From Mouth To Stomach
The front end of the dog digestive system encompasses the mouth, esophagus, stomach and small intestine. Dog digestion begins almost immediately with saliva in the mouth. You may have wondered why dog tongues are so slobbery. Since they spend less time chewing food than humans tend to, all of that saliva kickstarts the process of breaking down and coating food particles for smoother passage through the esophagus. The esophagus is heavily muscled, actively pushing food into the stomach.
How Long To Feed Puppy Food
Puppies need a complete and balanced puppy food until they reach maturity. Although dogs who are one year or older are often considered adults, this isnt always the case.
For dogs, adulthood depends more on breed size than their age. Because large and giant breeds take longer to mature, they need to eat puppy food longer than small- or medium-sized breeds.
Heres how long to feed puppy food based on breed sizes:
- Toy and Small Breed Dogs: Many toy and small breed dogs weigh less than 20 pounds at maturity and reach this size between 9 and 10 months of age.
- Medium Dog Breeds: Medium-sized dogs weigh between 21 and 50 pounds at maturity. They tend to reach maturity around 12 months of age.
- Large & Giant Breeds: Large breeds and giant breeds weigh between 50 and 100 pounds, respectively, and can take 18 months to 2 full years to reach maturity. They need to eat puppy food longer than small- and medium-sized breeds.
If you have a mixed breed dog or arent sure how big your dog will be at maturity, its best to consult with your veterinarian. They can tell you when to switch to an adult dog food and help make it a successful transition.
As puppies get older and reach maturity, it is important to monitor their food consumption. Leftovers in a bowl could signal that your puppy is getting full and needs less calories throughout the day. Start by offering less food per feeding and continue to monitor his body condition, says Purina Nutritionist Karina Carbo-Johnson, MS.
Could Your Dog Have Separation Anxiety
Many dogs with refuse to eat while their pet parent isnt home. Some dogs with separation anxiety even expect their loved one to be in the room while they eat, and will stop eating if their human leaves the room.
While this is not necessarily a health concern, it is a sign that your dog may have severe anxiety that needs to be addressed. Calming chews such as Composure or Solliquin may be helpful, and calming pheromone collars or diffusers such as Adaptil can be beneficial as well.
However, if you are concerned that your dog may have severe separation anxiety, consider consulting with a board-certified veterinary behaviorist for help.
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When To Switch Puppy To Adult Food
Once you know when your puppy will reach maturity, you can decide when to switch to adult food.
If your puppy will be full grown at 12 months, you can start transitioning him to an adult formula around his first birthday. It can take 7 to 10 days to make the switch, so youll want to plan for that before you start.
What Are The Benefits Of Wet Food For Puppies
Wet food is a great choice for young puppies. Those who have only just developed their teeth and transitioned to solid foods can find it difficult to chew and swallow, so dry food can be a challenge. Because of its meaty texture and fragrant smell, this form of food can also appeal to fussy eaters.
For greedy or overweight dogs, wet food can also be a good choice as it has half the calories of a bowl of dry food.
The high moisture content also helps make sure your puppy takes in plenty of fluids, which can decrease the risk of urinary tract infections.
Dry food, on the other hand, packs a lot of nutrition into a much smaller package. Given you will be feeding your puppy around four meals a day up until the age of 4 months, this generally making it better value for money.
With its low water content, you can also store a lot more dry food in a small space, a real help if you have a large dog or a small flat!
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What Kind Of Puppy Treats Should I Give
Many pet owners like to reward their dogs with treats, but its best to limit them. Because puppies need so many nutrients to grow, its important to give them food that provides complete and balanced nutrition. A puppy should get most of their calories from puppy food rather than from treats, which typically dont provide complete nutrition.
Aim for no more than 5% of calories from treats, say nutrition experts at the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. Choose treats that are the right size for your puppy. A Yorkshire terrier, for instance, doesnt need an extra-large dog biscuit. And avoid table scraps, which teach your puppy at a young age to beg for treats at the table and can cause digestive upset and pancreatitis, a serious illness.
