So now you have a new addition in the family.....your all new canine friend! There is happiness, pride and joy that you feel as a new dog owner. The spark of affection you see in the pet’s eyes when you come back home is a moment to relish. And nothing sounds better than holding it and playing together for hours. But this is just one side of the picture. When you become a dog owner, there come lots of responsibilities in tow. The most important among a dog owner’s responsibilities perhaps is to look after its diet and nutrition. You have to be careful about the what, when and why of what it eats every day. At the same time, you have to make sure that it eats only what is right otherwise you may have a sick per to deal with. So if you have just joined the club, here are the best puppy-feeding tips to help you:
1. Focus on the right diet
Make sure that you give the right kind of food to your dog. Processed kibble or wet food is recommended as it contains the right nutrients for the pet to stay healthy. Always buy a good brand that is prescribed by a vet and has undergone stringent testing. Dogs thrive well on meat as well as vegetarian food sources such as grains, fruits, and vegetables. Even non-meat foods can be a good source of fiber, essential vitamins and minerals. Therefore, look for a dog food that has a combination of ingredients that are just right for the dog’s digestive system. You can even feed it fresh fruits and vegetables which will make a refreshing change for it and also be a healthy, low-calorie treat. At the same time, there are some foods which are not recommended. Onions, for example, can cause anemia while grapes and raisins can result in acute kidney failure. An occasional treat or two is good for the pet but a sudden diet change can cause diarrhea and upset stomach. Variation in diet may be needed during the growing years or in case of a specific underlying health condition. When you plan a change in diet, make it very gradual so that the pet gets time to adjust to new diet.
2. Hand feeding is the best way
The first question that a new dog owner would typically have would be about how he should feed the dog. It is advisable that you do it with hand. Firstly, it will help in building a close connection between you and the pet. The bond can be strengthened over time leading to a lasting relationship. Also, the dog will be able to identify you as its provider right from the beginning. This way, it will be form a level of respect for the owner. An additional benefit of hand feeding is that it stops the dog from being aggressive and possessive as it grows older.
3. Maintain a feeding schedule
Pet owners need to adhere to a fixed schedule every day. The feeding time span should be fixed to, say 20 minutes at a time. There are pet parents who keep the pet bowl full all day, refilling it as it gets emptied. But this can be the biggest mistake as you cannot keep track of the amount of food that the dog eats at specified times. Also, free feeding can lead to pet obesity and other related health issues. You can feed your puppy 3-4 times a day to meet its growth requirements. The number of meals can be gradually reduced to two a day after 8-12 weeks. Having a fixed schedule makes the dog a regular eater and prevents it from being a fussy one. Hence, a timetable approach makes it more disciplined and enables better management of pet health. Moreover, it helps you to manage the toilet habits of the dog as most of them relieve themselves 20-30 minutes after meals. This gives you a fair idea about when to take the dog out for excretion. It is also important to note that the dog may miss its meals due to illness. You would need to see a vet if the dog loses appetite as well as shows symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea, and lethargy.
4. Feed the right amount of food
While it is important to give the dog the right diet, you must also make sure that the quantity is right too. It ensures that the entire nutritional needs are fulfilled as well as the dog maintains an ideal weight. Most commercial pet diet packages have a chart that guides you about the food quantity to be given on the basis of size, age and breed of the dog. Websites like https://www.puppyjoy.net/ give an idea about the diet quantification according to the dog’s breed. It is always good to consult your vet periodically and get the right diet plan for your canine companion. The activity level of the dog also determines the right quantity of food for it. Active pets have higher energy requirements and should be given higher quantities of food. Regular monitoring of the pet’s weight is needed to make diet modifications from time to time.
5. Water is important too
Your pet not only needs the right kind of food at the right time to stay in good health. You should also give it plenty of water during the day to maintain its hydration levels. Make clean and fresh drinking water available at a designated place in your home. Ensure that the water bowl is washed and cleaned regularly. The ones made of plastic require periodic replacement.
Being a pet parent is a joy but you need to be responsible at the same time. Good care is the basis of strong relationship between the pet and its owner. Maintaining a healthy diet for your dog is one of the most important responsibilities that you have. Also, you have to keep the pet active so that it maintains an ideal weight throughout its lifetime. Regular vet visits and vaccinations are equally important to keep your dog in good health.
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