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Good Puppy Feeding Habits - Complete Guide To Feeding Your Puppy
Puppy Feeding Guidelines - Things to Keep in Mind when Creating a Feeding Schedule for Your Furbaby!
So, You have welcomed a new family member, especially one with two extra legs, and a whole lot of cuteness.
Congrats! Welcoming a puppy home is one of the biggest decisions you will every make. One that will change your life for ever! One of the first things you're probably wondering is: how much should I feed my puppy? Figuring out the right quantities to feed your little dog is pretty critical for a healthy and happy long term relationship.
Welcome to our guide on feeding puppies where we provide insights and guidance on how much to feed our new family members.
If you're just here for your dog's daily caloric needs, skip to the calculator or puppy feeding chart.
Important Discussion Points In This Guide
- Importance of Puppy Food and Nutrition
- What should my Puppy Feeding Schedule look like?
- How Often To Feed My Dog or Puppy
- Dry vs Wet Puppy Food
- What is Kibble?
- When to Shift From Puppy to Adult Food?
Importance of Puppy Food and Nutrition
When it comes to puppy food, you might think "a dog is a dog, right?" But food formulated for puppies is actually quite different than food formulated for older dogs.
Puppy nutrition is all about setting up the foundation for proper development.
"Brain, organ, and bone development occurs rapidly in puppies and sets up the foundation for normal function and health throughout a dog's life"
Essential nutrients are critical to this process and have been shown to have positive impacts on a dog's health.
For example, long-chain fatty acids like DHA (docosahexaenoic acid), often found in fish oil, can improve learning and memory in dogs, apparently doing so "by helping the development of the healthy puppy brain."
The list goes on: young dogs need higher levels of protein, fat, calcium, and phosphorus compared to adult dogs. Keep in mind, there's an ideal window for nutrients.
Too little nutrients can cause deficiencies, but if a puppy gets too much of certain nutrients, that can cause lifelong complications. Take calcium for instance. "If a large breed dog gets too much calcium, it can cause abnormal bone growth and lead to expensive and painful problems in the future."
What should my Puppy Feeding Schedule look like?
First 6 to 8 Weeks
During the first six to eight weeks of life the puppy should stay with the mother and be allowed to nurse mothers milk. It is especially important they nurse from the mother since the mother’s milk provides the best nutrition and provides antibodies to help protect your puppy from disease.
Sometimes it is not possible to keep a puppy with the mother for the first eight weeks. In these situations milk replacements and bottles especially designed for puppies can be found at any major pet store.
Puppies should be fed three to four times a day. At around six months you may start feeding twice a day!
How Often Should I feed My Puppy?
Puppies should be fed three to four times a day therefore if you are currently feeding ¾ a cup of puppy food twice a day you should consider spacing it out by feeding ½ cup three times a day.
Smaller meals are easier to digest for the puppy and energy levels don’t peak and fall so much with frequent meals.
At around six months you may start feeding twice a day for convenience but because your dog is a mixed large breed dog I would recommend sticking with a 3-4 times a day feeding schedule if possible to minimize the risk of gastric dilatation volvulus.
Ideal Dog Weight Chart
Dry vs Wet Food For Puppies
When it comes to feeding a puppy wet/canned food vs. dry food, what are the pros and cons? This is yet another mystery that baffles many new dog owners. To answer the question, it's helpful to first have a better understanding of the options.
Wet food or semi-moist food usually comes either in cans, pouches, or single-serving packets, and is typically the most expensive. Unsurprisingly, your dog will probably find it much tastier than dry food.
What is Kibble?
Dry food, also known as kibble, is often the most economical food option. You can scoop and serve it to your dog straight out of the bag or moisten it a little with water or canned food (the latter doesn't do much other than make it more appealing to your pup).
During weaning, a puppy should get moist food, either wet or semi-moist food, or dry food that's been moistened with a little water.
Shop Best Food For Your Puppy
Weaning Puppies - When to Shift From Puppy to Adult Food?
Puppy food is very high in calories and nutritional supplements so you want to switch to adult food once your puppy begins to approach maturity.
There is no set age when the switch should be made because it will vary with the breed and individual dog. In general, the smaller the dog the faster they reach maturity. Small breeds up to 12 kgs mature around ten to twelve months of age although some toy breeds reach maturity even sooner.
Medium breed dogs up to 35 kgs will reach maturity between twelve to sixteen months. Large breed dogs weighing more than 50kg pounds can take up to two years to reach maturity.
Weaning Your Puppy to Solid Food
When making the switch to adult food, do it slowly over the course of one to two weeks by gradually mixing in increasing amounts of the adult food with decreasing amounts of her puppy food to minimize gastric upset.
Weaning your puppy to solid food should not be an overnight endeavor but should ideally take place over the course of two to three weeks. First select the brand of puppy food you intend to feed.
Puppies have high caloric and nutritional needs and so the food selected should be a high quality brand of puppy food. Talk to your veterinarian for specific recommendations but generally the best puppy foods will be a good source of protein, calcium and calories.
Starting around four to six weeks of age begin introducing your puppy to puppy food by making a gruel by blending the puppy food with milk replacer.
Offer the gruel three to four times a day gradually reducing the amount of milk replaced used to make the gruel.
This way your puppy gradually learns to adapt to solid food and gastric upset is minimized. By around eight weeks of age your puppy should be eating solid food.
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