Welcoming a puppy in your home for the very first time is both exciting and scary. While you can learn what you need as time goes, it’s important to start on the right path – by offering the dog the right kind of food for his health.
Feeding Your Puppy
Puppies need to be fed more often than adult dogs, so make sure to schedule meals accordingly. Their first solid food should be at six weeks when their mom is no longer producing milk or after being separated from the mom dog.
At this point, the puppy should also have his first shot because the mom’s antibodies are no longer protecting him from viruses. Remember that food determines poop time, so schedule meals when you know you can take him out.
How Much Food Should I Give my Puppy?
Your puppy’s food requirements depend on its size and energy level. As a rule, one cup of puppy food should be given to a puppy that’s 6 weeks old or, if you’re going by pounds, ½ cup for a 5-pound puppy. That’s just the guideline, and measurements vary depending on the food itself. It’s best to look at the label and follow the guidelines given by the manufacturer.
How Often Should I Feed my Puppy?
Feed the puppy 4-5 times a day, ideally evenly spaced out at 4 to 5-hour intervals. Since they have high energy, puppies will need a constant supply of food to keep them growing and healthy. Be prepared to wake up sometime in the middle of the night for feeding.
Don’t worry because as the pup grows up, they will need fewer meals. Adult dogs generally only need 2-3 feedings per day. It’s important to space the meals out, so your dog isn’t eating too fast.
Is It Worth It to Buy Expensive Puppy Food?
Expensive dog food doesn’t necessarily mean that it is of higher quality. Generally, you’d want to buy dog food that’s appropriate for your dog’s age. Make sure you buy dog food that is formulated for puppies or adult dogs.
However, what you do want to do is find dog food made with healthy, natural ingredients instead of one filled with preservatives or artificial flavorings and color. Sometimes these brands can be slightly more expensive, but it may be worth it to feed your dog the best food they can get!
Dry Food, Wet Food, or Both?
The type of dog food you offer depends on the biting power of your dog. Puppies may be started with wet food and then gradually transitioned to dry dog food once their bite becomes more powerful. Note that dry food is often better than wet food because it helps exercise the gums and eliminate any tartar around the teeth. However, your choice depends on what’s available and your budget.
Food for Big Puppies & Little Puppies
There’s not much distinction between puppy food for small breeds and large breeds. The food you give a 6-week Chihuahua could be the same one you give a 6-week German Shepherd. The real difference lies in serving size, as bigger dogs will obviously need more food to sustain themselves.
Chart Your Puppy’s Weight and Growth
The weight gain of puppies varies depending on the breed. As a rule of thumb, small breed dogs should gain around 5 ounces each week. For larger breeds, however, their weight should increase by 2.5 pounds per week early on.
Your vet will also help check the progress of your dog’s weight – but it may help to keep your own records.
My Puppy Is Begging! Should I Feed Him People Food or Table Scraps?
Try not to give table scraps to puppies or even adult dogs because human food can be unhealthy for dogs. Human diets are too fatty and salty for dogs – plus, it fosters a bad habit. If you must give them food, make sure that you give your dog very little as a rare treat. In some cases, you can also use people food as a motivator during puppy training!
Puppy Feeding Tidbits
Do not fret too much if your puppy refuses to eat at first. This can happen – especially if you’ve been feeding them table scraps. What you need to be mindful of, however, is the fact that puppies are feeding machines. They will eat anything that you put in their bowl as long as the food is there, so be sure to properly portion the food out. You can even use mealtimes to reinforce skills and commands, so you can try teaching them before each feeding.
Can Puppies Eat Adult Dog Food?
Yes – but it’s not going to be enough. Adult dog food consists of very different nutrients that are made especially for the adult dog. Giving your puppy adult dog food will leave him malnourished. You should try to provide age-appropriate dog food for your puppy so they always get what they need.
How to Switch from Puppy Food to Adult Food?
A good time to switch over to adult dog food is around one year of age. However, you shouldn’t just change their food overnight. Instead, slowly introduce the new food by mixing it with the puppy food little by little in small quantities. You can start with a 25-75 mix and gradually work your way up and phase out the puppy food until they get used to it.
Puppy Feeding Advice
Dogs are creatures of habit, so one thing you can do is to make sure their food and water bowl are located in the same place at all times. Don’t move it around because this will only make things harder when training. Note that while food is timed, their water bowl should always be full of water.
A Healthy Dog is a Happy Dog
The first few months will require lots of patience and attention on your part. Once the puppy gets used to a consistent routine, you’ll find that keeping him healthy and nourished can be remarkably easy with the right products!