There’s a lot to think about when you bring your new puppy home, especially with regard to feeding him.
So you can spend your time enjoying him and not worrying about whether he is getting the right food at the right times.
Common questions new puppy owners ask are: how often to feed, what to feed, and when to feed.
Let’s take a look.
Rule One: Little and often
Small puppies have tiny tummies, but big appetites. After all, they have a lot of growing to be getting on with.
In order to give them enough food to fulfill their daily requirements without upsetting their delicate stomaches, their food needs to be delivered in evenly spaced rations.
Your puppy’s breeder will let you know how often he has been fed when she hands him over to you, and should advice you on how to proceed.
As a rule of thumb pups need four meals a day until they are three months old, three meals a day until they are six months old, and two meals a day thereafter.
Rule Two: Pick a mid-range kibble
Most new puppy owners choose to feed their pups on kibble. And this is usually a good idea.
Puppies do very well on raw food too, but you need to do some research in order to learn how to feed a growing puppy on raw meat and bones.
Cheap kibble can seem very appealing in terms of your bank balance, but it can be a false economy.
Most cheaper brands pad out their meals with ingredients that your puppy doesn’t need, and which will pass straight through him.
This means that if you buy a cheaper food, you may will end up giving him larger quantities.
Therefore spending the same amount over all as you would have done on a more expensive make.
Rule Three: Don’t overfeed
Nowadays, we know that puppies should be kept slim. Growing too quickly or getting too fat can cause health problems.
If you are giving your puppy too much food, or too little, the way to tell is not through the scales. It is through looking and touching.
You should be able to feel but not see your puppy’s ribs. When he stands there should be a defined slope from his belly to his groin.
Manufacturers recommended quantities on packets can provide a good guideline, or starting point. But you will need to assess your individual puppy every few days and adjust accordingly.
If your puppy tries to tell you he is starving hungry at the end of each meal, try feeding his kibble is a slow-feed bowl. It will take him longer to eat it, and he will enjoy the meal more.
Rule Four: No food before bed
It is tempting to put your puppy to bed with a nice full tummy.
But this is likely to result in your new friend urgently needing a bathroom break in the small hours.
Make sure your puppy’s last meal is a good three or four hours before his last trip to the garden at your bedtime.
So if you like to make your way upstairs at eleven pm, your puppy’s last mealtime should be no later than 8pm.
Rule Five: No sudden changes
This is perhaps the most important rule of all. Sudden dietary changes can really upset your puppy’s tiny body. Resulting in bouts of diahorrea.
If you are changing brands for example, you need to slowly introduce a small amount of the new food over the course of several meals, rather than jumping straight in with the new type.
Feeding your puppy is important, but it doesn’t have to be scary. Give small quantities at regular periods of time, and make any chances gradual and with your puppies health in mind.
Use your common sense, but if in doubt ask your veterinarian for advice.