This content was reviewed by veterinarian Dr. JoAnna Pendergrass, DVM.
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There are many elements to keeping your dog healthy. These include giving your dog enough exercise, playtime, and, of course, food. But do you know how much to feed a puppy? Are you wondering, “How much food should I feed my puppy”?
Let’s discuss what a puppy’s diet should consist of, how much a puppy should eat, and how often a puppy should be fed. We hope our puppy feeding guide will help you provide the proper diet for your pup.
Curious to know, “How much should I feed my puppy”? How much food to feed a puppy depends on age and weight. Most dog and puppy food packages have a feeding chart on the label, similar to our chart below. Be sure to check your puppy’s specific food bag for the label so you know how much to feed him. While this chart is a good baseline, we recommend double-checking with your vet, as all dogs’ dietary needs are unique.
How Much Food Should I Feed My Puppy?
These amounts are for every 24 hours.
|Ideal Weight of Dog (At Maturity)
|0.75-1 1/3 cups
|2.5 cups + 1/3 cup for every 10lbs over 100
|3.75cups + 1/3 cup for every 10lbs over 100
|6.25 cups + 1/3 cup for every 10lbs over 100
|7 cups + 1/3 cup for every 10lbs over 100
|11 cups + 1/3 cup for every 10lbs over 100
So now that you know how much to feed your puppy, you might be wondering, “How many times a day should a puppy eat?” Setting a routine for your puppy’s feeding schedule is critical so he can learn when to expect his food.
- 4-12 Weeks: Young puppies need three or more feedings per day to adequately meet their nutritional needs. So, according to the feeding guide that comes with their food or the chart above, divide that by three or more and give the food to them throughout the day.
- 3-12 Months: As your puppy gets older, you can reduce the number of feedings to twice daily. Their energy level should be reduced; thus, they don’t need as much food throughout the day.
- 12+ Months: Most adult dogs eat two meals per day. You’ll want to divide their food requirement by two.
Puppy Feeding Schedule
A typical feeding schedule for puppies is 7 am, noon, and 5 pm. If you decide to do more than three feedings, you can adjust your schedule for puppy eating times as needed. Make sure to keep that last feeding around the 5 o’clock mark. That way, your pup has ample time to digest the food and eliminate it one last time before bedtime.
Keep To The Feeding Schedule To Avoid Overeating
We know that it can be tempting to leave food out all day for your puppy to munch on, especially if you have a busy schedule. However, free-choice feeding encourages overeating, which can cause your pup to gain too much weight. Portion control is key to making sure your puppy eats the proper amount for his size and age. Learning how much to feed a puppy and choosing the best food and nutrition helps avoid overeating, which leads to obesity and ensures proper development.
Dog Feeding Schedule By Age
Here’s a quick timeline of a puppy’s nutrition in the first few months of his life. You will find more details just below our how much to feed a puppy chart.
- 0-3 Weeks: Puppies should be with their mother and nurse as they please. The mother’s milk has the nutrients necessary to provide proper nutrition and protect puppies from diseases. During this time, you don’t need to worry about how much to feed puppies because their mother provides them with nutrition.
- 3-4 Weeks: Puppies will begin developing teeth and will begin weaning off their mother’s milk. The puppy caregiver can blend a 50:50 portion of canned wet puppy food with a milk replacer in a flat saucer, gradually reducing the amount of milk replacer until you’re only giving them puppy food. One should not be concerned if the puppies don’t like the new food right away. It may take a few days to adjust to the new formula. Rubbing fingers in the mixture and then gently on the puppy’s nose and mouth can make the transition smoother.
- 4-6 Weeks: By this time, puppies should be fully transitioned to puppy food.
- 6 Weeks-6 Months: Puppy food based on their size and breed.
- 6-12 Months: Gradually begin to switch your puppy to adult food. Small breeds can switch between 7-9 months, and larger breeds can switch around the 12-month mark. It doesn’t hurt to keep him on puppy food longer than needed to make sure he’s getting all the nutrients he needs as a developing dog but since puppy food has higher calories, be sure to watch for unnecessary weight gain. A balanced diet that also maintains a healthy body weight is important for an adult dog.
