Feeding a New Puppy

Cavoodle-Puppy-blackWhen bringing a new puppy home, there are many considerations to be made.  Where will the new puppy sleep?  Which rooms of the house will he be allowed in?  How many toys should we buy him?  The most important consideration, however, is what the puppy will eat.  Below is a guide for proper puppy feeding.

Young puppies should be kept on the same diet as what the breeder has been feeding them for the first 2 weeks at a minimum and then very gradually weaned off this food to another if you decide to change it.

Beaglier ears backPuppies have different nutritional needs than an adult or senior aged dog, and should therefore be fed a high quality food specially formulated for their age.  The best puppy food will have a high protein ratio from whole ingredients.  For instance, look for chicken meat on the label instead of chicken meal or chicken by product.  Additionally, puppies require extra vitamins and minerals to help keep their growing bodies healthy, so look for a food that is high in calcium and other minerals.

If your puppy is not already eating solid food when you receive him or her, you should gradually wean your puppy from puppy milk.  From the age of 6 weeks and on, you can begin to mix solid food with the puppy milk.  Each day over the course of one to two weeks decrease the amount of milk in the mixture.  At the end of the timeframe your puppy should be eating 2 – 3 small meals of solid food per day.  Not only do small meals keep your puppy’s energy levels constant throughout the day, but they are also easier to digest.  Once your puppy’s growth rate has slowed down (typically around 6 months of age) you can begin to feed him only two meals per day.  However, if your puppy is a large breed or one prone to gastric torsion (also known as bloat) then maintaining the 2 – 3 meals per day feeding schedule is best.

Puppies eatingThe amount of food you feed your puppy at each meal is dependent on breed and size. A Cavoodle will need less food than a Beaglier for example. Be sure to follow the guidelines listed on the food package, the breeder or consult a veterinarian.  Remember that it is important not to allow your puppy to become overweight, as obesity is the leading cause of health problems in dogs.

Your dog should stay with puppy food until he has reached full maturity.  For small dogs, they can begin eating an adult formula when they reach 8 – 10 months of age.  Medium sized dogs reach maturity between 10 and 12 months of age, while larger dogs such as Standard size Groodles may not be ready for an adult food until they turn 18 months old.  Additionally, your dog may indicate it is time for new food if he stops finishing meals or begins to put on excess weight.  If in doubt, considerations such as these are best discussed with a veterinarian.  When changing your puppy’s food it is best to do so gradually to avoid the risk of upset stomach or diarrhea.  Over the course of one week, mix increasing amounts of your dog’s new food with decreasing amounts of the old food.  Always be sure to read labels, as the amount your dog requires with the new formulation may be different than with the old.