The Timeline Of Puppy Growth And Dietary Needs
As puppies age and grow into fully grown adults, they switch up their food routines. This is usually done in very specific stages of life, and for great reasons that will be covered later on.
This schedule varies by breed, which is an important distinction because differently sized breeds grow at different rates!
First, though, you may be wondering why to even bother sticking to a set routine at all. Why not just feed them adult food when you think your pups teeth are strong enough? Lets talk about that.
A Note About Wet Food
Wet food can be a more pricey option that dogs certainly tend to prefer, but it is important to do your research to make sure the food you are feeding is good quality. AKC warns that meaty food alone may not give your dog the fully-balanced diet she needs, and you may have to supplement with a mix of wet and dry foods.
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What To Feed Your Pregnant Or Nursing Dog
A dogs pregnancy averages 63 days in length and nursing continues for a few more weeks. This may be the most important time in your dogs life when it comes to precise nutrition. For a pregnant or nursing dog, malnutrition can lead to serious health issues and jeopardize the health of her puppies.1 Talk to your veterinarian about your specific dogs unique needs and keep these critical nutritional considerations in mind:
- Food for pregnant or nursing dogs must include sufficient calories to meet increased energy needs for milk production and the growth of puppies
- Increased fat helps satisfy the higher demand for calories
- High digestibility is important to help maximize calorie intake from smaller amounts of food
- The mothers milk production and the bone growth of her puppies require more calcium and phosphorus
- More protein is needed to nourish the healthy development of puppies
- DHA for developing puppies nervous systems
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How Do I Know The Puppy Food Will Meet My Dogs Needs
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 puppys health. They 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.
How Much Food Should I Feed My Puppy
The amount your puppy needs to eat each meal depends on how much growing they need to do and how many meals a day they are eating. Typically, recommended daily amounts on commercial puppy food packaging are based on the expected adult weight of your puppy. James Wellbeloved provide puppy feeding guidelines on all our puppy food to help you judge how much to feed your new pet. If you know what size your puppys parents are, then your puppys expected weight will be easier to predict. Once you have determined the daily amount appropriate for your puppy, you should divide that food evenly over the number of meals they have per day.
For a puppy food chart, visit the product page for detailed guidelines according to your puppys age and weight.
You can find more information on when to feed your puppy here.
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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.
The Benefits Of Feeding Premium Food
Why move your grown-up pup to a premium adult dog food? Because quality counts. It’s crucial to continue his superb puppy nutrition into adulthood. Downgrading to a lower-quality brand at this stage of his life may upset his digestive system, and won’t provide him with the same level of nutritional excellence he was raised on.
Think of a baby. When it’s time to start giving him solid food, you wouldn’t dream of feeding your child anything less than the best nutrition you can buy. The same is true for your maturing puppy. He needs the best age-appropriate food there is to help maintain his overall health.
Premium foods, such as IAMS, are specifically designed to provide your dog with a food that has:
- High-quality ingredients
- Balanced, optimal levels of protein, fat, fiber, carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals
- A nutrient-dense formulation appropriate for a particular life stage
- Consistent, high-quality, natural-ingredient recipes that do not change because of manufacturing costs
- Specific fatty-acid balance to help maintain healthy skin and coat
- Great palatability and taste, based on feeding trials
- Met or exceeded the Association of American Feed Control Officials guidelines
- Product guarantees
Weaning Your Puppy To Solid Food
Weaning your puppy to solid food should not be an overnight endeavor but should ideally take place over the course of two to three weeks. First select the brand of puppy food you intend to feed. Puppies have high caloric and nutritional needs and so the food selected should be a high quality brand of puppy food. Talk to your veterinarian for specific recommendations but generally the best puppy foods will be a good source of protein, calcium and calories.
Starting around four to six weeks of age begin introducing your puppy to puppy food by making a gruel by blending the puppy food with milk replacer. Offer the gruel three to four times a day gradually reducing the amount of milk replaced used to make the gruel. This way your puppy gradually learns to adapt to solid food and gastric upset is minimized. By around eight weeks of age your puppy should be eating solid food.
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.
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Read Dr Kristy Conns Advice:
Congratulations on your newest four-legged addition to your family. I understand the excitement and trepidation that comes with bringing home a furry ball of joy. You want to do right by her and that includes making sure she is getting the correct amount of nutrition. This is a popular time of year for bringing home puppies so Id like to take the opportunity to review basic puppy feeding guidelines for the first year of life while covering your question which may also answer any future questions you or other readers may have.
How Much Should I Feed My Puppy A Complete Puppy Feeding Guide With Chart
The decisions you make about your puppys nutrition will affect his growth, development and even his behavior.
How much should you feed your puppy and when? When should you stop feeding puppy food?
Get answers to these questions and more in our complete puppy feeding guide below. Our experts answer your questions and offer advice to help set you and your puppy up for success.
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When Should A Puppy Start Eating Solid Food
Puppies should get solid food starting at about four weeks, when theyre not able to get all the calories they need from their mothers milk. Most puppies are weaned by six weeks.
