​A Puppy’s Nutrition Requirements

Submitted by Amber Drake

If you’re adopting a new puppy, you are probably looking forward to all the fun, the kisses, and the snuggles. You’re looking forward to watching her grow from an adorable little puppy to a loving, well-rounded, healthy adult dog.

As you know, puppies don’t stay little forever. Puppies grow extremely fast. And part of what’s expected of you is understanding the nutritional requirements for your growing pup.

How often should you feed your puppy? What should you feed her? Let’s find out.

Six to 12-weeks Old Pup

After puppies are taken from their mother to be in a forever home, they need to eat continuously throughout the day. If you think about it, their mother was the food source for their whole life thus far. And, your puppy could eat any time he wanted to. Basically, free-feeding

As a general recommendation, puppies who are six to twelve-weeks-old should eat four meals (the same amount each time) during the day. Try to stick as close to the same time every day, too.

Your puppy should be eating puppy food only. Food specifically designed for puppies are made to fit the nutrition requirements for a growing pup.

If you want to make their meals yourself, you should first discuss the decision with your veterinarian. Your vet can help you design a meal plan that fits your individual puppy’s needs.

Three to Six-Months-Old

Once your pup hits three months old, you can eliminate one feeding period. You will now only have to feed her three times per day instead of four. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Simple, right? And again, it’s recommended she eats the same time each day and each meal is proportional to the other.

Six to Twelve-Months-Old

Your puppy is starting not to look like a puppy anymore at this stage in their life. Once your pup hits six months of age, you can drop another food period. You’ll now be feeding her two times per day instead of three.

When Can I Transition to Adult Food?

This is a hard question to answer because it truly depends on your individual dog. But, as a general guideline, dogs who are small-breed can switch to adult dog food between seven and nine months of age. Dogs who are on the larger side shouldn’t be taken off puppy food until they’re at least one year old.

Once your dog hits one-year-old, you can stay feeding him twice per day at the same time each day.

How Much Food is Too Much?

Here’s another question that’s hard to answer. This also depends on your individual, unique dog. You can start by taking a look at the feeding guidelines on the food package. Remember, this is only a general guideline. It’s your responsibility to make sure she isn’t eating too much or too little.

The best way to determine how much your pup should eat is via observation. If you see she’s getting heavier (and not in a good way), you may want to control her portions a bit more. If she leaves food in the dish, you’ll see how much food she eats at each meal.

To prevent early obesity, consideration should be provided regarding how many treats she eats per day. Treats should never be more than 10% of their total diet. Yes, that includes our food scraps too.

The Bottom Line on Puppy Nutrition

The bottom line here is every puppy is different. As professionals, we can provide a guideline, but you know your dog the best. As you feed her, you’ll learn how much food she needs to be ‘full.’

If you have any questions at all regarding her nutrition, contact your veterinarian and ask for an appointment to discuss her diet.

My Puppy and I Need to Sleep

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Submitted by Amber Drake

You adopted a puppy. Both you and your puppy are so excited it’s hard to contain the happiness you’re feeling. And, you’re so proud to have a new addition to your family.

But, you’re exhausted. Your puppy isn’t sleeping through the night. She’s staying up barking, getting into trouble, and absolutely hates not sleeping right next to you.

Can’t blame her, right? Dogs are social animals and they enjoy the company of others. On top of all the other changes she’s gone through, she has been taken from her mother, too.

There are a few tips to help your pup sleep through the night, so you can once again get that sleep you need so badly.

Play During the Day

If you play with your puppy during the day, he’s much more likely to sleep through the night. They’re tired out. They want to go to sleep just as much as you do.

Even if your pup is too young to go for walks (due to not having all her vaccinations yet), it’s still important to make sure she gets enough mental and physical stimulation.

If you have a fenced-in yard, that makes it so much easier for you. If you don’t have a fenced-in area for your dog, this may be something worth looking into.

Play with toys.

Play fetch.

Chase one another around.

Make the most out of her training.

Walk her around the yard on the leash.

Grab some puzzle toys for mental stimulation.

All of these can help tremendously.

Potty Breaks are Important

Puppies can’t ‘hold it’ for long periods of time. Their little bladders don’t have enough control to prevent an accident if they aren’t taken out regularly.

Your pup could wake you up shortly after you fall asleep because they’re dire to go outside to do their business.

To prevent this from happening, be sure to take her out right before bedtime. By taking this simple step, you have just bought yourself more sleep time.

Get Comfy and Cozy

When bedtime arrives, you should truly make it feel like bedtime.

This might sound like a ‘given’ but you would be surprised at how much we do around the house once we realize its time for bed. If you have kids, you’re probably getting everything ready for school the next day. This also may be the time you sip your cup of tea. Or, have some quiet time to yourself to calm down from your busy day.

To help your dog relax and fall asleep, dim the lights, put on some relaxing music, and give your puppy a nest that smells like you. They may not be directly next to you but will feel closer with your scent near their body.

DAP, or Dog Appeasing Pheromone, can also help tremendously with this process. DAP releases the hormone your dog once ‘smelled’ by their nursing mother.

Try Not to Switch it Up

Before you pick up your new puppy, look around your home for the best place to allow her to sleep. Prepare your puppy’s bed in advance. Make sure she won’t be interrupted by any action in the house if possible.

It’s important to note here, if you let your puppy sleep with you in the beginning, the chances of her wanting to do this every night are extremely high.

There’s nothing wrong with your puppy sleeping with you but make sure it’s a choice you’re comfortable with. This will be hard to change later if it’s not what you want.

Crate Training Could Help

Crate training can be the best choice for your puppy if they’re struggling to hold their bladder. If you don’t want to put your pup in a crate, simply choosing a confinement area may work.

