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Recommended Food

for our Beagle Puppies


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Please check this page after your puppy is weaned to ensure that you know which food(s) your puppy is accustomed to eating while at our home.

I try to keep this page updated so new families know what kind of food to buy a 'beginner bag' of for that first week the puppy is at his/her new home.

Puppies need to be on a good quality food formulated JUST for puppies for at least four months. This used to be recommended for a full year, but research has begun to show that we are feeding our puppies "too well" and they are growing too fast. Growing too fast can contribute to joint problems later in life. Please talk to your veterinarian to learn what he/she recommends. I had always heard that we should feed a puppy formulation for 7-12 months until I went to a small animal specialist in 2017 and learned about the recent research and got his recommendation. I was surprised!

From just prior to weaning until our puppies leave us, they experience a variety of foods and supplements including puppy milk replacer formula, fresh goat milk from our farm, canned puppy food (small amounts only), probiotics, Nutrisource Small/Medium Breed Puppy, and Diamond Naturals Small Breed Puppy. Initially, we are more concerned with getting them to eat solid food than worrying about "which food" they start eating.

Don't Worry! :-)  The most important components of our feeding program are those that your puppy is eating right before he/she leaves us, because you should try (as best as you can) to mimic that diet for a week or so before changing the puppy's diet. At that time, we typically are just feeding our puppies a mixture of two dry puppy foods or (more often) just our most-favorite dry puppy food, pictured below.

What Our Puppies Are Accustomed To Eating

Our puppies are currently eating
Diamond Naturals (Chicken and Rice) Small Breed Puppy Food
(5 stars out of 5 stars, rated by Dog Food Advisor)
See http://www.diamondpet.com/dealer_locator/ for online and physical addresses.
Menards stores carry it, as well as many farm-oriented stores, such as Tractor Supply, Orscheln Farm and Home, local farmer's elevators/co-ops, etc.
Many people also order from various sources online.

(It is typically NOT found at Petsmart/Petco)

If you are soon to receive a puppy, we recommend that you try to find
 a small bag of this food your puppy is currently eating
to use for a week.
We will send a little bit with you to get you started, too.
After a few days, you can begin mixing it with the food
 you plan to feed throughout your puppy's first year until the small bag is gone.


We also recommend NuVet antioxidant supplements above any other "vitamin" on the market!
Scroll down or click the bottle (left) for information about high-quality
vitamin/antioxidant supplements.
NuVet supplements usually must be ordered online (see information at the link), but a very few veterinarians carry them as well. If you would like to give NuVet supplements, we recommend ordering them. It is easier and faster than driving to the vet, who may or may not carry them (and may try to sell a different vitamin to you that might not have all the benefits of NuVet).

These supplements are cold-pressed, not cooked. Therefore, the antioxidants/prebiotics/probiotics/minerals are not damaged by heat.

How Much Food and How Often?

  • We keep Diamond Naturals Small Breed Puppy Food (unless an exception above exists) with the puppies almost all the time until they are 8 or 9 weeks old. We need to offer food most of each day to ensure that all puppies in the litter get enough food, rather than having one slower-eating puppy not have enough. This also helps prevent any puppies from feeling that they need to rapidly eat as much food as they can, out of fear that they will be hungry when there isn't any food available if the other puppies eat it all.

  • At 8 to 10 weeks, beagle puppies should be offered 3 meals per day, depending upon their weight/size. Feeding "meals" after a puppy leaves littermates will help you with potty training. For a good eater, 2 meals per day may be sufficient. But 3 meals per day is even better for 8 to 10 week old puppies under 6 lbs, in our opinion.

  • Check the feeding suggestions for the brand of puppy food you choose. The daily recommended amount will be listed by either puppy weight and age, or else by the puppy's weight at maturity. 
    ~"Most" of our puppies are eating between 2/3rds cup and 1 cup per day when they leave us around 8 weeks of age.
    ~Our beagle puppies "typically" weigh between 4.5 and 5.5 lbs at 8 weeks. Puppies this size are usually eating about 3/4ths of a cup per day, sometimes more.
    ~The small beagles might weigh 3.5 to 4 lbs at 8 weeks, and they may be eating only a half or two-thirds of a cup per day. 
    ~Look at your puppy's mother/father (link is on the web page that your puppy's pictures are shown on) for their weights to estimate your puppy's mature weight.
    ~I have found that the recommendations on the bags are often too much for beagles, and the beagles get fat when fed that amount. For growing puppies, it's best to evaluate the puppy's condition every 3 or 4 days halfway between feedings or at the same time each evaluation day. If he looks like he is losing weight, up the feed a bit. If he is staying the same and looks good, keep the volume the same.
    ~I don't like to see puppies' ribs, but it's ok to see a bit of hourglass shape when viewed from above. On adult beagles, there should be a definite waist/hourglass shape. Puppies tend to be more round, though. For the first several months, puppies typically do have a bit of chub, but we don't want them to be obese because that is hard on their joints.
    ~It is hard to feel confident about food volume, so I recommend asking the vet to tell you if your puppy is too fat or too thin those first couple months after coming home, each time you visit the veterinarian. After puppies are 5 or 6 months old, they have more of an adult dog conformation, and you can more easily see just by looking for that waistline.

