One of the most important things for a puppy to grow strong, fit and healthy is that it is given the correct diet, in the correct amounts and at the correct times. The following is a guide to help any new puppy owner do all this!
The First Six to Eight Weeks Of Your Puppies Life
During the first six to eight weeks of your puppy’s life, they should be with and be fed by their mother. A mother’s milk is the best nutrition a puppy can receive, and without it, there can be health issues. Mother’s milk also contains antibodies that help protect your puppy from disease.
Should a mother be unable to feed their puppy due to suffering from eclampsia or mastitis it is also possible to buy milk replacers and bottles from a pet store. Whilst these do not replace mother’s milk in every way, they are the next best thing.
Weaning Your Puppy On To Solids
At eight weeks of age, you should start to wean your puppy on to solids. This cannot be done overnight, rather it should be done over two to three weeks. You will need to start by picking a brand of food.
When picking a brand of food you will see that there is a wide, wide variety available. Foods range from cheap corn and meat by-product cheap varieties to expensive high-end rich ones. Usually, it is best to go for something in the middle price range that has meat listed as the first ingredient. Canidae foods is a good example of what you should be choosing.
Once you have chosen your puppy’s solid food, you will need to mix it with milk replacer to make a gruel. You can gradually replace the amount of milk with solid food so that by the end of the three weeks it is completely solid.
How Often To Feed
At first, you should be feeding your puppy solid food three to four times daily. This is because small meals are easier for your puppy to digest. When they reach six months of age, you can cut feeding times down to twice a day. Don’t feed your puppy just before bed as this will result in them needing the toilet through the night.
Watching Your Puppy’s Weight
You should follow the feeding guidelines on your puppy’s food but not too stringently. If you notice your puppy is more than a few ounces more than the recommended weight for breed and age, you should lower the amount you are feeding.
To check your puppy’s weight, simply weigh yourself on a pair of bathroom scales and make a note of your weight. Then pick your puppy up and weigh yourself and the puppy. By subtracting your weight from the weight of you and your puppy you will have an accurate weight for your furry friend.
Remember that an obese puppy can lead to orthopedic problems, diabetes, heart disease, organ disease and general lethargy. These may not develop until your puppy is older but they will happen, so do not overfeed!
The Five Simple Rules
The above information can be simplified down to five simple rules. Write them out, pop them on the fridge and you will never forget them.
- Feed little and often
- Feed a mid-range product
- Don’t overfeed
- No food before bedtime
- No sudden changes in diet