A puppy’s energy requirement will vary with size. As with many things, both excess and deficiency can be harmful. A puppy that is too fat is liable to be obese later on. Being overweight also predisposes to bone and joint disorders in larger framed and rapidly growing animals. Speak with your veterinarian if you have any concerns about your puppy’s weight.
As your puppy develops into an adult, their nutritional requirements will alter from ‘puppy/growth’ to ‘adult/maintenance’ varieties. Sedentary or desexed dogs may become obese on maintenance diets (if overfed or under-exercised), so specific ‘light’ or low-fat diets have been developed. Your vet can help you with advice on the appropriate nutrition and weight monitoring needs of your dog based on their age, breed and exercise routine.
Be aware of changes in your puppy’s diet as any sudden alterations may cause digestive upsets. You should check with your veterinarian for weight range details and other information regarding nutrition, especially recommendations about the ideal food for your puppy.
Most adult dogs are ideally fed two meals a day, while puppies generally start with four or more meals a day, with this gradually reduced over time.
Try not to suddenly change your puppy’s diet as this can cause digestive upsets. The recommended feeding guide for your puppy is generally provided on the packaging, but it’s best to regularly monitor your puppy’s weight and adjust the amount of food if needed. You should check with your vet for frequency of feeding, ideal bodyweight and nutritional information.
Beware of too many treats
Ideally, your puppy should only ever get his or her own meals. But it is sometimes hard not to give additional ‘treats’. If you give treats, then definitely do not give human lollies or sweets. Suitable dog treats are an important component in training and sometimes novel food sources can be given in appropriate situations. Treats should be small in size (no larger than 1/4 of a 5-cent piece regardless of the size of your dog) when training so your dog does not become overweight. If giving a large number of treats to your pet, then ensure you reduce their normal meal size that day to account for the extra calories.
Watch what your puppy eats!
- They love drinking from dirty puddles, but ensure your puppy always has access to fresh cool water
- Many of the foods we enjoy are toxic to our dogs, such as chocolate, grapes and onions
- If you give additional treats to your dog to help with training and positive reinforcement, make sure they are healthy dog treats – not human ones
Remember that food treats add extra calories so be careful to manage your dog's weight, whatever their age.