How Much Should I Feed My New Puppy?

You should feed the same amount the breeder is feeding when you get your pup home.  It is also important to feed the same food as the breeder.  If you feel the need to change food please feed the same food as breeder for about 3-4 weeks before switching to prevent stomach upset or diarrhea.  You need to do a slow switch over to also prevent this.

You need to keep an eye on your pups weight so they stay at a healthy weight as they grow.

This is especially important as the adult teeth are coming in.  The body needs calcium for the teeth to grow and be strong.  If the pup is too thin (not getting enough to eat) than the body will draw calcium from the bone.  Once you loose bone you can not get it back and the pup will not grow to the proper standard of the breed.

English/bench bred Labrador pups should be chuncky (not fat) rather than lanky.  Most vets will disagree with this but they don’t know the breed like reputable breeders do.  In fact most vets get very little, if any, nutritional training in vet school.  They are not your best source for questions about brand and amount of food to feed.

Your pup should have a very slight waist line from back of ribs to hip.

Your pup will go thru growth spurts and this is when you need to increase the amount you are feeding.  Perhaps 1/4 cup daily will be enough.  You need to keep an eye on stools.  After a few days if they are firm than add another 1/4 cup to another meal.  See how the pup does on the 1/2 cup increase and if they are not gaining slowly add a bit more.

If you are not sure take your pup to your breeder for their opinion or email them a pic of your pup standing from the side and from the top with you standing at the pups rear end.


Natural Antihistamines For Dogs

Many dogs have skin issues either from allergies, hotspots from itching/chewing or chewing from boredom, etc.

Most vets will put your dog on steroids which is not good for them long term.

I prefer the holistic approach when possible and have found a few things that work well.

One is a salve  of Comfrey and St. Johns Wort compound from

Another is Quercetin and Bromelain.  I use this product giving one per day:

Vitamin C in high doses (to bowel tolerance) works well too.  It makes the adrenal gland produce natural steroids which work as a natural anti-inflammatory.  Slowly increase and watch for bowel intolerance.  I have given as much as 6000 – 8000 mg. daily split up in 2 meals.

The rule of thumb when using human supplements for a dog 50 – 90 lbs is 1/2 the adult dose.  For small breeds or puppies give 1/2 the child dose.  (Vit C is a water soluble vitamin so the body will flush what it does not need/utilize)

Some dogs will have allergies to certain foods so if you suspect this you need to do elimination diets.  Fillers can often be the culprit (corn, wheat, etc.) but sometimes it is the protein source in the dog food.  You can do allergy testing to pinpoint the culprit whether its food or environmental but it can be costly.

Years ago  I had a dog allergic to corn.  Switched to a kibble with no corn and it solved the problem.  I watched her eat an ear of corn off the stalk in the yard one day and within 24 hours she had a huge flair up so for me it was easy to figure out.  Years later the same dog needed specific food for kidney failure and it had corn in it but she never had a flair up which tells me she outgrew the allergies just like children can.

If you are unsure about using human supplements for your dog consult with a holistic vet.


Teaching Your Puppy To Swim

Most puppies do not know how to use their back legs the first time they try to swim.  Their back end sinks and they may panic and develope a fear of the water.

If you have a pool or a friend with a pool this is the best way to teach them.

Purchase a puppy size life vest.  They are around $25.00

Put a collar and leash on the pup and the vest.  Carry the pup into the shallow end of the pool and get them used to the water.  Than try to get them to swim in a circle around you while you hold the end of the leash.

The vest will keep them afloat while they learn to use their back legs and they will not panic.

Than guide them toward the stairs so they know where to get out of the pool.  Otherwise they may try to climb out the side and panic when they can’t get out.

Take off the vest and go back in the pool with your pup on the leash and see if they use their back legs.

If so, you and your pup should be good to go.  If not put the vest back on and keep practicing.


When Can I Take My Puppy To Obedience Classes?

You can start your puppy training at home.  Teach the pup starting at 8 weeks of age to walk on a leash.  Teach sit, down, leave it, wait, etc.

I do not recommend group classes until your pup has had all its vaccinations.  The last one should be at 16 weeks or older.  And most group classes will also require rabies, which should be done no sooner than 4 weeks after the last vaccination.

If you take your pup to a group class prior to all vaccinations you are taking a huge chance of exposing the pup to deadly diseases.  The worst of them being Parvo.

Please ask your vet for their opinion.  The trainer conducting the classes will most likely tell you its fine to start after the second vaccination……  because they want enrollment to make money.

The only way you will know if 2 vaccinations are enough is to titer test your pup at the vet.  This is a blood draw and sent to the laboratory to see if the pup has an immunity to the diseases for which is being vaccinated for.

Please, for the sake of your pup, wait for all vaccinations to be completed before starting a group obedience class.

This also goes for not taking  your pup to Petsmart stores or the like, dog parks, etc…..

And when you go to the vet’s office, do not allow your pup on the ground of the facility; in the waiting room or the exam room until all vaccinations are complete.

Please listen to this advice for the health of your beloved puppy.


Ectopic Ureter (EU) In Pups

It is important to determine if this is the case or the pup just has a urinary tract infection causing leaking.

Ultra sound or further tests can diagnose EU.

In most cases the pup will leak urine from birth.  That was the case with one of our pups many years (30 plus) ago.

Surgery is necessary but type of surgery/cause of EU and when to do surgery will depend on age of pup and your vet will inform you of this.

Here is more info.


Sending Pups To Their New Homes

It is always bitter sweet.  I cry when each one leaves and hug them and kiss them and pray they will adjust quickly without their litter mates, sleep through the night, house train easily and be happy.

I do carefully screen every family way in advance and I follow my gut if something does not seem right.  It is my decision as to who will and who will not get one of my pups.

