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Everything You Should Know Before Bringing a Puppy Home

Choosing the right food for our new puppy from a vast selection of foods is difficult. We try to clarify in this article with the help of an experienced veterinary nutritionist.

Everything you should know before bringing a puppy home

Bringing a puppy home. Usually, the first thing you do when you adopt a puppy is go to a pet shop and buy everything you need: a comfortable kennel, a collar, some toys, a water bowl, and finally, food!

‘Puppies are babies’: how to handle your new best friend

Bringing home a new puppy can be full of excitement and challenges. While the cute factor of puppies and young dogs can make us melt, some of their behaviour can drive us crazy.

From biting and barking to housebreaking problems that add new colour combinations to your carpets, trainers can help humans and their new dogs through all the stages of childhood. Puppies are children. Much of their developmentally appropriate behaviour does not constantly adapt to the human world. One of the biggest problems new owners have is prevalent puppy bites.

But it is painful. Puppy teeth are notoriously sharp. That pinching is a form of communication. While gnawing on our shoes or hands, puppies try to tell us: ‘I’m hungry, I’m tired, I’m thirsty, I need to go to the bathroom‘.

While ruling out whether one of those unmet needs is at the root of the behaviour, an immediate solution is to give the puppy something it can chew on, such as a toy or a specially designed chew stick. Then, offer praise when the puppy stops chewing and takes the offered toy.

Another thing to consider is whether the puppy – just like a baby – has had enough sleep. Without adequate rest and nap time, “You will see a puppy that starts to deteriorate behaviourally, gets overstimulated more easily, gets what we would call ‘grumpy’, prickly and biting,” which is simply frustrating for everyone.

Puppies are a concentration of power.

Puppies are a concentration of power.
The puppy is undoubtedly a physically growing organism that needs balanced nutrition to make it a healthy and robust adult. Still, it is also a mind developing equally fast and must be nurtured with a good education.

Puppies and young dogs have tons of energy, which is great for young, active families. But if time is tight or schedules change, families should consider taking them to a dog park to allow them to let off steam.

This is something that does not necessarily apply to younger puppies. However, should puppies suddenly be surrounded by a group of unfamiliar dogs investigating the newcomer, ‘this can create lifelong fear that develops into reactivity, sometimes aggression’.

When dogs are older, visiting dog parks might be something to consider. Avoiding ‘accidents’ and damage to furniture caused by chewing can be achieved by limiting a puppy’s access to the entire house.

Start by keeping them in a controlled space. Crate training is helpful, as is offering them a ‘designated space’.

A dog crate or small puppy-proof room where they can relax without humans hovering and telling them, “No!” is essential for their development. “We have to be careful how many ‘no’s’ we say to our dogs during the day,” otherwise, when necessary, the “no” becomes annoying white noise instead of direction.

How to choose the right food for our puppy

At this point, one is confronted with a vast selection of foodstuffs: understanding which is the most suitable for our dog is certainly not easy, and often, one tends to be attracted to the food with the most attractive packaging and perhaps the best price.

This choice, however, cannot be made lightly: it is always good to know that a complete and balanced diet is one of the fundamental building blocks for healthy growth, together with genetics and factors related to the environment in which the dog lives.

Genetics is a predetermined factor, and the living environment is usually not adjustable. In contrast, diet is something we can act on directly and is one of the first choices every dog owner must make to ensure their dog’s well-being. Therefore, let us try to answer any questions you may have about your puppy’s diet.

The Vet Told Me That The Puppy Has To Eat “Puppy Food” And That The Adult Food I Give To The Other Dog Is No Good. Why?

The nutritional needs of growing dogs are different from those of adult dogs. For example, the minimum protein requirement of a pup is higher, so adult dog food might have a low protein count that is insufficient for a growing puppy.

It is also essential to consider that puppies need more energy because they have to gain weight until they reach the size they will be as adults.

“Adult” foods often have a lower energy density than “puppy” foods, i.e. they contain less energy at the exact dosage, which means that the puppy would have to ingest a large amount of adult food to be complete, certainly more than the amount indicated on the package label, based on its weight. Hence, there is a risk of underfeeding our puppy.

Conversely, suppose the dosage is increased so that he can satiate himself. In that case, too high levels of some nutrients, such as calcium, can be taken by the doggy, which, if overdosed or vice versa (underdosed), can adversely affect bone development.

I just got a puppy from a breeder and want to change its diet. How should I do it?

Everything you should know before bringing a puppy home
Introduce your pup to the new food gradually.

An abrupt change in diet can cause gastrointestinal upset for your puppy, so it is best to introduce the new food gradually. The transition duration can vary and should be moderated according to the dog, but about a week is usually necessary.

It is advisable to start by replacing a small portion of the old food (e.g., a quarter of the dose for the first two days) and then gradually increase the percentage of new food (50 per cent for two more days and then 75 per cent for two more days) until the previous diet is wholly eliminated.

