If you are brand new ‘parent’ to a little puppy, then you have probably already set him up with all the equipment he needs; a good bed to snooze in, toys to chew on while his teething, and leads and collars full of swag. After all, dogs bring so many benefits to humans; why not invest in making them feel safe and comfortable at all times?
Feeding is also important. When you bring your puppy home, he will have been weaned from his mother, so you can take off from where his previous owners left off, following important guidelines to ensure he has all the nutrition he needs to thrive.
Adapt the Feeding Schedule According to Age
Puppies aged under three months can be allowed to graze freely on food all day, so ensure your pup has plenty of quality food. This time period is one of rapid growth, so this is one a vital time in your dog’s life in terms of nutrition. If your pooch is reticent to try kibble, moisten it in water to soften it, or opt for wet food. At the very least, your dog should be fed around four to five times a day if you don’t wish to allow him to graze.
As your dog gets older (from the ages of four to six months), you can begin to feed him three times a day,working your way down to two times a day as he starts approaching adulthood.
Guides on how much puppies should eat normally suggest that new owners monitor their dogs well to check if they are at a healthy weight. Underweight dogs will have highly visible ribs and bones, which ‘jut out’ when viewed from above. Overweight dogs, meanwhile, will lack a waist and have a rounded stomach. When you see your vet, ask him if your dog’s weight is right for his breed and adapt food intake accordingly, without making drastic changes.
How Much Should You Feed Your Puppy?
It is vital to check the instructions on your dog food: the latter will clearly indicate how much to feed your pup based in his breed or weight. The reason instructions are so important is that you can feed too much calcium or too many calories to dogs, leading to obesity. On the other hand, dogs should never go hungry, and malnutrition can result in long-term health consequences. Every brand varies greatly in calorie count, fat content etc. so the vital consideration should be to select a good quality food, then to follow the maker’s recommendations.
What Type of Food Should You Buy?
Younger dogs need higher levels of protein, fat, calcium, and phosphorus, so it is important to buy your puppy his own foods (small sized adult kibble will not do). Invest in food containing a high percentage of protein (around 35% and above is ideal), with a low percentage of carbohydrates ( around 16%).
Puppy and dog food should ideally be ‘biologically appropriate’, meaning it should be made from fresh (refrigerated, preservative-free) or flash-frozen, preservative-free food. The first ingredient should be meat, not a meat derivative. Look for healthy ingredients like fresh whole eggs, freeze-dried liver, and fresh whole fish… foods that contain the nutrients your dog needs to build healthy muscle and bone.
Feeding your puppy is part instinct, part information based. While you can allow your pet to freely graze or take greater control over how much he eats, one thing that is vital is the quality of food. The proof of the pudding will be your pup’s weight and energy levels. Ensure he is fit, happy, and ready to brave the day with all the joy puppies are famous for.