It’s vital that puppies receive the correct foods that hold enough nutritional value. Making sure your new four-legged furry friend gets the right amount of feeding time, is important to its healthy development.
Overindulging at an early age can cause weight problems and inactivity. While under-eating or eating the wrong foods can cause malnutrition and unhealthy development. Be informed on the amount of food puppies are supposed to eat during different stages of their development.
Here follows a quick and easy guide on how often your puppy is supposed to eat and at what stage of their life.
Puppies are nursed by their mother for the first three to four weeks of their lives. During this period, a puppy will sleep almost 90% of the time and drink from their mothers for the other 10%. Little puppies can drink milk from their mothers up to 45 minutes a setting.
Right from birth, puppies will be vigorously drinking from their mothers. Mother’s milk shouldn’t be replaced with any alternatives as it holds the most natural nutrients needed by a newborn puppy. During this time, the mother dog shouldn’t be restricted to feeding time – she can eat as much as she wants, whenever she wants, just like her pups.
The weaning process starts at 4 weeks and can last until the puppy is almost 8 weeks old. It’s during this stage that puppies can be introduced to more solid foods and drink less milk from their mothers. This process isn’t an overnight one, and it will take some time and patience.
4 To 6 Weeks Old
Puppies should be allowed to nurse from their mother whenever they want without being restricted. A mother dog’s milk is full of antibodies that serve as protection against disease. It also holds the best nutritional value.
While weaning the puppy, you should start introducing more solid puppy foods. A mixture of good quality puppy food that has been mixed into a soft mixture with a milk replacer. Give puppies the gruel three to four times a day.
6 To 8 Weeks Old
As days go on, the milk replacer should be gradually reduced within the puppy food mixture. By the end of 8 weeks, the puppy should be fully weaned and be able to eat solid foods. Feed puppies three to four times a day at regular times - Early morning, between 11 am-12 pm, between 3 pm-4 pm, and right before bedtime.
8 Weeks – 6 Months
If you are feeding your puppy ¾ cup of puppy food twice a day (morning and evening), you should consider moving on to three times a day by feeding ½ a cup. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner should be served to your puppy at specific times of the day to make them used to a routine.
Giving your puppy smaller meals at regular intervals during the day will ensure their energy levels stay constant. Sticking to smaller meals will also lessen the risk of digestive medical conditions.
6 Months – 12 Months
For convenience, you may start feeding your puppy twice daily from the age of 6-12 months. As your puppy reach maturity, you should start weaning them gradually from puppy food to adult dog food. Do this within the course of 1-2 weeks by mixing in adult dog food with puppy food in both meals of the day. Eventually, your matured dog should be eating only adult dog food.
Puppies have a specific daily calorie requirement according to their size and breed. It’s important that your puppy’s caloric intake does not consist more than 10% out of doggy treats. High-quality doggy treats and biscuits should be given no more than once or twice daily. Snacks should only be used to reward a puppy while house training or as a special treat.
Too many doggy treats can spoil a puppy’s appetite for their regular puppy meals and will cause problems with feeding in the future. It can also cause unhealthy development as well as becoming overweight.
Remember to consult your vet about which diet your dog breed should follow. Amount of puppy feed differs between sizes and breeds. It goes without saying that puppies can drink as much fresh water as they’d like to avoid dehydration.
Giving your puppy the right amount of high-quality foods at regular intervals during their day, will provide the necessary nutrition. Making sure you adapt their eating habits to a specific schedule during their life stages will help towards their overall healthy development.