YOUR PUPPY'S FEEDING SCHEDULE
Your dog's nutritional requirements may never be more demanding than when she is a puppy. Therefore it is essential that you choose a high quality food that is nutritionally complete and balanced for optimum nutrition during this critical growth stage.
HELPFUL SUGGESTIONS FOR FEEDING YOUR PUPPY
Good feeding habits start as soon as you get your puppy! Your puppy's diet will influence her health status, development, appearance and attitude.
How you feed your puppy will influence many behaviour aspects, from house training to begging. It is also important to prevent your puppy from gaining too much weight, which can predispose her to obesity and its associated health problems later in life.
The following tips will get you off to a good start.
1. Choose your puppy's diet carefully!
There is excessive misinformation in the market regarding puppy foods. We know it's confusing, particularly with all the advertising and marketing efforts by competing companies. The old adage "you get what you pay for" probably applies more to pet foods than anything else. We encourage you not to compare foods by the "Guaranteed Analysis" on the label - it is a chemical analysis only and it measures gross quantities of ingredient types - it tells you nothing about the quality or digestibility of the ingredients. Don't hesitate to ask our office about any issues you may have regarding your puppy's diet.
2. Do not "free choice feed" your puppy.
Free choice feeding is essentially feeding your puppy as much as he wants to eat. Free choice feeding can contribute to digestive upset (vomiting and diarrhea), bloating, difficulty in house training, and obesity.
The best approach is to feed your puppy's daily allotment of food in two or three measured meals a day. If your puppy hasn't eaten his measured amount of food within 15 minutes, remove it. Continue on with the same measured portion at the next meal. If you find your puppy consistently isn't finishing his meal but is otherwise doing well, cut back on the total daily allotment. On the other hand, even if your puppy devours the meal in a few minutes, do not give more food.
Watch his body condition and review this with us at each visit.
3. Avoid feeding your puppy "human food".
Establishing right from the start that "human food" is off-limits will reduce begging and an increased opportunity for obesity. It also helps minimize the chance of dogs becoming very picky eaters.
If you must feed some "human food", stick to small amounts of low calorie options such as vegetables, rice, etc., but always put them in your puppy's bowl! Never feed your puppy from the table.
4. Familiarize yourself with healthy treats.
We all like to treat our puppies. It helps us in socializing, training and just plain loving them. There are several healthy treat options now on the market. Remember many treats on the market have more calories than you find in a 1/2 cup of puppy food!
5. Use meals as a house training opportunity!
Puppies normally eliminate 5 to 15 minutes after eating a meal. Therefore, after the feeding take your puppy outside to the appropriate place in your yard where you would like him to eliminate, and wait for the magic moment. Praise your puppy for a job well done!
Puppies also need to eliminate after nap and play sessions. Use this to your advantage in training and avoiding "accidents"!
6. Food is an excellent training tool!
Food makes training easier and more positive for you and your puppy.
7. Feed your puppy in a quiet place.
Avoid feeding just prior to or just after exercise. This helps establish consistency, reduces excitement around a meal, and reduces the incidence of stomach upset.
8. Change diets slowly.
If you are changing your puppy's diet, mix the new food with the previous diet in small amounts the first day or two. Then the portion of the new diet can be gradually increased over a week or so until your puppy is completely on the new diet. This will reduce the likelihood of vomiting and diarrhea. Your puppy should make a formed stool, which is easy to pick up.
9. Bones and milk.
Please do not feed your puppy any bones. Digestive disturbances, bone fragments and their resulting damage can require the use of medication and possibly surgery. Many puppies cannot digest milk, and it ends up giving them diarrhea. This can also interfere with the absorption of nutrients from the intestinal tract.