Examples of Dog Food Brands, and Comparison

A high-quality puppy food is essential for the first few months. 

Lamb and Rice or chicken and rice foods (no corn in the ingredients) are often recommended for breeds of dogs with large ears that lay down, like beagles.  Blue Buffalo offers several good puppy foods. We also like the quality of NutriSource puppy food, and often supplement our puppies with that when nearby stores run out of Diamond Naturals. 
However, millions of puppies have been raised on non-specialty store-bought food, and you sure can choose that route as well as long as it's specifically formulated for puppies. After the first year (some people claim after 7 or 8 months), your puppy can receive a regular adult formulation.

How do you know if a food is good? Look at the ingredients...if "corn" or "corn meal" (or similar) is in the first few ingredients, it isn't viewed to be as good as if those ingredients were lower on the list. Better yet, avoid a corn-based feed entirely and look instead for rice. Or, consider a diet of food totally without corn, rice, wheat, etc. This can be accomplished via prepared foods such as Natures Variety, or by careful research on your part and feeding a diet of raw meats.

Foods I Like
Good Ingredient List

Common Foods I Like Less (below)
But are still formulated for puppies and will probably be fine.

(see the prominent location of "corn" in ingredients):


Click the image above for a comparison of several popular puppy foods' first 10 ingredients and their PRICE (around 2013).

Check out http://www.dogfoodadvisor.com for reviews of dog foods. I don't know if this site is truly independent or if it's sponsored by dog food manufacturers yet. If it's independent, it's kind of a neat site!

Vitamins and/or Antioxidant Supplements

Puppy foods are supposed to be complete, but they are cooked. Cooking the kibble damages some of the ingredients, causing likely nutritional gaps in puppy foods. If you are going to give a vitamin to bridge those gaps, why not give the best one you can?

An excellent vitamin we definitely support is made by NuVet Labs. This product can help puppies develop stronger immune systems, which can help your puppy be healthier AND can even assist the vaccinations your puppy receives in providing the highest-possible protection. These supplements are the best I've seen, as they are cold pressed (not cooked) which means the ingredients aren't damaged by heat. They are BOTH vitamins, and antioxidant supplements (plus contain uncooked probiotics), in one tasty treat.

You may have to use my order code if you order via phone: 23915
Or, order by clicking the bottle image, below:

NuVet Plus: Natural, Powerful Immune System Support

  • Veterinarian Recommended and Scientifically Formulated to Provide Everything Your Pet Needs for Optimal Health!

  • NuVet Labs Goal is to Help Increase Your Pet's Longevity and Quality of Life. Many breeders will only honor their health guarantee if the puppy's families can prove that their puppy is getting NuVet vitamins daily through receipts for purchase. I do not require that. But, that's a testament to how strongly breeders feel about the quality of these vitamins.

  • When a puppy is moved away from its mother and siblings to live with its new family, the immune system is weakened by the stress of adoption and exposure to bacteria and viruses in its new home. These are pathogens for which the puppys body has not yet developed antibodies, and it is widely recognized that the immune system is less effective in times of stress. So starting NuVet Plus now can be important to helping your puppy grow into a healthy adult.

  • NuVet Plus for Canines provides the very best human-grade, natural ingredients available, and utilizes the latest advances in medical, veterinary, and nutritional science.

  • NuVet products help put pets on the path to perfect health and support their development through every stage in life.

  • NuVet Plus is not available in stores or directly to the general public. You can only purchase NuVet Plus when you get a recommendation only from a pet professional, which is why I think you might need my order code, 23915, if you want to order.

  • Thousands of the nations top veterinarians and other pet industry professionals use NuVet Plus for their own pets and recommend it to their clients pets!

  • NuVet Plus is Natural No Artificial Sweeteners or Fillers

  • Video about NuVet Plus and more information (opens in a new window), if I can get the player to work. ;-)

What If Our Puppy Doesn't Eat Or Drink Well At First?

Normally, there is very little problem with eating habits in the new home environment. But just like when we humans are away from home, puppies will sometimes be too caught up in their new place and the excitement to eat and drink on their normal schedule.

If possible, offer a couple teaspoons of plain or vanilla yogurt with active cultures (most brands have active cultures, including the Wal-Mart store brand) once or twice daily. This not only is a treat that might get your puppy to eat, but the cultures are also good for digestion during this time of stress.

