Puppy Basics: Feeding Tips for the First 6 Months
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The timeline for feeding your new puppy changes rapidly over the first six months. Learn what and how you should feed your puppy based on the key development milestones she will experience.
Why Is It Important to Know Milestones for Puppy Development?
Due to breed differences and animal individuality, it is impossible to predict exact dates for a puppy’s growth and development milestones. However, by using the following milestones as a guide for healthy growth, developmental problems can be spotted — and possibly prevented — early on. By knowing these milestones, you’ll also know when your puppy is ready to begin weaning.
Puppy Developmental Milestones
|7-10 days old||Puppies double their birth weight.
Puppies begin to urinate and defecate on their own.
|10-18 days old||Puppies attempt to stand.
Puppies’ eyes begin to open.
Puppies’ ears begin to open.
|18-21 days old||Puppies hear and respond to noises.
Puppies begin to walk.
|3 weeks old||Begin weaning process for orphaned puppies.
Puppies begin responsive vocalization.
Deciduous (baby) teeth will begin erupting.
|4 weeks old||Begin weaning process for mother-fed puppies.|
|3–6 months old||Puppies’ adult teeth erupt.|
How to Wean Puppies with IAMS™
When your puppy is ready to begin weaning (at around 4 weeks for mother-fed puppies and 3 weeks for orphaned puppies), use this step-by-step process:
- Introduce a small amount of water in a shallow dish. Most puppies will play in the water; however, within four or five days, your puppy will begin to develop drinking skills. Some animals might require longer periods for training, so don’t be discouraged if your puppy resists bowl training.
- Begin mixing an IAMS ProActive Health™ Smart Puppy Original food with water. Be sure to provide a separate dish for fresh water.
- Gradually increase the amount of soft food while decreasing the amount of water in the mixture until your puppy is eating soft food only.
- Repeat the process, mixing the appropriate dry IAMS puppy food with the soft food, and then increase the solid food while decreasing the soft food until the transition is complete.
The entire process should take approximately three weeks.
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- adp_description_block223Understanding Puppy Food Nutrition Labels
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How much do you know about the food you’re buying for your puppy? When shopping for puppy food, pay attention to these three sections of a dog food label.
1. The Ingredient Panel
This section lists all the ingredients that make up the product. The ingredients are listed in descending order according to weight before cooking. In dry food, look for a source of high-quality animal-based protein: chicken or lamb, for example. Dogs thrive on animal proteins.
Manufacturers who use large amounts of vegetable proteins might be saving money by providing basic — but not optimal — nutrition. You should also avoid artificial colors and flavors, which offer no nutritional benefits.
2. The Guaranteed Analysis
Near the ingredient panel should be a chart of percentages called the "guaranteed analysis." These figures reveal the basic nutrient makeup of the dog food's formula and protein content. The minimum percentages of protein and fat and the maximum percentages of fiber and moisture (water) should be listed.
3. The Manufacturer’s Name and Address
This information must be included on the label by law. A toll-free number or web address for the manufacturer may also be listed. Manufacturers who list a phone number, such as IAMS™, generally have a high-quality product and welcome consumer calls and questions. If you would like information about IAMS products, visit our website or call us toll-free at 800-525-4267.
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