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Food basics for new puppies

Every dog deserves a healthy lifestyle. As a pet owner, it’s your responsibility to provide a healthy, nutritious and well-balanced diet for your puppy that is appropriate for their life stage. Check that the products comply with the Australian Standard: Manufacturing and Marketing Pet Food AS5812:2011.

Foods options for dogs

Talk to your veterinarian for advice. Feed high quality balanced premium commercial food that is appropriate for the life stage and health status of your dog. Check that it complies with the Australian Standard: Manufacturing and Marketing Pet Food AS 5812:2011. You can offer some natural foods to provide some variety. Natural foods include fresh human-grade raw meat and raw meaty bones.

Choose human-grade raw meat and raw meaty bones because some pet meat/pet mince/pet rolls/bone products can contain preservatives that can be detrimental to the dog’s health (e.g. sulphite preservatives induce thiamine deficiency which can be fatal). However avoid sausages, sausage meat and cooked manufactured meats as they can contain sulphites. Bones must be raw.

The feeding schedule

Generally, adult dogs require at least two feeds a day, but pups need at least four, up until they are at least six months of age.

Introducing new foods

When introducing any new food, do keep an eye on your puppy for any signs of illness or distress. Dogs may be allergic to certain foods or it may just be that some foods aren’t agreeable to them. Remember too that foods such as chocolate, onions, grapes, garlic and macadamia nuts are toxic to dogs among other toxic food and should be avoided at all costs.

Dangerous foods for dogs

There’s something about those big, brown eyes that can make it very hard to say no to a dog, but there are times when it’s vital to be strong. Certain foods are not only bad for dogs; they may be life-threatening. Here’s a list of what needs to be avoided at all costs (note: this list is not exhaustive) – talk to your vet if you are unsure and need advice about a particular food.


Many dogs seem to love nothing better than the aroma of chocolate (we understand completely); however chocolate certainly does not love dogs. Theobromine within the cocoa within chocolate is the main culprit, and ingestion can lead to seizures, convulsions and even heart attack and death.

Onions and garlic

They might smell wonderful when cooking, but the consumption of onions and garlic may result in burst blood vessels and lead to anaemia.

Cooked bones

Cooked bones may splinter after being swallowed, which may damage internal organs and they can become an intestinal obstruction which can cause death. Bones offered must always be raw.


Nuts are not on when it comes to your dog’s diet. For example, macadamia nuts may lead to neurological abnormalities, vomiting, fever and weakness, and should be avoided.

Raisins and grapes

They might appear healthy options, but the consumption of raisins and grapes can cause kidney failure in dogs and must be avoided.

Fatty foods

Sweet and fatty foods are obviously not a good choice to maintain a healthy weight for your dog. In addition, fatty foods may trigger pancreatitis – inflammation of the pancreas, a very painful and sometimes fatal condition. Other things to keep off the menu include avocado, coffee, fruit stones & corncobs (can become intestinal obstructions), mushrooms, green tomatoes and bread dough.

For advice on diet, have a look at the RSPCA Australia knowledgebase, or make an appointment with your vet, who can advise you on the best nutrition options for your animal. Don’t forget too that dog insurance is an option for all dog owners, and it may assist with the cost of a range of eligible veterinarian treatments.