How often to Feed a Puppy? – A Guide to Puppy Feeding Chart

Dogs are phenomenal creatures, you fall in love with them right away. You can never forget your first time when you got your first puppy. They might be cute, furry, or loud for sure, but it seems like they are always hungry! One thing for sure is puppies grow up fast. Since the early months are most important you need to plan a proper puppy feeding chart to ensure that your furry pet is getting all the nutrition. Amateur puppy owners are often seen as confused as to how much to feed their puppy. 

Because it can be quite an overwhelming process, you must give your puppy the required nutrition so keep dog food options in mind when planning for the food chart. Thanks to modern food choice, now you have plenty of dog foods that come with specialized diet formulas. 

But do remember, every puppy is different, their eating habits and food preferences will differ a lot so one diet chart may not be fit for all. This article will help you to organize the puppy feed according to their age.

How often to feed A Puppy?

Feeding will vary as your puppy grows, so it’s best to keep a track of the puppy’s age too to ensure the ideal puppy feeding chart by age.

Let’s Begin with the Puppy Feeding Chart by Weight Age;

At 6 Weeks Old 

Usually, the puppies are fed at least 3-4 times a day. If you feed a ¾ cup of puppy food twice a day, then you need to give food at intervals, let’s say that you need to feed ½ cup three times a day. At this age, puppies can eat on their own as long as they are being provided solid food besides milk. You can also give them dry puppy food moistened with a little water (same quantity).

At 8 Weeks Old 

The age of a puppy makes a huge difference in food intake. Therefore the neonatal puppies need nursing as much as possible until they reach the age of 6 or 8 weeks. Once your puppy surpasses the age of 4-6 weeks, you can shift their eating pattern to solid dog foods. It is vital to ensure the puppy gets as much mother’s nursing as possible to help them build protection from diseases and also provides the necessary nutrition. 

At 8 weeks of age, you need to feed your puppy three to four meals a day. Scheduled feedings in the early weeks can be adapted with house-training. You can switch to puppy formula according to the puppy’s age and breed size.

More than 8 Weeks Old 

After the 8 weeks, you can continue feeding thrice a day. Continue with the same brand of dog food you did (at 8 weeks old) any sudden change of food can cause bowel problems easily upset the tummy. So if you want to change the dry dog food, or add other solid food items to the puppy feeding schedule then do it gradually. Puppies eat dry food more easily when they are more than 8 weeks old. 

From 3-6 Months Old 

At this point, you can decrease the number of feedings. At this age, a pup is on verge of losing her potbelly pudginess at 12 weeks. She still feels super cuddly but you need to feed puppy size-portion until the body reaches its maturity age. For instance, you can feed the puppy two times a day at this age but do it gradually. 

From 6-12 Months Old 

As the pup reaches her 6 months, you can gradually change the feeding schedule to twice a day (as discussed). 

Now the question is how long to feed puppy food? Now is the time, you can switch to much nutrient-rich puppy food and shift to adult dog food by setting a feeding chart for your pup. 

If it’s a small breed, you can easily switch from 7-9 months but if it’s a bigger breed then it can vary from 12-14 months even.

How much should a puppy eat for each meal?

Puppies eat as much as they want. You will be surprised to find that some pups since the early months can even develop a binge eating disorder (in case of the puppy feeding schedule was not followed properly). So make sure to make your puppy familiar with the regular feeding schedule of 2-4 meals a day. 

A small breed puppy may not eat large quantities and are easily distracted by playing or otherwise, so in such a case you can prepare an extra meal to ensure they get the proper nutrients and calories. At times you can also practice the “free choice” i.e. leave the puppy and food bowl in the same place so that they can feed whenever they want. 

How often do I need to feed my puppy?

Puppies in their growing age (early months) require a lot of calories for the rapid growth spurt. In the beginning, you can start by feeding twice a day and then continue doing so in the first five months. Keep increasing the feeding thrice by the end of the first five months. Another way to keep track of dog feeding is to follow the feeding chart on the puppy food labels. 

What are the best times to feed a puppy?

Continuous feeding is not a thing. You need to maintain a standard time to feed your puppy. For all dog breeds, it must feed a puppy three times a day (in initial weeks). You can begin by giving the first feed in the morning at 7am, noon time is best for lunch  and the last meal should be by 5pm (dinner time).  Following this routine will help your puppy digest food properly while she keeps up with playing activities.

You have to stick to this schedule until your puppy is 14-18 weeks old. Then gradually change the feeding schedule. 

When should you switch from puppy food to adult dog food?

Once the pup reaches 90% of a standard adult weight (as per breed size), switch the growth diet to maintain a healthy feeding routine. Since it takes only 9-12 months for small breeds to reach their maturity you can adjust the feeding schedule from puppy food to dog food more easily. For a larger breed, you can begin from 12-18 months old. 

Begin by slowly adding adult dog food to their puppy food. Keep feeding them on a specific schedule for at least one-two weeks before changing the dog feed permanently. 

What do puppies eat?

The type of dog food plays a greater role. The type of food will also affect how often to feed a puppy, therefore you need to remember that puppy food is different from adult dog food. 

Puppy food mostly consists of calcium, protein, and more calories than adult dog food. You can easily find a variety of dog food brands in large numbers for small and medium breeds. For instance, small breed dog foods have a smaller kibble size and are calorie-dense. Likewise, a larger dog food means a larger kibble size and is less calorie-dense. Whereas the medium puppy dog food is a combination of the two. 

Puppy food comes in three different varieties;

  • Dry – known as kibble, consists of 10% water and most cost-effective
  • Semi-moist – contained in small, vacuum-sealed packaged and contains 50-60% water. it can also contain sugar or corn syrup
  • Canned – contains 75-80% water

If you are giving canned food to larger breed dogs, then increase the number of canned foods 

How to know the feeding amount is right?

Just following a feeding chart on a puppy food label is not enough. Before you start practicing this food ritual you need to take your puppy to a veterinarian. They will evaluate your pup’s body conditioning and measure the weight and so on. 

Besides, you can also learn to assess your dog by yourself. For instance, if the body score is 2, it means your puppy is relatively thin (as ribs may be visible enough). Learn basic tips from your veterinarian to ensure you are feeding your puppy in the healthiest way possible.

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Summra is a dog enthusiast fully committed to helping train fellow dog owners. She enlightens them to solve their furry friend’s behavioral issues and to focus on the dog’s needs in optimistic ways.