After bringing your puppy home. You should know how to properly feed your new dog. And also be able to monitor on your puppy’s diet as well as its eating habits.
So that your puppy can grow to its full potential and get’s all the necessary nutrients it needs. Throughout its puppyhood (and yes also its adulthood).
Cause an active and tail wiggling puppy is what your (and every) puppy should be.
It is also an important factor to be concerned of, as ignoring it may cause obesity if fed excessively.
Here’s a guide on feeding your new puppy :
1. What are the nutrients?
A puppy is rapidly growing. And to support that we will need to supply the pup with the nutrition it will need. What are those nutrients you ask? Well, there are many but, the two main thing’s you should be looking for in a dog food is the Protein content and Fat Content.
You should shoot for around 22-25% (of daily calories) for protein, the more the better for puppies and no need to worry if the protein intake gets a little high (I said little). Cause the excess protein can and will be used for running and playing purposes.
As far as fat is concerned anything around 8% should be good for puppies. But excess fat should be avoided cause it can then cause serious health issues such as obesity.
Different dog food will have different amt. of protein and fat content in them. I will always recommend you to try out different dog foods cause not one dog food brand will suit every puppy/dog. So buy a small packet(s) of the dog food you want to try (if you are not satisfied with the current food that is) and provide your dog that feed for a week or two. And measure the progress (weight, height, coat etc). Always remember an expensive food does not necessarily mean better food (though the content might be from a better source).
Your dog may react to a normal feed much better than maybe a very expensive feed. It just depends (woof).
2. Which stage of puppy food?
There are mainly three stages of dog food available commercially. Starter feed, Puppy Feed, and Adult feed.
Out of these three, the starter feed contains the most amount of nutrients. Which is why it is highly recommended to feed the puppy at its early puppy stage. Puppy feed, on the other hand, will contain a lot less nutrient content than that of the starter but a little more than the adult feed. Finally, the Adult feed is the one which is fed when a puppy usually becomes a year old (it can vary though depending upon breed) till rest of its life. It contains a little less nutrient content than the puppy food.
So which one when?
Well, I’ll suggest starter feed to puppies ranging from 8 weeks till 6 months. As that’s when the growth spurt is the highest thus it will suck up much more nutrients. And after 6 months till the puppy becomes an adult the puppy feed can be provided. As the puppy is still growing, but not so rapidly. And after a year (or 9 or 18 months depending upon the breed) you may start giving your dog the adult feed. As when the puppy reaches adulthood most of the growing is finished and it will only need food for the maintenance and repair. Which the adult feed should easily provide.
But nevertheless, you can provide an adult dog with a puppy (or even a starter) feed, if you think the growth is incomplete. Although there are supplements available for dogs for this purpose. But starting with a high content food will be a smarter and cheaper approach than let’s say a protein powder.
3. Wet or Kibble Food?
One question might be arising in your head. That is there is wet and dry food. How do I choose? Okay so, In short, I’ll say go for dry food.
The reason for that you ask? Dry feeds are generally high in meat content hence more protein apart from that they are easy to store, last long and are cheap in comparison.
So why does wet food exist anyway? See wet feeds have their own advantage. First the ease of digestion and second it is a lot more appealing to our buddy. That is why some dog owners prefer wet food (and that’s why they are made, obviously).
And I’ll be totally honest here, a mixture of both kibble (dry feed) and some wet feed would be great (if it’s possible)! Especially for puppies who are really picky.
But in this, I’m answering if we had to choose one which one would it be so. My answer “Kibble“. Although a mixture of both wet and dry feed can be very helpful for puppies. And unfortunately, if your puppy is a picky eater you would certainly need to gravitate towards the wet food for some time and then slowly transition to the food of your liking.
As always it’s just my preference and every dog is and will always be different. So, find out what works for your dog and try to stick to that if possible. Although changes can always be made.
4. How many times a day to feed?
Another question is how many times a day should I feed my dog?
I’ll say span out the feed in 4 equal parts althrough the day for a puppy (timings will surely depend on your schedule but try not to space too much between two meals). Let’s say one in the morning other in the afternoon and another in the evening and the last one at night time. In brief, a puppy should be fed 4 times a day (my preference and a lot of specialists prefer this as well).
And for an adult dog, I’ll say 2 times a day would be good. One in the morning and the other around dinner time.
One thing to keep in mind that the puppy/dog will be getting treats in between as well. And the treats should not constitute more than 10% of the puppy’s/dog’s daily diet. 5-10% of treats will be enough to make your pup happy and won’t cost anything on its health.
5. Should I feed on a fixed time or free feed?
For those who don’t know what’s free feeding, its actually leaving food in your dog’s food bowl for the whole day. Your dog will then come and grab some through different times of the day.
And in the other one, you feed your dog daily on fixed timings and leave food on the bowl for a limited amount of time (I suggest 20 minutes). Then pick up the leftovers (if any) after that certain period of time gets over.
For me personally, I will highly recommend you to go for the “Fix time” feeding.
For one it makes monitoring a lot easier. Cause you can easily track how much your dog has eaten compared to other days. And if anything’s not normal. Then actions can be taken a lot quicker. It also tells you when your dog has eaten so you know when it gotta do its business (you know). Which is difficult to accomplish in free feeding,
There are exceptions to this though. If your dog is sick it will probably have a low appetite. So it is then recommended to free feed cause the dog probably won’t finish up the feed in just one go while having an upset stomach.
Apart from that “Water” should always be available throughout the day.
Conclusion: Hopefully, now you have a good idea of how to feed your new puppy. And the fundamentals are clear. Again, every dog is different so see what work’s out the best and try to stick to that. These tips are to help you achieve that faster and more effectively. And as always Good Luck! & Keep Learning.