Dry food has long been used with pleasure not only by beginners, but also by professional breeders. The reason is simple - they are easy to use. The desire of the owners to transfer the animal to "drying" as early as possible is quite understandable. But just at what age can a puppy be given dry food without fear of harming his health?
Starting at what age can a dry food be given to a puppy?
In this matter, there is no special unity among breeders and veterinarians. Someone is generally opposed to "drying", while other experts insist that there is really nothing so bad in dry feed.
In principle, both points of view have the right to life, and both categories of specialists are somewhat right. We will deal with both options.
When "drying" can not be given
We strongly recommend not using dry food in cases where the puppy is not yet at least three months old. In dogs, the digestive system is short, rather capricious, and therefore at this age the puppy doesn’t have to eat anything except mother's milk, as well as high-quality canned food or "natural" in the form of complementary foods.
In addition, puppies (and dogs in general) have very thin and weak enamel on their teeth. Since at this age, the teeth are still in the process of replacement, the situation is even worse. If at this time you start giving your baby dry food (especially intended for adult dogs), the puppy will probably be left without teeth in the future. Coarse food will simply damage the enamel, tooth decay will develop, tooth tissue will rot. But dogs, by the way, don’t fix the fillings: their teeth are too compact, the dentist’s intervention is useless.
At what age can lure start with dry food?
So, many experts nevertheless agree that puppies should not be given “dry rations” before three months. However, we believe that you can still give dry food somewhere from 2.5 months, but not before.
At the beginning of complementary feeding, a number of important rules must be observed:
- You can only give food intended specifically for puppies (or for dogs of small and dwarf breeds). They are distinguished by their small granule size and the softness of the latter. In the ideal case, you should use the diet, focusing on the breed of the pet (large, medium or small breed). In recent years, manufacturers have produced special feeds for all of these cases.
- At this age, only premium and super-premium class feeds can be given. "Economy" will really save money, but ... including - on the health of the puppy. For their production, components of not too high quality are used, and therefore it is not worth doing this.
Never and in no case should you purchase feed sold by weight for the baby.
No matter what the seller says, they do not distribute quality products, if only because dry feed should always be stored in a sealed box. Otherwise, they quickly absorb water. In addition, under such conditions, the fat contained in the feed is oxidized, which also does not benefit the taste or nutritional value of the product.
The choice of dry food: how not to harm the puppy
We have already talked about the need to purchase only "Premium" and "Super-premium", but the choice of feed is not limited to this. When buying, you must firstly give preference to feed from the following manufacturers:
- Royal Canin.
In general, feed should be selected manufacturers, widely known both in our country and abroad.
Pay attention to the packaging (so as not to buy a fake or just spoiled food):
- Boxes or bags must be intact, with no signs of tears or tears.
- The packaging must indicate the feed class, as well as the date of manufacture and batch number. If this information is not available, or in cases where the letters are blurry and fuzzy, you should refrain from buying.
Water and dry feeding
Oddly enough, but "drying", contrary to the opinion of many breeders, is clearly not a bad option. And it is definitely better to give a puppy even not too expensive dry food than to feed it with equally inexpensive canned food. In cheap canned food of a full-fledged animal protein, it contains no more than 5%, and even by the vitamin composition they are far from ideal. But all this is lyrics.
Alas, many breeders forget how important ordinary water plays in the “dry” type of feeding. The baby should have access to drink at all times, at any time of the day or night! Otherwise, problems with normal digestion of the pet are ensured: he will probably develop chronic constipation, intestinal motility will be disturbed, other pathologies of the digestive system will arise.
Important! Water needs to be changed regularly! If something muddy, slimy and with a bad smell splashes in a bowl, any food will be bad!
It is believed that for young puppies, water needs to be changed as they become dirty, but at least 2 or 3 times a day, starting from six months - at least once a day. Use only fresh and clean water. In cities it is better to defend it, since in some places chlorine disinfection is still practiced. And it is extremely harmful to the intestinal microflora (not only in puppies, but also in adult dogs).
Dry food training
Not a single normal puppy that has recently been fed mother’s milk will rush to “dry” greedily, unless before it is properly kept on a hungry diet. Therefore, the animal needs to be accustomed to dry food. And this is a very relevant topic. If a pet is not accustomed to a new type of food in a timely manner, then he, already an adult, will not eat dry food at all, or he will do it in case of extreme hunger.
When to give a puppy soaked food
You need to start learning at the age of 2.5-3 months. At this time, every day the puppy is given a handful of "drying", previously soaked in meat broth or just in water.
- Soft consistency, firstly, is more familiar to the animal.
- Soaked food cannot damage the enamel of puppy teeth, and this, as we said above, can be a serious problem.
In the first three weeks, the feed is soaked for three day feedings, but for the evening and at night you can leave the baby dry granules. The fact is that after soaking, the puppy must immediately eat the entire portion. Leave it in this form "for later" is impossible. Food in this case deteriorates, which is fraught with the development of diarrhea in the puppy.
When to give not soaked food
Accordingly, closer to four months of age, if the pet is already accustomed to dry food, you can not soak it. More precisely, once or twice a day, we still advise you to "regale" your puppy with good canned food or "natural", but the rest of the time he can already eat not soaked food. Of course, food at this time should still be "puppy". It is too early to transfer a pet to adult species. You can do this when he is at least eight months old, but it is better to wait up to a year.