Fuel Up Your German Pointer and Go

How to feed your high-energy dog.

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Page 4 of 5

Food for Growth
The nutritional needs of German Pointer puppies differ from those of adults, especially with regard to protein, energy and the calcium-phosphorus balance. Protein is especially important for puppies because its essential for muscle and bone growth.

Dry puppy foods usually contain at least 26 to 27 percent protein, while adult maintenance foods usually contain at least 20 to 21 percent. (Premium brands of both types of foods usually contain higher levels of protein--up to 30 percent or so for some puppy foods.) During growth we feed a 28- to 30-percent easily available protein diet, Dr. Blackbourn says. This is essential for growth and muscle development.

Puppies also need lots of energy, but this doesn't mean you should let your German Pointer puppy eat as much as it can stuff down. If you do, its likely to become overweight, which can lead to some serious health problems. For example, excessive weight may cause your puppys skeleton to develop improperly. Overfeeding may also play a role in the development of hip dysplasia (a malformation of the hip joint, which leads to arthritis) and panosteitis (a painful inflammation of the leg bones).

Puppies also differ from adult dogs in their requirement for calcium and phosphorus--minerals that are important for proper skeletal development and growth. Completely balanced puppy foods are formulated to provide the appropriate amounts, so supplementation isn't usually necessary (and may even be harmful).

Puppies have small stomachs and high metabolic rates, so they need to eat several times a day in order to consume adequate amounts of nutrients. Puppies younger than 3 months old should be fed at least four times a day. Puppies 3 to 5 months old should be fed three times a day. Puppies 6 months old and up can be fed on an adult schedule of two meals a day.

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