.A young Teddy Bear puppy needs to have a balanced diet.  Choosing the right nutritional plan can be the difference between a happy, healthy Teddy and a sick one.

Most Teddy Bear puppies should be weaned by the 4-6 week mark.  That means that when you get your Teddy (typically around the 8 week mark) they should have been on solid foods for a few weeks.  It is important to find out exactly what solid food your puppy has been eating since weening.  We recommend keeping your new puppy on the exact same eating schedule for the first few days of their transition into their new home.  Most breeders will give you a zip lock bag full of their dry food if you ask them for it.  Keeping your Teddy’s diet consistent will help limit the stress and anxiety during this big change.

Picking the right dog food:

Once your new Teddy has been home for a few days you can start to slowly switch them over to another dog food.  You should not make this switch all at once however.  Start by mixing a little of the new food you have chosen in with the old stuff.  Each day you can add more of the new food, substituting it for less of the old food, until after 4-5 days your puppy is solely on his new diet.

Most new owners want to give their Teddy Bear puppies the BEST food available.  The truth is, not all dog food is created equal.  A lot of the “name” brands and generic foods contain mostly filler ingredients and lack true nutritional content.  We recommend staying away from most of the brands you will see at a grocery store or Wal-Mart.  Picking the right dog food isn’t always easy.  Ask your veterinarian what type of dog food they recommend when you go in for your first visit (your first visit should be in the first few days you have your new puppy).  Most vets will recommend a grain free or organic dog food. Vets usually have a very good idea what works and what’s available in your area.

Once your puppy is used to their new food, it is also a good idea to slowly introduce them to a different flavor in the same brand of dog food (follow the technique described above). Doing  this at a young age will help your puppy avoid stomach sensitivity and it will make meal time more fun.DSCF6333-12-279x262

Giving your Teddy Bear puppy treats:

Treats are a great teaching tool and are awesome at reinforcing positive behavior in your new Teddy.  Be sure to pick some up at your local pet food store shortly after your new Teddy arrives home.

Since your new Teddy is only going to be about 3-5 pounds, it is important to get him treats that fit his body size.  Look for the smallest size of treat they have at the pet store (treats made for training), preferably about the size of a pencil eraser.  Getting a treat that is too big, feeding them too many treats, or trying more than one kind of treat at a time, can hurt your new puppies diet and upset their stomachs.

Most treats are typically low in nutritional content and full in artificial flavors. We recommend looking for treats that are grain free.  Think of treats like “fun sized” candy bars, having one or two between meals can be okay sometimes.  However, if you ate 5-6 after lunch you wouldn’t be hungry for dinner and may even get a stomach ache.  Be sure to not give your new puppy too many treats.  Treats should only make up about 5% of your new Teddy’s total diet.

How often should I feed my Teddy?

Most new puppies eat three times a day until they are about 5-6 months old.  Split up the meals to morning, noon, and night.  Try to feed them at a consistent time for each meal.  Feeding your puppy lunch at 11:00 a.m. one day and 1:30 p.m. the next can stress out his digestive system.

If your schedule does not allow you to feed your puppy 3 times a day, try feeding him a slightly bigger meal in the morning to carry him through until dinner time. However, we do not recommend doing this right away. New puppies need lots of love and interaction, they will not be able to make it the whole day without lunch, a bathroom break, and some much needed play time. If you can’t come home during your lunch break, try to have a family member or a neighbor check on your puppy the first few weeks that they are home.

Once your puppy is about 5-6 months old it is okay to go to twice a day feedings.  Make sure that you increase the amount you are feeding them at each meal to equal the total amount they were getting through three meals.  Don’t be surprised if your Teddy doesn’t finish all their food the first few mornings of this new schedule.  Leave their food out for a about an hour longer than you normally would during the first week of two-a-day feedings.

How much should I feed my Teddy Bear puppy?

It is important that you feed them about the same amount of food as they were receiving before for the first few weeks you have your new Teddy.  Ask your breeder how much they were being fed and how often they recommend you increase the amount.  Typically an eight week old Teddy will eat 1/3 a cup of dry food three times a day.  However, consult your breeder and your vet on their opinions as it applies to your specific puppy.

When deciding to increase the amount of food your Teddy is receiving.  Only start feeding them more when they clean their bowl in the first 15 minutes after feeding.  Once they are eating everything quickly, and not letting it sit in the bowl, then you know you can increase the amount.  Don’t increase it to rapidly, start with a 10% increase and see how they respond. You may need to adjust their intake on a weekly basis.  New Teddy’s grow the fastest during their first five months of life.  They need to consume a lot of calories to keep up with that rapid growth.

How can I tell if my puppy is eating enough?

Most puppies are growing so rapidly during the first 5 months that they do not store a lot of fat.  It is not unusual to be able to see, or feel, a healthy puppies ribs.  A healthy puppy acts happy and healthy.  If your puppy is playful and excited during it’s awake hours, it is usually very healthy.  If they are acting lethargic, sad, or weak, it could be symptoms of sickness and you should take your puppy to the Vet immediately.

Most new Teddy Bear puppies sleep  A LOT, don’t be surprised if your little guy takes 5-6 naps a day.  The amount of excitement they had the previous day  will also contribute to how much they sleep the next.  If your puppy had a full day of playing, he may sleep 50% of the next day.  On the other hand if they were lounging and resting all day, don’t be surprised if they wake up in the middle of the night bright-eyed and ready to play!

Can I feed my dog foods other than dog food?

We strongly recommend that you do not feed your puppy other types of “people” food, especially table scraps.  Doing this WILL teach your Teddy to be a beggar and you will constantly have to watch your plates every time your little guy is near.  It is also much easier to avoid feeding them foods that can seriously hurt them.  Foods like chocolate, onions, grapes, raisins, avocados, macadamia nuts, yeast (like in raw bread dough), garlic, and large amounts of dairy products can seriously hurt your Teddy’s digestive system and lead to sickness or death.  Also, tooth paste has a product in it called Xylitol which can lead to liver failure in dogs.  If you are going to brush your Teddy’s teeth, get a dog specific brand of tooth paste from the pet store.

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