Top 5 Tips to Feed a Puppy
A puppy will typically nurse off of its mother for the first six to eight weeks of its life. After the nursing stage, it’s time to get the puppy used to solid food. This could take a few weeks, depending on the particular dog. A few tips can help during this transition.
- Puppies grow fast, and this requires good nutrition and quite a bit of calories. The solid puppy food you choose should have high levels of calories, protein and calcium. You can blend the solid food with some milk replacement formula specifically made for puppies. This will help with weaning the puppy.
- Smaller meals are better for your puppy because their digestive system needs to get used to the change. Feed your puppy about a half cup of solid food three times a day. This also helps to even out their energy level. Feeding around the same time each day also gets them on a schedule.
- Quality food is easy to find. Read the labels on dog foods and you’ll be surprised to find how many of them list meat by-products or corn as the first ingredient. Look for brands that contain meat as the first ingredient listed. You might want to consider breed-specific food as certain dogs need to grow slower in order to avoid health problems like hip dysplasia.
- Never feed your puppy food meant for humans. This can encourage them to beg and can also cause obesity. It’s also dangerous to feed certain foods to puppies as well as full-grown dogs. Onions, grapes and chocolate are just a few foods that can make a puppy very ill and can even cause death. Check with your Veterinarian for a complete list of foods your puppy should avoid.
- Depending on the breed and size of your puppy, you should feed them adult food once they mature. This transition should also take about two weeks. Mix the puppy food with small amounts of adult food, increasing the amount little by little until you are only feeding them adult food. Smaller dog breeds mature faster than larger ones. At ten months of age, a small dog will probably be ready for adult food. For a bigger dog, it could be almost two years before they’re full-grown and can be transitioned. Your Veterinarian can advise you on what age your dog should be when it approaches this stage in its life.
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Nancy has a deep love of animals and talks and writes about them regularly. She is a huge animal rights advocate. Read her thoughts at Storify blog.
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