Are you expecting a new puppy into the household? The expectation and the excitement that your family is experiencing must be omnipresent. Bringing a new puppy into your home implies lots of joy and playtime, especially for your kids. However, you must not overlook the responsibilities associated with raising a puppy; after all, you are expected to raise a dog whom you can live with and who can be your joyful companion for many years to come.
Choosing winter as the right season for buying or adopting a puppy is a wonderful decision since your new family member will get to experience firsthand the joy and welcoming spirit of the holiday season. You’ve probably already considered things such as potty training, food and water bowls, grooming aids, and so on. However, more pressing matters, such as your dog’s nutritional needs, deserve a big chunk of your attention – different seasons call for different approaches. For example, while some dogs consume more energy during summer and, therefore, require more calories, during winter, lack of exercise calls for fewer calories.
We know it might sound like a lot to think about, but, from our perspective, the only thing you constantly have to keep in mind is that your new puppy needs balance in its life – balancing calorie intake and nutritional completeness with exercise is key for your puppy’s proper growth. For that reason, today’s blog post intends to help new dog owners by focusing on how to improve your puppy’s diet for the winter season.
Understanding the Nutrients Your Puppy Needs
Before undertaking the task of raising a puppy, we deem it essential for you to be acquainted with the nutrients your dog’s body needs. For proper functioning, the cells in your dog’s body require the following nutrients:
These nutrients need to be in the right proportion for chemical reactions, such as digestion, absorption, transportation, and elimination to occur. This can only be achieved by feeding your puppy a balanced diet every day.
Meeting Your Puppy’s Nutritional Needs
Another matter of concern for dog owners is the puppy’s accelerated growth rate. By the first year of age, your puppy will have increased its birth weight 60 times and will have almost completed its skeletal development. Furthermore, it requires twice the amount of food of an adult dog, especially during growth spurts. To sustain such accelerated growth, you must make sure that your puppy’s food contains enough protein, together with calcium, phosphorus, and magnesium.
For example: You should be concerned with essential vitamins, minerals, and fatty acids in the food you choose..
For puppies, depending on the breed size, there is a limit of Calcium – 1.8% max (large size breed puppies) as opposed to 2.5% maximum Calcium level for other breeds. Iron, Copper and Zinc are also required at much higher levels for puppies regardless of the breed. Other than that, there is the requirement for EPA and DHA that is essential for puppies, and the amino acid requirement that is higher too.
Best practice: choose a food whose first five ingredients are mainly animal proteins. Make sure that the food of your choice has been designated for all growth stages or specifically for puppies.
Choosing a Fresh Food Diet for Your Puppy during Winter
Instead of choosing a dry kibble diet filled with carbohydrates and less than desirable ingredients, here at Volhard, we believe that a fresh food diet is a right choice for your puppy’s healthy growth. This diet provides enough moisture to keep the puppy hydrated and if fed following the puppy feeding guidelines, provides all the nutrients for your puppy’s organs to function properly and bone growth to occur healthily.
Best practice: For a perfect, all-around diet for your puppy, we recommend our Natural Diet Foundation, a clinically tested formula suitable for all growth stages of your canine friend. We choose our ingredients very carefully and you can see what ingredients are in our food here and what it does for the dog:
Volhard also does rigorous testing that surpasses most other dog food brands. We 3rd party comprehensively test our diets at least once a year, we test every ingredient and certify it for use and then test every batch upon completion to make sure there is no e.coli, listeria, salmonella, fungus, or mold. We have a test and hold procedure we follow and if a batch does not pass it is thrown away and never leaves the facility.
Here is a link to our 3rd party analysis for NDF2. https://www.volharddognutrition.com/3rd-party-tes...
With Volhard, every meal is balanced and complete once the protein is added. This is very important when feeding a puppy. The protein is the largest ingredient and so when added the total proportions of the diet change to reflect that. Protein can be gently cooked or fed raw. Proteins can be rotated and regardless of which protein you feed, the vitamins, minerals, and fats all exceed the daily requirements and meet the daily requirements without issue for a puppy.
How to Improve Your Puppy’s Winter Diet
Now, let us turn our attention toward improving your puppy’s diet. While a fresh food diet is enough to ensure your puppy's health and growth during winter, we believe that some special ingredients deserve to find their place in its food bowl. Let us take a moment to analyze each of them:
#1: Coconut Oil
This rich source (90%) of medium-chain triglycerides, commonly known as good fats, has a wide range of health benefits, such as antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral. Furthermore, it is a superior source of energy while improving your puppy’s skin and coat.
Best practice: Begin by feeding small amounts of coconut oil (approx. ¼ tsp. per day) to your dog. Richer quantities of coconut oil can cause side effects, such as diarrhea or greasy stools. Coconut oil can also be used topically – apply it to the skin approx. once a week for absorption, and then clean it with water and a light shampoo.
#2: Power Berries
Akin to humans, the dog’s immune system needs a helping hand in warding off lethargy during winter. For that, you must include rich sources of vitamin C and antioxidants into your puppy’s diet. Power berries, such as blueberries, blackberries, cranberries, and raspberries, are a perfect source of these nutrients.
Best practice: it is imperative that you stay away from berries that have been sprayed with pesticides before hitting the marketplace. We recommend that you look for organic alternatives.
#3: Leafy Greens
Leafy greens and vegetables provide a rich source of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants without being rich in calories or fat. Some of the best leafy greens to be included in your puppy’s diet are broccoli, kale, Brussel sprouts, and parsley.
Best practice: for increased digestion and palatability, leafy greens can be processed in several ways – you can grate them onto your puppy’s dinner, mix them with pureed food, finely chop them, or mash them into your puppy’s food. Or need a quick way to add veggies? Pick up the Volhard Veggie Pak and hydrate and go!
A puppy needs to be well taken care of and nurtured in order to bring happiness and laughter into a household. With today’s hints and tips, you can deliver to your puppy the right nutrients for a healthy growth process during the cold winter months. Looking for more help concerning proper dog nutrition? Make sure that you contact us and check out our blog!
- Volhard, Jack, and Volhard Wendy, Dog Training for Dummies, Indianapolis: Wiley Publishing, 2010.