Puppy Growth & Development.
Not all puppies develop at the same rate. For example, a Great Dane will take over 12 months to reach full maturity whereas for a terrier it is closer to 6 months.
During the first 2 or 3 months of life nutrition plays a crucial role in determining the health and wellbeing of the dog in later life. During these initial months millions of nerve pathways are being formed and extended, whilst bones and muscles grow and strengthen at rapid rates.
All of these processes require carefully balanced levels of amino acids, fatty acids and, vitamins and minerals to function fully and properly, and any dietary deficiencies at this stage can be disastrous. It is therefore essential to choose a puppy food carefully, and select one which contains digestible proteins, such as fish, and a good range of fatty acids, such as EPA and DHA Omega-3 oils found in fish.
Good, balanced proteins will rapidly be digested and broken down by the puppy into amino acid building blocks, which are then transported around the body to target areas. Around the skeleton they create muscle tissues, in the blood and liver they make up vital enzymes, and in the brain they ensure that the healthy development of hormones and senses, such as sight and hearing. Fish4Puppies provides high protein quality in levels needed for good development, with over 70% fish.
Omega-3 fats found in Fish4Puppies are also an essential part of the diet during this early developmental phase, as they are involved in nerve formation and skin integrity. The “sleeves” through which nerve fibres run require fatty acids for their development and so a deficiency of these substances can cause neural defects, such as impaired vision, mental alertness, and movement.
The skin is rapidly growing and thickening during this time and fatty acids are essential to keep the skin smooth and supple as it expands. Omega-3 oils are also important for reducing inflammation during this time, when new external influences, such as meeting new dogs and bacterial challenges, can elicit negative responses by the body.
It is also a time when behaviour training can begin, as the puppy learns new ways to socialise. Treats can play an important part in this process but it is essential to choose healthy options that do not disrupt the balance of nutrients in the main diet. Small pieces of dried fish such as Sea Jerky is ideal as they are very palatable, contain omega-3 oils, and are relatively low in calories (which means that the quantity of complete food need not be reduced).
As the puppy moves into the second period of its development the bones begin to extend and thicken, and it is essential during this period that the balance of minerals in the diet is controlled. For example, a large breed such as a Labrador will require as much as a teaspoon full of calcium and phosphorus each day to keep pace with bone growth. However, these minerals must be provided in a form that the puppy can easily digest and assimilate, such as fish.