Most new puppy owners have questions about feeding puppies. These little guys are delicate creatures, with systems that can be easily upset. You want to make sure that they get the right kind of nutrition and give them enough of their food, while being careful not to over-feed them or cause them to have unneccesary reactions to food changes.
Puppies’ bathroom schedules are tied directly to their food and water intake, so it is also important to understand how you can coordinate your puppy feeding and walking efforts to reduce accidents and get housebreaking skills started quickly and effectively.
Puppies should not be taken from their mothers until they are at least eight weeks of age. While they are still with their mothers, they will be getting mother’s milk for the entire time, but often it is supplemented with nutritious solid puppy food after the puppy has reached at least four or six weeks of age to make it easier to transition to eating differently in their new homes.
How Often Should You Be Feeding Puppies?
Advice differs on feeding puppies regarding the number of times a day they should be fed during the first six months. It is important that you check with your veterinarian on this, since many believe that until puppies are at least six months of age they should be fed three times a day. Smaller and more frequent meals are easier to digest during this important growth period.
Puppy food formulations are designed to meet the needs of your growing puppy and, if you are purchasing dry food, the size of the kibble is smaller in size to accommodate their small mouths and teeth. It is usually recommended to mix dry food with some canned or moist food during the first year.
How Much Puppy Food?
Your veterinarian is the best advisor regarding how frequently, what kind and how much you should be feeding your puppy. Puppy food manufacturers also have guidelines on the amount of food to feed of their brand puppy food per the weight of your puppy. Although it may seem that your puppy is not being fed very much, you should follow the guidelines that you get from the food packaging and from your veterinarian regarding this matter. One of the biggest mistakes new puppy parents make is overfeeding them.
Make changes slowly, if you decide to switch puppy food brands or to go from canned food to dry. Sudden changes can cause vomiting and diarrhea. It is best to only change 1/4 of your puppy’s food at a time and increase the percentage by quarters after a few days of no adverse affects. This way you won’t upset your puppy’s delicate stomach”
Feeding and Housebreaking Puppies
Feed your puppy on a regular schedule and do not let him eat freely from a bowl all day long. By controlling when and how much he eats, you also can control when he will need to go to the bathroom. Usually, if you wait about ten to twenty minutes after your puppy finishes eating to take him for a walk, you can get him to eliminate outdoors. Watch him carefully during this period after eating to make sure you can avoid a bathroom accident indoors. If he shows any signs of starting to use the bathroom, whisk him quickly out of doors so that he can eliminate in the area you will be normally walking him. If he is successful, be sure to praise him lavishly and give him a treat with a praise command specific to the deed (such as “Good Potty!” or whatever you want to call it.)