Can you picture that moment you met for the first time, the puppy that was going to come home and live with you? For most of us it was the same; two big eyes, an impossibly small ball of fluff, and so (sooo) many questions.
Yes, one of life’s greatest joys can be bringing a puppy into your home. And to ensure it stays that way, lots of new routines and habits will need to be formed, both for your new puppy and your family.
One of the best things you can do for your new puppy is to ensure that you set them up with a diet that is complete for their age, and full of all the nutrients a growing dog needs to thrive.
Puppies require more nutrients than an adult dog, and because of this they need a good Puppy Food that has been formulated to support healthy development. A complete and nutritious diet in their early years will ensure that your dog will be happier, healthier and able to enjoy a full and active life.
GETTING OFF ON THE RIGHT PAW
There are a lot of sights, smells and experiences for your puppy to get used to in the first few weeks they’re at home, including a new feeding schedule. To avoid any stomach upsets, we recommend continuing with the food and schedule that they are used to for their first three days at home, after which time you can slowly transition them onto a diet and schedule that you’ve determined to be the best fit for their needs. Introducing a new food slowly will not only reduce the amount of stress on your puppy from all the changes, but save you a lot of clean up time if it doesn’t agree with your puppy’s tummy!
We recommend moving your puppy onto K9 Natural Puppy food over the course of a week, starting by “topping” their current food with K9 Natural Puppy, and gradually increasing the amount into their daily meals until you are feeding 100% K9 Natural Puppy.
Of course, if your breeder/shelter has already been feeding your Puppy K9 Natural, you will not need to undergo a transition, you’ll just have to get them used to their new feeding schedule.
It is unlikely, but if your puppy seems to not be taking on the transition well, you can slow down your rate of transition, and if symptoms persist, talk with a trusted veterinarian.
FEEDING A PREMIUM DIET
A premium high-meat diet is what dogs are naturally drawn to, which is why we recommend feeding your puppy K9 Natural’s Puppy Food, available either as freeze-dried raw pellets, or in cans. Both are easy and convenient for you, and contain the same nutritious, whole food ingredients that your puppy loves.
We may be a little biased, but it’s hard not to be when you see the results of feeding your puppy a complete diet, full of nourishing proteins and fats that they need for balanced health and development.
K9 Natural Puppy also includes;
- DHA & EPA from natural oils – supporting healthy brain and eye developments
- Guaranteed levels of calcium and phosphorous in every bag that supports a puppy’s strong teeth and bone development
- Premium quality protein for healthy muscle growth
In line with K9 Natural’s philosophy of natural better nutrition, both K9 Natural Puppy Freeze-Dried and K9 Natural Puppy cans are grain, gluten and starch-free, carbohydrate limited, and free of any fillers that are of no nutritional value.
It’s important that your puppy is receiving enough of the nutrients they need, to support healthy, regulated growth.
Our online feeding calculator has been formulated to provide optimum portion sizes through each of their crucial growth stages, and is a great start for any new puppy parent! You can check it out here
We advise you to remember that each puppy is an individual, and that their appetite and needs may vary as well! We always recommend that you use your best judgement when feeding your dog, and suggest that you begin feeding your puppy from the lower end of our feeding guide, using their individual physical appearance to determine whether they need more food. We trust that you are the best judge of your dog’s condition.
WHAT NOT TO FEED
Just because we love some foods, doesn’t mean your puppy will too.
We strongly recommend you don’t start feeding your puppy little titbits from the kitchen or table, because once you do it never stops!
This is not just because human food is meant for humans, but because we want you to end up with a happy, healthy, and obedient member of the family. Feeding puppies from the table teaches them bad habits like begging, whining, and helping themselves to food that’s not theirs. Once these habits are set, they’re hard to break.
Dietary-wise, table scraps can not only be an unnecessary source of calories, they are also unable to provide balanced nutrition for puppies or older dogs, or essential vitamins and minerals that dogs require. Table or kitchen scraps may fill them up and make them happy in the short term, but by substituting their core diet they are essentially taking away from the nutrients a rapidly growing puppy needs. Not to mention they can cause a whole host of nasty side effects, such as diarrhoea and other gastrointestinal problems – none of which are fun to deal with!
