Springer Puppy Diet
Springer puppies can grow up to 20 times faster than adult dogs, so your Springer puppy diet will need to accommodate this growth rate. Puppies will need to be fed at regular intervals during the day until they have reached at least 18 months old.
How often should I feed my puppy?
There are many differing views on how much and how often you should feed a Springer Spaniel puppy. Having researched this topic before getting my Spaniel, George, I found that the consensus seemed to be the following.
From weaning to 18 weeks old, it was recommended that you feed your puppy 4 meals a day at regular intervals.
From 4 months until your puppy reaches 9 months old, I chose to follow the guidelines and feed George 3 meals a day. These meals roughly equated to my 3 meal times, which in turn allowed me to reinforce the Springer pack mentality for him, by ensuring that I ate before him.
Finally, from 9 months up until your puppy is about 18 months old, I would recommend following the guidance of 2 meals a day. These meals are best given to your puppy in the morning and evening, as it should suit both you and your puppy's routine.
What should I feed my puppy?
There are many different puppy foods on the market. You can buy dry food, tinned food, tinned food with dry mixers, and there are other choices and variations out there. All of the options will have a range of quality and, of course, cost.
Before you get your new puppy, you must decide what type of feed you would like to give your puppy. My advice is not to base your Springer puppy diet on the cheapest option, because this is the most crucial time in your puppy's development, as with any child. Frankly if you want a healthy dog you should be prepared to pay for good puppy and dog food. However it is understood that we are all living through a recession.
You must ensure that whatever Springer puppy diet you decide on is, in fact, designed for puppies. Don't feed them adult foods at this stage, as puppy food should contain all they need to grow. Many dog food manufacturers have a puppy food line and then a junior food line, to which your puppy can progress after a certain age, but ensure that you know the age your brand recommends.
I would advise that you ask your breeder what they have been feeding your puppy, and then ask if you can take a small supply of the feed home with you - enough for a few days. If needs be, I would recommend paying for this, as it means that you can mix the food you plan on feeding your Springer with what it has already been fed on. Doing this will mean that, as you introduce the feed you are planning on giving your Spaniel puppy, it won't be such a shock to their digestive systems. Springers have delicate tummies so you should never suddenly change their food, as it can cause them bloating, gas or even diarrhoea.
Additive Free Diets.
The Springer Puppy Diet I fed my English Springer Spaniel, George, was was an additive free one, as Springers are well known for their hyperactivity. I discovered additive free food about 10 years ago, when my parents were advised by a vet to feed their hyperactive rescue dog, Mungo, an additive free diet to calm him down. It really worked a treat,as it has for George, therefore I cannot recommend this product highly enough, especially if you have a very hyperactive Springer.
How much should I feed my puppy?
A really good way to work out what you should be feeding you puppy, depending on his age (see above), is to check the recommended portion sizes on the feed packet. You should ensure that, as your puppy gets bigger, you review the amount they are getting to make sure they are getting enough calories.
You should also factor in any treats in your own Springer puppy diet, as all calories add up, and you don't want to overfeed your puppy.
What if they don't eat?
Once you have your puppy in a routine, eating your chosen Springer puppy diet, there may be occasions when your puppy doen't finish what's in the bowl. If your puppy doesn't eat all the food offered to them, remove the bowl after about 25 minutes. You really shouldn't leave food in your puppy's bowl for him to pick at as and when he pleases. This recommendation is in line with the Springer pack psychology, because, as an inferior member of your pack, the puppy should not be able to pick and choose when he eats.
If you are worried that your dog will starve, don't. Dogs being animals will not allow themselves to go hungry and, providing that you are giving them food in their bowl, they will eat eventually. Should they leave food in the bowl on a regular basis, there may be an underlying health issue.
Springer Puppy Stools
Not the most pleasant of subjects I agree, but one that all Spaniel owners should be aware of. The Springer puppy diet that you feed your puppy should result in firm, dark, brown stools. If your puppy is producing anything else, it probably means that their digestive system is not coping with their feed, you might want to look at changing it.
If you see blood or slime in their stools, it could be a sign of colitis, which can be the result of a food intolerance. My advice is if you find this, then take your Springer puppy straight to the vet for further investigation. This should not be confused with your Spaniel clearing out his glands.
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