Your dog’s diet plays a vital role in helping to give them a healthy body and mind, so what should they eat, how much should you give them and what’s the best way to feed them?
There are many different approaches you can take to ensure your dog has a balanced, healthy diet. However, with many different feeding regimes to choose from, all of varying quality, it can be a little baffling to know which way to go.
Read some of our hints and tips in our guide to feeding your dog.
Best puppy diet: get help from the breeder
Healthy puppies can burn twice as many calories as an adult dog, so it’s important that their diet is balanced and meets their high energy needs. Your puppy’s food should be:
- High in calories
- Rich in protein
- Packed full of essential nutrients
- Easy to chew and swallow
Your puppy’s food should be specifically formulated to their needs and must be age-appropriate. There are lots of different diets to choose from and it can sometimes be confusing trying to find the right food for your dog. If you’re overwhelmed by the choice, then always speak to your puppy’s breeder or your vet to find out what they recommend.
Feeding your puppy - frequently asked questions
How much should I feed my puppy?
How often should I feed my puppy?
Younger puppies should always be fed small amounts regularly, and this decreases in frequency as they get older. If you’re not sure how often to feed your puppy then here is a rough guide:
- When you start to offer solid food or when weaning (usually at around two months old) – four to six meals a day
- From two to three months – four meals a day
- From four to six months – two to three meals a day
- Over six months – two meals a day (depending on the breed)
How can I check my puppy is gaining weight?
What is the difference between dry and fresh meat ingredients?
- increase fluid intake, as it contains more moisture
- be more appetising to fussy eaters, as it can be warmed, releasing delicious smells
- be easier to eat for dogs with dental or mouth problems
- help your dog feel full more quickly
Dry food can:
- be good for keeping teeth clean and encouraging chewing
- be more convenient to keep and store once opened and may have a longer shelf life
- be given in smaller quantities as a treat or for training
- last for longer and doesn’t spoil as quickly.
How should I serve wet puppy food?
How should I serve dry puppy food?
Dry food can help support dental health more than wet foods. However, whether dry or wet, it can be helpful to give them regular dental treats to keep their teeth healthy. Ideally, you should also introduce them to tooth brushing at a young age. Remember that if you are giving dental treats they need to be taken into consideration when working out the puppy’s daily calories, and the feeding guide should be reduced slightly.
What are the signs that I am feeding my dog the wrong diet?
We recommend that you check:
Getting into good feeding habits
- Choose somewhere to put their bowl that can be easily cleaned, such as on a tiled or wipeable floor
- Give them their food in a quiet place where they won’t be interrupted or distracted
- Avoid feeding your dog immediately before or after exercise, as it can cause a life-threatening condition known as bloat
- You should not feed your dog before travelling in the car as this might cause car-sickness.
- Don’t feed your dog table scraps. Some foods may upset your dog’s stomach, while others, such as chocolate, onions and grapes, can be poisonous to them
- Cooked bones can be dangerous and can break into small parts that can cause damage in your dog’s mouth, throat or intestines, so never give them
What about treats?
- If you do want to give treats, make sure that they are not high in fat, salt or sugar
- When giving treats, make sure you include them in your dog’s total daily calorie intake to balance things out
- Always ensure that any homemade snacks that you give your dog are cut up into small chunks. This can make them last longer and stop them from getting stuck in your dog’s throat
- Try putting your dog’s snacks in a food puzzle. These toys slowly release food when they are moved around or played with and are a great form of mental stimulation
- Some chew treats have been proven to help prevent dental diseases, but again, check the label to ensure you are getting a genuine product