Getting a new puppy can be an exciting but sometimes stressful time, especially when it comes to how much to feed, how frequently and when is the best time. Here are some tips to help you take the stress and guess work out of feeding your puppy and set them up as good eaters well into their Adulthood.
The most important thing to remember is puppies have very small stomachs, so they benefit from being fed small meals frequently throughout the day. As your puppy gets older and their growth plateaus you can decrease the feeding intervals to just once or twice a day, whichever works best for you and your puppy.
How frequently should I feed my puppy?
When you first get your puppy at around eight weeks of age it is recommend to give them three scheduled feeds a day. Once your puppy reaches around six months old, switch to two feedings, and maintain this through to maturity. The puppy should move to adult food when you see he's finished growing. Usually, that will be around his first birthday, but if you have a larger breed such as Golden Retriever, German Shepherd, Labrador or Rottweiler they should be feed a formulation specifically designed for large breeds until they are two years.
How much should I feed?
It is also best to refer to the puppy feeding recommendation of the pack. Remember these instructions are a "rule of thumb" or a starting point, as the actual feeding amount will depend upon the puppy's age, activity, environment and body metabolism. Start with the feeding instructions on the package. After feeding for a period of time, observe the pet’s body condition and, if necessary, adjust the amount accordingly. If you are unsure of how much to feed we recommend having a chat to your vet as they will be able to recommend how much is appropriate for your puppy's age, weight and energy level.
Monitoring your puppy's body condition to prevent it becoming overweight is important. Calories from protein, fat and carbohydrates in a puppy's diet provide energy for the active puppy. Calories not utilised for energy generally become deposited as fat.
What should I feed my puppy?
The first year of life is critical in your puppy's development. During this time, your puppy needs unsurpassed nutrition to strengthen his bones and teeth, properly develop his body functions and promote clear eyes and a healthy, shiny coat. At certain times during growth and development, a puppy requires up to twice the amount of some nutrients, and up to three times the calories per kilogram of bodyweight, of that of an adult dog. This tapers off as he reaches maturity. For this reason it is very important that you feed a complete and balanced puppy formulation. Once your puppy reaches 1 year of age (up to two for large and giant breed dogs) slowly transition onto adult formulations.
Settling tummies for the stress of coming home
When you first bring your puppy home it can be very stressful for him, and may cause gastrointestinal upset. To keep things as stress free as possible, find out what your puppy was being feed before bringing him home by keeping this consistent it may avoid further tummy upsets. However if you do decide change your puppy's food at any time, ensure you do a slow and gradual transition over at least 7-10 days. Start by mixing a small amount of the new food with his present food. Over a period of seven days or so, gradually increase the amount of new food in his bowl and decrease the old food.
Tidbit Watch out!
Many treats and human foods are not nutritionally complete and balanced for puppies and dogs, and they are usually high in calories. It is recommended that you choose a commercial dry food as extensive research has gone into making them 100% nutritionally balanced to provide all of your dogs dietary needs for optimal health.
About the Purina PetCare Advice Centre
The Purina PetCare Advice Centre brings together a team with in-depth knowledge, experience and special interests with the skills to advise about health and nutrition, behaviour, training, socialisation, as well as basic first aid for your cat or dog. Our team of dedicated pet lovers can also provide information about Purina products and services to help you give your pet the best possible care. If you've got a question about any aspect of pet care, then ask the Purina PetCare Advice team.