picture of dog on grass

Puppy Nutrition: The Dos And Don'ts

picture of dog on grass

There's nothing wrong with exposing your dog to both food types, as canned food increases their daily water intake while dry food is denser in nutrition. 

Dogs are incredible creatures that undoubtedly improve the quality of your life once they become your best friend. Furthermore, having a furry canine helps with your blood pressure, feelings of loneliness, and cholesterol level; they're like mini doctors. 

However, before fully enjoying the many emotional and health benefits of having a dog, you should prioritize their nutrition from puppyhood. Proper puppy nutrition and care directly affect your pet's health even to adulthood. 

For this reason, this article will shed more light on puppy nutrition, what you should and shouldn't feed your dog, and other important factors.

1. Puppy Nutritional Requirements

Like humans, the growth phase of puppies requires a strict set of essential nutrients, including vitamins, minerals, proteins, essential fatty acids, and amino acids. Since growth is one of the puppy's most demanding stages of life, these required nutrients aren't optional and must be present in whatever pet food you buy.

Fortunately, meeting your puppy's nutritional demand isn't tricky since commercial dog food has a nutritional adequacy indicator on the label. This portion reveals whether the meal is intended for dogs that are either growing, lactating, gestation, or adult dogs needing maintenance. 

Therefore, you can safely feed your puppy a complete and balanced diet thanks to these commercial dog foods. They contain all the nutrients needed to carry your beloved canine through the growth stage. 

2. Type of Food

dog eating from food bowl

Dog foods come in two forms, dry kibble and wet food (also known as canned food), and you have to decide which option is best for your pet. It's worth mentioning that there's research stating either option is the most optimal for a puppy's food intake; it all depends on your preference. 

Nevertheless, many dog owners choose dry puppy foods since they are less expensive to acquire, more convenient, and don't need constant refrigeration. It's perfect for minimalists. 

On the other hand, wet food contains more moisture, making it useful for increasing your dog's water intake regularly. Additionally, since a large part of the canned puppy food is occupied by water, it has fewer calories per 100 grams. 

These fewer calories per gram make it ideal for satisfying puppies with a large appetite without quickly becoming overweight.

While either option is good for your dog, there's nothing wrong with exposing them to both food types, as canned food increases their daily water intake while dry food is denser in nutrition. 

Furthermore, your dog can mature into a picky eater and may stick to either wet foods or dry kibble. Nevertheless, either option is ideal for giving your puppy healthy growth. 

3. Giving Treats

While you're expected to give your puppy a balanced diet, some occasions can compel you to provide treats. For example, training your dog to perform tricks and rewarding them with treats helps solidify the training. 

Fortunately, handling treats with your puppy isn't a tricky task since the important thing is reading how many calories are packed in one treat. Furthermore, it's worth emphasizing that treats shouldn't make up more than 10% of how much food your puppy consumes. 

For example, if your puppy needs 1000 calories daily, 900 should come from a balanced diet consisting of the necessary vitamins, minerals, proteins, essential fatty acids, and amino acids. 

The other 100 can come from treats of any kind; however, you can also use dry kibble as treats for your dog. This ensures they're getting their necessary nutrients from only puppy food. 

4. Puppy Feeding Management

Puppy feeding management involves the method you employ to provide your puppy with proper nourishment. The two common methods include:

  • Free feeding

Also known as graze feeding involves giving your beloved puppy free access to food for large portions of the day or all day. While this method may be difficult to monitor how much food your dog consumes, it helps your canine determine their puppy feeding schedule. 

Additionally, observations show that free feeding your puppy makes house training more challenging. Therefore, it's not a strategy recommended in a multi-pet household, except these dogs are trained separately. 

  • Meal feeding

Unlike free feeding, this option involves providing balanced puppy food for your dog at specific times of the day. This method allows you to fully control how much your beloved pet consumes, set a proper feeding schedule, and easily house train them.  

The only noteworthy drawback of this puppy feeding management is how frequently you must prepare these meals. Essentially, a puppy has a smaller stomach than an adult dog, requiring smaller portions frequently (3 to 4 times daily).  

Once they mature, you can switch to larger portions less frequently with adult dog food

5. Meal Portion Size

Picture of dog food bowl

As previously mentioned, your dog needs a specific type and amount of nutrition to grow into a healthy canine that consumes adult food. However, without properly gauging the meal portions, you can easily overfeed your puppy and bring them closer to obesity.  

Fortunately, some methods exist to ensure the amount of food you give your puppy is sufficient to fuel their growth into adulthood. These methods include:

  • Label instructions

Pet food companies understand that you might not be experts regarding dog nutrition, so they include feeding instructions on the labels. These recommendations are based on your dog's weight, whether they're a small or large breed puppy.  

Nevertheless, this method is an effective way to understand the average requirement of your puppy. However, since they sometimes overestimate the amount of food your puppy needs, we recommend reducing the size of it too much. 

  • Calculate

On the other hand, you can opt for a more analytical approach by calculating how much food your puppy needs. Your veterinarian can help calculate your dog's calorie requirement per day by considering its weight and age.  

It's also worth mentioning that your puppy’s energy requirements will change as they grow and mature. Therefore, you'll need to keep adjusting this daily calorie requirement until adulthood. 


Remember that owning a pet is like having a child; it's not easy. Therefore, it's normal to feel confused and not know everything; that's why we recommend seeking to return to our page for reliable health tips for visiting a veterinarian. Nevertheless, this guide is sufficient to get you started properly nourishing your puppy.

Try A PuppyPad

Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.