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Nutrition is a key aspect of the proper functioning of all living organisms. There is no need to convince anyone that a proper, balanced diet is the key to health and proper physical condition. At the same time, it should be remembered that in addition to the basis of physical health, it is also a very important element of the mental health of dogs and other companion animals (I. Janczarek, 2019)

Typically, breeders provide a supply of food for the puppy for several days. I assume this is the food used when raising a litter, suitable for a puppy. I am not a supporter of changing food when entering a new home. So as not to add to the stress of the young body and weaken it unnecessarily. Change of place of residence - stress, vaccinations, new environment, new drinking water, etc., are just a few reasons for flatulence, diarrhea or dandruff.

Before changing the diet, you should always check whether the food currently being fed to your pet
is incorrect, so as not to inadvertently worsen its health. A balanced diet during the growth period is a key factor in the proper development of the musculoskeletal system and reduces the risk of viral, bacterial and parasitic infections. At this stage of life, extremely intensive growth and development occurs in a relatively short period of time, immunity is acquired and systems mature.

If you really want to change the food, do it very slowly for 7-10 days. Until the sixth or seventh month of life, feed three meals a day, then two portions are sufficient.

All ready-made food products are now of good or very good quality and contain all the necessary minerals and vitamins (or at least they should). However, you must bear in mind that each body is different and not everything suits everyone. Each organism has different needs and commercial foods are produced for the general population. Supplementation with individual vitamins should be considered after prior consultation with the breeder or veterinarian.

The amount of individual food portions is best determined based on practical experience. The portion recommended by the food manufacturer in relation to the age and target weight of our dog. Correcting the nutritional portion can be done based on the weight of our puppy's weekly growth, where
At Appenzeller it is about 800 g-1200 g per week.

Check its line regularly by running your fingers flat over the ribs, which should be easy to trace without pressure, or by weighing systematically. A growing dog should never be too fat, but not too thin either! Fresh water must always be available in sufficient quantity.

Appenzeller is a glutton. He eats everything in any quantity. However, any additions should not exceed 10% of the daily food intake. Chewing bone (dried masseters/tendons) or veal bone (outside normal eating time) will clean the teeth and keep the dentition healthy and strong (also applies to growing dogs!) Chewing objects that are too hard may adversely affect the alignment of growing teeth. It is worth diversifying the food with vegetables, which Appenzeller loves, and it is worth serving raw meat.

Any good breeder should give you tips on how to feed your puppy in its first weeks of life.


A dog's diet is the only source of substances thanks to which they can live, grow, develop and reproduce. Among the entire spectrum of substances supplied with food there are essential nutrients that either cannot be produced in the body at all or are produced in quantities that are insufficient to maintain the health and good condition of the animal. Therefore, supplying the right amount of essential nutrients is the basis of good nutrition.

Each dog requires an individually selected diet, and the energy level must be balanced with the content
of individual nutrients.

Meeting requirements means avoiding both deficiencies and unnecessary or even critical exceedances.

Today, this goal can be achieved with both ready-made dishes and those prepared at home, as long as
a few basic rules are followed. All life processes, whether breathing, blood circulation, movement or growth, function only as long as sufficient energy is available. Energy is needed primarily to maintain body temperature, but also for many other vital and metabolic processes. The body "burns" nutrients in the metabolic process and can use the energy released in this process for its own purposes. Protein, together with amino acids, serves as a building material for the body's tissues. Fats and carbohydrates give energy. Especially during long periods of stress, it is a good idea to offer dogs feed mixtures rich in fats. This makes it possible to meet energy needs with a relatively small amount of food. This puts less strain on the stomach and the dog is more efficient:

It occurs regularly in dietary protein 

about 20 amino acids, which are mainly used as building material, e.g. for the formation of muscles, skin or the basic structure of bones. Foods whose protein consists mainly of connective tissue are much less digestible.

The reason for this is that very solid strands of proteins are interwoven in tendons, bones or certain organs (lungs, spleen). Therefore, these products should not be consumed in excessive amounts. The more energy
a food contains, the higher its protein content, for example.

The energy content of the food is directly related to the fat content. The more fat a food contains, the higher its energy value. The dog also needs a certain amount of indigestible material (crude fiber) to maintain proper intestinal function, dry dog food should contain approximately 2% crude fiber. A natural source of raw fiber is wheat bran or various vegetables, e.g. carrots. In addition to the nutrients mentioned above, your dog also needs minerals, trace elements and vitamins.

Ready-made foods have become very important in dog nutrition. If they are so-called complete foods, they can and should be administered without additional supplements, are easy to handle and are offered as flake blends or balls. Semi-moist complete foods have a higher water content than dry foods: their advantage
is that they are more accepted by dogs, and their energy value is about 10% lower than in the case of dry foods. Some wet foods have a very high protein content, so they can be mixed with products with a lower protein content, such as flaked foods.

