A Guide to Expert Puppy Nutrition: Birth to Adulthood

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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 dog food? When is my pooch ready for solid food? Do I stick to the same food throughout my pooch’s life? If you too have been going in circles over these questions, read ahead because this article is for you!

Home-cooked food vs. packaged puppy dog food

On the face of it, home-cooked dog 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 dog 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 dog food) which is beneficial for dental health.

A dog’s nutritional requirement differs depending on its size and the life stage they are in. Puppies are vulnerable and have unique needs. Hence they benefit most from quality puppy dog food with good ingredients like Pedigree® PRO. Made with superior ingredients, high protein, and an adapted kibble size, Pedigree® PRO helps meet the special needs of puppies, adult dogs, and senior dogs. 

So let’s delve into what to feed a puppy at every stage…

0 to 3 weeks

Puppies should consume their mother’s milk for the first 3 weeks of their life. For the next two weeks after that, they can be offered a bit of puppy dog food, but their mom still needs to be feeding puppies most of their nutrition. From the age of 6 weeks onwards, they can start to eat part of their meals on their own and get part of their nutrients from their mother's milk. By 8 weeks, they can get most of their nutrition by themselves from puppy dog food. It’s important for a puppy’s development to get its mother’s milk in this initial stage. It builds their immune system and helps them get the right nutrients which set the stage for long-term health. 

3 weeks to 12 weeks

At this stage, a pup’s immune system is very delicate which makes them susceptible to infections and loose stools. Pedigree® PRO Mother & Pup Starter is therefore formulated with Colostrum and MOS which helps to strengthen their natural defence and digestive health. Pups also gain 5-10% of their body weight each day in their first 12 weeks. Pedigree® PRO Mother & Pup Starter accounts for that with 37 essential nutrients that support growth potential. And because small breeds have a different metabolic rate than large breeds, their energy requirements are also different. That’s why Pedigree® PRO Mother & Pup Starter comes in two variants, one for small breeds and one for large breeds.

12 weeks to adulthood 

Small breed puppies such as Cocker Spaniels, Lhasa Apsos, Pugs, German Spitz, and Beagles grow faster and achieve adulthood earlier. They also have a high metabolism, which means they need more protein than adult dogs to keep up with their fast growth. At this stage, small breed puppies will do very well with Pedigree® PRO Small Breed Puppy which is formulated with quality proteins and essential nutrients to support their growth to their genetic potential. Puppies start with milk teeth, which are then replaced by adult teeth, and hence, providing them with appropriate nutrition helps them develop strong bones and teeth. Pedigree® PRO thus contains calcium and Vitamin D to support strong bones and teeth. To maintain healthy skin and coat, this formula also contains zinc and omega fatty acids.

Pedigree® PRO also offers food for large-breed puppies. Large breed puppies grow slowly as bigger bones and joints need more time to grow and develop. This tends to cause a strain on their bones and joints. Pedigree® PRO Large Breed Puppy is formulated with an adequate calcium-to-phosphorous ratio for strong bone development and glucosamine and omega fatty acids to support joint health. It also contains Prebiotic (MOS) to promote digestive health.


Large breeds reach adulthood at 18 months. At this stage they require adequate energy and nutrition to support their physical activity requirements and promote their peak life condition. Breeds like Golden Retrievers, German Shepherds, Labradors, Dobermanns & St.Bernards require energy to remain active all day long. That's why Pedigree® PRO Adult Large Breed is formulated with omega fatty acids and quality proteins to support alertness and agility. It also contains vital nutrients like magnesium, potassium, calcium, sodium, vitamins, and fatty acids to support healthy heart function. Large breeds need special care to ensure digestive health as their digestive physiology is different as compared to small breeds. Therefore, Pedigree® PRO also contains Prebiotic (MOS) to promote digestive health.

On the other hand, small breeds reach adulthood at 9 months and have very different energy requirements as compared to large breeds. Pedigree® PRO Adult Small Breed is formulated with omega fatty acids and quality protein in just the right quantities to support alertness and agility in small breeds. Small-breed dogs are also prone to oral health problems. That's why Pedigree® PRO comes with added STPP (sodium tripolyphosphate) to support dental health.

Always remember, dogs are creatures of habit. That’s why it is important to settle on a puppy dog 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® PRO will support your furry friend’s special needs right from puppyhood, through their adult life, and also as a senior. With Pedigree® PRO, you can be assured of expert nutrition for your pooch, at every step of the way!

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