The Puppy Feeding Guide

written by Madi Hewitson

Coming from a BVMedSci (Hons) background, she’s a small animal vet who loves dogs and cats and has a goal to see them all live long and healthy lives, as so they all should. You won’t find her without her with her four-legged best friend, a rescue dog called Ro.

“I am very passionate about the interconnection between animal and environmental health. To further my knowledge, I am doing a Masters in Veterinary Epidemiology which I hope to take further and create a lasting impact to protect our pets health from environmental change far into the future.”

You have a new puppy, congratulations! What now? Let’s start off by thinking about their diet. Food & the type of food is very important for your growing pup. Puppies will tend to grow rapidly until they reach their mature size by around 6 months of age. That’s a lot of growing! To do this they need a lot of energy and slightly different nutrients to a grown dog. 

Beco’s Free Range Turkey Puppy food is packed with protein and amino acids, supporting your puppy’s muscle growth and healthy development. We've added a little extra glucosamine and chondroitin to support growing joints and bones. This recipe is grain free and is filled with turkey, vegetables and superfoods. Making it great even for the most sensitive of tummies. The smaller kibble size makes it perfect for small mouths, small breeds, big breeds and every dog in between. We’ve even added a special extra ingredient of chamomile to help naturally relax and soothe overexcited pups and anxious ones too. Plus, did we mention, it’s delicious!

How much food should I feed my puppy?

The easiest way to make sure your dog is getting the right amount of food for their weight is to measure the food out by weight on your scales at home. The guide to how much you should be feeding your dog throughout their life should be on the back of your dog food packets or on the brand websites. The guide below is the feeding guide for our puppy food.

Keep in mind that ultimately, as with humans, every dog is different. Many state that 20g for every 1kg is appropriate when deciding on how much you should feed your puppy, however it actually depends on the type of food and the type of dog.

How do I know if I am feeding my puppy enough?

Puppies need to eat a lot- and not too much. You should be able to feel but not see their ribs, and they should have a visible waist when you look down at them. Body condition, not the amount eaten or left in the bowl, should determine portion sizes. Portion sizes depend on individual metabolism and body type, and nutritional requirements vary from dog to dog. 

If your puppy occasionally skips a meal or picks at food, do not worry. It could mean she is ready to eliminate a feeding or that you have given her too much, in which case simply reduce the quantity served. Especially in puppies, obesity can have serious negative health implications, so it is important to make sure you are keeping a close eye on what and how much you are feeding your puppy and regularly weigh them as they grow. Water should be down throughout the day and readily available no matter if the diet is dry or wet food.  

*TOP TIP* If you are using treats to train, the best way to make sure you are feeding the right amount is to take some of the biscuits from their breakfast or dinner weighed food portions to use. Or if you like a variety of treats just make sure that you adjust the amount you feed at mealtimes accordingly. Whenever training with treats, keep the treat as small as possible. 

How to change dog foods? 

Whenever you are transitioning onto different food, not just for pups, it is recommended to change over a period of 4 weeks. This allows your puppies body to get used to the food and allows you to gauge whether this is a food that they are going to get on with and not experience and side effects such as diarrhoea and sickness.

It is also a good method for fussy eaters as this slow transition lets them get used to the taste of their new food without going ‘cold turkey’ on their old food. Over this 4 weeks you want to be adjusting the food as show below in the table(1); 

 

Week 

New food (%)

Old food (%)

1

25

75

2

50

50

3

75

25

4

100

0

Table 1. The percentage of new and old food to be fed over a four-week transition period. 

The table illustrates that in week one a ¼ of the diet (or calories for the day) should come from your new puppy food and ¾ from your old puppy food. On week 2 half of the food should be new and half should be old. On the third week ¾ of the food should be the new diet and only a ¼ the old diet. The final week you should be fully transitioned on to your new puppy food! You can mix the two foods together in a bowl or place the amounts in two separate bowls it's completely up to you. 

My puppy is begging, should I feed them more? 

Unfortunately, this is not a simple question to answer. Puppies can beg for a number of reasons. The first is behavioural. Dogs are known to be intelligent creatures and with their puppy eyes they can usually manipulate even the coldest of hearts to get what they want. This is especially true when it comes to food (even more so if you own a labrador!). 

Some tips to avoid begging. 

