Puppy Feeding Guidelines
It is very exciting to bring a furry puppy home and have that unconditional love from them that is hard to find among your own species these days (Humans ??). That lovely friend of yours is going to need a lot of special care though if You plan to raise him well. The most common question dog parents ask is “How much and How often should I feed my puppy/dog?”
Feeding your puppy the right amount of high quality Dog Food or Puppy Food is essential for his overall health and wellness . When it comes to feeding puppy, there are a lot of elements to take into consideration like breed, size, the type of food and activity level. First of all consider your puppy’s breed and size. Small and Large breed puppies have different growth and nutritional needs. Puppies that are considered toy and small like Pug, can reach their full adult size at about nine to ten months of age whereas a large breed puppy can take longer anywhere from fifteen to twenty-four months.
My Practical Experience
I adopted two puppies Austin and Choco who were 35 days old when I brought them home. Austin is Golden Retriever( Large or Medium Breed puppy) and Choco is Pug( Small Breed Puppy). I consulted an experienced Vet regularly and cross checked from various online resources to raise my puppies properly and managed to achieve an amazing growth in both of them. Their Size has been surprising to so many dog owners around us during daily evening walks and the Shiny Coat makes everyone fall in love with them.
Now I will discuss about how to feed your puppy so You can achieve his optimum growth during the first crucial six months of his life.
First six months
During the first four weeks of life, the puppy should stay with the mother and get nursed from her. The mother’s milk provides the best nutrition and provides antibodies to help protect your puppy from various diseases. Sometimes it is not possible to keep a puppy with the mother for the first four weeks due to various reasons, in these situations milk substitutes and bottles especially designed for puppies can be used.
Weaning your puppy to solid food should not be an overnight endeavor but should take place over the course of two to three weeks. First select the puppy food brand you intend to feed. Puppies have high caloric and nutritional needs and so the selected food should be high quality and good source of protein, calcium and calories.
How Often to Feed Your Puppy
Since dogs grow at such fast rates, they should start eating balanced and complete puppy food as soon as they’re entirely weaned, generally at about eight to ten weeks of age. The amount of food your pup requires will vary depending on his breed and size. A Golden Retriever will weigh more at maturity than a Pug, for instance, so the large dog needs more food as a puppy. Smaller meals are easier to digest for the puppy and energy levels don’t peak and fall so much with frequent meals. So the puppy should be fed smaller meals three to four times a day. After five months, start giving two meals a day.
The important rule of feeding a puppy is that the stomach/abdomen of puppy should not bulge out after eating. If it does, then decrease the quantity of food and if it doesn’t then you can increase the quantity of food by small amount for the next meal. But it must not lead to overeating. The another most important thing is Never feed Anything Sweet or Salty to your Puppy.
Starting around five weeks of age, begin introducing your puppy to good quality puppy food. I started giving cerelac to my puppies when I brought them home(35 days old). I used to make a paste of cerelac in water and sometimes in curd. Never give milk to your puppy because it can lead to vomiting and loose motions. You can feed curd to your puppy as it is good for their digestive system and their overall growth.Then I started mixing dog food in the cerelac paste and fed to my puppies after mashing the contents completely. I kept increasing the proportion of dog food day by day. This way your puppy gradually learns to adapt to solid food and gastric upset is minimized. By around eight weeks of age your puppy should be eating solid food.
Amount of cerelac to be given
Initially I gave one scoop of cerelac to Golden Retriever and half scoop to Pug and added curd accordingly to make a paste of it. Now here differs the feeding process of both breeds, I used to increase the amount of cerelac daily for Austin(Large Dog Breed) according to his requirements but Choco, being a Small Dog Breed, was eating much less than Austin.
Now let us talk about the Dog Food available in the market. Not all dog foods are made equal. There are different brands offering different types of foods based on breed, age and quality.
I started with this Dog Food (Vet recommendation) and my puppies also liked it. It contains essential nutrients that strengthens immunity and digestive system in delicate new pups and maximize the growth potential. But it had an unpleasant smell and also left the greasy surface of bowl after they are finished eating.
This food provides everything needed for dogs weighing up to 10 kg as well as for its weaning puppies up to 2 months old. So I fed this Dog Food and again my puppies happily ate it. It was really good food.The kibble is also easy to rehydrate to a porridge-like consistency, essentially by soaking the kibble which is palatable to both mother and new born puppy. It didn’t smell bad and there was no greasy surface left. But compared to good less expensive Dog Food Brands this is quite a bit costlier.
Then I switched to this food which is less expensive than royal canin and my puppies enjoyed it. IAMS brand provides a wide range of different foods for different dogs so that puppies of all shapes, sizes and breeds can have optimum growth.
Now my puppies were 4 months old so I started this Dog Food and my puppies just loved it. The puppy will get a healthy and shiny coat and also stronger digestive system and bones. There was no bad smell or greasy surface. I continued with it for one month.
This Dog Food is also good and less expensive as compared to others mentioned above. There is no bad smell and greasy surface when finished. It can be accompanied with your home made food like chicken or eggs or anything.
Amount of Dog Food to be given
There are a variety of Dog Food brands and every brand offers a variety of Food Types on the basis of breed, age, size, cost and nutrition value.There is a content table printed on every Dog Food package about daily feeding guide. You should check that table and crosscheck with your Vet. The quantity of food depends upon the size, age, breed and physical activity of the puppy. The Golden Rule which must be followed is that “The Stomach of the Puppy should not Bulge Out After eating. Adjust the quantity of food accordingly. For Large Breed Dogs, keep increasing the quantity of meal regularly because they grow faster than the Small breed Dogs.
Boiled Egg and Chicken
Along with Dog Food, you can give home made food also like egg, chicken, chapati, rice, etc on daily basis (no sugar or salt of course). But you cannot give raw food to the puppy. When my puppies were four months old, I started feeding them boiled egg and after that boiled chicken also. I usually boil the chicken in large quantity of water so that a good quantity of chicken stock is obtained and then mix the Dog Feed in the chicken stock along with chicken pieces. The puppy would love the combination and would lick the bowl to shine.
The Dog Food normally takes twelve hours to digest, therefore, there should be a difference of twelve hours between two meals containing Dog Food. In between the two meals, you can give some light food like I, normally, give my puppies banana shake containing banana and curd. Milk is not allowed to be given to puppies but you can make banana shake in curd. Puppies like it very much and also it is very beneficial for the quality of Dog’s Coat.
Most dogs receive a complete and balanced diet from commercially processed dog food. But if you are feeding homemade diet to your puppy then You should add some supplements to the diet on recommendation of your Vet. Sometimes your puppy starts skipping the meals, in that case also, food supplements become an essential part of the diet. These supplements are really helpful in amazing growth of bones and teeth and results in shinning coat. I started giving two supplements to my puppies (Vet recommendation) and you can see their results.