A healthy diet is important to all dogs, but especially puppies. The quality of nutrition that a dog receives during its formative months can have a direct influence on its state of health as an adult.

The dietary requirements of growing puppies are different from those of adult dogs; a puppy-specific diet helps ensure healthy development and safe growth rates. Compared with an adult dog, a puppy needs to eat a larger amount of food relative to its size to provide sufficient energy and nutrient levels. Small stomach size, a smaller mouth, and baby teeth all affect a puppy's ability to obtain nutrients. Puppies need to be fed four times a day until the age of 4 months, then three times a day until 6 months, when feedings can be reduced to twice daily. A puppy's diet should be nutrient-dense, nutritionally balanced, and highly digestible. Check labels on foods specially prepared for puppies and consult with your vet.

Because overfeeding can be as detrimental to health as underfeeding, never feed your puppy to excess. Overfeeding leads to an overweight puppy, predisposing your pet to developmental diseases such as hip dysplasia.

Appropriate nutrient levels during early growth are paramount to ensure a puppy's future health. Because puppies' needs are unique, don't undertake a home-prepared diet for your youngster without the advice and monitoring of your veterinarian.