What Do I Feed My Puppy?

Although "grain-free" is all the rage these days, I have decided to stop feeding that diet to my dogs after reading multiple reports over the last couple of years that it's been linked with an alarming uptick in canine heart disease. Seriously! Look it up.

Beyond that, there's no one-size-fits-all for your Aussiedoodle's daily diet. Do your research and consult your vet. Your puppy will need more calories and protein than he or she will as an adult. Tailor their diet to their lifestyle. I absolutely love for my puppies to go to families who will give them active, adventurous lifestyles full of hiking, exploring, and the great outdoors. A dog living like that will need more calories than a dog who might have just one walk or ball session a day and is sedentary other than that.

Your Aussiedoodle needs a balanced diet consisting of protein, carbs, and fat. Just because a brand of food has trendy words and graphics on the bag and calls itself high-quality and balanced doesn't mean it is. But nor should you buy the cheap, generic stuff on the shelf at your local supermarket that doesn't promise any of that (see Beneful, Kibbles' N Bits, Iams, Purina Dog Chow, and Pedigree, to name a few).

Raw feeding is in vogue these days, and it can be the right call. But once again, consult your vet before choosing this route to ensure you're able to do it safely and in a way that gives your dog all the necessary nutrients. The bottom line is, see how your dog does on any food you try. If they're happy and energetic; their stools are regular, small, and firm; and their eyes, teeth, and skin look well, you're doing something right. If you do change foods, do it gradually, over at least a week.

Commercial dog treats can be a bit of a wild card, and some dog breeders and owners I know have decided to take matters into their own hands and make them at home! Here are a few homemade delicacies you can prepare as treats for your Aussiedoodle:

Recipe 1 - Total Hamburger Balls

Mix all ingredients and roll into balls. This recipe will make a small batch of hamburger balls. Store them in the refrigerator, but you can freeze them if your dog hasn't gobbled them up in the next couple of days.

· 1 lb hamburger

· 1 1/3 cups Total cereal

· 1 ½ cups uncooked oatmeal

· 1 raw egg

· 6 tablespoons wheat germ

· 1 package Knox unflavored gelatin

· 2 tablespoons coconut oil

· 2 tablespoons unsulphured molasses

· Pinch of salt

Recipe 2 - Cream Cheesy Hamburger Balls

Mix all ingredients and roll into balls. Feed as treats or as a food supplement. Store in the fridge or freeze.

· 1 pound ground beef

· 1 8-oz. package cream cheese

· 1 jar all-natural peanut butter

· 1 small jar wheat germ

· 1 dozen egg yolks

· 1 cup flaked oats soaked in heavy cream

Recipe 3 - Total Mini Meatloaf

This meatloaf-like recipe is excellent if you need your dog to put on some weight. It also shines up puppy coats. This treat can be fed alone or with kibble. Mix all ingredients and roll into balls. Feed as treats or as a food supplement. Put each loaf into separate freezer bags and keep frozen until you're ready to thaw and serve.

· 1 pound hamburger meat

· 1 small jar wheat germ

· 1 large box of uncooked oatmeal

· 1 ¼ cup vegetable oil

· 10 eggs

· 10 small packages of unflavored gelatin

· 1 ¼ cup unflavored molasses

· Pinch of salt

· 1 large box Total cereal (2 lbs)

· Optional: a pinch of garlic powder to add flavor

Recipe 4 - Totaly Creamy Beef Balls

This one's for weight gain purposes also and makes tons. Mix dry ingredients, then add heavy cream and cream cheese, then ground beef, then roll into balls and freeze on cookie sheets.