|Posted by Pat on December 17, 2017 at 10:25 AM|
I have been getting a few requests for information on what we are feeding the pups. While I have posted some of this information under Puppies: Feeding Puppy http://www.chocolateclanlabradors.com/feedingpuppy.htm, some of this information is rather general in nature. So the following is an update as best as I can do:
Milk and kibble (birth to 4 weeks): At birth, the pups drank mother's milk. The initial colostrum is important for protecting the pups for those first few weeks of life as they have no natural immunity of their own. However, the demands on Maggie as the pups grow was astronomical. She was eating 12 to 16 cups of puppy food herself during that period. As such we had to ensure that the food had enough fat to ensure she had the calorie supply she needed. So we were feeding ProPlan Focus Puppy Chicken and Rice. In the beginning, when we introduced food to the pups when they were at 2 weeks, Maggie ate most of it. We soaked the kibble and mashed it so pups did not need to chew and mostly lapped it up. As they grew and got teeth, we reduced moisture. So in the beginning, it was important to meet calorie demands of mother and pups.
Weaning and growing from 4-8 weeks: At four weeks, Maggie started to wean the pups. For those of you who visited during that period, you will quickly understand that with those sharp teeth and nails it was actually hurting her to feed the pups. It was only the great need to feed the pups and drain her teats that was keeping her going into the nursery. By this time the pups were starting to eat all the food we put out, so it was no longer necessary for it to meet Maggie's calorie demands. We changed the pups over to ProPlan Focus Large Breed Puppy. From 4 to 6 weeks, we decreased the amount of soaking and changed it to completely dry by seven weeks. We also increased the amount we were serving each time from 1/4 cup per pup to 1/2 cup per pup. Right now we are feeding them four times a day. For most families, it will be tough to feed four times a day, and these guys are growing so fast, and eating so fast, that reducing the number of times you feed to 2 or 3 should not be an issue.
REMEMBER CLEAN WATER is essential as the pups are on dry food.
POST NURSERY (after 8 weeks): Your pups will be growing fast and playing hard so they will need food for growth and maintenance. It is important to keep them on puppy food for at least the first 12 months of their lives. Puppy food has the right balance of fat and nutrients, so the pups have energy to grow and play. But it is at a rate that allows their bones to form in a balanced manner. We want them to have healthy bones and the right conformation to prevent early injuries, especially to those back knees. Torn ACL's is one of the most common injuries to large breed dogs. You can help to prevent it using three strategies: don't spay or neuter your animal too early (12 to 18 months at the earliest); do feed a good or high quality dog food with the right balance of protein and fat; don't do high impact training or playing until your pup is 12 to 18 months old. The later does not mean you cannot play with, or train, your pup. Just do it all in moderation.
Weird stuff: These are lab pups and will put anything and everything in their mouthes. So be careful what is left around for them to get into. Garbage is going to be a BIG attraction for them, so until you get them trained be sure it is not available to them to get into. Right now the pups are chewing on the walls, the carpet, the plastic and the paper that is down to protect the floors. So if you find some interesting things in their first poos don't be surprised. Those little strings are OUR CARPET! As well since it has been nice out, the outside area has some plant material that they are eating. So there may be a leaf or two for that first day or so. Do look at your pups poo. It should be solid but not too hard. If it is hard then your pup may need more access to WATER. If it is too soft then your pup may have eaten something it should not have. If it is diarhrea, watch closely, as your pup may have picked up a parasite.
Categories: Our 2017 Puppies