Feeding a Poodle puppy involves making decisions about
- wet or dry commercial foods
- raw or cooked homemade meals
- how often to feed them according to their age
- the right portion size
- and how to move between different foods and stages.
Luckily there is a wealth of research and knowledge available to inform these choices and support a growing Poodle!
Feeding A Poodle Puppy
Want to know how to feed a Poodle puppy?
Let’s look at different types of diets, the special needs of puppies, and the nutritional facts you should understand.
Bringing up your Poodle puppy on a good diet affects health and temperament, so it’s important. But each dog is an individual, and your own lifestyle needs should be considered, too.
Swapping Puppy Food Brands
When you bring home a new puppy, you might want to switch her food to a brand you prefer.
Breeders and veterinarians agree you should wait until your dog has been with you for at least a few weeks. This is a time of big changes for your puppy, and you should minimize the trauma coming all at once.
Plan to make the dog food switch over the course of a week or so.
For the first day and second days, feed around 75 percent of the old food with 25 percent of the new. For the third and fourth days, feed about half of each. Then, during the fifth and sixth days of the transition, feed 75 percent of the new and 25 percent of the old. By the seventh day, your dog should be fully adjusted.
This process can help ease digestive issues your new dog may get as a result of the swap.
Watch for signs of digestive upset, such as vomiting, diarrhea, gas, and lack of appetite.
If your puppy is losing weight as you transition or showing other signs that she’s not adjusting well to the new diet, switch back to the old food for a while. You can always try again later.
Dogs, like humans, can be allergic to certain foods. And, like us, they have gut bacteria that can be disrupted by strange foods.
See a veterinarian if signs continue.
Poodle Puppy Diets
You have many options when it comes to dog foods.
Many diets today are age- or stage of life-specific, even breed-specific. But does this really matter, or is it marketing?
The truth is, it actually does. Brands that make dog foods pay attention to research to formulate the best nutrition for different stages of life and for different sizes of dog.
Age is a more important determining factor for diet than breed. So if you want to know whether to go age-specific or breed-specific, go for age.
A good puppy formula will include extra nutrients, such as calcium, and extra calories per pound of body weight. It will also have the right number of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, amino acids, carbohydrates, and fats for the right amount of growth.
The right amount actually includes the restriction of certain nutrients. Having too much of a good thing can actually be bad for dogs.
For example, in large breeds like the Standard Poodle, the ingestion of excessive amounts of energy and calcium as puppies can lead to a higher likelihood of developmental orthopedic diseases such as hip dysplasia. Poodles are genetically prone to joint problems like this, so diet here is very important.
But make sure you go with a good dog food for puppies to start with.
How Feeding Changes As A Poodle Puppy Gets Older
As your Poodle puppy gets older, his needs change. You’ll need to keep up with new nutritional requirements.
An adult dog food should have less protein, calcium, fat, and omega-3 acids than the puppy version.
Once your Poodle gets to about 80 percent of his expected adult size, feel free to switch to the adult brand. If you don’t, you’re likely to be encouraging obesity and orthopedic problems in your puppy from too much fat.
Pay attention to your puppy’s body language. Every dog is different in terms of metabolism and body type.
If he’s leaving food behind, for example, he may be feeling too full because of the fat content of the puppy food. In that case, it might be time to switch to the adult corollary.
What To Feed A Poodle Puppy
For your Poodle puppy, you’ll need a diet that includes high-quality ingredients and balanced nutrition.
The Poodle Club of America says Poodles aren’t finicky eaters and thrive on simple, prepared foods.
Take into account temperament that results in higher or lower activity levels, size and stature, and the insulation capacity of your dog’s coat.
But should you use kibble or wet food? Commercial or homemade?
That’s up to you. What works best with your lifestyle and your dog’s needs?
Let’s take a look at your choices.
Feeding A Poodle Puppy Kibble
One of the most popular feeding choices is commercial dry kibble.
It’s convenient, reasonably priced, and generally contains balanced nutrition for your Poodle pup. Additionally, kibble is good for puppies’ teeth because the hard texture helps mechanically scrape off food debris.
One major advantage of dry food is that it won’t spoil, and you can leave it out.
Look for meat-based protein sources in the first few ingredients listed on the package. Be sure to start off with a puppy formula if your dog is young, like this poodle-specific one:
Royal Canin Breed Health Nutrition Poodle Puppy Dry Dog Food contains the precise protein level to support poodle hair growth, maintain digestive health and balance gut flora.
Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Natural Puppy Dry Dog Food is specially formulated for puppies, with fatty acids DHA and ARA for cognitive function and eye health.
Feeding a Poodle Puppy Wet Food
Many canned dog food options are digestible and full of balanced nutrition. However, you might have to do a bit more work to find the complete nutrition you’re looking for.
Not all wet foods offer a balanced diet, so make sure to read labels. And don’t forget to not leave canned food out too long.
If your dog needs better hydration or has problems with her teeth, wet food might be a good option. Canned food often has 75 percent moisture content compared with 6-10 percent for dry.
Since dogs seem to like the taste, this is a good choice for dogs that aren’t feeling well. Canned food has more fat and protein and fewer carbs, along with more animal products.
Veterinarians recommend choosing canned food or kibble based on your own preferences, your dog’s, budget, and lifestyle.
Feel free to supplement your dog’s wet food with kibble to provide optimum levels of nutrition and flavor without breaking the bank.
Feeding A Puppy Raw (BARF)
Raw food diets such as Bones and Raw Feeding (BARF) are very popular, and you’ll definitely find vets and breeders that swear by them. These diets are natural and palatable, which can be great for a dog’s nutrition, energy levels, and skin health.
