What To Feed Your New Puppy

In my humble opinion, there is no better sound than the pitter-patter of new puppy paws in your home. However, these tail-wagging, bundles of joy can often bring both beautiful chaos and a steep learning curve. I frequently have new puppy owners come to me quite overwhelmed with getting all the toileting, training, and lead walking right. I usually advise that these things will develop in time with a little work and a lot of patience. What is crucial to bed down from the start is their nutrition, as a high-quality, well-balanced diet orchestrates a symphony of physiological processes critical for optimal growth, development, and vitality for a long and healthy life.

Before we take a deep dive into the puppy particulars, it is important to note they have unique nutritional requirements compared to adult dogs.

During their rapid growth and development phase, puppies require a diet rich in high-quality protein, essential fats, and a specific balance of vitamins and minerals. Like their domesticated adult equivalents, puppies are facultative carnivores, meaning they should be consuming a high-meat diet with a small amount of carbohydrates which they have evolved to be able to digest. The critical point here is that carbohydrates should be a small component as dogs are metabolically adapted to use fat as their primary energy source and are less efficient at obtaining energy from carbohydrates.

Despite this, many commercial puppy foods are high in carbohydrates as well as fillers and gelling agents which can cause digestive issues. Instead, an optimal puppy diet should mimic what nature intended and revolve around animal-based protein sources. Luckily, we have brands like K9 Natural leading the charge with their Feast range an excellent example of setting your puppy up to thrive.

The foundation of every growing puppy’s diet is the requisite macronutrient, protein.

High-quality dietary proteins and their amino acids are the building blocks of life; driving muscle development, tissue growth, and strong immune function. They are pivotal to overall health. Recognising this, K9 Natural’s Feast range offers diets comprised of 90%+ New Zealand meat, fish, and organs, providing an optimal source of proteins and essential amino acids during this metabolically demanding time.

As aforementioned, dietary fat is a vital energy source for dogs, and never more so than during puppydom, where growth and development cause energy demands to skyrocket.

Not to mention all those ZOOMIES! Dietary fats such as Omega-3 and Omega-6 essential fatty acids are also fundamental in puppy development, such as cognitive function, vision, skin and coat health, and fortifying the developing cardiovascular system.

Recognising their importance, K9 Natural’s Feast range is rich in essential fatty acids derived from sustainably caught fish and grass-fed meat and organs, which contain higher Omega-3 fatty acids than non-grass-fed ingredients.

With their fish-based ingredients, Hoki & Beef Feasts and Lamb & King Salmon Feasts are particularly good choices for growing pups. However, if fishy flavours aren’t your puppy’s preference, all K9 Natural Feasts include New Zealand Green Lipped Mussels, a potent source of Omega-3s, including the powerhouses EPA and DHA, ensuring optimal cognitive development for your puppy.

Whilst excessive carbohydrates are not optimal for a growing puppy, appropriate amounts in the diet provide dietary fibre, critical to digestion, and the foundation for a diverse and healthy microbiome. Furthermore, the inclusion of ingredients such as broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, pumpkin, apple, and pear in the K9 Natural Feast range provides powerful phytonutrients and antioxidants.

Often lost in a conversation focused on macros, vitamins and minerals are the unsung superheroes of optimal puppy nutrition.

Elemental in various physiological functions, the correct and complete balance of vitamins and minerals is critical for a healthy puppy. Vitamin A is necessary for vision and immune function, Vitamin D promotes calcium absorption and bone health, whilst calcium and phosphorous themselves are fundamental in proper skeletal development. Unique to dogs, there are also different requirements for different size dogs. Large breed puppies need controlled levels of calcium and phosphorous to support controlled healthy bone development, especially during the rapid growth phase. Getting this wrong can increase the risk of skeletal abnormalities.

Whilst this can seem daunting, all K9 Natural Feasts are formulated to meet the AAFCO dog food nutrient profiles to be suitable as a complete and balanced meal for ALL sizes of puppies, and all stages of a dog’s life for that matter!

Now, finally, let’s talk about taste.

Palatability is SO important when it comes to puppy food as even the most optimised diet is ineffective if it just gets pushed around the food bowl. With the high meat and fat content, the K9 Natural Feast range is decidedly delectable, and all come in both a Freeze-Dried and Canned format. Highly nutritious and utterly delicious, it doesn’t get much better!

I have been feeding K9 Natural Feasts to Albus since he was a pup…. he is now six and absolutely PERFECT…. the proof is in the pudding!

Written by Dr. Josie Gollan

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