Raising a puppy is an important responsibility that comes with a lot of challenges. One of the most important decisions you'll make as a pet guardian is selecting the right food for your growing puppy. If you're raising a puppy within a vegan household, you should be looking into providing him or her a complete and healthy plant-based diet.
Choosing the right food
Choosing the right food is crucial because it affects your pup's growth, development, and overall health. It is essential to provide your puppy with all the necessary nutrients that their growing body requires. Furthermore, when raising a puppy on a plant-based diet is even more important to select the right food specially formulated for puppies.
To make sure you are providing your puppy with the right nutrition, it's essential to select food that is AAFCO certified. AAFCO stands for Association of American Feed Control Officials, and it is a regulatory organization that establishes standards for pet food. AAFCO ensures that the food meets the nutritional requirements set by the organization.
Important nutrients to consider
A puppy's nutrient profile is different from an adult dog's nutrient profile, so it's essential to select food that's specifically formulated for puppies to make sure they get all the essential amino acids and nutrients they need to grow and thrive.
Protein and fat are important nutrients for dogs, and even more so for puppies. Because puppies have a lot of energy, serving food that has a high protein and fat content will provide them enough energy they need to grow and develop into healthy adults. A higher source of protein and fat will also ensure that vitamins, especially important fat-soluble vitamins, are properly absorbed by the body.
Why start your dog on a plant-based diet as a puppy?
We strongly recommend starting a pup on a plant-based diet as early as possible. As we said earlier, during the first 12 months of their life, puppies develop life-long habits, and there is no better time to introduce a dog a to a plant-based diet than when they are young, since pup's taste buds are not so set to any taste yet. This, however, does not mean that the older dogs cannot be transitioned to a plant-based diet. Older dogs can still switch to a plant-based diet provided they receive a sufficiently long-transition period (usually several weeks).
How to introduce a pup to a plant-based formula
Scenario 1 - your pup only had mother’s milk (no exposure to commercial food)
Puppies can be started on plant-based food as early as they begin to nibble at solid foods (usually 3 to 4 weeks of age). Until 6 months of age, pups should be fed all of the moistened kibble they will consume at intervals throughout the day.
Scenario 2 - for older pups that have been eating a meat-based diet and now switching to a plant-based diet
For pups who have been eating meat-based food for some time, we recommend a 2-week transition period.
Start by adding a little bit of the new plant-based product to the old food, to which your pup is already accustomed
first week: 1 part new kibble: 2 parts of the old product
during the following week gradually increase the proportion of the new plant-based product
start the second week with: 2 parts of the new kibble : 1 part of the old food
at the end of the 2nd week you should not be adding the old product and your pup should be only fed plant-based kibble
In conclusion, as a responsible pet guardian, it is crucial to provide your puppy with the best possible nutrition. When raising a puppy on a plant-based diet, you need to make sure the food is complete, balanced and that it's AAFCO certified, to meet your pup's specific nutritional needs. By providing them with a healthy, well-balanced diet, you can help your pup grow into happy, healthy, and active adults!
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