Diet & Weight
Your puppy has been weaned on a large breed puppy formula, a bag of this is provided with your puppy. I recommend that you keep your puppy on a good quality large breed puppy formula until they are at least 12 months old. Your puppy is growing and requires the best nutrients so look for a good quality food. Quality food is not only about the price tag, it is more about the ingredients. Quality foods have the first few ingredients listed in the food as a source of meat and if a brand of pet food contains lots of preservatives, fillers, sugar and salt, then it is not a good quality food. Quality foods are sold predominantly in pet stores and by vets rather than in supermarkets. If you want to feed a different brand to the ones mentioned below please run it pass me first.
There is very little evidence to suggest any particular food type (raw, home cooked, kibble, dehydrated or cans) is vastly superior to any other. That doesn’t mean that I don’t think it doesn’t matter what we feed. I think the best quality you can manage of whatever type you feed is generally a good idea. But the claims and assumptions about particular feeding regimes are largely unproven.
How should I feed my puppy?
The world of pet food can be head spinning. From different brands of dry food to raw diets, there is a huge range of options to choose from. It is best to keep your puppy on the same food that they have come home with to start off to avoid additional stress for your puppy. Once your puppy has settled in and you want to move him to a different food type, you can slowly start to transition him over. Switching foods can upset a dogs digestive system. It is therefore recommended to transition your puppy to a new brand of food over the course of 5- 7 days to avoid runny stools and upset stomachs. To start, a recommended approach is to use 80% old food on day one and 20% new food. The following day you give your puppy 70% old food and 30% new food and so on, decreasing the old food and increasing the new food each day. Over the course of 5 – 7 days you will have transitioned your puppy to his new food and hopefully will have avoided loose stools and an upset tummy.
It is important to stick with one brand at a time. Do not mix differemt brands together as this could effect the nutrional balance of the food and your puppy might not be getting all the nutrients he needs for a developing body. I rotate my dogs through a couple of different brands that I feel they do well on. I feed that brand until the bag is finished and then I use a different brand for the next bag.
I don’t add anything to the food as the companies have spent a huge amount of money to check that the food is balanced and has the correct ratios of minerals and essential amino acids etc… and meets the nutritional requirements for that life sage of the dog. You can easily upset that balance if adding things to the food not so much a worry with adults but can cause skeletal and joint problems in puppies.
I might add a pre/probiotic if any tummy issues. As I feel current research is showing that a healthy gut is important for both mental and physical health.
The brands I currently rotate through are: Lyka, Frontier Pets, Taste of the Wild, Zignature, Acana, Open Farm Lifewise, Balanced Life and I periodically review what’s available as it is quite a changing market.
How much should I feed?
How much to feed depends on the brand of food you are feeding and your puppy’s weight. You will need to adjust the quantity of food you are feeding over time as your puppy grows. Guidance is given on the food’s packaging, but this is for guidance only. Every dog is different, so watch your puppy and adjust the amount fed to ensure he remains at an ideal weight. Avoid allowing him to become overweight. If you run your hand along your dog’s body, you should be able to feel his ribs under a thin layer of fat.
Obesity can have severe consequences, including a higher risk of cardiovascular disease and metabolism disorders. Excess body weight puts extra stress on limbs and joints, leading to lameness.
How often should I feed?
Puppies under 6 months of age should have their meals split into 3 meals throughout the day. After 6 months you can move to two feeds a day.
When should I Switch to an adult food?
Once your puppy reaches 12 – 18 months switch them to an adult formula. I rotate my adult dogs on a few different brands.
An overweight puppy will be more likely to grow into an overweight adult dog. As your puppy is growing, carrying excess weight is not good for his joints. Remember to always consult your vet if you have any concerns about your puppy’s weight gain. Once your dog is fully-grown here is a good picture chart to help you assess his ideal weight:
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