Okay, so let’s say I have a dog. Let’s say that, through no fault of either party, she came to me a lot earlier that would be ideal. Like, a lot.
The first lesson this has taught me is never, never adopt a puppy younger than eight weeks old. (You try crawling out of bed every two hours to soak kibble in lukewarm puppy milk, and begging a tiny but impassive canine to eat, eat, because some of us have to go to work tomorrow. The powers that be only know what fall out her crippling curtailed socialisation with her mother and litter will have on her development, but I digress. No use crying over spilt formula.)
The second is never, ever to parent from guilt. Once, when Cliff was very small (five and a half weeks, and 1.7 kilos, if anyone is asking), she took it into her head that premium junior biscuits were boring. Like any new parent, I panicked. She would eat them soaked in puppy milk, but she was really starting to outgrow that so… I switched to regular. Um, most dogs are lactose intolerant. Mine sure is.
The diarrhoea was spectacular. No one at the clinic is going to let me live that down in a hurry, but no permanent damage was done, except to the odd couch and carpet. And curtain. Like I said, spectacular.
But it got me thinking… what if it had been worse? I’m not talking about what to feed your puppy, because that’s easy. Greater than 80% of the diet should be a premium, high quality diet; Royal Canin, Eukanuba or Hills, tailored to their size, and measured out to age, especially important for the first year, and really, really important for large breed pups. But the tricky thing is what not to feed.
It’s that pesky 20%.
We all feed treats. If you want to hear some embarrassing stories, ask anyone else at the practice when I’m out of ear shot what my dog is guilty of scrounging. But what is right out? To the point of being definitely non-negotiable?