Dear Dog Lover,
My very first dog found her own way to us. She was called Schnappi, a sweet little mongrel. I really took her to my heart. My love of dogs never left me and I have had three dogs of my own.
And that is why, at Happy Dog, we do everything we can to produce healthy food for dogs. For every size, for every need and for every age. So that you too can give your best right from the start, here you will find valuable tips on specific nutrition for your puppy.
Yours sincerely, Georg Müller
Owner and Managing Director
of Happy Dog
Adopting a puppy is a big decision – after all, your new little friend will keep you and your family company, hopefully for a long, long time. The nutrition and the experiences a puppy makes in the first few weeks of his life influence him sustainably and lay the foundations for his further development. For this reason you should keep the following points in mind
The right nutrition from day one
For optimal development, mother's milk is the best nutrition for a puppy in the first few weeks of life. Only if the mother doesn't have enough milk, will it be necessary to supplement. However, puppies should not be fed cows milk; they need a special composition like our "Happy Dog Supreme Baby Milk" with low lactose content and special probiotic cultures to stabilise the gut.
At about four weeks, puppies begin to get curious about solid food, they want to investigate how it tastes and start making their first shy attempts at the feeding bowl. Some mothers will nurse their pups until they are eight weeks old, but most of them stop nursing after six weeks. This is the time to wean and start putting the little ones onto solid food.
The transition from mother's milk to solid food puts a considerable strain on the constitution of the little fellow. To help him manage this phase and avoid digestive problems, they should be fed first class puppy food from the very beginning. This is also important because the nutritional needs of young dogs differ considerably from the dietary needs of adult animals.
Puppies need much more energy
Anyone watching their puppies play, will soon realise that the curiosity and playfulness of their little fur ball seems endless. Puppies are considerably more active than adult dogs, for this reason feeding them "normal" adult food would be inadequate. Puppies need relatively more calories than adult dogs and they also have higher requirements for protein and mineral substances. In the case of large breeds, it is important to provide them with the right calcium to phosphorous ratio: it ensures healthy bone formation while avoiding an excessively rapid growth. Nutritional deficiencies might result in life-long impairments. Choosing the right puppy food is therefore of crucial importance.
Avoid nutritional deficiencies
Happy Dog's dry food offers you the security you need. Our top quality dry food is ideally suited to the nutritional requirements of young dogs and puppies. Happy Dog dry food contains all the essential vitamins and nutrients your puppy needs to grow big and strong. The breed also largely determines the energy requirements of puppies and young dogs. For this reason, Happy Dog puppy food is tuned to these necessities: We have puppy food for small, medium and large sized breeds.
Our 2-phase concept focuses on what wolf mothers instinctively ‘seek out’ for the food of their offspring. Pups are not weaned abruptly from mother's milk to solid food, but rather in a two-stage process. When the pups are about ten weeks old, the mother first starts feeding them on regurgitated, predigested meat, and only very gradually do they start getting small prey animals with parts which are difficult to digest. With the 2-phase Happy Dog concept, your puppy is first fed a high protein diet, since this is equivalent to predigested food. Between the fifth and the seventh month, there's a switch to lower amounts, aligned with natural conditions.
Let our Happy Dog Customer Service Team advise you, if you're not sure which is the best food for your dog. Our experts will be happy to advise you on all your questions.
Dry food for puppies
Dry or wet food – which is best? This is a question many dog owners ask themselves. In fact, neither type of food can be described as essentially “better” than the other. The most important thing for your dog is getting a product which has been certified as a “complete food”. Because only this type of food is guaranteed to provide your puppy with all the minerals, nutrients and vitamins it needs.
Dry food also offers certain practical advantages over wet food. Vigorous chewing strengthens the gums. And it is more hygienic that wet food, in that it can stay in the dog’s bowl longer without ‘going off’ in warm weather. It is also easier to dispose of. Even when the packet has been opened, dry food has a comparable shelf life. And with no empty cans to dispose of every day, it is clearly better for the environment. Dry food also has a higher energy content, which means less is needed, making it a relatively cheap option.
If dry food is the preferred choice, you must make sure your pet is getting enough fluid by making fresh water available at all times. The best way to encourage your dog to drink is by putting out several drinking bowls in different parts of the house.
Switch to new food gradually
In the first few days, it is also advisable to stick to food your puppy has been used to in its previous home. A change in diet at this stage can actually put extra stress on the dog’s digestive system. Once the puppy has settled in, usually after a week or two, you can then start the changeover: Mix a little of the new food with the dog’s usual daily ration, gradually increasing the amount every day. This allows the puppy’s digestive tract to get used to the new food. If you have decided to give your pet a special puppy food, you should stick to this.
How much food does my puppy need?
It is essential to measure out daily food portions carefully as too few (or too many) vitamins and nutrients can lead to impaired growth. Stick as closely as possible to the recommended portion sizes given on the back of the Happy Dog dry food packet. These are always based on the “ideal” weight for dogs of a particular age or breed, and this may not necessarily correspond to the animal’s “actual” weight. In young animals that have grown too quickly, this figure may actually be higher, and, if used to calculate the dog’s food ration, could encourage too-rapid growth. A useful general rule of thumb is to give just enough food – in other words “as little as possible and as much as necessary”.
How often should I feed my puppy?
While an adult dog will generally be fed twice a day, a puppy should be offered food more frequently. Having a relatively small stomach means it is not yet ready to cope with large amounts of food. And eating too much would almost certainly overload its body. Experts recommend
- Up to 4 months old: 4 meals per day
- Up to 6 months old: 3 meals per day
- From six months onwards: 2 meals per day.
