For individuals welcoming new puppies into their homes, feeding is an important consideration to ensure that they grow healthy and strong. Providing proper nutrition is dependent on the age and breed of the dog, among other factors like physical condition and the presence of any underlying ailment. Spayed or neutered pups have different nutritional requirements since their risk of becoming overweight is higher. You ask “How often should I feed my puppy?”, we answer!
According to a study carried out on pets and their owners in Ireland, it was found that the health outcomes for the animals are essential in reinforcing positive beliefs about specific feeding regimes and food types. Regardless of the reason for adopting a puppy, it would help if you showed a willingness to do anything it takes to guarantee growth and development. Knowing that consistency ensures that dogs do not develop behavioral problems, owners are left with the question, “how often should I feed my puppy?”
Basic Needs of the Puppy: Dog Care and Nutrients
It is in pet owners’ hands to lay a proper foundation for their puppies’ continued growth. You would not want your dog to suffer complications as a result of malnutrition at an early age. Regular feeding will guarantee a good quality of life as your puppy transitions from milk to solid food. You would want to provide adequate nutrients to meet their energy requirement and ensure organ and bone development.
Since most breeds’ metabolism rate and energy levels vary, the correct feeding routine will ensure that their growth rate is consistent. A Journal of Veterinary Behavior article suggests that high-quality, life-stage nutrition can influence the neurodevelopment of puppies. In essence, the appropriate type of food can impact your pup’s resistance to diseases.
Aside from food, puppies need water to aid digestion and stay hydrated. Ensure that they have unrestricted access to clean drinking water, especially on the hot days of summer. Depending on your schedule and preference, there is a wide range of feed and water bowl options that offer convenience and are easy to clean to limit harmful bacteria buildup. Although it takes time for puppies to acclimatize to their new environment and family, consistency with healthy nutrition will enable them to grow into loyal and affectionate adult dogs.
Peculiarities of the Diet of Puppies
Calcium-rich food is ideal for puppies to facilitate the development of strong bones. They also need more protein and calories to build healthy tissues and maintain consistent energy levels. There are several commercially available puppy foods for different dog breeds, whether small, medium, or large. You can find the canned, dry, and semi-moist options, which all contain varying water percent.
Canned dog food contains a significant amount of water and is usually appealing to most dogs. Kibble is the dry option that includes the least amount of water and is cost-effective. You can easily mix it with milk replacer until your pup gets used to eating solid food. The semi-moist option, which comes in vacuum-sealed packages, contains more water than the kibble and is energy-dense. You may need to supplement the semi-moist and canned food with extra meals due to their small container size.
Food with a smaller kibble size is suitable for the toy breed. It features more calories than the option for larger breeds to meet their energy requirements. The food for these larger ones is formulated to reduce their risk of developing hip dysplasia or arthritis as they grow older. Researchers from Wageningen University and Research Centre, Netherlands, believe that “if dietary ﬁber has short-term effects that result in prolongation of satiety and a reduction of hunger between meals, it may help to prevent unwanted canine behaviors and also promote long-term weight control.” With lesser calories in the feed, it could contain more fiber to prolong satiety.
What Foods Should be Avoided
While their owners eat, puppies seem to beg for a taste of that food with their eyes. Although most people cannot resist the urge to share with their pets, some human food, including fruits and vegetables, are unsafe for dogs. Before handing down that morsel, try to learn about the ingredients that should be avoided when choosing puppy food. Below are some of them:
- Food with xylitol content like candy and gum may cause liver damage.
- Grapes and raisins can cause kidney failure.
- Caffeine, coffee, and chocolate could cause seizures and even death.
- Alcohol can cause difficulty in breathing.
- Raw eggs and meat could contain harmful bacteria.
- Bones could increase the risk of choking.
- Garlic and onions could cause gastrointestinal irritation.
- Walnuts, almonds, and some other nuts can cause hyperthermia and depression.
How Often do Veterinarians Recommend Feeding a Puppy?
Veterinarians recommend creating a feeding schedule to enable your puppy to know when to expect their food. This strategy ensures that your pup does not develop behavioral problems brought about by changes in mealtime. The 7 am, 12noon, and 5 pm feeding schedule is the most popular among puppy owners, ensuring that the food has ample time to digest and get enough nutrients.
Puppies with special dietary needs may require to feed more than three times per day. Proportioning the meal will ensure that they do not overfeed or become obese. If you are still confused about how to choose a puppy food from the available commercial options and the best schedule for your breed, seek advice from your vet.
Meeting your puppy’s nutritional needs will guarantee a happier and healthier pet that has no eating disorders. The impacts of overeating and malnutrition are not favorable, hence the need to be mindful about your pup’s feeding routine and what to include in their diet.