This article focuses on some of the nutritional foundations needed to insure your puppy grows into a healthy adult. The mother's milk provides the puppy with all the nutrients and antibodies he needs for the first four weeks of life. You can introduce moistened puppy kibble around the age of four weeks. This will be introduced to the puppy as he continues to nurse.
You may feed the puppy his kibble twice a day as long as he is still getting enough of his mother's milk. Whenever he gives up his nursing, which will be around the age of seven to eight weeks, his dry food feeding will increase. It is still advisable to moisten his dry food with warm water for a few weeks until he has adjusted.
Unless your breeder or vet advises, it is not necessary to add canned puppy food to your puppy's dry kibble. The dry puppy kibble is sufficient as long as you use a high quality puppy food. Giving your puppy the right nutrition will provide him a healthy beginning for a healthy life. During a puppy's first six months, he will need a highly digestible diet consisting of more protein and fat.
A puppy is usually fed three to four small meals a day until he is about four months old. The amount at each feeding will be determined by the brand of food and the advice of the breeder and your vet. It is very important not to over feed the puppy as this may lead to problems later in their life. Along with the vet, your breeder will be able to guide you on the proper feeding plan of your new puppy. When the puppy is four months old, you may start feeding him three times a day.
Once again, the amount of each feeding will be determined by many factors including brand of food, breeder and vet advice. Around nine months of age a puppy is fed twice a day. Some vets recommend feeding a puppy once a day when they reach a year in age. There are some who think you should continue feeding a dog twice a day; just feed them smaller amounts in the morning and evening. This will help avoid gastro-intestinal problems, especially in larger breed dogs.
This varies of course and should be discussed with the vet and breeder. There are many commercial pet foods available for puppies and the quality of these foods vary. Normally the higher quality foods cost more as they use higher quality ingredients and less fillers. This means your puppy will be able to get more nutrients while consuming less food.
During a puppy's growing stage is not the time to try to save money on cheaper pet food or to feed your puppy table scraps. A quality puppy food will have all the necessary vitamins, proteins and nutrients the animal needs. Also, it is not necessary to give your puppy extra vitamins or supplements if the animal is on a quality pet food unless your vet advises you to do so. Along with quality puppy food make sure your puppy has fresh water at all times. Large breed puppies actually need less calories and calcium in their diets. A puppy who consumes too many calories and too much calcium may develop joint problems.
Large breed dogs have a slower metabolic rate and actually reach their adult weight later then smaller breed dogs. It is essential that large breed puppies don't grow too fast or put on too much weight as puppies as this could cause developmental skeletal problems in later life. Large breeds are usually kept on puppy food longer then smaller breeds; sometimes from one year to eighteen months. Ask your vet or breeder when the large breed puppy should be switched to adult dog food.
As discussed before, table scraps are not recommended for dogs. Any human food that contains salt, sugar or other addictives may upset the puppies or dogs gastro system. Animals don't need salt or sugar in their diet and human food is loaded in these ingredients.
Good nutrition for your puppy is the stepping stone to a healthy, happy dog. A well cared for puppy is easier to train and will make an obedient and trusted member of the family.
Jim McKiel lives in the Chicago suburbs with his wife Doris and their pet family members Buddy and Buster. They have devoted their lives to the betterment of pet ownership. For more information, visit Large Breed Family Dogs