Here’s how to feed your puppies


Here's how to feed your puppies

Photo: Shutterstock

Puppies need special care in the first months of their lives, especially when weaning them from their mother’s milk to a puppy diet of regular food. For the first four weeks of their lives, puppies get all their nutrition from their mother’s milk and there is no need to supplement with other food if both mother and pup are healthy.

If the mother dog is not well or not producing enough milk to meet her off-springs needs, you may have to find replacement nutrition. In the event of this happening, it’s best to speak to your veterinarian about what milk replacement products you need and the routine and method of feeding you have to follow.

Up to six months of age, puppy need to eat two to four times in a day to have a proper growth. After his first week of life, when his weight doubles from what it was at birth, a puppy should gain one to two grams per pound of anticipated adult weight each day.

For dogs that are being successfully weaned, here are some tips on how to feed your puppies:

How to feed

• Start the puppy on puppy food at four weeks. Give them small amounts at first before gradually increasing the quantity to regular puppy servings as they get completely weaned from their mother.

• Know that the puppy will likely see the food as something to play with at first. Don’t worry about it though. They will soon learn that they have to eat it. By around eight weeks old, when they are completely weaned, pups should get used to eating dry food regularly.

• Puppies need more energy than adult dogs. This means more protein from their food. Ask your vet about the right food and amount of food for your dog’s breed. For example, small dogs don’t usually need portion-controlled feeding to avoid being overweight. However, medium and big dogs benefit from it.

• Overfeeding your animal can lead to health consequences. Dogs that overeat can grow too fast and develop bone issues such as bowing of the front legs. Remember that overfeeding isn’t going to help your dog grow to its full potential. The size of a dog depends on its genetics and it is best that your dog is on a healthy, balanced diet, allowing gradual growth.

• Go easy on the treats. While it may be tempting to watch your dog gleefully jump for dog treats, these should not make up more than 5% of their daily food intake. The majority of your dog’s nutrition should come from good-quality food.

What to feed

Puppy food is enriched with vitamins and protein. It has all the essential fat which is required for puppies to grow.

Before buying food for your puppy, consult your vet first to decide what kind of food and in what quantity is required for your puppy. Regular food labeled “for all life stages” is fine too.

Large-breed puppy formulas help bigger pups grow. Small-breed formulas provide concentrated nutrition in small, bite-size kibbles that meet a smaller puppy’s high metabolic needs. Medium-breed formulas aim somewhere in between.

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