Your puppy will be eating three meals per day while in our care. When you take your puppy home, it is ok to either continue with three feedings per day or it is acceptable to offer two feedings at this time. The first feeding should be given in the morning after the puppy has been taken out to eliminate. The last feeding should be given a minimum of 3-4 hours or more before bedtime. Keeping your puppy on somewhat of a schedule will help with housebreaking and will make your puppy feel more secure and confident.
Another thing I recommend is hand feeding your puppy for the first few days or even the first week or so. It will create a bond between you and your puppy and it establishes you as the puppy’s food source, which in turn makes them look to you as their pack leader. You can have all the members of your family take turns, but just hold a small handful of kibble in your hands and allow them to eat right from you. Sit on the floor beside them and make it a positive and loving exchange. Continuing to do this with food and treats can establish a good relationship that may help with resource guarding as well.
We will provide you with a small supply of the food your puppy has been eating, as well as information on where to buy it. You can use the food we give you to either get you through until you purchase more or to use as you slowly transition to the food of your choice.
It is helpful and wise to educate yourself about what goes into your dog’s food. It is true that a dog’s life and health will be directly impacted by the quality of food they are given over their lifetime. Just as with humans, what you put into their body impacts their well-being and can impact the length of their life.
If you choose to change your dog’s food at any time, introduce the new food slowly, mixed in gradually with the food you are transitioning the dog to eat. It is also helpful to add in digestive enzymes and probiotics in your dog’s daily diet. This makes food changes a little gentler as well. If your dog develops diarrhea, try giving him a tablespoon of plain yogurt or plain canned pumpkin (100% pumpkin, not pumpkin pie filling) with his food twice a day, until the diarrhea goes away. If the diarrhea persists for more than two days, please consult your vet.
Many dog owners, breeders, and vets are turning to a raw or a partially raw fed diet. There are benefits to feeding dogs whole and fresh foods vs dry kibble. A portion of the food we feed our dogs every day is raw. Your puppy was given a partially raw diet when they were with us as well. Some research has shown support for raw being more beneficial than dry or canned food. There is a wealth of information out there and I encourage you to read up on the best options for your dog. Feeding a raw diet takes more commitment than dry kibble and is oftentimes more expensive. One thing that must be considered is what it takes to make a nutritionally balanced diet. Some companies have started to offer raw combination foods that are flash frozen and these make it more convenient for you to feed your dog a raw diet with everything already well balanced. Never take on raw feeding without extensive research. Make sure you follow recommendations to ensure your dog has a well balanced and safe raw diet.
Some people worry about salmonella contamination with raw feeding. This is something you should research and find out what makes you comfortable, especially in a home with small children. After reading more on this topic, it is not something I spend much time worrying about. I keep the raw food cold and frozen and they eat it from their bowls immediately upon serving. My dogs don’t even wait for it to defrost. They like eating the little frozen nuggets. I haven’t known a dog who didn’t go crazy for the raw diet. They clean their bowls and look for more. Practice good hygiene and keep the bowls clean, just as you keep your own plates, cutting boards, and cooking instruments clean. Make sure to wash your hands before and after preparing your dog’s meals. Serve small, bite sized pieces so your dog isn’t dragging or moving the raw food around on the floor. If your dog takes food from their bowl and goes to eat it somewhere else, try to contain them to a space while they are eating raw food so that you can keep all surfaces clean.
If you choose to prepare your dog’s raw diet yourself, please make sure you invest a lot of time into researching a safe and well balanced way to do so. Also, never feed dogs soft or cooked bones.
A good website to check out: https://truthaboutpetfood.com/ They have an army of people working together to make pet food safe and healthy.
Supplements and Vitamins
There are also many options out there when it comes to vitamins, supplements, and added nutrition. Research your options and choose wisely. There are some good options out there but there are also lots of unnecessary products on the market and companies looking to make money by exploiting the love you have for your dog. Talk to your vet to see what they may suggest. In addition to the kibble and frozen raw, our dogs take probiotics with digestive enzymes and I add omega 3 fish oil to their food every day. I also often add soft, hard boiled or scrambled eggs (cooked in coconut oil only) as a treat or on top of their food. Many advocate for raw egg but I prefer to at least soft boil them. I also make homemade doggie meatballs in bulk and freeze them. I thaw as needed and usually offer one per day with their food. I like to change things up sometimes and give them some new and interesting food experiences. There are lots of great whole foods you can offer your dog for a safe and nutritious snack. I am always trying to read and learn more about what is best for our dogs and I am always open to learning more.
You will want to use small, bite sized treats for training. You don’t want to fill your puppy up with them because they might not want to eat their more nutritional puppy food. A small bite sized training treat that we like is “Bil-Jac, Little Jacs”, but there are many options out there. Just make sure you choose something that is small and bite sized and doesn’t fill them up after eating only a few. We also prefer to use American made treats only. Some other things people find work well are cheerios or very tiny dices of hot dog. In order to continually reinforce and reward our dogs, we keep a container of training treats near our door and even though they have been house trained for a very long time, they usually get one of these bite sized treats when they come in from a potty trip. It is always wise to continue to show your dog a reward for their continued good behavior.
Some safe chew options are bully sticks or deer and elk antlers. Look for “American made” when buying bully sticks or chews. Do not ever give your dog rawhide. It can cause diarrhea, illness, and even death. Rawhide does not digest in a dog’s body and can cause blockages and intestinal damage.
With all chews, treats, and foods, if your dog has a loose or runny stool after eating, discontinue use and try again in a few weeks. If they continue to have an issue, discontinue use altogether.