Feed your puppy
Your pup may seem small now, but he has got a lot to do in a short amount of time! They become full adults in just 12 months (up to 24 months for larger breeds).
In the meantime, their bodies and brains need to develop incredibly quickly, and lots of good quality puppy food will help them get there. You definitely need it because a healthy, energetic puppy can burn up to twice as many calories as an adult dog!
Feeding your pup is also an important part of their health and happiness. Once they’re old enough to start eating solid foods – usually six to eight weeks of age – it’s time to start a diet that is specifically tailored to their needs.
What to feed your pup
Specially formulated puppy foods are the ideal diet for the newest member of your family. This is because they are complete and balanced, which means that they contain everything your puppy needs to grow up healthy. No additional supplements or human foods are required – in fact, these can do more harm than good, no matter how insistently they show you their poochy eyes!
The following should be considered in the best puppy food:
• • High calorie food
Puppy food is usually higher in calories than adult dog food because puppies need a lot of energy for all of the growth they need to do.
• • Extra protein
Puppy foods usually contain additional protein to support the healthy development of their organs as they grow.
• • Essential nutrients
Higher levels of essential nutrients like calcium, magnesium, iron, zinc and vitamin D are essential for the development of strong teeth and bones.
• • Small nibble sizes
Puppies are made in smaller nibble sizes to make chewing and swallowing easier. Often times, they love to chop up their dry food and like to eat their meal at once.
How much to feed your pup
Very often a puppy has eyes that are bigger than its belly! Give them small amounts of puppy food frequently to find the right balance between what they need and overfeeding. The correct amount will depend on your age, size, and advice from your veterinarian. Start with a tablespoon of food about five times a day while your puppy is still feeding from the mother.
Here is a guideline on how much to feed your pup:
• From eating to weaning (usually two months) – 4-6 meals a day
• Two to three months – 4 meals a day
• Four to six months – 2-3 meals a day
• Over six months – 2 meals a day (depending on the breed)
Do not try to overfeed your puppy as too much can either upset the abdomen or put pressure on the body if he gains too much weight in a short period of time. None of these are good for your pup’s health. So be careful when planning meals.
Always read the feeding instructions on the puppy food packaging carefully – they should provide you with a good starting point. The exact amount you should feed your puppy can vary based on age, breed, illness, and energy levels. More playful puppies use more energy and therefore need more food for fuel! Use our Body condition tool to measure your pup and make sure he is growing properly and is not under or overweight.
Weighing your puppy regularly can help ensure that he is the correct weight for age, height, and breed. You can do this at home, or if you’re not sure how, ask your veterinarian to show you or do it for you during an exam.
For younger puppies, it is better to eat little and often, as this will not overwhelm their developing digestion – no matter how excited they are about finishing their bowl of food!
Puppy feeding & exercise
Avoid feeding your puppy immediately before or after training, and allow an hour to pass between feeding and activity. It can be a good idea to get your puppy on an early routine of resting right after they eat to avoid the risk of stomach upset or possibly even more serious illness, especially in large and giant breeds where the Stomach can swell and possibly twist. This is known as stomach distension (and torsion) and is a serious condition that requires urgent veterinary attention.
Where to feed your puppy
Here are some guidelines to help you find the perfect place to feed your pup.
• • Choose a quiet place
Make sure you keep the puppy away from the hustle and bustle of a busy house where they can burrow without interruption.
• • Choose a surface that is easy to clean
Place the food on a tile floor or feeding mat, and always serve the puppy food in a clean bowl.
• • Keep children away from your pup while they are eating
This will help avoid them locking up their food or protecting themselves while eating. If you have other dogs around the house, feed them at the same time but separately to avoid fights and food theft!
How to feed your puppy
In addition to feeding a puppy, it is important to consider how to feed it.
Wet puppy food is best served at room temperature because it smells more attractive and is easier to digest. If you keep the food in the refrigerator, be sure to remove it about an hour before meals. It’s okay to microwave wet food for a short time, but make sure it’s only at room temperature and never hot.
