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”?
In this article, we 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 his 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)||Weaning-12 Weeks||4-5 Months||6-8 Months||9-11 Months||1-2 Years|
|3-12 lbs||1/2-1 cup||2/3-1 1/3 cups||1/2-1 1/2 cups||Adult portion||Adult portion|
|13-20 lbs||1/2-1 1/4 cups||1 1/8-2 cups||3/4-1 1/3 cups||1-1 1/2 cups||Adult Portion|
|21-50 lbs||1/2-1 1/2 cups||1 1/2-2 3/4 cups||1 1/8-2 1/3 cups||2-3 cups||2-4 1/4 cups|
|51-75 lbs||5/8-2 1/3 cups||1 1/2-4 cups||1 1/2-3 3/4 cups||2 1/2-4 3/4 cups||2 5/8-6 1/4 cups|
|76-100 lbs||1-2 2/3 cups||2 7/8-3 3/4 cups||2 7/8-6 1/3 cups||3 7/8-7 cups||5 5/8-11 cups|
|101+ lbs||2 2/3 cups + 1/3 cup for every 10lbs over 100||3/34 cups + 1/3 cup for every 10lbs over 100||6 1/3 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 reduce; 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 7am, noon, and 5pm. 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 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.
Here’s a quick timeline of a puppy’s nutrition in the first few months of his life.
- 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.
- 6-12 Months: Gradually begin to switch your puppy to adult food. Small breeds can switch between 7-9 months and larger breeds 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.
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. 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.
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, it can cause damage to their teeth, jaws, and overall health.
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). Here’s a video that highlights the transition process so you know how to properly change your puppy’s food.
Puppyhood Is The Best Time To Consider Pet Insurance
As a puppy, your dog has probably not shown any significant health concerns at his 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. Furthermore, 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.
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).
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