Puppy Basics: Selecting the Right Food

Selecting a Puppy Food

Loving your puppy is simple, but choosing the right food can be difficult. Dogs are as unique as people. Large, small, young, or old—despite their differences, they all need a well-balanced diet for good health. Yet, dogs of different ages and sizes have different nutritional needs. This is especially true when it comes to puppies.

The energy requirements of a puppy can be nearly twice those of an adult dog, and a puppy might not have the stomach capacity to eat enough food to meet his needs unless the food is specially formulated.

When choosing a food, select a formula that provides a highly digestible, nutrient-dense, 100% complete premium formula for growth. Such high-quality formulas contain the vitamins, minerals, protein, fat, and carbohydrates your dog needs for sound and healthy development. With a premium formula, you may see these results:

  • Exceptional muscle tone
  • Shiny, luxurious coat
  • Healthy skin, bones, and teeth
  • Clear, bright eyes
  • Small, firm stools
  • Playfulness
  • A happy, healthy attitude

Selecting a Puppy Food

Puppies grow the fastest during the first six months of life, and because growth rates differ among breed sizes, you need to feed a formula designed to address the needs of your puppy's breed or size. Feed based on the recommended amounts for weight and age, and feed this formula until your puppy is an adult.

Large-breed puppy nutrition

Although large-breed dogs have bigger bones than medium or small breeds, large-breed puppies do not need more calcium. University studies have shown that:

  • Rapidly growing, large-breed pups are more inclined to exhibit developmental bone problems.
  • Controlling the rate of growth is more beneficial than promoting rapid growth.
  • Moderating calcium, phosphorus, and calorie levels in their diet promotes normal skeletal development.


Overfeeding and weight gain can actually contribute to developmental bone problems. This makes managing food intake even more critical. Puppies are at greater risk for developmental bone problems if they are overfed.

A formula with reduced fat and calories promotes optimum growth. Controlling the rate of growth to promote normal development is another reason to feed a large-breed diet.

Medium-breed puppy nutrition

Medium-breed puppies have needs between those of large- and small-breed dogs. Medium breeds' nutritional demands can be satisfied by feeding a 100% complete and balanced formula that features moderate amounts of all the essential vitamins and nutrients, such as IAMS ProActive Health Smart Puppy Original

Small-breed puppy nutrition

Small-breed puppies have unique needs due to their small mouths, small stomachs, and growth spurt to adult size in a short period of time. That's why it's important to pack a lot of nutrition and energy into a small amount of food. A poor-quality diet might fill a puppy's stomach before enough food can be eaten to satisfy his nutritional needs. The result can be improper muscle and skeletal development and growth impairment.

IAMS Puppy foods are formulated to be energy- and nutrient-dense to meet the needs of growing puppies. There is also an IAMS formula for small and toy puppy breeds —it has concentrated nutrition for the lifelong health of your small- or toy-breed dog.