You made the decision to go ahead and buy/adopt a puppy, but you’re unsure of what to do now. Raising a puppy is like raising a baby and there are specific requirements needed to help them grow strong. Something that is extremely important is knowing what to feed your puppy, as well as how often they need feeding. You must also learn when they need to move onto something else as they grow up.
Puppies need a nutritionally balanced diet to help them grow strong bones and have the energy to help them run around. As much as they might want to eat whatever you’re having, it is important to keep to a strict diet to help them develop. Here are some tips on how to help you understand what you need to do to feed your puppy.
When You Get Your Puppy
· Talk to a Vet
When you get a puppy from a breeder or shelter, they will already be eating food since being completely weaned. It is a good idea to find out what their diet was, to be prepared when they get home. It also ensures you don’t give them something they won’t eat. Puppies, especially when young, have sensitive digestive systems and a sudden change in diet can upset them.
Once you have settled them into their new home, it is a good idea to take a trip to the vets. While there you will receive some expert advice on what food is best to give to your puppy. They will be able to give you recommendations on what the best food will be, how often you should feed them and what kind of portion sizes they will need. This will vary from breed to breed, so never assume that what is right for a chihuahua is the same as a husky.
· Move from old food to new food
Once you have an idea of what food you need, you will have to slowly change out the old food and add in the new kind. To do this you can mix the two together over a week. Slowly add less of the old food until they are completely on the new type.
- Day 1: 90% Old food – 10% new food
- Day 2: 75% Old food – 25% new food
- Day 3: 60% Old food – 40% new food
- Day 4: 40% Old food – 60% new food
- Day 5: 25% Old food – 75% new food
- Day 6: 10% Old food – 90% new food
From Day 7: 0% Old Food – 100% new food
Choosing Food for Your Puppy
· Note the Puppy Food Ingredients
When the vet has given you an idea of what to look for on the shelves at the pet store, you can decide what food is best for them. It will need to be a diet that has a balance of carbohydrates, protein, fats, minerals, vitamins, and water. All of these things need to be in the food you choose and should be shown on the packaging, which should say, “Complete and Balanced.” If you choose the right brand and type of food, there will be no need to add supplements to it.
· Note the Puppy Size
Something that is important to consider is how quickly your puppy will grow, which depends on what breed they are. A smaller breed will mature quicker as they have faster metabolisms, as well as smaller mouths and teeth. Food that is good for them is something that is easy to chew and energy-dense, which will help to keep their energy levels up when they are active. On the other hand, large breeds will need food that is less energy-dense to provide healthy growth that is slower. If puppies of larger breeds are overfed, there is the chance they will have joint problems when they are older. They will need less calcium than smaller breeds, which will help to avoid the damaging effects of carrying too much weight when young.
Come Up with A Schedule
After choosing what food you want to feed your puppy you will need to come up with a feeding schedule. It must suit their appetite to help prevent upset stomachs. Everyone knows that puppies have a lot of energy and will grow quickly. When they are under 12 weeks of age, they will need to be fed three or four times a day. These portions will be smaller as they are still young, but a vet or the packaging can help you understand how much they need.
When they reach three months old you can begin decreasing the amount of times a day they eat to two or three times depending on their breed. Once they are an adult you will find that they need feeding an average of two times a day. It will normally be in the morning and then in the late afternoon. While the packaging will show you how much they need, with some even coming with little shovels. A good indication of how much they need to eat is by watching them eat. If the puppy is leaving food in the bowl afterward then you are giving them more than they need. However, if they are putting on weight too fast then you are feeding them too much. There isn’t a one-size-fits-all when it comes to puppy diets, so be sure to monitor their progress and adjust accordingly.
The Great Debate: Kibble or Canned?
When it comes to what type of dog food you should give your puppy, it is down to personal preference. Both dry and wet food tend to have similar nutrients, with some being more beneficial to certain breeds. Canned wet food can become quite expensive in the long run and often contains a lot of water. This is something that isn’t needed as long as you keep their water bowl filled. For larger breeds, kibble is seen as the best because it is easier to store and helps owners save money.
Some people prefer not to use commercial food as they argue that manufacturers add fillers and substances to their food. However, most brands comply with the strict standards that include the right amount of minerals and vitamins.
Dealing with The Teething Stage
Just like with babies, all puppies will go through a teething stage around four months old. It is a process of replacing milk-tooth with permanent teeth. During this time, puppies can often feel uncomfortable and even painful. This can sometimes mean that you will need to alter their diet to suit them, especially as their teeth can hurt them when it comes to solid food. If they are refusing to eat because it is uncomfortable, you could try switching to canned food or even add warm water to their dry food to soften it for them.
Is It Okay For Puppies to Eat Human Food?
When puppies smell food, they will want to have a taste, even if it is food meant for humans. A lot of people think it is harmless to give their puppy some scraps from the dinner table. Doing this too much can cause problems later on in life. Not to mention that it will also turn them into beggars. While some human food is okay to give them, there are certain foods that puppies shouldn’t be given such as chocolate, cinnamon, garlic, ice cream and different kinds of nuts.
Some people believe that commercial dog food doesn’t have enough nutrients. For this reason, people may want to give their puppy a home-cooked or raw meal. The problem with this is that you may not give them all the nutrients they need, such as calcium. If you are wanting to incorporate human food into their diet then the lean meat is the best kind such as turkey, chicken and beef, but ham could be too rich for a puppy. Just be sure that there aren’t any bones in the meat that could splinter. Adding in cooked or raw vegetables like broccoli or carrots can be a delicious treat as well. Talking to your vet can help you to decide what is best for your puppy.
While it is important that you choose the right food for your puppy, it is also imperative that you make sure there is clean water available at all times. Puppies tend to drink a lot of water and will need it refilling more than you realize. Make sure to check in on them every so often. Choosing the right food and feeding them at the right time will help them to develop into a healthy and fully-grown dog that will stay by your side for years to come.