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    Feeding a puppy – Some useful advice

    Articledog food and nutritionWednesday 17 April 2013

    Around 8-12 weeks a new puppy will gradually stop feeding off its mother’s milk and it is at this time that you should take over but if you have never looked after puppies before you might be lost on where to start and how to feed it. Buying just any commercial dog food is good but it is not optimised for your dog’s performance and needs. Here are some steps you should take to feeding a new puppy.

    • Seek guidance from your vet. If your puppy has any problems and will need their dietary needs changed because of it then your vet will be the first to know and can give you some solid advice.
    • With a commercial feed you want a very good quality one that is specially formulated for a puppy’s growth. A good rule of thumb is that the more expensive the feed, the higher quality it is likely to be. You can try your puppy out with different commercial feeds. If you find that your puppy has diarrhoea, wind or bad stools then be sure to change it until they find something that digests easily.
    • Try not to change diets rapidly. This can upset a puppy’s stomach. Slowly mix two feeds together and then change after a period of time.
    • There are two types of commercial feed; Complete and Complementary. You can feed a dog solely on complete food without any additions. Complementary require additional foods to help fulfil a healthy diet.
    • When feeding your puppy you want to ensure that they are fed regularly. Perhaps 4 times a day at set intervals. If not they will suffer as their small stomachs can be overstretched from too much food. This routine should be strictly kept throughout its growth period.
    • If your dog does not eat all its food then do not leave it there in the bowl. After a day it is best to throw it away. By keeping it in the bowl it can attract bacteria and inserts. This problem multiply with hot weather.
    • You may want to give your puppy cooked meats. Try with either softly boiled chicken or lamb. This should be given occasionally. Avoid using any spices or condiments and these are not recommended. Also never, ever provide bones especially poultry bones as these can tear through a puppy’s stomach.
    • Puppies sometimes like to eat grass and there is no harm in this. Make sure the grass is natural and does not have chemicals or pesticides on it. The grass can provide vegetable matter and micronutrients.
    • Some puppies will not take to dry foods immediately after feeding from their mothers. If this is the case then try adding a tiny bit of warm water to their food to soften or it use tinned dog food to help make the mix more moisturised.
    • Treats can be given for training and behaviour you want to see from your dog. Unfortunately commercial treats can contain high levels of sugar, colourings and milk products and these should be avoided. Again like commercial feed, the more expensive the treat, the higher quality it is likely to be. Treats should be regulated and not too many given to avoid obesity.
    • As fun as it may sound, you must never feed a dog of any age chocolate. This will seriously harm its internal system and have a negative effect on the dog.
    • While your puppy is growing, you should be able to feel its ribs but never see them showing through their skin.
    • And remember - Water, water, water – Make sure water is provided at all times. Change it daily and keep it fresh. Without water your puppy will not survive
    Photo: Skuds
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