However, you should be aware that science doesn’t necessarily agree with this view. For now, scientists, many veterinarians, and the FDA say you should avoid feeding raw.
Raw diets tend to be unbalanced nutritionally. Studies show that up to 60 percent of raw and homemade diets have major nutritional imbalances.
Additionally, bacteria in raw meat can easily be passed to both dogs and humans. This has been shown to be a danger in up to 80 percent of raw chicken diets.
If you feed raw, allow transition time to let your dog’s gut readjust.
Also, do your research! Learn about safe handling and storage of meats. You’re also going to have to know what nutrition your dog needs at what life stages, and what foods to give for proper nutrition.
Make sure to see your vet regularly. If your dog’s nutrition levels are off, your vet can help you adjust before any damage to your dog’s health occurs.
Feeding Your Puppy a Homemade Diet
Feeding homemade allows you to add cooked meats and vegetables to your dog’s diet.
This works because some foods provide more nutrition (and taste better!) when cooked. Others are better raw.
So this diet can be more flexible and easier to deal with than the raw diet. And you can avoid some of the pitfalls of uncooked meat, too.
However, some of the same nutritional issues must be addressed.
You can’t just feed your dog the same things you eat every day. What works for you doesn’t necessarily work for your Poodle puppy.
As with a raw diet, consult your veterinarian and make sure to have regular checkups that will allow you to adjust the diet.
How Much Should I Feed My Poodle Puppy?
Feeding amounts for your Poodle puppy will vary based on size, life stage, lifestyle, and body condition. For example, an older dog will need 20 percent fewer calories than a middle-aged adult dog.
Amounts will also vary based on brand, so check dog food labels for guidance.
Poodles are energetic dogs, and you’ll want to take that into account. Consult your veterinarian for exact amounts.
But remember to feed puppies more often than adults — 4-5 small meals a day. Reduce it to 2-3 larger meals per day after six months of age.
As an adult, your dog can be fed 1-2 times a day.
Is My Puppy The Right Weight?
Being overweight or underweight are both undesirable conditions for your dog’s health. Weigh your puppy frequently and use a Poodle growth chart, then adjust food amounts as needed.
Check your dog’s ribs. If you can’t feel under your dog’s skin, he may be overweight. If you can see them without having to feel for them, your dog may need more food.
Look for other symptoms of problematic weight, such as exhaustion and difficulty turning around, or bowel and gas issues.
My Puppy Is Still Hungry
Some puppies want to keep on eating, even after you’ve given them the exact amount of food they need.
Don’t give more! Poodles are prone to obesity, and obesity comes with plenty of health issues you do not want to deal with, such as metabolic and digestive disorders, back pain, heart disease, and joint problems.
Instead, find ways of helping your pup eat slower, or feel full faster. A slow-feeder bowl can help reduce the rate at which your dog scarfs down his meal, for example.
A puzzle feeder or other toys may also help. Play with her to distract her, or take her out!
If you really think you need to adjust food amounts, talk to your veterinarian and get professional advice.
My Puppy Won’t Eat
There are situations in which puppies won’t eat, but you’ll want to keep your eye on the situation.
This happens, for example, when dogs are stressed. A big move is one big life change that can induce anxiety.
But if your puppy won’t eat for more than a couple of meals, and if you see signs of sickness such as diarrhea or vomiting, something else may be going on. Seek medical help!
How Long Is A Poodle Considered A Puppy?
Poodles tend to be a slower-maturing breed.
The different sizes of Poodle mature at different rates. Smaller dogs mature more quickly.
Miniature poodles will be fully grown between 7-12 months but may take a bit longer to fill out. Standard poodles may take up to 2 years to mature.
You can start feeding Miniature and Toy Poodles adult foods at around 9-12 months. For Standard Poodles, you’ll want to wait until 12-24 months.
Consult your vet for more exact times. You’ll want to know when your dog’s growth plates are sealed and base the transition on issues such as metabolism and activity level.
References and Resources
- Animal Health Clinic, Poodle (Standard).
- Freeport Animal Clinic, Standard Poodle.
- Poodle Club of America, Poodle (Standard).
- Lauten, S. D. (2006). Nutritional risks to large-breed dogs: From weaning to the geriatric years. Veterinary Clinics Small Animal Practice, 36.
- European Pet Food Industry Federation (2011). F.E.D.I.A.F. Nutritional Guidelines for Complete and Complementary Pet Food for Cats and Dogs.
- People’s Dispensary for Sick Animals, Your Dog’s Diet.
- Riverside Drive Animal Care Center, How To Tell If Your Dog Is Overweight.
- Fawler, D. et al (2008). Diet restriction and ageing in the dog: major observations over two decades. British Journal of Nutrition, 99(4).
- Joffe, J. J. and Schlesinger, D. P. (2011). Raw food diets in companion animals: A critical review. The Canadian Veterinary Journal, 52(1).
- Fleeman, L. M. and Owens, E. (2007). Applied Animal Nutrition in McGowan, C, Goff, L. & Stubbs, N (eds.) Animal Physiotherapy. Assessment, Treatment and Rehabilitation. Blackwell Publishing.
- Weese, J. S. et al (2005). Bacteriological evaluation of commercial canine and feline raw diets. The Canadian Veterinary Journal, 46(6).
- The National Academies (2006). Your Dog’s Nutritional Needs: A Science-Based Guide for Pet Owners. Nutrient Requirements of Dogs and Cats.