From its first moments of life, the newborn puppy is breastfed by its mother. This milk, rich in antibodies, naturally protects the small animal against many diseases until it is weaned, around the age of 6 to 8 weeks. Thereafter, it is important to offer him a solid diet adapted to his new needs to protect his immune system when exposed.
Growing young puppies need a high-quality, well-balanced, and healthy diet to meet their nutritional needs. Indeed, he needs different amounts from adult dogs, of food that promotes the mineralization of his skeleton and his teeth, a source of essential nutrients, but also low in carbohydrates.
To support you in feeding your puppy and the crucial choices to be made during this decisive period of its existence, our canine experts invite you to browse our dedicated files full of information, advice, and tips.
Puppy food: choosing the right food
The puppy is a growing animal. Food is a direct part of the constitution and development of your body. It is therefore imperative to offer him a high-quality and healthy diet adapted to the needs of the small dog. It makes it possible to better cover the nutritional needs of the puppy which are very different from the adult dog or the old doggie.
We recommend purchasing your specially formulated puppy food from your veterinarian or pet store. These products are more expensive to buy, but they are of high-quality thanks to their composition based on first-choice ingredients and their preparation respectful of the preservation of nutrients. In addition, they are much more satiating, which allows the animal to consume less to satisfy its hunger and each container to last much longer.
Finally, insofar as they help to preserve the well-being of the young pooch, they reduce the need for veterinary care, which ultimately makes them economical feeds.
Feeding your puppy: choosing the right formula
The puppy needs to eat a daily ration skilfully dosed to cover his specific daily needs and spread over several small meals to facilitate their digestion for his fragile digestive system. Until the age of 3 months, 4 rations per day are ideal. Between 4 and 6 months, it is possible to offer him 2 to 3 rations per day and then reduce to 2 daily rations thereafter.
Do not hesitate to ask your veterinarian for advice to be sure that you are meeting the nutritional needs of your little companion.
What foods should a puppy avoid?
Puppies don’t eat differently than adult dogs. During the first weeks of life, they are breastfed by their mother. Then, food diversification is set up, and then the classic diet. Throughout its growth, it must have the minerals it needs to grow well. Know that certain foods are to be banned either because they are not adapted to the needs of the young dog, or because they represent a danger. What are the foods to avoid?
Breast milk to start
Like a newborn, a puppy is nursed by its mother for the first few weeks of its life. Exclusive breastfeeding lasts 3 weeks. During these twenty days, it is the female dog who triggers the flow of milk. Then, she takes more freedom and leaves her puppies during the day. The latter must follow it everywhere to feed. During the nursing period, a puppy can nurse up to 20 times a day.
Artificial milk in case of unforeseen
It may happen that a young dog cannot be nursed by its mother. In this case, you have no choice: you must give him the bottle. But beware! It is necessary to provide artificial milk and mix it with boiled water. It is on sale in pharmacies and veterinary clinics. The bottle should be warmed to 38°C and given to the puppy every 2 hours. It is possible to take a break from 6 to 7 hours at night.
Weaning the puppy
From 3 weeks of life, puppies are more independent. They no longer spend all their days with their mother. They explore and discover their environment. This phase marks the beginning of weaning. Now is the time to offer your young dog kibble and mash. Of course, it is necessary to opt for “junior” formulas which will be adapted to the needs of the puppies. Complete weaning takes 4-6 weeks for full weaning.
Feeding as the dog grows
Until it reaches adulthood, a puppy should be fed kibble and mash. Because his stomach is small, he must be given several meals a day and favor small quantities. Here are some benchmarks:
- A weaning dog eats 4 to 5 meals a day.
- A weaned dog eats 3 to 4 meals a day.
- A dog between 4 and 6 months eats 3 meals a day.
- A dog over 6 months eats 2 meals a day.
What foods should a puppy avoid?
Not all foods are suitable for a puppy. Here are the ones to avoid giving them to ensure their well-being.
As we have seen previously, cow’s milk should not be given to a young dog. The latter must be fed with breast milk, that of his mother, or artificial milk whose formula has been developed for puppies. Cow’s milk can cause digestive problems. Rest assured, it does not put your dog in danger but it causes significant diarrhea and sometimes a weakening of the dog. Dehydration is also common.
Adult dog food
Kibbles for adult dogs and those intended for senior dogs are not recommended for puppies. They do not provide all the vitamins and minerals essential for their proper development. You should favor formulas developed for young dogs. This rule also applies to wet food.
A large number of fruits are to be avoided if you have a dog. Moreover, these foods should not be included in their diet. Fruits that contain pits or seeds such as pears, plums, apricots, peaches, or cherries should be banned. They contain a substance called cyanogenic glycoside which is poisonous to dogs. If he eats these fruits, he may have vomiting, diarrhea, and tachycardia. Sometimes the situation is more serious. If the dog falls into a coma, he can die!
A dog can eat vegetables. However, not all are good. Some of them are even to be avoided! This is the case of :
Avocado, which contains persin, a toxic substance that damages vital organs,
Fungi which can cause serious liver and neurological problems,
Cabbage that ferments in the stomach and causes significant diarrhea,
Garlic and onion trigger serious poisoning and heart problems.
Oilseeds are not recommended for dogs. Walnuts are too high in phosphorus. In addition, dogs have difficulty digesting them. Macadamia nuts are particularly dangerous since they act like poison.
Chocolate is poisonous for both dogs and cats. Vigilance is required because the risks are significant. Chocolate contains theobromine. This component is a cardiac stimulant and a diuretic. The dog can be very sick and even die!
Ensuring the safety of puppies
Always pay attention to what a puppy eats. Young dogs are out of control! They wander around the house and eat everything they find, whether edible or not.
If you notice your young dog is vomiting, suffering from diarrhea, feeling down, feeling unwell, or convulsing, he may be suffering from food poisoning. Make an emergency appointment with your veterinarian.