Making sure your puppy gets the nutrition they need and develops a positive relationship with food will set them up for life-long health. Read on for six tips and tricks for giving your puppy a satisfying and nutritious feeding routine.
Know their typical diet
Properly feeding your puppy requires some research. Your puppy’s nutritional needs are impacted by its breed and size. When you adopt your puppy, it’s useful to get information from the puppy’s original caretaker about the dog’s breed, medical history, and care needs.
For instance, when looking for lab puppies for sale, you should learn as much as you can about lab dogs before bringing a puppy home. Guidelines on your puppy’s breed, as well as their individual history, will determine what food brands you purchase.
Start weaning at around five weeks
Your puppy won’t need to start eating solid food until they are around four or five weeks old. By the time your puppy is six weeks of age, it should be fully weaned and eat only solid food.
Similar to a human baby, a young puppy is still learning how to chew and will need to start with soft foods. You can soften dog food with water or broth. Even canned dog food should still have a little extra water to make it easier for your puppy.
You may need to coax your puppy into trying food for the first time—you can start by letting them lick some of the food directly off your hand and then guiding them to the bowl. It’s important to train your puppy early so that it establishes a proper routine.
Invest in puppy food
You should purchase dog food for puppies for your dog’s first several months of life. As a puppy rapidly grows, they need more nutrients than an adult dog. Puppy food will account for that need and contain more nutritional ingredients than adult dog food.
Furthermore, since better dog food has more nutrition, you can use slightly smaller servings for your dog and make the food last longer, which can help save money in the long run.
Establish a feeding routine
Establishing a consistent feeding routine can be a struggle with a young puppy, but a routine will help your puppy have a healthy relationship with food and prevent overeating or anxiety.
Feed your small puppy portions multiple times throughout the day. Stick to the same feeding schedule each day so your dog can get used to the schedule. Avoid having a feeding time right after you come home from work, as this can cause some dogs to develop separation anxiety (for example, if you are late coming home, your dog will fear they won’t get food).
Track your puppy’s growth
Track your puppy’s weight and height alongside their feeding schedule. Checking that your puppy is growing at a healthy rate for their breed is a good way of determining whether your feeding routine is working.
If your dog isn’t gaining enough weight, you may need to increase the feedings or consult your veterinarian about nutrient-dense dog foods. And if your dog is getting a little too round, it may be time to cut back on a few meals.
Always have water out
Unlike food, which should only be left out for 20 minutes at a time, your puppy should always have access to clean water. You should wash and refill the water bowl daily.
Depending on the size of your home, you may want to place water bowls in multiple locations throughout your house to make it easier for your puppy to stay hydrated.
When you feed a puppy, you are responsible for teaching them how to eat and encouraging healthy food behavior. With these basic tips, you can create a feeding routine for your puppy that meets all its nutritional and emotional needs.