When you take your puppy home (usually around 8-9 weeks of age) they will need to eat 3 or 4 times a day.
At 8 weeks old we feed small meals 4 times a day at 7 am, 11 am, 2 pm and then at 5 pm. We allow them free access to water until 7 pm in the evening. An alternative is to feed 3 times a day at 7 am, 12 noon and at 5 pm. If your puppy is hungry split the meals to 4 times a day. By the time they are 10 weeks old they can go to 3 meals a day.
If your puppy feels thin (you can feel all the ribs and backbone easily) increase the amount of food.
If your puppy feels fat (you should be able to feel some of the ribs) reduce the amount of food.
We use the recommended amount on the bag as a guideline, it’s not a rule. Some puppies are very active and burn up every calorie they eat, some are prone to being a little rounder and their food intake needs to be carefully monitored.
Research has shown that dogs that are not overfeed have a much lower risk of developing hip dysplasia. Keep your puppy thin and healthy.
We do not recommend free feeding of puppies as this makes it more difficult to housebreak your poodle and regulate their diet. Better to move to free feeding after housebreaking if you choose to. It is harder to monitor how much food they eat when free feeding and a glutunous puppy may quickly become fat. Remember a thin puppy is less likely to develop hip dysplasia. We find that not eating as much as normal is often the first sign that they don’t feel good.
We strongly encourage you to keep your puppy on the same food we provide for the first month. In our experience changing food at the time a puppy goes to it’s new home is more likely to result in upset stomach, and the development of coccidia and/or giardia. Both coccidia and giardia may live in the gut of a healthy poodle and they never have an outbreak. When their bodies are stressed they are more likely to develop an unhealthy balance and the result may be a sick puppy. Moving to a new home, leaving their Mother and siblings and diet changes are all stressful. We encourage you to make as few changes as possible to your puppies diet the first month.
Changing to a different dog food – go slowly. 1st few days of food change add a few pieces of the new food, then for the first week 25% of the food should be the new food. 2nd week 50% should be the new food. 3rd week 75% may be the new food. It may take a month or longer to switch foods. If at any point your puppy develops an upset stomach go back to the level of food mix that they were doing well on. Should your puppy develop bloody diarrhea take them to the veterinarian, they have most likely developed gastroenteritis and may need some medication or possibly fluids. Go slowly, new protein sources require time for the stomach to adjust. This is true not only in puppies but also adults.
We continue to feed our puppies 3 meals a day until they are 6 months old. Our belief is that in keeping food moving through the puppy it allows for better consistent growth and health.
At 6 months of age we start to feed 2 times a day with snacks throughout the day. We continue to feed our dogs 2 times a day throughout their life.
We feed snacks several times a day to both puppies and adults which may be carrots, green beans, eggs or chicken or pieces of their kibble. We feed our poodles both kibble and home cooked food. Bully sticks are given occasionally for chewing.