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Feeding the puppies at baby agt and at the following growth stages

From the delivery and to the end of sucking period the puppy's development mainly depends on proper feeding of the lactating bitch, especially in the first two weeks. This is the time, when the mother's milk is the only food for newborn puppies.

In the FIRST WEEK puppies suck not less than 12 times a day. And during the second week - eight times, past three weeks - six times a day and before weaning - 4 to 5 times a day. If the litter is as usual and consists of 3 - 6 puppies and the dam has enough milk the supplement feeding should be started when puppies are 2 weeks old. If the litter is bigger (10 to 12 cubs) or mother produces less milk, the supplement feeding should be started when the pups are one week old.

If puppies slip quietly, they are satisfied. When hungry they worry, crawl around and whimper. Put puppies with slower development under the hind nipples, since they are milkier.

Start supplement feeding with milk. The milk must be fresh and whole, warmed to 27 - 30 C. The best is the goat's milk or the sheep's since the composition is close to the dog's.

To make the cow's milk similar to the dam's, put 1 raw egg per 0.5 - 1 liter.

Use the ordinary bottle with the nipple. Later, when puppies can see, teach them to drink (i.e. to lap). To do this, pour milk into a flat plate and poke the puppy's muzzle carefully into the dish. After two or three tries the pup will learn to drink himself. Since that time you may put small pieces of white bread in milk, or add weak milk porridges made of semolina or oat flour, mixed with 1 hen's egg per 5 or 6 puppies.

The daily amount of milk for one puppy is less than one glass in the first week, the full glass in the second week, 2 - 3 glasses in the third and the fourth weeks.

Since the SECOND WEEK it is good to give fresh uncooked minced meat. In the first days 15 - 20 g a day would be enough. Then gradually enlarge the portion so that that at the age of 3 weeks the puppy would get 40-50 g of meat, and at the age of 4 weeks - about 100 g a day. You should give meat supplement 3 or 4 times a day in equal portions after the pups ate the mother's milk.

Since the THIRD WEEK puppies need the complex supplement consisting of meat, milk, porridges and other supple food. You can cook rice-water and weak milky semolina. Start giving broths and porridges with 30-50 g portions and enlarge to 200-250 g a day. Divide the supplement in 3 or 4 daily doses.

In the third week the puppies should have drinking water several times a day even if they still get milk. The dish made of clay is the best especially since it is non-allergenic. Change water several times a day and wash the dish each day to remove slime.

Since 3.5 WEEKS include meat broth into the puppies' diet. Later on use it to cook the soup (do not add meat) and feed it 3 - 4 times a day.

To prevent RACHITIS you may give the CALCINED CURDS. The recipe is as follows: pour quickly 3 tablespoons of 10% calcium chloride into 1 liter of boiling milk and stir well. When the milk curdles, separate whey by putting curds in sieve, cool and give puppies under 1 month less than 20 g a day, from 1 to 3 months - less than 50 g a day. To make it more tasty add some whey to make the food fluid and a teaspoon of sugar. The rest whey feed to the dam.

As for VEGETABLES, they should be prepared in the following way: cut carrots, beet, turnip, pumpkin or other vegetables into small bricks, add some water and stew at small fire till vegetables are soft. When they are ready, add 2 - 3 table-spoons of cream or sour cream, stew another 15 minutes and rub through a sieve till the mass is pappy. The size of daily portion depends on the puppies' age is between 50 and 150 g.

EGGS are better in the form of omelet (2 eggs per 1 cup of milk) every second day.

Twice a week it is recommended to give puppies FISH FARCE. Boil the sea fish till ready and mince it together with bones. Add some broth, stir and give 30 - 50 g during a day.

At ONE MONTH after birth the puppies should be admitted to the dam only 3 - 4 times a day. In the intervals between feedings give 4 to 5 portions of supplement consisting of the whole milk mixed with a little of crumbled white bread, oats or rice soup and minced meat (boiled and fresh together). By the age of weaning there should be 6 feedings a day.

The WEANING should be made after 6 - 7 weeks and to be in progress during 5 days in which the period of nursing to be gradually reduced. By this age the puppies must be accustomed to the ordinary dog's food and know how to eat on their own. Switching from mother's milk to the ordinary food needs very much care to avoid intestinal upset.