Consider giving other types of treats to deepen the bond with your puppy. Healthy snacks like bits of carrot, green beans, or bell peppers give your puppy something to crunch without many calories. And remember, in your puppys mind, spending time with you is the best treat of all.
Play is a treat, training is a treat, learning tricks is a treat, Buffington says. Dogs are a pack species, and they want to be a member of the pack. Anything a member of the pack does with them is positive reinforcement.
Should A Puppy Have Drinking Water Available At All Times
Puppies need plenty of water, but it is not advisable to have a bowl of water laid out for him all the time. Having water always available will encourage the puppy to drink more than he needs, making housetraining a potential issue. Give him water at scheduled times of the day, and take him outside shortly after so he can relieve himself. As he gets older and is able to master his bladder functions — waiting until you get home to go outside — you can leave water for him to drink on demand.
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Do Puppies Really Need Special Puppy Food
Between different brands, recipes, formulas, and price ranges, every step down the dog food aisle is more overwhelming than the last. Puppy owners are charged with the responsibility of doing whats best for their pets, but sifting through bags of possible food choices isnt easy. Besides countless brands and recipes, there are two main types of dog food filling the shelves: puppy food and adult dog food.
After looking at how much more puppy food costs than the adult dog alternative, its natural to question its necessity. Is puppy food a marketing ploy to get responsible dog owners to pay more money? It wouldnt be the first time a commercial product made a false claim, but when it comes to puppy food versus adult dog food, its simple. Puppies need puppy food, and its important to put your growing friend on the right diet.
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When People Find Out We Make Our Own Dog Food At Home They Always Ask Us What About A Raw Diet So Let’s Get That Out Of The Way First
There are LOTS of thoughts and theories on feeding your dog a raw diet especially a dog that is living with kidney disease. Our vet however, was personally opposed to feeding a raw diet due to the fact that dogs, just like us, are very susceptible to food poisoning. Besides that, a raw diet can be tricky to get just right! You run the risk of giving your dog a horrible belly ache by mixing a raw diet with cooked treats, so if you decided to go raw it is important to have both raw meals and raw treats planned for your pup at all times. NO MIXING the two! Since raw and cooked foods digest at different rates any combination of the two can wreak serious havoc on your pup’s gut which can lead to some pretty unpleasant situations for you – if you get my drift.
Did Anything Change In Your Household
Some dogs may be sensitive enough that a change in their environment may cause inappetence. Examples include a new addition to the family , construction, having people over, or even a change in the location of the food and water bowls.
While noise phobias arent specific to your household necessarily, things like thunderstorms and fireworks can also cause enough anxiety to discourage your dog from eating.
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Puppyhood Is The Best Time To Consider Pet Insurance
As a puppy, your dog has probably not shown any significant health concerns at his young age. Since pet insurance companies dont cover pre-existing conditions, the younger your dog is when you sign up, the better coverage you will likely receive throughout his lifetime. Furthermore, pet insurance can help support you financially during the unpredictable puppy years when dogs are more likely to chew on things they shouldnt and run into dangerous situations. Check out our pet insurance guide to learn more and to determine whether pet insurance is worth it for your puppy.
Small To Medium Breeds
For many small to medium-sized dogs, the rule of thumb is your dog will be cutting back on calories sometime in the 5- to 7-month range. At 12 months, you may notice your pups calorie needs have scaled back again. At that point, when theyve reached full size, that puppy is ready to make the switch from a puppy formula to an adult formula.
If youre feeding an all life stage food as opposed to an adult-specific food, you can safely switch a small to medium sized dog at any point.
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What Can Puppies Eat
Heres a quick timeline of a puppys nutrition in the first few months of his life.
- 0-3 Weeks: Puppies should be with their mother and nurse as they please. The mothers milk has the nutrients necessary to provide proper nutrition and protect puppies from diseases. During this time, you dont need to worry about how much to feed puppies because their mother provides them with nutrition.
