Almost all of us love puppies. They are the child version of the dog and much cuter. However, raising a puppy is not an easy task. Since puppy is small and just few months after their birth, they are susceptible to infections and diseases around them. And sometimes, they even get sick. Puppies need constant care for them to grow healthily. Puppyhood is the period of rapid development and growth. Compared to older dogs, puppies need different levels of nutrients. They also need more attention and care from their owners. Puppies are cute pets and tend to be playful at their age with their own siblings and owner. In this article on how often should you feed a puppy details are given on the types of food you have to give your little family companion according to stages of growth.

how often should you feed a puppy

The puppy’s body and health depends on what he eats and drinks. Environment is also one of the factors that can affect the puppy’s health and growth. That is why, you need to be careful on what food you will give to your puppy. They are also vulnerable to diseases around them.

Without proper care, attention and medication, they tend to get sick. Sometimes, most of them die because of those diseases and illnesses around them. That is why, like humans, they too need vaccinations and medicines for them to avoid those diseases.

Because puppies need special kind of nutrients, you should only give them puppy food during their first year. Many manufacturers of dog food make special formulas for puppies for which the level phosphorus, calcium and protein are checked as they are critical and bad for puppies.

How Much To Feed Puppy?

We often get fooled by the looks of our puppy and we tend to give them more food. Puppies look at us with a ‘look’ in their eyes and we think that they are still hungry. Little did we know that there are limits in providing food for the puppies. We haven’t even asked ourselves how much to feed puppy so they should not grow overweight.

The puppy should stay with her mother during the first six to eight weeks of his life and be permitted to nurse. The milk from his mother gives the best nutrition and antibodies that aids to protect the puppy from infections and diseases. However, not all the time that it is advisable for a puppy to stay with his mother if his mother has mastitis and eclampsia. For this scenario, milk bottles and replacers are made and designed only for puppies which can be found in pet stores.

You should never follow the instructions that are found at the back of the puppy food bag. The puppies need less than the amount of food that is found at the back of the bag and sometimes, other puppies need more than what is indicated in the instructions. With the help of the vet, you will know how much to feed puppy at a finest weight. And make sure that you have clean water available for the puppy to drink after meal.

Puppies need to eat a lot of food but not too much. You should be able to feel their ribs but you should not see them. And when you look down on them, puppies should have a noticeable waist. This is applied to puppies of any breeds, small or big. Once the puppy reaches sixth months old, you should reduce the amount that you always give to him. If you are feeding him too much, the puppy will tell you by leaving some food behind on his feeding bowl.

Avoid letting your puppy become chubby. Feeding your puppy too much will be the cause of orthopedic problems and obesity. You will know when your puppy tends to eat less than the normal or your puppy starts to gain more weight. It is important for you to know your puppy’s condition in order to know how much food you need to give to your puppy. Depending on your puppy’s condition, you may feed him more or less.

Overweight dogs tend to suffer from these types of diseases:

  1. Diabetes
  2. Cancer
  3. Arthritis
  4. Hypothyroidism
  5. Pancreatitis
  6. Oral diseases

Types Of Food That You Need To Feed For Your Puppy

There are three types of commercially made dog foods: semi-moist (sealed packages), moist (canned) and dry kibble. Dry kibble is the dog food that is highly recommended by veterinarian and trainers.

Avoid feeding the table leftovers to your puppy. Leftovers are mostly high in calories and surely, not well-balanced. They neither provide the vitamins and minerals that the puppy requires for them to grow healthy. It would only cause gastrointestinal problems and diarrhea to your puppies. Giving them food from the table only teaches them a bad habit of begging and will make it difficult for you to train your puppies.

Most dog owners complain that their puppies aging less than 18 months old never eat enough puppy food. The dog owners feel that their puppies are not weighing good and never grow fast as they should. Well, it is not advisable to let your puppies eat more than they should. It is because the appetite and the rate of growth of the puppies are greatly affected by breed and genes.

Avoid making your puppy grow faster than he should because it will just lead to problems. Joint and bone disorders are the result why your puppies grow fast artificially. Give your puppies the suitable amount of food and let them grow naturally.

Treats

The puppy’s food is the only source of his nutrition that his body needs. That is why, avoid feeding your puppy with treats before his meal time. Treats must never be more than the 10% of your puppy’s calorie intake.

You keep your puppy entertained and improve his dental health by giving your puppy some hard chew treats. This helps by scraping the teeth and exercising your puppy’s gums. It also satisfies your puppy’s teething needs to chew.

