Feed your puppy can seem to be a challenge. There are so many brands of food and so many varieties available. One thing to keep in mind is that no matter which you choose, introduce new food slowly and whatever the puppy is used to eating.
When feeding your puppy, start mixing in a small amount of what you would like her to eat into her diet. Over the next week or two, increase your food choice while decreasing the other until you have made a complete transition.
While she is young, it is best to offer a combination of canned and dry food to encourage her to eat when it is meal time. Very young puppies will probably have some trouble with the dry food unless it is softened with canned food.
Puppy teeth were not meant to do real hard work when it comes to eating. Make sure what you feed is easy to eat. You can always phase out the canned food as she grows if you want to. You will help her system adjust to the new food and probably avoid problems with an upset digestive tract. If you switch too suddenly, you may encourage vomiting and diarrhea.
The better quality dog food will be available at pet stores. Try to avoid the grocery store aisle. To sell foods at low prices, the grocery varieties have limited nutritional value.
Many animal protein sources can look good on a label but are not very digestible. Innova, Nature’s Recipe, and Nutra Max are some popular high-quality foods. There is some debate over the quality of Iams and Science Diet in recent years. Many dogs seem to develop sensitivity to their ingredients.
If you like the idea of a raw food diet but can’t get around the idea of handling or feed this way, Innova’s EVO is as close as you can get and still buy it in a can or bag. Excellent food. Whichever brand you decide on, remember it is best to pick a flavor and stick to it. Do not change her diet regularly as it may upset her system.
No matter what brand or flavor you choose, make sure it is for growing puppies. Puppies need more now than they will when they are grown. What you feed her will influence her immune system and her proper growth.
Make sure it is of good quality. Compare labels but remember, percentages of ingredients mean less than the quality of the ingredients.
The B.A.R.F. diet is popular for a variety of reasons. It stands for Biologically Appropriate Raw Food. It is raw food presumed to be more appropriate for animals that are meant to be carnivorous hunters by nature. It is said to be more easily digested and better suited to a dog’s health and well-being.
How Much Do I Feed?
Your puppy is probably the best guide for this. There are usually guides on the bags of food, but they tend to be generous. Keep in mind that it is in the company’s best interest to encourage you to feed liberally to sell more food.
The best guide you can follow is her lead. Offer her roughly what the bag indicates for her weight. Watch her. She should have as much as she wants in about 10-15 minutes each feed.
If she eats all you gave her in a couple of minutes, give her more inside that timetable. If she leaves any, throw it away and give her a little less next feed. If she is just a gulper, you may have to feed her less but more often.
Puppies can get into trouble if they gorge themselves on overeating at one time. Don’t free feed. Don’t leave food down all the time. There are several potential problems with it.
1. If she starts to get sick, the first thing to go will be her appetite. That will be hard to notice if you are used to seeing food in her dish at all times.
2. Food will attract ants, stray cats, squirrels, and other animals to your yard, all of which can create various problems for your puppy. Many other animals carry puppy viruses that you don’t want them exposed to.
3. Food spoils. Even dry food turns rancid and can make her sick if she eats it when it has turned.
How Often Do I Feed?
Very young puppies, 6 to 12 weeks old, should be fed about four times a day. Puppies 13 weeks to six months should still eat three times a day, and it is quite safe to feed them twice a day for the rest of their lives. Smaller meals are easier to digest and will balance their system well.
LARGE AND GIANT BREEDS
If you have a large breed puppy, look for varieties explicitly made for them. They have different needs than do small or medium breeds. Adding calcium or other nutrients is NOT a good idea.
Let the manufacturers with the veterinarians do the guesswork in the proper balance of nutrition and vitamins and minerals. Some breeds go through bone growth too fast with added supplements, which can cause severe problems with the tendons and ligaments as they don’t grow as fast.
TOY OR TINY BREEDS
If you have a tiny breed like a Chihuahua, Maltese, Poodle, or any toy breed, you should be careful to make sure they are fed frequently. Four or more feedings a day may be necessary when they are very young. Tiny breeds do not have good food reserves and can become hypoglycemic very quickly.
This condition can lead to coma and death if not treated immediately. If you have a tiny breed, it is advisable to keep Karo syrup on hand in case of hypoglycemic attacks, which may look like listlessness, malaise, or exhaustion.
Jars of lamb baby food are also good to keep on hand in the case of a picky or sickly eater, but only while you are nursing them to their regular diet. Suppose you notice symptoms like these, rub a small amount of Karo syrup on her gums.
If she perks up a bit, try to get her to take her regular food or baby food if she doesn’t eat regularly yet. If she doesn’t perk up, get her to the vet right away.