Feeding Your Puppy
Feeding your puppy is about much more than just keeping hunger at bay. The food you give him will influence how strong, healthy and happy he becomes as an adult dog.
It’s important that you get professional advice from your vet if you are unsure about anything regarding feeding or have any concerns about his growth. But there are a few tips to get you started.
Weaning when he gets home.
If you can use the feed your pup has been getting from the breeder or shelter, this will eliminate the need to transition. However, if you are switching food it is important that you do this gradually to avoid digestive upset or tummy trouble. To transition, mix your dog's current food with his new food. Over 7 days, gradually decrease the amount of the current dog food while increasing the amount of new dog food.
How much should I feed my puppy?
By the time your puppy is leaving his mother and coming to live with you (usually 8-10 weeks of age) he will be eating proper puppy kibble. If you plan to feed him a different food than he is currently getting from his breeder, you should transition the diet slowly over a week. Start by mixing a small portion of the new food with his existing food, adding a little more new food each day until his old food has been completely replaced.
Each brand will offer guidelines on the amount of food you should be giving your puppy, and dog as he grows up, usually depending on his weight. While he is young consider splitting their daily food portion into smaller frequent meals throughout the day (up to 4) to avoid putting too much pressure on his developing digestive system.
If you have any concerns over the amount your dog should be eating, or his weight, consult your vet for advice. They will also help you decide when the time is right to move him to adult food.
Establish a routine when it comes to feeding your dog and stick to it. Feed him with the same bowl, in the same place, and at the same time each day. As he grows and you are cutting down from multiple smaller meals to one a day, make this transition slowly, cutting down one meal at a time over a period of time.
Keeping a mealtime routine once established will help him understand exactly when and where mealtimes are. Dogs don’t need variety in their diet like humans do, so stick to the same food each time.
Feeding your puppy, or dog, scraps from the table as you eat, or leftovers, should be avoided as it confuses their routine and encourages bad behaviour such as begging.
Also try to keep treats to a minimum, making sure they account for no more than 10% of his daily intake otherwise it will counteract the nutritionally balanced diet he is getting from his puppy food.
Always make sure there is plenty of water available, and change it regularly. The amount of water your dogs will drink will depend on his weight and may increase if he has exercised, the weather is warm, or he is taking medication that may dehydrate him.
A good-sized bowl with twice the amount that he needs should ensure he always has what he needs.