Knowing what to feed your puppy is so important. Puppies grow up to 20 times faster than adult dogs, so it’s vital we go above and beyond to feed them healthy puppy food.
This type of food is carefully created to provide all the nutritional ingredients that puppies need to grow big and strong. But, it’s not just what you feed your puppy that matters. We must also consider timing.
Feeding time during puppyhood can be tricky to get your head around. It’s not a case of breakfast, lunch and tea; our pups’ stomachs can be sensitive so they need to fed smaller portions, more frequently.
How much you feed them, and how often, varies throughout your puppy’s life as their bodies change. Here’s our guide on how often you should be feeding yours.
Puppy food (from 5-8 weeks old)
When your puppy has successfully made the transition to solid food, you should try to feed small portions 3 - 5 times a day. It’s important these portions remain small as puppies as their developing digestive systems can't handle large portions, leading to stomach upsets. These smaller portion sizes should last until they are around 4 months old and scale up the portion sizes gradually.
Proper portions (from 4 months old)
When your puppy has reached this age, they can be fed 3 times a day and portion sizes can be also increased. This should continue up until they’re 6 months old, when they should be fed only twice a day.
In these early months, it’s really important you establish a feeding routine. In this case, a feeding schedule is useful. To start this, place your dog bowl on the floor, then remove it after 5 minutes regardless of whether or not your dog has finished their meal. Your dog will quickly learn that their meals are for specific times, instead of being nibbled over the course of the day.
Scheduling specific mealtimes and feeding them sensitive stomach puppy food can make a huge difference.
On top of all this, it means you can spot if your dog loses their appetite and pop down to the vet to find out why - if your puppy slowly grazes their food, this is hard to pick up on.
What makes puppy food special?
A lot of preparation goes into getting a new puppy, and this includes buying specific food that meets the nutritional needs of young pups. Puppies need more calories than adult dogs to support a healthy weight during growth.
It’s not just the number of calories that differ, but where these calories come from too. Puppies need 22.5% of their calories to come from protein, whereas adult dogs only need 18%. Choosing puppy food ensures that the calories that your pup consumes come from the right food source.
Puppies can also benefit for extra ingredients like glucosamine, a little extra in lots of the best puppy foods that helps support their joints and bones as they develop.
How often should I feed my dog?
Once your dog reached adulthood, it’s recommended that you feed adult dogs twice a day.
There are no strict rules when it comes to what time you feed your puppy. The general rule of thumb is as long as the different meal times are spread out throughout the day, their energy levels will be maintained all day long.
We do advise owners to feed their puppies in the morning, so they have enough energy for the day ahead. And their last meal should be before 6 pm. This gives them time to digest their food before bedtime and minimise visits to the toilet during the night.