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How Can You Tell If Your Puppy is Getting a Well-Balanced Diet?

The diet of your dog is the foundation of its overall health. With nutrition so important to their health, knowing if you are providing them with what they require can be challenging. But how can you determine if your puppy is getting a well-balanced diet?

You can tell if your puppy is getting a well-balanced diet by looking for signs such as a healthy weight, good energy levels, a shiny coat, clear eyes, and regular bowel movements. It’s also important to consult with a veterinarian for specific nutritional needs.

Picking Out Quality Food for Dogs

When selecting a diet for your pets, several factors must be considered. Ingredients and food quality can impact your dog’s health; here are some things to consider when choosing a diet.


A well-balanced diet requires high-quality ingredients. A good source of protein, vegetables or fruits, carbohydrates, and essential fats are the main ingredients you should look for in food.


Look for specific references to animal tissues such as chicken, lamb, beef, turkey, etc. If the first ingredient listed is a grain or soy, most of the protein in the food may come from plants.

Fruits and Vegetables

Fruits and vegetables provide a variety of vitamins and minerals to the diet.


Carbohydrates provide a significant amount of energy to dogs. Corn, rice, barley, and oats are all good sources of carbohydrates.


Fats promote mineral absorption in a dog’s body. Vegetable oil, cottonseed oil, coconut oil, soybean oil, and fish oil are essential oils and fats to look for in food.


One thing to look for in a diet is a label stating that the AAFCO has approved the food. This organization ensures that each approved diet adheres to the specific dog and cat health guidelines. Also, look for high-quality ingredients like those listed above.

How to Check for Food Quality

When selecting a diet for your dog, a few indicators help quality food stand out.


A nutritious diet will include whole foods. Ensure to look for the above-mentioned specific ingredients and that the diet is veterinary-approved. Check to see if your dog has any food allergies as well.

Intended Animal Species

Each animal has unique dietary requirements. Make sure that you only feed your puppy a canine diet.


Puppies require more calories and nutrients than a growing dogs. Feeding an adult diet to your puppy may result in poor nutrition.

Size and weight goals

Many high-quality dog food brands provide a diet for large and small-breed puppies. Because each puppy grows at a different rate, requiring additional nutrients. A small dog’s diet will differ from that of a large dog.

Feeding Guidelines

Most high-quality puppy food will include feeding guidelines based on your puppy’s age and weight. If not, please see the tips for feeding your puppy below.

Difference Between a Puppy and an Adult

Growing puppies will have different dietary needs. Because their bodies work overtime to develop, they will require a diet tailored to their stage of life and breed. Some specialized diets for puppies at various stages of development include:

Formula for Puppies

Puppy formula, also known as puppy milk replacer, is required for puppies who do not have a nursing mother. The formula is typically needed for puppies up to 6 weeks before the weaning process begins.

Due to their lack of teeth, developing gastrointestinal systems, and nutritional requirements, puppies under six weeks old require this specialized liquid diet. Another thing to remember when bottle feeding a puppy is only to feed them puppy milk replacer formula. There will always be debate over various milk replacer options, but puppy formula is the only one that meets all of their dietary requirements. Goat and cow milk can cause gastrointestinal upset and lack the phosphorus and calcium required for puppy growth.

Size and breed

Fortunately, puppy food options are now designed specifically for each breed and size of the dog. A food company that understands the physiological differences between a growing chihuahua and a growing Great Dane speaks volumes about the company’s quality. If you have a small-breed puppy, choose a diet that includes a small-breed diet, and vice versa.

Quantity and Frequency of Feeding Your Puppy

Puppies require more calories than adult dogs and must be fed more frequently. Because of their fast metabolism, they are also at risk of low blood sugar, so frequent feeding is required.

A puppy under six months of age should be fed thrice daily: in the morning, at lunch, and dinner. Though it may be tempting to feed them whenever they appear hungry, it is critical to establish a schedule from the start, or they will gain weight. Feeding your puppy three times daily will cover every drop in blood sugar and help them grow properly.

