First time puppy-owners, or people who have not had a puppy in a long time, may find themselves overwhelmed by all the information being thrown at them when researching puppy care. You may wonder, how often should I feed my puppy? When it comes to food, not only are there different brands of puppy food, but there is large-breed puppy food, small-breed puppy food, grain-free, organic and more. Often, each of these choices will have dramatically different recommendations for feeding schedules.
Understanding how often to feed your puppy can be challenging, and it can be difficult to sort out which recommendations are based on science and which ones are just trying to get you to use up more puppy food in a shorter time.
This brief guide will go over basic feeding schedules for puppies of all ages. We do not get any money from your food purchases, so you can be sure that our recommendations are made with your puppy’s best interests at heart.
1st Year Puppy Feeding Timeline
First, be sure you are feeding them puppy food. Puppy foods are specially formulated to meet the caloric and nutritional needs of a growing puppy. If your puppy is a large or small breed, it is actually a good idea to buy food made for dogs their size, as they grow differently than average-sized breeds.
Four feedings a day with an appropriate puppy food should be plenty. Moistening the food with warm water will make it easier for them to eat. By the time larger dogs are 9-10 weeks old they can handle unmoistened food. For smaller breeds, keep moistening their food until they are 12-13 weeks old.
During this period you should decrease the feedings from four per day to three per day. You should notice the puppy’s body type beginning to look like a miniature adult dog. In other words, the “baby fat” should be going away, and so should the potbelly. If it has not, continue to feed puppy-sized portions.
Cut back to two feedings per day. Once they have been spayed or neutered, you can switch from puppy food to adult food, as their energy and nutrient requirements will drop off quickly. For smaller breeds this can be done at 7 to 9 months old. If your puppy is a larger breed, wait until they are 12 or 13 months old. It is better to keep them on puppy food a little too long than not long enough.
After Age 1
For dogs at this age, two feedings per day, of a half portion each, is plenty of food.
How Much Food Should I Give My Puppy?
Many people tend to base the amount of food they give to their dog on their dogs eating habits. If they clean their bowl in seconds, the owner assumes they are not getting enough food, and if they leave food behind in the bowl they assume they have fed them too much.
This is not a good strategy for determining how much food to give to your dog at any age. The only part of this that is useful is that, if your dog is leaving food behind in the bowl or just picking at a full bowl instead of wolfing it down, you probably have given them too much.
If that is the case with your puppy, it is probably time to eliminate a feeding. With a dog over one year old, you probably need to reduce the portion size.
The Dogs Breed & Activity Level
In general, though, you want to watch the dog, not the bowl. The amount of food that a dog at any age needs will depend on body type and size, metabolism and activity level, in addition to the breed. Some breeds, like Corgis, are notorious for having a never-ending appetite. They will eat whatever you put in front of them, no matter how full they are, and they will beg for more afterward. These breeds can put on excess weight easily.
Other breeds, like the Great Pyrenees, are grazers. It is common for adults to take a few bites of their food and walk away, and then come back later for a few more bites. Dogs with high metabolisms need more food than dogs with slow metabolisms. Active dogs that get lots of exercise and play need more food than dogs who do not.
Most puppy food will come with recommendations for portion sizes based on the age and weight. These are a great starting point, but you really need to watch your puppy. If they have a lot of energy, they may need slightly more food. If they seem to be gaining too much weight and appear fat, they need to eat less. It is as simple as that.
Speak To A Professional Dog Walking Company Today
If you have a new puppy, you need to consider how you will make sure that he or she gets all the exercise she needs. You may not have the time to take them for walks every day, but they certainly need to be walked that often. Professional dog walking companies like Paw Pals can help. Our friendly and professional staff will make sure your puppy gets her exercise on days when you need help.