One of the best ways that you can show affection to your new puppy is by providing him with food. However, it’s not all the time that giving food does well for your furry friend. If feeding is not regulated, your dog’s health may be put in danger.
Below are common mistakes you should steer clear of to help your pup grow into a healthy, happy dog.
1. Not Feeding According to Age
Each dog varies in their nutritional needs depending on their age. Compared to adult dogs, puppies need food with higher calories. This means, if you feed your young pup with food meant for an adult dog, it may not give him the nutrients he needs in the right proportions.
2. Giving Food From the Table
Don’t be swayed by those cute puppy eyes begging you for human food. Feeding your pup some scraps from the table will only do more harm than good. For instance, your pup may accidentally digest foods that are toxic to them such as chocolate, raisins, or onion.
Feeding scraps from the table can also wreck your dog’s diet, causing a nutritional imbalance.
3. Giving Too Many Treats
Giving occasional treats is okay, but doing it several times a day will affect your pup’s diet. Treats should only form a part of your pup’s entire diet and shouldn’t be a substitute for a well-balanced meal. They serve as “add-ons” to entice a pup so that he obeys during training and becomes motivated to behave.
Make sure to use treats wisely as over-treating can cause your pup to lose his appetite for his regular food, leading to obesity. When training your pup, give food rewards in tiny pieces or opt for non-food rewards like play time or petting.
Save the tastiest treat for important milestones like learning to behave when there are guests and potty training.
4. Switching Pet Food Rapidly
Generally, pet foods are tailored to provide the nutritional requirements of the type of breed for which they are formulated. However, there are some pet owners who think that pet foods are interchangeable as long as the labels say “puppy food.” This is not a good practice for your pup as this may result in serious health issues.
If you really need to switch to another puppy food, do so gradually and make sure to consult with a veterinarian first.
5. Free Feeding
Free feeding or keeping your puppy's food bowl full the whole day is a bad idea.
You probably think that you’re only making sure that your pup won’t go hungry especially when you have to leave the house. But the problem with this is, it can cause your young pup to eat more than what he needs.
6. Not Measuring the Food You Give
As a pet parent, it’s your responsibility to control how much your puppy should eat. Don’t keep filling the food bowl just because your pooch is pleading for more. Young pups are prone to indigestion so make sure to control how much you feed him by using a measuring cup.
Ask your vet about the appropriate amount of food you can give fit to your dog’s breed and based on his lifestyle.
7. Feeding Formula Milk Meant for Infants
While milk is beneficial for most humans, the case is not the same when it comes to dogs. Milk is only safe for puppies as adult dogs may experience an upset stomach or diarrhea if given some. However, puppies should only receive milk from their mother or other mother dogs.
In an unfortunate circumstance where the puppies’ mother dies, make sure to only consider feeding formulas made for puppies. Infant milk and other milk formulas sold for human consumption are not recommended for dogs.
At one point, you may have committed any of the seven mistakes above. But don’t feel bad about yourself as it’s logical that you only want your pup to be happy. However, when it comes to food, you need to hold back even if your pooch keeps pleading for more.
It is within the pet parent’s power to correct these mistakes. It may take some time to get used to but well worth it if it can ensure that your pup can enjoy the rest of his life in good health.
Farah Al-Khojai is the Managing Partner of Pet's Delight. A passionate entrepreneur, Farah holds a Bsc in Government from the London School of Economics. She is always on the lookout for new opportunities to develop and grow the pet and equestrian retail and wholesale market in the UAE and beyond, and is proud to be at the helm of the first and the largest pet care provider in the market representing world-class brands including Orijen, Applaws, Hunter, Savic, Flamingo, Ruffwear and Rogz.