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Best Practices for Feeding Your New Puppy

Best Practices for Feeding Your New Puppy

March 30th

You may know that your puppy requires a different diet than adult dogs. But what exactly should you feed your puppy, and how much?

Here, we’ll walk you through all you need to know about keeping your puppy happy and healthy. Feeding a puppy isn’t hard, but you do need to be careful about what food you choose, and how much you give them.

The First Few Days At Home

When you get your new puppy, you may be tempted to put them on a new diet right away.  But it’s best to slowly wean them off their old diet and let them adapt to their new home.

Continue feeding them the same food they were eating before. And after a few days, you can switch them onto the dietary plan that you’ve devised with your vet or with the breeder.

The best way of doing this is to create a mix of the new and old foods. For the first few days, feed your puppy a blend that is mainly the old food. Then, feed them a mix that is half and half.

What Type Of Food?

Once you’re ready to start your puppy on a new diet, you may wonder what type of food you should feed them. There are three main categories you should know about: dry kibble, semi-moist, and canned.

Canned foods are often sold as “luxury” options that are healthier for your puppy. Although some options may be healthy, they are often mostly water. This makes them quite expensive. And they often have few added nutritional benefits, making it hard to justify the price.

Semi-moist foods are usually a poor alternative to both kibble and canned dog foods. That’s because they are loaded with salt and sugar, and are still mostly water. This makes them a less healthy choice for your puppy.

Kibble is the standard for puppies, and for good reason. At just around 10% water, you’re spending most of your money on nutrients. And they tend to be lower in fat and higher in protein, the perfect nutritional blend for puppies.

How Much Should You Spend?

Many dog owners wonder if it’s worth spending more on premium brands. And in many cases, the answer is yes. You just have to be smart about choosing a good brand.

The ingredient quality of cheap dog food is a reflection of a price. This is really a case where you get what you pay for. The proteins will be from lower quality sources, and there will be more filler ingredients. You may save money, but your puppy will often get fewer nutrients.

Premium brands source their ingredients from higher quality whole foods. This means that you can be sure that your puppy is getting the right blend of nutrition, without a ton of junk thrown in as a filler.

And then there are the normal brands. These, as you can imagine, are somewhere between the cheap and premium options. Many of them will offer nutrition that will be more than good enough for your puppy.

The best way to ensure that you have the right dog food? Do research on the brands, going beyond what you find on the labels. And speak with your vet. They can help you create a diet that balances nutrition and affordability.

When Should You Feed Your Puppy?

Dog owners often worry that they aren’t feeding their puppy at the right time. There’s no need to fret about a specific time, however. What’s more important is that the time you choose is consistent.

Find a time that works with your schedule and stick to it. This will allow the puppy to adapt to your schedule. And it also makes potty training much easier, as the times when they need to go outside will be more regular.

For very young puppies- up to about six months- you should feed them three times a day. Older puppies should be fed twice a day.

Let Them Rest After They Eat

If you feed your puppies in the morning, they may have a lot of energy right after they eat. However, it’s important that you don’t get them too excited after eating. Try not to play with them, instead letting them rest for an hour or so.

Puppies have very sensitive stomachs. Play or running around can disrupt their digestion, leading to an upset stomach or possibly even more serious digestive issues. Let them rest and digest, and absorb all of the nutrients. Once they’re fueled up, you can take them out to play.

How Much Should You Feed Your Puppy?

This, of course, will depend on the size of the puppy and the breed. And it’s good practice to never follow the instructions on the dog food label.

The best way to find out how much you should feed your puppy? Talk to your vet. They can help you come up with a feeding plan that keeps your puppy growing and at a healthy weight, without overfeeding them.

Don’t Overfeed Your Puppy!

Many dog owners get frustrated when they try to feed their puppies, believing they aren’t eating enough. If you give a puppy a heaping bowl of kibble, they often won’t finish it. But that doesn’t mean they aren’t eating enough.

Remember, different dog breeds have different needs. If you notice that your dog isn’t eating all of the food that you’re giving them, but is still energetic and healthy looking, you may be giving them too much food.

Overfeeding is one of the most common mistakes made by new dog owners. But don’t try to rush your puppy’s growth! If your dog grows too fast, they may have bone or joint issues. And they may gain too much weight too quickly, putting them at risk for obesity and other health issues.

Don’t Feed Them From The Table

It’s tempting. But no matter how they look at you, no matter how much they cry, you shouldn’t give your puppy table scraps.

Most dog owners tell themselves that it’s just an exception. But the exception soon becomes a habit. Better to not risk it by keeping the food on the table.

And don’t think that what you’re eating is healthier than your dog’s food. If you’re buying a high quality dry dog food, your puppy will be getting a great nutritional blend tailored for them. The food that humans eat is often too high calorie for puppies.

And feeding your puppy from the table rewards begging. This can make it harder to develop good training habits. It also disrupts your dog’s normal feeding schedule.

What About Treats?

Puppies are cute. And many people like to reward this cuteness with treats.

This is perfectly understandable. But try to limit the treats to no more than about a tenth of your puppy’s total caloric intake. Don’t feel like breaking out the calculator? Then give your puppy no more than a few treats a day.

What kind of treats are best? Hard chew treats are an excellent choice for puppies, as they strengthen and clean the gums and teeth. And they give your puppy something to gnaw on that’s not your shoes or furniture.

If you’re going to give out a lot of treats, the best time is during training. Every trainer knows the power of  a good treat. They let you reinforce good behavior and keep your puppy from getting bored as you train them.

And What About Water?

Puppies demand a lot of nutrients. They grow quickly, and their body needs a lot of fuel. And water is one of the most important parts of your puppy’s growth.

Water is doubly important if you feed your puppy dry dog food. That’s because the food needs to be rehydrated in the stomach in order for it to be digested. Whenever you feed your puppy, make sure they have a bowl of clean water nearby.

And make sure that you are changing the water frequently. It may be a bit of a hassle, but it can protect your pup from dangerous bacteria that can fester in the water.

A good way of getting in this habit is buying a small water bowl. This forces you to refill it more frequently, and keeps large pools of water from sitting for days.

Don’t Worry Too Much

Many new dog owners obsess over all of the small details of their puppy’s diet. While there is nothing wrong with trying to keep your puppy as healthy as possible, you don’t need to worry too much about their diet, as long as you get the fundamentals right.

Choose a high quality food, speak to your vet about how much they should eat, and feed them at set times everyday. And keep table food to yourself, and With these simple rules, your puppy will be able to grow up to be healthy and happy.

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