Adequate feeding - Royal Canin

Growth, a key stage

Adequate feeding

Giving your puppy a proper diet

In the dog, the growth stage is the most difficult physiological period in his life, as it is so rapid and intense. It’s during that period that the morphology of the adult dog and the harmony of his figure will be determined. The diet plays a major role in this construction.

The diet during growth conditions the dog’s future good health. Perfectly meeting the growing puppy’s nutritional requirements enables to secure this crucial stage in his life. As a general rule, a puppy’s diet should take into account, without any excess or deficiency, the specific features of the canine species, breed and size diversity and the puppy’s ability to properly digest nutrients.

Custom-made diets according to size

As far as nutrition is concerned, breed size is an essential element. At three months of age, a Fox Terrier puppy weighs 2 to 3 kg while a giant breed puppy weighs some twenty kilos: the difference in size is an obvious fact, especially as regards jaws. While a growth dry food is best suited for the puppy because of its composition, a medium-sized kibble will cause prehension difficulties for the former, and wastage for the latter. It is therefore wise to choose kibbles with sizes and textures to suit the jaws and dentitions of small-, medium- or large-sized puppies.

Besides, the differences in puppy sizes imply different sensitivities. For instance, while overfeeding accelerates growth in a large breed puppy and predisposes him to suffer from osteoarticular problems, in a small dog it might stimulate the installation of an overweight condition at adulthood. An energy level that’s well calibrated in accordance with the puppy’s size and requirements, and adherence to correctly based food intakes enable to act preventively against the risk of excess weight.

Specific calcium and phosphorus intakes

Calcium and phosphorus intakes should be carefully monitored to prevent serious bone problems. Calcium deficiency is the typical affection of the puppy exclusively fed with meat or with homemade food including no mineral supplement. With excess vitamin D, this deficiency is the cause of the most frequent growth disorders, resulting from the provision of inadequate diets.

But excess calcium in the daily intake is just as dangerous for the puppy: calcium should never be added to a food designed for growth.

A Health Nutrition growth food will be used for the duration of growth, which differs according to breeds: 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. Its nutrient intakes should all be dosed differently so as 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 does need energy to cover his maintenance requirements, but also to form the new tissues that make him grow. 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 protein content while ensuring these are high-quality protein. Optimum digestibility taking into account the puppy’s limited digestive capacities is obtained with high-quality grain and nutrient combinations favoring the balance of the intestinal flora.

The immunity gap

The puppy’s immune defenses are dependent upon the antibodies passed on by his mother, essentially via the colostrum absorbed within the 36 to 48 hours following birth. Between 4 and 12 weeks of age, the rate of maternal origin antibodies falls below the protective threshold. This critical period, called the "immunity gap", is a risky period as regards infections, because the level of maternal origin antibodies remains high enough to inhibit the vaccinal reaction. Vaccines are fully effective only after 12 weeks. It’s also at that time that the young puppy is subject to many stress factors that put his immune defense system to the test. From the breeding kennels to his host family, his environment changes: the arrival into in unknown environment forces the puppy to defend himself against potentially dangerous germs, even though he is still very vulnerable to bacterial and viral infections. Thanks to patented intakes (taurine, lutein, E & C vitamins) and mannanoligosaccharides, a Health Nutrition food helps the puppy to sustain his natural defenses.