Some puppy owners believe it is simpler to provide food at all times of the day by keeping their bowls full. While tempting, this can lead to overeating, which can cause stomach upset. This can also result in picky adult dogs, making keeping them on a proper feeding schedule difficult.

When your puppy is six months old, you can transition to two larger meals daily, one in the morning and one in the evening.

Tips on Scheduling Your Dogs’ Feeding Timeline

Your puppy’s feeding schedule will change throughout its first year of life. The following are the appropriate feeding schedules for each stage:

6-12 weeks old

At this age, it is recommended that you feed your puppy a puppy diet at least three times per day. Once you’ve determined your pup’s recommended amount of food per day, you can divide it up throughout the day to accommodate your schedule.

3-6 months

Your puppy should eat a puppy diet thrice daily at this age. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner are appropriate feeding schedules.

6-11 months

A puppy can now eat a puppy diet twice daily, in the morning and at night.

One year

Your puppy can be switched to adult food twice daily, with treats as needed.

You can also introduce any supplements your dog may require, such as salmon oil or CBD oil, at this time. Check with your veterinarian to ensure you do everything possible for your dog.

Breed Difference in Nutritional Requirements

Nutritionists and veterinary researchers have discovered that there have been distinct breed differences in metabolism and nutrient requirements over the last several decades. Dog breeds that evolved in specific locations, such as Arctic Circle and some water breeds, may have adapted to specialized diets common in their origin. Individualizing the pet’s diet may be required to optimize health due to inbreeding and genetic differences between individuals in each species.

In addition to your dog’s breed, you should consider their lifestyle. Working dogs, hunting, field trial, and herding dogs have different protein-to-fat ratios than lap dogs or sedentary house dogs.

Signs Your Dogs Need a Change in Their Diet

Signs that your dog may need a change in their diet include weight gain or loss, changes in bowel movements, decreased energy levels, skin and coat problems, and a lack of interest in their food. If you notice any of these signs, it may be time to consult with your veterinarian about changing your dog’s diet.

Looking Tired

Take note if your dog appears tired or lethargic. Perhaps you’ve noticed that your dog appears more tired or worn out than usual. They might be less enthusiastic about walking or playing with you than they are. Your dog may also spend a lot of time sleeping or lying down. These are all behavioral indicators that your dog needs to change his diet.

  • If your dog appears very tired, it may have a medical problem that needs to be addressed. Many diseases and conditions, including parvovirus, ticks, and hypothyroidism, cause lethargy. If your dog cannot perk up, take them to the vet immediately for an examination.

Looking Sick

Examine your surroundings for signs of illness, such as vomiting or nausea. You should also look for signs of illness in your dog, such as vomiting, nausea, or irritability. These could be signs that your dog is allergic to their food or that they are suffering from another medical condition.

  • If your dog vomits, take them to the vet right away. They can tell you whether the problem is due to your dog’s diet or if there is another underlying medical issue, such as a viral infection.
  • It can be challenging to tell if a dog is sick or not. If you notice your dog drooling excessively or chewing and licking obsessively, it may feel nauseous.

Change in Bathroom Behavior

Check to see if your dog is urinating too frequently or needs to be more. Watching your dog for signs of defecation problems or diarrhea would be best. These symptoms could indicate that your dog is not responding well to their food or is suffering from another medical condition, such as a urinary tract infection or a kidney problem.

  • If your dog does go to the bathroom, their feces may smell foul or very strong. This could indicate that your dog suffers from a disease such as pancreatic insufficiency or intestinal parasites such as giardia. Take your dog to the vet right away.

Changes in Eating Habits

It would help to watch for changes in your dog’s interest or food consumption. Perhaps they are eating less of their food than usual, or you have noticed that your dog leaves a lot of food in their bowl. You may have noticed your dog eating less and less food over time.

  • You may also notice that your dog appears uninterested in their food when you remove it from its bowl.
  • Weight loss and gain can both indicate that your dog’s diet needs to be changed. Your dog may dislike the taste of their food, causing them to eat less of it, or they may be gaining too much weight due to eating high-calorie dog food.
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