A dog’s food needs differ as they age, and you uncover different dietary needs. Here is a guide to our top recommended items for several different canines.
|Best Canned Puppy Food
|Best Grain-Free Puppy Food
|Best Small Breed Puppy Food
|Best Medium Breed Puppy Food
|Best Large Breed Puppy Food
|Taste of the Wild
|View on Amazon
|View on Amazon
|View on Amazon
|View on Amazon
|View on Amazon
Can Puppies Eat Adult Dog Food?
Puppies and adult dogs have different nutrient needs. To help puppies grow into adult dogs, they require more protein, micronutrients, and carbs. Protein provides them with amino acids and energy. Puppies need more fat as they use a significant amount of energy, and fats help them absorb fat-soluble vitamins. Puppy formulas always have more fat than adult foods.
Calcium is vital to developing healthy bones and teeth. Puppies need more calcium than adults. However, larger breeds need than smaller breeds due to their rapid rate of growth. It is healthier to feed your puppy food that is formulated for their specific breed size to ensure they get the right amounts of essential nutrients like calcium.
DHA, an omega-3 fatty acid, is vital to puppy growth and is very important to brain and vision development. t is found in their mother’s milk but is added to puppy food in the form of fish protein or fish oils.
Puppies also require a high amount of calories to help them grow, so it’s essential to purchase a high-quality food brand for your puppy. You want them to have a balanced diet to ensure healthy growth and development, and adult dog food will not meet their needs.
A puppy’s mouth is smaller than an adult dog’s mouth, which helps explain why their food is not as big as adult kibble. Feeding puppies adult dog food can be dangerous because the kibble is larger, and the texture is harder to chew. Giving a puppy adult dog food can cause damage to their teeth, jaws, and overall health.
The same can be said for puppy treats. Treats made for adult dogs are often larger and harder to chew. Puppy treats ingredients also tend to be more suitable for them than those made for adult dogs. If you can, stick to treats that specifically say they are safe for puppies.
If you’re looking for high-quality food for your little friend, perhaps you could try The Farmer’s Dog, one of our top picks for fresh dog food. It’s a healthy solution for dogs of all ages. Learn more in our The Farmer’s Dog review.
For many breeds, puppies will need to eat a puppy-specific recipe until they reach a year or 12 months old. Smaller breeds may make the transition between 7 and 9 months old. Larger breeds, like the Great Dane, stay on puppy formulas for longer, some even until 18 months old.
How long your pup needs to stay on puppy food will depend on breed, health, and size. It is always better to stay on puppy food a little too long than to switch too early. Switching too soon can deprive them of vital nutrients needed to reach full development and can lead to health issues later in life. Discuss this change with your vet before making the switch.
Don’t overlook the importance of planning and allowing for a transitional process when changing dog food. Imagine eating the same meals every day. Then, suddenly, you switch to something completely different. You’ll probably experience a tummy ache or other gastrointestinal problems.
The same thing goes for your puppy. Remember that it’s a process that should take a minimum of six days and sometimes longer (up to several weeks). Do not try out too many different new foods at a time, as this can lead to digestive upset and stomach pain. It can also lead to body weight issues if your pup isn’t eating enough. You want to keep your dog on a consistent feeding schedule and feed the appropriate amount for their age.
Puppyhood Is The Best Time To Consider Pet Insurance
As a puppy, your dog has probably not shown any significant health concerns at a young age. Since pet insurance companies don’t cover pre-existing conditions, the younger your dog is when you sign up, the better coverage you will likely receive throughout his lifetime.
Pet insurance can help support you financially during the unpredictable puppy years when dogs are more likely to chew on things they shouldn’t and run into dangerous situations. Check out our pet insurance guide to learn more and to determine whether pet insurance is worth it for your puppy. You can also use our free tool below to get instant pet insurance quotes.
Remember, having a dog who has his dietary needs met will be happier and healthier as a result. Not eating enough can lead to malnutrition, and overeating makes your pup obese (read our tips to help your dog lose weight). You do not want your puppy to become a picky eater, or develop a sensitive stomach, so stick to puppy formulas. If you have any concerns about how much to feed a puppy, are worried your puppy is not eating enough, or need help ensuring they are on the right diet, reach out to your vet. This is a perfect topic to bring up at a puppy checkup.
Are you looking for more dog food articles? We’ve got plenty of resources on various dog diets and nutrition, including our recommended foods for any age, diet type, and health concern, the best dog food delivery services for puppies and adult dogs, and homemade dog food recipes.Tagged With: Reviewed By Dr. Pendergrass, DVM