If you’re using a confinement space rather than a crate, place a puppy pad right next to your pup’s bed just in case she feels the need to go potty while you’re sleeping.

If you decide on crate training, your puppy will need a middle-of-the-night potty break. Puppies can’t hold their bladder for more than a few hours. It’s not their fault, their bodies are just not made to hold it yet.

As a general guideline, if you don’t have a toy breed, a pup can hold their bladder for approximately as many hours as they are months old. For example, if you have a four-month-old puppy, she should be able to hold her bladder for up to four hours.

Don’t panic if your puppy doesn’t make it this long. And, don’t think they’re having accidents to spite you. They’re still learning.

Ignore the Whining

Yes, this is near impossible. Not only are we frustrated with the continuous whining and/or barking, but we usually feel terrible for leaving them in their crate as they’re crying.

But, guess what happens if you acknowledge this? Your puppy will learn to get what he wants by crying for it. If they make this connection, you’ll never sleep through the night.

Get Some Beauty Sleep

Overall, there are ways to get more rest. But, you aren’t going to get that ‘full rest’ for a few months as your pup continues to grow. If you have someone helping you take care of your puppy, you can take turns letting her outside to go potty. Then, you’re not thoroughly exhausted every day.

 

6 Steps to Potty Training Your Puppy

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Contributed by Amber Drake

Young puppies have an extremely hard time holding their bladder and will need to relieve themselves frequently. Potty training isn’t an easy process, but with time and dedication, you’ll have a much easier time as your pup gets older.

Potty training should begin the moment you pick up your puppy. This will help her get on the right track, sooner. Although she may have accidents, she will begin to understand what is expected of her. And, this will mean less clean-up for you. In this article, we’ll go through the steps of potty training… the ‘do’s,’ and the ‘do not’s.’

Step 1: Praise Your Puppy Excessively

Being required to go potty in a designated area is new to any dog. A dog’s instincts don’t tell them they’re not permitted to use the bathroom inside the house. Their instincts tell them to find an area where they don’t sleep or eat, and use the bathroom there, whether inside or outside.

That’s why it’s so important to praise your dog excessively when he uses the potty outside. Your dog needs your feedback to be successful in potty training (and all other types of training). Be sure to praise your puppy immediately after they potty outside… or else they won’t know what you’re praising them for.

The praise can be in the form of an excited “yay, good job,” a yummy low-calorie treat or kibble, or both. Many dog lovers carry around a handful of kibble in their pockets out of their puppy’s daily portions.

Step 2: Utilize a Crate

There’s controversy in the dog world about using crates… some dog lovers want a crate and others feel it’s not necessary. But, the crate essentially becomes your dog’s ‘den’ or ‘safe space.’ The crate is also helpful because puppies don’t like to use the bathroom where they sleep.

The crate should have a soft layer of padding to it. A dog bed generally works just fine. The crate should be large enough for your puppy to stand up and move around, but not large enough for your pup to relieve himself and move to another spot to sleep.

You can also place toys in the crate with your puppy so they’re able to play if they get bored. Mental puzzle toys, and some type of chew toy, are usually best. The Kong toys work extremely well, they’re mentally stimulating, and puppies generally can’trip them to shreds. One of the biggest mistakes puppy parents make is grabbing a toy that looks neat, but their puppy shreds the toy into small pieces and end up swallowing parts of the toy. This could lead to a blockage… and we don’t want that to happen.

For this step, it’s critical to note that puppies should not stay in their crates for long periods of time. The crate should only be utilized when you’re not able to pay attention to your puppy. Then, once their potty trained, you can leave the door to their crate open so they’re able to freely enter and exit.

Step 3: No Punishments

Punishing your puppy for urinating or defecating on the floor can do more harm than good. By the time you find out your puppy has had an accident, your pup likely doesn’t remember what they did. And, even if you catch them in the act, punishing your puppy could permanently damage the bond and trust they have with you.

Staying calm when they have an accident is essential. You shouldn’t yell, chase, or smack your puppy. You also shouldn’t ‘rub his nose in it.’ Not only will you lose their trust, but they will associate going potty with punishment and may resort to using the bathroom in areas you won’t find.

Some dog lovers will argue, ‘but rubbing her nose in it works.’ And, yes… sometimes it does. But, you risk the bond you will have with her for the rest of her life by using punishment as a learning method.

Step 4: Show Her Where to Go

If you catch your puppy in the act, instead of punishing, try to re-direct her attention. You can re-direct her attention by saying “let’s go potty outside” or something similar. Then, immediately bring her outside to show her where it’s okay to use the bathroom. Then, once she uses the bathroom in your designed area, that’s when you can excessively praise her. She will connect the dots, and learn you are happy when she uses the bathroom in that particular area.

Step 5: Don’t Overuse Puppy Pads

You can, and should, have puppy pads in the house while you’re training your pup. But, you shouldn’t set them up in multiple areas around the house. This is confusing to a puppy, and they won’t understand why it’s not okay to use the bathroom in the house. They also may not be able to distinguish between a puppy pad and an area rug, or why she’s allowed to use the bathroom in some areas of the home but not others.

Step 6: Establish a Routine

Establishing a routine with any puppy or adult dog is critical. Dogs have a great sense of time, and if you have a set routine it will make potty training much easier. For example, if you always take her potty after she eats, she will understand after she eats she goes potty outside. This may take time- so don’t get upset if she doesn’t immediately understand the routine. Don’t worry- she will.

The Bottom Line on Potty Training

The most important step you should be aware of in this process is to always be positive with your puppy. Dogs and puppies are eager to please you. They want to make you happy as often as possible. Also, understand every dog is different, and some puppies may take longer than others to learn what’s expected of them.