Over the years we have tried just about every dog food available and we even trialled feeding a raw diet, also known as BARF - biologically appropriate raw food. Having never been totally satisfied with what our dogs and puppies were eating, in 2016, Alastair set about developing a solution. Today, that solution is a new brand of food called Paw. The ethos behind Paw is that it combines many benefits of the raw/BARF diet - feeding the way nature intended, with the convenience and health benefits of feeding a complete dry food. Paw has a very high meat content and the remainder of the food is made up of nutritious vegetables and supplements - not rice, grain or other bulking agents and fillers that many commercially produced dog food products contain.
You can learn all about Paw at www.pawdogfood.com and you are more than welcome to pick Alastair's brains on nutrition!
All Lomond Hills puppies are reared on Paw Puppy Food. You can order on the Paw website and receive free delivery to most of the UK mainland, there is a small surcharge for remote postcodes. You can also set up a subscription on the website to take advantage of discounted pricing and receive the right amount of food at the right time so that you never run out.
If you choose to change to an alternative brand - please be warned that this will likely cause a tummy upset. If comparing brands, you should look at the meat content, fresh meat content, fillers and bulking agents as well as nutritional additives. Cheap food is cheap for a reason, and just because a food is expensive doesn't mean it is good! Here is a table which compares Paw with some of the major alternatives:
When Lomond Hills puppies leave for their new homes, they eat 4 meals per day. The first is usually given at 8am, the second at 12.30pm, the third at 4.30pm and the fourth at 8.30pm. Obviously, you need to feed him at times which suit your schedule, but try your best to have similar time gaps between meals.
We suggest that you feed him in his crate with the door closed so that he makes a positive association between the food and crate. We also suggest that you simultaneously train him to sit. Bring the food bowl and your puppy over to the crate, pop him inside and say 'sit' in a clear and firm voice, whilst using one hand to signal the command (usually a flat palm) and the other hand the plant his bottom firmly on the ground. Keep that hand firmly on his bottom and use the other hand to put the bowl of food in front of him. Let go of his bottom and close the crate door. As time goes on, you will find you won't need to push his bottom down and he will respond to the voice and hand signal. This is a great time to achieve 'sit', because the food acts as the reward.
A typical meal size would be 40-50 grams in dry weight for an 8 week old puppy, but this does vary a little dependent on the size of your puppy. When your puppy has finished his meal, you will find that his tummy is noticeably bigger - this is normal. By the time the next mealtime comes around, his tummy should be back to normal size (if it is not, you fed him too much on the previous meal).
As he gets older, you can reduce the number of meals in the day, but increase the portion size. By 12 weeks old, you could have him down to three meals and by 6 months old that could be reduced to two meals. We feed all of our adult dogs twice per day.
This table provides a guideline for how much to feed your puppy as he grows, but there is no exact formula as there are other factors to consider such as activity levels and physical condition.
Ideally, you want your puppy to be at a weight where you can feel his ribs, but his top line and hip bones are nicely covered. Australian Labradoodles do not tend to be greedy dogs, but maintaining a healthy weight is very important.
Keep him on the puppy food until he is a year old, and then transition gradually onto an adult recipe.
If your puppy 'goes off' his food, we suggest you use caution if changing brands. Australian Labradoodles are not known for being a hungry breed... they're very much grazers and eat only when they are hungry. If your puppy is not finishing meals, rather than switching foods, we suggest you just leave his meal down for him. By the time it gets round to his next meal time, he will probably have eaten most of the previous meal.
Switching foods can quickly become a vicious circle. Your puppy will eat any new food with great gusto for a couple of days because it is new and interesting, but will probably then appear to 'go off' it. Fussy dogs are man made... no dog is born fussy! Changing foods is upsetting for the digestive system, expensive and generally unnecessary. Leaving his food down for him until he has finished is usually the solution!