FEEDING YOUR IRISH RED SETTER, IRISH RED AND WHITE SETTER OR WELSH SPRINGER SPANIEL PUPPY AND ADULT DOG
Find out from your breeder which food the puppy has been brought up on. A reputable breeder will give you some of this food when you collect your puppy. Do not change this food for the first 2 weeks at least, as the puppy is unsettled by its new surroundings without having to cope with a new taste in food. If you do not like the food supplied and want to change for some reason then do so gradually by reducing the breeder’s food and increasing the food of your choice.
I personally believe that the health of your puppy is very dependent on the type of quality food you give it during the first year and that although there are many cheaper dog foods on the market the premium brands are established for a reason. The breeder should also give you a diet sheet which lets you know how many meals a day to feed the puppy, the quantities involved and at what age this is decreased until finally your adult dog is on only one meal a day. There should always be fresh water available for your puppy and adult dog to drink.
Your puppy should have at least two bowls which belong to him/her – one for water and one for food. If you let your puppy eat from your plate then they will see no difference with the plate of your food on the table to what you have given them and when big enough will be happy to help themselves from the top of the table.
It is a good idea when your puppy is having two or three meals a day to start making sure that the family eat first and then your dog. Instinctively the dog will then realise that their pecking order of eating is after the family and produces a more relaxed atmosphere at the family table. Do not let your puppy or adult sit by the table while the family is eating and dribble for food! If necessary put them into their bed or crate until mealtime is over and then feed them. Always try to give your dog a safe place to eat their food where they are not disturbed by the rest of the family.
Also use tit bits as a reward for training purposes and not as an additional source of food. Your puppy does not have to have lots of different flavours of foods, different snack bars, bones, chews etc. on a regular basis. If they are used as a special treat then it is far more fulfilling for both you and the dog.
For more information on good quality foods, dog treats and feeding issues then look at the recommended dog food manufacturers and also the Cormallen Gundogs blog.