Puppy nutrition 101 — a holistic approach to a balanced diet

Reviewed by our experts. More info
Louise Hawkins, Dr Darcy Marshall
woman sitting on lounge room floor with two puppies unpacking Lyka box

With their adorable wagging tails and heart-melting antics, there’s nothing more exciting than bringing home a new puppy.

There’s also lots to do to prepare for their arrival, with quality food being a big one!

Choosing the right diet for your puppy can be overwhelming (not to mention a lot of pressure). They need balanced nutrition full of wholefood ingredients to support their development during these early growth phases.

Here’s how freshly prepared, minimally processed wholefoods can give your pup the best start in life.

How does a wholefood diet support my puppy’s growth?

Your puppy’s body goes through many changes during the first months of their life — a wholefood diet that meets all their nutritional requirements creates the foundation for their health.

A balanced fresh food diet provides wholefood nutrition, promotes sustained energy levels, and supports a strong immune system, microbiome, body composition and their ability to grow into strong, healthy adults.

Puppies have small tummies, which means diets high in ingredients with limited nutritional value take up invaluable space. By choosing nutrient-dense ingredients, you make sure they’re getting the most out of the small amounts of food they can fit!

Combining a fresh approach with the right quantity of food helps ensure an optimal growth rate — slow and steady growth allows puppies to reach their ideal adult body size and condition while avoiding excessive weight gain.

Here’s a breakdown of how purposeful wholefood nutrition supports their growth:

Supports optimal development of bones and muscles

Quality, human-grade protein sources have high bioavailability, which means it’s easily absorbed and ready for your pup to use to help build strong bones and muscles.

Strikes the right balance between Calcium and Phosphorus

Puppies have slightly higher requirements of micro-minerals (such as Calcium and Phosphorus) compared to adults to meet the demands of their growing bones. The right balance of these two minerals minimises bone or joint deficits. Lyka supports this requirement for growing puppies, including large-breed puppies.

Strengthens immunity

Puppies can be more vulnerable to infections and diseases. Minimally processed wholefoods like Lyka have been shown to decrease the chance of developing certain immune diseases (such as canine atopic dermatitis), and include powerful phytonutrients and antioxidants which help strengthen their immunity and reduce the risk of disease and returning infections.

Includes the perfect Lysine: arginine ratio

Studies have shown that when the ratio of these two essential amino acids is too high, it can depress growth in puppies. That’s why we carefully measure the levels of lysine and arginine in our Lyka meals. AAFCO (who sets the dog food standards in the USA) is in the process of developing recommendations for lysine and arginine, so we’re ahead of the game — it’s something our vet has already considered when designing our Lyka recipes.

Encourages healthier brain development

DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) is an omega-3 fatty acid that plays a vital role in brain and retinal development. DHA is found in fish (we use sardines, blue grenadier and fish oil in our Lyka meals), and studies show that puppies with high-DHA diets had significant brain, retina and immunity benefits.

Promotes a diverse microbiome

Studies show good health starts with a healthy gut. The microbiome is made up of trillions of microorganisms, like bacteria, and even viruses and fungi, that live in the gastrointestinal tract. Fresh, human-grade ingredients that contain prebiotic blends and key phytonutrients help support a diverse and balanced microbiome that keeps your puppy healthy.


Puppies can be picky!

Like children, introducing a variety of foods, tastes and textures early in life helps avoid fussiness later in life. If you’re moving your puppy onto Lyka, transition slowly so it doesn’t upset their little tummy — especially if they’re moving away from processed foods like kibble.

Slowly increase the proportion of Lyka over five to 14 days to minimise the risk of stomach upset and help them better tolerate and digest the new nutrients. Your puppy may want to gobble and go, but they’ve gotta take it slow!

How much should I feed my growing puppy?

Serving sizes need to change while your puppy grows. With Lyka, you receive a tailored diet with custom servings based on your puppy’s breed, weight, age, and activity level. This changes as your puppy hits certain weight milestones.

We’ll send you a meal plan during your first week on Lyka with expected milestones. Once your puppy reaches them, you can update this in your customer dashboard.

Servings are customisable so you can always adjust up (or down) depending on your pup’s energy and growth needs.

Keep an eye on your pup’s body condition and weight — we can always adjust their serving size if need be! Every pup is different and their energy requirements can vary based on their unique profile.

How Lyka supports your puppy’s development

Our biologically-appropriate recipes are carefully formulated by in-house Integrative Veterinarian, Dr Matthew Muir, alongside a team of Board-Certified Veterinary Nutritionists, with highly digestible and targeted nutrients to support each growth stage of puppyhood and beyond.

Based on scientific research and longstanding evidence, our recipes contain a mix of over 60% protein, moderate fat and low GI carbohydrates prepared using 100% human-grade ingredients.

Each meal is lightly cooked at a low temperature so that vital nutrients and moisture are enhanced, while the risk of exposure to potentially bad bacteria and other pathogens is minimised.

Every recipe is carefully formulated for all life stages, ensuring the correct balance of micro and macronutrients to support your puppy’s early development through to adulthood and even their golden years.

What does life on Lyka look like?


  1. More energy: Growing puppies require two to three times more energy than adults (on average). Eating a high bioavailability diet gives them the nutrients they need to be extra playful!

  2. Goodbye gurgly gut & stinky poos: Our low-glycemic load recipes promote better weight management, reduce the risk of health conditions and have a positive effect on your pup’s microbiome. This means less gas, better digestion and smaller, firmer poos! Our meals are lightly cooked, which makes them super digestible for underdeveloped tummies.

  3. Nourished skin & coat: Lyka meals are rich in omega 3s and bioactive ingredients for softer and shinier coats. The optimal omega ratio helps alleviate itchy skin symptoms and improve skin health.

  4. Optimal weight: We make portion control easy, with customised pouches based on your puppy’s requirements. Our recipes contain low-GI ingredients, keeping your puppy fuller for longer.

  5. Good teeth: It’s a myth that kibble completely cleans teeth. Carbohydrates can actually accelerate bacterial growth leading to bad breath, tartar, and periodontal disease. Our recipes include kelp and high levels of vitamin E for dental health.

  6. Improved immunity: High-quality, human-grade ingredients and powerful superfoods, including shiitake mushrooms, blueberries and spirulina, helps reduce the risk of disease and returning infections.

  7. Healthy bones & joints: Optimum ratio of Calcium : Phosphorus designed to meet growth demands while avoiding skeletal problems associated with excessive calcium.

  8. Happy heart: Our recipes are low in salt, but rich in omega 3s, vitamin E and antioxidants for optimal heart health.

  9. Better behaviour: A fresh, high-protein, low carbohydrate wholefood diet balances and builds a healthy gut and ultimately, behaviour. Rich in omega 3s, vitamins E and B, along with zinc and iron for brain development and function, your puppy will be sitting, dropping, and rolling faster than you can say treats!

A fresh start is the best start — and we’re here for you every step of the way.

Fill your first Lyka box with recipes packed with high-quality, freshly prepared meat, vegetables and superfoods. Each personalised portion contains all the macro and micronutrients that your puppy needs to grow into a strong, healthy and happy adult.

Join the pack and get started today!

Have a question? We have a dedicated team of vets, nurses and a Customer Care Team with experts to help with any questions you may have about nutrition or your puppy. Please don’t hesitate to reach out.

This article was reviewed by Lyka's veterinary and nutrition experts

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