What food is young Fido eating?

It’s no big mystery that all my creatures need food to survive and to avoid certain foods to survive too. It is written, “Bread does not nourish puppies, but love by their humans”. Though our furry friends are better off without manna or prasad, balanced meals also nourish them. I don’t know why they write such things! Anyway, believe this:

Variables and context

When it comes to feeding our pet babies, there are a number of things to consider — breed, size, and overall nutrition, for example. Your puppy is growing really fast and needs more nutrients than adult dogs for their development. Theirs is a ‘growth’ diet, as opposed to a ‘maintenance’ diet that is fed to adult dogs. Their nutritional needs change so fast that it’s a good idea to consult a vet about it in these early stages of life.

From birth to six weeks

Before 6 weeks of age, puppies need to be nursed by their mothers. And if they cannot get their mothers’ milk, they need to be fed canine milk replacements. Any other milk is too rich for them and is bound to give them tummy troubles. Puppies less than a week old should be fed every 1-2 hours, and after this phase, every 3-5 hours. Feed them till their tummies form a soft pear-like shape. If your puppy is an exclusive breed, consider breed-formulated food as well.

Weaning your puppy

You can start your puppy on solids by 4 weeks of age. By 6 weeks then, your puppy should be weaned. However, you’ll need to moisten his food with milk or water till it feels spongy. Feed your puppy thrice a day from weaning to four to six months of age. While puppies are most used to wet food, dry food has its own benefits, like it helps clean out their teeth. Puppies still have developing teeth which might be soft so they cannot chew bones or hard foods. Make sure they are drinking enough water, as even a 10% drop in water in the body can be fatal. As a good rule of paw, your puppy should gain at least 2 gm per 500 gm of anticipated  adult weight each day.

Home-cooked or store bought?

There are as many high quality commercial food products available as there are Gods on this planet. You can check out the label for information on feeding schedule and how much to feed. If you are home-cooking the food, make sure to add adequate supplements and nutrients. Puppies don’t yet have the immune system to fight off pathogens that come with raw food. If you’re feeding the pup home meals, make sure the meat is not raw but that it’s also not too soft. Mix this meat with boiled rice. Fish, turkey, chicken, potatoes, peas, carrots, green beans and vegetable oil are all good for the puppy. When in doubt, ask the vet. Switch your canine child from puppy food to adult dog food only when he has reached at least 90% of his expected adult weight.

Words of caution

It’s a sin to overfeed your puppy! Overfeeding will cause excess weight gain, bone anomalies, making them obese and lethargic. Overfeeding is more common with larger breeds. It’s a good idea to feed your puppies before you eat and when you sit down for a meal, keep them in another room or far away enough to discourage begging and snacking. While most young puppies look round, by five months, they should start looking lean. If your puppy has diarrhoea, take him off solid foods. Give him only water to sip and gradually introduce boiled rice and scrambled eggs over a day’s time and then ease into regular food. If he is still suffering, for my sake, take him to the vet.  Also, if you’re using treats to train your puppy, make sure it’s no more than 15% of his total daily calories. 

Taboo food

This brings me to what I forbid you from feeding any puppy or dog — chocolate, avocados, onions, garlic, and chives, grapes, raisins, bread dough, macadamia nuts and too much dairy. Food sweetened with xylitol can cause liver failure. So don’t give the puppies any baked foods or candy. Salty foods are bad for his soul. Alcohol, coffee, caffeine are vices for dogs and and they must avoid them at all costs.

I know…Looking after puppies can be as exhausting as it is rewarding. A healthy puppy is a happy one! Blessings!

FAQs

What is puppy kibble?

Very simply a meal for your puppy that is pellet-shaped.

Can I feed a puppy and an adult dog the same food?

I forbid it! Your puppy is growing really fast and needs more nutrients than adult dogs for their development. Theirs is a ‘growth’ diet, as opposed to a ‘maintenance’ diet that is fed to adult dogs. Their nutritional needs change so fast that it’s a good idea to consult a vet about it in these early stages of life.

How much should my puppy eat?

It’s my word printed on the labels of puppy food. You can refer the food chart which will give you directions on proportion and number of meals.

How often should my puppy eat?

By my command, puppies must eat three times a day from weaning through four to six months. After six months, a meal twice a day should be fine.