Puppy Feeding Guide – Frequency, Quantities & Tips

Puppy Feeding Guide

Are you looking for the most complete puppy feeding guide? Then you are in the right place. We understand how stressful and complicated it can be to feed a puppy properly, but our guide breaks down all the aspects for you, to make it easy and practical.

It is vital for owners and breeders to know how to feed puppies because the quality of their nutrition in this stage will determine their health for the rest of their lives. We will show you the most nutritious foods for puppies, how to tell when they are full and other practical tips.

How Often Should Puppies Eat?

The answer depends on the age of your puppy. To make it easy for you, we have elaborated a feeding chart:

Less than 6 months old3-4 times per day (observe if your puppy is hungry)
6 to 12 months old 2 times per day
More than a year old 1-2 times per day

In addition, one of the most popular feeding schedules state the following hours:

  • 07:00 a.m.
  • 09:00 a.m.
  • 12:00 p.m.
  • 05:00 p.m.

You should give your pup its meals during these hours because that way it will have enough time to burn off the energy, allow its digestive system to do a proper job and to defecate.

Nonetheless, observe the behavior of your pet and do not feel afraid to vary the hours. If your dog is too full to eat at a given hour, then give it some more time and try again. Readjust the schedule accordingly.

According to experts and official associations like the American Kennel Club and The Kennel Club (UK), this is the best approach to follow. As your pup grows older, you have to reduce the number of meals.

A puppy needs to eat 3-4 times a day when it is less than 6 months old because during this stage it is experiencing major biological processes that need optimal nutrition, as well as frequency. At around a year of age, you can switch to adult dog food.

Infographic: introduce gradually the new food to your dog and monitor his health during this transition period. In rare cases, you may have to revert back to the original old food.
Infographic: introduce gradually the new food to your dog and monitor his health during this transition period. In rare cases, you may have to revert back to the original old food.

What to Feed Puppies?

Now that you know how many times to feed your puppy, below you will find a puppy feeding chart by weight to decide the amount of food:

Puppy WeightQuantity to Feed
5 lbs. Half of a cup or 5/8 cups
10 lbs.¾ of a cup up to one full cup
20 lbs.1 ¼ cups up to 1 ¾ cups
40 lbs.2 ¼ cups up to 3 cups
60 lbs.3-4 cups
80 lbs.3 ⅔ cups up to 5 cups
100 lbs.4 ¼ cups up to 6 cups

Evidently, we are talking about conventional dog food like puppy kibble. If you would like to opt for an alternative approach like raw feeding, then follow these puppy raw feeding charts by weight and age.

0 to 4 Months Old

Weight (lbs.)Daily Intake (grams)Number of MealsSize of Each Meal
5 lbs. (2.2 kg)100-160 gr.425-40 gr.
10 lbs. (4.5 kg)200-320 gr.450-80 gr.
17 lbs. (7.7 kg)350-560 gr.480-140 gr.
22 lbs. (10 kg)500-800 gr.4125-200 gr.
33 lbs. (15 kg)750-1200 gr.4190-300 gr.
44 lbs. (20 kg)1000-1600 gr.4250-400 gr.
55 lbs. (25 kg)1250-2000 gr.4300-500 gr.
66 lbs. (30 kg)1500-2400 gr.4375-600 gr.
77 lbs. (35 kg)1750-2800 gr.4450-700 gr.
88 lbs. (40 kg)2000-3200 gr.4500-800 gr.
99 lbs. (45 kg)2250-3600 gr.4560-900 gr.
110 lbs. (50 kg)2500-4000 gr.4625-1000 gr.

4 to 6 Months Old

Weight (lbs.)Daily Intake (grams)Number of MealsSize of Each Meal
5 lbs. (2.2 kg)100-160 gr.335-55 gr.
10 lbs. (4.5 kg)200-320 gr.370-110 gr.
17 lbs. (7.7 kg)350-560 gr.3120-190 gr.
22 lbs. (10 kg)500-800 gr.3170-270 gr.
33 lbs. (15 kg)750-1200 gr.3250-400 gr.
44 lbs. (20 kg)1000-1600 gr.3330-540 gr.
55 lbs. (25 kg)1250-2000 gr.3420-670 gr.
66 lbs. (30 kg)1500-2400 gr.3500-800 gr.
77 lbs. (35 kg)1750-2800 gr.3580-930 gr.
88 lbs. (40 kg)2000-3200 gr.3670-1070 gr.
99 lbs. (45 kg)2250-3600 gr.3750-1200 gr.
110 lbs. (50 kg)2500-4000 gr.3830-1340 gr.