I wean momma at least 1 week prior to pups leaving so they are no longer as dependent on or attached to her.

I send each pup home with a few toys that all pups have played with and they have also been rubbed on momma and grandma for scent.

New families bring a few towels to rub on litter mates and older dogs as well.

I follow up same day to see how pup is adjusting and for a good week after to see how they are doing thru the night and with house training etc.

I am on call for my pups and their families for the life of the pup and I truly appreciate my buyers keeping me updated with details and pics of their pups.


Choosing AKC Registered Name

This can be fun for the whole family.

I usually choose a call name first and work off that for a catchy name.  Sometimes its the other way around.

Here are a few examples:

Clyde (as in Bonny and Clyde) Snowco’s Take The Money And Run

Snowco’s When Thunder Rolls (Stormy)

It is not necessary to have the call name and AKC name cooincide.

Sometimes you can combine the sire and dam names to come up with one for your pup.

I have one pup person who wanted to use the names of her 2 last Labs; Cody and Duffy;  CoDuffy’s Legacy Of Snowco.

The AKC allows 36 characters which includes hyphens, spaces, etc.  You can go as high as 50 but there is an additional charge.  They also have a limit as to how many times a name can be used.


Should I Change My Puppy’s Food?

When you first bring a new pup home it is very important to continue to feed the same food the breeder (or shelter, etc.) has been feeding the pup for at least 2 weeks.  Rule of thumb is to go thru 1 bag and as you get near the end of the bag start your switch over gradually.

Pups are under stress when coming to a new home and changing the food can add more stress which will most likely result in loose stools or severe diarrhea.

As mentioned above; when switching do it gradually to avoid loose stools.  Slowly substitute the new food for the old.  ie; if you are feeding 1 cup per meal substitute 1/8 to 1/4 cup of the new food for the old.

Wait a few  days and observe stools.  If they are firm than continue your slow switch over.

Keep in mind that loose stools can also be caused by parasites, coccidia, giardia, etc. so if your pup does not firm up take a stool sample to the vet to be sure there are no medical issues.

You should always take a stool sample with you to your pups first visit with your vet.

Some people believe in rotating foods.  I don’t feel it is necessary and certainly would not do this with a young pup.


I Want To Breed My Dog

I had a call the other night from someone looking for a pup and this was the reason he wanted one.  So he  could eventually breed her to his male dog.  And he had no experience at all.

Needless  to say,……  I would not consider selling him a pup.

My first question is “why” do you want to breed?

The answer is usually because he or she is a great dog.

My next question is what does he or she have to offer to the breed?

The answer is he or she is a great dog.

Folks, this is not a reason to bread your dog.

First off your dog must be of the proper standard for the breed and it should be evaluated by reputable breeders and/or in the conformation show ring.

If you have never bred a dog – especially a female – I will start with these questions:

Do you know what it takes to get to the point of breeding:

Health clearances (for Labs or most medium to large breed dogs) Hips, Elbows, Eyes (Optigen), Heart, EIC,  etc.   Do you have any idea what all this costs?

Full blood work prior, then progesterone draws to know when the bitch is ready to be bred?  More money.

Timing for breeding?

Proper feeding of the bitch during gestation?  More money.

X-rays to determine pregnancy and the number of pups to expect?  More money.

Knowing when she is in labor – taking temp, knowing the signs of labor?

When she is ready to whelp – will you know what to do?

Will you know how to help her when a pup is stuck?

Will you know when you may have to rush her in for an emergency c-section?

Will you know what to do to try and revive a still born pup?

What to do when the pup is alive but lethargic?

What if mom is not right….. does not want to nurse her pups, or clean them; mother instinct does not kick in?

Are you prepared to bottle or tube feed the pups to save their lives?

Are you prepared to have a large litter and possibly loose pups?

If a pup is stuck in the birth canal that means others may be coming behind that pup (their cords already detached) and suffocating before they can be born…. will you know what to do to get that stuck pup out to save that one and the others that may be right behind?

This all happens more often than you think.

Breeding is not for the weak of heart and no seasoned breeder has all the answers.

However, if you just “want to breed your dog”, please think twice, ten times about this.

Spay or neuter your pet and love them for all their life.


If you are serious about wanting to get involved in breeding than find a mentor in your breed.  Go to dog shows to learn about your breed and see what is the proper standard of your breed.  This is the best place to learn and meet breeders who “may” be willing to mentor you and sell you a pup on open AKC registration that you can show and possibly eventually breed.


Cleft Palates In Pups

Cleft palates are said to be hereditary or environmental.

It is advised not to give fish oil to a pregnant bitch because it can cause cleft palates in pups.

I don’t give any supplements during pregnancy or nursing other than vit. C (Not Ester c)

I purchased a pup years ago and than found out that her sire produced 13 pups in 3 different litters all in 3 different geographical locations.

To me that is hereditary, not an environmental issue.

Thankfully this bitch never produced a cleft pup nor has her daughter.

There are reasons to try and save cleft pups.  It depends on the severity of the cleft and the time the breeder has to put into that pup.

There is some great info out there.  I think they are worth saving.  But it does involve hand feeding – bottle or tube – as a cleft pup is not capable of suckling from their mother.  They loose their milk thru the cleft and into and out the nasal cavity and can also aspirate into the lungs killing them.

You need to see the signs immediately to save the pup.

Please see these links for more info:

Here is another link with good info (I do not condone the fact that they offer a “Banfield” coupon – I do not recommend Banfield to anyone – fly by night vets as far as I am concerned.)

But the site has good info for cleft palate pups.

I hope anyone that produces a cleft palate pup takes the time to save that baby.

There are times the cleft is so severe it is more humane to put the pup down.

Please have your vet or a seasoned breeder that has dealt with this make that decision for you.