At German Shepherd Place we get more guests reading about feeding their German Shepherds than any other topic we cover. Because of this admirable interest on such an important subject, I take the opportunity to supplement our article content with further guidance through blog posts such as today’s.
Today we’ll look at recommended practices for feeding puppies!
- When to Wean: Typically the mother will be ready to wean her pups at the 5 to 6 week mark. So, at around 5 weeks you should begin to give solid food to your pups. Soften kibble with warm water. And let your pups start to drink tap water. Some pup’s may go longer before being completely weaned, continuing to drink some of their mother’s milk up to 8 weeks.
- Puppy Food vs. adult dog food. The nutritional purpose of puppy food is to give your growing dog the right balance for his particular needs. He needs a higher fat and protein content in his diet than an adult dog. Note that on a raw food diet (see article, Raw Food Diet for Dogs: Facts & Tips) that high fat and protein are inherent in the diet, and because of the natural form in which it is delivered, it is appropriate for every stage of growth following a pup’s weaning (see #2 below).
- When to transition to adult food. For a GSD, 3 months is the right time. While 12 months may be considered the norm for many breeds, the GSD seems to do well with the earlier switch. Your German Shepherd will grow a little slower on this regimen, but will reach the same size when full grown.
- Meal frequency. Four times a day for a young pup, up to three months; then 3 times a day. At six months your dog can go to two meals a day.
- About free feeding. Free feeding (leaving food out for your dog) is not a recommended practice for a number of reasons, including the following:
- A free-fed dog is more likely to be overweight. It is in a dog’s nature to gorge on whatever food is available. With rare exceptions, dogs will not limit themselves to the necessary food intake.
- It is harder to know when your dog is not well when he is free fed. This is because it may take a few missed meals before it becomes evident the food level hasn’t gone down.
- In a multi-dog household free feeding can give occasion to the establishment of an undesirable pecking-order where one dog hogs the food and gets overweight, while the others get deprived, consequently lacking sufficient nutrition.
6.Table Manners. Let’s face it; our dogs have none – good manners over food that is! You will never train your puppy not to slobber, beg and gobble. But one thing you can do – and I highly recommend this – is totally refrain from feeding scraps to your dog from the dinner table. Tossing your dog table scraps conditions him to beg and harass every time you, or worse, your unfortunate guests, sit down to eat. Frankly, you’d be wise to take it a step further, and not give scraps while you are in the kitchen preparing food. If you give human treats to your dog, do so only after you finish your meal – in the designated doggy bowl!
I hope the above will help those of you who are new to the wonderful world of being GSD puppy parents!
Until next time,
P.S. Here’s the link to our article on the broad subject of Feeding Your German Shepherd