When it comes to puppy nutrition, every pet parent has found themselves asking this very question—should I be feeding my pooch home-cooked meals or packaged puppy food? If you too have been debating between the two, this article is for you!
Home-cooked food vs. packaged puppy food
On the face of it, home-cooked food might seem like the healthier option. You get to pick the ingredients and have complete control of the proportions as well as the cooking process. However, unless prepared by a veterinary nutritionist, home-cooked meals are inadequate in nutrients required by your pet for healthy growth and development. Besides this, it is also important to be aware of the common kitchen ingredients that are extremely unsafe for pets like caffeine, chocolate, grapes, raisins, garlic, onions, macadamia nuts, animal bones and raw eggs.
On the other hand, packaged puppy food offers guaranteed nutrition, digestibility, safety, palatability, diversity and consistency. In fact, kibble is known to provide a better chew (as compared to soft home-cooked food) which is beneficial for dental health.
A dog’s nutritional requirement changes depending on the life stage they are in. Therefore, in order to pick the right kind of packaged food for your pooch, you need to learn the difference between puppy nutrition and adult nutrition. Mentioned below are a few factors you could consider.
3 weeks to 12 weeks
At this stage, a pup’s immune system is very delicate and this leaves them susceptible to infections. This is why they require Vitamin E to support their natural defenses. During this time, they also gain 5-10% of body weight each day over the first few weeks. DHA is another great ingredient to look out for as it helps support brain development.
Puppy food we recommend: Pedigree Mother & Babydog Starter
12 weeks to adulthood
Around this time your pup will require protein to build strong muscles, an optimal Ca:P ratio to support their bones and teeth, a blend of zinc and omega fatty acids for healthy skin and coat, as well as Vitamin E to support immunity.
Puppy food we recommend: Pedigree Puppy Chicken & Milk and if your pooch is a fussy eater or if you want to ensure they stay hydrated in the summer, Pedigree Puppy Chicken Chunks In Gravy. You could also treat your pooch to a mix of wet and dry food from time to time.
Just like in puppyhood, your pooch will need protein, antioxidants, an optimal Ca:P ratio, omega fatty acids, and zinc in the right quantities to maintain good health. They will also require dietary fibre to support digestive health.
Dog food we recommend: Pedigree Adult Chicken & Vegetables and Pedigree Adult Chicken & Liver Chunks In Gravy.
As treats are used for behaviour training, they are a very important part of a pup’s formative years. They also have a significant role in puppy nutrition; provided you pick treats that are specially made for dogs. As mentioned above, food meant for humans can be very unsafe for dogs. Therefore, avoid using the biscuits you eat, your leftovers or table scraps to treat your pup. Yes, this also means that you cannot give in to your pooch’s ‘puppy eyes’ or any form of begging while you are eating or snacking. There are numerous dog treats available on the market and they each serve their own purpose. So pick one depending on what you are trying to achieve.
Treats we recommend: Biscrok Biscuits for training and Dentastix for oral care.
Note: Treats are meant to supplement your pooch’s diet. Therefore, they cannot be used as meal replacements. Choose treats that are right for your dog’s age and check the back of the packaging for feeding instructions.
Dogs are creatures of habit. That’s why it is important to settle on a puppy food brand that can support them through all their life stages. Besides, frequently changing your dog’s diet can also result in digestive upsets.
Just like you, Pedigree will support your furry friend right from puppyhood, through their adult life and also as a senior. With Pedigree, you can be assured of complete and balanced nutrition for your pooch, at every step of the way!