Feeding your dog:
by Dennis Fisher.
the bitch in whelp
*Feeding adult dogs
This article is one of a great many
articles written by Dennis Fisher about a very wide variety of subjects
concerning different dogs, such as obedience training, breeding,
showing, health matters, training problems and other subjects. All
these articles appear on Dennis Fisher's websites. Visit
the site that has been set up specifically for German Shepherd Dog
if you interested in a breed other than German Shepherd Dogs.
There are a great variety of views with regard to the
subject of feeding. Many
people subscribe to the idea of a natural feed diet, feeding only
natural foods and there is a great deal to be said about this method of
feeding. However for
sake of convenience it is far easier to feed one of the excellent
commercially available dog foods.
regard to the well-advertised, premium dog foods, here again people have
their own special favorites.
It is also possible that you might find that your dog prefers one
special brand to another. It
is often a matter of trying different brands to see which your dog
With regard to quality, this will also depend to a very large extent on
the breed of dog – whether your dog is a member of a giant breed, a
medium size or very small breed.
is also a factor to be considered.
the bitch in whelp.
The gestation period is approximately
63 days. During the
first three weeks the bitch requires very little in extra nourishment.
From this period she should receive extra nourishment in the form
of enriched milk added to her normal ration of dog food,
together with the addition of eggs.
As she becomes more noticeably pregnant instead of the one large meal she may been
accustomed to, her feeding
should consist of three smaller meals.
If she is receiving a premium quality dog food
there is not need to add supplements, but if the dog food she has been
getting is of the normal supermarket variety it would be wise to add a vitamin mineral supplement.
It is quite common for a bitch to refuse food
the night before whelping, but this is not always the case. Do not wait for food
refusal as a sign that whelping is imminent. Some bitches eat
almost until the last moment.
Naturally once the bitch has whelped she
should be given as much food as she wants, divided into three meals
during the day with plenty of enriched milk and as much water as she
For the first day or two it might be advisable
to feed only enriched liquid meals, but it depends to a large extent on
the bitch’s preference. Meat
can be added to the meals as soon as she is ready to eat this.
The bitch may also readily consume as much ox
heart or liver as you give her.
But do not overdo this luxury as it could result in loose bowels.
Here the feeding schedule I have used for German
Shepherd pups. I
found this feeding schedule very successful in rearing
strong healthy pups. Obviously
it can be adapted in quantities depending on the breed of dog you
The pups receive their first meal as early
as 2 ½ weeks while the bitch is still nursing.
It consists of a very small amount
of scraped raw beef. This
amount is usually increased over the next few days and at
weeks each pup is
receiving about a tablespoon of meat.
At this stage a milk meal is introduced and the pups are taught
As cow’s milk is not nearly as rich as that of
bitch’s milk, full cream powdered milk is used to enrich the
cow’s milk. My
special preference is for Nestle’s “Pelargon” but any of the
well-known brands are satisfactory.
The suggested mixture is a heaped tablespoon of
full cream powdered milk to half a pint of cow’s milk
that has been slightly warmed.
The pups are fed in
their own individual special, small size infant pup’s
dishes and are taught to lap by gently pushing
their noses into the dish. After some preliminary
blowing the pups soon get the idea.
When the pups are 4 weeks old they receive another meat meal and at this
stage the scraping of the feat is dispensed with (it is a time-consuming
operation!) and finely minced beef is substituted.
Each pup receives at least
one once of meat at each of the two meals.
In addition to the milk being enriched with full cream powdered
milk eggs yolk
are added into the
At the age of 4 weeks the pups are receiving
approximately 2 oz. Of milk mixture.
The meals are increased to four at the age of 4 ½ weeks with the
addition of another milk meal
At 5 weeks
a good quality,
puppy kibble is added to two of the milk meals.
At 6 weeks the pups are fully weaned and are
completely independent of the mother.
But the greedy ones often feed from the mother in addition to
their meals until she is not prepared to tolerate them any longer.
At seven weeks the pups are still receiving four
meals a day with quantities
being adjusted according to their appetites.
Four meals a day are fed until the pup is four
months old when one of the milk meals is
discontinued and the other three meals
increased in quantity depending on the pup’s appetite.
Feeding a young dog.
At six months the number of meals is reduced to
three but at this stage I introduce a good quality commercial food.
At nine months the dog receives two meals a day – a morning
meal with milk mixed with the commercial food.
The evening meal consists of the commercial meal mixed with a
certain amount of meat.
The manufacturers of good quality, premium puppy food recommend
that no additional supplements should be added.
They also suggest that no additional feed, including meat, should
be added. However, I have
always felt that the addition of the small amount of meat makes
the food very much more palatable.
The quantities each dog will eat varies a great
deal. Some dogs are
naturally greedy eaters. Others
are somewhat finicky. It
should be a general rule however not to leave any food in the dishes.
Give the dogs approximately fifteen minutes to finish the meal
and remove any food that is not eaten.
On the next occasion feed less.
Feeding the adult dog.
Once the dog has reached eighteen months it will
be in order to feed only
once a day, if this is more convenient. But in the case of very large
breeds that are sometimes prone to stomach and bloat, it would be
better to divide the feeding into two meals a day.
There is no need for additional supplementation if a good quality dry
dog food is given. But
remember to have fresh water available, as the dry dog food tends to
make the dog very thirsty. Do
not allow the dog to have water immediately after they have eaten.
Rather wait at least half and hour before allowing the dog access to the
an older dog.
If the dog is healthy he will probably eat just
as much when he gets older.
But when he becomes less active with age there is a tendency for
to put on too much weight which is not healthy.
Obesity is a problem with dogs, especially
greedy dogs and certainly with spayed females.
Watch the dog’s weight carefully and cut down on the food if
there are signs of obesity.
There are certain dog foods on the market that specifically cater for
the older dog no longer as active as previously.
They are intended to prevent obesity.