What does your puppy eat?

Charles Schulz once said “happiness is a warm puppy” and who could possibly argue that point? Puppies are cute, playful, and full of energy.  They seem to go non-stop until they finally plop down and sleep.  Another favorite activity of a puppy is eating.  They can eat enormous amounts of food, and it is important that what is going into their stomachs will actually help them grow strong and healthy rather than sick.  For this reason, there are several things to consider before buying puppy chow:

How big will your dog be, once he or she is fully grown?  A large dog, such as one who will weigh more than 50 pounds, will have different dietary needs, even as puppies, than your average Yorkshire terrier who may not even crack the ten pound barrier.

Does your puppy come from a litter of dogs that perhaps was not as healthy as it should have been?  In other words, does he or she need some extra vitamins to make up for some unhealthy conditions early on in life?

Do you know of any food allergies your puppy has?

As you can see, keeping your puppy happy and healthy while its tummy is full is not as easy as it sounds.  Add to that the sheer volume of commercially available dog foods in your grocery store and the pet supply shop, and you will be sure to have to do some serious reading.  Fortunately there are some tips that will help you in keeping your dog happy while feeding her or him the very best diet:

Have your puppy checked out by the veterinarian to make sure that she or he does not have a condition that needs to be addresses in the diet.

Stay away from cheap dog food – you do get what you pay for.

Purchase your dog food in small batches rather than the industrial sized bag, unless you can store it air tight.  If you do not, the food will go stale, and the oils in it may even begin to go rancid.

Consider your puppy’s size such as she or he is now. Manufacturers will make their food in regular kibble size and sometimes also mini chunk kibble size.  If you have a small puppy, then the smaller kibble is probably a better idea than the regular sized one that may be easy to eat for a Great Dane puppy but a bit too large for a Chihuahua puppy.

When purchasing commercial dog food, look on the back of the package.  The first few ingredients are the key ingredients and you should be able to read and understand what it says.  If it sounds like an excerpt from your high school chemistry book, you might want to move on to the next brand.  Similarly, if everything in your puppy’s food seems to be a by-product of one kind or another, it might also be a good idea to move on to the next brand.

If you have a large breed dog, such as one that will weigh in over 50 pounds when he or she is grown, it is a good idea to contact your veterinarian or breeder for a recommendation. Commercial dog foods will fatten her or him up nicely, but the danger lies in over-supplying your large breed puppy with calories, and so the weight gain will be too rapid for the developing skeleton and internal organs.

Once you have chosen a dog food, be certain to follow the recommended feeding guide.  Yes, it is easy to be goaded by those big pleading puppy eyes into feeding an extra portion, but be sure to resist that urge for the sake of your growing dog’s health.  You don’t want her or him to become overweight early on in life and then spend years undoing the damage done in puppy hood.

Do not feed table scraps!  Whatever you do, do not give in to the temptation of feeding your puppy table scraps.  Innocent food items, such as Macadamia nuts, onions, chocolate and even grapes and raisins are toxic to your little canine companion!

Feeding the best possible diet to the furry little guy in your household is a joyful occasion, and there is nothing as cute as watching a little puppy eagerly consume every morsel of food put before her or him.  Enjoy your warm little puppy!

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