Nowadays, almost 55% of people in the world own a pet. Animals in many houses have become part of the family, and often even share the same bed as their owners. When you look at the statistics, 35% of domestic animals are dogs.
It is not surprising as dogs are considered man’s best friends. We take them in, feed them, train them, and give them a home full of love. If you just joined the Dog Lovers Club by becoming an owner of a puppy, here is a guide on how to help him grow into an adult dog and keep him healthy with the right food.
In the very first weeks after birth, a puppy should be kept with his mother so he can suckle. Mother’s milk will give him all the necessary nutrition. If it is not possible, then there are a lot of products that imitate mother’s milk and can be found in stores. If you feed your puppy with store milk, do it with a bottle.
After a few weeks start to add a little portion of puppy food into the milk. Slowly, begin to reduce the milk and increase the amount of puppy food. It should take around two to three weeks. While introducing the puppy to regular food, the process is almost the same – start to add little portions of regular food into the puppy food, and slowly increase the amount of the first one. It should take around a week or two.
Choosing the dish
Before you start contemplating about which brand of dog food to choose, you need to start with the basics – the dish. It has to be suitable for your dog – a lot of bowls that you find on the market are not good enough, as they contain chemicals or excess of paint.
They are not only very hard to get rid of but also dangerous for your puppy. The best option is to choose a plastic bowl – it is very light, available in different colors. They are cheap which means that you can replace them every few weeks if necessary without a blow to your budget. And a teething puppy can make changing bowls needed!
While choosing the dish, take into consideration the size of the dish – it has to be big enough to hold either one meal, or water for one day.
How to pick the right food?
Unfortunately, there is no specific method that will help you choose the “ideal” dog food. As the owner, you know what is best for your dog, but you need to keep in mind that at different stages in life, dogs have different nutritional needs.
Of course, dogs just as humans often from allergies and other diseases that may make some of the food not suitable for them. The best option is to go to your vet and ask him about some recommendations. After some time you might be able to choose by yourself, but in the early stages of life, it is better to let a professional decide for you. You can also look for help on the internet – there are a lot of the reviews posted on the web, such as this one of Acana Dog Food. It will definitely help you in making a choice.
Dry food is the right choice for people who work, and cannot afford to be in the house during the day just to feed the puppy. Because of the fact that it does not contain water or any liquid ingredients, this type of food can be left out for a whole day, or in some cases, even for a few days.
It is also more convenient, as you can put more food in smaller bowls. Dry food also helps in maintaining the hygiene of your dog, and especially his teeth, keeping them clean and healthy.
Many dogs prefer wet food and think it tastes better. If your puppy likes to eat a lot, then wet food is a better option than dry food. It contains almost 50% fewer calories, which means that even though your dog eats more, the chances of him being obese are smaller. Also, it helps to keep your dog hydrated as the percentage of water in it is very high (from 60 to 84%).
Maybe a mix?
The advantage of mixing dry and wet food is that it combines the best of both worlds. It gives your puppy the hydration he needs, at the same time, keeping the hygiene of his mouth in check.
Frequency of feeding
When it comes to the frequency of feeding a puppy, again, nothing is strict. Up until the third month, you can feed your puppy four times per day. After these three months, you can consider changing it into three meals per day.
Then, after the puppy finishes six months, you can choose to feed him two times per day. But overall, the decision is yours. Just remember that a puppy you need to feed less, but more often than an adult dog. When it comes to water, no rule says how much or how often the puppy should drink – however, your puppy is going to drink more when he is active, when it’s hot or when he’s sick.
The more, the better?
If you like to spoil your dog with some treats, it’s okay. However, remember not to go overboard, as obesity in dogs is a real problem.
Don’t go beyond 10% of what is in your dog’s diet. Owners often don’t realize that while they want well for their dog, they are increasing the chance it becoming obese. It is essential to have regular check-ups with the vet.
In the first few months in the life of a puppy, you should feed him less, but more often. Don’t try to introduce puppy food, or regular food to his diet overnight – it takes time for him to adjust to it.
Know the difference between dry and wet food – especially what effects it will have on your dog. Always make sure that the puppy has fresh water in his bowl. Don’t go overboard with treats, or cross 10% beyond what is in your dog’s diet. Now you’re all set.