Joseph Wakshlag, DVM, PhD, is assistant professor of clinical nutrition at Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine. He tells WebMD that for puppies younger than eight weeks, you may need to moisten dry food until it feels spongy.
My Dog Doesnt Finish Her Meal All At Once I Think She Prefers To Graze What Should I Do
Some dogs really can regulate their food intake fairly well. It is still a good idea to create the expectation of mealtimes. This will help make it easier if another pet is added to your family at some point in the future. For grazers, simply measure out the entire day’s portion of food in the morning and offer the bowl several times throughout the day. Choose regular times in order to create the routine we know is helpful. The important thing is to use a measured portion, either with a measuring cup or a kitchen scale, for the day.
“The important thing is to use a measured portion for the day.”
Another consideration is the use of food toys. Many options exist from rolling food toys that just drop out a kibble of food intermittently to stationary food toys that require the dog to work for the food. See the handout Feeding the Mind and Body: Interactive Feeders for Dogs and Cats for more information on these types of feeders. Food toys are almost as entertaining for the people in your family as they are for your dog!
Your veterinarian remains the best source of nutritional guidance for your dog, answering important questions like what to feed, how much to feed, and how frequently to feed. Feeding time can be an important bonding time. Creating routine and regular feeding times builds fun into everyday activities.
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Is My Puppy Overweight
Puppies are far more likely to overeat than to not eat enough, which is why it is so important to evenly space out their recommended daily food intake via smaller portions throughout the day. If your puppy often eats too much, too quickly, it can lead to them developing long-term weight problems. Equally, even if you stick to a strict diet plan, if your puppy doesnt get enough exercise or you give them a few too many treats, this will also cause obesity issues.
Obesity in dogs is just as dangerous as it is in humans, and can lead to a number of health problems for your puppy, including:
- Diseases like diabetes and heart disease
- Arthritis due to nutrient imbalance and extra strain on the skeleton
- Respiratory problems
- Lowered immune system
- Increased risk of developing tumours
All of these can lead to a poor quality of life and a shorter lifespan. So, rather than risk these diseases, take your dog out for regular walks, stop the treats and table scraps and, if necessary, speak to your vet about switching to a lower calorie diet.
So, given how easily puppies can become obese and how bad that is for their health, here are the signs that your pet is overweight:
- You cannot easily feel their ribs and spine
- Placing your hands on their sides, you still cant feel their ribs
- They have an oval body shape, rather than a tapered waist
- Your puppy might also show hip and neck fat, although this is very rare in young dogs.
What To Feed Puppies In The First Year
As a new pet parent, youll find no shortage of dog food choices for feeding puppies. Puppies grow at a rapid pace, and a few food transitions are to be expected.
Starting Solids: 8 weeks old
Regular Feeding: 6 12 months old
Switching to Adult Dog Food: 1+ years
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Remembering To Regularly Check In On Your Puppys Feeding Regime Ensures Your Pup Develops At A Healthy Rate And Enjoys All The Nutrients They Need
Our in-house nutritionists answer frequently asked questions about feeding puppies up to 6 months below
How many times should I feed my pup every day?
Most puppies will happily dine on 3 meals per day until they are 6 months old. Stick to a timely routine of breakfast, lunch and dinner.
How much food does my pup need?
Make sure youre feeding the right amount. A simple rule of thumb is to feed your puppy 20g per 1kg of body weight per day. So, if you have a puppy weighing 5kg, they will need 100g per day.
Why is it important to get feeding right at this early stage?
Making sure your puppy eats the right amount of healthy, wholesome food from an early age helps protect them against developing common health problems later in life caused by being overweight or eating too much of the wrong ingredients.
Help! My puppy isnt eating enough!
If your puppy temporarily loses their appetite or suffers an upset tummy, try not to panic. This is common as they adapt to their new environment. As they settle in and get used to their surroundings, meal times will improve.
Can I introduce treats and extras to my puppys diet?
Be mindful of treats and extras. Using your puppys food as a treat will be adequate at this early stage.
How can I make mealtimes engaging and fun?
Stuffing a Kong with some of your dogs daily kibble is a perfect way to make meal times more fun. Normal dry kibble can be soaked to make stuffing easier.
How can I tell if my pups poo is normal?
Ive Heard Conflicting Advice About Feeding My Dog
Feeding your dog does not have to be mysterious. By recognizing a few key concepts and attributes of dogs we can create a very reasonable feeding plan for them.
Dogs are creatures of habit. We can use this fact to our advantage by creating a regular feeding schedule and sticking to it.
A regular feeding schedule helps with house training puppies, as well as adult rescue dogs who have not been taught household manners. Puppies generally need to relieve themselves within 10 to 15 minutes of eating a meal. By linking a âpotty stopâ with a meal we not only allow ourselves to predict when the pup needs a trip outside, we allow the puppy to learn to associate the urges to urinate and defecate with being in the appropriate location. This is a very important step in the house-training process.
Feeding an adult dog at regular times provides the security and predictability of a routine. Meals become a cornerstone event of the day around which other activities are added. A feeding routine helps your dog cope when there are changes in the household .
âA feeding routine helps your dog cope when there are changes in the household.â
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