As a new fur parent, making sure your puppy is fed properly and nourished is important. Your young pet needs the right type and amount of food to stay healthy during this early, vulnerable developmental stage.
Moreover, your young puppy requires plenty of essential nutrients to grow healthily.
But as a first-time pet owner, it can be easy to make some feeding mistakes intentionally or unintentionally. You may either under- or over-feed your dog or choose the wrong food to give him.
Although these mistakes may seem trivial, they can hurt your pet. Even if you may not notice any immediate effects, these may manifest in the future and cause more harm to your new furry baby.
Puppy Feeding Tips for First-Time Fur Parents
To ensure you are feeding your new puppy correctly and safely, follow these best practices and tips:
1. Choose the most appropriate pet food
There are many brands of high-quality pet food that getting the right one for your puppy may pose a challenge.
To ensure you get the right product, ask your veterinarian what he or she recommends. Your specialist knows what diet is best for each breed and their ages and as such, has a good idea of which brand and type of food is best for your pet.
While shopping, you can narrow down your options further by considering looking for the following on dog food labels:
- High calorie content – puppies need plenty of energy to sustain Ruffwear Harness growth. As such, their food needs to be high in calories.
- High protein – puppies also need extra protein to support the healthy and proper development of their organs.
- Other essential nutrients – your young dog also requires other key nutrients such as calcium, iron, magnesium, zinc, and vitamin D. All these are crucial for the development of his teeth and bones.
Lastly, since your puppy may have difficulty chewing and swallowing or eating food at a normal pace, consider getting small-sized kibbles. Your pet will have an easier time eating their meal in one go.
2. Establish a feeding schedule
Setting a feeding schedule is crucial for helping your young pet build good eating habits. Because of this reason, train your puppy to eat meals at designated times as soon as possible.
Additionally, when you feed your pet according to a schedule, you help him develop good toileting habits. This, in turn, will allow you to have an easier time house training your puppy.
If your puppy is below two months old, feed him four to six meals a day. Between two and three months, give your pet four meals daily.
Once your puppy is between four and six months, set his feeding schedule at two to three meals a day. When your pup reaches seven months, feed him twice a day. However, if your pet is a large breed, you may have to adjust his eating schedule.
As your pet is still young, make sure you supervise your puppy during mealtime.
3. Prepare a dining area for your pet
Like humans, dogs benefit greatly from having a designated place where they can concentrate on eating. Additionally, when you set a dining area for your puppy, you will have an easier time cleaning it, including any mess left behind.
The perfect dining area for your puppy should be somewhere that is quiet and far from the hustle and bustle of your home. By choosing such a spot, you allow your pet to enjoy his meal free from interruption.
Also, put your pet’s food and water bowls on a surface that you can clean easily, such as a tiled or ceramic floor. Prepare a feeding mat if you want a smaller area to wipe and tidy up after feeding times.
4. Know the right amount of food to feed your puppy
You can use the feeding chart on the product label as a guide to know how much food you should give your pet based on his age and body weight. Although portion sizes may vary depending on your pet’s individual requirements, following feeding guidelines in general is highly advisable.
If there are times when your pet seems to be eating more or less, it will be best to ask the vet for their recommendation regarding the right portion size to give your pet. More importantly, always keep an eye on your puppy during feeding times. If there is some leftover food in the bowl after mealtime, it may mean you are putting too much.
And in case your pet always finishes his food, avoid the temptation to add more to his bowl. Overfeeding your puppy can cause him to have an upset stomach. If your young pup overeats, the extra weight can also put pressure on his frame, which won’t do anything good for his growth and overall health.
Don’t forget to put a bowl of water beside your puppy’s food bowl, so he has access to quick drinks during and after eating.
5. Be careful with feeding your young pet table scraps and treats
Although it may be difficult to ignore your puppy as he stares at you while you are eating, avoid or minimise the frequency of giving him table scraps.
Keep in mind that giving your puppy a piece of steak or pizza crust regularly can lead to health issues such as unhealthy weight gain and gastrointestinal problems. Moreover, feeding your pet from the table reinforces the habit of begging, which can lead to future behavioural problems.
Additionally, avoid giving your pet too much puppy treats. If you do, you will end up satisfying his hunger pangs, causing him to ignore his meal.
Give your puppy treats only when training him to reward good behaviour. However, refrain from giving him too much, as well.
Lastly, know what types of food you should never give to dogs that can cause them to get sick. These include chocolates, garlic, onions, grapes, raisins, and raw meat.
By following these practices and these tips, you can ensure the health, safety, and contentment of your new pup now and in the long run. Moreover, you will avoid other problems that can arise from a poor diet and unhealthy eating habits.
Farah Al-Khojai is the Managing Partner of Pet’s Delight. A passionate entrepreneur, Farah holds a Bsc in Government from the London School of Economics. She is always on the lookout for new opportunities to develop and grow the pet and equestrian retail and wholesale market in the UAE and beyond, and is proud to be at the helm of the first and the largest pet care provider in the market representing world-class brands including Orijen, Applaws, Hunter, Savic, Flamingo, Ruffwear and Rogz.