Feeding your puppy is one of the most important responsibilities you will have as an owner.
Sometimes figuring out how much to feed a puppy can be a daunting task. If that’s the case, then we are here to help.
In this post, we will discuss some common questions that are related to feeding your puppies.
How Much Should I Feed My Puppy?
The amount of food your puppy needs really depend on your puppy. There are some other factors like your puppy’s size and age that determine the quantity of your puppy’s food.
For the first few weeks (up to 8 weeks) after the puppy’s birth, it should stay with the mother. Mother’s milk gives the puppy all the nutrients and antibodies it needs to safeguard it from diseases.
After 8 weeks, you will be most likely in charge of your puppy’s diet.
There are both low-quality/cheap puppy food and high-quality/expensive puppy food on the market. If you choose the former, then the quantity will be more as the filler content is expected to be a bit more here.
If you go after high-quality puppy food, then choose a small serving size, as this will give your dog all the energy it needs.
Most food packages will have the directions that are safe to follow. But getting a word from your vet or breeder works better all the time.
Remember that the serving size and food will vary depending on your puppy’s breed. So don’t treat two dog breeds like one.
Note: If you got a new puppy, the chances are that he might be terrified. This could easily lead to an upset tummy. So take notes from the breeder and find out what he was given. Follow the same diet and gradually change his diet to something you want to give him.
Don’t Overfeed Your Puppy
Your puppy will love its food and often will ask for more. The puppy will even beg for more if the food tastes good.
As an owner, it is your duty to make sure you don’t overfeed your puppy.
The first and the foremost thing you should do is to get all the diet information you need from your breeder. You can also ask your veterinarian about the serving size as each breed has different needs.
You can check if the given serving size is fine by feeling the ribs (not see) on your puppy. If the pup is too full, you will note that straightaway and adjust the serving size accordingly.
Puppies need to eat a lot as they must grow fast. So giving less food than necessary will also disturb the growth rate. This is why you should get a strong opinion on this subject from the breeder or your vet.
How Often to Feed a Puppy (Puppy Feeding Schedule)
How often should I feed my puppy is another important question new dog owners frequently ask.
Your puppy needs a lot of energy, so it would be right to feed him three or four times a day. This is just an approximation and might vary according to your breed.
But be sure not to go over four meals a day. You can also reduce the meals to two or three if you are not available or if it doesn’t suit your schedule.
This 3-4 meals should be followed for young puppies up to an age of 12 to 20 weeks. When you puppy is a bit older, say 20 weeks to 6 months, you should reduce the serving and the number of meals as well. Else, you will have an obese puppy in your hands.
Sometimes, the puppy itself will leave some food in its bowl indicating that you are giving more food than what is needed. Watch it carefully and make adjustments.
You can use the below puppy feeding chart (thanks to petMD) to get a decent idea of when and how often to feed your puppy.
|6: 30 AM||Wake up|
|7:00 AM||Morning Meal|
|10:00 AM||Walking, Bonding with Owner|
|12:00 PM||Midday Meal|
|5:00 PM||Evening Meal|
|7:00 PM||Short Walk Outside|
Things to Note
We’ve mentioned earlier that different breeds of dogs need different kinds of food. Let us touch on that subject in a bit more detail.
If you have a large breed puppy, provide them a diet that is designed for them. Do not overemphasize protein, fat and calorie levels in the food. This setup can help them prevent orthopedic issues like Hip Dysplasia.
If you have a small breed puppy, give them a low-calorie diet. This will also assist them to escape conditions like Hip Dysplasia.
Never feed table scraps. This is crucial. Table scraps do not have the nutrients your puppy needs on a daily basis. It can make your puppy weak and mess with its growth. Also, this will lead to a very bad habit of begging which you will have no control of, once started.
Always, consult your veterinarian before you change or meddle with your dog’s diet. If you are not sure about the serving size, ask. Don’t raise obese dogs as it could complicate things in the future.
When to Stop Feeding Puppy Food
Most of the puppies will mature into an adult around the end of the first year. Some large breeds may take more time and mature after 18 to 24 months.
Your dog will still need good nutrients in the diet, so gradually change their diet if you plan to. You can also give them homemade food if it does not mess up with their tummy.
That brings this post to its end; we hope you found it useful.
Let us know if we had missed anything important. Also, share your stories. We would love to hear them.
Photo credit: DepositPhotos/willeecole