Gearing Up for Puppy: What you Need When Your Newf Comes Home

The arrival of a new puppy is an exciting event, and the inevitable change in household routine will go much smoother if you’re well-prepared for the arrival of your Newfoundland newcomer. The following items and discussions should help you to get ready – or, if your puppy is already at home, to make sure you’ve covered all the bases. (If you’re not new to dog ownership, some of what’s discussed below will be familiar, but please read through the list anyway, as many of its suggestions are Newf specific. Newfoundlands’ size and breed characteristics mean that what works for a Lab or a boxer won’t necessarily fill the bill now, or at least not when your new member of the family is full-grown.)

Food and water bowls are essentials, of course, and you’ll want to make sure they’re properly sized. An adult Newfoundland will best be accommodated by a food bowl that holds at least three quarts (not that you’ll ever fill it, but those big blunt muzzles can really push food around when they’re hunting for the good bits, and a larger bowl will limit spills), and a water bowl that holds four or five quarts, again leaving some extra room. Stainless steel bowls are widely preferred by many experienced dog owners (with ceramic a close second), as they are extremely durable, don’t break down and “shed” bits of plastic into the food (nor do they get chewed on), and are easy to clean, either by hand or in the dishwasher. They never wear out, so they easily justify any extra cost. Many Newf owners put food and water bowls on a mat of some sort to help contain the inevitable drips and crumbs. A strategically placed storage bin or boot tray with towels on the bottom will catch most of those splashes.

For dogs that spend time outdoors, the same size water bowl should be adequate for outside, though some people like to use a bucket, especially if they have multiple dogs. Look for a bucket with snag proof handle attachment for extra safety and durability. Don’t assume, though, that you can fill a large bowl or bucket with water and ignore it for a few days. Newfs are very messy drinkers and prolific drool producers, and water bowls quickly get murky, crumb-filled, and “syrupy” from drool. Outside water bowls will also attract birds or other wildlife, so they will need to be cleaned and the water changed regularly. Additional suggestions: 10" heated bowl for winter, Lixit Dog Waterer (attaches to high water faucet or elevated garden hose, dogs lick to activate flow).

Be advised that when shopping for bowls you may still encounter claims that larger dogs are best fed from raised bowls. While that used to be the conventional wisdom, at least one important study has suggested this could in fact encourage the likelihood of bloat (a condition in which the stomach fills with gas and twists; it’s usually fatal unless emergency treatment is given in time), so ground-level feeding has again become the recommended practice.

Talk to your breeder about food choices; studies show that most puppy buyers feed their dogs the brand of food recommended by the breeder, and that’s usually a safe bet – and consult your veterinarian as well. Newfs as a breed are not noted for food allergies, but they can happen with any dog, so watch your pet closely and talk to your breeder or vet if any issues arise.

As for amounts, a typical adult Newf will consume about 4 cups of food per day (most Newf owners feed their dogs twice per day rather than one large meal). At that rate, a 38-40 pound bag of dog food will last about 4-5 weeks. Puppies are typically fed three times per day until they are anywhere from 6 to 10 months of age; consult your vet or breeder to ensure you’re feeding appropriate amounts. If you give your dog treats regularly, scale back appropriately at feeding time so your dog doesn’t get too many calories; allowing a Newf (or any dog) to become overweight is inviting health trouble.

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