Many congratulations for making the choice of starting your puppy with plant-based food. You have chosen the most sustainable and kind diet for your new puppy that should ensure a long and healthy life.
You will have been sent just 2 recipes for your puppy that are specific to their weight and growth stage. Every growth stage varies in requirements with the first few months of their life being the most rapid growth stage and requiring the most energy.
Please note that the 5 recipes shown on the Green Paws page are for adult dogs only, but there is a video for you to see how the recipe is made and the stages (just different ingredients) should give you an idea of how to make the recipe.
The most important thing for you as an owner is to keep weighing the food and supplement and keep weighing your puppy as they grow.
As they get to about 20 weeks, their growth slows down and they may begin to leave some of the food – do not be concerned and start offering different brands or foods as this only makes your puppy fussy.
Try to use the dry biscuits as rewards when training and playing by hiding them around the house and keeping your puppy stimulated and allow for correct mental development. Omega 3 is vital for mental development and we recommend buying these Algae oil capsules for your puppy that offer the purest form of Omega 3. The dose to give is 1 capsule/20kgs, so if you are not using the Algae oil in the recipes, then give 1 capsule every other day if your puppy weighs 10kgs.
It is so important that puppies, just like human babies, do not put on too much weight in their early months. Fat deposits (or puppy fat) if excessive, will definitely result in an overweight adult dog which sets you up for a shortened and more painful life as arthritis results especially in the greedier breeds such as Staffies, Labradors and Cavaliers. Plant-based usually does not result in overweight puppies due to the high fibre content of the food.
ALWAYS TRANSITION YOUR NEW PUPPY SLOWLY ONTO PLANT-BASED. Almost all breeders will have weaned your puppy onto a meat-based puppy diet and when you bring your new puppy home; just the adaptation of being in a new environment is a stress in itself. Allow them a week – 10 days with their original diet and when transitioning take it very slowly. 80%/20% at first and gradually increase the amount of plant-based.
This results in their gut flora having time to adapt to the increased bulk and with that, expect lots more toileting sessions! Amazingly although your puppy will poo so much more (frequency and amount), the poo will not have the offending smell that meat-based puppies and dogs produce. The frequency and amount will all settle down with time as their gut flora adapts.
FURTHER PUPPY VETERINARY ADVICE
Neutering and Behaviour
Choosing the Right Time to Neuter Your Dog
Neutering has an important role to play in the health and happiness of many of our companions but, like us humans, they are all individuals and it is worth taking time to consider the right decisions for them.
The health benefits of neutering have long been reported but we are now coming to learn that hormones can be important in helping pets cope with their environment, particularly as they grow and develop. As vets, we usually advise to wait to neuter dogs until they are at least 9 months of age so their hormones can help them mature.
With large and giant breed dogs there is also some evidence that hormones have a role in bone and joint development. For this reason, it is advised that these breeds are not neutered until they are fully grown. This would be over 12 months of age for large breeds such as Labradors and over 18 months of age for giant breeds such as Great Danes.
There are obviously exceptions to this, such as in households where males and females are living closely together and there is a risk of inappropriate breeding.
At this point many owners will be considering neutering their pets for several reasons
- Avoiding unwanted litters of puppies
- Reducing the incidence of mammary tumours in females – evidence of some benefit up to 4th season in bitches
- Removing the risk of ovarian tumours in females
- Removing the risk of the serious uterine infection ‘pyometra’ in females
- Reducing risk of some testosterone linked prostate conditions and hernias in males
- Removing the risk if testicular tumours, especially important if there is a testicle which has been retained rather than moving into its correct position in the scrotum
- Reducing problematic behaviour patterns linked to hormones – for example male dogs straying on walks when there are unneutered females in the areas
These reasons will often lead owners to decide that neutering is the right option for their pet, however the next consideration is choosing the right time to do it. There are some patients with behaviour concerns that are not related to hormones and as such may not resolve with neutering.
