Do Puppies Really Need Puppy Food?
Puppies start to eat solid food at about three to four weeks old; before that, their mother’s milk is the only food they will need. If the mother is ill, does not produce enough milk, or the puppy is an orphan, then a milk replacer will have to be found. The vet will be the best person to ask about what would be the best kind.
No real need for puppy food…
When they are able to eat solids, the best way to wean puppies from milk is to give them small amounts of dog food for a couple of weeks to get their systems used to the new form. In general, puppies do quite well with regular dog food as long as it is soft and small enough for them to eat. This is why there is dog food labeled “for all life stages;” if puppies absolutely needed puppy food this wouldn’t be possible. According to www.theruggedpup.com, the ideal thing is to give extra protein as a supplement to make it a puppy diet as puppies are going through a phase of rapid development. If an adult dog needs about 18% protein in their diet, puppies need 28%. Adding in well-cooked and flaked meat such as chicken or lamb to regular dog food should do the trick.
…but no harm either
Of course, good quality puppy food will already have the correct protein percentage, but they are also significantly more expensive than the adult variety even for the same brand. Moreover, if there is more than one dog in the house, it is next to impossible to segregate the food as dogs have a tendency to want what is on the bowl of the others. It is also a hassle to buy different types of dog food, when in 6 month’s time or so it won’t matter anyway.
It is also important to note that breed-specific dog food – better yet, breed-specific puppy dog food — is just good marketing. There is no magic formula that will ensure the health of specific breeds; in all likelihood, they are all exactly the same. As long as it is grain-free, meaty, and has fats, vitamins and minerals with no artificial preservatives, flavors or colors, then that is the dog food for puppies. Remember, there are many foods dogs cannot eat no matter which life stage they’re in. Avoid feeding dogs chocolate, as it is toxic to them.