What Dog Food Should I Feed?

My personal dogs always did exceptionally well on Purina ProPlan Sport and currently eat ProPlan Salmon and Rice Sensitive Stomach.
I tried different approaches, but I am leaning into the philosophy "feed the dog in front of you, not what's popular."
Some of my dogs eat home-cooked meals, and some eat kibble, whatever is easiest digestible for them and keeps them happy and healthy. I have supplemented it with raw and yummy treats.
NutriSource Small and Medium Breed Puppy Food (chicken with rice)

This is what I feed my puppies. To find it, you can put your zip code in and find local stores

It is typically found in smaller chains and independent stores. If there isn't one nearby, it can be ordered through Amazon.

Purchase a small bag (5 to 15 lbs) at a time so your puppy will finish it quickly, and keep it in the airlock container to preserve freshness.

I like this particular puppy food because it is super nutritious for growing puppies and easy for them to eat. The individual kibble size is about the size of a lentil. It makes it easy for tiny teeth to chew.

The chart above and the back of the dog food bag have suggested measurements to start with and adjust as your puppy grows.

Poodle puppies burn a lot of energy playing and must replenish it quickly. I recommend not limiting the puppy's access to food at all until 12 weeks. I free-feed my puppies. This means leaving the dry food out during the day for your puppy to graze on when hungry.

At 12 weeks, they can be switched over to 3 meals a day and two meals at six months old. If you prefer to keep your puppy on a strict schedule until 12 weeks old they must be fed at least four times a day.

Right after going home, the puppy may experience uncertainty about the new environment and not eat. This is not ideal and sometimes even dangerous for a small puppy. In tiny puppies, prolonged fasting can easily lead to hypoglycemia. In this case, soak the puppy kibble with warm water and let it sit for 20 minutes to cool off. The soaked kibble releases a stronger smell and entices a hungry puppy to try and eat it. Leftovers should be refrigerated or thrown out after 40 minutes.

Poodles are athletic and very good at self-regulating when allowed to do so. Poodle weight varies a lot among different lines. It is best to rely on body scoring than weight to determine if your dog needs more or less.
I know it is super exciting to start spoiling your puppy right away! Puppies digestive system is still developing and puppies are sensitive to changes in their routine. It is important to consider their delicate tummies and overall health.
In the first few weeks keep it very plain and simple.

  • set aside some kibble from the daily ration amount for rewards.
  • cow hooves can be used by themselves for chews instead of bully sticks or rawhide
  • cow hooves also make great chews and can be stuffed with soaked kibble and frozen
  • tremenda stick aka beef blader
Your puppy is tiny, and it's easy to overdo and accidentally replace a meal with treats, so ensuring the treats are as nutritious as they are delicious is essential. For training, I like using "spiked" kibble - adding a piece of cheese or hot dog to a kibble container and keeping it overnight in the fridge. The extra flavor absorbed by the kibble makes it much more enticing without changing the nutrition profile.

Once your puppy has settled in start adding small amounts of natural treats, a little bit at a time. You can use baby food pouches, freeze-dried kibble toppers, Ziwi Peak, and freeze-dried lungs. The least processed, simpler, and shorter the ingredient list, the better. I would avoid bacon strips and "training" treats from the treat aisle in the pet store. Those are full of dies, fillers like starch, gluten, and glycerin and have little nutritional value or flavor and can make your puppy sick.

I highly recommend selecting treats manufactured in the USA and avoid cheaper Chinese imported ones.

Keep in mind, you can totally feed your puppy dinner when training with kibble in a 10-minute training session. For training purposes, the size of the treat pieces should be just big enough to have a quick taste and swallow.
What about raw and grain free?
The page on food choice considerations is coming soon and will be in the second module. Check back in a bit.
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