*This seems to work well:  Buy a can of dog or puppy food (any brand) and mix no more than "a couple tablespoons" with his/her dry kibble, stirring it up so the canned food coats almost all of the dry kibbles (don't put too much on, or the puppy might get diarrhea). Or, do the same with a couple tablespoons of cottage cheese.

You can also buy puppy or all-species milk replacer powder from a vet or pet supply store, and sprinkle that on the puppy's dry kibble (then stir to coat the food) to make it more appealing. See image below (don't put too much on, or the puppy might get diarrhea):

One food caution is to not give canned puppy food unless "needed" to entice him to eat...and then only in controlled amounts. Canned puppy food is not very nutritious, and also puppies will overeat if allowed to. This can lead to bloated stomachs, gas, vomiting, and diarrhea, and can require a trip to the emergency room. It is a good idea to have canned puppy food on hand, but if you use it, we recommend mixing no more than 2 tablespoons of it with about 1/4-1/2 cup of dry food so the canned food coats the kibbles. This would only be necessary if he was not eating very well due to his new environment. Sometimes they do that for a day or two.

We've also had people put canned or fresh cooked (cooled) chicken broth over the dry kibbles, and even using a little broth or tuna juice in water if needed to get the puppies to drink.

Again, because this is very important! PLEASE DO NOT FEED YOUR PUPPY CANNED PUPPY FOOD in unlimited amounts soon after receiving him/her. Drastic changes in their diets can cause severe digestive upset. Do keep a couple cans of soft food on hand to use to tempt the puppy to eat if he/she is off feed. But give just a couple tablespoons at a time to prevent overeating and bloating. If the puppy eats soft food until he bloats, he could begin a cycle of vomiting/diarrhea that could lead to blood sugar problems and anemia which could be fatal.


Changing Foods Slowly

If you pick your puppy up in person, we will try to give you enough food to last 3 to 5 days. If your puppy flies, you should try to find some of the food the puppies are currently eating, as the airlines now only let us send enough food for about 1 day.

How fast can you switch to another puppy food?

At the minimum, please mix the food a puppy is accustomed to with your chosen/preferred food, half and half, for 5 days. Do not simply switch from one food to another, as your puppy could get gas, have diarrhea, etc.

This is just "my idea" for a way to acclimate the puppy to your new home's feed and feeding schedule, especially if you don't plan to feed our chosen food. It is very conservative, and we know that most people don't adhere as strictly as this chart. But, this might give you an idea of how to acclimate mealtime for your puppy. Changing food too quickly after leaving us can lead to digestive upset and diarrhea, which is not healthy for the puppy and is unpleasant for you!

The goal is "slow change" to help prevent digestive upset. The change of home is enough stress for the first few days...no need to add the change in diet as well.

  • Feed straight "our preferred food" (see top of the Food page, as I keep that updated with what we are feeding) for 3-5 days.

  • For the first 3 days, have some dry "our preferred food"  in the food dish all the time or else feed 3 small meals per day. This allows the puppy to eat when he/she is hungry, as his/her schedule will be unsettled for a few days due to leaving the littermates and familiar home.

  • After 3-5 days, mix the "our preferred food"  half and half with your new food for at least a week, or until the "our preferred food"  is gone. During this time, offer food only at meal times. Still offer several small meals per day, and not just two meals. Puppies need to eat more frequently than adult dogs, so three meals is probably best for them if you can do so. For larger puppies, such as those weighing over 6 lbs, two meals per day may be fine. The smaller-sized puppies really should have 3 meals (or more) until they reach 6 lbs (just my opinion).

  • After the 6th day (or when the "our preferred food" is gone), feed your favorite puppy food.

Day What to Feed How Often
Day 1

Dry  "our preferred food"
(can mix some with water as a treat, but mostly offer dry food).

Always available, or at least 3 small meals per day
Day 2 Dry  "our preferred food"
(can mix some with water as a treat, but mostly offer dry food). Offer a few kibbles if your preferred food as "treats" while training, but not more than a couple tablespoons total per day.
Always available, or at least 3 small meals per day
Day 3 Dry  "our preferred food"
(can mix some with water as a treat, but mostly offer dry food). Offer a few kibbles if your preferred food as "treats" while training, but not more than a couple tablespoons total per day.
Always available, or at least 3 small meals per day
Day 4 Dry  "our preferred food"  mixed half and half with your preferred puppy food 2 or more small meals per day.
Day 5 Dry  "our preferred food"  mixed half and half with your preferred puppy food 2 or more small meals per day.
Day 6 Dry  "our preferred food"  mixed half and half with your preferred puppy food 2 or more small meals per day.
Day 7 Your preferred food 2 or more small meals per day.
After Your preferred food 2 or more meals per day.

Other Info for New Puppy Owners

Visit our Table of Contents page for links to information valuable to new puppy owners. This list includes FAQ's, training advice, and much more!


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Cedar Ridge Beagles
c/o Toni Perdew
(the best method to reach me is via e-mail)
Bedford, Iowa
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