Woodhaven Helpful Hints
This is the feeding
program I provide for my puppy buyers. Things may change as time
progresses and we learn more, but for now this is a program that
I have used for some time with success. I am not recommending
this is the only way to feed/raise your dogs. It is simply my
way and therefore what I recommend to my puppy buyers.
1. DO NOT let a vet tell you
that your puppy is going to suffer whatever because you keep a
few extra pounds on it. I DO NOT WANT LEAN, SKINNY PUPPIES. They
need the extra as they grow to reach their full potential. One
of my puppies should weight approx. twice it's age in weeks. So
a 9 week old puppy should be about 18 pounds, a 15 week old puppy
about 30 pounds, etc.
In a discussion with other Labrador
breeders we were commenting on how veterinarians will often tell
the owners that their puppies are too fat and convince them to
restrict their diet. We don't need to feed to make them fat but
they do need the building blocks to reach their genetic potential.
Keeping the food quantity reduced to "save the joints"
of a growing puppy is like putting a six year old child on a strict
A veterinarian that also breeds
Labs wrote this:
"Unfortunately, they don't
teach much nutrition in vet school and it's usually geared toward
feeding cattle and tends to be a "least favorite" subject.
I believe it was Purina who did a study on litters of Labradors
and their life expectancies based on body condition throughout
their lives. It did a huge disservice in many aspects since vets
now think they're adding years to a dog's life for their family
by recommending a lean dog as a puppy.
I myself have seen several pick
or nearly-pick puppies who have gone on hunger strikes and without
those calories during a very important period in growth and development,
have lost their "bloom" and not turned out. A skinny
dog simply doesn't need to develop the bone/frame to hold it's
weight. That means as they get older (seniors), it likely won't
hold up to any weight gain either, which they tend to do as they
get sedentary due to age, any arthritis, hypothyroidism etc.
2. No forced exercise,
jumping, jogging, field training or road-work, until the dogs
are 2 year old and the bones are set. Puppies are just that until
at least 18 months of age, when dealing with the large breeds.
They are fragile and need supervised exercise in a fenced in area
or daily walks with you. The key is moderation and common sense
in raising your puppy. For strong bones they need normal moderate
exercise in order to develop the proper muscle to support the
bone. A good rule of thumb on exercise is: 5 minutes of walking
per month of life. If for instance your puppy is 3 months
old, it could go for a 15 minute walk.
3. Your puppy should not be
crated more than 4-6 hours at time during the course of a
daytime, and less is better. This is their den, and never punish
and then put them in a crate; it should be their safe place. Their
crate should be in a place where there is family activity so they
don't feel they are being punished. If your puppy is crated during
bedtime, and in the day time, 12 hours of his day is spent in
a crate. If you are working and out of the house more than the
desired time please try enclosing an open crate in an exercise
pen. This will give your pup a safe place to sleep, plus a place
to use as a potty area.
4. NO FREE CHOICE FEEDING.
(leaving food down all the time) Some dogs over-consume, some
pick all day long and don't ever get hungry enough to consume
the proper amount of nutrition necessary.
5. NO CALCIUM (MINERALS) OR
VITAMIN SUPPLEMENTS If you are feeding a "name brand/premium"
dog food which is labeled AAFCO tested for all life-stages of
the dog, you do not need to add supplements. In fact, to
do so might throw off the balance of the food and you can do more
harm than good.
DO NOT GIVE ESTER C
to a growing puppy since that contains calcium.
DO NOT GIVE YOGURT
to a growing puppy as that contains calcium.
6. Watch the amount of "treats"
you give your puppy, the calories add up. Break the Milkbone
into several pieces. Use carrots, a slice of apple as treats.
This will not disrupt the balance of the diet nor add too many
calories to the diet.
Check the labels. NEVER
FEED ANY TREAT THAT HAS NOT BEEN MADE IN THE USA. If
you can't find that information on the package, then DO NOT buy
If you need treats for puppy training,
use Cheerios. They're cheap and they don't add a lot of calories
when given. When I am training and need to give my dogs a treat
for a correct behavior, I give them a piece of their kibble.
7. Feeding Time: Allow
your puppy a safe, non stressful environment to eat in. Try feeding
in a crate. Allow 10 minutes, if they do not eat in that time
remove the food, and refrigerate until next time. They will not
starve, do not try to beg them to eat. You are developing a bad
habit if you entice them into eating. Do not let them linger or
be distracted. My dogs eat in less than 5 minutes. If they don't
I know something is wrong. Monitoring their food this way is an
excellent way of telling when they are not feeling well.
