Proper nutrition begins in puppyhood. Up to adulthood, puppies go through different growth patterns, depending on the breed. The following applies: Smaller breeds have a slower growth rate than medium to large breeds. Small breeds are often fully grown by the time they are eight months old, whereas large breeds are not fully grown until they are over two years old. The quality of the food and the right amount of food are particularly important for the healthy growth of your puppy. The growing dog needs a food that provides it with sufficient energy and an optimal mix of nutrients.

Special puppy food is ideal for this purpose and is given to the young dog until it is about one and a half years old. The food is specially adapted to the needs of growing dogs.

What do growing puppies need?

Up to the third week, puppies only consume rich mother’s milk, which contains all the important nutrients, vitamins and minerals. After that, puppy food may be added to cover the increased nutritional requirements. In the eighth to tenth week, the puppies are weaned from their mother’s milk and only puppy food is given in the bowl.

Reputable breeders and shelters only place puppies after they have been weaned from their mother’s milk and give the new owners a good portion of the puppy food they are used to for the period of acclimatisation.

How often do I need to feed my puppy?

You should feed your puppy three to four times a day until about six months of age. After that, two to three portions throughout the day are sufficient until your little friend is almost an adult. Adult dogs do best with one to two meals a day. Of course, every dog has different preferences and needs. Here, it is important to observe your own dog closely and develop the ideal approach. For large breeds, continue to feed twice a day to counteract the possible risk of stomach overload or gastritis. Also remember to give a rest period after each meal.

What do I need to consider for small breed puppies?

Puppies need about a year to grow up – and you shouldn’t waste this time with poor quality food or the wrong puppy diet. Puppies need energy, minerals and protein. However, an overdose of these can be harmful. Too much energy accelerates the growth process and impairs the development of bones, ligaments, tendons and joints. These are often overloaded by the strong weight gain. Well-intentioned supplementary feeding of vitamins and food supplements is also unnecessary and even harmful if you give high-quality puppy food. High-quality products contain everything your dog needs during the growth phase. You should also keep this in mind when giving treats.

What do I need to consider for large breed puppies?

Most dogs have already reached half of their final weight by the time they are four months old and keep up this growth rate for at least the first year of their life. Large breeds do not even come off the growth accelerator until they are about 18 months old. A Great Dane does not reach its final weight until it is two years old – and it needs this time. Excessive food and thus energy accelerates growth and can lead to joint and bone problems later on. Calcium, for example, is very important for bone structure, but is already contained in sufficient quantities in high-quality puppy or young dog food for large breeds.

Many owners of large breeds feed adult food directly because they fear that the high energy content of the puppy food could accelerate the growth of the large puppy too much. However, they also deprive the dog of important other building blocks of the puppy food, which are also contained in a reduced amount in the adult food. Ideally, large breeds should be fed a special puppy food for large breeds until they are just over one year old (very large breeds even up to two years).

How can I make puppy milk myself?

Sometimes it is not possible for puppies to be supplied by their mother’s milk. Perhaps the dog has died or there is some other emergency. Then it is necessary to raise the puppy by hand. It is strongly discouraged to make your own puppy milk with questionable recipes. Special puppy milk containing all the essential nutrients is available from reputable pet stores like Maxi Zoo.

Puppy feeding at a glance

As puppies are growing, they need balanced, high-quality puppy food as a basis for a healthy dog’s life. The amount fed should be based on the size and nutritional requirements of the growing puppy.

Puppy feeding – All the facts at a glance:

– Dry food:

Easy to portion; less spoilage in summer; less odour; no canned waste.

– Wet food:

Assists with extra water intake; better to hide medicine.

– Mixed feeding:

Alternate dry and wet food: For the first 1-2 weeks after the puppy has moved in, refrain from changing the food and continue with the usual food.

– Feed frequency:

At least three small meals instead of a few large ones

If a new pet has joined your family you need to be perfectly equipped from the start to ensure they can settle in to their new life easily.

Maxi Zoo are on hand with our new pet starter kits for every kind of pet.  You can find out more information about them here. Our store staff are available to give customised advice so you choose the perfect product for your new arrival, and you can get 10% off* your starter kit when you visit your local Maxi Zoo store, find yours here.