This section is from the book "A Manual Of Toy Dogs: How To Breed, Rear, And Feed Them", by Leslie Williams. Also available from Amazon: A Manual Of Toy Dogs: How To Breed, Rear And Feed Them.
In feeding toys, variety is essential, and it is also desirable to give them food which will nourish and support the constitution without fattening them unduly, or heating the blood. It is far better to give a toy a very small dinner, as far as bulk is concerned, of roast meat cut up; or a little boiled mutton and rice; or a bit of cutlet minced, than to give a much larger dinner of rice and biscuit flooded with milk or soup. Big, sloppy meals are most undesirable, and the last meal at night, above all, should be dry. Half a penny sponge cake makes an excellent supper for a toy dog, or a couple of Osborne biscuits. Toy dogs should never be given any biscuit containing oatmeal or Indian corn meal, or peameal. These two are much used in dog-biscuit making, on account of their cheapness, and they are both too heating for toy dogs, and, in quantity, indigestible, although oatmeal is occasionally valuable, as in the form of groats, to be made into milk gruel and given to bitches after confinement. Rice well boiled, is used as a staple, to give bulk to meals, by all breeders of Yorkshire terriers, and it is a valuable food, for this purpose, for it does not fatten, and is as easily digested as any cereal can be.
Although I advocate small, dry meals as against large, sloppy ones, I do not mean to say that a certain amount of bulk is not desirable - it is, for without it there would not be the natural stimulus of distension to the intestinal canal. But although the dog has a very large gullet and can swallow, and wishes to swallow, very large quantities as compared to its size, its stomach is not so very large in proportion, and the juste milieu - enough and not too much - is easy to ascertain. Eating between meals is quite as bad for dogs as for babies. They should be fed regularly, and restrained from picking up bits out of doors - which may be poisoned, and are sure to be unwholesome. Many dogs have a shocking habit of scavenging, which often means that they are anaemic and harbour worms; if a tonic and worm dose does not mend matters, a muzzle will.
A toy dog of 5 lbs. or 6 lbs., which has a biscuit at breakfast time, a varied and tempting meal of meat or fish at lunch, and a piece of stale sponge cake in the evening, is being reasonably fed, and should have a healthy appetite. It is a mistake to feed only once a day, as such treatment is only suitable for dogs so far in a state of nature that they can gorge themselves to their fullest and sleep for hours afterwards; and then take hard exercise.
It is quite a modern theory that the sins formerly laid to the charge of meat are all unproven, but it is a perfectly just one. Not only do skin complaints arise from malnutrition, or from improper feeding, or a too large amount of starchy food, but a cure for them is frequently found in changing the diet to one of raw or underdone meat only. This is modern veterinary practice, as set forth by the cleverest man of the day - Mr. Sewell - and others whose ability is unquestioned; in the olden times the vet's invariable dictum, whether he understood the case or not - and generally he was in dense ignorance as to whether mange, eczema, or erythema was the trouble - was "No meat !" This idea, like others primarily due to ignorance, dies hard, and there are still to be found people who, ignoring the way a dog's teeth are formed, pronounce his proper diet to be farinaceous, notwithstanding the fact that he was created among the carnivora. Of course, we cannot keep a house pet, altered by centuries of evolution, just as Nature kept him, on raw flesh - for one thing, because he is not living the same sort of life; but the conditions are not so different as to have turned a flesh-eating animal into a graminivorous one.
I write, as I feel, strongly on this subject; for many a time have I been vexed to see how obstinacy in compelling a dog to live on utterly unnatural food, has made a miserable creature of one that would have been happy, properly fed; and the same applies to many a litter of puppies.
It has long been a common habit to feed puppies on sloppy, farinaceous food, even up to the time when they are well on in getting their permanent teeth; if this is a mistake with larger dogs, it is a grievous folly with toys. People feed their pups four or five times a day on watery bread and milk, Indian corn meal and oatmeal, and powdered biscuit, all slopped with milk; they may even leave it about all day. Some of the puppies, the greedy ones to wit, nearly burst themselves, whereupon Nature rebels and relieves the pressure by means of diarrhoea; others, dainty feeders, are sickened after one or two doses, and can hardly be got to feed at all. They loathe their food, and getting them on is a constant worry; presently they begin to be often sick (this is the stomach's protest against being constantly distended with liquid food) and if they have, as most puppies have, the ova of worms inside them, these are immensely encouraged to develop, and lose no time in doing so. A nice preparation for the critical period of teething !
If those who find toy puppies difficult to rear thus, would forsake slops and feed them rationally, they would, I think, share the success of a number of breeders, whose toys are noted for their health and beauty, and whose methods I rely upon to back up my contention. Up to the time the puppy can use its first teeth, give it nothing but milk, pure, sweet, fresh, and warm mixed with plasmon or any other good dried milk powder; cold milk will give the baby colic. Teach it to lap from a saucer of warm milk; either good cow's milk, if you can rely on getting it free from boracic acid; pure cream and hot water to the thickness of milk; goat's milk, best of all; or, in the last resource, condensed milk, thinned with hot water.
The latter must be the kind which is not over-sweetened, and not the kind which has had the cream separated. Up to six weeks I find my puppies do best on milk only; when their little teeth are through, and their mother forsakes them, get them on to solids. A puppy loves to gnaw a lump of stalish sponge cake, or suck a rusk; it comforts him to use his sharp little needlepoints - feeds and amuses him at once. Let him then have milk for breakfast and tea; an Osborne biscuit broken up, a rusk of the kind known as "tops and bottoms," just softened with a little drop of milk, not made into a slop, or a bit of sponge cake, for his dinner and supper. At four weeks he may have a little minced chicken or boiled fish for dinner, or shredded boiled mutton; at two months he may be fed like his elders, but with no big lumps of meat. All meat given to puppies should be cut up finely, until they are six months old. As to bones, a big bone is good for a puppy to suck and gnaw; but he must not have any kind of bone which he can swallow in whole or part.
For grown-up toys any bones, but those of chicken game, and fish, are a permissible treat, one at a time and that time at least a week from the next or the last.