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Dog Food: The Growing Puppy
Dog Food: The Growing Puppy
After the puppy has been weaned, he can begin to learn how to handle and digest different types of new foods. During the next 12 to 18 months of his life, he will continue to learn how to cope with the variety of new foods he eats. For the first six to eight months of that period the puppy will be both growing and using nutrients and energy at an incredible rate. If a food is fed containing ingredients to which a puppy is not used to or nutrients that are difficult to digest, he may be unable to obtain sufficient nutrients and energy to sustain his rapid growth. In such cases the puppies are usually stunted.
In addition, foods containing too many ingredients which the puppy has not yet learned to digest can cause another problem called "hurry diarrhea". When a dog owner gets in too big a hurry to feed adult dog food to a puppy, excessive amounts of indigestible materials are usually introduced into the puppy's digestive tract. These materials irritate the sensitive intestine of the inexperienced puppy and produce a diarrhea.
Formulating a suitable diet for a puppy is one of the most important steps in starting a dog's life. The only source of nourishment a rapidly growing puppy receives comes exclusively from what his owner provides him. His health and growth will be a reflection of how well the owner is doing his job. If you provide your pet with poor materials during this building period your puppy will be destined to carry inferior parts for the rest of its life.
A growing puppy needs twice as much energy and nutrients as an adult dog. Simply feeding him twice as much as an adult dog's food is not enough, however. The energy and nutrients must be in a form that is digestible by the puppy's inexperienced and sensitive digestive tract. However, as the puppy grows older, the diet can include foods that are more and more difficult for a dog to digest. Continue to feed your growing puppy the same food that was used to wean him, but gradually add additional foods to train the puppy's inexperienced digestive system. Just as the food fed to an adult is not suitable for a puppy, the food fed to a puppy is not suitable for an adult dog.
By the time the puppy has reached maturity, his digestive system should be thoroughly trained to handle all of the foods it will be fed during his adult life. Generally, canned and soft-moist foods contain ingredients of higher digestibility than dry foods. Canned foods are usually more suitable to feed to growing puppies than soft-moist foods. There are exceptions, however, and a few dry foods containing easily digestible nutrients are much better for feeding fast growing puppies than numerous canned foods containing poorly digestible nutrients.
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