Puppies in many ways are like four-legged babies. They laugh, cry, and even keep you up at night. One big difference between a puppy and a baby is the rate at which they grow. Your puppy will naturally grow the fastest during the first six months of its life which means its diet is also going to change as fast during that same time period. Not only is it important for your puppy to have a healthy diet from the start, it’s even more essential that your puppy enjoys his diet. Follow this article for tips on feeding your puppy and some recommended best practices to help your pet live a happy life.
During the first six to eight weeks, feeding a puppy is relatively easy as your puppy should still be receiving milk. If for any reason, the puppy’s mother is absent – use a quality milk replacer along with special bottles designed for puppies to drink the milk. Once your puppy breaks 8 weeks, it’s time to slowly transition your puppy to solid food. This is where you as the owner have to start making decisions that will help your pup grow. Since puppies have high caloric and nutritional needs, use a high-quality solid food option that’s intended for puppies and filled with quality ingredients. Weaning from milk to solid food can be a difficult task if not approached carefully. Start by mixing up solid food and milk into a gruel. The texture of the gruel should be similar to natural peanut butter. As you are feeding your puppy three to four times per day, slowly start to filter the milk out over a couple of weeks. This transition will help your puppy adapt in a positive way and won’t cause any gastric distress. Continue to feed your puppy three to four times per day up until around 6 months. For your puppy, three to four small meals per day make digestion easier on the body and help maintain better energy levels. After 6 months, you can start to work down to 2 meals per day or more depending on the breed and size of the dog. Pick a good spot in your home for your pup to enjoy these meals without distraction.
In time your puppy will reach its maturity and you will have to move on from puppy food. I know – they grow up so fast! Because puppy food is high in calories and supplements, it’s important to make this switch to adult food so you can give your dog more of what it needs in respect to its new size and age. Maturity happens at different times for each dog. If you’re ever unsure about your dog’s maturity level, talk to your veterinarian.
Feeding a puppy and watching it grow is an amazing experience. Take your time and always be mindful of your puppy’s stomach and its digestion. This whole process will not only teach you a thing or two, but it will train your dog on good behaviors it will use its whole life.