Getting a puppy home is all fun and amazing until you don’t know what to feed them. It can get quite overwhelming while deciding what a puppy feeding schedule is for your newest member.
Knowing what food to give your puppy and when to give it is important. Not following a good schedule can affect your puppy’s food habits and overall health. This guide will help you build a balanced feeding schedule to grow a healthy puppy.
What nutritional values do puppies require?
NRC (National Research Council, US) offers these Recommended Allowances for puppies 14 weeks and older, per 1000kcal consumed:
Apart from these puppies require some macronutrients in small amounts. They are as listed below:
- Amino acids
- Fatty acids
- Fat-soluble vitamins
- Water soluble vitamins
- Macro minerals
- Micro minerals
Refer to National Research Council. Nutrient Requirements of Dogs and Cats. National Academies Press, 2007 for more detailed information.
Note that treats for puppies should be restricted to no more than 10% of the total food quantity provided.
Feeding Puppies Large and Small
Puppies require different dietary requirements according to their breed and size. Brands create breed-specific food products depending on the size of the puppies.
If you have a big dog, they might need special food that helps their joints stay strong. Small dogs might like smaller food pieces that are easy to chew and give them all the good stuff they need.
The best time to feed your puppy
A puppy’s feeding schedule should have a minimum of 3 meals a day, at fixed intervals every day. This schedule should be followed strictly and regularly to maintain a healthy habit for your puppy.
For example, give your puppy their first meal at 8 a.m. in the morning, have lunch around 12 p.m., and serve dinner at 6 p.m. The same routine should be followed every day. Below is a puppy feeding chart for a better understanding.
Puppy feeding chart (Timeline)
6-12 weeks: 4 times a day
3-6 months: 3 times a day
6-12 months: Twice a day
4 meal plan
3 meal plan
2 meal plan
How much to feed your puppy?
An easy guideline for you is to give your puppy 20g for every 1kg of their body weight each day. For instance, if your puppy weighs 5kg, it should have around 100g of food daily.
When to feed your puppy?
As mentioned above, it is best to feed your puppy at least 3 meals a day starting from early morning after their morning walk.
Feel free to give your dog breakfast anywhere from 7:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. For young puppies, it's good to aim for 7:00 a.m. to 7:30 a.m. This way, you can split their food into four equal portions throughout the day.
In terms of the time between meals for adult dogs, it's best to aim for a 12-hour gap between each meal.
Know when to stop
It is essential to know when to stop feeding puppy food to your puppy. For small breeds, consider changing around 8 to 10 months. Bigger breeds might do better switching at 12 to 14 months. However, it is okay to keep them on puppy food for a bit longer rather than not long enough.
How to select the best puppy food?
The key to selecting the best puppy food is picking one designed for growth. Ensure that it is made by a trusted company that has done scientific feeding trials. Check if they have a nutritionist on board, which might require contacting them or checking their website.
Also, remember to talk to your vet before finalizing your choice to ensure your puppy gets the best nutrition start.
There are different kinds of puppy food including wet and dry food. Let’s talk more about them.
Dry vs Wet Puppy Food
Food brands create both dry and wet food for puppies. Both kinds of food provide the required nutritional values that puppies need. The difference between dry and wet food is the method by which they are processed. Evaluate both to see if they are well suited for your puppy.
Dry Puppy Food
Dry food is made from ingredients like meat, vegetables, eggs, and milk. Instead of gravy and canning, meat is made into dough, then shaped and cooked. The result is kibble, dried and sprayed with fats, vitamins, etc. Dry food may also include probiotics for digestion and immunity.
Wet Puppy Food
Wet food begins by grinding protein sources like meat, and adding a vitamin-rich gravy with grains. After mixing, it's cooked and sterilized to make the canned product. This makes wet food more moist than dry food.
The moisture percentages are on the label under Guaranteed Analysis. Dry food has about 10% max. moisture, while wet food can have around 78% max. moisture.
Here’s a table demonstrating the differences between dry vs wet puppy food:
Puppy treats are very useful while training your puppy to build a positive reinforcement system.
When feeding your puppy treats, it is wise to have a 10% rule. Meaning, treats should not exceed 10% of your puppy’s daily dietary requirement. You can also opt for healthier and more balanced treats that are low on calories.
Another trick you can follow here: Give your puppy smaller meal portions and use the kibble as treats later. This balances out their daily intake.
Is puppy food expensive?
Puppy food is generally more expensive than adult dog food as it has more protein in it. Puppies require more protein than older dogs during the growth stage. Choosing high-quality puppy food can promote long-term health and potentially lower future healthcare expenses.
Dangerous Food To Avoid
Since puppies are adventurous little creatures, they sniff, lick, and swallow everything they find. There are some things that can be harmful to them and they must be avoided access to those.
Here are some examples:
- Alcoholic beverages
- Apple seeds
- Apricot pits
- Onions and garlic
- Macademia nuts
- Grapes and raisin
Here are some basic tips or suggestions to follow while feeding your puppy:
- Feed puppy appropriate portions based on weight and age.
- Stick to a consistent feeding schedule.
- Choose puppy-specific, reputable food brands.
- Transition food gradually to avoid digestive issues.
- Consult your vet for nutrition guidance.
- Provide fresh water always.
- Limit treats to less than 10% of daily intake.
- Monitor weight and adjust portions as needed.
- Consider probiotics for digestion and immunity support.
If you're interested to read more such blogs or explore the world of pet parenting, download the sploot app here.