National Puppy Day is March 23. As we explore all things puppy this month we want to provide tips on good feeding habits and items to consider when feeding your new family member.
Puppies need a regular schedule with set times to eat, play and rest. They need to eat at least three times a day until they are 14 to 18 weeks old. Then you can drop to twice daily. A good schedule to try is to feed at 7 a.m., Noon and 5 p.m. This gives the dog time to digest the last feeding and use the bathroom before bedtime.
Choose food designed for puppies. Puppies need more calories and nutrients to support the growth they experience in the first few months of life. Read labels and look for balanced nutrition with meat as the first ingredient. High quality ingredients early in life can lead to better overall health as the dog ages.
Food labels will also provide recommendations on the amount to be fed. Measure each meal so you can track how the puppy is doing. Do not worry if your puppy skips a meal. That happens, especially if you are training with treats. Should the pup have an upset stomach, try small amounts of green tripe or pumpkin as settling agents. Remember to make diet changes gradually to avoid those upsets.
Some puppies can self regulate their food intake and others eat everything you put in the dish. That's why it is important to measure and not overfeed a begging pup.
Always have fresh water available. Don't forget to make sure your routine includes a potty break 15 or 20 minutes after food or water consumption.
It is not a good idea to give your puppy table scraps. You risk creating bad behavior like begging at the table and table scraps do not have the balanced nutrition puppies need.
Healthy snacks are a great way to maintain balanced nutrition. Try small portions of carrots, green beans, apples or bell peppers for a tasty treat.