Puppies are energetic and rambunctious, and while that might make you feel happy most of the time, there are moments when their lack of discipline can become a problem. For instance, puppies tend to think that all the dog food bowls in the house are theirs, so they have no issue with nibbling at the kibbles belonging to other dogs in the household.
Why is this habit an issue?
To put it simply, puppies should eat food for puppies and not anything else. The formulas that are designed mainly for puppies are richer in protein than the recipes offered to dogs in other life stages. Some varieties even contain more vitamins and minerals, which are essential for a healthy development. If your puppy starts eating the food you use to feed your older dogs, that can cause problems in the long run.
A structured schedule can work wonders
Your puppy does not know to follow the rules because you are not enforcing any. That is why the first step you should take is to create a schedule for feeding your dogs. Puppies cannot be expected to keep from eating all the time if there’s a bowl of food lying around all day long.
Mature dogs need to feed about two times daily, and puppies two or three times. That will help you with deciding on a schedule that is enforced. The entire plan will be detailed right away.
Hierarchy matters in a dog’s world
Dogs and even puppies know the importance of hierarchy. This is the point you should learn as a dog parent who needs to set some ground rules. You are the leader of the pack, and you should act accordingly.
That being said, always be the first to eat. It is ideal to feed your dogs the first meal in the morning. Have your breakfast before feeding your dogs, so they know who is in charge. Do not think that this could be seen as cruel by your pets because this is not how their minds work.
Follow the hierarchy by feeding the oldest dog first. Take him or her to another room and fill the bowl. Let the dog eat for a few minutes and then empty the bowl. Continue with the next dog, until you get to your puppy.
Always let them eat only for a few minutes, and then empty their bowls. They need to see the empty bowls and understand that mealtime is over.
At first, the dogs will not eat everything you put in their bowls, especially if they are used to feed at any time of the day. However, within a week or two, they will understand that they need to eat at the designated hour, or they will have to endure until the next meal.
Also, the empty bowl rule is essential. If the puppy sees that the other bowls are empty, he or she will have no other choice but to eat from the only bowl available. It may take a bit to get the puppy used to this schedule, but the effort will be worth it.
What do you need to feed your puppy?
Puppies are mainly carnivores, but, just as their parents, they can also eat some omnivorous foods. Because in the wild, the dogs’ ancestors consumed herbivorous prey that contained leftovers of plant-based foods in their stomach, dogs today can tolerate some of this type of ingredients. Here are some excellent ideas for feeding your puppy the right way.
Use high-quality commercial puppy food
When you’re shopping around for food for puppies, you will notice that there are all sorts of brands available on the shelves. How can you tell which one is the best? To narrow down your search first look at the formulas that are advertised as being created with the complex nutritional needs of puppies in mind.
This is your starting point. After that, see which brands offer premium ingredients, along with a complete and balanced diet. While it is recommended to feed your dog something extra, besides the dog food you buy from the store, this should be the base for proper nutrition.
Raw lamb is excellent, but not meat off the bone
Protein is essential for the optimal development of your puppy, but you must be careful about what sources of protein you use. For instance, it is all right to feed your puppy some small pieces of raw meat – raw lamb is highly recommended – but you should not feed him or her pieces that are off the bone.
Veterinarians advise staying away from meat off the bone because puppies’ development can be affected in the long run. You should consider only human grade meat when feeding it raw to your puppy.
Don’t feed your puppy sausages and other processed meats
While humans can eat processed meats, with some consequences for their health in the long run, and only if they make a habit out of consuming such products, for puppies, these are a complete no-no.
They contain sulfites, which can be very dangerous for a puppy’s natural development, which is why you should never include them in your puppy’s diet.
What kind of bone you should give your puppy
Dogs love bones, but this does not mean that you should let your puppy chew on one all the time. It is a good idea to give him or her a bone to chew on once a week, but not more often. When puppies go through the development of new teeth, they love to chew on stuff, and a bone is better than your shoes.
Be aware not to give your puppy a bone that is smaller than his or her mouth. This way, you will prevent the risk of swallowing and choking with the bone. On the other hand, do not give your puppy a large bone either, because these are usually hard and your puppy can end up with broken teeth.
Finally, there’s one important mention we must make and it’s regarding chicken bones. Do not feed your puppy chicken bones — ever.
They are dangerous and can be broken down far too easily, and the splinters will end up in your pet’s digestive system and might cause issues like obstructions, occlusions, or even pierce through the sensitive mucous membrane of the gut, thereby causing gastrointestinal perforation.
Be aware of toxic foods
Puppies are even more sensitive than mature dogs when it comes to toxic foods. So avoid chocolate, xylitol, onion, seeds, nuts, and other foods that are either toxic or can cause digestive problems, because they get stuck in the digestive tract.