- 3-4 Weeks: Puppies will begin developing teeth and will begin weaning off their mothers milk. The puppy caregiver can blend a 50:50 portion of canned wet puppy food with a milk replacer in a flat saucer, gradually reducing the amount of milk replacer until youre only giving them puppy food. One should not be concerned if the puppies dont like the new food right away. It may take a few days to adjust to the new formula. Rubbing fingers in the mixture and then gently on the puppys nose and mouth can make the transition smoother.
- 4-6 Weeks: By this time, puppies should be fully transitioned to puppy food.
- 6-12 Months: Gradually begin to switch your puppy to adult food. Small breeds can switch between 7-9 months and larger breeds around the 12-month mark. It doesnt hurt to keep him on puppy food longer than needed to make sure hes getting all the nutrients he needs as a developing dog.
Can Healthy Dogs Starve Themselves For Days Or Weeks At A Time
The answer to this question is yes. Eventually, many experiments show a dog can go without food for a long time.
An experiment in 1912 described one of their Scotch Collie dog breeds that passed 117 days with no food. However, Scotch Collie dogs name was Oscar.
However, they also claimed the dog was in good spirits and healthy. These dog breeds are known for their strength and probably allowed him to fight hunger for more than four months.
A couple of other earlier experiments included dogs that lived for 60 days and 98 days without food. But, they gave drinking water to the dog.
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What Are The Signs That The Puppies Are Not Doing Well And What Do I Do
Puppies should eat or sleep 90% of the time during the first two weeks of life.
“If they are crying during or after eating, they are usually becoming ill, are not receiving adequate milk, or the mother’s milk has become infected .”
If they are crying during or after eating, they are usually becoming ill, are not receiving adequate milk, or the mother’s milk has become infected . A newborn puppy is very susceptible to infections and can die within a few hours of becoming ill. If excessive crying occurs, the mother and entire litter should be examined by a veterinarian as soon as possible.
Puppies should gain 5-10% of their body weight daily. When the mother’s milk supply is inadequate to support this, supplemental feeding one to six times per day is recommended and should be performed routinely on any litter with greater than five puppies. There are several excellent commercial milk replacers available. They require no preparation other than warming. These milk replacers should be warmed to 95°to 100° before feeding. Its temperature can easily be tested on your forearm: it should be about the same temperature as your skin.
Any milk replacer that is used should contain optimal levels of the omega-3 fatty acid, DHA , a nutrient that is important for the development of the puppies’ brains and eyes. Goat milk is not recommended as it is far too low in protein and fat. Supplemental feeding may be continued until the puppies are old enough to eat puppy food on their own.
Follow The Feeding Directions On The Bag
Theres no universal portion that will meet the needs of every pup. Whether youve opted for a puppy formula or an all-stages formula, follow the feeding directions provided by the brand to guide you. High-quality brands, like NutriSource, are dense in calories and nutrients, which means youll need to put around 30 to 40% less food in the bowl than you would, say, a supermarket brand. Using your puppys age and weight as a guide, you can adjust the portion as they grow.
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Feeding And Hydrating A Dog That Is Nursing Puppies
When Can Puppies Eat Dry Food
Feeding Your Puppy: Whats the best dry puppy food? Healthiest puppy food? Best puppy food grain for sensitive stomachs? Our guide.
Theres nothing quite like the early days of puppyhood. Its the start of your journey together a special friendship that lasts a lifetime. At the start, you teach them new tricks, watch their confidence grow and spend countless hours cuddling up to them on the sofa. These moments make the sleepless nights worth it.
In these early stages, youll start to notice your pup developing a tendency to think with their stomach and let their appetite do the talking a trait that stays with most dogs. Watch out for those puppy eyes at dinner time.
What they eat at the beginning has a big say in things like the growth of muscles, teeth and bones. Thats why when it comes to food, its important they have everything they need to support them through their early development. Its our job to make sure we get dinner time spot on.
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