A Guide to Feeding Dogs: From Puppy to Senior
Is there anything better than being a fur-parent to a pawsome pooch? Their goofy “smiles” and wagging tails can warm even the coldest of hearts! You know what they say, “a true friend leaves paw prints on your heart,” and boy, do they know what they’re talking about.
It’s no secret that when you become a fur-parent, it’s up to you to make sure your pet’s well-being is completely looked after. A part of these responsibilities is understanding how to feed dogs and how to feed puppies. Of course, this is even more important when you start to look at senior dog food.
With all of the different brands, options, and information out there, it can get confusing to establish the correct feeding dogs schedule. Did you know that going from puppy to a grown-up doggo requires a significant shift in their diet? Or what about the nutrients needed to support their bones as they start to gray? Well, our dog feeding guide will cover that all! Let’s jump in.
Door Buddy’s Dog Feeding Guide
What to Feed Puppies
If you’re starting your fur-parenting journey right from the beginning, you are in for one special time! Between puppy training and toilet training your dog, your schedule can get a little busy. However, this doesn’t mean that your dog’s nutrition should be any less important. In fact, making sure your pup gets all the goodness they need during their younger years can set them up for a pawsome future.
In the first few weeks of your pup’s life, they will be on a strict nursing diet. Before 4 weeks old, their mama will be their primary source of food. At around 4-6 weeks of age, they can start transitioning to solid foods - this is a lot faster than hooman babies, right?!
When making this transition, it’s essential that you still cater to your pup’s gentle digestive system and growing tummy. This is why it’s recommended to mix dry puppy kibble with warm milk and a milk replacer. By doing so, you will achieve a gruel consistency that will be pawsome for your doggo.
How Much to Feed Puppies
Like newborn hoomans, puppies have a small stomach and require frequent feeds. Don’t worry, you won’t be up at 3am doing night feeds! They should, however, be fed 3 to 4 times a day. ½ a cup of food three times a day should do the trick.
Although, with doggos, it’s not necessarily a one size fits all situation. As dogs vary in sizes and weight requirements, it’s best to consult your vet for the best meal plan for your pup.
What to Feed Grown Dogs
The great thing about dogs is that they’ll just about eat anything we give them… even the kitty litter! Okay, maybe that’s not such a great thing. If you find your pooch snacking out of the litter box, make sure to read our article here - it will be a great help in stopping this from happening.
Once your doggo has outgrown the gruel, you can choose from a pure kibble diet or mix it up with a treat or two of gravy. For those extra special pooches, a homemade diet of raw meat, rice, and other delicious food could be the best way forward. Homemade dog recipes are easy to come by, and they can do wonders for dogs with skin conditions or funny stomachs.
What to Feed Senior Dogs
Generally speaking, once your dog reaches that 5-year mark, you will want to look at changing their diet to a senior dog food one. Before doing so, consult your vet to see if your dog is ready for a change in their food. This is important because each breed of dog ages differently, so your dog may only reach their senior milestone later in their life.
Dogs entering their golden years can benefit from eating food with less fat and calories. The focus becomes more on the amount of vitamins and energy they get from the food to sustain their lifestyle and bones. Food like red meats, fish, chicken, and dairy products come highly recommended.
If a homemade pet food life isn’t for you, there’s no shame in sticking with your trusted kibble. Just make sure that it’s adjusted to suit your senior dog. By opting for senior dog food, you’re giving your doggo a boost in:
- Joint supplements
- Added MCTs, omega-3s, and antioxidants
If their teeth start feeling sensitive or they’re having trouble eating the food, you can soak the kibble in water or a milk replacement to achieve the gruel consistency. Funny how things come full circle!
How Much to Feed Senior Dogs
Again, your dog’s weight and dietary needs will come into play here, but here are a few general guidelines to see you through.
The older our doggos get, the fewer calories they will need. The reason for this is that they won’t be as lively as they once were in their younger years. With this in mind, finding the right calorie density can depend on whether your dog is looking to add a few extra pounds or to slim down.
For weight gain, it’s best to get upwards of 450 calories per cup for kibble For weight loss, less than 350 calories per cup for kibble should do the trick,
How to Choose the Right Food for Your Dog
A vital step in understanding how to feed dogs and how to feed puppies is knowing which dog food is right for them. Your dog’s age and weight will affect the nutrients they need and their preferences.
Feeding our dogs homemade meals will always take preferences in finding healthy dog food because of all its nutrients and yumminess. However, this can’t always be the case. There are plenty of store brands that are healthy and nutritious for your dog.
If you’re going by our dog feeding guide, we recommend looking out for the following:
- Looking for a formulated dog food that’s suited to your pooch’s age
- Considering a formulated dog food that’s appropriate to your dog’s size
- Thinking about your pooch’s level of activity
- Paying attention to specific health needs
When it comes to feeding dogs, it doesn’t have to be too scientific! Luckily, our pooches are happy with just about any type of dog feeding guide. As long as they’re getting the nutrients and calories they need, they’ll be one pawsome pooch!
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