6 to 12 Months old

Weight (lbs.)Daily Intake (grams)Number of MealsSize of Each Meal
5 lbs. (2.2 kg)100-160 gr.250-80 gr.
10 lbs. (4.5 kg)200-320 gr.2100-160 gr.
17 lbs. (7.7 kg)350-560 gr.2175-280 gr.
22 lbs. (10 kg)500-800 gr.2250-400 gr.
33 lbs. (15 kg)750-1200 gr.2375-600 gr.
44 lbs. (20 kg)1000-1600 gr.2500-800 gr.
55 lbs. (25 kg)1250-2000 gr.2625-1000 gr.
66 lbs. (30 kg)1500-2400 gr.2750-1200 gr.
77 lbs. (35 kg)1750-2800 gr.2875-1400 gr.
88 lbs. (40 kg)2000-3200 gr.21000-1600 gr.
99 lbs. (45 kg)2250-3600 gr.21125-1800 gr.
110 lbs. (50 kg)2500-4000 gr.21250-2000 gr.

You can also follow this approach for home-cooked puppy food. Now that this aspect is clear, check the most nutritious food to optimize the growth and development of your young pet. It is also valid if you prefer to measure the food for your puppy in grams.

How to know when a puppy is full?

It is important to know that any puppy feeding guide and all feeding charts and schedules are merely for orientation because all dogs are different. Therefore, it is important to monitor when your dog gets full, so you can determine the optimal amount of food and the ideal hours to serve its meals.

Observe when your dog is eating and after it has finished its meal to check if the following signs arise.

They get sleepy

Puppies are different form each other and many of them tend to get sleepy after finishing their meal when they are full. If you observe that they yawn and start looking for their bed, then it means they are satisfied.

They get playful

On the other hand, they can get in a playful mood due to the energy spike that food has brought them. If you see that they adopt this mood along with another sign like when they stop whining, then it is a strong indicator. Allow your pet to burn off all of this energy because it contributes to healthy puppy development.

They go to poop or pee

Due to their colonic reflex, when they get full they tend to go to poop soon after finishing a meal. If you observe this pattern along with a sleepy or playful mood, then you can say that your puppy is satisfied.

They stop whining

When a puppy is hungry it tends to whine, but when it is full, it subsides. If you notice this in addition to other signs like sleepiness or a playful mood, then it means it is full.

My puppy does not want to eat, what should I do?

It is a common scenario for many new owners, and it can be a symptom of an underlying health problem. As a puppy feeding guide, we’re trying to cover all grounds but this behavior, if constant, should alarm you and require a veterinarian’s attention.

Start by checking the following symptoms.

Pain

If your puppy cries when you touch it in a specific area or when it walks, then it is a clear indicator that it is suffering pain, and at the same time, a sign that it might be experiencing a health issue.

Temperature

If your puppy has a fever, then it might be the sign of an ongoing infection, which can erode the appetite of your pet. Furthermore, it can also indicate the presence of parasites like roundworms.

Mouth

Inspect the mouth of your puppy to see if it has any wound or injury because sometimes it is the reason they do not eat. If you hear them crying out of pain and you identify a wound, then it might be the cause. Some causes include broken teeth, gingivitis, or in the worst of cases, a tumor.

Breathing

Watch out for the breathing rhythm of your pup, because if you notice it is heavy or accelerated, then it might be the sign of an underlying problem. It could indicate some kind of obstruction, which is a direct cause of decreased appetite.

Course of action

The most common causes of decreased appetite are disease or infections. Therefore, if it persists for more than two days even after changing foods, then you should take it to the veterinarian for a proper inspection.

Nonetheless, it can also be due to stress or simply because it does not like the food that you are feeding it.

Watch out for symptoms and take immediate action, because it is not normal behavior and it can cause several other problems in the end, since your puppy gets optimal nutrition during this stage.

Furthermore, it is a good opportunity to consult your veterinarian to create a special diet in case your puppy does not want to eat commercial food or conventional homemade recipes.

Tips on feeding your puppy

A quality puppy feeding guide wouldn’t be complete with some useful tips to put in practice. Feeding your pup can be challenging, but now that you know how many times it should eat, what to do when it is reluctant to eat, how to recognize when it is full and its nutritional requirements, follow these tips to make your life easier.

Give milk its place

During the first 3-5 weeks, your puppy should solely drink its mother’s milk. Especially the first days with the colostrum. It is the most nutritious food it can get, and therefore, it will allow your pup to develop properly, including its own immune system.

Commercial milk replacers do not come even close to the nutritional profile of real dog milk. Therefore, allow your dog to drink the milk of its mother for as long as necessary. If you must bottle-feed your pup, pick a high-quality puppy formula.

Transition to puppy mush and gruel

puppy gruel vs puppy mush
Gruel for puppies is much softer and liquid-like. Puppy mush has less moisture but is still soft enough for young puppies to enjoy.

To start introducing your puppy to solid foods, you should feed it puppy mush and gruel. We recently wrote a blog post in which you will find plenty of recipes and indications.

