The ultimate guide on what to feed your new puppy
AWhether you’re a first time ‘paw’rent, or you’ve been down this road before, caring for a new fur baby can feel overwhelming. What should I feed them? And how much? How often are we talking here?
These are common questions, as are the wealth of exciting new feelings and concerns that you may find popping up in the first few weeks of puppy parenthood.
To help you navigate these, and centre yourself in good nutritional science, we’ve created a little guide for you to check out below.
What should I look for in puppy food?
Despite what your new pup may tell you, a hunk of steak with a side of chicken breast (served five times daily) is not the key to their perfect meal. And the fact of the matter is, there’s no one size fits all regimen. To craft the right mix, it's important to avoid either too little food (think nutrient deficiencies and stunted growth) or too much (weight gain and bone/joint dysfunction).
So that begs the question, what kind of stuff do we need to get the mix right? Check out this checklist:
To get your new pup’s meals just right, ensure that you include food that is:
* High in calories (to support high energy needs)
* High in high-quality proteins (to support high growth needs)
* Highly digestible (to promote optimal nutrient absorption and utilisation)
* Includes optimal levels of calcium and phosphorus (to support proper bone growth and development)
* Includes fatty acids, especially essential fatty acids (to support brain and eye development) Includes antioxidants such as ß-carotene, vitamin E, and selenium (to support the developing immune system)
A note on treats: We would never suggest limiting your dog’s treats (we’re not monsters!), but we think moderation is a wise idea. Keep them healthy if you can, and keep the total calorie damage to less than 10% of what your little pupper should be getting every day.
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How much should I feed my puppy?
Balance is everything when it comes to food quantity, and the scales tip between maintaining a healthy rate of growth in your pup whilst keeping weight in the healthy range.
We always recommend checking with your vet regularly to see if they have any suggestions, but at ilume we help out by providing a tailored feeding guide with every meal box to help you dial-in mealtime.
We’ve also linked a evidence-based, vet-certified puppy growth chart that you can use to check where your puppy’s weight sits against expected for their age and breed. Who would’ve thought Year 8 science would come in handy here!
The word on water: Dogs love to listen to their body, and will drink when they feel thirsty. So the best recommendation we can give is to clean and refill your fur babies water bowl regularly and as needed.
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How often should I feed my puppy?
Puppies require multiple small meals per day as their stomach isn’t able to hold too much food at a time.
As a general guide, start off with 4 meals a day for 2-3 month old puppies, reducing it to 3 meals a day for 3-6 month old puppies, and finally to 2 meals a day for puppies 6 months and older.
Irrespective of the number of meals, they should always only be fed the recommended amount of daily calories optimal for their growth. To prevent picky eating, serve their meals at the same time every day, and don’t leave the food out for more than 20 minutes.
We know you only want the best for your pup. That’s why ilume’s puppy food is formulated to be nutritionally complete and balanced, high in proteins and calories, and includes essential fatty acids and anti-oxidants. ilume’s complementary feeding guide makes it easy to know exactly how much to feed your dog.
Article credit: Written by the ilume Dog Food Nutrition and Science Team.