Growth, a key stage

Royal Canin - An adequate feeding

Giving your puppy a proper diet

The growth stage is the most challenging physiological period in a dog's life. It is during this period that the morphology of the adult dog and and his conformation is determined. The diet plays a major role in this.

The diet during growth will affect the dog’s future good health. It is vital to precisely meet the growing puppy’s nutritional requirements according to his breed, size and individual specificities.

Custom-made diets according to size

As far as nutrition is concerned, breed size is an essential consideration. At three months of age, a Fox Terrier puppy weighs 2 to 3kg while a giant breed puppy weighs some 20 kg: the difference in size is obviously important, especially as regards jaw size and strength. While a growth dry food is best suited for both puppies, it is important to choose kibbles with sizes and textures to suit the jaws and dentitions of small-, medium- or large- breed puppies.

With  the differences in puppy sizes, come specific requirements. For instance, overfeeding accelerates growth in a large breed puppy and predisposes him to suffer from osteoarticular problems; in a small dog overfeeding will cause early onset obesity that will persist into adulthood. An energy level that is suited to the puppy’s size and requirements, and sticking to the feeding guidelines will help control the risk of weight gain or excessive growth.

Specific calcium and phosphorus intakes

Calcium and phosphorus intakes should be carefully monitored to prevent serious bone problems. Calcium deficiency will often occur in puppies fed exclusively with meat or with homemade food that includes no added mineral supplements. 

Excess calcium daily intake is also dangerous for the puppy: extra calcium should never be added to a food that is designed for growth.

A Health Nutrition growth food should be used for the whole of the growth period; it should be specific to the size of the breed and duration of their growth period: 8 to 10 months for small breeds, 12 months for medium breeds, 15 to 18 months for large breeds and 18 to 24 months for giant breeds. The nutritional content will be balanced for the breed size to prevent any excess or deficiency throughout the animal’s growth.

Quality nutrients for all

Whatever his breed, a puppy has much higher energy requirements than an adult dog. He needs energy to cover not only his maintenance requirements, but also to form the new tissues as he grows. His requirements in protein, minerals, vitamins and trace elements are all higher than that of the adult dog. This is why a Health Nutrition growth food provides a puppy with a high content of high quality protein. Optimum digestibility for the puppy’s limited digestive capacities is obtained with high-quality carbohydrate sources, and prebiotics and micronutrients that support the balance of the good intestinal flora.

The immunity gap

The puppy’s initial immune defenses are almost entirely dependent upon the antibodies in the colostrum (first milk) he receives in the first 2 days of life. Between 4 and 12 weeks of age, the level of maternal antibodies falls below the protective threshold. This critical period, called the "immunity gap", is a risky period as regards infections. It is too soon to start vaccinations, as the level of maternal antibodies is still high enough to inhibit the vaccinal reaction. Vaccines are fully effective only after 12 weeks. It is also at that time that the young puppy is subject to many stress factors that put his immune system to the test. His environment changes from the breeding kennels to his host family: this new environment exposes the puppy to new, potentially dangerous bacteria and viruses. Thanks to patented complexes of micronutrients (taurine, lutein, E & C vitamins) and prebiotics, a Health Nutrition food helps the puppy to sustain his natural defenses.

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