Puppy Feeding & General Care Part 1

Puppy Feeding & General Care Part 1

It is VERY IMPORTANT that you not over feed your new puppy.  In the wild, canines never get to eat to their fill on a daily basis.  They only get to eat when the pack has had a successful hunt.  This means puppies are genetically programmed to bolt down as much food as they can, as fast as they can so they get their share of food in the pack.  I want the puppy fed WHAT IT NEEDS, NOT WHAT IT WANTS!  Many people think that the faster their puppy gets big, the better.  This is very wrong.  A puppy that grows too fast can cause permanent damage to its body and bone structure, including the hip joints.   We want the puppies to grow as slowly as possible with out stunting their growth.

  • DO NOT FREE FEED YOUR PUPPY PAST 3 MONTHS OF AGE, IF AT ALL. That is, do not leave food in the dish during the day.  Puppies should be fed a measured amount 2 to 3 times a day (depending on their age), and any uneaten food should be picked up with in 10 minutes if the puppy has not finished eating it.
  • If your puppy is an enthusiastic eater, do not feed more just because the puppy acts hungry. Do not be a “softie”, your puppy will pay for your weakness by over eating, and damaging his/her body.  Keep dog biscuits down to only 2 or 3 SMALL size biscuits per day.  They are full of calories and sugar.  Also, if you puppy eats too fast it will gulp air, this causes an upset stomach and can cause your puppy to spit up, or get a stomach ache and cry.  If your puppy wants to ‘wolf’ down it’s food, feed it in a LARGE bowl so the food is spread in a thin layer on the bottom. The puppy must take the time to pick up each mouthful to eat.  This will slow down the puppy a bit and will reduce indigestion problems.
  • Feed your puppy in it’s crate and leave the puppy in the crate 20 minutes after feeding. Some puppies will spit up (vomit) their food if they are too active immediately after eating.  High activity right before or after eating is suspected to contribute to the chance of bloat which can be fatal.

Starting when you switch the puppy to adult food, I also use different protein sources so the dogs get a fresh source of the nutrients that get damaged or destroyed in dog food processing. For the raw beef, I often give a raw hamburger patty. I use the ones that come pre-made hamburger patties like from Costco as it is easy to remove one or two from the package while leaving the others still frozen. You could also use a boiled egg, or 1/3 cup cottage cheese once or twice a week for variety. If you feed an extra protein source, reduce the amount of kibble fed at that meal.

  • Vitamins are added to the diet beginning at 3 months of age. I give all my dogs the following vitamins once daily beginning at 3 months old: 1 heaping teaspoon of Legacy Pellets (a horse product) that has Yucca, MSM, Chondroitin Sulfate, Glucosamine, Ester C and Vit E.  I give this for the life of my dog, but suggest your feed them for at least 12 months. I order them online at ValleyVet.com, but you can also get them in most places that carry horse supplies. I also give a fish oil
  • NO JUMPING, JOGGING, OR LONG HIKES (OVER 1 MILE) UNTIL THE PUPPY IS ONE YEAR OLD. Not more than 2-3 stairs until 12 weeks old. The bones can be easily damaged until this time. Give lots of short exercise sessions to a young dog by playing ball or other “fetch” games, but NEVER THROW A FRIZBEE IN THE AIR FOR YOUR DOG TO JUMP UP TO CATCH!  Many dogs tear out their knee joints jumping for Frizbees, and this means many thousands of dollars in surgery, or having to kill your dog because it can not walk any more.  It is not worth it!
  • Many puppies will get loose stools from the change of environment. There is a lot of stress and excitement for new puppies.  The have lost their Mom, their sisters and brothers, and their familiar home all at once, and are adjusting to a new home and family.  It is very important that puppies get frequent naps to help them recover from the stress.  I strongly suggest each puppy get a morning and afternoon dose of the Pro Pectalin probiotics the first few days in a new home to help them avoid getting loose stools.  If they do get a loose stool, you can also give a teaspoon of Pepto Bismo every 4 hours directly in their mouth until stools firm up. You can use ¼ cup the baby rice cereal (for human babies) in the food as well if the stools get loose. Add a bit more warm water to make the baby cereal into a gruel consistency. If it persists more than a day, contact me!
  • It is not uncommon for a puppy to occasionally ‘burp up’ a small amount of food after eating if they get excited. If, however there if there is any repeated vomiting in a time span of a few hours, your puppy may have become sick. Contact a veterinarian immediately if your puppy acts sick!  Also, be sure to go out with your puppy when he/she goes potty. You do not want him/her to develop the unhealthy habit of eating the stool.  No one knows why they want to do this, but prevention of the habit through supervision is much easier than trying to cure the habit later.

Puppies are like human babies…everything goes in their mouth. Be very careful as they will eat small rocks, sticks, etc., which can be FATAL

Amounts to feed:  (males are bigger than females, so they eat the larger amounts, the females are fed the smaller amounts) If they are not eating well you can add very warm water to the kibble and mix in a few tablespoons of canned food and let it soak a few minutes before feeding.  ****ADJUST TO YOUR DOGS SIZE AND WEIGHT******

8 weeks old:  feed ¾ to 1 cup kibble three times daily. (use ¼ cup baby rice cereal with the kibble if it is needed to keep the stools firm).

9-10 weeks old feed 1 ½  to 2 cups kibble for 3 times a day.

11 to 13 weeks old:  feed 2 – 2 ½  cups kibble 2 times a

13-16 weeks old: Switch to Adult Food, and Feed 2-3 cups kibble 2 times a day.

 From 17 weeks old an onward I adjust the food based on the body weight of the dog. Switch your puppy to Adult food at this time.

I  switch to feeding once daily feeding at 8 months old.

A word about bones: I feed my dogs raw bones. Cooked bones are dangerous and can splinter, and bones that sit out for days in the sun dry out also will splinter. I throw away the bones after 1 day. In nature, there are no boneless birds, or boneless rabbits or boneless deer to eat. In Nature, they eat bones, which is where they get their calcium for their bones and teeth. . If you are not comfortable feeding bones, then, give cottage cheese at least every other day. Dogs are carnivores (meat eaters) and they DO NOT absorb nutrients well from fruit or grains.

The rate of growth can affect the hip and other joint status. . In nature, Puppies do not get to eat as much as they want every day. The pack may have a successful hunt one day, and nothing the next. This is why the puppies are genetically programmed to ‘wolf down their food’, as in the wild they never know when (or if) the next meal is coming. Do not feed your puppy more just because it cries.