How do you feed your new Puppy?
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Ever consider what our dogs must think of us? I mean, here we come back from a grocery store with the most amazing haul, chicken, pork, half a cow. They must think we’re the greatest hunters on earth!”– Anne Tyler
So, your new puppy is feeling mighty comfortable in his new home.
He has a name and is responding nicely to your call… well at least with a few treats at hand – some things do take longer than others.
Now isn’t the time to give up!
When I was training Dudley (our first dog) -with liver treats in those very early days, it always seemed a little more difficult than it should have been.
I finally discovered that his tummy was being cared for by others -filled to the brim, morning tea, lunch and afternoon snack.
Little had I known that when the ‘Smoko’ bell rang for the workers… little-man-Dudley was right there on it!
Snippets of toasted sandwich, sally-lunn and the odd cold sausage, this little man was getting everything he didn’t need.
What’s so funny in hind sight is that he could never be found prior, or post these canteen visits, but my word his timing was on the mark, and the rewards a plenty.
The day I found him in the Stable feed lock-up with his head buried in the 20kg bag of dog biscuits, was also the day we headed to the Vet -his tummy distended, bloated to within an inch of his (not so) scrawny life!
It was time to take back control!
These were very early days when I was still a dog-owner novice, and on my puppy training wheels; but I had to learn from my mistakes, and fast.
Dudley-Food-Agenda-Cocker – If only someone had told me!
Consequently, when Ralphie Cocker entered the family domain, he had a very different set of boundaries.
Although these days, with the amazing variety and availability of doggie treats hitting the market… anything is available!
Now let’s get started.
If it were up to your pet, they would never stop eating!
But, as pet owners it is our responsibility to ensure our dogs eat wholesome and nutritious meals, while keeping portion sizes appropriate.
If you start good habits with your dog from a young age, you can avoid bad behaviours in the future, such as raiding the fridge when their friends are over or creating a secret stash of candy.
Here’s a few Tips to help you find your way.
What Should I Feed my Puppy?
The food you feed your puppy is very important, and you need a formula that will support your dog’s nutritional needs during growth spurts.
Always feed your pet a puppy formula in order to ensure she receives enough calcium and phosphate to support growing bones and immune system health.
Purchase the highest quality food you can afford, which will not only promote better health for your pet, but will also help you come to terms with just how spoiled your dog is going to be as she grows.
And, no matter what they tell you… that stack of drool-licious pancakes, do-nuts or bagels, just ain’t going to make the cut!!
When Should I Feed my Puppy?
According to the American Kennel Club, while your puppy is growing, she will require 3 – 4 small meals per day.
Since a puppy’s metabolism is so fast (must be nice…), a steady stream of calories is necessary in order to keep her energy constant throughout the day.
In addition, maintaining a strict feeding schedule will help with potty training, as you will be better able to predict when she will have to go.
Example feeding times could be 8 AM, 12 PM, 4 PM, and 8 PM.
Meal-times are a very good times to continue practicing your puppy training.
There is nothing like a nice, polite puppy at meal-times. Un-like the bull-at-a-gate style of this who have an open plan meal time.
Training your puppy to sit and stay while waiting his meal is a sure fire way of making meal times less stressful.
As your puppy gets older he will sit, stay and wait to begin his meal. This is a wonderful thing to watch, even if their mouths are drooling all over the kitchen floor!
So WORTH IT!
How Should I Feed my Puppy?
The best way to feed your puppy is to provide a short window of opportunity for your pet to eat all of her food, and then remove the food bowl when your dog has either finished her meal, or after 15 minutes.
Do not “free feed” your puppy, which is where you continually top off the food dish and let it sit out all day.
This tactic promotes obesity in pets, and can cause bad habits such as food aggression.
How Much Food Should I Feed my Puppy?
The best way to know how much your dog should eat is to pay close attention to her body composition and eating habits.
Use the instructions on the food label as a guide, but if your puppy appears to be gaining weight, scale back her portion sizes.
Alternatively, if she seems ravenous, she may require an extra serving.
Additionally, if she does not finish her meals, that is a sign that she should eat less.
When Should I Switch my Puppy to Adult Food?
Pets should not be on a puppy formula longer than necessary.
The high calorie, high vitamin diet can be stopped once your dog reaches its full adult size.
For small breeds, this typically occurs around 8 – 9 months of age, while larger breeds may take a full 2 years to develop!
Another indication that it is time to stop your dog’s puppy food is if she starts to gain weight as she nears the end of this developmental period.
If this point is reached, it is recommended that you switch her food to an adult formula early to lessen her caloric intake in order to stay beach-body ready -Budgy-Smuggler!
At this time, you can transition to feeding your dog only once or twice per day, based on the recommendation from your pet’s veterinarian.
Overall, it is important to feed your dog a high-quality puppy food, one that will help support her bones and immune system while providing enough calories to sustain her seemingly limitless energy.
Pet owners should use cues from their dog’s feeding habits to determine how much food is appropriate, and avoid overfeeding.
We should also mention to always have lots of fresh water available 24/7.
It may surprise you that puppies require more water than their older counterparts.
How much water they need will be determined by their size and activity levels, but be aware that dehydration can happen quickly, especially in those so very young because of this greater need for water.
Pup-Update – Six Months
We’re now six months old, and feeling terribly grown up. One of the most fun things Jerry has done recently is finally meeting Ralphie J from UWDOGS (in pawson). It was because of Ralphie, back at the Dog Lovers Show 2017 – that we decided we wanted a Cocker. It was because of this chance meeting that we headed to Royoni Breeders… and the rest is history. Did you know that Ralphie and Jerry are related? I cannot tell you how grateful I am for fate making a play that day; to Gayle and Ralphie, thank you – Jerry is my whole world. And as crazy as that sounds, at least I know other dog-owners will know what I mean!
Ash Sukhwani a.k.a. Mother of Jerry
Jerry – Born ‘Royoni Naughty-on-Arrival’ June 17, 2017
Follow Jerry’s adventures on Instagram @jerrythecockerspan
So all is well on the feeding front. Next up is what not to feed your pet!
Watch this space – Eleven – Coming Soon
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Photo Credits: Abby, Milo @milo_with_cream, Mack, Baxter, Marley, Baxter & Ralphie J, Molly, Whiskey, Jerry @jerrythecockerspan