Feeding Tips for puppies and dogs!

Puppy hood is a time for development and rapid growth. Because of this, puppies require nearly double the amount of nutrients per pound of food than do older dogs. Puppies need higher levels of nutrients that are not available in regular adult dog food. Because of their special nutritional requirements, your puppy should only receive puppy food for the first year. Most dog food manufacturers offer a special formula specifically designed for puppies that is higher in protein (28% - 30%) and enriched with the fat soluble and water soluble vitamins, minerals, fats and other essentials a growing puppy needs. Feeding the First Few Days: For the first few days, it's a good idea to continue feeding the same type and brand of puppy food and use the same feeding schedule as the breeder. Slowly start using the food you have chosen based on information you have received from the breeder and your veterinarian. This should be done over a period of about 7 - 10 days. Go from 100% previous food to 100% new food by mixing about 25% of the new with 75% of the old for several days. Then go 50% - 50% for several days, then 75% new to 25% old. Feeding Schedule: By feeding on a set schedule, puppies will go to the bathroom on a more set schedule and it will make housebreaking that much more easily and faster. The puppy's feeding schedule will more than likely be dictated by your own schedule. We don't recommend setting food out for the puppy so he can eat whenever he wants to. You want the puppy and his body on a set schedule. This is best accomplished by feeding the puppy at specific times throughout the day. Puppies under 6 months of age should be fed 3x a day; between six and twelve months old, 2x a day; and over one year, 2x a day as well. It should be made a habit to give the puppy some quiet time after the meal. Give the puppy about an hour to digest and go to the bathroom before playing with the puppy.

Amount to Feed: We start out our puppies by mixing 1 cup of food and softening it with hot water. This makes it a bit easier for them to eat the harder food. As they get bigger we gradually cut out the water in the food. Your puppy may need more or less food depending upon how fast they clean it up. I will be able to let you know how much your puppy is eating. Type of Food: We don't recommend "soft food" (canned). Canned foods are typically higher in calories and fat and are usually 80% to 83% water, which makes it very costly and puppies don't need the usual added salt in these foods. Dry foods are only about 9% to 11% water and are made of the same quality ingredients as other types of food. Dry food is more economical, easier to use and in our opinion better. Dogs on dry foods typically have fewer stomach upsets, either diarrhea or constipation and they have fewer problems with unwanted weight gain. Contrary to popular belief soft foods do not give your dog's hair or skin quality an advantage over dry. Dry food is better on your dog's teeth and gums. The abrasive action of eating dry food helps keep dental problems reduced. With dry dog food, you pretty much get what you pay for. Economy brands are cheap and are made of the cheapest ingredients available. As such, there energy levels are lower, they use poorer grade proteins with lower digestibility, which means much of the food passes right through their system and is not absorbed. Premium brands (Royal Canin, Nutro Max, Iams, Science Diet, Canidae) use higher quality ingredients. Digestibility will be much higher on these foods and less expensive in the long run as they will eat less. We feed Royal Canin. It is a premium brand and we have had great success with it. Our dog's coats are healthy, they digest it very well and economically it is not cheap, but it is not overly expensive either.

Treats: Treats should never account for more than 10% of your puppy's calorie intake. Your puppy's food is its sole source for the nutrition it needs so you shouldn't "fill up" your puppy on treats before meal times. Hard chew treats are excellent for keeping your puppy entertained and improve dental health by exercising the teeth and gums. It also satisfies the puppy's need to chew. Treats can be used while training to reward good behavior, but be careful to not overdo it. Water: Puppies drink large quantities of water. They need more water per pound than adults do because they are growing. Fresh, clean water should be provided at all times. No-No's: A big No-No is table scraps. We strongly recommend never starting because once you do it may never stop. Table scraps are higher in calories and certainly are not balanced meals. Neither do they have any of the required vitamins and minerals, not to mention it could give the dog an upset stomach and leave you with a very messy area to clean up. It also promotes begging. This could make house training your puppies more difficult. Cow's milk can also cause problems. It has sugar lactose. Dogs do not have the enzyme lactase that is necessary to digest it. This is often why they develop diarrhea or softer stools when digested. PUPPIES / DOGS DO NOT NEED FRESH COW'S MILK! Chocolate is another very bad food for dogs. It has been known to be toxic so why take a chance!