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Your puppy’s meal plan

Some puppies will eat anything and everything. They will gulp down dog food like there is no tomorrow. Other pups are finicky eaters. They fuss and play with their food. Most are more interested in what you are eating. Yet, whatever their taste in food and no matter how bizarre their eating habits are, all puppies require the same basic nutrition. It is up to you to create your Puppy’s Meal Plan. Feeding your puppy the right amount can help them grow and develop healthily! But with so many different ages of puppies to consider, you may be wondering exactly how much to give them.

The Basics

It is always best to feed your puppy dog food geared toward their age. You do not give them adult or senior dog food. They need age-specific dog food. This applies to both dry and wet dog food alike. That said, you must be sure the puppy food is nutritionally balanced.

•     Look at the packaging. Does it carry a certification from the Veterinarian Medical Association for your resident country?

•     Read the labels. It will provide you with an ingredient list. At the top of this list must be animal-based protein. This can include actual meat and meat products. Look for chicken, lamb, and turkey. Your puppy requires this type of protein if he or she is to grow up a healthy dog.

•     Look at the company. Does it have a good reputation? Have there been any problems or serious health issues concerning their manufacturing process?

•     If you can, look for a company that does its own manufacturing. This usually produces higher-quality dog food.

•     Settle on the type of dog food. It could be wet, semi-moist, or dry. If you decide canned food is the best option, consider the expense. Also know that canned food contains a high portion of water. Dry dog food is better economically. It also helps keep the teeth cleaner. In the case of profuse hair around the mouth, canned food is definitely messier. It leaves a lasting impression on you and your dog.

•     After you decide on a type of dog food, buy only a small amount. This way, it is less costly. You can also change the type of food more easily if your pet does not like it.

If you have to switch food frequently be prepared for diarrhea. This is a natural way for the digestive system to act. This holds true for both puppies and adult dogs.

How much should I feed my puppy by age:

After you have selected the food, you must decide on the feeding schedule. How often do you plan to feed your dog? There are various recommendations.

What to feed a newborn puppy:

From birth to four weeks, a newborn puppy should be fed special milk replacer five to six times a day. The recommended amount is 10-15ml of milk replacer per 100 grams of body weight per feeding. When your puppy turns 4 weeks old, he/she will no longer be relying completely on a milk replacer and can transition to soft wet food mixed with warm water or a puppy milk replacer. Feed your pup 6-7 times a day in 1/4 cup servings – this should be divided into two separate meals, 3-4 times a day for larger breeds and smaller breeds.

Age and Quantity: 4- to 6-Week Old Puppies.

At this age, your puppy will transition from mother’s milk to solid foods. Feed 3 meals a day consisting of 1/3 cup of puppy food made with real meat and whole grains. Also, supply fresh water at all times. Make sure to adjust the quantity according to the size and appetite of your pup for optimal growth and development. From 3-6 months feed 2-3 times a day. At 6-12 months, you should feed only 1-2 times daily.

Second Stage Nutrition – 8 Weeks Old Through 4 Months Old.

At this stage, the energy and nutrient needs of your puppy will increase. Feed 3 meals per day – each meal should contain approximately 3/4 cup of premium puppy food made with real meat and whole grains. Adjust the amount according to their size and appetite. At 4 months old, you can begin transitioning to adult food as directed by your veterinarian.

Transitioning Your Puppy’s Diet – 4 to 6 Months Old.

When your puppy reaches 4 months old, they start to transition from puppy food to adult food. Start by gradually mixing 1/4 cup of adult dog food in with 3/4 cup of puppy food, then slowly increase the ratio until your puppy is eating a completely age-appropriate diet. Speak to your veterinarian about how to do so safely and effectively.

Adult Feeding Schedule – 6 to 12 Months Old and Beyond.

 At six months of age, a puppy should be fully transitioned to an age-appropriate adult diet. The amount of food you feed them per day depends on their size and activity level, but they should generally receive 1-1.5 cups of food daily in multiple feedings split over 2-3 meals throughout the day. Remember to talk to your vet if you have any questions about switching your pup to adult food or about the amount you should be feeding them at this stage for optimum growth and development.

Note that there are various methods possible for feeding your dog. One is portion feeding. You feed your puppy a set amount every day at specific intervals. This puts a limit but makes allowances for the puppy and his or her needs.

If you decide upon the Free Feeding Method, you take another approach. You provide a constant stream of food. There is always food in the puppy’s food bowl. While good in theory, it may create problems. If your puppy eats too much, it may lead to obesity. If the puppy constantly eats throughout the day and night, he or she may have various “accidents.”

Another means of arranging the feeding schedule is through timing. A timed Feeding means the puppy only has the food for a certain amount. You place the food on the floor, leave it there and pick it up in the set time frame. The problem with this method is it encourages gulping the food down quickly. Your puppy eats quickly to ensure he or she manages to get all the food. This can result in stomach upsets and other gastrointestinal difficulties. Your puppy may also become obese.   

In the end, it is up to you to decide. Talk to the experts and friends. Weigh the pros and cons of each method with the needs of your puppy. Factor in your lifestyle and you will have a solution.

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