What to feed my puppy?

Your choices when it comes to your puppies nutrition will have an effect on their growth, development, and even their behavior.  Feeding your puppy  high quality puppy food helps set them up for a long and healthy life as an adult dog. This brings up a several questions for first-time and veteran puppy owners alike. The frequently asked questions are:

-How much should you feed your puppy and when?

-When should you stop feeding them puppy food?

What you should be feeding your puppy

This should be an obvious one, your puppy need puppy food. Feeding puppies a complete and balanced puppy food guarantees they get the proper nutrition to develop and grow into healthy adult dogs.

Puppy foods are formulated with a balance of nutrients to help puppies grow up healthy and happy. Look for protein-rich formulas that support their growing muscles. Carbohydrates supply the energy active and playful puppies need, while calcium supports developing teeth and bones and DHA helps support healthy brain and vision development.

Feeding Puppies Large & Small

Not only do puppies need puppy food, but certain breed sizes can benefit from size-specific formulas.

If you have a large breed puppy, he will likely benefit more from a large breed-specific puppy formula, as the smaller  breeds will also benefit more from consuming small breed-specific puppy formulas. Regardless of breed size, the food should be complete and balanced for growing puppies. Luckily, all these varieties of dog food and puppy food can be found at your local pet store or Vet clinic.

The difference in formulas comes down to the unique needs of large and small breeds. Larger dog breeds are more  prone to growing up with joint problems, so a large breed puppy food may include additional nutrients to support their growing joints.

Small breeds will likely prefer smaller kibble so they can get their food down easily, which helps ensure they get their daily nutrients they need. Small breeds have a higher metabolic rate than larger breeds, meaning they need more nutrient-dense, higher-energy food, and the same is true for small breed puppies. That’s why it’s important to feed specific small breed puppy and adult formulas.

Dry and Wet Puppy Food (what’s the difference?)

Although dry kibble is a popular choice, it’s not the only option. As you walk the dog food aisles, you may see both dry and wet puppy food.

Dry kibble is the well known option of nutrition for puppies, but it is not the only one. Wet puppy food is also in the mix as you’ve probably noticed when walking down the pet section in grocery aisles.

This should not make your decision more difficult, because what matters is that your pet gets the necessary nutrition in a day’s time. Wet puppy food tends to be a slightly more expensive option to dry puppy food. Some pet owners choose to add in an amount of wet puppy food to their dry kibble in order to get their puppy to eat more. Wet puppy food is typically more appetizing to certain dogs than its dry counter part.

If you choose to feed a combination of the two, ensure the combined amounts don’t exceed your puppy’s daily recommended caloric intake. Your veterinarian and the chart below can help you navigate how much to feed your puppy.

Puppy Feeding Chart

Weight at Maturity Weight at Maturity 1-1/2 – 3 Months 4 – 5 Months 6 – 8 Months 9 – 11 Months 1 – 2 Years
(lbs) (kg) (cups) (cups) (cups) (cups) (cups)
3 – 12 1.4 – 5.4 1/2 – 1 2/3 – 1-1/3 1/2 – 1-1/2 Feed as Adult Feed as Adult
13 – 20 5.9 – 9.1 1/2 – 1-1/4 1-1/8 – 2 3/4 – 1-1/3 1 – 1-1/2 Feed as Adult
21 – 50 9.5 – 22.7 1/2 – 1-1/2 1-1/2 – 2-3/4 1-1/8 – 2-1/3 2 – 3 2 – 4-1/4
51 – 75 23.1 – 34.0 5/8 – 2-1/3 1-1/2 – 4 1-1/2 – 3-3/4 2-1/2 – 4-3/4 2-5/8 – 6-1/4
76 – 100 34.5 – 45.4 1 – 2-2/3 2-7/8 – 3-3/4 2-7/8 – 6-1/3 3-7/8 -7 5-5/8 – 11
101 lbs and over Over 45.4 kg 2-2/3 cups plus 1/3 cup for each 10 lbs of body weight over 100 lbs 3-3/4 cups plus 1/3 cup for each 10 lbs of body weight over 100 lbs 6-1/3 cups plus 1/3 cup for each 10 lbs of body weight over 100 lbs 7 cups plus 1/3 cup for each 10 lbs of body weight over 100 lbs 11 cups plus 1/3 cup for each 10 lbs of body weight over 100 lbs

Our puppy feeding chart is a starting point to help you determine how much dry kibble to feed your puppy. Consult the puppy food package for more specific feeding instructions or talk with your veterinarian.

When to Feed a Puppy

Once you know the daily feeding amount, you need to create a puppy feeding schedule. Take the total amount of food your puppy needs each day and divide that into a series of smaller feedings. Give those smaller amounts to him at regular intervals each day.

An easy puppy feeding schedule to follow is to feed him when you eat—at breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Remember to feed him early in the evenings so he has time to digest his food before bedtime. This can help prevent accidents inside. Consistency is key. Feeding puppies at consistent times each day helps them get used to the routine.


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