  • Feed your pup at regular times. Puppies love routines! 
  • Place your pup in their crate, bed, or in a different room from which you are eating. Avoiding temptation might be best for some. 
  • Do not feed your puppy from the table or out of your hand when indoors, this includes when cooking. Any snacks need to come from their bowl. This way they know where to find food and do not go looking for it at the table or on counter tops. It is also best to feed these snacks at a different time from when you are eating to avoid the association between getting a snack and you eating.  

If you think that your puppy is still hungry after eating then it may be worth considering reweighing them to make sure they are being fed the right amount of food for their weight and age. It may also mean that your puppy needs to be fed a little bit more (add more to their next meal instead of giving extra after they have eaten) but always remember to keep a close eye on their body condition score. There are many other factors, from parasites to medical conditions, that can suddenly affect your puppies appetite. If you are concerned please consult your vet. 

What treats should I avoid?

One of the things you definitely want to avoid with your new puppy is having to hospitalise them for an operation as soon as you bring them home. Puppies, like babies, like to place everything in their mouths. This means that they commonly are hospitalised for eating things called foreign bodies. A foriegn body does not have to be a non-food item. For example, a sock, although, you should definitely pick those up (feel free to show this to any teenagers you may have living with you)! They can be food items too. This includes pigs ears, hooves and bones (items that can block the gastrointestinal system), which are all seen commonly in practice, not just in puppies but grown dogs too! Sometimes, your vet can safely bring the item up via emesis (vomiting), endoscopy or they may have to go to surgery to remove the item*. Not to mention that a lot of insurance companies do not cover your pup until a certain length after you have taken out the policy (please check with your insurance provider or research before bringing your pup home). So if you are looking to avoid a very expensive treat it is definitely worth keeping an eye on what is entering your cheeky pups mouth. 

*It is your vet's individual judgement as to which option is most appropriate in your puppies case. 

How often should I feed my puppy?

 

When deciding how often you should feed your puppy, It is important to note that not only do puppies need different food to adult dogs, they also need feeding at different times of day. Like human babies, puppies start out by needing many small meals a day, of food formulated for their stage of life. Here is a brief breakdown of ages and meal times; 

  • 6–12 weeks: Four feedings a day are usually adequate to meet nutritional demands. 
  • 3–6 months: Sometime during this period, decrease feedings from four to three a day. 
  • 6–12 months: Begin feeding twice daily. Spaying or neutering lowers energy requirements slightly; after the procedure, switch from nutrient-rich puppy food to adult maintenance food. Always best to speak with your vet before deciding to change from puppy to adult food. If in doubt, best to be on puppy food a little too long than not long enough.
  • After age 1: Most owners feed adult dogs two half-portions a day.

*TOP TIP* To discourage picky habits, feed at regular times in regular amounts and do not leave food down for more than 10 to 20 minutes.

Should I feed wet or dry food to my puppy? 


When your puppy arrives home with you, at 8 weeks or older, they should have been transitioned onto a solid diet by the breeder. Meaning that they will have been eating wet or dry food already and so it is up to you whether you decide to continue with either. Scientists have not come to a consensus as to whether dry is better than wet for puppies. However, we do have some things for you to consider before deciding on which one to transition on to at home; 

  • Wet food can have a slightly stronger smell and be a little bit messier. 
  • Dry food can be a little more convenient and used as treats during training. 
  • It can be difficult to switch some fussy or stubborn eaters from wet to dry food and vice versa. 
  • Dry food may be a bit difficult for some puppies to crunch if they are experiencing sensitive gums during teething. (You can moisten biscuits with water if needed). 
  • Eating dry food over wet food does not significantly affect dental health.  

It really is up to you and your pup! If you have any doubts or questions about your pups diet and health please consult your veterinarian. 

Do I need to feed my puppy supplements? 

Puppies do not usually require supplementation as their diet should be complete and made specifically for their life stage. This means that their puppy food has everything in it to help their minds and their bodies grow- from nose to tail. 

Beco’s puppy food was made specifically with your puppies wellbeing in mind and really goes one step further than your conventional puppy food. It is absolutely packed with omega-3 supplying nutrients to help support brain development and proteins and amino acids for muscles. To support bone growth and active joints we have added in extra glucosamine and chondroitin, which promote cartilage health.  All of our yummy and natural ingredients further provide nutritional support for everyday wellness, targeting digestion, skin, coat and the immune system. Specifically formulated for the development of young dogs, you can have the peace of mind that you are providing your pup with the best start in life. 

Some puppies who are sadly unwell may differ in their nutritional requirements. In these cases please consult your veterinarian as they will be able to advise you on which diet would suit your puppies needs.