Having a new puppy sounds exciting but it brings along a lot more responsibility to nurture his well-being. At times it becomes very difficult to know the answers to our own questions as to how often should you feed a puppy or how much should you feed a puppy or when is the best time to feed him or to introduce solids to him? Here are some tips to assist you get rid of the stress of how about feeding your puppy and maintaining a schedule for him so that he turns into a pretty good eater when he is an adult.
How Often Should You Feed A Puppy?
- It is very importance to acknowledge that being puppies they are very small and so does their stomach. So, make sure that they are fed with little meals at regular intervals throughout a day. As your puppy gets older, decrease the feeding interval as per the requirements and suitability.
- You get your puppy around eight weeks of age and at that age, it is recommended to feed him thrice a day. Once he attains the age of six months, you may reduce his feeding schedules as twice a day and this twice a day should be maintained thereafter.
- When he attains the age of around 1 year or when you see he is already grown, he should be moved to the adult food from the puppy food. The schedule will also depend upon the puppy breeds. Large-breed puppies, such as German shepherd, Labrador, etc. require slow and sustained growth so as to help prevent any orthopaedic complications. Like, they need to be fed on a specific formulation designed for their breeds until they attain the age of 2 years. They should be raised on a diet specially designed for their breed of the dogs. Whatever diet you choose, never overemphasize protein, fat, and calorie levels.
- There are some breeds that are small but chunky, such as a pug that needs a lower-calorie diet than what most puppy foods.
- Always feed your puppy at the same time every day. This will make him learn and adapt the feeding schedule. Ideally up to an age of 15-18 weeks old, a puppy should be fed at least thrice a day while after that he should be fed twice a day or as per what your veterinarian suggests. Avoid free feeding your puppy which may lead to obesity and bone growth issues. The best time to feed him is breakfast around 7O’clock in the morning, lunch somewhere between noon to 1 and by 5 pm he should be through with the dinner so that he gets enough time to digest his food. By setting a particular schedule for feeding, it will be easy to set his other schedules, like regular bowel movements, bathroom, etc. This will also make it a bit easy to house train him better and quicker.
- Always provide your puppy the food in a respectable way. Never throw him food or feed him from the table. This will not do anything but encourage begging.
- Even if your puppy is begging for more food, never ever over feed him. This is very important to keep him healthy and fit. There are some breeds that always act as if they are hungry and as a result become overweight. In case of any confusions or questions, don’t make any assumption by yourself rather visit a veterinarian or the breeder to get the right answers.
- If you find your puppy not willing/reluctant to eat, it might be that he feels threatened or get distracted while he is served his food. Try serving him in his carte. This will encourage him to eat as well as discourage to eliminate the food quickly after eating. It is also recommended to give water about fifteen minutes after any meal before you take him out to eliminate.
- Refrain from feeding your puppy with cheap dog foods that contain less of the nutrients, required for his growth, and more of fillers and sugars. These foods will satisfy your puppy’s hunger for food but he will not be able to satisfy his nutritional needs, thus, making him deprived of the nutrition he requires and undoubtedly affecting the health and growth of your puppy.
- You should always serve your puppy with the puppy formula that is made specifically for his breed and age. Always check on the packaging of the food. Most of the puppy food packets will provide the guidelines about how to feed based on your puppy’s age and weight. Since, puppies are too small and need nutrients to grow well, it is very important all the while to provide them a healthy and well-balanced diet, i.e. puppy food that has adequate amount of calories, protein and calcium.
- It is to be noted that every puppy is different and so does the portion size they should be served. No one size fits all. Always watch what your puppy eats. This will get you an estimated idea of his diet requirements. For eg. If he is leaving food in his bowl after he is done, this means he is being served extra and some portion of his meal need to be cut back. Similarly, if he devours each meal and still act as if he is hungry, try adding some amount of the meal to the portion served to him. This way, you’ll find the optimum portion size your puppy would be happy to feed with.
- Always be very careful while increasing the amount of food into your puppy’s diet. There are some that will eat to the every bite they are served, however full they are.
- It is always better to stick to one variety of puppy food and not add any supplements to it or as recommended by your veterinarian. Over supplements can do more harm than good to your puppy.
