Updated by Sheryl on Sep 3, 2021
Your puppy should eat a complete and well-balanced meal that has been designed for them. And they should start eating solid foods at the age of 4 to 6 weeks when they no longer receive all the necessary nutrients from their mother’s milk.
Every dog is different and has different nutritional demands. Smaller breed puppies have higher metabolism while larger breed dogs take some time to grow as an adult. Hence, it’s important to feed them based on their size, age, and body condition.
This article talks about puppy feeding times, feeding amount, the frequency depending on your pup’s age and size.
Puppies need to eat three times a day until he reaches 3 to 6 months of age, after which you can feed him two meals a day; unless your vet recommends otherwise. Small puppies 6 to 12 weeks old may need four feedings a day to fulfill adequate nutrition demands.
Here’s how often to feed your pup:
Divide the total amount of puppy food into two or three smaller meals and feed the small portions at regular intervals each day.
This is the best feeding time for dogs, but if you are not able to feed your pup three meals a day, you don’t need to worry, as puppies have this ability to adapt to food habits.
You can ask your breeder about your puppy’s feeding times; he may guide you as well as a veterinarian.
It’s best if you can feed at the same time every day. Feed at regular times in regular amounts. Depending on your puppy’s age, he will get meals, and thus his feeding time will change.
The ideal time for your pup’s first meal is around 7 a.m., noontime for his second meal, and the last meal should be at 5 pm. The last meal of the day should be around 5 to 6 p.m. So, that the puppy has enough time to digest food and dump one last time before going to bed.
Small puppies that are just a few weeks old may need to be fed four times a day.
Puppies need to eat twice as many calories per pound as their adult counterparts. Puppies grow rapidly in the first five months, and they need to intake a lot of calories to fuel their fast growth.
Commercial foods have puppy feeding schedules based on the puppy’s weight and age. You can use it as a puppy feeding guide. If your puppy has any special condition or you want to know exactly how much you should be feeding your puppy in a day, consider consulting a veterinarian or asking the breeder.
If your puppy skips a meal at times and you notice him picking at food, it may be because you are giving him too much food. Start giving two meals a day instead of three.
Also, if you are treat-training your pup, adjust the treat from his meals and give treats as small as possible.
6-12 week old puppy: If you have a small puppy, you need to give extra care and attention. Feeding 4 times a day will fulfill your puppy’s nutritional demands. You should only feed a puppy food specially formulated to help develop in the initial stages. Start feeding dry food to larger breeds after 9 to 10 weeks and small breeds after 12to 13 weeks.
3 to 6 months old: The puppy should be losing his potbelly and tubbiness by the end of 3 months. If he does, feed him three meals a day according to his body weight and breed. If he’s still chubby, continue feeding him puppy-amount foods until his potbelly disappears.
6 to 8 months old: Start feeding two meals a day. Take the total amount of food and derive it into two equal portions.
9 to 11-month-old: Spaying and neutering lower daily energy needs in dogs. After completion of the process, switch to complete and balanced adult food. Small dogs can switch from puppy food to adult food at 7 to 9 months of age. Larger dogs require 12 to 13 months and sometimes 14 months. Remember, it’s better to feed a puppy food for a longer time than not feeding enough.
1+ year: Feed the right amount of adult dog food twice a day.
How much to feed a puppy depends solely depends on his age as well his weight. Not only that, different breed size pups benefit from size-specific formulas.
For example, large-breed dogs have different nutritional needs. Larger dogs are at a higher risk of developing joint issues. So large breed puppy foods have the right amount of ingredients to support healthy development and prevent complications in adult dogs.
On the other hand, small breed puppies have a higher metabolism, so they need high-energy puppy food to fuel their increased metabolism. Also, smaller kibbles for smaller breed puppies will help them more easily chew and digest their food.
There’s a popular saying about puppy feeding- watch the dog and not the dish. Determine the food amount considering the body condition and NOT the amount of food eaten or left. A puppy’s nutritional needs will depend on the dog’s condition, metabolism, and size which varies from dog to dog.