Once a puppy has been weaned by his mother, he no longer requires the milk of another species (cow or goat) as his digestive system cannot cope well with lactose.
What to feed a puppy
- There are a number of brands of dog food selling specially formulated food for puppies. Tinned dog food offers a variety of meats—beef, lamb, chicken and fish as well as meat with various vegetables. Try to vary his diet by offering different food on different days. Don’t offer food types that are regularly rejected. Dried puppy food can be added to his tinned food but make sure water is always available. Ensure all dog food is stored in a cool dry place. Food should never be used once it’s reached its use by date.
- Add fresh, human-grade lean finely chopped raw meat to commercial dog food; avoid raw meat containing preservatives (sometimes marketed as meat for dogs) as it can interfere with vital nutrient absorption.
- Sardines can also be added from time to time. Be aware that some dogs are very allergic to soy products and some sardines are preserved in soy oil.
- Freshly steamed vegetables such as carrots, sweet potatoes, green beans and green leafy vegetables offer trace elements and can be added in small amounts to meals. Apple and carrot strips can be offered as snacks. If you feed your puppies home cooked food only it is IMPORTANT that a vitamin & mineral supplement with additional calcium is added to the food.
- Some people like to feed raw bones to their puppies as their adult teeth are making an appearance, but some bones can cause expensive health problems. Avoid sharp pork bones, T-bones and side-ways sawn bones. Poultry bones can splinter and large knuckles can cause choking. Never offer cooked bones as these can splinter and cause fatal injuries to the intestines.
- There is a wide selection of commercial chews available for teething pups.
Puppy food is specially formulated to provide the proper nutrients for a growing puppy – never feed adult dog food to a pup.
How much to feed puppies
Puppies need feeding about three to four times a day, but different breeds have different requirements. Ask your vet about feeding when you first take puppy for his vaccination.
Foods to avoid
While it’s fine to let your puppy chew uncontaminated grass, avoid the following foods altogether as they are poisonous to dogs:
- caffeine: dark chocolate, milk chocolate, coffee
- grapes: all dried grape products (raisins, sultanas)
- onions: all members of the onion family
- fruit: avocado, unripe tomatoes, mushrooms, corn cobs
- seeds: avocado, apricot, mango, piths
Foods causing allergies to some dogs
- soy: soy lethicin or soy oil is added to some brands of dog food.
- dairy: avoid milk, cheese, cream and butter.
- beef or lamb: some dogs have allergies to either or both.
- chicken: turkey can sometimes be substituted for chicken
- eggs; avoid products containing eggs
- corn & wheat: found in commercial dog food
- fish: try sardines in brine
* Soy allergy – Anaesthetics such as Propofol contain soy lethicin and dogs allergic to soy can experience severe reactions. Soy is also a filler in many commercial brands of dog food but not all labels list this additive. Either visit the food company’s website or contact them for details.
To ensure your puppy has the best start in life, feed him a proper diet, with adequate vitamins and minerals necessary for proper growth.
If you have concerns about allergies seek the opinion of your veterinarian.
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