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Why are Dietary Needs Important for a Puppy?
Feeding your puppy is not the same as feeding adult dogs. Puppies, like children, have different dietary needs from adults, and care should be taken regarding what you feed your puppy. Feeding your puppy the wrong kind of food can lead to digestive problems and other health issues. Give your puppy a proper diet, however, and he will quickly grow into a healthy adult dog and a wonderful companion for you.
Ensuring Newborn Puppies Receive Necessary Nutrients
Newborn puppies get all their nutrition from their mother’s milk. In the event that the mother is not available for feeding, you will need to provide a replacement. Newborn puppies have to be fed either dog milk or goat milk. To get this milk or find other alternatives, talk to your veterinarian. There might be more that you have to do to ensure that the puppies survive. Always consult an expert if you are unsure of something! When hand-feeding, newborns must be fed every 2 to 3 hours for the first four weeks. After that, solid food can be introduced by mixing it with their milk.
Selecting Nutritious Puppy Food for Your Young Puppy
When choosing a food for your puppy, check the list of ingredients. Ingredients are generally listed in order of amount used, with the ones used most listed near the beginning. The first ingredient in puppy food should be meat. Puppies should be fed food that has a protein content of 25 to 30 percent, depending on the breed.
Cheaper puppy foods provide less nutrition, with most of the food passing right through the puppy’s body and not being absorbed. Premium brands are more expensive but they contain higher quality ingredients and are better for your puppy. Because premium puppy food has more beneficial ingredients for your puppy, they do not need to eat as much of it. If you are unsure which brand is best for your puppy, consult your veterinarian.
At around seven weeks of age, your puppy should be completely weaned. and old enough to eat solid food without having to mix it with milk. Dry food is highly recommended. Wet and moist foods contain way more water and salt than a puppy needs, and can lead to diarrhea. Also keep in mind that you are paying by weight, and when most of a food’s weight is water, it’s simply not worth the money. Feeding your puppy dry food also satisfies their need to chew, helps their developing teeth, and even helps fight plaque.
(For more tips regarding selecting the right food for your puppy, read here.)
Water is crucial to a dog. Always make water available to the puppy after feeding time, especially if they are eating dry food. Make sure that the puppy has access to water at all other times as well.
Developing a Schedule for Feeding Your Puppy
It is up to you to set a schedule for feeding your puppy. Creating a schedule also regulates when the puppy goes to the bathroom, making house training easier. After eating, give a puppy some space and quiet for about an hour or its stomach may become upset and cause problems.
Up until 6 months of age, puppies should be fed three times a day. From 6 months to a year, they should be fed twice a day. After that, a dog can be fed once or twice per day, depending on the dog’s size. An adult dog will often decrease the feeding times himself.
(Click here here to read about the ideal daily schedule for your dog or puppy.)
How Much Should You Feed Your Puppy?
Overfeeding a puppy can cause severe health issues such as bone growth problems. Control the amount of food your puppy eats by being present when he is fed, instead of leaving the food out for the puppy to eat at his leisure. As mentioned before, setting a feeding schedule can have many benefits and is recommended.
The backs of dog food bags have feeding portion recommendations. These are not always correct. A good way to judge how much food to feed your puppy is to let it eat for ten to fifteen minutes then remove the bowl. You will soon be able to tell how much food the puppy needs, and whether they want more (if they clear the bowl quickly, for example).
You may give your puppy treats, but never more than 10% of their diet. Liver treats and chew treats are best for your puppy because they provide the puppy with extra nutrients and help their teeth grow healthy and strong.
Useful Tips for Proper Puppy Health and Nutrition
Do not overfeed your puppy! This cannot be stressed enough. Some puppy owners become concerned that their dog is not growing fast enough, and they try to feed it more. Overfeeding can cause severe health problems. A puppy grows at its own rate, and it cannot be rushed. If you feel that your puppy is not gaining weight at a healthy rate, talk to your veterinarian. But be careful not to feed puppies more than they need!
Do not feed puppies cow milk. Puppies do not have the enzyme necessary for breaking down milk, and drinking cow milk can lead to soft stools and diarrhea. Some dog foods contain milk. This is milk that has been broken down already for the puppy, and they will be able to digest it just fine.
Avoid feeding your puppy scraps from the table. Puppies’ stomachs are not fully developed and feeding them scraps can lead to digestive problems. Scraps might make your puppy full but they do not give your puppy the nutrition he needs. Feeding your puppy scraps also teaches him to beg, making training more difficult in the long run.
Diarrhea, constipation, and vomiting are all signs that something must be changed in a puppy’s diet. Talk to your veterinarian to find out what you should alter to help your puppy.
To figure out when your puppy is old enough to be switched from puppy food to adult dog food, consult this article. For more information on what kind of dog food you should feed your dog and how often to feed them, visit this page.