The best time to determine the proper feeding programs for your new furry friend is during puppy hood.

Meanwhile, the average time for the dog owner to assume the responsibility of feeding a dog is at weaning.  Sometimes, this task begins at birth or shortly right after.

In some unfortunate circumstances where a puppy is orphaned, or in situations where the mother whelps so many puppies that she cannot feed them all, the dog owner may have to begin his feeding chores whilst the puppy is still only hours old.

The Three Steps To Feeding Your Puppy

But whether the puppy is five hours, five weeks or five months old, there are three basic feeding steps that are essential in any puppy feeding program.

Step 1

The first step is to weigh each puppy.  A record of his weight and the date it was taken should be kept on a separate record for each one.

Step 2

The second step is to determine the type of diet to give to the puppy.  This will depend on the stage of growth the puppy has attained.

Step 3

The third and final step in puppy feeding is to determine the quantity of food needed to start the program.  This will depend on the age of the puppy, his weight, and the calorific density of the food.

How Do You Know If Your Puppy Is Hungry?

A puppy always tells his owner whether he is getting too much or too little food in several ways.

Crying is one of the most often recognized, but least likely to be always accurate.  Although hungry puppies do cry, so do cold puppies, hot puppies, puppies that were disturbed from a nap, lost puppies, sad puppies, etc.

Crying is simply nature's way of giving a puppy a means of telling everybody that he is unhappy.  Anything that makes a puppy unhappy will probably also make him cry, even having his tummy too full.

Therefore, to say that a puppy is crying because he is hungry requires a judgment on the owner’s part.  And since we do not think like a puppy, we have to use the reactions of the puppy's system to determine whether or not he is getting enough to eat.

What Should Your Puppy Do When You Feed Him?

Every time you feed a puppy, two things should happen.  First, he should have a bowel movement and second, he should urinate. Sometimes a puppy may need a little encouragement by rubbing his anal area, but he should always perform both acts if everything is going right.

The makeup and amount of his feces and urine are important clues that tell you how well you are doing when it comes to properly feeding your pet.  For one thing, the puppy's stool should be formed as it is expelled, but its consistency should be soft and pasty.  The color will depend to some extent on what you are feeding him.  But in every case, it should not vary from a pale tan to a mahogany brown.

The inside of the stool may be yellow-brown in many cases.   Stools that are green, bluish-white or clear signal trouble. Even tan or brownish stools that are watery, lumpy, hard or curdled may indicate something is not right.  Whenever either off-color or off-form stools occur, stop feeding immediately and skip the next feeding entirely.

Begin the following feeding with a formula that has been diluted one-half with boiled water.  Continue to feed the same quantity as you did the undiluted food.  If this fails to produce an improvement in the stool, reduce the quantity you are feeding by 25% at each feeding.  If stools continue to be off-color or off-form, consult your vet.

A puppy's urination is an indicator of his water balance.  The quantity should be about the same each time the puppy urinates.  It might be pale yellow to almost clear, but should never be deep yellow or orange.

Also, it should always be like water and never like syrup and should smell like urine.  Urine that is scanty, dark in color, or syrupy, indicates that the pup is not getting enough water.  More water should be supplied, either added to the formula or fed separately.

If the urine seems excessive in amount, unduly clear, or thin, the water concentration of the formula should be re-checked to make sure that he is not getting too much water.  If urine production stops altogether for longer than four feedings, take the puppy to a vet as soon as possible.

Further Reading...

If you enjoyed this article, please check out 4 Important Tips When Feeding Your Dog.