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Posted on 06-03-2016
It is puppy and kitten season here at Chatham Animal Hospital, so we are going to hit the highlights on feeding your new pets. This topic is a very in-depth topic, so please call Dr. Krakowski, Dr. Bailey, or Dr. Craddock to discuss further if you have any questions!
The younger the puppy, the more meals a day he or she requires. Puppies between 6 and 12 weeks of age are typically fed 3-4 times daily. Puppies over 12 weeks can be backed down to twice daily feedings. We recommend always feeding meals and not leaving the food dish down at all times, as this gives you better of how much they are eating, and makes it easier to potty train your pup. The amount will vary from puppy to puppy, but as a general rule, each meal should take them approximately 5 minutes to consume. If they aren’t finishing the meal, you fed them too much. If they are done very quickly, you may need to increase the amount fed at the next meal.
Picking which brand of food can be daunting. We recommend a high quality food, specifically designed for puppies. This is particularly important in large breed dogs, as they are sensitive to calcium and phosphorus levels in the food. We at Chatham Animal Hospital carry Royal Canin products. Be careful to not get too caught up in the “grain free” hype, and some of the more boutique brands are often “over marketed and under-researched.” Meaning they look good on paper and have fancy advertising, but feeding trials and nutrient analysis may be lacking. Again, call Chatham Animal Hospital for any further advice on the subject.
Kittens should be fed in a similar meal fashion to puppies. The younger kittens require more frequent feedings, and as they get older you can decrease it to twice daily. Again, feeding a kitten specific food is important as it has the higher protein and fat content required for growth. Dry foods are historically recommended and may provide some benefit for dental health. However, there is increasing evidence that canned food is better for kidney and bladder health as well as more accurately meeting protein and carbohydrate requirements. A mixture of both may be the “best of both worlds,” so one canned meal a day and one dry meal a day is a protocol we are starting many of our kittens on. We recommend feeding cats and dogs out of stainless steel bowls, because plastic and ceramic can harbor bacteria and lead to skin infections, particularly on the chin of cats.
Kitten foods are also subject to the “beware of the marketing hype” of the dog foods, but to a lesser degree. Again, we carry Royal Canin cat food products here at Chatham Animal, as they are high quality and have been created by veterinary nutritionists.
Good luck with your new puppy or kitten and don’t hesitate to call with any questions or concerns regarding food choice!
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