Feeding Your Puppy: Pros and Cons of Canned Foods

February 26, 2023
As a dog owner with over 25 years of experience, I can attest that having a dog is one of the most wonderful things that has ever happened in my life. The companionship and joy they bring is incomparable.

As a new puppy owner, ensuring your furry friend receives proper nutrition is essential for healthy growth and development. Proper nutrition can provide your puppy with healthy bones and muscles, a shiny coat, bright eyes, and plenty of energy. This article will guide you on how to feed your puppy and provide the right nutrition, including the types of food, feeding amounts and schedules, hydration, and ideal puppy treats.

Types of Puppy Food

There are several ways to meet all of your puppy's nutritional needs, including dry, canned, raw, and natural foods. Take your time to research a good diet choice for your puppy before bringing them home. Ask your breeder or the shelter for suggestions. Most good breeders will send home some of the same food your puppy has been eating so there is no abrupt change. If the pup is coming from a shelter, ask what food they have been feeding them.

Feeding Amounts and Schedules

Establishing a regular feeding schedule is essential for your puppy's health. Your veterinarian can provide advice on a proper diet for your new family member. Animal and veterinary nutritionists, who specialize in balancing diets for pets, can also help you find the perfect foods for your puppy. A good diet will include the right amount and right balance of proteins, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals, as well as plenty of fresh water. Skimping on any of these or feeding an unbalanced ratio can lead to permanent health problems.

Keeping Your Puppy Hydrated

It's crucial to keep your puppy hydrated by providing fresh and clean water at all times. Puppies have a high metabolism, and they need more water than adult dogs to regulate their body temperature and maintain normal organ function. If your puppy is not drinking enough water, consider adding wet food or broth to their diet, which can provide additional moisture.

Ideal Puppy Treats

Puppy treats can be an excellent way to reward good behavior, but it's essential to choose the right type of treat. Avoid giving your puppy human food, which can cause digestive problems, and instead, choose commercial puppy treats made from high-quality ingredients. Look for treats that are low in calories and specifically formulated for puppies, and give them in moderation to avoid weight gain.

Canned Foods

Canned food tends to appeal to many owners, with enticing labels such as "Mom's Own Pot Roast Dinner" or "Turkey Deluxe." Canned food will provide some extra moisture if you have a pup who doesn't drink much, and canning is a very safe way to preserve most foods. Most puppies will dig right into a dish of canned food, as the smells and texture are very attractive.

The Pluses

Canned food can be excellent for enticing a finicky puppy to eat. There are many canned foods to choose from, and most are easy to find. You should be able to find a flavor your puppy likes and a brand that fits their nutritional requirements.

The Minuses

Canned foods can be quite expensive, especially for larger-size puppies. Puppies can rapidly gulp down a bowl of canned food, and they may still act hungry right after eating. Canned foods should also be balanced and complete with all the vital nutrients for all life stages, or labeled specifically for puppies. Canned foods need to be refrigerated after opening. Refrigerated food can be less palatable and may need to be warmed a bit. Canned food requires more packaging than dry food, but it can be recycled.

Know Your Labels!

When selecting food for your puppy, it's important to pay attention to the labels on the packaging. However, pet food labels can be confusing and misleading. Here are some guidelines to help you navigate them:

  • "Beef": Any food labeled as "beef" must contain at least 95% beef, not counting any water added for processing.
  • "Beef dinner": A food labeled as "beef dinner" may contain anywhere from 25% to 95% beef.
  • "Dog food with beef": A food labeled as "dog food with beef" may contain as little as 3% beef.
  • "Beef flavor": A food labeled as "beef flavor" only needs to contain enough beef to be detectable by the dog's senses.
  • It's important to note that these guidelines apply to both dry and canned pet food. By understanding these labels, you can make an informed decision about the quality and quantity of the ingredients in your puppy's food.

Protein Sources

As carnivores, dogs require a diet rich in animal protein. This means that meats of various types, eggs, and some dairy products are ideal sources of protein for your puppy. While grains can provide complete proteins, meat is the best protein source for dogs. Chicken, beef, lamb, and fish are some popular meat sources, while venison, rabbit, duck, and bison are less common.

Food Allergies

Food allergies are not very common in dogs. However, food intolerances are more prevalent and can lead to stomach upsets, gas, and diarrhea. If your puppy consistently has loose stools but no parasites, consider switching to a food with a different protein source. Often, this simple change can resolve the issue.

Food Safety

Canned foods tend to be safe due to the canning process, but it's still important to choose a safe and reliable brand. Avoid cans with dents, bulges, or cracks. Always check the expiration date, which can be on the label or the bottom of the can. When feeding your puppy canned food, always use a clean bowl and refrigerate any leftovers.

In conclusion, feeding your puppy a nutritious and balanced diet is crucial to their overall health and well-being. By understanding the various types of food available, the ideal protein sources, and how to read labels, you can provide your furry friend with the best possible nutrition. Consult your veterinarian for advice on your puppy's specific dietary needs, and always monitor their weight and overall health to ensure they are thriving.

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