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List: Posted: 02/03/11
When you get a new dog, learning how to feed him or her properly is crucial to your pet's long term health. Your dog has specific nutrition requirements depending on their breed, and ensuring that you are meeting them all is your first concern as a new pet owner. You can save your dog many future health problems by making sure you feed them the correct quantity and quality of food. Today, we will take a look at proper feeding of your dog from puppy to adulthood.
When your dog is still a puppy, it should receive its mother’s milk for the first eight weeks. After the first four weeks, you can start feeding small amounts of solid puppy food. You can mix three parts puppy food with one part water or puppy milk four times a day in order to make it softer and easier to digest. By doing this, you also make it easier for the puppy to feed itself after being separated from its mother.
Once your dog has reached eight weeks of age, begin feeding it only twice daily. Ensure that you are choosing nutritious food (and by 'nutritious' we don't mean 'the cheapest'). Ideally, you should use quality puppy food until the dog is around one year of age. Once the dog is a year old, you can start feeding adult food twice daily. Adult food offers different nutritional value than puppy food and is designed to meet your dog’s changing needs.
In terms of how much to feed your dog, it depends on the size and on the food itself. Most companies and veterinarians will help you learn how much your dog should be eating. Feeding your dog twice a day is important, and ensuring that it eats enough food for its size is crucial. You should try mixing wet food with dry food. If you feed dry food at any time, make sure that plenty of water is available or else your dog or puppy will quickly get dehydrated and sick.
To save money, you can also try mixing any meaty table scraps in with your dog's food, making sure of course to remove all bones, especially chicken bones, which you should never give your dog as they can get stuck in your dog's throat. Chicken bones splinter when chewed, and a dog who swallows a splintered chicken bone can easily rupture its gullet or internal organs if the bone gets stuck on the way down. If you suspect your dog has swallowed a chicken bone and shows signs of distress (blood-flecked drool, pawing at the mouth or throat, coughing, breathing difficulties) then rush them to the emergency vet immediately.
Be certain to tell the vet if your dog every stops eating or shows signs of a decreased appetite, as this is usually one of the first signs that it is getting sick. But with a proper, balanced diet, your dog's health should be assured.
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