Feeding Your Puppy 

 

     A First-Year Timeline

 

  • 6–12 weeks: Growing pups should be fed large breed puppy food, a diet specially formulated to meet the nutritional needs for normal development. Feeding adult food will rob your puppy of important nutrients. Two to three feedings a day are usually adequate to meet nutritional demands. Large breeds should be fed unmoistened dry food by 9 or 10 weeks; small dogs by 12 or 13 weeks.

  • 6–12 months: Begin feeding twice daily, bigger breeds at 12, 13, even 14 months may continue to be on puppy food. Err on the side of caution: Better 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

 

How often should I feed my puppy?

 

Like human babies, puppies start out needing many small meals a day of a food formulated for their special nutritional requirements. Most, but not all, dogs finish meals quickly. To discourage picky habits, feed at regular times in regular amounts and don’t leave food down for more than 10 to 20 minutes.

 

Is it worth it to buy the more expensive food?

 

Premium food has higher nutritional density, so you can feed your dog less to achieve the same results. Also, premium foods have stable ingredient profiles; the composition of bargain brands can vary from batch to batch.

The major dog-food companies invest heavily in product development and research, constantly upgrading formulas to keep up with their competitors. This means that feeding premium food puts you on the cutting edge of canine nutrition.

 

Chart your puppy's weight and growth.

 

  • Weigh the puppy weekly and record his progress, comparing him to breed-appropriate weight charts. Adjust his food intake to achieve an average rate of growth.

  • Weighing a dog, even a squirming puppy, is easy. Just weigh yourself, then weigh yourself holding the puppy. Subtract the difference—that’s the puppy’s weight. Voila!

  • Don’t worry about an ounce or two either way; no two dogs, even within breeds, are built exactly alike.

  • A young dog carrying too much weight has an increased risk of orthopedic problems, due to stress on immature joints. Obesity can also lead to diabetes, diseases of the heart and other organs, and general lethargy.