When you collect your Cockapoo puppy, your breeder will tell you what food they have been feeding and may also give you some to take home. It is generally best to continue with that food while your puppy settles into their new home, but after the initial couple of weeks you will need to decide whether you are happy with it or wish to change onto a different type.
There are many differing opinions on diet, which can be very confusing. It is important to realise that because a brand of dog food is well-known and well-advertised, that does not automatically mean that it is a good, healthy food for your Cockapoo. Some of the best-known brands are amongst the poorest nutritionally, so the best way to judge them is to read the list of ingredients, and aim for the most natural ingredients within your price range.
For example, one major well-known brand lists the following ingredients:
Cereals (35%), Meat and animal derivatives (26% meat in the chunk, 4% chicken in the brown & red kernels), Vegetable protein extracts, Derivatives of vegetable origin, Oils and fats, Various sugars, Minerals, Vegetables (4% vegetables in the green & yellow kernels). Additives: Nutritional Additives IU/kg: IU/kg: Vit A: 22 000 ; Vit D3: 1200 ; Vit E: 100 mg/kg: Fe(E1): 91 ; I(E2): 2.2 ; Cu(E4): 10 ; Mn(E5): 6.9 ; Zn(E6): 164 ; Se(E8): 0.22. With colourants, antioxidants and preservatives
Compare it to another, less well-known but premium brand, which contains much more appetising ingredients and also importantly has chicken as its main ingredient rather than meat derivatives, which are animal protein usually made from the waste parts of the animal, such as the lungs, tail, head and heart, and no cereals, which are believed to cause conditions such as allergies and skin problems in some dogs. The ingredients are as follows:
When considering which food is the right one for your Cockapoo, you will first need to decide what type of food appeals most and fits best into your lifestyle. The main types of food are listed below:
BARF Biologically Appropriate Raw Food (sometimes referred to as Bones and Raw Food)
Growing in popularity, Barf is a feeding regime based on a natural raw diet, similar to that which would be enjoyed by dogs or wolves in the wild. Consisting of approximately 80% raw meat and bones, usually supplemented with ground vegetables and fruit, eggs, fish etc., and believed by many owners to give their dogs the very best in nutrition and health. To feed a Barf diet does require research and some effort to source the ingredients and ensure that it is balanced, but if you like the concept there are some companies who provide ready-mixed and ready-prepared Barf diets, which can be a really good way for inexperienced owners, or those with limited time on their hands, to give it a try. All you will need is some freezer space. These include:
Dogs fed on a Barf diet tend to suffer less from allergies, skin conditions, digestive, anal gland and dental problems, and they have less doggie odour and firm, small, almost odour-free poo! As some Cockapoos can be fussy eaters, a Barf diet also offers a way to vary the diet sufficiently to maintain their interest.
Cooked wet foods come in many shapes and sizes, in pouches and cans and generally contain cereals as well as meat. The more natural ones tend to contain rice rather than other cereals containing gluten, to avoid allergic reactions. Some good ones are Nature Diet and Natures Harvest.
Many owners like dry foods for the convenience that they offer and there is a wide range with enormous variation in ingredients. There are many differing opinions on diet, which can be very confusing. It is important to realise that because a brand of dog food is well-known and well-advertised, that does not automatically mean that it is a good, healthy food for your Cockapoo. Some of the best-known brands are amongst the poorest nutritionally, so the best way to judge them is to read the list of ingredients, and aim for the most natural ingredients within your price range. For an informed insight into the manufacture of most dog foods we suggest the documentary on Netflix ‘Dog Fooled’ is very enlightening and could help you make better choices for your dogs diet and lifetime health https://www.netflix.com/gb/title/80164393 and YouTube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K1axZ9vSjmI they also have an associated Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/Pet-Fooled-1793771757524419/ . As a guide your Cockapoo puppy will likely mature to around 10 – 13kgs. If you would like to consider moving your puppy’s diet to an extremely healthy and 100% natural diet you might find researching the internet for:
There are many commercial dogs treats which can be used for training your cockapoo or for giving as recreation. Some are full of artificial ingredients and some are more natural, including pigs ears, jerky, dried tendons etc. You can also make your own treats easily such as dried liver or liver cake. Raw bones are another fantastic treat which also keep your Cockapoo’s teeth clean. Rib and spine bones (lamb or beef) are the safest to give as they are soft. Weight-bearing bones are best avoided, and cooked bones should never be given.
