Feeding your puppy


There are many different options when it comes to choosing the correct diet & feeding regime for your puppy. Every puppy is going to be slightly different in what they require.   The following gives answers to the most commonly asked diet questions.   

How often should my puppy be fed? 
We recommend that you feed your puppy 4 meals per day until they are 3 months of age then you can reduce it to 3 meals per day.  When they reach 6 months of age it can be reduced further to 2 meals per day. Most dogs are then quite happy on 2 meals per day for their lifetime.

How much should I feed my puppy?
As you can imagine every food brand/type has very different feeding amounts. Your puppy’s food should have a feeding guide on it dependent on their body weight (please be aware that some puppy feeding guides go by your puppies adult weight when they are fully grown).   It should be emphasised that these are guidelines, but it is important to get it right.   Our consulting nurses can give you all the help you need in this department, as sometimes the information is not clear.   We also recommend you record your puppy's weight regularly.

Should I keep them on the food the breeder recommended?
Yes, at least in the short term.   It is best for your puppy to stay on what they are used to. Should you wish to change your puppy’s  diet, this must always be done gradually over the course of at least 5-7 days. (This is done by mixing the old & new food together & gradually increasing the new food & decreasing the old food.) If you change your puppy’s diet too quickly it can put them off the new food or even cause an upset tummy.

Do they need anything other than their complete puppy food?
No, if they are on a ‘complete’ puppy food then they do not require anything else added to their diet. Your breeder may have recommended that you replace some of their meals with other food types (such as scrambled egg/porridge/weetabix/ready brek etc.) although your puppy will probably very much enjoy these treats, they are not a necessary part of their diet. 

Can my puppy have treats?
Yes, treats are a vital part of puppy training & bonding. Most puppies will do tricks for toys or attention, but often food has a higher reward. We advise to try to stick to low fat puppy treats or even using their complete dry food, as these are less likely to upset their tummy or cause too much weight gain. Most training classes will recommend cheese, sausage or chicken as this is a ‘high reward’.   This is not a problem in small quantities, unless they develop an upset tummy..

My puppy doesn't seem to like her food, should I change it?
Most puppies will be fussy at some point in their early life.   It is best not to swap and change their food as this can encourage them to be fussier. 
We have a method here at MVP that we call the ’20 minute rule’.  
  • This means set meal times when you feed your puppy allowing them 20 minutes to eat their food.   
  • If they are not interested then you take it away. 
  • They must have no treats in between meals and you wait until the next meal time to put their food down again, and again they get 20 minutes. 
  • Repeat this process at each meal time and they will soon get to the point where they realise if they don’t eat it when it’s there, then they go hungry. 
We know it sounds harsh for your cute puppy, but they will soon become excited about meal times.   Try not to get into the habit of adding things to puppy’s food especially if they are fussy. In this situation again you will need to use your ’20 minute rule’ 

Your breeder may recommend adding warm water to dry food to soften it; this is not a problem to begin with, but its best to wean them off it in the early weeks so they get used to crunching biscuits, which is good for their teeth.

Is wet or dry food better?
The main difference between tinned & dry food is water content, tinned food has 60% more water in it. Dry food tends to be easier, cleaner and less smelly so most people find it a lot more convenient. It's also better for your puppy's teeth due to the crunching action. Even our smallest of breeds will happily crunch on dry food and there is such a vast range of dry foods now which are size appropriate. 
If you would prefer you can do a mixture of wet and dry food but it is important to work out your feeding guide so that you feed the correct amount. Your puppy's diet will have an effect on their teeth and it is important to brush their teeth regularly.  Getting into a daily routine is best, we can help you with this.

Which food brand is best?
There is such a vast range of diets available that it would be difficult to say which is ‘best’. It is important to look at what you need from a food; it must be suitable for your puppy’s needs and its breed. 

Should I feed a raw diet?
There are many different opinions on whether or not feeding a raw diet is more beneficial than a commercial diet. It is important to research a raw diet properly as it can be difficult to make it a healthy balanced diet. There are companies that make pre-prepared raw diets that have everything your puppy needs and this is a better but also safer option if you want to feed a raw diet. Deep freezing to rid the raw food of bacteria and parasites are an example of this.   We will happily give you advise about raw feeding and its benefits.

Our consulting nurses are always happy to answer any questions you may have about your puppy.  Please ring us 01376 32551101376 325511.

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