When you add a new furry friend to your household, there are plenty of things that you need to learn about them order to take care of them. This can feel a bit overwhelming at first - we totally get it! Luckily, you’re not alone on your pet-parent journey. Today, we’re here to walk you through how much you should feed your new pup.
Getting your puppy on a feeding schedule will make life exponentially easier, but perhaps you’re unsure about how to tackle this. Or maybe you aren’t exactly sure how much food you should be giving them in the first place. We have all the answers to those burning questions and beyond.
General Feeding Guidelines
First, let’s run through some general puppy feeding guidelines. While we’ll discuss the more niche guidelines depending on your dog’s size and breed, there are some overall rules you should follow no matter what.
The first rule is that puppies need to eat several times a day - more than the twice-a-day regimen adult dogs require. Smaller meals are easier to digest, and they make sure your pup’s energy levels don’t peak and fall too much. These meals will be more frequent, but they’ll also be smaller. In general, during the first six to 12 weeks of their lives, puppies need to eat four times a day. This decreases to just three times a day at three to six months. By the time your dog reaches six to 12 months, you should be down to feeding them just twice a day.
We also want to mention the fact that, at some point, your dog will need to transition from puppy food to adult food. When exactly this should occur will depend on the type of dog you have, as larger dogs take a longer period of time to grow and develop than smaller dogs.
The second rule you should keep in mind is that consistency is key—especially when it comes to feeding time. Getting your dog on a regular schedule starts when they’re young. Try to plan your dog’s meals around when yours will be. In addition to this, you should make sure that they have access to clean, fresh water throughout the entirety of the day.
The third rule is to pay attention to how much your puppy is consuming and how quickly. There could be several reasons why your puppy is eating rapidly. Perhaps they had to compete with their littermates to get food, and that’s why they eat quickly. One way to moderate this is to get a bowl that only allows a certain amount of food out at a time.
What the First Two Years Looks Like
The first two years of your dog’s life are exciting as well as pivotal in establishing their overall health. As you know, you’re going to switch your dog over from puppy to adult food during these first two years - but more on that later. What also really matters is ensuring that you’re establishing that schedule and routine.
We mentioned how you will feed your pup four times a day at first. Then three, then finally, when they’re around a year, you can decrease to twice a day. The second year and beyond should consist of feeding your dog twice a day solely.
Also, we want to add that when you do switch your dog’s food over, it’s essential that you do so strategically. This means that you need to take your time (usually about a week or so) integrating the new food with the old.
How Breed & Size Affect Portions & Feeding Timeline
The breed of your dog is going to make a sizable impact on not just how much you feed them, but will also determine when your pet should make the switch from puppy to adult food. The important thing to remember is that, because they are growing rapidly, puppies require more nutrients than their adult counterparts. Keeping this in mind can help guarantee your pup is getting the nutrients they need to seamlessly transition from puppy to adult.
Small breeds are going to need less food than larger breeds simply because of their body size. In addition to this, their feeding timeline is a bit different. If you have a small breed dog, you can begin switching them over from puppy to adult food anywhere between seven to ten months. This is because smaller dogs grow faster than larger dogs do, who take longer to mature.
Medium dogs are next. These pups mature faster than large dogs but still slower than a small dog would. For medium dogs, you can consider swapping them to an adult food around 12 months, or one year of age. We do want to stress the importance of taking your time weaning your dog off their puppy food. Puppy food is extremely nutrient-rich, and if they don’t get enough of certain nutrients in their youth, it can prove difficult to catch up later.
Let’s talk about large breeds now. These dogs usually will take a bit longer than medium breeds to mature, which, again, means you’re looking at a longer amount of time that they’ll be on puppy food. Large breeds require more time to grow than small and medium dogs, and you can only begin to switch them off puppy food at around 15 months!
Last but certainly not least, we have our extra large dog breeds! These pups will require even more time to grow up than large dogs, and they’ll stay on their puppy formula for an extended period of time. Keep these gentle giants on puppy food for 18-24 months.
Watch the Dog, Not the Bowl
Perhaps you’ve heard it said before that when it comes to feeding your dog, you should “watch the dog, not the bowl.”’ We’re going to break down what that means—and why following this sage advice is of the utmost importance.
This saying refers to the importance of paying attention primarily to your puppy’s body condition instead of the amount of food they eat or even leave in the bowl. This is because your dog’s body condition and appetite is a better gauge of the portion size your pup requires.
The portion sizes themselves are hinged upon both individual metabolism and body type. Nutritional requirements vary depending on the dog, as we mentioned, so body condition is truly the best way to determine if your puppy’s getting enough food.
We also want to note that you shouldn’t panic if your pet sometimes picks at their food or skips a meal. This can mean two things: either that it’s time to eliminate a feeding or that you can reduce the amount you’re providing your dog with.
Importance of Feeding High Quality Food at All Stages of Life
The most important thing you can do—and we can’t stress this enough—is to provide your dog with high-quality food for the entirety of their life. What exactly does that mean? You want to make sure that your pet has food made without synthetic ingredients or things that could hurt their belly. When you’re picking food for your furry friend, remember that their food is their main source of nutrients. Choose well!
How Ingredient Quality Affects Usability of Nutrients
The quality of ingredients makes a tremendous impact on how usable the nutrients are for your dog. For one, what does it matter if they’re getting the correct amount of food if there are no vitamins or minerals in it that they need? The quality of your pup’s food infiltrates every facet of their life. That means that if you’re feeding with low-quality food, your pup could have difficulty digesting or absorbing the nutrients, which in turn could cause problems in the future.
Sundays and Whole Food Ingredients
At Sundays For Dogs, we’re well-aware of how important it is that your dog gets fresh, human-grade ingredients. That’s why we’re dedicated to providing your dog with food that harnesses the power of exactly that. Our whole food ingredients were designed with your pet in mind.
We use ingredients you’ve heard of—no vague, illusive meats that are chock-full of synthetic ingredients. At Sundays, we like to call ourselves the world’s cleanest dog food. We use tasty, air-dried meats that will appeal to the pickiest eaters, as well as those who have allergies. Sundays is also free of dairy and chicken, as those are two super common allergens.
Our food was also created for dogs with sensitive stomachs. We’ve included digestive aids such as pumpkin and ginger, not to mention we’ve added a healthy helping of fiber. Sundays also promotes joint health and a beautiful, shiny coat. The best part? You’ll never have to worry about Sundays being synthetic - we use only real, whole food.
Getting a new puppy is super exciting, but the details of feeding them can seem overwhelming. You want to give your new pup the best food they can get their paws on to support their health — and that is Sundays For Dogs.