While wet food stalls quickly if left out, dry puppy food will hold up during the day and won’t spoil. Most puppies enjoy crunching their dry food, but if your food prefers to moisten it or there is a medical reason to avoid hard food, soak the puppy food in some water for a few minutes before serving. Since the crunching of dry food also helps remove plaque, you should regularly dentist your dog’s diet if they prefer to have the dry food moistened. Remember to include these treats in your daily caloric intake.
What to feed puppies when they get bigger
As your puppy gets bigger, his appetite also grows. To give them the extra energy they need to support rapid growth spurts and build muscle mass, you will need to increase the amount that you are feeding your pup.
Depending on the breed, a six month old puppy can consume up to twice as many calories as a two month old puppy every day! As a rule of thumb, you should gradually increase the serving size over the first 12 months. After that, most puppies can be switched to adult food. You should always check with your veterinarian before increasing or decreasing the size of the food, as the calorie needs of the puppies will vary based on size. Larger breeds later switch to adult foods after about 18 to 24 months.
What not to feed your pup
Poochy eyes are called that for a reason – they know exactly how to get what they want, especially when it comes to begging for more food! If your puppy is trying to maintain a healthy, balanced diet, do your best to ignore requests for table debris and treats. A favorite toy, stroll, or game is a great replacement!
If you give in occasionally, treats should never make up more than 10% of your dog’s total diet, otherwise they could compromise the value of a balanced pet food.
Also note that there are some foods that you should stay away from, such as: B. Never feed your puppy raw meat. To reduce your risk of food poisoning, kill all bacteria by thoroughly cooking fresh meat. Before feeding, make sure there are no small bits of bone left, especially brittle chicken and fish bones, as these can damage teeth and cause blockages in the intestines. Never feed your dog “human” chocolate as it is toxic to him.
Here are some things that you should never feed a puppy:
• Raw meat
• grapes / raisins
Contact the veterinarian for a full list of highly toxic foods. Avoid feeding your puppy.
Switching from wet to dry puppy food
Your puppy’s stomach is very sensitive and can be easily upset if you suddenly switch puppy food, be it between wet and dry food, another brand, or from a puppy to an adult formula.
If you have just brought her home for the first time, it is a good idea to leave her on the breeder or rescue center recommended diet for the first time, unless there is an obvious problem.
If you need to switch foods, take the time to give your stomach time to adjust. Mix some of their new food into the old one and add more and more over the course of 7-10 days until your puppy is just eating the new food.
Switching from a wet puppy food to a dry one can take time for your puppy to adjust. You will chew it more actively, may take longer to eat, and will certainly need more water. When you switch from dry to wet, don’t be surprised if you drink a little less. Again, the texture may seem strange. If you’re used to chopping dry food, mix in a few cookies.
Remember that a serving of dry food looks smaller than a serving of wet food. Because dry food is generally more energy denser than wet food, your puppy may need to eat proportionally more wet food to get the same calories.
Following our advice on feeding your pup should mean you have a happy, healthy dog with lots of energy to play with!
Other feeding tips for puppies
• When they are old enough, make crispy or chewy treats a part of your pup’s daily amount of food. These treats can even help keep your teeth clean
• Serve wet puppy food at room temperature so it smells attractive. Always wrap / reseal unfinished cans or bags, refrigerate and use within 24 hours.
• Avoid foods like raw meat and bones, and make sure your puppy never eats chocolate, onions, garlic, grapes, or raisins as these are all toxic to dogs.
• If possible, feed your puppy the same food as it was before you returned home. This will help minimize possible upset bellies.
• When changing foods, it is best to do so slowly, starting with the old food and gradually adding the new food over a few days.
• If you are feeding more than one puppy, do so separately so that one puppy does not eat more than the other and there is no competition.
A happy and healthy puppy needs both nutrition and a fair amount of it Puppy exercise. Make sure your first few months together with our helpful puppy guides go as smoothly as possible. Discover how you can help them become a friendly companion and what to do if your puppy has a bout of Separation anxiety.