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Saturday, September 29, 2012

What To Feed Your New Puppy?

     It's been super busy around Dogwood Dachsunds the past week, as the latest litter of puppies went to their new homes.  Above are two happy kids as they take "Scuby" and "Rusty" home to Friendswood, Texas.  These are very patient kids, as they have had their puppies picked out and reserved since they were two weeks old.  Through personal visits and emailed photos, they were able to keep up with their puppies' progress until that happy time when they were able to actually take their little guys home.
     One of the most basic questions people often are at a loss to answer is "What do I feed my puppy?"  There are so many dog foods on the market, this is a legitimate question that can have more than one answer.  There are dry foods, wet foods (canned), food for small dogs, or VERY small dogs, food for large dogs and food for giant dogs (such as Great Danes).  There are even foods that are made for specific breeds of dogs.  Some of those are specially formulated for their particular metabolic needs, as well as some foods in which the kibble is particularly shaped for ease in eating (some short-faced breeds have difficulty picking up their food).
     Your breeder should be able to give recommendations along with sample quantities of the food the puppy has been eating as it was weaned.  And you may take some suggestion from your veterinarian.  If you decide to change to a different food from what the breeder gave you, you should gradually change over to the new food by mixing a small amount of the new in with the old, increasing the amount of the new food a little at a time over a week or two.  And this would be true any time in your dog's life when you might change his food.  A sudden change in food may cause upset in his digestion, and he may not eat well.
     The important thing is that you feed your puppy a good, high protein, high quality food made especially for puppies.  Your puppy will need to stay on that puppy food until he is 12-18 months of age.  It is tempting to switch him to adult food after he has reached "full size".  But his bones and muscles are still growing, and adult food will not contain the nutrients specifically added for puppies. 
     As soon as possible after bringing your puppy home, try to get him on an eating schedule.  Some puppies can regulate their eating habits--but many will overeat.  So offer food two or three times a day. When he seems finished, remove the food until the next feeding time.  He will soon learn to eat when the food is given.  One benefit for YOU in controlling his eating habits is that the more you control when he eats, the more you control when he poops.  This is helpful in your efforts at potty training, as the puppy will normally need to go potty after eating.  You should also keep a bowl of clean, fresh water available to your puppy any time he is out of his crate.  And here, again, he may need to go potty after getting a drink of water.
     Giving your dogs treats has been covered in a previous post.  But I will say, that treats are a fun thing for your dog and for the owner to give.  But they are not nutritionally necessary, and should be limited to a sensible amount.  If giving "people" food, limit it to things such as carrot slices, apple slices or bits of cheese.  (And NEVER feed your dog directly from the table.  This will foster disrespect from the dog, and will result in constant begging.)
     We here at Dogwood Dachshunds will have a new litter in a couple of weeks, and get to start the whole process over again!  Those will be the Christmas Puppies for 2012, so we're really looking forward to them.
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     Thanks again, for stopping by, and as always . . .  . . . . . . . .

                              Happy Tails, Everyone!!!!!!!