While your dog is a puppy, free feeding is the best thing to do. Free feeding is when you leave a constant supply of food for your dog so he can eat whenever he wants. You might be able to do this throughout his adult life too, it depends on him. Some dogs will eat all of the food in sight and make himself sick. Other dogs will only eat what they want. I have seen both types, and their weight usually reflects their eating habits. My Australian Cattle Dog will eat everything, and if there isn’t food around, sticks, bark, hay and leaves will do. He is fat. My other dog, a shepard mix, is so picky that she has to consider everything she is given before she eats it. She is not fat. Two different dogs, one plan to feed them both.

Your puppy should be fed a dry dog food such as Nutro Max Puppy Food. Puppies are constantly growing. This takes a lot of energy, which means he needs lots of food. This is why he sleeps so much too, it’s exhausting to grow! Your puppy should have a constant supply of dry dog food at all times, fed from a ceramic or metal bowl. Plastic bowls should never be used! Plastic is porous and food collects in the pores. Then, after time, the food decays and bacteria grows in the pores. Your dog might develop acne on his chin from his dirty bowl. This will require a trip to the vet, lancing of the pimples, and a face washing twice a day with an acne shampoo for two weeks. Save him the pain and yourself the money and time. Ceramic is the way to go! Use dry food such as Nutro Max for puppies. Puppy food has more calories, just what your growing puppy needs.

You can give your puppy a treat in the morning; dry food mixed with some canned puppy food! He will appreciate the extra effort and the good tasting food. Later, when he will go off the free feeding method, he will be ready for his food in the morning for breakfast when you get up.

Your puppy can eat puppy food for the first year. After that, he should start eating the “maintenance” formula. Mix the puppy food with the adult dog food for about three days to help him with the transition. Remember, whenever you decide to change brands of dog food, mix the old dog food with the new for a few days to help his digestive system transition from one food to the other. If you don’t do this, he may get diarrhea or other digestive illnesses.

Treats can be anything people eat, dogs like fruit and vegetables too. Of course, there are some they really like better than others, like meat and cheese. Snacks are a great way to start to train your dog. Small accomplishments warrant a great tasting snack. Training dogs when they are puppies should only be done with positive reinforcement, and snacks are the perfect reward. Puppies (and dogs) should not be given bones as a general rule. Dogs may not chew food completely and if they eat bones, they can splinter and get lodged in the esophagus, stomach, or intestines. This can result in pain for your dog and a very costly vet bill, and in the least, cause your dog to vomit on your carpet. Chocolate is another snack that should not be given to your dog. Chocolate contains theobromine, which is the toxic ingredient contained in chocolate that harms your dog. The toxic dose of chocolate is 100-150 mg of theobromine per kilogram of dog. For a 60 pound dog, a toxic dose of chocolate is 60 ounces of milk chocolate, 18 ounces of semisweet chocolate, or 6 ounces of unsweetened chocolate. The the first signs of chocolate poisoning are vomiting and diarrhea, increased urination and nausea. These can progress to cardiac arrhythmias and seizures. If you believe your puppy or dog has eaten a considerable amount of chocolate, you should bring him to a vet right away.

For help with other problems related to diet, see your veterinarian. If you know of a great vet in your area, please refer your vet to our site!