Puppys Feeding Habits Establishing Nutritional Feeding

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Puppys Feeding Habits Establishing Nutritional Feeding

by Nancy Houser

We are what we eat, and the same goes for the puppy or adult dog we bring home for the very first time. Most puppy owners know very little about the nutritional value of the food they give our pets, yet are more than willing to spend hundreds and hundreds of dollars on the most profitable item there is on the animal market today ?- regardless of what it has in it.

When To Feed

A puppy needs to eat almost continuously up until they are about four months of age. Some people feed ?free will? which is keeping a bowl of food down all the time, while others feed at designated times. The important thing is to feed at the same location so they know where to go when first arriving. A feeding schedule according to professional vets and breeders for feeding times consists of smaller amounts on a regulated age amount:

? 4X daily - up to four months of age
? 3X daily - four to eight months of age
? 2X daily - eight months to twelve months of age
? 1X daily - one year and older

By feeding lighter amounts and at designated times, the puppy is lighter weighted, more physically active, and mentally alert. If you feed at will all the time, the puppy needs to be kept alert and physically active, not keeping them locked up in a crate or kennel all day while you are at work or school.

Signs Of Overfeeding

Overfeeding is common with new puppy owners as most of them feel their puppies are growing and require more food. And this is very true ? up to about six months of age the puppy require twice as many calories pound as their mother and father, plus needing higher amounts of protein to grow bones. Once they reach the six months peak, they will require less as their growth will slow down. But what is too much and enough, and how can you tell you have gone overboard?

On the backs of the feed bags or cans, will be the designated amounts of feed to be given per weight or age. Generally, this can be followed and adequate amounts of nutrition will be given. If your animal is still hungry when the bowl is empty, offer some more. You need to remember some breeders do not feed adequately, and with a large litter of puppies ?- they have learned to fight for food, which will continue to your home. If they do not get enough, the will always feel hungry even if they are. Personally, I feed at will and allow all of them to eat until they walk away from the bowl and have never had an issue. But I have rescued dogs who do, and will fight for that bowl even if they are full. Every dog or puppy will be unique, and you need to be understanding and willing to look at their possible background.

A fat little butterball puppy is too fat at eight weeks of age or older, and eats too much for their weight and age. If a puppy develops fat cells, they will stay with them as they grow older, tending to develop obesity. Also, a potbelly on a young puppy is also is a symptom of worms, as long as it is combined with a dull coat and hair that may be thin or coming out. Also, too much feeding causes a loose stool or slight diarrhea, with a slightly extended anus. More feeding times, with less food, sometimes will be necessary if they come to you hungry and underfed.

The Best Puppy Food to Buy

There is no ?best? puppy food in today?s market, with all types and flavors of dog food at its peak in choices, styles, and brands. Through a lot of research, it has been found that 80% of dogs will pick certain foods over another, being able to discern sweetness, sourness, bitterness, and saltiness. But a common denominator is the nutritional information on the bags, cans, and pouches, with the federal law requiring the manufacturing companies to keep the basic nutrition in their feed. As a dog food consumer, it is important to know that just because a dog food is expensive does not mean it is nutritionally sound.

There is puppy food, adult food, feed for older dogs, and feed for obese dogs. Pregnant mothers usually begin a high quality puppy food about two weeks before whelping until the puppies are weaned. There are many types of puppy foods out there, but the easiest on the digest systems are the lamb and rice, with natural ingredients, and chicken and as rice the second choice. Some allergies have a tendency to occur with the other types, in addition to digestive issues developing.

The Importance of Protein And Meat

Some of the many different forms of protein are lamb, chicken, beef, fish, eggs, and meat-by-products. Many people listen to the rumor mill which states that these by-products contain hair, hooves, feathers or hide, or whatever can be dug up -- but you need to know that anything that has the AAFCO approval on it (Association of American Feed Control Officials), has organ meats in the by-products, such as liver, kidney, spleen blood, heart and so on. Dogs are meat-eating animals, known as carnivorous animals, and any meat by-product is an excellent source of proteins for this type of animal. The highest quality source of protein is egg whites, with a huge amino acid profile with extreme digestibility, which all other protein based foods are based against. They are not the same as humans and our rules and judgments cannot apply to them, by removing meat by-products from their diet which is rich in protein, replacing it with peas and carrots simply because it is on the commercial best-selling list.

Meat Proteins vs Grain Proteins

The diet of mammals need 22 different alpha amino acids, with 17 of them causing an increase in plasma glucagons, along with other metabolic and energy activities. Twelve of these can be internally synthesized, with the remaining ten ingested in their diets. These ten are referred to as ?essential amino acids? as they can only be acquired through their diet or some specific form of food acquisition.

If we choose a dog food that has corn in the first four to six ingredients, we know it will not be a good diet as corn only has four of these ten essential amino acids. The leading nutritional dog experts do not use corn at all as a source of proteins due to this, so if you see corn on the ingredient list ?- forget it. A good dog food will cost more than the general dollar store or store brand names, and you get what you pay for. Corn as a main ingredient and can cause many allergies, which are recognized in the dog?s teary eyes, sneezing, and sometimes skin breakdown.

Why do dog food manufacturers use corn if it is known as not being a high quality protein base? It is a cheap grain filler, and fills the dogs up. The dogs have lots of energy when combined with some meal (bone and meat), which allows the company to label the food as ?complete and balanced? on the bag. This would be fine if the dog or puppy was not carnivorous, but a plant eater instead. Unfortunately, grain is cheaper than meat but not as good. It will show up in the overall health, skin, teeth, and coat of the dog in the end ?- then the money you saved by buying cheap grain based protein foods will be spent at the vet.


The Association of American Feed Control Officials, or AAFCO, sets the standards for dog food ingredients and nutritional values. It is a non-profit association of federal and state officials who have developed some guidelines to protect animals and their owners from manufacturing scams by dog food companies. It sets guidelines for food production, labeling and the sale of all animal feeds informing the consumer of the food?s ability to maintain the health and fitness of their animals. Make sure your feed has AAFCO on it for the highest quality of nutrition available for your pet or animal.

Copyright Nancy Houser

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