Every newborn, be it human babies or puppies require additional care and attention during their initial stages.
Most of us do not have sufficient knowledge on how and what to feed puppies and we want to make sure that we’re feeding them correctly, in order to avoid any repercussions.
The upbringing of a puppy includes many aspects such as the right food, quantity, playing and training for them to grow into healthy adults.
Apart from that, every puppy is different in its own way and there is no generalized scheme to what or how to feed puppies, consulting a breeder or a veterinarian is a viable option in order to understand and educate yourself about the stream of puppy feeding.
I hope this puppy feeding guide provides you enough knowledge, in order to make infanthood of your puppy memorable.
First Things First:
Puppies should not be allowed to be separated from their mothers, during the first 6 – 8 weeks of their life, puppies are not capable of generating their own antibodies.
The mother’s first milk which is rich in colostrum is highly beneficial for the puppy to absorb all the necessary antibodies to armor them against deadly microbes.
Not feeding the puppy with the first milk of its mother would make the puppy vulnerable to health downfalls and unwanted diseases when he grows up.
Let me take you through this puppy feeding guide, in order to get a better understanding.
Puppy Feeding: One Year Framework
1. 6 – 12 Weeks:
When a puppy is at its growing stage, the major aspect of feeding boils down to ‘nutrition’.
Appropriate nutrition is what will ignite healthy growth and hence, they should be fed with puppy food.
Feeding them adult food will keep them away from the required nutrition and hinder the appropriate growth required for the puppy to mature.
Feeding them 4 times during a day would work fine.
Larger breeds are recommended to be fed dry food when they’re 9 – 10 weeks of age and smaller breeds should be fed at around 12 – 13 weeks of age.
2. 3 – 6 Months:
During this age mostly, the puppies begin to mature and lose their potbelly and pudginess.
But if, after 12 weeks the changes are unnoticeable you can continue feeding them puppy food until the changes are visible.
It’s better to be on the side of puppy food quite longer than to regret later about not staying long enough.
3. 6 – 12 Months:
Prior to 6 – 12 months of age you can switch from puppy food to adult maintenance food.
Smaller breeds are recommended the switch after 7 – 9 months, whereas larger breeds can make the switch after 12 – 13 or even 14 months of age.
Twice a day is a sufficient frequency to maintain good health.
4. After 1 Year:
After 1 year of age, all dogs are suggested to be fed with adult maintenance food irrespective of their breeds or sizes.
The frequency of feeding the food depends on the activity level and training the dog is undergoing.
Even though, after a year they shouldn’t be fed more than 2 – 3 times a day.
Homemade Puppy Food:
In the world where commercial puppy foods have always managed to find a space in the kitchen, there are people who want to save up a bit on the expenses and also educate themselves in the art of preparing puppy food that satisfies the demand.
It can be a tricky business when it comes to preparing a suitable puppy food at home, as we must take into consideration that puppies need balanced nutrition to flourish and thrive as much as human infants do.
You can always consult a veterinarian or a breeder in order to know the specifics on what to feed and what to avoid, but a basic outline for a balanced diet is:
- Protein such as chicken, turkey, fish, and lean beef.
- Carbohydrates like rice, pasta, and potatoes.
- Veggies such as peas, beans, and carrots.
- Fat, but only in the form of vegetable oil.
- Vitamins and minerals supplements (only after consultation).
Preparing homemade food requires a strong commitment from your side, which would require keeping detailed track on what you’re choosing in order to make a perfect blend of a balanced meal.
Responsible dog owners set time aside on a daily or weekly basis to prepare portions of homemade food for their puppies, and you should go for the option of homemade food only if you can ensure commitment towards.
The Puppy Feeding Guide:
For a majority of us, it is oddly satisfying to watch the puppy consuming her meal.
It’s hard to decipher what is so satisfying in watching the puppy eat, but we often tend to overfeed them out of adoration.
We must be careful about the quantity and amounts while feeding the puppies.
The quantity of food varies from dog to dog based on their size, metabolism, and breed.
If you’re into treat based training for your pup, you must adjust the number of meals accordingly.
There can be instances where your pup might sniff the food and abandon it, chances are that you’ve overfed him during one of the meals.
Moistened Food vs. Dry Food:
We often find ourselves in dilemma about whether to feed the puppy dry food or moistened food, because of the simple notion of underdeveloped puppy teeth.
It is always safer to feed the puppies with moistened food during the first 6 – 12 weeks, as food which is more inclined towards the liquid form is easier to digest.
Dry food can be incorporated on a regular basis after 12 – 13 weeks when the puppies are usually during their mouthing period.
Dry and solid food would fill them up and satisfy their mouthiness at the same time.
Types of food available in the market:
- Canned Food: this category of food is usually the most expensive and puppies find it more interesting than regular puppy food.
Beware of the ‘all meat’ signs, as absolute growth requires balanced nutrition and meat won’t do it alone.
