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The Importance of Proper Nutrition for Puppies

 

You Can Feed Your Dog Some “People Foods”

 

While there are some foods that are safe for dogs to eat, you should refrain from feeding your puppy (and dog) with food from your table while you are eating. Dogs will very quickly learn to expect food from the table, even after only one time, and while this may not be a big deal to you when you are eating alone, it may be a big deal when you have company and the dog is sitting at your guest’s feet staring expectantly. Dogs do not know the difference between a casual dinner and a dinner with guests. In some cases, dogs will even help themselves to whatever is on the table, so it is best to train the dog early on not to expect food from the table -- or even the kitchen counter.

 

If you do have some dog-safe leftovers that you want to share after your meal, take the food to the kitchen, away from your eating and meal preparation areas, and place the leftovers into a dog food bowl. The dog does not need to know that the food came from your plate to be happy that you have given him good food to eat.

 

To better avoid the prospect of having your dog stare and whine for table scraps, or refuse to eat his own food in favor of waiting for your leftovers, arrange to have his meal times before yours, so that he is not hungry while you are eating, and do not give him leftovers unless he has eaten his own dinner first.

 

What is the Ideal Amount of Food to Give a Puppy?

 

The amount of food that your puppy requires will depend on her breed and on her nutritional needs. Puppy food packaging usually indicates the recommended amount of food for puppies, but it can still depend on how much you think is enough to satisfy your puppy, or how much she needs for growth and development. Some large, or higher energy dog breeds need more calories than smaller, or a laid back, low energy dog breeds. With that in mind, you must also be careful not to over-feed your puppy, so that she does not become overweight. For example, Labrador retrievers are especially prone to becoming overweight. This is often due to their seemingly constant hunger, leading their owners to feed them more than necessary, but this can also be true for almost any breed.

 

Overweight puppies will commonly develop health problems as they mature. If you are concerned about whether you are feeding your puppy enough, you can check above the waist line to make sure her ribs are not protruding. If that is the case, you will need to take her to a veterinarian to have her checked for a possible parasitic infection. Of course, there are some breeds that are genetically slim and that have defined rib bones that appear to jut out. The Greyhound is an excellent example of this. We are not referring to those breeds.

 

Should a Puppy Have Drinking Water Available at all Times?

 

Puppies need plenty of water, but it is not advisable to have a bowl of water laid out for him all the time. Having water always available will encourage the puppy to drink more than he needs, making housetraining a potential issue. Give him water at scheduled times of the day, and take him outside shortly after so he can relieve himself. As he gets older and is able to master his bladder functions -- waiting until you get home to go outside -- you can leave water for him to drink on demand.

 

Image: William Holtkamp / via Flickr

 

 

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