A puppy is just a small dog, so I only need to feed him with less food, right? You couldn’t be more wrong!
Puppies have different needs than adult dogs. Our little fury friends need twice as much energy intake than a grown dog. Their diet should contain 25 to 30% protein, depending on the breed. These cute creatures get a balanced meal from the dog mother’s milk they eat during the first couple of weeks
Just like our baby as they grow their little body will have different needs.
So, after a few weeks, generally after 3 or 4, you can introduce solid food. Best to start with meat, different vegetables and of course puppy food. It is funny to watch as they slowly figure it out what to do with it after a little bit of playing.
Puppies are weaned around the age of 7 to 8 weeks. By this time, they should be eating a balanced meal. No need for mother’s milk, dog food or natural food should provide everything they need nutritionally.
If you have a small breed puppy, meaning they will be under 20 pounds when they are fully grown, after about 9-12 months they should reach their full size. Breeds over 50 pounds considered to be large ones, may need up to 2 years till they are adult dogs. So, your time frame, till how long you feed the little one with puppy food may differ.
The method you are using to feed them will stay with your dog forever.
Consider this time as a socialization period. If you feed your puppy with natural food, you cook for him, most likely he will prefer this feeding method later as well. If you give your puppy ready made puppy food, soon you’ll realize that he has a specific taste and will have certain brands he prefers.
It is also wise to practice portion control, especially if you own a larger breed. These puppies can develop different type of bone growth problems, such as hypertrophic osteodystrophy (HOD), osteochondritis dissecans (OCD), and hip dysplasia. These diseases are due to “lifestyle factors”, like having too much protein or calcium in their diet. Let’s face it: You are responsible for the lifestyle of your dog.
To make things a bit more confusing, these diseases sometime are misdiagnosed, due to the similarity of the symptoms. They can be mistaken by calcium deficiency, so be careful adding more into your puppies’ diet.
You can always ask for help, there are many dog nutritionists around. Generally, if you exercise portion control for large breeds, and choose a dog food according to the size of your puppy, you should be fine. Your little dog will develop healthy bones, and grow into a perfect specimen.
Final thoughts about feeding a puppy
- Your puppy food needs to be balanced with protein, carbs, vitamins, and healthy fats.Ready made dog foods are providing a perfect combination of these ingredients.
- Don’t feed your puppy from your table
- Keep their feeding schedule (3-4 times till they are about 12 weeks, after that reduce it to 2 meals per day)
- Use dog treats if you want to reward them