Nutrition is one of the most important environmental factors. It is obvious that the dog's diet will affect not only its weight and height, but also some features and defects of its structure. Good nutrition cannot replace good genotype, but poor nutrition can spoil even the best genetic assumptions, so it is best to pay close attention to both (Willis, A Guide for Dog Breeders, 1992).

The main goal of feeding puppies is to ensure their proper growth and development as well as good health in adulthood. The growth of the body is a very complex and multi-stage process in which genetic, nutritional and environmental factors interact. Diet plays a direct role in shaping the appearance and structure of the body by influencing the skeletal system and the proper functioning of all body systems, including: immune system. During the growth period, the tissue whose structure and future functioning strongly depend on the diet is bone tissue, mainly long bones and limb joints. The fact is that genetically the dog's final weight will be achieved in any case. In the case of smaller amounts of food - a little later; for larger quantities, slightly earlier.

The most common mistakes in feeding puppies, adult and older dogs.

Too much food:

However, too much food has a disastrous effect on the joints and bones of rapidly growing dogs (Osteochondrosis, deformations of the bones of the forelimbs, narrowing of the cervical vertebrae). Being overweight is also a factor in other joint diseases that occur at this age, such as hip dysplasia (HD) or elbow dysplasia (ED). Tasty food and frequent uncontrolled eating are the reason why young dogs are exposed to an increased risk of skeletal disorders due to the fact that they are often overweight. Improper diet, excess calcium, injuries, hormonal disorders, and cartilage ischemia contribute to the development of skeletal system diseases. The prognosis for life is unfavorable.

Protein contained in the puppy's diet, or even its excess, has no significant effect on skeletal development and weight gain. Puppies gain weight due to excess energy in the diet, mainly in the form of fats and carbohydrates.

Apart from problems with the skeletal system, the most common problem seen in Appenzellers is obesity. The breed has a very high predisposition to this dysfunction. The most important factor is the owner's behavior regarding improper feeding, and above all, providing excessive amounts of food with high nutritional energy. Obesity develops gradually and is characterized by several stages. The rate of metabolic changes decreases with age. Lack of movement, exercise, training or play makes it easier to gain fat tissue in both dogs and humans. Sterilization almost doubles the risk of overweight and obesity. After the age of 7, the aging process begins
and above this age it is much easier to be overweight. While the dog initially eats more than its fair share of food, during the final phase a relatively small amount of food is enough to maintain the excess weight: The dog often then eats "normally". The consequences of long-term obesity are serious and lead to limited mobility and joint overload and tendons, circulatory problems and an increased risk of occurrence 

internal diseases (diabetes, kidney diseases, endocrine and metabolic diseases, and even cancer). It is best to prevent this stage or, if possible, eliminate the causes. Excessive weight loss often causes and suggests serious health problems.

It is important to adjust the amount of food to the dog's needs, activity and age. Nutritional recommendations are always based on an average value, and in individual cases the actual requirement may be incorrectly assessed. Therefore, it is recommended to check the weight regularly or contact
a veterinarian or breeder. However, it is worth paying attention to the line and weight of our Appenzeller's parents. Because there are significant discrepancies in the breed regarding the weight of adult dogs. This is not related to overweight or obesity, but to the breeding line and its anatomy.

The impact of treats should also not be underestimated, which should be deducted from the daily food ration. The share of nutritional supplements for Appenzeller should not exceed 10% of the daily nutritional intake.

Too much calcium:

Excess calcium leads to a slowdown in bone remodeling, thickening of the bone substance, and thus to
a lack of nourishment of cartilage and bones. Especially in growing dogs, this malnutrition can become critical and cause disorders in the joints and bone growth zones. Typical diseases are osteochondrosis of the shoulder, hip, elbow and knee joints
and ankles, as well as deformations of the forelimbs. Irreversible damage to the skeleton may occur.

Calcium is not the only factor causing skeletal disorders. Overfeeding and too much activity are also important factors. However, by eliminating the risk, a favorable course of the disease can be forced. For example, a dog with poor hip joint health and emerging elbow dysplasia can live to old age without medications or surgery with proper food and exercise.


Energy and feeding errors affect the performance, health and lifespan of dogs, and both young and old dogs are often overfed. After the growth period ends and the dog reaches maturity, the dog's body weight can be considered optimal. Body weight fluctuations considered normal are 10-15% below or above the optimal body weight. Both too low and too high a dog's body weight has a number of health consequences.


There is a very large tendency for future puppy owners to expect that the breeding status is assessed by the plumpness of the puppies sold. A chubby puppy is more "cute". Visually healthy, properly nourished, well-groomed. Unfortunately, this is not always true, and it is certainly not an indicator of the quality of breeding.

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