How to Feed A Puppy
There are different philosophies when it comes to feeding puppies.
Here is ours.
Dear Ask Darwin’s,
We are going to be bringing home our new puppy on August 14th (she will be 10 weeks old). She is currently on dry kibble, and we’d like to transition her over to the Biologics and feed some tripe as well. What are your suggestions regarding the amount to feed, and I’m assuming we’ll want to spread it out over three or four meals a day for a while?
Amanda – Il.
Congratulations on your new family member!
Thanks for asking this question. I hope you don’t mind if we use your email as a launching pad to answer questions from other customers and our “we’re not sure yet readers,” who are adding a new furry family member.
There are different philosophies when it comes to feeding puppies. Both new and experienced puppy owners often turn to a special puppy formula. While Darwin’s does not have a puppy “chow” we do feel strongly about feeding and schedules. Your idea of spreading out the meals throughout the day is right on target.
Like adult dog transitioning; do it slowly. I recommend putting a small amount in the palm of your hand and let her lick it clean. The next day add a little bit to her three or four meals of kibble – then a little bit more and a little bit more, until the kibble is replaced by the raw fresh food.
Watch her poop:
- Too runny, slow down even more
- Too hard, speed it up just a bit
- Even as a puppy she should not be pooping more than 3-4 times a day. This is easy to track by creating a feeding chart or schedule. Early training really helps.
Feeding Your Puppy:
- Growing puppies need more food than adult dogs. We recommend 3-4% of their body weight. This way you can adjust amounts as she grows.
- Because you’ll need to continue the transition as she matures (Adult dogs usually eat 2-3% of their body weight) watch her body weight to gauge feeding amounts during this period of growth. Due to your girl’s need for a more robust growth and nutritional plan, we suggest feeding her at least 3 times a day.
- Along with the feeding schedule, feed her in the same space every time. Kitchen (though not while you’re cooking or eating) laundry room, porch; whatever works for you. It’s never too early to establish a routine. This tends to deter begging and food aggression.
- Since you are planning on switching to a fresh, raw, single protein with limited ingredients – fat content is the key.
- A perfect pup meal should be at least 70% protein and 30% vegetables, vitamins and minerals. You’ll want the meat source to be hormone free, antibiotic free, steroid free, preservative free and of course grain free. Grass fed free range is always a plus.
- It’s important to stick with a single protein food. It’s important because your pup might be allergic (chicken being the biggest culprit) and you will not be able to isolate it if the ingredients are mixed. Example: a bag or can may state that it’s lamb, beef or duck… however way down on the list of ingredients you might see, “chicken or beef meal”.
- The best food is formulated to marry meat sources with other ingredients that compliment them and bring out the best in the meat. For instance, beets with beef and sweet potatoes with duck.
How to read the labels:
- Anything that lives on a shelf or in a bag will definitely have a preservative. So, as mentioned above read the label. Unfortunately, these preserved foods have quite a list; much of it unrecognizable.
- These days being “grain free” is very popular. For those of us who produce fresh raw say, “It’s about time.” Grains do not digest well and can cause all kinds of un-pleasantries for you and your puppy. This good advice for adult dogs as well.
- Really smelly wet and frequent poops
- Bad breath – even for a puppy
- Gas – very uncomfortable – especially for the little ones
- Manufacturer’s date. This is also a rare find. There will be, however, an expiration date. Interesting info, but mostly useless. Think about it. The fact that it expires next Tuesday doesn’t tell you anything about when it was produced and/or packaged. Old food is probably not going to hurt your puppy (or adult dog for that matter) however it’s not going to help nourish them either.
Foods to avoid:
This list has its inconsistencies. It depends on who you ask.
- – Chocolate, in all forms, is toxic.
- – Alcohol
- – Coffee and tea
- – Tobacco
- – Human medications
- – Sugar, salt, pepper and spices of all kinds; cinnamon, nutmeg, baking powder and soda, etc. (basically no puppy adventures in the pantry or garbage
- – Candy and gum
- – Some nuts. This is on the list because of their size. Almonds, for instance can get caught in the esophagus.
- – Yeast dough (careful while making bread)
- – Cooked bones (they splinter – and not just poultry)
- – Xylitol, found in some peanut butter brands
- – While apples, oranges, bananas and watermelon are great (and yummy) peaches, grapes and the entire grape family; prunes, plums, raisins, etc… are not.
- – Garlic and onions? This is one of those, “on-the-list, off-the-list” foods. Some vets and dog nutritionists claim, “Harmless as long as they are cooked”. There are the vets that believe, “It doesn’t matter.” Still other vets warn, “Never, never, never!”
- – The same debate is played out over avocados because it contains persin. Not toxic for humans, of course, however can be for your puppy.
Having said all this, puppies will be puppies. So, should your girl get into the “forbidden zone” of food call your vet, the closest 24-hour animal clinic and/or the ASPCA poison control hotline (888) 426-4435.I have these numbers printed out and easily accessible on my fridge – attached by a magnetic photo of the cutest dog-face ever.
You might find that you will pay more for fresh raw, however (especially during the formative months – or years) your pup will build a stronger more tolerant digestive system. Starting your puppy on fresh raw food is absolutely positively one of the best things you can do to ensure a long and healthy life for your new addition.
Hope this helps,
I have been a member of the Darwin’s team since 2009. My passion and growing expertise ranges from being a source authority on Menu Consultations to educating the public at acclaimed events such as The Seattle Kennel, Pet Expo and The Northwest Women’s Show.
Openly believe in all things “green” (except teeth). I love crafting words that make people think and painting dogs and cats. (I invite you to see my watercolors at www.artisantails.com or on FB). I’m also passionate about amazing individuals who really are working to cure breast cancer and, of course, sushi. I’m the mother of two amazing canines and, in spite of Lucy Van Pelt’s objections, I let my dogs kiss me on the mouth.