After your puppy separates from his mother, it's your job to take on the parent role. This includes providing your furry pal with proper care. A healthy diet is an essential part of this, because without the required nutrients, your puppy might suffer from malnutrition and poor growth. Feeding your pup at the same times each day helps promote potty training, because what goes in at a set time, comes out at a set time.
Up until the age of 14 to 18 months, feed your pet companion three meals a day. For easy tracking, consistently feed your puppy early in the morning after his exercise, and again in the middle of the afternoon and late in the evening. You might have to come home from work during lunchtime to feed your puppy, or have a pet sitter, friend or other family member feed him for you. After about 18 months, skip the mid-afternoon lunch and feed your puppy only breakfast and dinner.
When your puppy eats, his brain signals his large intestine that it's time to empty itself to make space for the food that's on its way. You can usually expect a bowel movement 30 to 60 minutes after eating. Make your puppy's last meal of the day somewhat late in the evening so he goes potty when you walk him before bedtime. For instance, it you go to sleep at 11 p.m., feed him around 9 p.m. This makes it less likely for him to wake up in the middle of the night.
Although it might seem easy to have a bowl of dry food available to your puppy all day, it makes housebreaking difficult, because it's hard to predict when your pup has to go potty. It can also lead to overeating and weight problems. Your furry pal might end up consuming too many calories, which can make him grow rapidly and develop a bone growth problem. Similar to the feeding schedule, control your puppy's access to water until he has control over his bladder.
Puppies benefit from high-quality food that contains 25 to 30 percent protein and all other nutrients they need. Consult a veterinarian about brands and feeding amounts based on your pet companion's breed, age and weight. If you're changing your puppy's food, always do so in a gradual manner to avoid diarrhea and intestinal upsets. Mix some of the new food into the old food, and over a one-week period slowly reduce the amount of the old food and increase the amount of the new food.
- PetMD: The Importance of Proper Nutrition for Puppies
- PetMD: Feeding Schedule for Puppies
- Milford Animal Hospital: Housetraining Your Puppy
- ASPCA: Feeding Your Puppy
- The Complete Idiot's Guide to Puppies; M.A. Gorman
Kimberly Caines is a well traveled model, writer and licensed physical fitness trainer who was first published in 1997. Her work has appeared in the Dutch newspaper "De Overschiese Krant" and on various websites. Caines holds a degree in journalism from Mercurius College in Holland and is writing her first novel.