Feeding and Nutrition
Choosing the right food for your puppy—does it really make a difference?
Think of your puppy as a car. If you keep up with the scheduled maintenance you end up better off in the long run. It is the same with your puppy's nutrition. If you make a commitment now to feed your puppy a nutritionally sound diet with high quality ingredients it will pay off in the long run too. There are SO MANY choices when you are trying to decide what food to buy so GET EDUCATED and start putting the best fuel we can into that little engine. Here are some important facts:
- NO AAFCO IS A NO-NO. Although it may be hard to believe, the AAFCO statement simply means that they fed this particular food to a group of dogs for a designated period of time and THEY SURVIVED! This is what allows a manufacturer to say the diet is "complete and balanced for a specific life stage." This is the minimum requirement before you consider feeding your pet a certain diet. If there is not an AAFCO statement on the bag, put it back on the shelf.
- SPEAKING OF LIFE STAGES...In most situations you should follow the manufacturer's recommendations regarding feeding puppy food to puppies and senior food to seniors. However, there are literally hundreds of different niches and there seems to be a food for each one. Some pet foods are targeted to specific breeds! We will occasionally tell you to deviate from the traditional use of certain foods depending of your puppy's breed, size, and age. Together we can help you decide on a specific diet or just give you information about nutrition and your pet's needs.
- I LIKE VARIETY, WHAT ABOUT MY PUPPY? We know it goes against human nature to eat only one food day in and day out but TRUST US! In general you will have fewer problems if you pick one high-quality diet that your puppy likes and stick to it. Every time you change your puppy's food it causes rebellion in the GI tract. They are accustomer to digesting specific ingredients and when we upset that it can lead to diarrhea. The best rule is if your puppy likes it and is doing well, DON'T CHANGE IT!
- YOU GET WHAT YOU PAY FOR. Unfortunately it all boils down to dollars and cents. Cheap food contains cheap ingredients. That "protein" may change from bag to bag depending on what is cheapest at the time. What you are paying for is QUALITY and CONSISTENCY. High quality diets are extensively tested and meet rigid standards with no ingredient substitutions. Although initially higher quality foods are more expensive your puppy will eat less and produce a smaller, firmer stool. You can't go wrong with putting the best fuel into your little engine! Ask us for advice and we can help you determine if there is a cost effective food that is also better quality than your puppy's current diet. We will give you a complementary bag of Science Diet puppy food at your initial visit.
- CANNED FOOD IS 80% WATER. Although there are certainly indications for using canned food, most healthy puppies thrive on a diet of high-quality dry food. Canned or moist food is mostly water and usually not effective at controlling tarter build-up. If you want to include canned food in your puppy's diet, follow the same rules. Stick to ha high-quality food and feed only in moderation. Highly palatable (tastes great) food can lead to excessive weight gain.