Good food is the very foundation for good health. It has the highest impact on the health and longevity of your puppy. It is very important to choose a high quality food.
Many puppies are not fed frequently enough. Three times a day feeding is necessary for all puppies until 5-6 months of age or when the puppy starts leaving one of the meals. At that time, a meal can be left out. Ask your veterinarian any questions about feeding and feeding schedules.
When it comes to puppy food, you get what you pay for. Lower cost puppy foods tend to have less expensive ingredients. Lower quality food companies will change the recipe depending on market costs for ingredients. High quality food companies maintain the recipe regardless of the cost. With higher quality food, you can feed less because there is less filler. The dog absorbs higher quality nutrients, uses more of the food and produces a smaller amount of stool.
- It is fine for puppies to eat dry food only, as long
- as the quality is good.
- The key to choosing high quality puppy food is learning to read the label. Once you know how, you can be anywhere in the world and be able to pick a high quality dog food for your pet.
- Reading the label: First ingredient should be meat if possible. The label should read “chicken”, “beef”, “turkey” or “Iamb”.
- Meat “meal” is the next level of quality and is made from the remainder of the meat on the carcass once the prime cuts have been used. This meat is then cooked and processed into meal. The label will read “chicken meal”, for example. Meal is fine to feed but a food that has whole “meat” as the first ingredient before “meal” is listed will be higher in quality.
- Corn, rice, oatmeal and soy are frequently used as carbohydrate sources but should not be listed as the first ingredient.
- Higher quality foods tend to have short, simple ingredient lists.
- Consider feeding foods containing prebiotics and probiotics, which provide beneficial bacteria for the intestines, and omega 3 fatty acids, which improve learning abilities in puppies.
- Some pet food companies will supplement poor quality food with high profile ingredients like blueberries and cranberries, which are known for their antioxidant properties. These antioxidants are usually present in only small quantities and are unlikely to improve the quality of the food. The first few ingredients on the label are the most critical.
- We advise our clients avoid generic or store brand foods. Ask one of our veterinarians about specific brands you wish to feed your puppy.
- We recommend puppy food formulated specifically for large breeds. The The food allows the puppies to have a controlled rate of growth, which helps to protect hip joint development.
- It is very important to keep large breed puppies slim as they grow. Rapidly growing puppies are more likely to develop hip issues. You should be able to feel the ribs but not see them.
- We recommend a gradual transition to high quality adult food after your puppy is spayed or neutered. Following surgery, the puppy’s rate of metabolism naturally slows and the same amount of food calories may cause unwanted weight gain. Your veterinarian will advise you on post-operative feeding and diet recommendations.
- Table scraps are to be avoided. Treat your puppy’s nutritional needs carefully; avoid the feeding of leftovers, pieces of skin or animal fat, or “junk food” such as chips, pizza crusts, ice cream, or candy. Chocolate is to be avoided as this is toxic to pets.
- Supplemental foods that can be added to your dog’s diet include lean proteins such as chicken, turkey, fish, and lean beef that are fully cooked. In addition, you may supplement with vegetables and some fruits. Many dogs do well eating raw carrots or green beans as treats. Avoid raisins, grapes, avocados, onions, macadamia nuts and excessive amounts of garlic as they are toxic to dogs. Carbohydrates such as rice, potato and other grains are also acceptable in small amounts. Any of these added foods should not make up more than 1/3 of the diet.
- We recommend that treats and chew items are not harder to chew for your dog than their own teeth, as it can cause dental pain and damage. In general, if you are able to indent the chew item with your fingernail, it is safe to offer to your pet.
- While rawhides are acceptable chew items, it is important to note that some pets do not tolerate them well, particularly those with sensitive stomachs. If your dog tears off large pieces of rawhide and swallows them or vomits, discontinue use and do not continue to offer them. We do not recommend pig ears as they do not digest well in some dogs. If a large piece of pig ear is swallowed, it may require surgical removal.
- Do not offer any food/bone/toy that can be splintered and swallowed. Chicken and pork bones sliver easily and can be dangerous if swallowed. Toys with buttons or pieces that can be torn off or swallowed can also be dangerous.
- Puppies do not understand the difference between treats and regular foods. Puppies are perfectly happy having their own food offered to them as a reward for good behavior. We recommend keeping a small amount of the puppy’s next dry meal with you to readily reward your dog for good behavior.
- We recommend you carefully read the food labels on puppy and dog treats. The majority of treats available for retail purchase contain high amounts of salt, artificial coloring, flavorings, and preservatives.
- Vitamin supplementation may be necessary if food quality is questionable or depending upon your pet’s food needs. We recommend supplementing meals with Pet Tabs daily.
Puppy/Dog Care Information