Don’t Know How Often To Feed a Puppy? Get Your Puppy Feeding Schedule Right
Whether you’re about to become a pet parent for the first time or you’ve just added an additional new-born pup to the house, you are likely to have a few burning questions, not least of all: how to feed your new puppy?
To coincide with National Puppy Day on Tuesday, March 23, we’ve compiled some tips to help you get on top of your new pup’s feeding schedule.
Puppy Feeding Schedule
One of the first things your cute new puppy will be asking of you is to feed him. Puppies grow very fast – about 5-10% per day from the age of 1 week to 8 weeks – and they require a special diet to build strong bones and teeth, add muscle and give them enough energy to play and go for walks. After all, being a puppy is hard work!
How many times a day should a puppy eat?
It depends on the age, breed, size, energy level and other factors. Like us, puppies are also different and what works for one, may not work for all, but there certainly are some guidelines you can follow to get you started. We recommend you consult with your veterinarian if you’re unsure.
It’s also worth remembering that puppies are adaptable, so there are no hard and fast rules, just recommendations to help you develop a feeding schedule perfectly suited to your pup.
Your puppy’s age
Birth to 6 weeks
Until puppies are 3-4 weeks old, their diet should be liquid only. Solid or canned puppy food can be gradually introduced, generally first with warm water added to create a gruel. Most puppies are fully weaned off mother’s milk by about 6 to 8 weeks.
From 6 to 12 weeks
Like human babies, puppies initially need to eat small meals frequently to keep up with their high energy demands. At this age puppies should eat about 4 small meals a day. Take care not to leave any uneaten food in the bowl for a long time to prevent your pup from becoming a picky eater. It could make his main meals potentially less appealing if he’s able to graze throughout the day and it could be more difficult to keep an eye on how much pup is eating. It also makes house training more predictable if the puppy eats at regular times, making your life easier.
General advice is that large breeds should be fed unmoistened dry food by 9 or 10 weeks and 12 or 13 weeks for smaller breeds.
From 3 to 6 months
During this time, most puppies are ready to drop one feeding to 3 meals a day until they are around 6 months old.
Be sure to schedule the feedings around the same time every day. As much as your pup would love to be fed on demand, this creates bad habits. It will also make house training easier as you’ll have a much better idea when your little bundle of energy needs to go outside.
A regular feeding schedule also enables you to stay on top of how much your little munchkin is eating, which helps him maintain a healthy weight. By now your pup has probably exchanged the cuddly baby fat for a sportier, leaner look.
From 6 to 12 months
At around this point, your pup can move to two meals a day – a routine that suits most older dogs for the rest of their lives. They may not love you for it at first, but a regular two-meal a day diet is all most dogs need to keep their tails wagging. They’ll adapt soon enough.
When should you switch a puppy to adult food?
From 12 to 24 months
Most puppies reach maturity when they are about one year old, but large breed puppies take longer. If you’re not sure when to switch your puppy to an adult food, don’t hesitate to talk to your veterinarian.
Can adult dogs eat puppy food? While this may not harm him in the short term, puppy food is formulated to support the initial growth phase and contains more calories, so it is not recommended.
How much food to feed a puppy?
Like us, the amount of food dogs eat varies depending on metabolism, body type and how active they are. Puppies need a lot of calories.
Small breed dogs also don’t need as much food as larger breeds. Use pet food labels as a guide for recommended portion sizes based on a dog’s breed, age and weight. Also, observe your puppy. If he picks at his food, he is probably not hungry and could be ready to drop a feeding, or you could try giving smaller portions.
Also, if you are using treats to train your dog, you’ll need to subtract those calories from the total daily amount. Treats should not make up more than 10% of the total daily calories. As hard as it is to resist, avoid giving table scraps, which teach your puppy to beg for treats and can cause upset tummies.
It is important to not overfeed your dog, since overweight puppies are more likely to become overweight adult dogs. If you’re worried that your puppy is too thin or getting a bit tubby, consult your veterinarian.
What to feed your puppy?
It’s easy to be overwhelmed by the pet food choices on offer. Do you choose canned food, semi-moist food or kibble (dry food)?
At the end of the day this depends on your own preference and budget, but puppies should be fed a complete and balanced diet for growth (or all life stages). For large breed puppies, look for a diet specifically made for large breed pups that carries the globally recognized AAFCO seal of approval.
We recommend you opt for high quality pet food that offers your pup a complete, balanced diet to fulfill nutritional requirements.
Canidae offers a range of high quality pet food, such as Canidae’s PURE Dry Puppy Food with Salmon & Oatmeal Food and PURE Grain Free Dry Puppy Food with Chicken — both with limited ingredient recipes for food sensitive dogs.
There are just 7– 10 ingredients in each bag of dog food and it includes wholesome grains such as barley, oatmeal and brown rice. Omega 6 & 3 fatty acids boost the puppy’s skin and coat and antioxidants help to fortify the immune system.
If you’re considering changing your pet food, follow these guidelines for switching your dog’s diet to avoid tummy upsets.
Canidae also offers grain free, limited ingredient wet food options for more sensitive puppies. Canidae could be the perfect choice for your pet no matter their dietary requirements − discuss your options with your veterinarian today!