Bringing home a new puppy is a momentous occasion, and one that comes with a lot of decisions to make. But at least feeding a Cockapoo puppy doesn’t have to end with a headache. Whether it is kibble, wet, raw or even homemade meals, there are benefits to all the popular options. Today I’ll break down the pros and cons of each one, and help you to pick the right choice for your new furry family member.
Swapping Puppy Food Brands
The first thing to do is to plan ahead: before you take your pup home, find out what food he or she is used to. Keep feeding this food for at least two weeks while your pup gets accustomed to his or her new home and family. During this exciting period, your Cockapoo pup might already experience some loose stools, so it’s best not to add a food change to the mix right away.
When you do start feeding your pup’s new chosen food, mix it with the “old” food for at least a week. Start off with just a bit of “new” food in the bowl, and then gradually increase the amount over 7-10 days until there’s no more of the “old” food left. If you’re switching to a completely different diet (for example from commercial dog food to a raw diet), you might have to make this transition period last even longer. Monitor your dog’s appetite and stool texture and adjust to his or her individual needs.
Cockapoo Puppy Diets
For most Cockapoo puppies, the safe bet is to opt for a dog food made for small or medium breeds. And of course, one that is aimed at their age group. The reason for this is that they need more protein per pound of body weight than an adult dog would. All this protein – together with nutrients such as calcium and magnesium – goes towards your pup’s bone and muscle growth.
Cockapoo Puppy Kibble
Kibble is extremely convenient: it’s easy to store, can be fed on the go, and it doesn’t leave a mess. If you choose a brand that is specifically designed for small breed puppies, you’ll ensure that your pup gets thoroughly balanced nutrition.
Kibble for small breeds is also made up of smaller pieces, to avoid choking hazards for your Cockapoo pup. As humans, we tend to think that diversity is an important aspect of any diet. This doesn’t quite apply to dogs, though. Once you’ve found a kibble that your pup likes, it’s best to stick with it.
You can even use your dog’s kibble as treats for puppy training if your puppy likes it. Just make sure to deduct the treats from your Cockapoo pup’s daily portion (to avoid overfeeding).
Feeding a Puppy Wet Food
Wet food is the other type of commercial dog food you can feed your puppy. As the name says, it contains a lot of water. This helps keep your puppy hydrated, and also makes wet food very palatable.
Some wet foods are not meant to be fed exclusively, as they are not completely balanced. These will be labeled as “complementary” foods. If the wet food says that it is a “complete” diet for your puppy, it’s safe to feed your Cockapoo pup only on this wet food. One drawback of doing this is that it’s more expensive than kibble.
A lot of dogs also get bad breath and loose stools from wet food-only diets. The best option would be to use wet food as an occasional mealtime treat, or to mix it with kibble (this is called “topping”).
Raw or BARF Diets
BARF diets (“biologically appropriate raw food”) have not been proven to be worse for your pet than commercial diets, providing that they are complete and well-balanced. Unfortunately, as of today, there is also no conclusive evidence that raw feeding is inherently better for your puppy’s health.
I cannot stress enough how important it is to put together a well-balanced meal plan. Unfortunately, we still see cases of severe malnutrition and diet-related diseases in puppies fed a raw diet. If you’re not a canine nutrition expert, that’s not a problem – an experienced veterinarian can help you check meal plans.
Recently, the rise of “commercial raw foods” has made raw feeding accessible for those who do not want to calculate nutrients themselves. However, a lot of these commercially available BARF meals are not complete, even though they claim to be. Do your research and if you’re in doubt, have a canine nutrition expert double-check the nutrition facts on the packaging. Raw meats and bones are always a potential source of bacteria and parasites that can be harmful for your puppy and yourself. Hygiene is crucial!
Homemade Puppy Food
Homemade diets are similar to raw feeding, except that the ingredients are usually cooked. This greatly reduces the risk of infection (with parasites or bacteria such as Salmonella) for you and your puppy. Other than that, the same rules as with raw feeding apply: you will need to keep a close eye on nutrient contents and ratios to make sure you are feeding your Cockapoo pup a balanced diet.
Another thing to consider is that while humans and dogs can survive on similar diets, modern-day human foods are not ideal for your puppy’s health. When cooking for your Cockapoo pup, skip the salt and spices, go easy on the oil, and don’t forget that certain surprising foods can be toxic to dogs.
How Much To Feed A Cockapoo Puppy
Start off by going with the amount specified on your puppy food packaging. This will differ depending on the brand, because some complete meals have more fillers than others. Generally for eight week old puppies this will be a small handful of kibble per meal. Once your puppy has been with you for a week or so, you can start to adjust the amounts depending on how they look.
At the start of each day if you are feeding kibble, weigh out their daily ration. Put this into four bowls for each of their meals, and leave a fifth bowl for training treats. Throughout the day whenever your puppy does something you’d like them to repeat, give them a little treat!
Chubby vs Thin Puppies
Weight is a very good indicator of your puppy’s health. A puppy that is underweight could have undetected health issues – especially if it’s eating enough.
Being too skinny can impede your Cockapoo pup’s growth. If you suspect that your puppy is too thin, talk to your vet and make sure that you are deworming your pup correctly. On the other hand, being too chubby can also harm your pup’s bones and joints during the growth phase.
You should be able to feel but not see your puppy’s spin, and their ribs should be covered. Their belly should not hang down or bulge out, and they should have a neat little tuck before their back legs.
My Puppy Is Still Hungry
If your puppy is constantly begging for food, maybe he or she is eating too quickly. You can try a slow-feeder bowl or making your puppy work for his or her food – you could use food balls or puzzles to place kibble in, for example. Don’t do this for every meal, though, as this could exhaust your pup.
Another option is to distribute your pooch’s daily calories into more meals throughout the day. In general, though, your puppy should learn that food is only available at specific meal times and that begging won’t be rewarded.
My Puppy Won’t Eat
Puppies have fast metabolisms and need to eat regularly. If your pup misses more than two meals in a row or goes more than 12 hours without eating, this is cause for alarm. Call your vet right away. Some puppies also have reduced appetites overall.
If there’s always some food left over in the bowl, re-check that you calculated the daily portions correctly. If you did, consult your vet. Provided that your pup’s body condition score is within a normal range, there’s probably no reason to worry.
Your Cockapoo puppy will complete the steepest part of his or her growing curve before you take your pooch home. From then on, growth is gradual and steady. The bigger and heavier your puppy gets, the more calories he or she needs per day. On the other hand, older Cockapoo puppies can go longer without a meal.
From the moment you take your pup home until he or she is four months old, you should go with four meals a day. Then, reduce to three meals daily until your puppy is six months old. Once your Cockapoo pup is older than six months, you could even opt for only two meals a day.
Cockapoo pups normally reach their adult weight at around 10 months of age. At this time, you can make the switch to adult food for your pooch. If you chose a commercial puppy food, it’s best to stick with the same brand for the adult food.