Eukanuba Sporting Dog Logo


Nutrition to Support Your Sporting Breed Puppy's Digestive Health

Featuring Russ Kelley, M.S., Eukanuba and Royal Canin Pet Health and Nutrition Center

Digestive health is integral to a puppy’s overall health. The digestive system turns food into building blocks (nutrients) used by every other system, such as the muscular, skeletal, respiratory, and nervous systems, for proper growth and development. Feeding a highly digestible, nutrient-dense puppy food can help a highly active puppy’s body put vital nutrients to work with optimal efficiency.

Retriever puppy eating Eukanuba Premium Performance Puppy Pro

Understanding Your Puppy’s Digestive System

A puppy’s gastrointestinal (GI) tract has multiple functions. One is to break down food into nutrients that can be absorbed and utilized by the body. This function is complex and involves numerous components. In simple terms, digestion initiates in the mouth with chewing and the mixing of food with saliva. The digestive process continues in the stomach and small intestine, where digestive juices and enzymes further process the food for nutrient absorption by the body. Digestion concludes with the excretion of unabsorbed waste.

A second function of the GI tract is to serve as a barrier between the body and the environment, very similarly to the skin. A healthy GI tract helps prevent undigested food particles and pathogens from entering the body. Given the importance of these two functions, a healthy digestive system is essential to a puppy’s overall wellness and development.

Nutrients That Support Your Puppy’s Digestive Health

Communications these days seem to focus extensively on ingredients. However, the value in a puppy’s diet is not about ingredients. According to Russ Kelley, Eukanuba’s Scientific Services Nutritionist, “The value of a diet is determined by the nutrients that the diet is composed of, and how much of those nutrients can be digested, absorbed, and utilized by the body. You often hear a lot about protein and fat in regard to sporting dog diets, but these represent only two of the six nutrient classes. The additional nutrient classes are carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals, and water.

“Keep in mind that these are nutrient classes, not individual nutrients. The true nutrients that a puppy’s body needs are the individual minerals such as calcium, or vitamins such as Vitamin E, or amino acids (the building blocks of protein) such as lysine, or fatty acids such as linoleic acid. When creating formulas like our Premium Performance Puppy Pro, we select ingredients that help target a specific nutrient profile and take into consideration each nutrient class. The precise combination of these nutrient sources (ingredients) allows us to produce a diet that is nutrient dense and highly digestible, which is critical for a puppy’s developing digestive system.”

Fiber, a carbohydrate component, does not receive as much attention as protein or fat, but it plays an important role in supporting an active puppy’s energy needs and digestive health. Kelley says, “For our Premium Performance Puppy Pro formula, we developed a unique fiber complex including fructooligosaccharides (FOS), mannanoligosaccharides (MOS), dried plain beet pulp, and psyllium. Dried plain beet pulp and FOS are excellent prebiotics that help promote digestive health and serve as nutrient sources for the beneficial bacteria in the gut. Psyllium is important in a puppy diet because it helps form a proper stool.

“Selecting a food that is highly digestible and contains an optimal nutrient profile for active sporting dogs is always important. However, when we consider that a puppy is still developing, the amounts and types of nutrients provided by the diet are critical. The nutrition you feed your puppy today is helping lay the foundation for his future performance.”

Kibble Shape Can Help Slow Down Aggressive Eaters

Puppies with higher energy tend to eat with enthusiasm. Eukanuba’s Premium Performance Puppy Pro is cylindrical in shape, with a hollow center. This unique shape is designed to help promote chewing, thereby slowing the rate of consumption, which helps to optimize intake and digestion. The increased surface area also leads to greater ease of rehydrating the kibble, which can help contribute to water intake.

In short, the digestive system is foundational for the overall health of sporting breed puppies. Providing nutrition with comprehensive benefits during their development can help support their future performance potential. To learn more about Eukanuba Premium Performance Puppy Pro, visit

Content Block With Text And Image 2

eukanuba™ premium performance puppy pro


You have only one chance to support a puppy's development. Providing nutrition with comprehensive benefits from the start helps unleash the potential of active sporting breed puppies. That's why we've expanded the Premium Performance Range to help give your active puppy an advantage with Eukanuba™ Premium Performance Puppy Pro, our best puppy nutrition yet. Fuel growth and activity, support digestive health and promote trainability.

Learn More