This page is intended to help puppy owners with the important questions:
Which is the best food for my puppy? and how much exercise is OK?
Diet - Do's-
- We recommend raw feeding as the best diet for dogs, but it may not be the best choice for every dog owner, convenience-wise. It requires some reading, commitment and a little more work than other diets. But if you decide to look into feeding a raw diet with adequate calcium/phosphorus ratio and an appropriate variety of foods it will be the best you can do for your dog's health and longevity. There are great books and yahoo groups (forums) which provide information, support and sources. More info on raw food here: http://www.raw-dogs.com/links.html and excellent articles on why your dog, although your best friend, still IS a carnivore: http://www.mypetcarnivore.com
- If you prefer to feed dry food, it's strongly recommend that puppies be fed a Premium dog food with less than 26% protein, at least until they are 12-14 months of age to prevent problems with your dog's bones. Check out dry foods highly recommended by the Whole Dog Journal magazine. Supermarket dog foods are NOT recommended as they use cheap ingredients with low nutritional value, what you save in dog food you will pay 100 times over at your vet's later. There are three main reasons why you may seriously look into switching your dog from dry kibble to fresh foods:
1- Your Sheltie has persistent health problems, like allergies and ear infections.
2- Your puppy/dog is a performance or conformation prospect and you need an edge in health and appearance
3- You have lost one or more dogs to cancer and want to avoid the same happening again
4- You breed your Shelties and you need to satisfy their higher nutritional needs
- Puppies need to grow at a SLOW pace. We all love rolly-polly puppies, but this is only healthy when puppies are nursing. Once they are weaned nature intended for them to grow SLOWLY. Don't over-feed your puppy, always feed so the puppy will still be a little bit hungry; you are not being cruel, you are being wise. You are helping prevent hip dysplasia, pano and other bone related problems by allowing your puppy to grow at a slower rate. The book Grow Your Pups with Bones has several important chapters on this subject. Although bone dis-eases may have a genetic component, at least half their origin is environmental, just as so many chronic illnesses, including cancer.
Diet - Dont's-
- Don't feed your dog cooked bones of any kind. Cooking changes the structure of the bone, the dog can't digest cooked bones and they can be fatal.
- Don't allow your dog to eat, drink and then run or play. Although bloat (torsion of the stomach) is not a common occurrence in Shelties, it is a risk, often fatal.
- Don't feed chocolate.
- To prevent diarrhea:
Don't give your puppy pasteurized milk.
Don't give raw foods and dog food together, each food is digested at a different rate.
If switching from one dog food to another, mix both foods and reduce the previous food gradually.
Exercise - Do's and Dont's-
- Playing with your puppy is good exercise, as long as he can stop as soon as he is tired. Jogging with your puppy is not recommended until the puppy is at least a year old. Then start slowly and make sure to jog on grass, not on pavement. A young dog's bones/joints are still very sensitive and can be permanently harmed by too much exercise.
- Don't let your puppy run on slippery surfaces like linoleum or hardwood--this is one early cause for hip problems later on. The best place to exercise your puppy is on grass where it will have firm footing.