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Puppy Health Tips: How to Feed a Puppy

 

Proper nutrition is essential for the growth and development of your puppy. It is during this stage that puppies require a higher level of nutrients and more calories than adult dogs. Throughout the first six to eight weeks of life, the mother dog's breast milk is the best source of nutrition for puppies because it provides antibodies and the proper nutrients to help fight off diseases. Once your puppy is ready for regular food however, things become a little bit trickier.

 

 

What You Need to Know About How to Feed a Puppy

 

The First Few Weeks at Home

When you first bring your puppy into your home, it is important to remember that they are going through a period of transition which can cause stress and lead to digestion issues. In order to make things easier on your new furry ball of joy, it is a good idea to stick with the same type of food and feeding schedule as the previous owner in the beginning. After a few days you can begin transitioning your puppy to the food of your choice. The best way to do this is to begin by mixing 25% of the new food with 75% of the old food for a few days, and gradually increase the ratio of new food to old food every few days until your puppy is receiving 100% of the new food. This process should take a minimum of seven to ten days. If you notice signs of an upset stomach, slow the rate of transition.

 

Types of Food

There are a variety of foods available on the market, from canned food to semi-moist food and dry kibble. Canned and moist dog foods typically contain a higher level of fats, added salt and sugar, and are much more expensive. In moderation canned dog foods are a good treat, especially for picky eaters that will sift through kibble; they should not be the substantial part of their diet however and can have dangerous consequences on their weight and tooth decay. Dry kibble is the preferred choice for most dog breeds. Not only is it generally healthier, but they allow for regular chewing and tooth use. Be sure to select a high quality food that is especially designed for puppies during their first year, and choose brands that offer high grade proteins and nutrients to ensure proper growth and development.

 

How Much and How Often to Feed

The amount to feed your new puppy will differ depending on their breed, age and size. Dog food bags will include a general guideline on how much to feed your puppy, but be sure to use your own discretion. Some puppies will happily eat until they get sick, while others have a natural ability to moderate themselves. Three to four meals a day is the recommended guide for puppies under six months, moving towards two meals a day after six months. Keeping your puppy on a regular diet will also allow them to become regular with their bathroom breaks, which helps avoid messy accidents.

 

It’s important to consider these tips when learning how to feed a puppy, but remember that all pups are unique. While some dogs may have an easy time switching foods and learning meal times, others may deal with stomach irritability and accidents. Remember that training takes time, and not all dogs are natural eaters. Contact us for more information on how to feed your new puppy and to learn about our new litters!

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