Puppies and young dogs have very special dietary requirements. Feeding errors in this phase of life can have health consequences for the rest of the dog's life and should therefore be avoided at all costs. In the following I therefore give some hints, which one should consider absolutely with the nutrition of puppies.
Less is more
The most important goal is a moderate growth rate to ensure a healthy development of the skeleton, muscles and organs. It should be remembered that the final weight of your Rottweiler is genetically determined and will normally always be reached, but too fast growth is the most common cause of growth disorders. It is therefore a good idea to regularly monitor your puppy's weight development and compare it with breed-specific growth curves. Such curves are available from specialised veterinarians or from some online providers. And beware: puppies don't usually get fat, they just grow up faster! A misdevelopment is therefore not visible at first glance - puppies that have grown too fast often even appear to be thin and high-legged. Too fast growth is caused by an increased energy supply due to feeding. Packaging information on standard food is often too general and does not take into account the individual needs of each dog. Thus it comes straight with larger races like the Rottweiler easily to an energetic oversupply. Also by well-intentioned, additional gifts of treats or chewing articles the energy supply can exceed the need of the growing young dog.
In such a case, the weight quickly increases, but the skeleton only follows slowly. It is therefore too weak to adequately support the body mass. The overburdened bones suffer from this and permanent bone malpositions and cartilage damage can occur. These changes are usually irreversible. The severity of hip or elbow dysplasia can also be influenced by such a misuse. In addition to genetic predisposition and mechanical stress, feeding also has an influence on these clinical pictures.
What role does the protein play?
In many texts one still finds the hint that too much protein is supposed to be a trigger for growth disturbances. This assumption has, however, been revised by various studies. Nevertheless, care should be taken to ensure adequate supply. The demands on the composition of an optimal food change almost constantly during the first few months. Especially at the beginning, the growth intensity is highest. A protein-to-energy ratio of at least 15 g vRp (digestible crude protein) per MJ ME (megajoule metabolizable energy) should be available. This ratio can be successively reduced during growth and later in adulthood.
Calcium and phosphorus are the most important components in the growth phase. They are important components of the bones and mutually determine the mineralization and growth of the skeleton.
It is important to supply the two elements as needed and to maintain a correct ratio between them in the feed (optimum Ca/P ratio 1.2:1 to 2:1). In practice, for example, feeding self-prepared rations without mineral supplements can lead to undersupply. On the other hand, there are always cases of oversupply. These arise, for example, from the additional administration of eggshells, bones or calcium tablets to an already balanced ration.
Misuse results in a disturbance of the bone metabolism, which can lead to malpositioning and demineralisation of the bones.
Of course, other minerals, trace elements and vitamins are also important for healthy development. The supply of the right amount at the right time is crucial. In this area, too, the demands change in the course of growth.
Especially during growth, nutrition has a great influence on health. It is important to have a diet that is adapted to your needs and that takes into account the different requirements during the various growth phases. Regular weight controls help to promote optimal development.
Do you have a question?
Under firstname.lastname@example.org you can ask me gladly further questions approximately around the healthy nutrition of your Rottweiler. I am endeavoured to follow all inquiries as fast as possible. I will publish the most interesting cases in a further question answer section in this magazine.