To control if the feeding is correct you may use the INDEX of average daily bodyweight increase:
+ 15 - 20 g for the small breeds,
+ 50 g for the middle-sized breeds,
+ 150 - 170 g for the large breeds.

From the moment of weaning the energy and nutrients income should be kept under control.

The daily amount of energy needed for weaned puppies and juvenile dogs is (per 1 head, kJ):

Age, months
Bodyweight, kg
1.5-3 970 4850     
3-4 710 3550 7100   
4-8 520 2600 5200 7800  
8-13 420 2100 4200 6300 8400

Puppies and juvenile dogs of every age need (per 1 kg of bodyweight):
Proteins - 9 g
Fats - 2.6 g
Starch and sugar - 14 g
Cellulose - 1.5 g
Calcium - 528 mg
Phosphorus - 440 mg
Vitamin A - 0.2 mg
Vitamin D - 0.020 mg
Vitamin E - 2.2 mg

- and some other substances (see Chapter 1: Importance and Requirements for Nutrients in Dogs).

In POST-WEANING PERIOD it is very desirable to vary the puppy's diet otherwise the dog will get used to the certain kind of food. Here is the recommended structure of rations the breeders might keep to when composing diets for their puppies and juvenile dogs (percentage-wise to the daily energy demand):

Age, months
past 6
Meat and pluck 23 20 36
Milk and dairy produce 26 15 4
Bread, cereals 40 43 48
Potatoes and vegetables 11 12 12

As the young dog grows older, the energy demands per unit of bodyweight reduce. Thus, the juvenile needs twice as many proteins as the mature organism. In the same way puppies need more fats, carbohydrates, minerals and vitamins. Correct diet in the young age favors good body shape in the future.

Puppies after weaning and juvenile dogs should be fed with fresh meat and pluck to supply with full-value proteins; rice, semolina, grounded oats in the form of weak porridges and white bread as a source of carbohydrates. To supply the young organism with vitamins give vegetables, leafy tops of root vegetables or wild-growing greens, and fish oil. To provide minerals and prevent rachitis add bone flour, chalk, calcium phosphate and vitamin D preparation. When puppies are 2 to 3 months you may give cartilages and large bones with meat as a supplement feeding. Avoid large fish bones, tubular bird bones and spices - vinegar, mustard or pepper. Give fresh liver, since it is rich in vitamins and iron.

Here are the approximate daily norms of food for puppies and juvenile dogs:

Foodstuffs, g
Age, months until
past 6
Meat 50 150 250 350
Cereals 50 100 150 250
Bread 70 150 150 300
Milk 150 400 300 100
Curds 20 50 100 150
Vegetables 50 150 200 400
Carrots 5 20 30 60
Greens 10 40 60 100
Animal fat 3 4 6 10
Fish oil 0.5 3 5 8
Yeast 1 2 4 6
Eggs 1 1    
Bone flour 4 11 13 14
Salt (sodium chloride) 0.5 5 8 10

Puppies and young dogs should get only fresh and good quality food, in small portions but frequently to avoid bloating and indigestion. Each time the food should be fresh prepared. Never cook food for several feedings. Give the food in the form of thick soup. Soak the bread in the milk.

Until 2 months puppies should be fed six times a day. From 2 till 4 months keep to the 5 times maintenance, 4 x maintenance in between 4 and 5 months and 4-3 x maintenance in between 5 and 6 months. Never give hot or cold food. It should be slightly warm and so much as the pup needs. If for some reason the puppy didn't eat his portion, take it away immediately till the next meal with the new portion in the appointed hour. This will accustom the puppy to the feeding routine and prevent from intestinal disorder, since the remainder of food goes sour quickly, especially in the summertime.

Since six months puppies should be put on the adult diet. Since nine months the young dog is fed in the same way as the adult one, i.e. twice a day - in the morning and in the evening in the appointed hours strictly. The diet consisting only of bread and vegetables without adding of meat impedes the development of the young organism and leads to fragile bones, rachitis and other disorders.

Translated by Tatiana Karpova (Moscow)
(MSU, Biology faculture, Dep. zoology and ecology).