If you do decide to change your Cockapoo's diet, for example from one brand of dry food to another, it is best to make a gradual change to avoid any tummy upsets. You can mix a small amount of the new food with some of your current brand and gradually increase the ratio over a week or two. However if you are changing to a Barf diet, mixing dry food and raw is not a good idea as they are digested at different rates and don't go together well. Most owners find that switching straight to Barf rarely causes any problems. If you do want to feed both Barf and dry food, keeping them at separate meals is generally OK.
BARF on a Budget
This useful post from CCGB Chat by Stephen Charlton at Jukee Doodles outlines BARF on a budget for those who would like to explore more of a 'hands on', DIY approach to BARF feeding.
BARF on a Budget does really need to be a hands-on affair and therefore it is best to plan ahead and prepare in advance (though on the spot preparation is also possible).
We (Jukee Doodles or JD) feed all our adult dogs on a pure BARF diet - due to the different variety and mix and make-up of such diets I must use the term JD BARF as it is what I mix here myself.
We feed all our adult dogs on a whole raw boned-out chicken carcass each day in the evening, the dogs settle better with a full stomach. Once every 2 weeks I substitute the chicken carcass with a "Veg Mix" - and sometimes just "add" the veg mix alongside the carcass (depending on how the dogs are acting / feeling / looking) making a "JD BARF Kong" by stuffing the ribcage of the chicken with the veg mix. I give a "BARF Veg Mix" more often if I observe the mums seeking out and eating grass stems in the paddock at any time (they are good at being able to prompt me by their behaviour). I also add a "starve day", normally once a month and normally the day after giving a veg mix - it replicates the wild and is a great detox - but it's totally up to you if you do this.
BARF is not an exact science with regards to it's ingredients or mix but there are some fruits and veg that do need to be avoided so please research further if you decide to try something not listed here!
Rice can be used (as in some processed foods such as "Nature's Menu" mix) - however if rice is a desired ingredient I'd personally use brown as opposed to white (but I don't use rice at all with what I prepare here).
I like to work to 3 variations on the theme for the "Veg Mix" element:
JD's Standard Veg Mix - Carrots, Broccoli, Sprouts, Parsnips, Turnips, Greens, Spinach, Cabbage, Cauliflower, Butternut Squash, Runner Beans, Peas, hard boiled eggs and raw eggs (all eggs include the shell too in the mix) and a tin (or two) of Pilchards - and a little offal (anything such as heart, liver, kidneys etc).
JD's Fish and Veg Mix - same as the above but swapping the offal with whatever fish is cheap (white fish, salmon, tuna or supermarket's own "fish pie mix" - either raw or gently steamed).
JD's Fruit and Veg Mix - same as the top list - but swapping the offal for - apples (no pips !), pears or any other non-citric fruits.
All the mixes use a tin of Pilchards (or two or three) though I do rinse off the tomato sauce first. Any pure fish oils are great too. The actual mix of each of the above is purely determined by what any of the supermarkets (or street markets) have on offer so don't worry about just only having carrots and sprouts in the mix as it is all good.
I like to be at either of the big local supermarkets at around 6pm - it's when they tend to reduce most on items that need to sell that day. I have been known to load a whole shopping trolley with bags of sprouts (76 bags - but at 3p per bag I was not going to miss that opportunity !). I'll also load whatever parsnips and carrots (though big sacks of carrots can be sourced very cheaply from most animal feed stores as they are considered not to be the right "shape" for us humans !!!). If you have weekly local street markets / farmer's markets - then go just before they shut-up shop and grab a bargain or two !!! Once you have gone a couple of times you'll find that they'll happily bag some bits up for you on a regular basis especially if you ask - as you can use leaves, stalks etc that they would otherwise just dump.
All veg is lightly steamed (not over cooked) and the eggs (including shells) added along with the fish / meat and "whisked" with a plaster attachment to an electric drill - into a paste that resembles "stuffing". If you manage to buy a job-lot of veg etc - it can be mixed in bulk and either frozen in blocks or can also be frozen inside a Kong or two (as a treat !). As an alternative - you could hold back a few veg you cook for a Sunday roast - and give them with a little of the cooked chicken (BUT NEVER THE COOKED BONES) as a meal replacement.
The above "Mixes" are given as an addition to the carcass we feed on a daily basis - though if you didn't like to give your puppy / dog a carcass - then mashing one in a hand mixer would work fine - then adding that to the veg mix and job done !
I also like to use Natural Yoghurt NOTE: IF you have a puppy with an upset stomach - then cooked chicken meat mixed with Natural Yoghurt is a great meal to help sort them out.
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