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How to properly feed a puppy?

author Lucy Byrne | Health and diet

Do you have a new dog at home and don’t know how to feed it? Don’t worry, you’re not the first nor the last one. You wouldn’t believe how much time it may take to care about a puppy, especially in the beginning and when you have no previous experience. It’s like with a small baby. Changing diapers, feeding, cuddling. And the same over and over. However, while we all somehow know how to wipe a puddle or scratch our dog, it’s not that easy with food.

Firstly, it needs to be mentioned that puppies eat a lot. You may feel like you constantly feed them. It’s logical. A puppy needs to grow up to an adult dog in a few months. And it needs many nutrients for a healthy development. That might cause the first mistake of dog owners – beginners, i.e. overfeeding. Believe me, the little puppy won’t resist in most cases and eats everything from its bowl.

It is worth noting that recommended food portion is different for every breed and it is necessary to adjust it every week and month according to feeding tables or vet’s recommendations. Particularly if you are a dog owner – beginner, feeding with dry food is probably the best way. You should choose the food not only according to the age of the dog but also according to the size of the breed. Even though growing is quite intense for both large and small breeds up to six months, it is better to choose dry food specially made for your dog.

Let a breeder recommend you a brand. It is important to start using the food the bitch used to eat, especially in the first weeks. However, this is not necessarily important. Split a daily food ration into up to four smaller portions a day. Gradually, as the puppy grows, you can give your fewer portions a day but add more food to them. And you can switch to two portions a day in approximately two months of age of the dog.

You can dip dry food into water from the beginning. It’s done for the good of dog’s teeth. You should give your dog food at approximately the same time every day. If you know you won’t be at home on work days, get dispensers which are easily available nowadays. A dog should never eat before a walk, only after a short period of resting after it. That’s mainly for preventive reasons, you’ll avoid gastric torsion by this. Also, be careful about wild games right after a meal. Teach the puppy to rest after feeding. Do not react to its requests for games.

Also, include all treats and other things you give your dog extra to the daily portion. Mainly in your first few weeks together, you’ll want to teach a dog baby various commands. And what is a great training tool? Well, dog treats, of course. If you aren’t sure how many treats you can give to your furry friend a day, you ask for advice again. There are also free nutrition advisory services, e.g. online nutrition advisory service of Brit.

Treats which can be cut into smaller pieces such as dry meat are perfect and you don’t have to worry that you won’t have enough “dog controllers”. Definitely avoid giving too many biscuits to your dog, you could get it into big troubles or even support diabetes. Yes, it is a thing for dogs, too! A healthy alternative are pieces of vegetables and you won’t do anything bad with them. Moreover, the dog will get used to a varied diet.

Last but not least, a puppy should have access to fresh drinking water. Therefore, buy two bowls for it – one for water and one for food. Bowls should be in the appropriate height, so a dog doesn’t have to bend in the back a lot. And once again for the end – be careful about obesity! Introduce your dog to various tastes and smells but do not overfeed it even though it looks hungry and avoid unnecessary sugar and food which are poisonous for dogs.