It is important that your puppy or kitten receives a high quality nutritious diet that will allow it to grow up to be strong and healthy. The diet must have a proper balance of protein, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals.
A correct diet can be assured by feeding commercial foods- preferably dry. Supplement this with vegetables, pasta, rice, and cereal grains and fresh meat.
Introducing a new diet
It is common for a sudden change in diet to cause diarrhoea. Introduce new foods (to what the breeder has been feeding until now) slowly over a few days to allow the intestines and good bacteria time to adjust.
Before 12 weeks of age, start introducing a high quality commercial puppy or kitten food. Aim for a 90-95% commercial dry food diet by 12 weeks of age.
We strongly recommend Hills Vet Essentials (VE) dry food. It is fully balanced and very digestible, meaning smaller and firmer stools (easier to pick up off the lawn) and less wind (no embarrassment). The remainder of the diet can consists of fruit, vegetables and pasta/rice.
Dogs and cats do not need a variety of food. A good quality commercially prepared diet is adequate and does not need to be supplemented with human food or table scraps. Feeding table scraps or sudden changes in diet can lead to upset tummies, and a visit to the vet.
Frequency of feeding
Feed your puppy or kitten 2-3 meals per day. They only have small tummies, so don’t put too much down at one time.
Remove left over food during the day
It is important not to leave food down between meal times. It will go dry & stale and your puppy will not be hungry at meal times. Its likes working in a restaurant, if you are constantly around food and can smell it all day, you won’t feel hungry.
NOTE: Removing the food during the day also lessens the chance of attracting birds, rodents and snakes
Foods to avoid
- Do not under any circumstances feed any onion like foods e.g. onions, turnips, garlic. Also avoid any scraps that may contain such ingredients e.g. slices of pizza. These types of foods can cause a serious blood disorder requiring several days in hospital and possibly transfusions.
- Do not feed excessive amounts of chocolate especially dark varieties e.g. Club chocolate. It can cause hyper-excitation and result in a visit to the vet.
- Many dogs are allergic to ham which can result in an upset stomach.
- Avoid very fatty foods e.g. chicken skin, trimmed ham fat, cream, cheese, butter etc. These can cause pancreatitis (a very serious illness) in dogs if fed to excess.
- Avoid tin and soft foods e.g. pet rolls, as they stick to the teeth and may eventually result in a dental scale and polish (possibly with extractions) under anaesthesia.
- Puppies should be on specialised puppy food for the first 12 months of life due to the dietary requirements of rapid growth. We recommend Hills Vet Essentials (VE) dry food as the basis of the diet.
Bones for dogs
- Raw Chicken Necks, Wings and Mince – the Myth….
Raw chicken often contains large numbers of harmful bacteria e/.g. E. Coli, Salmonella. That’s why you would never eat it at a BBQ or restaurant. We have seen numerous pets present with severe vomiting and diarrhoea soon after eating raw chicken necks, wings and mince, sometimes with fresh blood present. I have also referred 2 dogs to the specialist centre to have whole chicken necks removed from their oesophagus using a endoscope (at a cost of approx. $3,000). Should your pet contract one of these nasty bacteria, they can infect peolpe handling the dog e.g. children.
Please do not feed raw chicken necks or wings to your pet
- To ensure good dental health, you should give your puppy a raw bone 2-3 times a week from 12 weeks of age. It should be longer than the pup’s head (nose tip to between the ears). We recommend raw brisket bones for young puppies.
- Do not feed cooked bones to dogs at any time.
- When older, lamb necks and kangaroo tails are great at cleaning teeth.
- Avoid large soup or “dinosaur” bones as some dogs bite down so hard on them they fracture their teeth.
Adult dogs and cats
In these modern times, pet owners usually like things to be simple and quick. No time for cooking up meat and veges for the pet. My personal recommndations for both cats and dogs are as follows:
Aim for 95-100% good quality dry food such as Hills Vet Essenetials (VE)
These are what I call premium pet foods with very high digestabilty and great taste.
Cheaper supermarket or pet food store brands have lower digestability so more pops out the other end so to speak. Premium pet foods mean less waste, firmer stools (easier to pick up off the lawn, less gas, healthier teeth and smaller volumes to feed.
Keeping teeth clean
We recommend raw bones, rawhide chews/dental sticks and dry foods to keep teeth and gums healthy. My favourite for medium to large dogs are brisket bones (mutton flaps). They are a bit fatty so don't feed too much of the normal diet on the same day. If you need low fat bones, try roo tails.
For extra large dog breeds, go for shank or marrow bones.
Only feed raw bones to pets- the stomach acids can digest them whereas cooked bones come out the other end the same way they were swallowed; hence lots of constipated dogs on Monday after eating the Bar B Q leftovers.