When considering neutering it is important to know that a dog is happy and confident and has no underlying anxiety or nervousness, especially around people or other dogs. The reason for this is that testosterone and oestrogen are brilliant hormones for confidence and learning appropriate social interactions, especially in the early years. Many dogs we see as vets fall into this category. For females this will usually be 3-5 months after they have finished a season.
However, in some cases our maturing companions may be showing specific behaviours such as anxiety, nervousness, aggression or humping. With these dogs it is worth considering a more in depth assessment of their behaviour before proceeding to neutering. With any nervous or timid dogs we will often discuss postponing neutering either for a few years or indefinitely if deemed appropriate.
Humping behaviour may be sexually motivated, but in a lot of cases can be what we call a displacement behaviour. This is the term for a behaviour that some dogs may perform when they become overly stimulated. Possible causes for this could be over excitement, anxiety (eg if a stranger visits the house) or even frustration.
With male dogs where the role of hormones in their behaviour is unclear there is the option of a chemical implant to reduce their testosterone levels temporarily. These are complex decisions that need to take in all the information about each pet and your vet should be able to advise you accordingly.
Sustainable flea treatment
You will most likely be offered a practice health plan at your vet practice where you pay monthly and receive flea and worming treatment from the practice.
DO NOT ACCEPT the health plan that offers only spot-on based flea treatment. There is very new evidence available that these spot-on treatments in our pets are extremely harmful to out natural insect life and are found in waterways in the UK from our pets. Enquire about oral monthly treatment for worms and treat orally for fleas if these are seen on your puppy – it is not necessary to just treat monthly if none are seen and your puppy is not itchy.
Every medication carries a risk, but the risk from worms is high, so worth treating against these.
If you have to use any form of spot-on treatment, then worth buying bee bombs for your garden to negate the effect of the treatment.
What about treats?
Just like with children, try to keep treats to not more than 10% of your puppy’s daily intake – and this goes for their adult life too. If they get too used to treats, they become fussy – especially in the clever breeds such as Cockapoos and German Shepherds.
Use their dry biscuit ration as training treats. Keep them in your pocket (no harmful bacteria on plant-based foods), and the Greta biscuits have a lovely smell of oregano. Hide them around the house, or use them in activity mats or snuffle blankets.
For puppies that eat extremely fast, invest in a slow-feeder bowl that slows their eating and also helps their mental development.
Use as many natural treats as possible such as carrots, peas, apples, tofu (can be fed raw) or cucumber. Kongs can be filled with tahini paste or natural peanut butter (no added sugar, salt or palm oil), or even fill their large Kongs with homemade food.
Dog trainer advice with a new puppy
Toilet training : you take your puppy outside after every meal and drink of water, after every exuberant play session and before you yourself go to bed.
Recall, the first thing to teach them. Have an excited friendly call ( calling her/his name here) it’s helpful to use the same phrases.
Drop it! Said sternly or bah ( sounds a bit like a loud short bark ) this is for obvious things to teach them not to eat something bad they find out on walks!
Sit or you can just use your own finger pointing , or say leave it, whatever works for you to teach waiting ( for her/his food to be put down), – this one’s important for manners. A dog in the wild lives in a pack and the alpha eats first, so think about this. Every thing you do is to help your pup live as close to a natural dog life as possible while adapting to your ways.
Not biting you or anyone: Pull your hand away, and stop play immediately turn your back. Don’t ever punish, no need. This is how you as a human must act, a mother dog may do something else.
Stop jumping up on people: put your knee up, turn your back, ignore puppy don’t look at him and tell your guests to ignore him. He will very quickly settle down when he realises he is ignored. This works when you first come home too they get so excited. The puppy phase goes too quickly and soon you will have a calm smart pup that knows playtime and when it’s ok to be ‘crazy’.
If I’m away for a day or two, one of my dogs squeals and the other one does a special howl like a song and dances around.
Enjoy your special relationship with your new pup. Go to puppy school if you can. A dog park, or visit friends with older dogs to teach dog manners and important socialisation with other dogs and children. Teach kids how to behave around your dog too.