1. Choose your dog food. While it's tempting to go for the cheap stuff, this is generally not the best choice for your dog. Look for foods that incorporate high quality proteins from fish, chicken, lamb, and/or eggs. Also look for a way to feed your dogs fatty acids to keep its coat shiny and healthy. Generally, you'll want to feed your dogs a ratio of 5:1 omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids. This can come in your food or in supplements such as salmon oil especially designed to give to your dog.
2. Feed your puppy properly. Feed your puppy small amounts of specially-formulated puppy food several times a day. Dry food is best as it cleans their teeth and lessens gum disease. The amount of food for each feeding depends on the breed; look up the recommended amounts for your specific breed. Feed your puppy only the smallest amount recommended for its breed, age, and size, and increase this if the puppy seems to be too thin or as directed by your veterinarian. The number of daily feedings depend on the puppy's age
- 6-8 weeks: 4 times daily
- 12-20 weeks: 3 times daily
- 20+ weeks: 2 times daily
3. Avoid buffet-style feeding. While it may be easier for you to just throw out a bunch of food for your puppy to eat when hungry, this is not a healthy way to feed your dog. Dogs, especially puppies, will generally eat a lot of food if a lot is available; they don't stop just when they're full.
Make sure your puppy always has adequate fresh water available. Unlike food, you should leave a full bowl of fresh water out for your dogs at all times. Be aware that they're going to have to pee shortly after they drink large amounts of water. Take them outside so that they don't have accidents in your house.
4. Watch your puppy eat. Watching your puppy eat is a good way to gauge their health, if they seem uninterested in their food, something is wrong. In addition, feeding your puppy some of their food out of your hand and/or being extremely present during their feeding process will help better the puppy/owner bond.
5. Avoid harmful foods. It's tempting just to feed your puppy table scraps, but remember that human food can make your dog unhealthily obese. Even more serious, grapes, raisins, tea, alcohol, garlic, onions, avocados, salt, and chocolate, among other things, are toxic to your dog. If your dog has ingested one of these things, you should call the Animal Poison Control Center ((888).426.4435 in the US).
In addition to posing a serious health risk, feeding your dogs table scraps can train them to beg. Begging is one of the hardest habits to break. To ensure good health, only feed your dog food that is specifically designed for dogs and ignore them completely while you're eating at the table.