What to Feed a Puppy at 6 Weeks


Bringing a 6-week old puppy into your life marks the start of a new, lifelong companionship.  The first 6 weeks is a critical juncture for puppies, as they wean from their mother and begin to eat on their own.  At this time, many puppies also go to join new families. For the owners of new puppies, caring for these fragile and playful companions can be stressful at first.  This is particularly true when trying to potty train a puppy, providing them with proper exercise, and knowing what to feed a puppy at 6 weeks in order to give him the best chance for a successful and healthy development.

Selecting the right food for your 6-week old puppy doesn’t have to be a stressful process.  When selecting a food for your puppy, there are a few key principles to remember that will help you narrow down your search. You should look for a food that provides adequate nutrition for puppies. Typically, this means a puppy formula.  But this can also be a food for “all life stages,” which includes meeting the needs of puppies. In addition to the nutritional profile, you should select a food that uses the highest quality ingredients. This article will explore the relationship between ingredient quality and nutritional density, and discuss why these factors are important for your puppy.  By adhering to these two principles, you will be sure to select a good quality food for your 6-week old puppy.

Nutritional Profiles and Puppy Growth

WhattoFeedaPuppyat6WeeksMost types of dog food are marketed to specific periods of growth within the dog’s life cycle.  Puppies, adults, and dogs in their twilight years all have products formulated to meet their nutritional needs. Whether or not you subscribe to the idea that these differentiations are important, it is useful to understand the role that nutritional profiles play in the formulation of pet foods.  Puppies have very high demands for quality nutrition, due to their exuberant energy, as well as the incredible pace that physical and mental development is occurring.

The minimum nutrition that a puppy needs is dictated by the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO).  The guidelines by the AAFCO are the minimum beneath which commercial pet foods cannot fall while still being able to claim that are a balanced and complete nutritional source.  Foods designed to support growth and reproduction, which includes puppy formulas, meet more stringent requirements for nutritional profiles than formulations designed for adult and elderly dogs.  Because of this, puppies should not be fed food specifically designed for adult dogs, as it may not meet their nutritional needs.

The exception to this is dog food that is specifically formulated for “all life stages”.  Food formulated for all life stages must meet the nutritional profile for the growth, reproduction, adult, and elderly stages of a dog’s life.  This means that pet owners can safely feed their puppies a food that is designed for all life stages while being sure that the food will meet their minimum developmental needs during their puppy growth phase.  

Ingredient Quality and Nutritional Density

When selecting a food for your 6-week old puppy, it is especially important to look for a product that contains high-quality ingredients.  The goal should be to provide your puppy with the most nutrient-dense food. Greater nutrient density will be found in foods that use higher quality ingredients.  The easiest way to tell the nutrient density of your puppy food is to compare the recommended serving size with other products formulated for puppies. Products with a higher nutritional density will have smaller serving sizes than their competitors.

Selecting a high-quality food is an important step you can take to ensure your puppy is provided adequate nutrition to support their growth.  Figuring out what to feed your puppy at 6 weeks is the first step. Good food from a reputable brand that is formulated for puppies or all life stages is a must. New puppy owners are also encouraged to consult with their veterinarian, as their puppy breed may thrive with a specific nutritional profile.  New puppy owners should also keep in mind that feeding their puppy will place different demands on their time than an adult dog. Puppies are typically fed 4 evenly sized meals a day. If you choose to feed your puppy dry food, you will need to soften it with some warm water or wet food until they are about 9-12 weeks old.

Having a puppy for the first time is such an awarding experience. However, with that being said, keep in mind that it also comes with a lot of responsibility. From training a puppy to giving them adequate exercise, educating yourself on the entire process will help you become the best pet parent you can be for your furry companion.


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