It is an effective way to transition while providing your pup all the nutrition it needs to keep developing optimally.

Use a puppy milk replacer smartly

In case your puppy refuses to eat mush and gruel, you should feed it a puppy milk replacer, and then gradually introduce the new foods. You can also use it at the hour of preparing the mush and gruel, to make it tastier.

It is one of the most effective ways to wean your puppy because this presentation makes it easy for them to smell and try the food. Your puppy might get onto the pan or baking sheet, and that is totally normal. Therefore, try to keep the food at the edge.

Give them plenty of water

It is important to bring your puppies lots of water when they transition from milk to solid foods. Keep their hydration in check. You should give your pup at least 1 oz. of water per every pound of bodyweight.

adding water to dog dry food kibble
Don’t hesitate to mix some lukewarm water to your dog’s dry food to make it more palatable.

Keep the mother away

When feeding your puppies with mush and gruel, keep the mother away. It will make the process easier, and in addition, once they have finished and you let the mother meet them, she will clean them up and it will add a feeling of reward that will reinforce this new food.

See what ingredients your puppy likes the most

Puppies can be very picky when it comes to food, so pay attention to the recipes that your pup likes the most. While this is trying to be a comprehensive puppy feeding guide, it’s impossible to tailor it to your specific puppy.

Therefore, take note of the ingredients and use them more frequently to encourage it to eat. Also pay attention to the consistency, to see what it prefers.

Feed your puppy moist food

If you have found that your dog does not like kibble, then take it easy and feed it moist food first. It will ease up the transition. Just add some dry food to its plate and slowly increase the quantity until your puppy eats it without problems.

Add water to kibble

If your dog still has problems eating dry food, then try adding some water to make it tastier. Make sure that the water is warm. It will allow the aroma and the flavor of the kibble to develop, something that will make it more attractive for your pet.

Try homemade food

If dry food does not work, then you should use an alternative approach like homemade puppy food. Below you will find a section with the three most nutritious recipes that you can prepare to bring your pet exactly what it needs to develop.

Homemade Puppy Food Recipes

Here you will learn how to prepare homemade puppy food, so you can control what your pet is eating and adapt the food to its taste, which can make a huge difference in case it does not want to eat.

We actually have a free ebook for our members that includes over twenty homemade dog food recipes.

21 Delicious Homemade Dog Food Recipes! (Free eBook)
Puppy Feeding Guide & Recipes – Download The Ebook “21 Delicious Homemade Dog Food Recipes”

These recipes will help you to bring your pet the nutrition it needs in the most important cycle of its life. Unfortunately, some breeders do not understand the nutritional requirements of puppy growth, something that will affect the dog later in life. Make sure your puppy is gaining weight at a normal rate (refer to a chart or guidelines given to you by your vet), and switch to a pup food for weight gain if need be.

Beef Stew for Puppies

This recipe brings your dog plenty of healthy protein, amino acids, vitamins and nutrients that your puppy needs during this stage. It is a rich source of potassium, calcium, iron, and vitamin D. You will find the ingredients below:

  • 1 lb. of beef stew meat (e.g. oxtail and shank)
  • ½ cup of diced green beans
  • ½ cup of diced carrots
  • 1 sweet potato
  • ½ cup of flour
  • ½ cup of water
  • 1 tablespoon of coconut oil

This recipe will bring you approximately 4 cups of food and it has the following nutritional info per cup (although, it will vary depending on the cut of meat you use):

  • Total calories: 300
  • Carbs: 17.4 grams
  • Protein: 36.7 grams
  • Fat: 8.4 grams

Beef and Rice Food (Crockpot)

This meal is very easy to prepare and it is a rich source of protein, amino acids, and diverse vitamins and minerals like calcium, potassium, and iron. The ingredients are easy to obtain:

  • 2 ½ lbs. of ground beef
  • 1 ½ cups of brown rice (uncooked)
  • 15 oz. of kidney beans (rinsed and drained)
  • 1 ½ cups of diced carrots
  • ½ cup of frozen peas
  • 1 ½ cups of butternut squash
  • 4 cups of water

You will get approximately 12 cups of food. You will find the nutritional info per serving below:

  • Total calories: 400
  • Carbs: 44.2 grams
  • Protein: 39.1 grams
  • Fat: 7 grams

These recipes are ideal for puppies because they bring them enough calories and an ideal distribution of macronutrients, especially protein, which should account for a minimum of 25% of the total caloric intake.

Now that you have in your hands our puppy feeding guide, you know how to deal with all the aspects of nutrition in this stage of their lives. Set a schedule, adjust it according to the behavior of your pet and stick to it. Furthermore, try with different kinds of foods as you progress from milk to solid food and see what works best for your puppy.

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