Feeding your Dog

What and how do I feed a very young puppy?
Feeding a very young puppy arises only when the pup has to be weaned before the optimum time, or there are more puppies than normal litter size and, feeding all the pups may adversely affect the dam as well as may give poor head-start to the pups. Another rare occasion is the death of the dam during or immediately after whelping. Dog-milk contains more than double the level of protein and fat than cow’s milk, therefore,  special milk intended for pups are to be used. This is mostly required by breeders. Depending upon the age of pups, specially formulated milk substitutes are available in the market. Nutrient concentration and energy density of the milk marketed as skimmed, toned or double toned will be much less.

How frequently should I feed my pup after weaning?
A pup should be fed 5-6 times daily from one month to three months; 4-5 times daily from three months to six months; from three to six months he should be fed 3-4 times daily; from six months to an year 2-3 times daily. At any age, he may be given some warm milk to promote good sleep. But he should never be fed during night. Please note that the feeding time should be at regular intervals and this can be adjusted to your convenience. The pup will adjust himself to this schedule.

How much shall I feed my pup?
Generally, large breeds will need much quantity of feed than the small breeds. For convenience as well as for proper growth, ready-to-feed puppy food is available in the market. There are even specific puppy food for each breed & age; the feeding schedule is usually printed on the packing by the manufacturer. This nutrient dense food will definitely give proper growth for your dog compared to a home food. Many people use to ask why there is special feed for these breeds. This is because their physiological needs differ among the breeds. If commercial feed puppy food is not available or you would like to make your own food take this recipe tips...!

Fresh whole Milk or evaporated milk with equal quantity of water, soft-boiled Eggs, lean Meat (meat without fat), Dry cereal or commercial baby cereal, Biscuit crumbs, Cooked Vegetable and any other raw vegetables eaten by 'you'. Meat may be replaced by poultry or fish, but thoroughly deboned. A pup’s morning and evening meal should consist of solid food. Food in-between can be of liquid nature.

For convenience, a formula for liquid meal is as follows: 1) One table-spoon of baby cereal  2) One egg yolk  3) 500ml milk with equal quantity of water(boiled and sterilized). This formulation after through mixing can be kept in the refrigerator and fed conveniently. Ensure that the liquid is thawed back to normal temperature before being fed to your pup. Vegetables can be given 2-3 times a week and soft-boiled egg is given three times a week. Fresh clean water should be made available at all times.

Do my pup need feed supplements?
Feed supplements that contains vitamins and minerals as well as feed-grade fish oils are good for proper growth. Water-miscible fish oils are preferred since it is easily consumed, digested better, quickly absorbed and assimilated well. Calcium and Phosphorus supplementation in the form of powder(for adults) or liquid(for pups) is another supplement that is recommended. All these are easily available in the market. Follow the feeding schedule as per the recommendation by the manufacturer. These supplements are not drugs and hence available without prescription; feeding them make your pup become a healthy and strong adult dog.

How often should I feed my adult dog?
Once-a-day regime should be sufficient for an adult dog. However, many dogs are fed twice-a-day by dividing their one day’s ration. The important point is to arrange feeding with the timings that suits you. Very large breeds may preferably be fed twice-a-day since it will be difficult for these dogs to take the entire food in once-a-day schedule. Whatever may be the schedule, stick to it. Many people would like to give a piece of toasted bread/rusk in the morning. Feed your adult dog by around 3-4 pm. This will enable the dog to digest it before night and make him 'awake' during night-time.

If you feed at the Indian dinner time like 8 or 9 p.m, both owner and the dog will have comfortable sleep - being oblivion at what is happening at night. If your dog is used to keeping indoors, a time frame of around two hours should be given after feeding, before taking him indoor. This is required to give enough time for the dog to relieve itself after the food.

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