Growing puppies need more fat and protein in their diets than adult dogs, which is why commercial foods contain higher amounts of these ingredients in their puppy formulas. Fats and proteins help support healthy skeletal and muscle development; without them, your pup may become malnourished. Feed your pup food formulated specifically for puppies until the little guy reaches his first birthday, when he can make the switch to adult dog food.
Purpose of Fats
The fats contained in puppy food come from both animal and vegetable sources, including the oils of plant seeds. These fats provide your puppy with concentrated sources of energy that he needs to support his his growth and development. Fats also contain fatty acids, including omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, according to PetMD. Fatty acids help absorb and transport fat-soluble vitamins like A, E, D and K throughout the little pup's body, according to the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine. In addition, your puppy needs fats in his diet to maintain a soft, shiny coat, because they help to moisturize both his skin and fur. As an added bonus, fats make his food taste better, improving its overall palatability.
Amount for Puppies
Puppies need more fat in their diet than adult pups to meet their higher energy and calorie requirements. The Association of American Feed Control Officials have developed nutritional profiles for both adult dogs and growing pups based on scientific research and feeding trials. According to the profiles established by the AAFCO, puppies need at least 8 percent fat in their diets, as opposed to adults, who only require a minimum of 5 percent, states the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The National Research Council recommends that a puppy get approximately 21 grams of fat in his diet daily, along with 56 grams of protein.
Follow the manufacturer's recommended serving amounts on your puppy's food to avoid overfeeding him. A puppy that gets too much fat in his diet from overfeeding can become overweight or experience growth spurts. Puppies that grow too rapidly can develop orthopedic problems later in life. As a guideline, the average 10-pound pup needs around 990 calories each day, which is the equivalent of around 2 1/2 cups of dry puppy food, according to Petfinder. This also equals a little over 2 cans of 13.2 ounce puppy food each day. Remember to combine the calorie counts of all your pup's foods if you're feeding your pooch both canned and dry food together.
To ensure your growing pooch is getting the amount of fat in his diet that he needs, feed him a diet that states on the label that it follows the fat content recommendations of the AAFCO. You also want to choose a food labeled "for growth and reproduction" and is "complete and balanced," recommends the FDA. Don't supplement your pup's diet with high-fat foods, such as fatty meats, because they can make him sick by inducing a condition known as pancreatitis, warns WebMD. Pancreatitis is a potentially serious condition that results in vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite and weight loss; pancreatitis can also cause permanent damage to the pup's pancreas.
- U.S. Food and Drug Administration: Selecting Nutritious Pet Foods
- Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine: Nutrition for the Growing Puppy
- WebMD: Puppy Food -- Types, Feeding Schedule, and Nutrition
- PetMD: Fats and Oils: Good for Your Dog’s Health?
- Petfinder: Your Dog’s Necessary Nutrients
- American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals: Nutrients Your Dog Needs
- National Research Council: Your Dog's Nutritional Needs
- Petfinder: Dry Dog Food Calorie Count
- Petfinder: Wet Dog Food Calorie Count
- WebMD: Pancreatitis in Dogs: Symptoms and Treatments
Based in Las Vegas, Susan Paretts has been writing since 1998. She writes about many subjects including pets, finances, crafts, food, home improvement, shopping and going green. Her articles, short stories and reviews have appeared on City National Bank's website and on The Noseprint. Paretts holds a Master of Professional Writing from the University of Southern California.