Puppy Development Needs & How Nutrition Can Help

Purina Here are some helpful tips from our partners in pet nutrition - Purina PRO Plan

Puppy Development Needs & How Nutrition Can Help

Puppies are born with very little natural immunity, and they will not develop this fully until around 16 weeks old. Therefore, they rely solely on their mother to help provide some initial immunity defence through her milk. Colostrum, a nutrient-rich milk, which mum produces for the first few days after birth, contains immunoglobulins that protect them from potential illness while their own immune system develops. Sadly, this transfer of vital immunity from mum is sometimes poor, and so the pups may be at risk until their own immunity defence kicks in. This period in a puppy’s development is known as the ‘Immunity Gap’. During this time, puppies may be more vulnerable to infections.

We also know that puppies can experience high levels of stress particularly as they adapt to new surroundings, which may cause digestive upsets and loose stools.

That’s why our Purina Vets and Nutritionists have developed PRO PLAN® Puppy with OPTISTART® & OPTIDIGEST®, that are scientifically proven to help support immune response in puppies by up to 50%**. Based on colostrum, the bioactive molecules act on the GALT (the immune layer in the gut) to promote local immunity, helping to bridge the immunity gap.

Our Purina PRO PLAN® OPTISTART® food:

  • Contains high quality pieces of chicken or lamb to help promote healthy muscle and skin
  • Is rich in omega fatty acids, EPA & DHA for optimum brain and vision development
  • Contains essential nutrients for growth in a highly-digestible, complete formula

Our Purina PRO PLAN® OPTIDIGEST® food, not only has colostrum to help support healthy immune function,  but also contains a blend of natural prebiotic fibres scientifically proven to help the gut bacterial balance.***

Our PRO PLAN® OPTIDIGEST® foods also contain Bentonite – a natural clay – that, in combination with the natural prebiotic, work together to help firm up loose stools.

Gestating and Lactating Bitches’ Nutritional Needs

We also know that it can be a very stressful time for your bitch while she is pregnant. At around 5 weeks of gestation, she will start to feel more stressed as her body adapts and gets ready for birth. The puppies inside her will also be starting to grow larger, and it is vital to support her nutritionally during this period, so that she can sustain their development.

All of our PRO PLAN® Puppy OPTISTART® AND OPTIDIGEST® products are ideal to be fed to gestating and lactating bitches. The carefully balanced blend of high quality nutrients will help to support puppy growth and development during the final stages of pregnancy as well as helping to get mum ready for the birth. The high demands of milk production after the puppies’ birth will be supported with high energy density nutrition and carefully balanced nutrients to help her during this stressful period.


For more detail on the full range of PRO PLAN® Products, please visit www.purina-proplan.co.uk.


To contact one of our breeder team please see below:

Owen Greechan: owen.greechan@purina.nestle.com Mobile: 07717 348 417

Lee Cox: lee.cox@purina.nestle.com Mobile: 07867 468 705

Graham Stephenson: graham.stephenson@purina.nestle.com Mobile: 07736 235 931


Alternatively, you can come and see us at  W.E.L.K.S Championship show, Malvern.


* Mila H, Grellet A, Chastant-Maillard S. Prognostic value of birth weight and early weight gain on neonatal and pediatric mortality: a longitudinal study on 870 puppies. In: Program and Abstracts, 7th ISCFR Symposium 2012;163-164.

** Satyaraj, E. et al.(2013): Supplementation of diets with bovine colostrum influences immune function in dogs. Brit J Nutr. 2013 Dec, 110(12): 2216-21.

*** Hernot, D. et al. (2008). Prebiotics and Synbiotics in Companion Animal Science. In: Versalovic, J., Wilson, M. (eds.). Therapeutic Microbiology:Probiotics and Other Strategies. ASM Press, Washington, DC. Pp. 357-370.

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