2 Signs You're Feeding Your Puppy Right

  • 14/06/2017

You just brought home a new puppy. And in your excitement, you also bought a lot of stuff, from food to toys and other pet accessories. But if there is one thing that you immediately need to get down pat, it’s your new pal’s nutrition.

Your puppy's first year is a period of rapid growth and development. And as such, he needs to get the right amount of nutrients his growing body needs.

But how do you know that your furry little pal is well-fed?

Your puppy's nutritional requirements

Think of puppies as babies and not just miniature dogs. Essentially, this means that your pup has a different set of nutritional requirements compared to older dogs.

Unlike older dogs, puppies require more calories which will fuel their growth. Apart from that, the younger members of your pack need more amino acids, proteins, fat, and minerals.

As a puppy owner, it is your responsibility to ensure that your pet gets enough nutrients. However, that is not an easy task.

For one, you have to account for a few different factors, including your young pooch's breed, size, and shape. Do not make the mistake of believing that because your puppy is fat and pudgy, he is healthy.

On the contrary, excessive feeding can lead to weight gain, especially when he grows older. Overfeeding can also lead to growth and development issues over the short and long term. In large breeds of dogs, excessive feeding can lead to hip dysplasia, digestive irritation, skeletal and joint problems, and other related conditions.

Signs that you are feeding your puppy right

If you are concerned that you are over- or under-feeding your dog, there are two ways to check.

First, check your puppy's waist.

Just like in humans, puppies have a tendency to accumulate excess baggage around their waists. One sign that a dog is overfed is when you can barely notice his waist.

A well-fed puppy will have a noticeable narrowing between his ribs and hind legs when viewed from above. From the side, you should see a noticeable tuck.

Next, check your pet's ribs.

If you have a puppy with short hair, you can easily see the outline of his ribs. However, the ribs should not be prominent. On the other hand, if you own a long-haired puppy, you should be able to feel his ribs even under his coat.

Of course, it is normal for your puppy to look a little pudgy during its first few weeks of life. However, as he grows older, you should notice the signs listed above.

How to avoid overfeeding your puppy

Although there are some pet owners who may underfeed their puppies, it is more common for people to overfeed their young dogs. After all, it is one challenging task to resist the temptation of giving your puppy another serving of his food or to give him table scraps when he is staring at you with his big puppy eyes.

How do you avoid this problem?

Monitor your puppy constantly

Do not assume that you are feeding your dog enough. His nutritional requirements will change over time. From time to time, check his waist and ribs. You can even weigh him to ensure that his weight is at a healthy level.

Do not free feed your dog

Apart from leading to a waste of dog food and money, free feeding can also cause unhealthy weight gain. It may also create behavioural problems like guarding behaviour.

Some dogs simply do not know how to regulate how much food they eat and they will continue eating as long as you give them another serving.

Treat your dog as an individual

The dog food that you bought from a local store or a trusted online pet store comes with a label. Treat this as a rough guide that you can adjust depending on your puppy's unique circumstances, including its size, age, and energy levels.

Start with the recommended amount on the food label and then make the necessary changes.

Consult the vet

Still unsure if you are feeding your puppy just right? On your next trip to the veterinarian, make sure that you ask him if your puppy is adequately fed. He can make a few recommendations if your puppy is over- or under-fed.

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