Some foods may also be dangerous or toxic to dogs, and should never be fed, regardless of whether you allow them human food or not. These include (but aren’t limited to):
- Apple cores (more specifically the seeds)
- Cooked Bones
- Grapes, Raisins
- Onion, Garlic, Chives
- Macadamia nuts
- Yeast dough
In some cases, feeding you dog these foods may not show up straight away as a digestive problem, but can lead to health issues longer term.
We recommend leaving optimum pet nutrition to the experts!
Receiving treats is an important part of growing up for puppies, just as it is for humans! But as with our own diet, they should only account for a small portion of it. We recommend that treats form no more than 10% of your puppy’s caloric intake, which can be a surprisingly small amount. Your puppy’s main diet is his or her sole source for the nutrition they need, and treats are the little extras on top.
Instead of “filling up” your puppy with treats, we suggest using them more as a training and reward system. The K9 Natural Snacks range has a variety of nutritious treats suitable for your puppy that contain whole ingredients, with no additives or preservatives. Smaller treats such a K9 Natural Lamb Treats or K9 Natural Green Mussel Snacks are great to use in obedience training. By providing a treat made from whole food ingredients, you are able to add beneficial variety to your puppy’s diet and reduce the need for “filler” based alternatives.
Hard chew treats like K9 Natural Venison Chews keep your puppy entertained and may improve dental health by exercising the gums and scraping the teeth. It also satisfies your teething puppy’s need to chew, saving your shoes, furniture and stress levels!
Puppies may seem like they drink an awful lot of water for their body size, but that’s because they do need it and shouldn’t be deprived of it.
A dog can lose almost all of their body fat and half of their protein mass and still survive, but can only lose up to 15% of their body water before dying. It goes without saying that water is the most important nutrient of all.
Puppies also need more water for their weight than adult dogs because they are growing. This is because the growing processes produce waste and by-products that need to be eliminated, and water helps to flush them through your puppy’s system.
Providing fresh, clean water is important, as it also reduces the risk of waterborne diseases. If your local water supply isn’t safe and clean for you or your family to drink, it isn’t safe for your puppy either.
K9 Natural’s Puppy Food varieties (freeze-dried and canned) are both intended to ensure that your puppy receives a healthy start by getting the maximum amount of hydration possible through their diet. We do recommend that your puppy has access to fresh water, and is able to consume this whenever they need throughout the day.
CREATING YOUR OWN PUPPY FEEDING SCHEDULE
Introducing a new member of the family will always mean change, but you want to work them into your lifestyle, and not the other way around, so your puppy’s feeding schedule will be somewhat dictated by your own family’s schedule.
In saying this, puppies do need more care and attention in their early months, as well as more regular feeding times. Building habits also means creating good routines. This is best accomplished by feeding your puppy at specific times on a specific schedule. By doing this, your puppy will learn that food is regularly available, reducing the urge to beg, and they will also regulate their toilet times on a more set schedule, which makes housetraining easier and faster.
A puppy’s meal schedule must include three measured meals a day, preferably at the same time each day. A good example of a regular schedule would be to start puppy’s first meal at 7AM, noontime for lunch, and 5PM for dinner. A puppy’s last meal should be scheduled earlier in the evening so that they will have ample time to digest his food and go to the toilet one last time before bedtime.
We do not recommend leaving your puppy’s food out so that he or she can eat it whenever they want. A puppy should ideally eat their meal in one serving, with your supervision to ensure that the they aren’t having any issues with their food. This is also a great chance to occasionally pat your puppy while they are with their food, discouraging possessiveness or food-related aggression.
If your puppy appears to be reluctant about eating his food, you might try feeding him inside his crate so that he can eat without feeling threatened or distracted. This can be very helpful if there are other pets or young children in the house that may take their attention away from eating.
You should also make it a habit to give the puppy some quiet time after a meal. Don’t let children play vigorously with them for the first hour or more after eating. Too much play straight after meals can lead to stomach upsets.
Having a dog in the household is an incredibly rewarding experience, and with care, consistency and love, you can have a dog that is not just a pet, but a valued member of the family.
Jonty was one lucky guy who received a puppy for Christmas, and you can follow his (and his family’s) journey through puppyhood and beyond in his very own blog – Jonty’s Journal.