Welcome back to another wonderful dog day! Today we are going to discuss feeding your new puppy. This will involve everything from what to feed him, to a feeding schedule, and even your new puppy’s nutrition.
Feeding Your New Puppy
Without further ado, let’s get started on feeding your new puppy. Hopefully you have done as I previously suggested and communicated with your shelter or your puppy’s breeder about what food your pup was previously eating, but now it’s time to do our own research and decide for ourselves what’s best!
What Kind Of Food
Start out by asking your vet what kind of food he or she recommends for your puppy. In the first six months of your puppy’s life, his nutrient needs will change very quickly. Your vet will have the most experience in this area.
The Association of American Feed Control Officials sets nutrient guidelines that most pet food manufacturers follow. Check the package label for a statement saying the food is formulated to meet AAFCO nutrient guidelines for complete and balanced nutrition, or that feeding trials following AAFCO guidelines have substantiated that it provides complete nutrition.
Along with that statement, the label should give the life stage the food is suited for. Puppies should be eating food labeled for growth or for all life stages.
After a month or six weeks on the food, assess your puppy’s health. He should be playful and energetic, with a shiny, thick coat. Formed brown feces are a sign that your puppy is digesting most of the nutrients in the food.
Here’s where we get to the real fun in feeding your new puppy. We’re going to talk now about when to feed him, and even how much to feed him.
When should I feed my puppy?
Puppies should eat three times a day from weaning through four to six months, if possible. But if you’re not able to feed your pup three times a day, don’t worry, puppies can adapt. After six months, twice-a-day feedings are fine.
How much should I feed my puppy?
Puppies need to take in a lot of calories to fuel their rapid growth. At the start, that means about twice as many per pound as an adult dog of the same breed. Puppies grow the fastest in their first five months.
Look for feeding charts on commercial puppy food labels. You can use them as a guide. They provide recommended amounts based on a puppy’s age and weight. Adjust as necessary to keep your puppy in the best condition, something you may need to do weekly.
How do you know that your puppy is getting enough?
Veterinarians evaluate dogs using a body conditioning score, which ranges from one for emaciated, to five for obese. It’s normal for very young puppies to have some baby fat, but after the first 8 to 10 weeks, puppies should be a two on that scale.
You can learn to assess your dog at home. At a score of two, which is relatively thin, a puppy’s ribs may be visible. The tops of the back bones will generally be easily seen. You shouldn’t be able to feel any fat on its ribs. You should see a waist when looking down at your puppy and an abdominal tuck when looking from the side.
By five months, your pup should look lean as it starts to wrap up its most rapid growth period.
When can you start feeding your new puppy adult food?
Once puppies have reached 90% of their expected adult weight, they should switch from a growth diet to one that’s suitable for maintenance. Small breeds may finish growing by nine to 12 months; for large breeds, expect 12 to 18 months.
I hope that you have found this week’s post about feeding your new puppy helpful! Please feel free to write me or leave a comment below and let me know what you think!