- Semi-moist Food: is generally available in the form of one serving packet and habituates the puppy for both hard and soft chewing.
- Kibble: is the leading manufacturer of dog food for dogs of all sizes and breeds, which provides a balanced diet for your puppy.
Hard Kibble can be served directly the way it is in the bag without adding anything.
Basic Fundamentals Of The Puppy Feeding Guide:
- Puppies are tiny creatures and they don’t need much food, if you think so, you’re wrong.
Puppies need twice as much food and have twice as much energy requirement than an adult dog.
- Depending on their breed, 25 – 30 percent of their meals should be protein-rich.
In the first few weeks after their birth, they receive all the nourishment from their mothers.
- Generally, at around the age of 3 – 4 weeks they should be introduced to small quantities of meat, vegetables, and puppy food.
They might tend to mess it up or play with it but eventually, they’ll understand what it is for.
- Puppies of smaller breeds with an average weight of 20 pounds mature by the age of 1 year, whereas larger breeds take as much as 2 years to reach maturity (50 pounds).
It is recommended to training them to eat on their own rather than spoon-feeding, to ensure over-dependency.
- Slow and Sustained Growth (Large Breed Puppies): a diet routine similar to that of a large breed adult dog should be designed for a large breed puppy.
Whatever the diet is, overemphasis on protein, fat, and calories should be brought down as they’re prone to orthopedic issues, such as hip dysplasia.
- For Small and Puffy Breeds: even though smaller breed dogs live longer and savor more food in a day, the puppies should be fed with a balanced diet and higher protein, calories, and fat should be avoided for them too because they’re vulnerable to the chances of hip dysplasia too.
- Fix a Feeding Routine: decide a fixed time for your puppy for feeding them, to inculcate a healthy eating habit.
There are exceptions like Chihuahuas, for whom food should be available all the time because they are prone to hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) and food should be available all the time for them to nibble on.
- Stop Feeding Them From The Table: make a strict rule in your family to not be melted by the innocent eyes of your puppies while you’re eating, it might be exhilarating to watch them eat from your hands – but once it becomes a habit, there are more chances for them to become obese, which gives rise to orthopedic diseases.
Stages Of Puppy Development:
Have you ever wondered what goes through a puppy’s mind when he’s brought to his new home?
Most of them are nervous on their first days with droopy eyes, eyes that’s saying: where have I come and what are they going to do to me?
It takes time for them and patience for the owners to get them used to their new surroundings and make them accept the fact she is being taken care of and there is no harm.
As a part of being the owner, one must know the various stages of development a puppy goes through and what to expect out of those changes.
1. The Neonatal Stage:
This stage exists until two weeks after the puppy is born.
The puppies come out to the world with pre-equipped senses of touch and taste and the puppy is influenced to the highest degree from his mother and littermates.
The way the puppy’s characteristics traits are going to depend on its mother and the number of social skills developed due to the playing sessions with his littermates.
The habits unlearned during this stage remains unlearned for life.
2. The Transitional Stage:
The transitional stage is the time period between two to four weeks.
This is the period where they are continued to be influenced by their mother and littermates.
They learn basic activities like walking, wagging its tail and barking.
Playful sessions with his littermates infest canine discipline in him, and the social skills developed during this stage is what determines his social skills when he becomes an adult.
3. The Socialization Stage:
This is the most prominent and crucial stage for the puppy, which drags between three to twelve weeks of his age.
It is during this stage the puppy gets used to other dogs as well as other people surrounding her.
She learns various physical coordination and bites control with her littermates.
Quality sessions with her littermates is a deciding factor where she learns how to be a dog.
During this stage, she needs positive human interaction, in order to develop curiosity and get newer experiences about life.
By the time of seven to nine weeks, the puppy is well versed with its physical coordination and is absolutely ready to be housetrained.
4. The Ranking Stage:
Typically dogs are used to being in packs, where submission or dominance is decided.
Packs usually have a leader, so when the puppy is brought at home he must learn about his leader, because if he tends to be the dominant one – he would become aggressive with time.
Teething and chewing begin during this stage.
Since puppies are introduced to new objects and environments, they are fearful and need positive reinforcement during this stage.
The ranking stage exists between 3 – 6 months of age.
5. The Adolescence Stage:
It is during this stage puppies would challenge other human beings in order to show dominance, in order to become the leader of the ‘pack’, basically family members.
The teenage puppy would also show some sexual behaviors, if not spayed or neutered.
It is majorly seen between 7 – 9 months of age.
Having puppies at your household would make you lose track of your days.
Puppies require more attention and dedication than adult dogs and when it’s about their feeding and nutrition it requires greater planning and systematic execution to ensure the puppy grows into the adult dog it is supposed to be.
Most people when they have a puppy often ask ‘How should I feed my puppy?’ and I’ve got you covered with everything you need to know about puppy feeding with this puppy feeding guide.
I hope it helps you frame the best plan for a healthy upbringing.
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