FEEDING

Feeding your puppy correctly is not difficult or complicated but very important.

Try to find out what the pup was fed before you acquired him and start off with a similar diet that was fed by the breeder. Once he has settled in your house, gradually change to (at least for a week) a preferred diet.

All changes to the diet should be made gradually to avoid stomach upsets or diarrhoea. The pup’s diet should be based on good quality commercial dog foods.  Puppy kibbles are products available that are formulated especially to meet the needs of rapidly growing pups. Base your pup’s diet on these. A dry food or rehydratable dry food is best.

Always provide plenty of fresh, clean drinking water. Keep the water bowl clean.

If a puppy will not eat a good quality food that has been offered to him for more than a day, see your vet.

Meat can be raw or cooked for pups. But meat alone will not be sufficient for dogs. They require a balance of protein and carbohydrate and more minerals and vitamins. While liver, heart and kidney are full of nutrition, do not feed these rich foods as more than just a part of a meal, and even then not more than once a week. Pups digest meat more easily when it is minced but by the time they are three months old they should be getting pieces big enough to chew. Meat can be introduced at the age of 5-6 month.

Vegetables should be cooked as the dog’s digestive system cannot efficiently digest raw vegetables. Raw vegetables can provide useful fibre and bulk, but are of little nutritional value.

Eggs should be cooked. The reason is twofold. Firstly, egg white contains ‘avidin’ which interferes with the absorption of some vitamins and biotn which can lead to a dry skin and coat. Secondly, egg protein is more readily digested when cooked. A soft-boiled egg can be fed with its shell, as the shell supplies calcium.

Milk unfortunately cow’s milk does not agree with all pups, as some can be lactose intolerant.  Provide your puppy instead with a good quality puppy milk. Dilute the milk with water and can be fed to the puppies. Pups do not need milk after about 12 weeks of age. The amount of calcium present in milk is not nearly enough for a puppy’s needs.

You need to watch they are not putting on excess weight which is hard to tell with a pup. A certain amount of fat is good for the coat and skin but if you are concerned ask your vet. 

Vitamin Supplements are not necessary if feeding your puppy or dog a balanced diet. They can be helpful if your puppy or dog is recovering from sickness or an accident. If you feed your dog a meat-only diet then he will need supplements as he will not be getting calcium for healthy bones or the necessary vitamins for growth, and he will be receiving too much phosphorus. In this case speak to your vet about what supplements are right for your dog.

Oversupplementation with vitamins and minerals can be as dangerous as a deficiency of them. Any supplementation should be discussed with your vet.

Frequency of Feeding

The typical puppy feeding schedule would be:

  • Age 6-16 weeks:3-4 meals per day (4 meals only for very small breeds)
  • Age 3-6 months:2-3 meals per day
  • Age 6-12 months:2 meals per day

It is strongly recommended that you do not share food from your plate with your puppy. Puppies will often beg for whatever you are eating and it will be tempting to give them small amounts of your food. While it is not dangerous for them to eat most of what you eat, it is a really tough habit to break as they will begin to think that they should always share in your food.

It is best to stick with a good puppy diet and follow a feeding routine. Begin early training of the puppy on how to behave while you are eating. This may involve crating or asking the puppy to stay outside of the dining room/kitchen until it learns proper behavior.

Toxic Foods

Some foods that we eat are toxic to animals. Onions are toxic, though a little cooked with meat should not hurt. Chocolates  are also toxic. Pear pips, the kernels of plums,and apple core pips can be potentially dangerous. Grapes in large amounts are also dangerous.