If possible, it would be best not to change your puppy’s diet immediately after you get him but to wait a few weeks so that he can cope with one change at a time since he has already been removed from his mom.

How do I choose the correct dosage?

In addition to choosing the right food, quantity also plays a key role: we must know that the weight a dog will be able to reach as an adult is programmed by his genetics: in practice if you feed him more, he will not grow more than his genetics predicted, but will only do so faster.
We wrote an article about how much I should feed my dog on this subject.

This is not good because too rapid growth, especially in large puppies, can predispose them to orthopaedic growth disorders. However, overfeeding could lead to early overweight conditions in small dogs or those predisposed breeds.

Usually, the dosage is given on puppy foods according to the puppy’s age and expected adult weight. However, if the dog is not purebred, it can be difficult to estimate correctly the weight it will have when it grows up.

It is essential, therefore, to monitor growth with the treating veterinarian, weighing the canine at least once a month and correcting the dosage when necessary, according to the dog’s characteristics.

I am bringing a puppy home. How many meals should I feed him?

For medium-sized dogs, it is advisable to provide at least three meals a day until about six months of age; after that, it is possible to switch to 2 daily meals gradually. After that, the times may be a little shorter or a little longer for small or large dogs.

There is a new puppy at home. Should I give him supplements?

It depends on the supplements and needs: if the basic food is complete and balanced and the dog is healthy, accessories are not strictly necessary, especially those based on vitamins and trace elements such as iron, copper, zinc, etc.

However, supplements containing specific functional ingredients to support intestinal well-being, for example, during diet changes or immune defences during the vaccination period, may be helpful. In medium- and large-sized puppies, administering chondroprotective supplements may also be appropriate.

If a home diet is chosen instead, it must be formulated with a veterinary doctor experienced in nutrition, and mineral-vitamin supplements are needed.

Can I give milk to my puppy?

This might sound like a good idea, but it’s not always the case: after weaning, “lactases” (i.e., the enzymes that are used to digest lactose) are reduced, and some dogs can become lactose intolerant, which is why it is not recommended to feed dogs any cheese containing lactose.

Everything you should know before bringing a puppy home
This may seem beneficial for the puppy, but it is not a good idea.

Small amounts of milk are usually well tolerated, but increasing the dosage could cause gastrointestinal problems, such as abnormal fermentation and diarrhoea. Furthermore, adding milk is unnecessary if the basic food is complete and balanced.

What foods should I avoid?

Toxic foodstuffs such as chocolate, garlic, onions, grapes and sultanas must be avoided. It is also preferable not to accustom your puppy to receiving leftovers or treats from our table, as it is easy to overdo the daily calorie intake. If you overdo it, you can also unbalance your diet.

Also, pay close attention to bones, especially if cooked, because they can fragment into sharp splinters and become dangerous because they would perforate our puppy’s intestines.

How long should I give the puppy food?

It is generally said that ‘puppy‘ food should be provided up to the age of one year. In reality, however, the larger the dog’s size, the longer it will grow.

Large or giant dogs will not reach adult weight until 18-24 months at the earliest, and they should be fed puppy food throughout this period.

Conversely, tiny dogs (such as toy breeds) may reach maturity around 6-8 months, and the transition to adult food can then be brought forward.

I am bringing a pooch home. What should I do if I doubt my puppy’s diet?

Without a doubt, the first thing to do is to consult your four-legged friend’s attending veterinarian, who will be able to give you all the information you need to feed him properly and ensure his healthy growth.

Thank you for reading the article to the end. Your reading contribution was significant to us.

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The "Frenchie Breed" website is a blog aimed at dog owners. We regularly publish articles about our four-legged furry friends. Among the contents of our blog, you will find ample space on the latest news in the sector, with information and in-depth analysis dedicated to the world of dogs in all its forms, the latest trends and news of the moment, curious facts, events devoted to dogs, product reviews, as well as an intense activity of information regarding the health and well-being of pets.

Please Note: The articles in the 'Frenchie Breed Blog' are for information purposes only; nothing published can or should be construed as an attempt to offer professional advice or consultation with a physician, veterinary surgeon or another health professional.

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Written by Frenchie Breed

The "Frenchie Breed" website is a blog aimed at dog owners. We regularly publish articles about our four-legged furry friends. Among the contents of our blog, you will find ample space on the latest news in the sector, with information and in-depth analysis dedicated to the world of dogs in all its forms, the latest trends and news of the moment, curious facts, events devoted to dogs, product reviews, as well as an intense activity of information regarding the health and well-being of pets.

Please Note: The articles in the 'Frenchie Breed Blog' are for information purposes only; nothing published can or should be construed as an attempt to offer professional advice or consultation with a physician, veterinary surgeon or another health professional.

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