Keep them keen and keep them lean, that’s our motto. It’s important that a growing puppy is fed well, but not fed too much – and certainly not with the wrong types of meals and treats. Although your dog may become rather excited at the sight of pretty much anything that will fit between its jaws, choosing only the finest, highest quality foods makes for a healthier, happier pooch in the long run. And it should save you from making too many trips to see us, too.
What should be on the menu?
It’s all about quality, of course. Dodge the supermarket aisle of sloppy pouches and jelly-filled tins and stock up on the good stuff. For puppies, we’re particularly partial to Hill’s Vet Essentials. And you’ll find lots of other carefully selected, jolly fine delights in our Shops.
- The best food is dry, high quality and high in protein.
- Once a week, give your dog a bone – a real, raw, meaty one! – instead of a meal. Juicy bones are excellent for the teeth.
- Absolutely no cooked bones, please. Splinters play havoc with a puppy’s innards, you see. And dogs are built for getting their teeth into something, well, altogether more natural.
Striking the right balance
Once the puppy is settled on a food, adding variety to their diet is essential for tip-top health. Feeding your dog just one type of food will narrow the range of their intestinal biota and throw everything out of kilter, which can lead to health problems farther down the line. Variety is the spice of life, after all. But please take it slow, with little steps. Ask us for our leaflet, which contains lots of feeding tips.
When it comes to treats, as with humans, it’s all about little and not too often.
- For a well-deserved treat or training, use high quality treats in very small amounts.
- Say ‘no’ to big treats such as bonios. Instead, opt for small pieces of freeze-dried real meat treats, such as Pro Reward. Healthy and oh so tasty.
- Dogs also adore ostrich tendon chews and freeze-dried ribs, which are great for the teeth, too.
How much food, how often?
Your dog should always be thoroughly peckish once mealtime comes around, and keeping them keen will make sure they’re perfectly lean. If they haven’t licked the bowl clean, you’ve most likely been too generous.
- For pups, the trick is little and often. Feed them a measured amount three to four times a day, reducing to twice a day when they’re around six months old.
- Measure out food according to your dog’s weight – we can help you get this right, so just ask.
- Large breed dogs (Labrador size and above), should be given a special food designed for their faster growth rates.
- For all dogs, we particularly like Hills Science Plan Vet Essentials, AATU, Barking Heads, Lily’s Kitchen and Royal Canin.
Even with the finest food in town, some puppies need regular growth supplements to take care of their joints and protect against arthritis in old age. We recommend a dose of Synoquin Growth tablets daily, particularly for large breed puppies, a glucosamine and chondroitin sulphate supplement that promotes the development of healthy joint cartilage.
Until they’re around 15 months old, it’s important that pups take it easy, so do keep exercise light. Think short walks and games rather than long, hilly hikes. Their joints will certainly thank you for it.