The dog’s childhood, by human standards, is incredibly short — only a year and a half at most (if we are talking about large breeds). However, this short period has more worries than others, because it is how much time you spend on the upbringing and health of your pet that largely depends on the future together.
Puppy’s diet — the right to choose
Nutrition in this roundabout of worries is given a huge, if not to say, dominant place. The fact is that the growth period of a puppy is not only weight gain, but also the formation of the musculoskeletal system, coat, teeth, as well as the adjustment of the internal organs of the animal.
Even buying a thoroughbred baby, in addition, to which there are all sorts of documents and recommendations, the owner has the right to choose: to listen to them or not. The way the breeder feeds his dogs does not mean that he is absolutely right, besides, each dog is individual.
You can easily choose a different type of feeding (natural or industrial), as well as choose an individual diet — understanding what your pet’s growing body needs.
However, in this article, we will talk not so much about the diet, but about how to organize the entire process of feeding a dog, to form the right eating habits in it-it will be more difficult to change or partially change them later, but it is also possible. The rules are the same, but you will need more perseverance.
First of all, for the appearance of a dog in the house, you must prepare a fully equipped “dining room” for it. Most often, in apartments, bowls are placed in the kitchen, and this is very convenient, but there are owners who are categorically against the presence of an animal in a place where a human meal takes place.
In some ways, they are right, because the ban on entering the kitchen completely stops such a bad habit as begging. However, you can also deal with this disadvantage in other ways, which we will talk about a little later.
So, you have chosen a quiet place not on the aisle, and it’s time to go buy bowls. The range in stores is huge, but we do not advise you to choose dishes that are placed directly on the floor. For small and dwarf breeds, whose growth will not change significantly, you can buy bowls on stands or on an unregulated rack.
For medium and large breeds, it is better to immediately buy a rack designed for the maximum growth of an adult dog and adjustable in height. As the puppy grows, you will be able to lift the bowls higher.
The habit of neatness
The main rule is that the bowls should be at the level of the dog’s chest. Contrary to popular misconception, leaning over to eat, a growing puppy does not risk getting a violation in the development of the backbone. Veterinarians say that the development of pathology in this way is impossible, especially given that the dog spends a maximum of 20 minutes a day eating.
The reason for our recommendation is quite different. First, dogs always eat standing up, and the closer the bowl is to their muzzle, the more comfortable they are, which means the process itself is more accurate, and you will not need to spend extra time cleaning the “dining room”.
Secondly, raised bowls are just salvation for owners of lop-eared breeds, because without bending his head low, the dog does not dip his ears in food, and the owner does not have to wash them after each feeding with wet food.
Finally, and thirdly, much more dust and wool fly into the bowls directly on the floor, and the water becomes polluted much faster.
The main rule of feeding puppies: often, but little by little. The daily intake should be divided into several methods. And the younger the puppy, the more often it needs to be fed. The scheme is something like this:
1-2 months — 6 times a day,
2-3 months — 5 times a day,
4-5 months — 4 times a day,
6-7 months times a day,
12-14 months — 2 times a day.
Why is this important? Because an excessive load on the weak gastrointestinal tract is extremely harmful to the puppy. Moreover, such a touching picture as a baby with a tummy swollen from eating food opens a direct path to disruption of the proper development of the spine and backbone.
The empty bowl rule applies to both a puppy and an adult dog. This means that there should be nothing in it between feedings. If the puppy is not finished, then the leftovers are immediately put in the refrigerator until the next meal. The only thing that the dog should always have is water, and it should be changed at least twice a day.
Three healthy eating habits
In order for your cohabitation to be comfortable, it is necessary from the moment the puppy appears in the house to develop rules of behavior that the dog must strictly follow all his life.
Rule one. All food in the house belongs to the owner!
What he has given can be taken away by him at any time by the right of the leader. If your puppy tries to protect his food from you, growls when you approach the bowl or put your hands in it, you should immediately take the food away.
After returning it after a while, see if the dog will growl again. If Yes, then repeat these steps until the puppy learns to calmly treat any manipulations with his food.
Rule two. Food only in a bowl!
If you don’t want to watch a drooling muzzle with pleading eyes every time you sit down to dinner, never give a dog a piece from your table. Very soon, the animals start not only begging, but also demanding food, and your lunch will turn into real flour.
It’s best to make it a point to send the dog out of the kitchen when you’re having lunch or cooking. If you really want to treat the animal to some useful piece, then put it in a bowl and just call it to the “table”.
Rule three. We teach you to hold your breath!
Dogs ‘ eating habits are determined by their biological species. The dog is a subspecies of the common wolf, and it is from him that it inherited its instincts, which could not have changed much in the 20-30 thousand years that these animals live next to us — too short a period for evolution.
Wolves hunt in packs and thus get one prey for all of them. First, the dominant couple eats, then all the others start eating. Waiting patiently for food is normal for a dog, no matter how hungry it is.
Therefore, it is necessary from the very beginning to form the puppy’s inherent healthy eating habits: sit quietly or lie down next to you while you apply food, and not demanding barking or spinning under your feet.
Then you put down the bowl and with a command — it can be absolutely any-allow the dog to get up and start eating. Thus, in the dog’s perception, you fully reproduce the behavior of the leader, and this perception will be very useful to you throughout your life together. Changing your dog’s eating habits to suit a whim will not only hurt you but also her in the future.
As we have already emphasized, it is always up to the owner to decide whether to feed the puppy with natural food or an industrial diet. In fact, both are acceptable under one mandatory condition: the food must be full and balanced.
It will become increasingly difficult to provide him with natural products as the puppy grows. In no case should you feed your dog what you eat yourself? All products for it should be purchased and prepared separately. For modern people living in constant time pressure, this is very difficult.
Dry rations are much more convenient in this sense — they are easy to purchase and the manufacturer has already taken care of the usefulness and balance of its products. We will talk about how to make the right choice of dry food in the next article.