Between different brands, recipes, formulas, and price ranges, every step down the dog food aisle is more overwhelming than the last. Puppy owners are charged with the responsibility of doing what’s best for their pets, but sifting through bags of possible food choices isn’t easy. Besides countless brands and recipes, there are two main types of dog food filling the shelves: puppy food and adult dog food.
After looking at how much more puppy food costs than the adult dog alternative, it’s natural to question its necessity. Is puppy food a marketing ploy to get responsible dog owners to pay more money? It wouldn’t be the first time a commercial product made a false claim, but when it comes to puppy food versus adult dog food, it’s simple. Puppies need puppy food, and it’s important to put your growing friend on the right diet.
Nutritional Needs Change With Age
There’s one big reason why puppies need a different kind of food than their big brothers and sisters. While adult dogs are living their lives and maintaining their health, puppies grow at a rapid pace. All breeds and individual dogs are different, but in general, puppies gain several pounds a week for the first several months—and sometimes years—of their lives. Growing and developing that quickly is a lot of work, and it takes a special kind of fuel to do it right. The biological differences between puppies and adult dogs translate to different nutritional needs.
Food for Thought
puppy food While a regular diet of puppy food is essential, the occasional dish of adult dog food won’t be detrimental to their health. They might experience minor digestive discomfort, but there are no severe risks to worry about. Feeding a puppy a diet of adult dog food every day, however, is robbing them of important nutrients. You run the risk of delaying their development and causing permanent health concerns. If you’re not sure what type of food is best for a growing pup, your veterinarian is always the best resource.
Differences Between Puppy Food and Adult Dog Food
The Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) regulates dog food to ensure commercial products labeled “puppy food” are worth the money. Researchers have determined the varying nutritional needs between puppies and adult dogs, and they’ve laid out requirements based on promoting health and wellness. Here are the three main differences between puppy food and adult dog food.
While your puppy’s legs are getting longer, their muscles are getting stronger, and their brain is getting bigger, their body is using up amino acids to make sure development happens as it should. According to Dog Food Advisor, amino acids are the “basic building blocks of all protein.” They say,
“Think of protein as a freight train with each car of that train being an amino acid.”
Most of the amino acids needed for healthy canine development are manufactured right where they’re needed—in the dog’s body. There are some, however, that dogs are incapable of producing on their own. They rely on food to give them what they need. Arginine, histidine, isoleucine, and lysine are four out of ten essential amino acids puppies can’t produce on their own.