The best food in the world to feed puppies is their own mother’s milk. It is totally “complete and balanced” and is the most nutritious food for puppies. The milk from a nursing female canine is higher in fat and protein than both cow and goat’s milk.
It also contains all the nutrients puppies need and in the proper balance. A young puppy’s digestive tract is designed to digest this whole food perfectly and until a puppy is four weeks of age, their digestive system is not properly equipped to digest any other whole food.
Occasionally it does become necessary to feed puppies food other than mother’s milk before they are four weeks of age. This can be because of a lack of milk production, a large litter, or an illness in or the death of the mother. Although it is impossible to reproduce mother’s milk exactly, in instances where it isn’t possible to feed mother’s milk, the food substituted should be as close to it as possible.
There are several commercial dam’s milk replacements available and when mixed with a good to excellent dry puppy food, to the consistency of loose oatmeal, makes a good starter. Gradually reduce the milk replacement with water, and make the gruel thicker until the puppies, reaching the age of six or seven weeks, will be eating only solid food.
Supplements: If you are using a good to excellent dry puppy food, you will not need to add any supplements to the pup’s food. It is important that a veterinarian is being seen by the dam and puppies on a regular basis. If there are any vitamins, or mineral supplements needed the veterinarian will be able to tell you the exact reason and the exact amount to be added to the puppy’s feed. Adding supplements on your own can do more harm than good. Where one imbalance may exist, by guessing which supplement is needed, you may be causing a second or third imbalance, due to how minerals are dependent on the proportion and amount of other minerals being present.
Feed your puppies carefully to ensure proper development and growth. The following guidelines will show you the way. A healthy dog is a happy dog!
1. Begin offering food to pups at 4 weeks of age. Over the weeks, change their diet slowly.
2. Choose high-quality puppy food that has 25 to 30 percent protein content.
3. Homemade “stews” can be just as nutritious as a commercial diet.
4. The inclusion of fresh foods in a home diet (including vegetables and fruits) can be beneficial.
5. Feed puppies three to four times a day until they’re 5 to 6 months of age.
6. Check with your veterinarian to find out the correct amount of food to give your puppy.
7. Avoid overfeeding.
8. Observe puppies weekly for appearance of weight gain.
There are several foods that should not be given to dogs.
1. Chocolate– Chocolate in even small amounts can be deadly to small dogs, and in larger dogs can cause serious health problems. The culprit is theobromine, which causes increased heart rate and blood pressure.
2. Raw Eggs — Eggs are very good for dogs. In fact, they are the most concentrated, valuable form of protein that a dog can get , as long as they are cooked. Raw egg whites bind to the biotin that a dog ingests and prevents it from being absorbed. Cooked eggs do not do this.
3. Onions — They contain a substance called n-propyl disulfide which alters and eventually destroys the red blood cells of dogs causing hemolytic anemia and sometimes death.
4. Raw Salmon — This is related to a possible bacterial infection that can cause acute inflammation of the bowels, often resulting in death.