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Nutrition & health resources

The nutritional needs of your puppy

The nutritional needs of your puppy

During the first weeks of life, your puppy will be content with their mother's milk. From the third week on, puppies can start to be offered solid food such as finely chopped wet puppy food. A puppy won't be fully weaned from their mother until closer to 8 weeks of age, after which they are ready to move to their forever home.

It's recommended that when a puppy moves to a new home to continue the diet they've been eating and are used to, at least for the first few days. If you desire to change the diet, this should then be done gradually over a period of 7 days. Otherwise, the combination of an abrupt change in diet and a new environment can easily lead to diarrhoea or vomiting.

It's important to feed the right diet for each life stage of your dog, so that they'll always be receiving the essential nutrients required for health.

The first months are especially important. Feeding the wrong diet now can be a mistake that can't easily be corrected in later life. If you have any questions about this, contact your breeder or veterinarian.

You can offer your dog dry or wet food, or a combination of the two known as 'mixed feeding'. Mixed feeding provides a dog with a broader range of benefits.

Initially, you should soak the dry food before feeding, for about 20 minutes in lukewarm water. Make sure there's always fresh water available.

Until your puppy is 12 weeks old, divide their daily food amount (check feeding guides on packs) into four meals a day. Leave the dish in the feeding area for about half an hour. If your dog doesn't eat or doesn't eat it all, take away the left-overs and offer them food again at the next feeding time. This way, the puppy will get used to regular feeding times, and you can prevent them from becoming overweight.

Don't worry too much if your puppy leaves out a meal completely or doesn't eat at all for a day. This can easily happen in the beginning. The next day they certainly will make up for everything. However, if diarrhoea, vomiting or a lack of enthusiasm also appears, you should take them to the vet. These symptoms may be signs of serious diseases, especially in puppies.

You can also offer your puppy dry food from a food puzzle toy, which helps them stay entertained. You can also give your dog some treats between meals, and this is especially helpful with training, but only do so in a reasonable amount. It can be a good idea to offer dry kibble as a training reward too. Monitor the amount fed as well as your puppy's rate of growth and body condition. Consult your vet if you have any concerns. Remember that chocolate, sausages, cheese, etc. are not suitable treats, and may even be harmful to your puppy.

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