8. Always keep lots of fresh
water available so the animal knows there is water around,
and is less apt to over-consume. Some breeders withhold water
to house break a dog. This is cruel and totally ignorant. It sets
up bad drinking habits (gorging) and bladder infections, potential
dehydration which can cause muscle cramping and potential bloating.
9. Amount to feed: This
was discussed in your Puppy Helpful Hints Guide. I want to see
a thin layer of fat on the puppy during growth but NOT a roly-poly
one. We want to use a moderate protein/fat/calorie food (discussed
below). A high protein/fat/calorie food does not mean a bigger
animal. It may mean your puppy will develop nutritionally caused
bone diseases (CHD, OCD or Pano).
It is important these dogs
grow slow and even, so the bone develops at the same rate
as the muscle. If not they may have growth deformities and early
arthritis. This is why we sent your puppy home on Purina
ProPlan chicken and rice puppy food or Royal
Canin Maxi Puppy and require its use. By
the same token NO LOW PROTEIN/FAT FOODS, they are not high enough
DO NOT CHANGE FOODS WITHOUT
YOUR BREEDER'S PERMISSION!
10. Toys/Bedding: You
have to think like a dog, which things are you more apt to get
into trouble with here! I use fleece beds or towels for my crates.
Never use carpet, as the pups are attracted to the glue and a
continuous loop carpet can cause their bowels to strangle if they
eat it. No cedar, pine bedding it causes allergies. No detergent,
Carpet Fresh, Lysol, Murphy's oil soap, fabric softener or anything
that is a pine derivative. You are asking for allergies. Wash
bedding in a mild solution of bleach, it will dissipate when dry,
leaving no residue. Same with cleaning crates, make sure you are
well vented!! Use only dog shampoo, nothing else for a bath. No
pig ears, rawhide, string toys, Greenies, booda bones, booda velvet
bones or cooked bones. Keep safe toys around so they are not eating
furniture and your best shoes.
My reasons for no rawhide chewies
are many. First, the majority are processed with lye and arsenic,
something your dog does not need in his/her stomach. Also, they
are not digestible and can lay in the stomach or intestines and
not pass through, causing an obstruction or causing pathogenic
bacteria to grow. Something we do not need with animals that are
prone to bloat and gastric torsion is encouraging pathogenic (bad)
bacteria to develop in the gut. They are also a very serious choking
hazard. So to be on the safe side, for nutritional and safety
reasons, I suggest something other than rawhide chewies. Plus,
many are made in China and have dangerous ingredients included
which can make your dog severely ill or kill it.
As for pig ears/snouts/cow snouts
and cow hooves. There are two reasons for not using these, Salmonella
(bad bacteria) and the fact that the ears/snouts will splinter
and can puncture an intestine and the same is for the cow hooves.
Frequently, vets are removing them because they cause an obstruction.
What is safe? Nylabones! Do not
use imitations or cheaper brands! Do not use the Nylabone edibles
after the age of 3 months. You do not need your animals gut cut
up from pieces of plastic which is not safe to eat.
The only Nylabones I buy my dogs
are the 9 inch Monster bones in the original flavor. I order mine
Also you can buy Kong toys. Their
website is located at http://www.kongcompany.com.
They have Kong stuffing recipes located at http://www.kongcompany.com/how2use.html.
BE SURE TO BUY THE APPROPRIATE SIZE FOR YOUR PUPPY. These are
easy to find at most pet stores or online pet supply businesses.
A word about Vaccines:
We're hearing of more and more young animals suffering from a
Vaccine reaction, also known as Vaccinosis or Vaccine Mediated
We follow the Colorado
State University vaccination protocol. We recommend
our puppy buyers follow this protocol as well.
Please make sure your rabies
shot is NOT given at the same time as the other shots and NEVER
before 5 months of age. This may be in direct conflict with
some state laws, but you and your vet must weigh the potential
risks on the delicate immune system of your pet. Many vets are
administering rabies at 10-12 weeks causing serious health problems;
convulsions, swollen joints, high fever, and loss appetite and
sometimes loss of life. Its not worth monkeying around with your
puppy's immune system.
You have to make the decision
but it is my suggestion, if purchasing a puppy from me, that you
do not give Rabies along with the other shots and not before 5
months of age. The ultimate decision is yours.
