The excitement that comes with a newly born puppy in the family is simply undeniable. Pups are warm and cute furry bundles of joy. You want to play with them, cuddle them, and, most importantly, teach them how to do things, so they grow up just right. Your puppy’s nutrition should be at the topmost priority in ensuring your pup’s growth and development. Yes, Food, just like human kids, the right diet is essential for the baby’s growth of both mind and body—even behavior. Pups are no different. But, just how to feed a puppy is a question we all ask.
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There are different stages of puppy, and each step is defined nutritionally.
A newborn pup should stay with its mother and be allowed to nurse ad-lib for the first six to eight weeks.
It is a scientific fact that a mother’s milk provides the best nutrition and antibodies to protect the puppy from the disease.
Yes, it’s the same reason in humans, mothers are advised to breastfeed their babies for at least 6 months.
Nurse ad-libbing should be discouraged in pups if the mother has mastitis or eclampsia as it also puts the pups at risk of getting the disease.
In such situations, milk bottles and replacers designed for puppies and typically found in major pet stores can be used.
Factors to consider when Feeding Puppies
Think balanced diet. Puppies benefit significantly from fair puppy food.
It is highly enriched with a balance of nutrients that help puppies grow into healthy and happy adult dogs.
When shopping for dog food, look for protein-rich formulas to properly develop their growing muscles, and carbohydrates for the active energy supply that allows them to be playful and energetic all-day round.
Foods rich in calcium for their development of strong and healthy teeth and bones.
The DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) for a healthy brain and also aids in vision development.
Most of these nutrients are indicated on the packaging.
Rest assured, such a balanced diet will make your pup develop into a healthy dog.
Breed size is essential in determining just how much to feed your pup.
If your puppy is a large breed dog, he will benefit from a giant breed-specific formula. Large breed puppies also benefit from slightly higher meal portions as compared to small breed dogs.
Small breed dogs also got low breed-specific recipes.
The methods are both complete and well-balanced.
The difference comes in astronomical breed formulas that are fortified with additional nutrients to support their growing joints as large breed dogs are at high risk of developing joint problems.
It is often noted that small breed dogs enjoy smaller kibble making it easier to chew their food, so they get all the necessary nutrients.
Type of food
Is it wet food, dry food, or semi-moist?
Walking your pet store aisles can be overwhelming with all the different dog foods all lined up for you.
How do you know which is the right food for your pup?
You’ll often see dry and wet dog food. Luckily there is no trick here.
As long as both dry and wet dog formulas are complete and balanced, your dog can enjoy any.
Feeding your pup, a combination of the two is also an option.
Kibble is the most popular option for feeding your puppy, as a fact, it is the most economical and major makers make a complete and balanced diet for dogs of all sizes and ages.
You can also read this Best Dry Puppy Food Review and check the following recommendations to choose the right one.
Also, for dry foods, be sure to incorporate water in their meals to get the dog hydrated.
Feeding timeline: A guide
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Because pups grow at such a fast rate, they need to start eating a complete and balanced diet as soon as they’re weaned, and that is usually between six to eight weeks.
This feeding timeline will guide you through.
6 – 12 weeks: This being the weaning stage, you can introduce your puppy to puppy food.
It is enriched with a complete and balanced diet that’s specially formulated to meet the nutritional development of the growing pup.
How often? Four feedings in a day are adequate to meet the pup’s dietary demands. Large breed pups like Labradors should be fed dry food by 9 to 10 weeks. Small breeds a little later, like 12 to 13 weeks.
3- 6 months: This stage calls for reduced feeding from four to three foods a day to check on the body’s maturity.
The pup should be losing the pudginess at this age hence the need for reduced feedings.
6 -12 months: Your pup is growing, and you can see it.
This is the point to reduce feeding to twice a day.
It is also the right time to switch from nutrient-rich pup food to adult maintenance food.
Consider spaying or neutering as this slightly lowers the energy requirements and do the switch right after.
For smaller breed dogs, you can make the switch as early as 7 to 9 months while for larger breed pups, it’s safe to make the switch at 12 to 14 months.
After age 1: Your dog just hit one year old and looks healthy!
You should be a proud dog owner. He is no longer a pup,
He or she is an adult now. Here you can feed him half portions twice a day.
How much is too Much?
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A famous saying in the dog world goes, “Watch the dog, not the dish.”
In canine feeding, portion sizes depend on individual metabolism and body type.
Furthermore, nutritional requirements vary from dog to dog.
Avoid overfeeding your dog. It is vital to maintain ideal body conditions to encourage proper growth in all puppies, unusually large breeds.
The reason for fewer feedings in a day as they get older is that the calorie needs drop as they grow older.
You may notice your pup leaving some food in the bowl.
This is not necessarily an indication of food dislike but that he may be already sated, and another bite would be overfeeding.
The solution is to simply reduce the portion size.
Important points to note when Feeding
- Your pup’s feeding program is crucial to ensure everyone at home gets with the program. Dogs are smart and can easily exploit a soft touch for a handout, which inevitably messes up your dog’s feeding regimen. Careful on the treats too!
- Leave plenty of water out to ensure your dog is hydrated, especially after feeding him dry food. As they near a year, you can mix up the meal with water for that extra hydration.
- As tempting as it is, don’t feed your dog table scraps. One French fry will lead to another, and the next thing you know, you’ll have an obese dog just lying there in your front doorway. Feeding table scraps and human food also causes behavioral concerns that may be hard to deal with.
- Give your pup treats but only as a training tool as it makes an effective training technique.
- Puppy food is very high in calories, so switch to adult food once the pup appears mature.
- Create a feeding schedule and stick to it. Not only is it best for your dog’s behavior, but it also dramatically aids your dog’s mental health.
Your puppy deserves the BEST.
Provide a friendly environment, and excellent feeding, and watch out for every step of growth of your pup and see it grow into an adorable, loyal, and playful dog!