It has been established that a lot of joint problems in large breed dogs are made worse by feeding food that is ‘too good’ for the young dog. This means it grows too fast, and its joints don’t have time to get strong enough, leading to serious problems. To avoid this manufacturers have formulated a series of complete dog foods for Large Breed Puppies…which make sure your dog grows at a steady rate. I will give you a list of the ones I know are good, and you choose one your pup likes. You will also get packs free with your pup to take home. Once your dog is adult, in Shepherds their skeletons are adult at about 18 months ( their minds take somewhat longer!!)Spaniels about 12 months,Once adult you can feed what you like, but please take my advice while your dog is young.
The pups are eating 4 meals a day; they consist of RAW minced chicken, beef or lamb ( from freezer in pet shop, or delivered from company called AMP)for 2 meals and 2 meals of dry food. Don't mix them.
They drink WATER. Cows milk will give them the runs, if you have to give milk, use ewes or goats. But it should not be needed now .If you only have one dog, you may prefer to ‘free feed’ your dog. That is to leave a bowl full of dry food available all the time. (water must be available all the time !)Some people believe this leads to a dog that never scavenges. However if you want a little more control of when the dog does their poo… make meal times regular and then you can work out when it needs to poo. After 4 month you can feed 3 meals a day then after 9 months drop down to 2. It’s up to you if you want to feed 1 or 2 meals a day after 12 months. I feed my adults a small breakfast after walk and a main meal later in the day. Never feed BEFORE exercise, wait until about 1 hour after before you do, we think this can prevent gastric torsion occurring. Also stuffing some KONGs with nice things keeps pup occupied in crate now and again during day or when putting to bed.
There is NO need to add ANYTHING to the puppy food!!!!!!!! The pups are weaned on Fish4Dogs puppy food, and I use the small bits as treats or training treats as well. The puppy food you are given is small bite, and in a few weeks you can change to large bite size, it gives them something to chew. Please don't change food unless realy needed, and only very slowly over 4 days to avoid upset stomach. I bet you many of you will be advised by the vet on the first visit to change to their reccommended food; either pup is 'too thin', or 'too fat'.
If you want to go natural feeding, talk to me first and read Ian Billinghurst ‘Grow your pup with bones’, or google BARF diet for dogs on internet. It is great but takes a lot of work getting it right. I cheat and buy BARF diet in frozen form and defrost as needed. (from Anglian Meat Products AMP, or www.barfpetfoods.co.uk)
I have done my homework on complete foods. I have retrained more naughty dogs than I care to mention who came to me eating Supermarket brand food, or worse still the most advertised dog food on TV.. And most of the problem was additives in the food. Take the dog off the additives, and its behaviour improves. Only tinned food that is ok, is CHAPPIE, especially if a dog has a bit upset stomach, but it is not nutritionally good enough for a growing dog. Ask me for a list of 'good' foods!
HYDRATION- (drinking) Just like small children, pups get de hydrated very easily. While at the vet get two pack of LECTADE rehydration salts to add to water if pup is unwell. It saved more lives than any medication. If pup gets the runs, carry on feeding as normal and give rehydration solution instead of water. ( in the old days we starved any one with the runs, but this is not the recommended medical practice for humans or animals now.)This normally fixes stomach upset in a few hours. Obviously, if Pup is looking or behaving unwell take to vet fast. They go down hill very fast, so don’t leave till later if pup is lacking in energy or feels floppy.