Shih Tzu Nursery Two was last updated on February 24, 2021
By Janice Jones
This nursery is now empty. But if you enjoy looking at puppy pictures, feel free to scroll down and see some of our past puppies, now in their forever homes.
Here are ten tips for choosing a great puppy food for your new puppy.
You might already have decided on a type of food or even a brand or specific formula, but it does help to know a bit about the pet food industry so you can be sure you are making the most informed decision. Dog food today comes in a variety of different forms:
There are advantages and disadvantages to each type of food. If you would like to read more about your choices, see what do dogs eat.
The dog food industry is not as regulated as the people food industry. Much of what we can learn about a food is on the label, but it is rather confusing. What exactly is a guaranteed analysis or the AAFCO Statement?
Each bit of information on the label can help us understand what we are feeding our puppies, but there's no substitute to visiting the manufacturers website or calling them with questions.
Learn more about How to Read Dog Food Labels
Fancy words and pictures on dog food labels are often there to confuse and persuade you into buying an inferior product. Check out this crazy claims that some dog food manufacturers use to encourage you to buy.
Here is a label that reads: Customized Nutrition: Real Chicken, Holistic and Natural: This are all words meant to impress you but have little meaning.
Here are a couple of other gimmicks that can cause confusion.
Unless the food states that it is appropriate for all life stages, pick a food that is specific for puppies. Adult formulas may not have the quantity of protein needed for growing puppies.
Shih Tzu dogs mature quicker than medium or large breed dogs, so you may only need to keep your puppy on the puppy stage formula until they are 8 to 10 months. Check with your vet before you switch to an adult formula.
A homemade diet can be extremely healthy for a puppy or it can be a disaster. Just because you are cooking for your dog doesn't mean you are providing all the necessary minerals and vitamins need for proper growth.
Using organic or locally sourced ingredients is only the start. This is a project that will require additional nutritional training.
Discuss this option with your veterinarian and expect to add in all the necessary micro nutrients your dog needs.
There is a growing body of evidence that raw is a good option for your dog. Before joining the raw establishment, do your homework and find out what is involved in safely feeding a raw diet. Remember, the puppy's digestive tract is still not mature and as such may not be able to overcome any bacterial contamination such as salmonella that might be present in raw foods.
There are two opinions on this topic: Should you feed your dog at specific times or should you allow free feeding or allow grazing?
Feeding at specific times allows more flexibility for potty training. and is the most popular method for most dog trainers. A puppy fed three times a day will be on a regular schedule and make housebreaking much easier. This assumes you will be home to feed that noon meal or have someone who can do so.
Free-feeding means putting down a plate of food and allowing the puppy to eat when they get hungry. Since you don't have control over meal time, potty training is more difficult. Very tiny puppies under 2 pounds may do better on this type of feeding schedule and it does help prevent hypoglycemia. If you have a tiny puppy on a scheduled meal time and they refuse to eat at the proper time, there's always a risk that your puppy becomes hypoglycemic very quickly and that is a medical emergency.
Larger puppies can do much better on a feeding schedule that includes 3 meals a day until they are six months old and then 2 meals for the rest of their lives.
The quantity to feed is usually dependent on the food you have chosen and the amounts are normally listed on the dog food label. Keep in mind that these recommended amounts are only averages and some very active dogs are going to need more and others less.
The amounts listed on the food label are for daily consumption. If you are feeding three times a day, divide the amount by 3.
You will not want to deprive your puppy of food, but you should take into consideration how many calories are in anything else you may be offering.
During the puppy stage, training treats make up quite a bit of the daily caloric intake especially if you are training regularly every day. Keep treats to a minimum by breaking each one up into tiny pieces.
Don't forget that even dental bones and edible bones that puppies love when they are teething can add extra calories.
So, if you think your puppy is not eating enough, add up all those extras that he is consuming on a daily basis.