Your puppy’s diet

The choice of dog foods now available has never been wider and it may take some time before you finally decide on the right one for you and your puppy. Choose a healthy option, stick to the recommended daily amount (RDA) and avoid treats to give your puppy the best chance of a long and healthy life.

Dog food can found in a number of formulations, dry, canned, semi-moist, frozen and meal. Dry food has become increasingly popular because it’s so convenient. Easy to store for long periods, with minimal odour and when left in the bowl for some time, less attractive to pesky insects than wetter foods. Dry foods contain meat or meat products, vegetable and grains. Because it is relatively hard, this type of food preparation is useful for maintaining teeth in good order and results in solid faeces that are easier to bag up.

Canned foods are the granddaddies of the pre prepared dog food world. Mainly meat based with high water content. Some contain vegetables while others are combined with corn meal. The mixture is potent with high palatability. Canned foods are also very practical, but should always be combined with dry dog biscuits to maintain oral health.

Innovation is the key to business survival and manufacturers are always coming up with new products. Semi-moist foods sit somewhere between dry and canned food. These are generally packaged as individual servings and are claimed to be slow cooked to keep more of the nutrients intact.

Meal comes in the form of a hard dry crushed biscuit. This is not a complete feed, but needs to be mixed with meat. On the subject of meat, not all owners are keen on serving it, so vegetarian pre prepared options are also available. This may not suit some dogs and nutritional deficiencies can become evident. Your vet will help you deal with any issues that might arise.

During the puppy stage, your dog will be developing fast. To take advantage of this, most manufacturers have added a puppy section to their food ranges. These generally boast higher protein and fat levels than the adult formulation. So make sure you stop using specialist puppy food at the right stage to prevent overfeeding.

Overfeeding is the great scourge of our age. The UK dog population is becoming obese. Be kind to your puppy, check the food packets for instructions and follow the feeding advice to the letter.  Most dogs are extremely polite and will finish up whatever’s on their plate! It’s up to you to provide the portion control.