Many pup parents take daily vitamins and supplements for their health, but should you do the same for your puppy? An experienced dog breeder will say that supplements are necessary for a puppy’s growth and formation to adulthood. Initially, puppies receive all the vitamins and minerals they need through their mother’s milk, but once they are weaned and begin to eat on their own, the breeder — and then eventually, the pup parent — needs to supply those nutrients through food and supplemental sources. A healthy puppy is a happy puppy, and your puppy needs the right supplements for building its little bodies, bones, and brain. Here are the supplements that dog breeders say your puppy should have in her diet.
1. Essential Fatty Acids
Essential fatty acids (EFA), such as omega-3 and omega-6, are critically important to a puppy’s heart, skin, and coat. They also strengthen the immune system and protect joints. Fatty acids are typically derived from fish sources such as trout, herring, salmon, sardines, mackerel, and anchovies. EFAs are also sourced from hemp seed oil and coconut oil.
Another added benefit of EFA supplements is their impact on a puppy’s trainability. EFAs contain polyunsaturated fats and docosahexaenoic acid, which play vital roles in a puppy’s brain development. These elements improve memory and attention, making a young dog easier to train. Ask any dog breeder about one of the most important supplements your puppy needs, and they will immediately mention essential fatty acids.
2. Protein Power
Puppies need high-quality meat proteins to ensure a positive start to a long, healthy life. The best place for your puppy to get the protein she needs is through her diet. Your dog breeder will discuss the diet your puppy is on before you bring her home, and why a food designed exclusively for puppies is necessary for your pup’s health. With dry kibble foods, a puppy needs a protein range between 22 – 32% to receive the energy she needs to grow healthy and strong.
Always choose a food made strictly for puppies. Adult dog food contains different levels of proteins, vitamins, and minerals that can harm your puppy’s ability to grow properly according to her breed standards.
3. Mighty Minerals
Calcium and phosphorus are the top minerals a puppy needs during her early development. Calcium contributes to a puppy’s overall growth, including bone and teeth development, muscle growth and formation, a healthy nervous system, and a strong heart. How much calcium a puppy needs in her diet is determined by her size and breed. A dog breeder or a veterinarian can let you know what amount of calcium your puppy needs as she becomes an adult.
Phosphorous is also a key mineral in your puppy’s growth as it pertains to the formation of teeth and bone. This mineral is also critically important to the synthesis of protein, maintenance and repair of tissues and cells, and the use of fat and carbohydrates in the body. Both calcium and phosphorus supplements can help your puppy grow up to be a healthy adult dog.
4. Digestive Aids
Amongst the most helpful supplements for puppies are digestive aids such as enzymes and probiotics. Dogs do produce their own digestive enzymes, but may not produce enough for the best digestion. The enzymes your puppy needs are:
- Amylase, which breaks down carbohydrates;
- Cellulase, which breaks down fiber;
- Lipase, which breaks down fats;
- Protease, which breaks down amino acids.
Digestive enzyme supplements are available in a variety of forms, including powdered scoops and chews.
Probiotics are digestive aids often suggested by dog breeders as means to promote healthy bacteria in your puppy’s gut. These aids support the growth of good bacteria, which prevents stomach upset and diarrhea in your pup.
5. Brewer’s Yeast
Safe for puppies, brewer’s yeast is a common supplement that a dog breeder may use when raising a litter. This supplement boosts the immune system while also acting as a natural flea and tick repellant. Brewer’s yeast is chock full of B-vitamins, which support your puppy’s overall wellbeing and health. Shiny coats and clear skin are additional benefits of this supplement.
6. Vital Vitamins
While a dog breeder will feed a puppy litter food that contains needed vitamins, some puppies may require supplements that provide other vitamins or added amounts of vitamins. Look for these vitamins in your puppy’s food, and if they are lacking, find these supplements to add to your dog’s diet:
- Vitamin A, which supports strong muscles, vision, skin, and coat;
- Vitamin D, which improves the cardiovascular system, prevents diabetes, and strengthens muscle development.
Vitamin A is sourced in supplements and in foods like brightly colored vegetables and dark, leafy greens. Foods including beef, fish, and eggs are excellent sources of Vitamin D.
Raising and caring for a puppy is one of the most joyous times in a pup’s parent’s relationship with their furkid. It’s also a time full of responsibility and ensuring that your puppy is getting the nutrition and supplements she needs. Your dog breeders will educate you further on your puppy’s diet and supplements so you can bring her home and help her grow into a happy, healthy dog.
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