Buy a puppy food. The puppy needs extra and special nutrients that can be found on the puppy food which is essential for his growth. Regular food named ‘for all life stages’ is also acceptable for puppies.  Also consider buying the breed-formulated food. Formulas for large-breed puppy aids bigger puppies grow gradually that they will have time to develop their joints and strong bones.

How Often To Feed Puppy?

We often feed our puppies as many as we can because we tend to think that they might be hungry every hour. But that is wrong because it will just lead to obesity. ‘How often to feed a puppy in a day?’ is just one of the questions asked by many puppy lovers. Here is the answer to that question.

During the first 4 to six weeks of your puppy’s age, introduce him to puppy food by replacing the puppy food with milk replacer which is called gruel. Feed the gruel to your puppy 3 to 4 times day but slowly reduce the amount of milk replacer that is used to make the gruel. In this way, your puppy will learn to adjust to solid food and this will lessen gastric upset. Your puppy should be eating food when he is around eight weeks.

Puppies should be fed 3 to 4 times a day. Smaller amounts are good for puppies because they can easily digest the food, as well as the puppy’s energy level will not rise and fall too much with regular meals. You can start feeding your puppy twice a day when he reaches six months of age. But if your puppy is mixed with large breeds, it is advisable to feed him three to four times a day to lessen the danger of gastric dilatation volvulus.

Your puppy’s meal schedule should include three meals a day that is measured. It should be the same time every day. 7 am will be the best time for your puppy’s first meal. For lunch, it should be noon time and for dinner, it should be 5 pm. The last meal of your puppy should be around 5 pm so that he will still have enough time to digest his food and secrete waste before sleeping. This should be your puppy’s daily schedule until he reaches 14 to 18 weeks old.

Once your puppy reaches 14 to 18 weeks old, the meal schedule will be changed to two meals a day. When setting up a feeding schedule for your puppy, please consider the following:

  • Scheduled Feedings – scheduled feedings will lead to healthy bowel movements that can make the housetraining easier for your puppy and yourself. Appropriate amount of food can be also served to your puppy for two, three or four times a day. Specifically, how much and how often to feed puppy really depends on the weight, breed and age.
  • Free Feeding – it means providing your puppy access to the food 24/7. Possible diseases will result to food aggression (if there are many dogs in the house), problems on bone growth (consuming too much calories early) and obesity.
  • Portion Size – not all portion size are applicable to all puppies.
  • Check the packaging first. Most of the puppy food product packages have feeding guidelines at the back which is based on puppy’s weight and age.
  • Watch the food your puppy eats. If your puppy has a food left in his feeding bowl, then reduce the amount that you are feeding him. However, if your puppy finishes all his food in his feeding bowl but he still looks hungry or displays symptoms, then increase the amount of food you are giving him. This is until you find the exact amount of food in which your puppy would feel full.
  • Increase the amount of food carefully. Some puppies, no matter how full they are, they will still eat the food with every bite.
  • The frequency of feeding. How often to feed puppy based on his age:
    1. Less than 8 weeks old: Naturally, your puppy should stay with his mother until he is eight weeks old. This will permit the puppy to gain the important nutrients that his body needs. Start feeding your puppy a good quality of puppy food that is based on his breed size and age once he is weaned. It is essential for you to select a puppy food that has the exact or correct amount of calcium, protein and calories that your puppy needs.
    2. More than 8 weeks old: You can feed your puppy up to three times a day once he reaches eight weeks. You must continue to feed him using the same brand of puppy food and slowly, transfer to puppy food with higher quality if needed. Slowly make changes on the puppy’s food because it will result to stomach upset if the changes will be too sudden.
    3. During 6-12 months old: Other veterinarians say that it is acceptable to feed your dog once a day. But others believe that this will result to obesity, overeating and food aggression. However, most authorities recommend to feeding your dog twice a day. For these instances, it is better to ask your veterinarian as to how much and how often to feed puppy as he grows continuously.

Considerations For Puppies

  • Avoid feeding your puppy or dog from the table. This habit only encourages your puppy to beg. Every member of the family must obey this rule.
  • Chunky and small breeds need a low-calorie diet than what is mostly written at the back of the puppy food packaging. Because puppies like them are prone to hip dysplasia.
  • Large-breed puppies need sustained and slow growth for them to prevent orthopedic problems which include hip dysplasia. Heave your puppies on a diet that is designed for large-breed dogs and adult dog food. Whatever puppy food you select should not contain much calories, fat and protein than recommended.
  • Let your dog adapt to scheduled feeding rather than leaving the food accessible all the time so that he will learn to eat in a scheduled manner. However, small breeds of dog such as Chihuahua should always have a food available to eat because they are susceptible to hypoglycemia or low blood sugar.

About The Author