Feeding Fido: How to Properly Feed Your New Puppy
Summary: A comphrensive guide for the new puppy owner on how to properly feed a new puppy and best methods to do so. Article focuses on types of puppy food avaliable and the benefits of controlled and free feeding.
How and what you are going to feed your new puppy is one of the most important decisions in caring for your new four legged friend. There are many choices to make in buying dog food and the size and breed of your dog actually makes a difference.
The ingredients in dog food vary amongst brands. It really is a case of “you get what you pay for”. Many of the less expensive brands contain fillers, which are by products of animals and corn meal, which reeks havoc on your dog’s digestive system, thus producing more volume of stool for your pup. You must also consider the size of the breed. If you have a small lap dog, remember his mouth and teeth are really small and you will need to feed a chow that has small bits. This will make chewing and digesting much easier. Larger puppies, which are naturally bigger due to breed, can chew the larger kibble with ease.
Many dog food companies produce foods that are size specific, usually in small, medium and large breeds. The ingredients are all the same, however large breed formulas have a smaller percentage of calcium. It’s the size of the kibble that sets these variations apart. It is highly suggested by veterinarians to purchase this type of kibble as puppies, whichever formula coincides with the breed size.
Please remember though that every puppy needs puppy chow, not adult food. Puppy chow contains a higher percentage of much needed protein that all pups need regardless of size. It is recommended that puppy food contain no less than 26% protein content.
Now that you have chosen food for Fido, you need to decide whether to free feed him or control feed. Free feeding is a method in which you allow your dog to eat as he pleases by allowing him to have constant access to the food bowl. Controlled feeding is a method in which you control how much and when your puppy eats and he does not have access to the food bowl.
To free feed your pup, you fill his bowl and he decides when he wants to eat. Although this is very convenient for the owner, the cons outweigh the pros when it comes to puppies. Free feeding does not allow you to know exactly how much your pet has consumed. It is also difficult to tell if your pup has a loss of appetite as well. Loss of appetite is a symptom for many serious ailments for dogs. It is also very difficult to housebreak your puppy this way. You will find your pup having a lot of accidents, ultimately creating stress for you. Another important point is that most of overweight puppies are free fed and it is never healthy for a puppy to carry extra weight.
Controlled feeding is the preferred method by vets. You know exactly how much your pup is consuming and when. It is recommended that puppies are fed 3 times a day until he reaches 6 months of age. Housetraining is made simple by controlled feeding. 15-30 minutes after eating, take your pup out to “do his duty” and its as simple as that.