Do Puppies Need to Eat Puppy Food?

 |  Aug 16th 2009  |   0 Contributions

Some dog foods state that they are for PUPPIES. What do you think of a dog food that states it is for puppies and adults? I always thought puppy food had additional vitamins, etc. Until my six-month-old Yellow Lab puppy is at least one year old, I'm going to keep her on puppy food. Do you agree?

Rehoboth, Delaware

Commercial puppy foods often have more calories, protein, and vitamins than adult formulas. The proportions of nutrients in puppy formulas also may differ from those in regular formulas. The added nutrients and altered proportions are designed to promote healthy growth.

Paradoxically, large breed puppy formulas are designed to slow growth slightly (although not affect final adult size)--this helps to prevent symptoms of hip dysplasia later in life.

It is my opinion that many companies use puppy formulas mostly for marketing purposes. Plenty of evidence shows that most adult formulas also can provide ample nutrition for the growth of puppies. Although puppy formulas may be tailored for young dogs, many dog foods are appropriate for multiple life stages.

I generally recommend that large breed puppies (such as Labrador Retrievers) stay on large breed puppy food until they are 12 - 18 months old. I recommend this because of the hip dysplasia-reducing effects of these diets.

However, that benefit may be marginal. Most puppies can in fact do fine eating regular high quality dog food.

I have said many, many times on this blog that in my opinion there is no one "right" food for any dog, cat, or human. We can thrive by eating almost any food that is adequately nutritious. This is true for puppies as well as adult dogs.


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