Puppies need special food that meets their energy requirements. Some dog owners prepare homemade foods for their pets. But it's difficult even for an experienced breeder to get the nutritional balance just right. The best idea is to get your puppy used to eating prepared foods from the very start. Proper nutrition allows for the puppy to reach his full genetic potential, but beware of overfeeding as this could result in bone anomalies, which are common in puppies of large/giant breeds.
- Puppies are normally weaned from their mother's milk onto solid foods when they're three to four weeks old. You should start by giving food in small portions three or four times a day.
- If you're buying from a breeder, your puppy should have been weaned onto a solid diet by the time you take him home - at the age of eight to twelve weeks.
- Weight for weight, a puppy needs up to 2.5 times as many calories as an adult dog and must be given a very digestible diet so his body can absorb all the nutrients.
- If your new puppy gets an upset stomach, take him off solid food for two meals, and just give him small quantities of water to drink. Then, gradually introduce boiled rice and scrambled eggs over 24 hours, before you reintroduce his normal puppy food again. If, however, the diarrhoea or vomiting continues for more than 24 hours, or becomes more severe, phone your vet.
- Once your puppy has settled in, you'll likely want to change his diet to special puppy food such as Pedigree® Puppy. Make sure you replace the original food with the new food gradually as specified on the packaging.