If you just got a dog and are already overwhelmed with all the essential information you need to know after the first phase of excitement, don’t worry; all dog parents have experienced it, especially first-time dog owners. It’s also understandable since today, manufacturers and even consumers focus more on the higher quality ingredients for the better health of both humans and pets. So many options on the market and information all over the internet will lead you to the fog. How to feed your puppy properly has become a real problem now.
With more than 300 dog breeds globally, not all puppies are the same. Depending on their breed, size, living environment, the concerns about puppy’s foods, feeding schedule, and nutrition demand should be consulted by your veterinarian. They will be the ones who know your puppy the most.
However, it would be better if you knew some fundamentals of feeding and taking care of your dogs at their early age. It can help in the long run for both of you. Hence, keep reading and note down some helpful information to use later.
How Often Should I Feed My Puppy
The following 3 phases are vital for your puppy's growth. The timeline will give you a general glance at how your dog’s nutrient needs will differ from stage to stage and how you should adjust the feedings to meet their development demand.
6-12 weeks: this is one of the essential stages of providing enough nutrition for your dog to develop fully. You should choose puppy foods specially formulated to meet their growth needs. For this period, four feedings per day will provide adequate nutrition. You can keep this frequency at 9-10 weeks for large breeds and 12-14 weeks for smaller breeds.
3-6 months: Normally, three feedings a day are the most common frequency at this stage. Your puppies should be losing their potbelly and chubbiness at this age and start forming their bodies. Keep the puppies frequency until their body matures.
6-12 months: You should start decreasing the feeding frequency to twice a day and switch from puppy nutrition-rich food to adult food. You can begin to fade in this diet from the 7th or 9th month of small breeds and the 12th or even the 14th of larger breeds. It would be better to keep the puppy diet longer than shorter than needed.
After 12 months, keep the two portions per day and can add some mid-day snacks or treats.
How Much Should I Feed My Puppy?
Puppies grow fastest in the first five months; hence they need to take in enough calories and nutrients to fuel their rapid development.
However, the important thing lies in the puppies themselves, not the dish. It would be a big mistake to take the amount of food eaten or left in the dog bowl to determine the portion sizes. The metabolism and body type differ from dog breeds. So observe your puppy to find your answer.
It's better if they still want to eat some more after finishing the dish. Many dog owners see their puppies eat so good that they add more food to the bowl leading to overfeeding and leftovers.
Check Your Puppy’s Weight And Growth
Weighing and recording puppy weight in the first 12 months is very important. There are puppy weight and growth charts for each type of puppy depending on their size to check whether your pup is in good condition.
It’s totally normal and OK if your dogs are a couple of pounds over or under the standard. But if there is a big difference, you should adjust the food intake to make sure they grow healthy and meet the average growth rate.
Feeding Puppy Advice
- Don’t feed your puppies right when you get home since it may cause separation anxiety.
- Adding vitamins and supplements for large breed puppies as some unofficial advice can cause more harm than good.
- If your puppies have medical problems, you can consult veterinarians and buy canned or dry prescription diets.
- Besides pre-produced treats, you can use small chunks of fresh carrot and apple as delicious early age training treats for your pups.
- When switching from puppy to adult diet, you should do it gradually over a few days. A sudden change can mix up your pup’s digestion and cause diarrhea.
- Always provide water stations indoor and outdoor, and make sure fresh water is always available, especially in the summertime.
- Choosing a dog food bowl or water bowl is more important than you think. One of the main reasons causing depigmentation in a dog's nose is the dog food bowl. Stainless steel or white ceramic bowls are the safest options.