It is important to differentiate the dog's diet according to its age and state of health. The mother normally thinks of the puppy, but in the absence of mother's milk, the owner and formula feeding come into play.
Several times we have reiterated the importance of good nutrition for your dog, especially if you aim for its excellent health and its performance during hunting trips. However, we have not yet talked about the diet that must be well associated with the different stages of growth of the dog. It is in fact essential to realize that a puppy dog will have to be fed differently from an adult, elderly or sick dog.
The differences are related not only to the quantity of food that the animal will have to consume daily, but above all to the quality of the meals. In the very first phase of life, the dog is fed and cared for in everything by its mother. This patient will take care of the hygiene of the whole litter, of the care and of the feeding. During the first 36 - 48 hours of life the animal is fed thanks to the serum called colostrum, something very similar to milk, a very substantial and particularly rich in antibodies substitute that the mother produces while waiting for the actual milk.
After the first days of life, the puppy will be fed by its mother for another 25-30 days exclusively with the milk of its production, once again extremely nutritious and sufficient for its growth. Although nature is self-explanatory in most cases, circumstances in which the mother does not have enough milk for everyone are not rare. In this case she will be forced to reject the puppies she deems weaker and to feed the strongest ones. In this circumstance the owner will have to enter into dance, resorting to artificial breastfeeding, perhaps not nutritious and warm like the mother's one, but still useful for survival. You will have to use a bottle in which liquid or powdered preparations, polyvitamins will be stored. You can find them very easily in any specialized shop. Artificial feeding during the first days of life should take place every 2-3 hours. If you want to reproduce the mother's milk at home, you can use cow's milk, mixing it with egg yolk or more simply use goat's milk, similar in composition to that of a bitch. Obviously, the advice is to consult your veterinarian for both the type and the quantity of milk to be given to the puppy; these in fact vary according to the breed.
If you opt for partially skimmed cow's milk, it is good to pay some attention since, given the absence of the appropriate enzyme, the puppy dog is unable to digest lactose. This could cause annoying diarrhea and / or colic. In that case, without thinking too much about it, it will be better to abandon the milk and consult your trusted veterinarian for a replacement diet.
It occurs about 2-3 months after birth and it is a very delicate moment for the puppy. Accustomed as he is to dine very frequently, it will be good that the daily meals are at least 3-4. Too fast a change could be bad. Normally it is preferred to accompany the milk with food moistened with warm water, so that ingestion and digestion are simple. Remember that milk will have to be completely eliminated as the days go by and you will have to switch in the short term to foods designed specifically for puppies that you can buy without difficulty in specialized stores.
Buying packaged foods eliminates the problem of giving your puppy a balanced meal every day, but if you feel able to pack the meals yourself, opt for white meat, which is lighter and more digestible than the others. Cook it without salt and avoid potatoes and onions.
If necessary, degrease the meat (chicken, turkey, rabbit will be fine) and boil it perhaps accompanied by a carrot or a zucchini. When cooked, create a puree of meat and vegetables by blending everything. In preference (of the puppy of course) you can add some broth, the one inside which the food has boiled. Serve the "pappa" lukewarm to avoid burns.
From the 3rd month the puppy will be able to switch to dry feed, consuming between 2-3 meals a day, which over time will have to turn into a single daily meal.
The advantages of dry food are well known and shared: simple in dosage and storage, they avoid the formation of tartar, halitosis and have a cleaning action for the tooth.
Every 15 days weigh the dog to keep an eye on its growth and level the daily food dosage according to the daily activity; a lazy dog will have to eat less than a hyperactive one.
A healthy puppy diet will ensure the health and beauty of the adult dog. This is why it is so important.