Feeding your puppy
Your puppy will need the right amount of nutrients in order to grow and become a healthy adult. It's critical to your puppy's health that his physical condition is monitored regularly and that the feeding amount is adjusted as your puppy grows.
Weigh your puppy.
Feed him based on feeding guide and veterinary recommendations.*
Evaluate your puppy's physical condition using our on line growth tracker chart. Simply enter the date, your pet's weight, and using the slider you can set your puppy's condition score.
Adjust the amount you feed accordingly as your puppy grows.
*Large breed puppies, who will weigh more than 25kgs when adult, have very specific nutritional needs to ensure healthy bone and joint development.
If switching your puppy to Hill's Science Plan Puppy, gradually introduce it over a 7-day period. Do this by mixing your puppy's former food with increasing proportions of the new food, until only Science Plan is being fed. He will then be able to fully enjoy the taste and benefits of the superior nutrition provided by Science Plan Canine Puppy Healthy Development.
You and your vet
Your vet is the best source of information about the health and wellbeing of your puppy. Ask your vet to advise regularly on your puppy's weight because achieving and maintaining a pet's ideal weight not only reduces certain health risks, but can lead to your puppy having a more energetic, longer and healthier life.
Ask your veterinarian which of these three feeding methods is best for your puppy:
- Free Choice: Food is available to your puppy at all times.
- Time-Limited Feeding: Food is available to your puppy for a limited time.
- Meal Feeding: A measured amount of food is available to your puppy at specific meal times each day.
Your puppy must have an adequate supply of fresh water at all times. Not having water to drink for a sustained length of time will harm your puppy's health. Treats & tidbits Although it's tempting to give them table scraps, they do not provide your puppy with the correct balance of nutrients. Try to be sparing with treats, as giving too many can lead to weight gain or nutritional imbalance.
The next step
When your dog reaches maturity, his nutritional needs will be different. He'll need to move on to an adult food that will provide him with specific nutrients, vitamins and minerals in a balance that's correct for his age and breed size. Hill's Science Plan can provide exactly that. The life stage range is tailored to keep your dog in the best of health throughout his whole life, whatever his breed or lifestyle.
How a puppy's nutritional needs differ from ours?
In a study of homemade pet foods, more than 90 percent of foods were found to be nutritionally unbalanced and incomplete for pets.*
Each species has very different nutritional requirements. Cooking for your dog is not the same as cooking for your children or yourself. Puppies have nutritional requirements that are quite different from humans.
Foods that are not properly balanced to meet a puppy's needs can lead to health problems. For example, calcium and phosphorus must be balanced to ensure that a careful ratio of more calcium than phosphorus is maintained for a healthy metabolism.**
Puppies have a very critical need for much more taurine than humans require. Too little taurine can lead to heart and eye disorders.†
Never feed raw meat to your puppy. The handling of raw meat is always a critical part of cooking our human foods. It is also important in our puppy's foods. Raw meats often contain bacteria like salmonella, listeria and even E. coli, which can be very dangerous to pets and the humans who care for them. Puppies and other pets fed raw meat can pass bacteria on to the humans who come in contact with them. Small children, the elderly and people with compromised immune systems may become seriously ill.††
*Small Animal Clinical Nutrition IV Edition, page 169.
**Small Animal Clinical Nutrition IV Edition, page 310.
† Small Animal Clinical Nutrition IV Edition, page 30.
†† FDA Notice December 18, 2002.
Introducing adult food
Now that your puppy is nearly full grown you should start to think about transitioning him from his regular puppy food, to a more grown-up food more suited to his needs.
A new food should always be introduced gradually, even if your dog appears to like it. This will help reduce the chance of him developing a stomach upset following the food change. Changes to diet affect different animals in different ways, so it is important to manage the change carefully. In general, dogs are creatures of habit. Your dog may require some help changing foods, especially if used to having just a single type of food. Another example would be if he is used to a varied diet, but the vet has recommended a more controlled diet due to allergies, kidney disease or needing to lose weight.
You might like to try some of the following suggestions to ease the transition between foods:
Gradually introduce the food over 5-10 days.
Introduce approximately 10% of the new food each day, mixed in with the old food. Increase the proportions by 10% each day until you reach the full amount of the new food.
Avoid feeding chilled foods.
You can change the texture of canned food by adding a small amount of warm water to soften it and make it easier to mix the old and new food types together.
Don't be tempted to add human food titbits to the new diet. Most dogs will end up eating the human food instead and this can develop into a bad habit long term.
Keep a bowl of clean fresh water available at all times.
No dog should be starved whilst trying to introduce a new food.
If you are really struggling to change your dog's food, speak to your veterinary surgeon or nurse to see if they have any extra behaviour tips to help you.
Your dog may require a change in food to help manage a medical condition. If this is the case, it is important to follow any advice given by your veterinary surgeon. Appetite can be affected by disease, so speak to your vet to see whether there is any special feeding advice for your dog.