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How Should a Puppy Be Fed?

A healthy diet is very important for your furry friend, just like it is for any other living creature. Especially if you have adopted a puppy, you need to be extra careful when creating a feeding program for this new companion who is in the process of growth and development.

Puppies who grow up with a sufficient, balanced, and quality diet have healthier bone, muscle, and teeth development, as well as stronger digestion and immune systems. This also translates to a longer and happier life for your friend.

How Should a Puppy Be Fed?

Puppies' digestion and immune systems are still in the growth stage. Therefore, they have different nutritional needs than adult dogs. The age of adulthood in dogs varies depending on your little friend's breed and size. Dog breeds are divided into 5 categories; toy dog breed, small breed, medium breed, large breed, and giant breed.

  • Toy dog breed (up to 4 kg): 8 months
  • Small breed (between 5 kg and 10 kg): 10 months
  • Medium breed (between 11 kg and 25 kg): 12 months
  • Large breed (between 26 kg and 44 kg): 15 months
  • Giant breed (45 kg and above): 18-24 months

Your dog must be fed with meals that support the digestive system until they reach adulthood. Puppies receive all their nutritional needs from their mother's milk during the first stage of their lives. Besides providing the required amount of vitamins, minerals, proteins, carbohydrates, and fats for the puppy, the mother's milk also provides protection against external factors. This way, a natural immune system begins to form and thanks to the nutrients in the mother's milk, beneficial bacteria begin to form in the puppy's intestines, so the digestive system begins to strengthen.

For this reason, a puppy must be fed with its mother's milk during the first month. In case of an indispensable separation from the mother due to death or illness, you need to be very careful and attentive to ensure that the puppy receives the required nutrients. In such a situation, you should immediately consult a veterinarian and feed the puppy as recommended by the expert.

Puppies are weaned from their mother's milk at around 4-6 weeks of age. This period is the development period of puppies and they need to be fed in the best way possible.

Puppies need more nutrition than adult dogs. Therefore, they need to be fed with specially formulated foods that are rich in calcium, phosphorus, vitamins, and minerals, have a high nutritional value, and are easily digestible.

When transitioning your weaned little friend to dry food, you should moisten the food or mix it with wet food to strengthen their chewing reflex. This practice also increases the smell and taste of the food, which encourages them to eat dry food.

When choosing dry food for your dog, you should pay attention not only to the nutritional value but also to the size of the kibble. Too large kibbles can make it difficult for your puppy to eat and chew, which can negatively affect their nutrition.

How Often and How Much Should Puppies be Fed?

It is very important for your furry friend to be adequately fed to ensure healthy and strong growth. For this reason, a feeding plan should be created by paying close attention to meal frequency.

Puppy stomachs are not improved enough to meet their daily needs in one meal. Therefore, they should be fed three times a day until they reach 6 months old. After 6 months, meals should be reduced to twice a day, and by the 12th month, they should be reduced to one meal.

However, each dog's nutritional needs may vary, so you can consult your veterinarian for help to plan the ideal meal frequency and portion size according to their recommendations.

What to Consider When Feeding a Puppy

Water and food are vital for your little friend. When feeding your dog, paying attention to the following steps will help them become healthier and happier:

  • Your dog should have a food and a water bowl that exclusively belong to them. When selecting, try to choose the ones that will not tip over easily and have the appropriate size.
  • Keep the food and water bowls in a clean and safe place where your dog can easily reach.
  • If your home is large or multi-floor, increasing the number of bowls may make it easier for your dog to reach them.
  • Clean the bowls after each meal and keep them clean until the next one. Just as you wouldn't enjoy eating from a dirty plate, your dog won't be happy with this either.
  • Always provide clean and fresh drinking water. Don't forget to make sure the water is not too cold or too hot.
  • Don't change the location of the food and water bowls. Dogs are creatures of habit. Your adorable friend may become stressed if they cannot find their bowls in their usual place.
  • Consult your veterinarian about the required nutrients for your puppy and choose their food accordingly.
  • When choosing food for your little one, choose quality, reliable, and well-known brands.
  • Store the food in an airtight container according to the storage conditions. Make attention to feeding your friend with fresh food.
  • Start giving treats after 3 months and make sure that the food you give is suitable for puppies.
  • Do not make sudden changes to your dog's feeding program; make changes gradually.
  • If you need to change the food, spread the process over time. Complete the process by mixing the old and new food together and gradually increasing the ratio of the new food each day over an average period of 7 days. This method not only makes it easier for your furry friend to get used to the new food but also is more beneficial for the digestive system.
  • Sudden changes in food can cause diarrhea in dogs. Therefore, consult your veterinarian when changing food.
  • One of the most common mistakes in dog feeding is giving them fish bones and chicken bones. These bones have no nutritional value and can pose a risk to your dog's health by causing digestive problems and blockages. Never feed your dog with these bones.
  • Foods that are very beneficial to humans can be harmful to dogs. For this reason, avoid feeding your little friend with home-cooked meals.
  • Take care of your puppy's quality and balanced nutrition. Do not hesitate to use vitamin and mineral supplements if recommended by your veterinarian.

The way you feed your little friend is the foundation of a healthy life. With a high-quality diet tailored to their age, weight, breed, allergies, and other sensitivities, your furry friend can continue to be a happy member of your family for many years.


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