The puppy feeding of the past has changed quite a bit. If you had a puppy in the 1980’s and just got your new puppy now, you will be met with a huge choice in dog food when you get to the pet store. So how will you know which food is the right food and how often should I feed it? Happily I will discuss that here for you.
Puppy Feeding Schedule Points
First let’s realize that all puppies are different and even puppies from the same litter may develop varied nutritional needs from each other. Added to that is the fact that different breeds come in different sizes. Toy sized dogs for example will have different nutritional requirements than a large breed. Some puppies are prone to joint issues while others may require higher energy as they are a working breed.
About 21 days after birth puppies are introduced to a softened, moistened food. Gradually the soft food feeding is increased and exposure to mother’s milk is decreased. Around the 6th or 7th week of life puppies are weaned off of their mother and can now get their nutritional requirements from kibble. It is important to note here that when you are choosing your puppy the different breeds and mixed-breeds will in part require you to choose a food specific to that breed. More on this later.
Dog Food Quality is not the same among Brands.
In general, the higher the quality of food the more expensive the food is. An expensive food, however, will have less filler like corn or brewer’s rice and more nutrients so you will be able to feed your dog less of the food and get complete nutritional requirements. Feeding less food means that there will be less poop to clean up, a good thing! A good quality super premium food formulated specifically for puppies, or an all life stages dog food will do the trick.
The Size and Breed of your Dog will determine what Type of Food they need.
Toy and smaller dog food will have the proper requirements for that size of dog while large breed food will be better suited for joint and bone development of the larger breeds. It is important to note here that if you feed table scraps you are altering the ratios of nutrition for your puppy. A quality kibble will be properly balanced so if you go feeding table scraps you may not only risk poisoning your dog with things like apple seeds, onions, garlic, grapes and much more.
Another point to note here is that your puppy will be a puppy for about a year. Depending on the breed this could be under or over a year but it’s important to note that your puppy will go through phases just like a human child does for 18 years. This puppy schedule is a general guide so please feel free to make changes in order to adjust to your specific puppy.
2 to 6 month old Puppy:
Depending on breed your puppy will be fed 3 to 4 times a day by spreading out the daily amount in to equal portions. This helps to keep energy evenly spread throughout the day and will allow your puppy to more easily digest their food. Feeding time is between 10 and 20 minutes. Pick up the food after this time so that your dog understands it is time to eat and they don’t become grazers. You should also consider the final feeding to be around 5 pm so that your puppy has time to relieve themselves before going to bed for the night.
6 to 12 months old:
Your puppy can now be moved gradually to two feedings a day with equal portions in the AM and PM. During this time they can also be switched off of puppy food and eat adult dog food. As well, if they were on a whole life food you can simply maintain feeding this food well into adulthood.
From the moment you get your new puppy home it is important that you keep track of her weight. You should attend your local veterinarian who will weigh your puppy for you. At this time they will also set up a vaccination schedule to keep your new pup safe from preventable diseases.
So how will you fight the Table Scrap Begging Gaze and not feed your dog a risky plate of imbalanced left overs? Well it is important to know that this gaze has been developed over thousands of years as a survival strategy. Your dog staring at you at the dinner table is not a test of your love for him, rather over years of adaptation your dog has learned that the sadder they appear the more scraps they will get. Be strong, keep them on a healthy diet.
If you are going to spend the money and take the time to search for a quality puppy bred for genetic superiority and bloodline quality then you should also consider feeding it on an optimal puppy feeding schedule. An excellent breeder will deliver to you a puppy with superior genetics. Take advantage of those genetics by delivering high quality puppy food on a puppy feeding schedule suited for optimal health.
Dan Labonte is a professional Labrador Retriever breeder in Ontario who focuses on breeding intelligent, healthy, even tempered Labrador Retriever puppies that are donated to be trained to act as service dogs for Veterans and first responders with PTSD.