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Here is a hand out I made for my puppy classes.



Feeding

It’s important to make sure your meeting the nutritional requirements of your puppy. Puppies that are 6 to 8 weeks should be eating 3-4 times a day. After 8 weeks you can go to 3 times a day. Once a puppy is about 16 weeks old they can go to 2 times a day and continue through adulthood. Puppies should be kept on puppy food till at least 9-12 months of age. The size and breed of dog matters, ask your veterinarian what they recommend.

What food to buy?

You want a good quality puppy food to provide the best nutrition for your growing puppy. Good quality does not always mean the most expensive. You do get what you pay for so stay away from foods like “Old Roy” or “Gravy Train”. You want to look at the ingredients and make sure to stay away from anything that does not specify the protein source. If it just says bone and meat meal it could be anything from processed euthanized animals (yes some food contain euthanized animals) to bird beaks and feet. Also look for fillers. Corn is used as filler and is not very digestible. Look for something like rice instead.
We recommend Kirkland dog food from Costco. They have a great puppy food and have adult food in Lamb and Rice or Chicken and Rice. Kirkland is used by many breeders across the country and is our little secret for a great dog food at an affordable price.

Does my puppy need supplements?

The answer is yes and no. If you have a good balanced food there is no need to supplement. On the other hand, we do live in New Mexico and is very dry. If you notice a dry coat you can try adding fish oil to the dogs food. This will help keep the coat from drying out and give it a glossy look. A cheap solution for fish oil is the over the counter fish oil capsules at the pharmacy. They work great and most does love the little surprise in the food.

How much do I feed my puppy?

You could go by the recommendations on the back of the dog food but most people will find that is too much. When your puppy is under 8 weeks let them eat till they are full. They need all the extra calories to grow. After 8 weeks for a medium size dog (when full grown) you can give ½ - ¾ cup 3 times a day. Look at your puppy and use your best judgment when adjusting the amount you feed. Increase or decrease by a ¼ cup. If they act whiny or starving all them time increase the amount you feed. If they are leaving food in the bowl, decrease the amount.



What about free feeding?

Free feeding is when you leave a bowl of food out all day and the dogs eat when they want. This works for some dogs but can lead to obesity. If you have multiple dogs this can cause fights and food aggression. Dogs should be feed in separate areas preferably in their crates.

How to get your puppy in a routine for feeding.

You should always measure your puppy’s food. It’s important to know how much they are eating. A pet food-measuring cup will give you an accurate idea of what you are giving your puppy. Don’t mistake puppy fat for obesity. It is very easy to overfeed your puppy and make them obese. Usually this can happen after 4 months of age. Their metabolism starts to change and it may be necessary to adjust the amount you feeding. When puppies are obese it can cause severe health risks including hip dysplasia from the extra weight.
Start by offering food in the morning. Puppies are growing and will be hungry. Put the food on the floor/crate and leave it for 10 minutes. If they do not eat pick up the food and wait till the next scheduled time. Puppies under 16 weeks should get food again mid-day, over 16 weeks in the evenings. Puppies will usually not skip a meal this really applies to adults that are going on a new feeding schedule.

Getting your puppy on a feeding schedule just makes life easier and is a good way to monitor your dog’s weight. You should be able to feel ribs without having to push to hard. Most breeds will also have a tucked in waist. Example of breeds with no waist would be a bulldog.
 
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