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The Best Puppy Food for a Growing Dog

Puppies are a handful in every way. From the housebreaking and crate training to the constant chewing and teething—they can be a full-time job. But one of the reasons we become so overwhelmed when this furry ball of energy comes charging into our lives is that we want the best for them. And as pet parents, we feel responsible for their health and happiness.

Puppyhood is such a critical time in dogs’ lives, not only for training purposes but also for setting the stage for long-term health. Specifically, what puppies consume at an early age can predict the development of certain health conditions. That’s why starting with a high-quality and nutritionally balanced diet, like Instinct Raw, should be at the top of your puppy priority list. A raw food diet is the best food for a growing dog because it offers a variety of unique benefits for puppies’ long-term health—and we’ve got the research to prove it! But first, let’s dive into the basics.

What is a raw diet for dogs? Here’s what you need to know.

raw diet is exactly what it sounds like—whole foods like real meat, fruits, and veggies that are never cooked and never heated, meaning the nutrients are never compromised in any way. And for pet parents out there who get a little squeamish at the idea of preparing raw meat every day, fear not because Instinct Raw does the hard part for you. In fact, they do everything for you. Instinct makes the raw pet food diet easy with complete and balanced frozen food that has been treated using cold-pressure technology (aka high-pressure processing, or HPP) to eliminate any harmful bacteria. So you can rest easy knowing your pet is consuming a safe and quality meal that is ready to serve only a few minutes after thawing. The best part is, you get to take the credit!

Instinct’s responsibly sourced ingredients are carefully selected to support the nutritional needs of a growing dog. That includes natural DHA from salmon oil and cod for trainability and cognitive development, cage-free chicken for healthy muscle and bone growth, and more. But aside from superior nutritional value, what makes Instinct stand out is their dedication to safe and quality raw ingredients. Research shows that feeding puppies a raw diet—as opposed to kibble—can support better health down the road.

Puppy nutrition: Long-term health benefits.

Just like our own gut microbiome plays a vital role in overall health, the canine microbiome has proved to do the same. According to a theory researchers call the “Old Friends” hypothesis, our pup’s immune system benefits from early-life exposure to dietary and environmental microbiota. The microbes found in raw food help to stimulate and educate our dogs’ immune systems, fostering a healthier microbiome and protecting against illness. Canine atopic dermatitis (CAD) and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) are just a couple of the conditions that have been shown to be affected by dogs’ early life diet.

Environmental allergies in dogs.

As a pet parent, it’s truly painful to see our four-legged friends suffer—especially when you know what that suffering feels like. Pets experience some of the same environmental allergy symptoms as humans, such as itchy or flaky skin, but canine atopic dermatitis (or canine environmental allergies) can also show up as excessive paw chewing, ear infections, and hot spots. And like with human allergies, there is no cure other than symptom management. However, research published in 2020 found that feeding 1- to 2-month-old puppies a raw diet was associated with a decreased chance of developing allergies in adulthood. In contrast, puppies fed kibble in the first 1 to 2 months of age were 182% more likely to suffer from CAD.

Inflammatory bowel disease in dogs.

Similarly, inflammatory bowel disease is a condition both humans and dogs experience. In dogs, IBD manifests as recurring chronic vomiting, diarrhea, and/or weight loss and has been associated with early life diet. A recent paper published in 2021 covered a study that examined the link between early life factors, like diet, and IBD reported later in life. What they found was that 1- to 6-month-old puppies on a raw diet showed a significantly lower risk of developing IBD, compared to puppies fed a kibble diet at the same age.

Other conditions being researched.

Research groups are actively investigating other canine health conditions that may be affected by diet. While official results have yet to be published, they are working to understand how a raw diet can positively affect the following issues: hip dysplasia/mobility issues, cancer, and chronic ear infections.

Setting your pup up for success.

We know that bringing a puppy into your home can lead to a lot of chaos and exhaustion. Even the thickest earplugs and your morning matcha can’t save you from the howls and cries during those first sleepless months of crate training. And following your pup around the house 24/7 to prevent any accidents can be cute at first but gets old pretty quickly. Training and encouraging good behavior takes time and hard work. But setting them up for long-term health can be one of the easiest and most important parts of raising a puppy. Starting your new little bestie on a raw diet, like Instinct Raw, from day one helps to build a strong immune system and prevent the development of certain health conditions later in life.

Taking one worry off your plate by putting Instinct Raw on theirs will set your pup up for success and overall well-being down the line. And they’ll be sure to thank you for it, tails wagging and mouths watering!

Originally published by MindBodyGreen

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