How to Raise Healthy Puppies and Dogs

Posted in Diet and Nutrition

puppy-food-feedingFeeding Advice to Raise Healthy Puppies

Start healthy feeding habits as soon as your puppy arrives! Excellent nutrition will influence your puppy’s health status, development, appearance and attitude. How you feed your puppy will also influence many behaviour aspects, from house training to begging. It is very important to prevent your puppy from gaining too much weight, which can predispose it to obesity and its associated health problems later in life. The following tips will get you off to a good star

1.       Choose your puppy’s diet carefully

There is excessive and confusing information in the market regarding puppy foods. The old adage“ you get what you pay for” probably applies particularly well to pet foods. We encourage you not to compare foods by the “Guaranteed Analysis” on the label. This is based on a chemical analysis only and measures gross quantities of ingredient classes – it tells you nothing about the quality or digestibility of the ingredients. Highly digestible puppy foods means you feed less. We are interested in your puppy’s health and well-being and helping you understand the differences in food and how they impact your puppy. Be sure you feed your puppy a diet that has successfully completed an AAFCO growth trial.

2.       Do not “free choice feed” your puppy

Free choice feeding is essentially feeding your puppy as much as it wants to eat. Free Choice feeding can contribute to digestive upset (vomiting and diarrhea), bloating, difficulty in house training and obesity.    The best approach is to feed your puppy’s daily allotment of food in two or three measured meals a day. If your puppy hasn’t eaten its measured amount of food within 15 minutes, remove it. Continue on with the same measured portion at the next meal. If you find your puppy constantly isn’t finishing its meal but is otherwise doing well, cut back on the total daily allotment. On the other hand, even if your puppy devours the meal in a few minutes, do not give more food. Watch its body condition and review this with us at each visit.

3.       Avoid feeding your puppy “human food”

Establishing right form the start that human food is off limits will reduce begging and an increase risk of obesity. It also minimizes the chance of dogs becoming very picky eaters. If you must feed them some human food, stick to small amounts of low calorie options such as vegetables, rice and cooked lean meat. Put these foods in your puppy’s bowl! Never feed your puppy from the table.

4.       Offer healthy treats

We all like to treat our puppies. It helps us in socializing, training and just plain loving them. Ask us about healthy, low calorie treats for your puppy. Remember many treats on the market have more calories than you find in ½ cup of puppy food!

5.       Use meals as a house training opportunity

Puppies normally eliminate 5-15 minutes after eating a meal. Therefore, after feeding take your puppy outside to the appropriate place on your yard where you would like it to eliminate, and wait for the magic moment. Praise your puppy for a job well done! Puppies also need to eliminate after nap and play sessions. Use this to your advantage in training and avoiding accidents. 

6.       Food is an excellent training tool

Talk to us about training your puppy with regards to food rewards. It makes training easier and more positive for you and your puppy.

7.       Feed your puppy in a quiet place

This helps establish consistency, reduced excitement around meal and reduces the incidence of stomach upsets. Avoid feeding just prior or just after exercise.

8.       Change diets slowly

If you are changing your puppy’s diet, mix the new food with the previous diet in small amounts the first day or two. Then the portion of the new diet can be gradually increased over a week or so until your puppy is completely on the new diet. This will reduce the likelihood of vomiting and diarrhea. Your puppy should make a formed stool, which is easy to pick up. Please inform us if this is not the case. Also let us know how may times a day your puppy has a bowel movement. This information will help to assess the health status of your puppy, the quality of the food it is eating and will help you in your house training efforts.

9.       Bones and milk

Please do not feed your puppy any bones. Digestive disturbances, bone fragments and their resulting damage can require the use of medication and possibly surgery. We would be happy to provide you with suggestions for appropriate chew toys. Many puppies cannot digest milk and get diarrhea. This can also interfere with the absorption of nutrients from the intestinal tract.

From Medi-Cal / Royal Canine