Our pups will usually go to their new homes at about 8-9 weeks of age. This is the best time for social development, and they will have had their first vaccination as well.
Puppies must always have fresh water available (day and night). This must be contained in a non slip/ spillible and easily accessed drinking bowl and must be checked and changed/cleaned once/twice daily. I recommend a ‘snood’ to protect your cocker’s ears.
All meals/drinks must be given either luke warm or at room temperature and all feeding times should remain consistent. Puppies must consume only good quality puppy food and low lactose puppy milk. Do not feed adult dog food or cow’s milk. Adult dog food is not suitable and does not contain the necessary calcium etc. With breakfast and dinner meals, our puppies also have a puppy milk drink prior to going to bed at night.
Our puppies have always only ever consumed good quality and fresh meat, chicken, vegetables etc in addition to good quality commercial puppy dry food and only in moderate portions. I am not a fan of many of the commercial foods on the market for adult dogs as they contain a number of colour additives and preservatives. The good quality commercial puppy foods are well balanced and offer good levels of calcium and other essential ingredients for growing puppies. Take care that any fresh beef or chicken does not contain preservatives and is always fresh.
The overall health and condition and critical growing and development needs of your puppy is fully dependant on what he/she is consuming and is very important. I recommend splitting the feeding up to four times a day when less than 16 weeks of age as it is difficult for them to eat enough in one feed to get all the energy they need for the day. By 6 months reduce the frequency to twice a day and then by 12 months into adulthood, once or twice a day. Puppies need more protein than adults to provide sufficient amino acids for growth and extra minerals for healthy bones and teeth.
It is OK to give treats at this stage, but make sure that your dog is rewarded only for doing something good, and ignore the bad behaviour. I like to use very small pieces of dried liver or puppy treats as a positive reward. A small amount, such as a baby fingernail size, is all that is required.
And last of all – love your puppy, because they deserve the very best.
Diet and Maintenance list.
Always make sure that fresh drinking water is available at all times.
8 to 16 weeks - 3 meals a day Breakfast
Royal Canin Mini 1/3 cup with 1/3 cup mince meat (no preservatives) or alternatively one can of sardines/mackerel or tin fish in oil (once a week only).
Lunch - Royal Canin Mini 1/3 cup, 1/3 cup mince
Dinner - Royal Canin Mini 1/3 cup, 1 teaspoon of Natural Yoghurt mixed with 1/3 cup mince meat.
3 to 6 months - 2 meals a day
Breakfast - Dry food 1/2 cup. Chicken neck (cut in half at first)
Dinner - Dry food 1/2 cup, mince meat (no preservatives) with a serve of Natural Yoghurt.
PS: If your puppy has loose motions you might consider giving cooked chicken and rice for a few days.
Chicken necks and wing tips – must be raw.
Pulverised cooked vegetables and rice – replacing a complete meal.
Brisket bones to chew on for cleaner teeth. These can be given frozen.
A raw carrot cut in to chunks.
NOTE: The dry food should form the bulk (75%) of the diet until they are 12 months old. The basic diet, is balanced and quite suitable for a puppy until 12 months old. After that you can feed what you feel is best for you.
For variety consider:
- Chicken wing tips and carcasses - They provide good chewing material for teeth, plus a natural form of calcium.
- Yoghurt for calcium and good digestion.
- Fish for essential omega oil, preferably fresh fish. I use tinned fish - Mackerel or Tuna. Home brand is fine.
- Charcoal bones from a pet shop aides digestion and helps clean teeth.
The saying "you are what you eat" applies as much to dogs as it does to humans.
A puppy is a puppy until 12 months of age and its diet must reflect this to accommodate the rapid growth and strong development of organs, bones and muscle which it will have for life. Please remember you and the puppy only have one opportunity to get it right in terms of diet and his/her corresponding growth and development. The investment you put into a puppy in terms of a good healthy, nutritional and balanced diet together with a sensible exercise, socialising and training program is what you and the puppy/dog will benefit from for the remainder of the dog's life.
Your dog will need a continued balanced intake of good quality red meat, bones, chicken, fish, vegetables (raw and cooked), fruit (good vitamins and potassium and good for chewing), yoghurt throughout their life.
- No onions
- No human chocolate
- No cooked bones in any form