• Feed what the breeder recommended especially for the first few weeks so as not to disrupt the digestive system.
• Fresh, clean water should be available to the puppy during the day. You should remove the water overnight.
• Feed 3 times per day from 8 to 12 weeks of age and twice per day thereafter.
• If you want to change the food, always choose a high quality puppy food labeled for large breeds. Mix the new food with the old food gradually at a rate of ¼ new for 2 days; ½ new for 2 days; ¾ new for 2 days until you are at 100% new food.
• Increase the amount per feeding gradually.
• Mix the kibble with a little warm water and let it sit for 10 minutes to soften.
• Discard any uneaten food and decrease the quantity of the next meal by the same amount that was left. If the puppy refuses to eat 2 consecutive meals, or is a consistently poor eater, contact your breeder or see your vet.
• Do not add any supplements like vitamins or minerals to a quality kibble, however adding small quantities of yogurt, cooked vegetables or eggs to the food can be beneficial.
• Monitor the weight of the puppy during the rapid growth period of 3 – 6 months. Overweight can lead to bone and joint problems including hip dysplasia.
• Never give chicken, turkey, or pork bones. Give only medium length beef marrow bones that are available in the supermarket. Do not cook but remove some of the marrow since it may give loose stool to a puppy. Surplus bones can be frozen and old bones cleaned of the marrow can be stuffed with various things such as peanut butter or pumpkin (no spices added) to keep a puppy busy.
• Treats should always be given with caution. Avoid any treat that has the potential to upset the digestive system. Puppy biskits or pieces of the puppy’s kibble can safely be given as a treat.
• Do not feed table scraps or gravy especially if spicy since these will cause diarrhea and stomach upset.
Written and Provided by GSDCA Member, Barbara Lopez