Can I give him a treat between meals?
Just like adult dogs puppies, of course, love to be rewarded with treats or given snacks for topping up between meals. However, these should be given sparingly and always counted as part of the animal’s daily food ration. Alternatively, you can simply give the dog part of its daily dry food ration as a treat.
When can I start giving my puppy "adult" dog food?
- Small breeds (up to 10 kg) are changed over to a suitable “adult diet” at around 9 - 12 months.
- For mid-sized breeds (11 - 25 kg), the changeover takes place at 12 - 15 months.
- In giant breeds, growth is almost complete at 15 - 18 months, which is when they should be switched to adult food.
The follow-on food is selected according to breed, metabolism and performance (e.g. Adult Mini for adult dogs up to 10 kg with normal energy requirements, Adult Medium for adult dogs from 11 - 25 kg with normal energy requirements and Adult Maxi for adult dogs from 26 kg with normal energy requirements).
When your new resident comes into your home, please consider that he needs to assimilate a lot of information in a very short time. He no longer has his familiar surroundings, siblings and old family around him, and first has to get used to his new people and environment. Give him time!
With the best will in the world, and however much you love your little four-footed friend, there will be times that you would like to send him up to the moon without a return ticket. Such as when he chews the third pair of your favourite shoes.
By this time, it will certainly be obvious that you need to start your puppy’s basic education. The following tips are just a few basic points, but they are the most important lessons that a baby dog needs to learn.
House-training is one of the most important things that a puppy has to learn for the benefit of your carpets and the nerves of everyone involved. But you will have to be very patient in the first few weeks. Take your puppy outside at regular intervals, no more than a few hours apart. You will need to do this even at night, as your little friend won’t be able to hold on all night just yet.
Puppies generally “go” immediately when they wake up, after eating and during / after play. Always praise him cheerfully and clearly when he poops or pees outside. If you catch him at it inside, say “No” in a loud voice and take him into the garden. If he then does his business outside, give him lots of praise once again. If your pup has already peed or left a little present on the carpet for you, then you are simply unlucky. If you get there too late, your penalty is to clean up after him. There is no point in telling him off; the puppy won’t understand what you are punishing him for.
Come! Or what is my name anyway?
To teach your puppy what he is called, use his name when you talk to him and give him food at the same time. Puppies generally understand what you mean very quickly, and learn to expect something nice when they hear their name. Now hold a piece of food in your hand, move a couple of metres away from your do and call his name. Give him his reward when he comes.
The next step would then be to address him by name when he is not paying attention to you. This will prepare him for the next important point: Your puppy needs to learn that he has to pay attention to you, and not the other way around! Use his inattention to hide yourself and call his name. But don’t go too far away. If he comes to you when you call, praise him effusively. You can also walk away from him cheering loudly; that will draw his attention and he will follow you. Again he should be rewarded with food or a game when he reaches you.
No! Out! Off!
Some things that are rather cute in a puppy, are not quite so nice in an adult dog. That’s why your puppy needs to learn that he cannot always do what comes into his head. He has to learn and accept this even when he is interacting with his siblings, mother or other older dogs. So, don’t let him get away with everything. It is you who decides what is permitted and what isn’t!
But to do this, you first have to teach him exactly what “No!” means.
Take a treat in your hand and hold it out to the puppy. When he comes to take it, close your hand and say “No!”. Wait a few moments, then open your hand again and repeat the game. Puppies generally learn what “No!” means very quickly. Now open your hand and offer the food, saying “Take it”. It won’t be long before he waits for you to say “Take it” before he takes the biscuit.
When this works, raise the stakes a little, and put the treat on the floor. But make sure that you can be faster than your dog if there is any doubt. Repeat this exercise lots of times; start in the home environment with few distractions, then repeat it outside. If you practise this regularly and consistently without your little one having any successes of his own in the meantime, your “No!” will quickly work well in other everyday situations.
A “No!” is vital, and helps avoid dangers.
When your little friend exceeds the limits of good behaviour, you must show him as much. In some cases it may be enough to simply ignore him, such as when he becomes too wild and pushy in his social contact with you. In this case, say clearly and firmly “Stop!”. Stand up and go away. He has now lost what was important to him, and is left standing there on his own.
If this is not enough to stop him, or if, for example, he has already chewed up your favourite shoes that we mentioned above, simply ignoring him will not have much effect. In this situation, it does not matter to your puppy whether your go away or not. This is where you really need clear signals to tell him to stop. This isn’t so bad, provided that you are unambiguous, and your response is appropriate for the situation and is given immediately. Restrict his actions by going straight up to him, or bending over him and holding him in place. If this is not enough, you can bump into him or turn him over. That sounds and looks unkinder than it really is. If you have ever watched an older dog interacting with puppies, you will know that they don’t act with kid gloves. The lesson hits home as a result, and it is not generally necessary to keep repeating it. People can still learn a lot from dogs when it comes to immediate and unambiguous action! You never meet a puppy who will ignore serious signals to stop from an adult dog. On the other hand, puppies who do not take human signals to stop seriously are sadly all too common. That’s it in a nutshell. Behaviour that is so sweet in a puppy, is anything other than sweet in an adult dog.
The important factor here is that dogs do not bear grudges. Perhaps we should take a leaf from their book and learn from our dogs. It is not good to ignore dogs for long periods. Quite the opposite - it can really harm the relationship between man and dog. Acceptance of the “peace offering” by the rebuked one is extremely important, and will strengthen your dog’s trust in you.