Puppyhood is a stage of fast growth and development. A puppy consumes a lot of food during the first six months of growth. They need to eat from two to four times as much as an adult dog to help support his rapid growth. The rule of thumb is that after the first week of development, when his birth weight doubles, a puppy is expected to gain one to two grams per pound of the expected adult weight every day. This is to mean that if your terrier puppy weighs 65 pounds when grown, as a puppy, he/she should gain 2 to 5 ounces daily.
Feeding your puppy for the first few days home
The first few days you get your puppy home can be straining for both you the owner and the puppy. Therefore, it is a great idea to feed your puppy the same kind of food they are used to and even the feeding schedule that they were used to before you took them in. It is important to discuss with the worry of how often should i feed my puppy with your vet. Slowly, you can start changing the food you would like them to feed on based on the information you have received from the veterinarian. To protect the pet from intestinal upset, you will need to make the transition from the old type of food they have been using slowly. When we say slowly, we mean that for a period of 7-10 days, you should be able to have gone completely from feeding the old food to 100% feeding the new food. For instance, you can make a mixture that has 25% new food and 75% old food and feed the puppy for some days. You can then introduce 100% the new food. If your puppy begins vomiting or is constipated, then you should reduce the rate at which you are introducing the new food.
What food should I give my puppy?
Generally, puppy food is usually high in protein and it’s enriched with minerals, fats and vitamins that are important for the normal growth of your puppy. There are three types of foods for puppy that are commercially produced. These foods include: dry kibble, semi-moist and moist. Dry kibble food is the most recommended form of food for puppies. Semi moist foods and canned foods are not recommended by most vets. A lot of canned foods have a higher level of fat and they contain 80 to 83 percent water. The semi moist foods contain big sugar/salt levels used in preservation. Puppies do not require the sugar and salt and you will be paying too much for the both. Dry foods are the best since they contain about 10% water and are made of similar ingredients just like the other foods. They are easy to use, cost effective and the best for your puppy.
Just like in human beings, you will get what you pay for in dog food. The economy brands are usually manufactured with cheap ingredients making them cheaper in price. Since they are manufactured with cheap ingredients, you will often find that they contain very low energy values and they use poor ingredients for proteins which are difficult to digest, meaning that most of the food is rarely absorbed in their digestive system. Premium and performance brands are manufactured using superior ingredients from sources that contain high biological values. Since food that is produced with high quality ingredients is easy to digest, your puppy will not need too much food and there will be less waste. Regular food brands fall in between.
It is also vital that you purchase food labeled as ‘puppy’ food. This is because it is most likely to contain lots of nutrients that puppies require until they are grown. It would also be a good idea to consider giving your puppy breed formulated food. Formulas for large breeds help large breed puppies to grow at a slower rate so that they can have ample time to develop strong joints and bones. Formulas for small breed dogs give concentrated nutrition in small bite sized kibbles that take care of the metabolic needs of a puppy. However, if you cannot find breed-formulated formula, you can just give regular puppy food.
A puppy’s feeding schedule
Your puppy’s meal schedule must include three meals which are well measured every day, preferably at regular times every day. The best time to give your puppy their first meal is about 7 am, 12 noon for lunch and 5 pm for dinner. It is always good to give them their last meal around 5pm so that they can have enough time to digest the food before they get to bed. Stick to your schedule until the puppy gets to about 17 weeks, where the meal schedule should be changed to two meals per day unless your vet suggests otherwise.
Ensure that you do not over feed your puppy, even when they seem to be begging for more. This is usually difficult especially with some breeds that always seem to be hungry and are easy to become overweight due to overeating. If you are not sure how often you should feed your puppy, talk to your vet or breeder to avoid guess work. Carry out proper research on different types of ingredients that make each puppy food and what is written on the labels so that you can buy the best food for your puppy while armed with the right information.
If your puppy seems not interested in food, you can try feeding them from their crate so that they can eat their food without getting interrupted. This also prevents him/her from toileting immediately he feeds.
Give your puppy time about (15minutes) after giving them water before you take them to eliminate. A regular feeding schedule will enable the puppy to go to the bathroom on a more regular time and will make house training easy and fast.
Always give the puppy some quiet time after you have fed them. Do not play or allow the kids to play with him for the first hour after feeding because it can cause stomach upsets that are at times serious.
Puppies always seem to consume larger amounts of water. Since they are growing, they need lots of water. While a puppy can lose half of his protein mass and body fat and still survive, if they lose 15% of their body water they will die. Water is the most vital nutrient for puppies.
Never feed your puppy from the table. This only encourages begging. Discourage other family members from doing the same.