- It is always acceptable if you want to treat your puppy once in a while to show your extra love by offering him some healthy snacks but make sure you don’t overdo it. The treats should never exceed 10% of your puppy’s total food intake and should only be given either occasionally or for training purposes (keeping in mind the maximum recommended treat limit though ). The days when you plan to treat your puppy or just when you treat him, just reduce the amount of his main meal food.
- Always try to give your puppy some quiet time after a meal. Do not disturb him for the first half an hour after eating as this may lead to some stomach upsets, which at times can be very serious. However, he would need to go to eliminate during this time.
- After you get your puppy home, it is always good to continue feeding him with the same type of puppy food with the same schedule that he had before he came to you. Then you can introduce the new food for him slowly and gradually based on the suggestions and information from the veterinarian and the breeder. A puppy needs to be switched to the new food slowly (over a time of a week to 10 days) so as to avoid the initial stomach upsets. While introducing him the new food make the mixture by ¼ portion of the new food and 3/4th portion of the old food and serve that for some days. After he seems to adapt the new food to an extent, make a mixture of a 50 – 50 ratio and continue serving him this for another couple of days. Then slowly, come to 3/4th to 1/4th and then the entire new food. If at any point in time your puppy starts vomiting, or shows any signs of indigestion or discomfort, slow the rate at which you are switching him over.
- Do not feed your dog just before travelling in the car as this might lead to car sickness. Also avoid feeding him within an hour of exercise as this could lead to some serious stomach dilation requiring immediate veterinarian attention.
- To prevent medium to large breeds of puppies from swallowing air while they eat, feed them from a raised bowl. You can even buy bowl stands for feeding your puppy. In case of any confusion or doubt, contact your breeder or veterinarian for any advice or precautionary measures that need to be taken care of.
- As you see your puppy growing, slowly and gradually you would need to switch him to adult food. We all know that puppy food is very high in in calories and nutritional supplements and as the puppy reach towards maturity, he doesn’t need that much amount of calories and nutrients intake. Therefore, he needs to be switched to the dog food but the key is slowly and gradually. In regards to the set age to make the switch, there is no definite age. It varies from breed to breed and from individual puppy to puppy. You won’t believe but feeding a dog with a complete dog food is preferable to the home made food for him.
- Avoid some foods. It is always advisable to be aware of what all food can be given to the puppy and which foods to avoid. There is a lot of human food that your puppy should never eat. Not because of the fear of being overweight but because it might land him into serious trouble and can be dangerous for him. Some of the examples of our day to day routine food that can be dangerous for the puppy are caffeine, onion & garlic, grapes & raisins, Milk & other dairy products, chocolates & candy, Raw eggs & meat, sugary food & drinks, etc.
- First 6 to 8 weeks. Right from the day he is born till he gets six to eight weeks old, a puppy should stay with the mother. Nursing from the mother is very important as there is no better nutrition than the mother’s milk and it helps protect the puppy from various diseases. There are times when a mother develops some allergy /disease or complications and it is not safe to keep the puppy with the mother. In such scenarios, many milk replacers and bottles are readily available in the market and the puppies should be fed with them as they are especially designed keeping such scenarios in mind.
- Keep an eye on your puppy’s shape: Serve the quantity that is just right for your dog. Don’t let him be overweight. Ideally a puppy’s rib should not be seen but one should be able to feel them. Similarly, while he is standing, there should be a recognizable waist. Just keep a watch on your puppy’s shape. What happens is that because we are too habitual of seeing our pets every day that we hardly notice any extra inches adding on their body. People really have a myth regarding the chubbiest puppy is the healthiest while it is just a misconception. Even a puppy can be underweight, overweight, ideal or obese. Not every weighted puppy has a healthy weight.
Food is the basic element in everyone’s life. So is with puppies and dogs. The above are basic things to be kept in mind while feeding food to your puppy. The schedule, the timings, the times, the type, etc. of food are very crucial and should be followed with great care. Having a puppy at home is fun with a lot more responsibility. The owner should be very particular about his puppy and should not hesitate asking the breeder or the veterinarian any questions or concerns in regards to the puppy’s health. A healthy puppy should be active and playful with shiny and clean coat. A healthy puppy is always easy to home train vis-à-vis an unhealthy one. Last but not the least it is a healthy puppy that will grow into a healthy dog.