I ALSO DO NOT
RECOMMEND YOU GET THE LYME VACCINE SHOT as it does
not work and has been causing problems in most dogs
(Links supporting this)
Every dog needs to be on Heartworm
Preventative. Heartworm is a very serious ailment and totally
preventable. We give our dogs Heartguard every 45 days
all-year round, even in the winter. Do NOT give Sentinal,
as this has extra poison in it to kill fleas. If your dog does
not have fleas you are adding this poison for nothing. If your
dog does have fleas we'd rather you used Frontline for
The most important qualities
in a good owner is compassion and common sense and the ability
to think like a dog. When you are in doubt or have a question,
PLEASE contact me. That
is my responsibility as your breeder.
Feeding Program - Puppy Guidelines Basic Program
Dry Food: A high quality,
multiple protein based food of moderate protein and fat content
and naturally preserved. The short list of quality foods is below
and it is based on my own use and feeding trials. Neither of the
foods listed below have ever been recalled.
Foods We Recommend
(NOT the shreds)
Foods - Help in making the choice easier
- These include fruits and veggies, in small amounts.
Berries, melons, apples, banana, tomatoes, carrots, broccoli,
cauliflower, oranges, squash, sweet potato, green beans, zucchini
for example of foods you can use. NO raw onions, grapes, garlic
Water On Food: Commercial
foods need to be fed with moisture so dogs don't over consume
water after a meal. If the dog doesn't get enough water with its
meal the kibble will pull moisture from the dogs system in order
to break down properly. Use tepid temperature water never
hot or warm and never soak your food as it breaks down and destroys
nutrients. Mix up and feed immediately. I use enough water to
thoroughly cover the food (approx. 1/2 cup ) per each meal.
Drinking Water: It is
very important to never withhold water from your dog. This can
lead to over consumption and bladder infections. Use common sense,
do not let them drink excessively after exercise or dinner. Like
a horse, let them cool down and then drink. I have found if I
have water available, they never overdo it since they know it
is available to them when they need it. That way they drink less
amounts of water, but more frequently.
BASIC GUIDELINES FOR AMOUNT
TO FEED YOUR LAB
As a general rule of thumb is
based on the assumption that a dog may be crated or less active
during the day, while the owner is at work. Remember, we'd
rather have a thin layer of fat on the puppy at
this time but not a roly-poly one!
How much should your puppy
weigh? This little formula and the Food/Weight chart below
should give you a pretty good idea.
My standard for my pups, which
are over 10 wks. of age, is:
2 lbs. of weight for each week of age. One pound each way allowing
for bone substance.
For instance: If a puppy is 14
weeks old it should weigh around 28 lbs. If the puppy is a female
it could be 27 lbs. and 29 lbs. for a male puppy. Anything above
2 pounds per week of age, and you might want to consider the puppy
is too heavy.
This formula is fairly accurate
until the dog reaches the age of 10 months.
The following amounts need to
be split into two daily feedings.
As to the amount, the guideline I use is 1 cup
of food per month of life. For example, if a puppy is 2 months
old it gets 2 cups of food divided into 3 feedings per day.
If the puppy is 2½ months of age, the pup is eatin 2½
cups of food per day divided into 3 feedings. 3 months of age
equates to 3 cups of food, etc. This is usually true until the
puppy reached the age of 4½ - 5 months of age, when their
growth slows down a bit. I then back off on their food.
I usually switch to 2 feedings per day at about
3 months of age and continue to feed twice a day for life.
Feed the breeder's recommended
puppy food. Buy 2 20# bags, then you may switch to an
adult (maintenance) formulated food after these are gone, for
the rest of the dog's life.
My adult females get between
2 - 2 1/2 cups of dry dog food per day divided between
the 2 meals. Adult males receive approx. 1 cup more per day.
Puppies and older dogs should
NEVER be placed on a lite diet. Cut back the amount you feed rather
than switching to a lower protein and lower fat. They need the
nutrients for their organs and brain cells and their coats will
If the dog gets a bit heavy and
you need to cut back, ease up on the amount of food and add a
small can of sodium-free green beans to each meal.
(If you can't find sodium-free, you can drain and rinse the beans
before letting the dog eat them) The dog thinks its getting
its full amount of food, but is actually receiving less but the
green beans help fill up the dog. Unsalted, unbuttered popcorn
or rice cakes also make a good addition to a dieting dog's food.
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