Puppies grow quickly and have special nutritional needs to keep their bodies strong. The most noticeable time is known as the rapid growth stage, which occurs between 2 and 6 months of age. From about 3 to 6 months, most pups will lose their puppy teeth (you might find a tooth near his dish or on the floor; this is normal).
During this phase, his mouth and gums may be very sensitive, which could cause him to be a bit picky when it comes to eating. There's nothing you can do except to wait it out, even if his appetite is low for a couple of days.
Don't switch to a new formula to stimulate your puppy's appetite. Changing food at this time can cause additional stress and intestinal upset. The tips below could help your puppy make the change:
- Mix his regular, premium dry food with a premium canned puppy food to soften the dry food and make mealtime even more appealing. Or, try some moist food to help him through this sensitive period.
- Soak dry food in warm water for 10 to 15 minutes before serving. Feeding a dry food and biscuits loosens the teeth, so pups can get through the teething process quicker. If his appetite loss persists, see your veterinarian before you switch food.
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How much do you know about the food you’re buying for your puppy? When shopping for puppy food, pay attention to these three sections of a dog food label.
1. The Ingredient Panel
This section lists all the ingredients that make up the product. The ingredients are listed in descending order according to weight before cooking. In dry food, look for a source of high-quality animal-based protein: chicken or lamb, for example. Dogs thrive on animal proteins.
Manufacturers who use large amounts of vegetable proteins might be saving money by providing basic — but not optimal — nutrition. You should also avoid artificial colors and flavors, which offer no nutritional benefits.
2. The Guaranteed Analysis
Near the ingredient panel should be a chart of percentages called the "guaranteed analysis." These figures reveal the basic nutrient makeup of the dog food's formula and protein content. The minimum percentages of protein and fat and the maximum percentages of fiber and moisture (water) should be listed.
3. The Manufacturer’s Name and Address
This information must be included on the label by law. A toll-free number or web address for the manufacturer may also be listed. Manufacturers who list a phone number, such as IAMS™, generally have a high-quality product and welcome consumer calls and questions. If you would like information about IAMS products, visit our website or call us toll-free at 800-525-4267.
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