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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, all puppies require the same basic nutrition. It is up to you to create your Puppy’s Meal Plan.

The Basics

It is always best to feed your puppy a 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 by 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.dog_treats_scaled

•     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 a 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.

Feeding Schedule

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. A 6-12 week old puppy, for example, should be fed 3-6 meals a day.

From 3-6 months feed 2-3 times a day. At 6-12 months, you should feed only 1-2 times daily.

There are various methods possible of feeding your dog. One is portion feeding. You feed your puppy a set amount every day at specific intervals. This sets 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 eats constantly 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 of time. 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 long wrong, it is up to you to decide. Talk to the experts and friends. Weigh the pros and cons of the methods with the needs of your puppy. Factor in your lifestyle and you will have a solution.

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