summersbrook labrdors - puppy diet and feeding
 the subject most dear to a Labrador’s heart - one way and another!

Puppies are no exception. You should - of course -  have been given a diet sheet by your breeder before you collected the puppy. If you haven’t, then hopefully you will be given one and a supply of food  - on the day you collect your puppy. It’s quite important not to change the brand of puppy food. If, for some reason, you really want  to, then do it slowly, over a period of days, gradually serving more of the “new” and less of the “old”.
Any sudden change of diet can cause some quite unsociable and “nasty” stomach upsets.

    For puppies from 6 to 12 weeks

    Time ............................................................................... Meal
    7:00 - 8:00 am........................ “Pedigree Advance” Puppy Wholefood
    12:00 - 1:00 pm.........................................................ditto...........................
    5:00 - 6:00 pm..........................................................ditto............................
    Evening.................................... Creamed rice pudding with warm water.

The “pre-soaking” time shortens as the puppy gets older - from “finish one meal, wash the bowl and pre-soak the next” - at 8 weeks, to... “cover with homemade lamb / chicken or turkey stock  and serve”- at 12 weeks. The amount served should be as much as the puppy will eat heartily, and put on weight. Obviously, this amount increases as the puppy grows.

  • At around 12 weeks - we start adding a daily spoonful of small and chewable, tasty bits of raw minced meat or chicken or cheese - and a small bowl of “fresh” skimmed milk.
  • A spoonful or two of fresh vegetables - passed through a “juicer”.. or steamed - with the water / pulp added as gravy .... can start to become a regular part of the diet.
  • Stored in the bottom of your ‘fridge - short slices of raw carrot or a quarter of a small apple make an excellent after dinner treat - and help to keep teeth and gums clean.
  • We’ve no hard and fast rule about when to start cutting out meals......
  • By about 16 weeks - provided the puppy is looking well rounded and happy, we will have cut down to 3 meals per day - whilst increasing the amount per meal.
  • By 6 months - we’re down to 2 meals per day - having cut out the rice pudding.
  • We don’t cut down to 1 meal per day - we prefer to give the same daily amount split 25% / 75% - breakfast and supper.
  • “Feeding Time” is an excellent reminder to empty, rinse and refill the water bowl. With any prepacked or “dry” food, all dogs need a very ample supply of fresh clean water..
  • At about 6 months, the choice widens considerably: “Pedigree Adavnce” Junior or “Denes” or “Burns” mixed with 2 - 3 tablespoons of fresh, raw mincemeat / minced raw chicken / turkey / lamb / rabbit / oily fish / cheese or pasta, topped off with freshly juiced vegetables and a spoon full of vegetable oil.

......“wider still and wider” ......

  • Many pet food companies claim their “whole food” is indeed complete with all that a dog needs for  healthy growth and general well-being.
  • We seriously beg to differ.
  • It’s difficult to imagine that any child reared soley on prepackaged convenience food is going to grow to be as healthy as a child reared on a diet of differing fresh meat, fish, pasta, eggs, fruit and vegetables.
  • Apart from the “physical aspects” - how about “mental well-being”?
  • What are the long term effects of a dog being given the same meal 14 times a week, 52 weeks a year?
  • Dogs are fond of “routine” - but this is slightly ridiculous!
  • On balance, we believe that no more than 30% of a dog’s diet should be made up of pre packaged wholefood , to which is added any one -  or a selection of - fresh, raw lamb, chicken, turkey, rabbit, tripe, liver (once a week), offal, marrow bones, “spice free” table scraps, cooked brown rice and pasta, tuna, cheese, whole-meal biscuits and toasted whole-meal bread, vegetable oil, raw green vegetables, lettuce and ripe fruit - all forming part of a healthy and interesting diet.
  • It’s simply a case of using your imagination.
  • If you’re preparing green vegetables for yourself - “juice” some - raw - for your dog.
  • When buying meat for yourselves - buy liver / lamb chop / turkey / rabbit / chicken / tripe / kidneys / heart or a sawn marrow bone for the dog.
  • Good pet food shops stock frozen packs of fresh tripe - defrost and serve raw.
  • Many Organic Farm shops sell dog meat as frozen packs of offal - defrost and serve raw.
  • If you’re cooking brown rice or pasta - cook some extra - for the dog.
  • Don’t throw away the greens cooking water - cool it - and pour over the dog’s supper.
  • Cheese - or plain live yoghurt in the fridge looking a bit tired? - you guessed it!
  • Fruit bowl need refreshing?
  • Apples - without pips - oranges / bananas / pears - even kiwi - are all tasty and contain valuable vitamins and nutrients for your dog’s breakfast - much the same as really.
  • Watch for  cheap offers of tuna fish / meat / veg / fruit / cheese - remember the dog.
  • You possibly take a vitamin supplement. “Denes” do an “All-in one” multivitamin, with a recommended dose of 5 per day. Our dogs have one per day - in winter - as a “back-up”.
  • On Sunday, we give our dog’s digestive system a complete rest from any commercially prepared food.
  • For supper we serve brown rice or pasta - with fresh raw meat / cheese / liver / turkey / fish / offal - topped off with freshly juiced raw green vegetables and warm “Marmite” gravy.


for dogs - and puppies over 12 weeks

    Preparation: (Saturday evening)

  • Scramble an egg - or two - per dog - cover, and allow to stand - not in the fridge.
  • Very lightly toast 2 thick slices of wholemeal bread and leave in the toaster - ready.
  • To Serve:

  • Very lightly toast the bread again - so that it’s warm - “really crisp and crunchy”.
  • Break the toast into biscuit sized pieces and break up the cold scrambled egg with a fork.
  • Serve on the warm toast - with added wholemeal biscuits and a little olive oil.
  • .... and  it’s back to bed for an hour with the newspapers!

Just in passing ........
I remember reading somewhere - something along the lines of............“The hierarchal structure of the pack dictates that the leaders (us) should eat first - and the dogs eat after”

Well - we definitely don’t do it that way!

As guardians of our dogs, we prefer to look after them first - and when - and only when they’re happy and contented - can we relax - have a bath - pour a drink - and look after ourselves.
GB Schaller is an author of over ten studies of animal behaviour - ranging from lion to deer.
He wrote about wild dogs....... “Once a pup accompanies the adults on the hunt, they take almost complete precedence at the kill. Adults may grab a bite at the time the prey has been caught, but as soon as the pups arrive, the adults step back and permit them to monopolize the carcass”

It seems to work - for us!

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