KEEP YOUR DOG HEALTHY AND HAPPY:
Puppy ownership is a big responsibility and when you bring your new puppy home, it will require your help, support and attention. There are so many things to think about, including training, healthcare, exercise and, of course, diet. Feeding your puppy sensibly and correctly is vital to its health, development and general wellbeing. Below you will find some general guidelines to raising a healthy and happy dog.
Little and often
Like all infants, puppies grow very rapidly (up to twenty times faster than an adult dog), and so require a specially formulated diet to aid their physical development.
A high energy growth food is recommended and needs to be fed at evenly spaced intervals to avoid over stretching your puppy’s small stomach. Feed your puppy four meals a day up until the age of 10 weeks, and then reduce its feed to three meals a day until it is six months old, when you can change to one or two meals a day, and keep it on this regime for the rest of its life.
There are many varied feeding regimes to choose from: raw food (BARF) which your puppy is weaned on, dry complete diets, semi-moist or pouch, tinned food (with or without biscuit mixer), and home-made food. Each food category has different qualities, and finding the right balance for your puppy is extremely important.
The most suitable diet should be easily digested and produce dark brown, firm, formed stools. If your puppy produces soft or light stools or has wind or diarrhoea, then the diet may not suit your puppy or it might have some kind of digestive problem or infection. If the condition persists for more than 2 days, consult your vet for advice.
Please remember that stability in the diet will help maintain good digestion. Any change in diet should be made very gradually over at least a week to avoid upset and you should try a new diet for at least 10 days before making any further changes.
Typical Feeding Guide
Meals should be split during the course of the day and ideally a young puppy should go at least 4 hours between meals. Typical feeding times would be:
It is better not to leave food down (so throw away any uneaten food after 20 minutes) and not to change your puppy’s food regularly as this could cause issues with its digestion and toilet training regime. However, make sure that water is always available to your puppy, so never take its water bowl away.
The quantity of food should be approximately the same for each meal. Young puppies, particularly those of a large or fast growing breed, can sometimes need more food as puppies than they require as adults. Increases of food should always be gradual and a good idea is to increase the amount on a weekly basis from 8 weeks until the puppy is 16 weeks old. Typically, by the time a puppy reaches 16 weeks, it will need roughly the same amount as when it is an adult.
Puppies can be greedy or picky with their food so it can sometimes be difficult to gauge how much to give them. Care should be taken not to over or underfeed your puppy. Puppies can often appear ‘chubby’, particularly after they have eaten, but under normal circumstances they should have a defined ‘waist’. If in any doubt about your puppy’s weight or diet, consult your vet when you next visit for a puppy check-up.