and brittle). Supplementing industrially prepared puppy food with mineral preparations (such as bone meal) is equally harmful. Excess calcium makes the bones too “hard” and results in severe growth problems.

The energy content of the food affects how fast the puppy grows. As a matter of principle, less is more. Only if the body is given enough time to grow, will it develop into a strong and fully developed adult. If the energy intake of a young dog is too high, i.e. by giving too much or too energy-rich food, he will grow too fast promoting joint malposition and/or insufficient hardness of bones or cartilages. This quick growth will not make the dog larger or stronger, as the adult size is genetically determined and not affected by the type of food.


Juvenile dogs needs extremely high quality food specially formulated for the puppy’s needs (such as Select Gold Junior).In case of large breeds, the food ration should be determined using growth tables. Even the best quality food can cause growth problems if you feed too much of it.

Call into your local Maxi Zoo store today to discuss your family’s personal needs with our Pet Experts.