Puppy Feeding Guide: How Much To Feed A Puppy

Bringing a new puppy into your home is a wonderful experience, but you must be ready to care for their ongoing health needs. For example, an ever-changing component of nurturing your furry friend is understanding how much food to feed a puppy, an aspect often overlooked by many new pet owners.

In this puppy feeding guide, we offer some key insights into the right puppy feeding schedule.

Whether you're a first-time pup parent or a seasoned dog lover, this guide will provide essential information to ensure your puppy grows healthy, happy, and strong.

Dark brown puppy looking up from food dish on wooden floorboard.
Dark brown puppy looking up from food dish on wooden floorboard.

How Much to Feed a Puppy by Weight

Any responsible pet owner will initially wonder, "how much should I be feeding my puppy?”

Well, determining how much to feed a puppy involves a close focus on their specific nutritional needs based on weight and age as well as the type and quality of food. For instance, a puppy weighing 2 kg might need a different amount of food than one weighing 5 kg. Similarly, the nutritional needs of a 3-month-old puppy vary from those of a 6-month-old.

The individual needs of your pooch will vary. Regular consultations with your vet can ensure your puppy’s dietary needs are being met.

Remember, a well-fed puppy is a happy, healthy, and energetic companion.

How Often Do Puppies Eat? A Puppy Feeding Schedule

Another of the most common questions new puppy owners ask is, "how often do I need to feed a puppy?"

Feeding at the right frequency is just as important as feeding the correct amount and type of food. Puppies grow rapidly and have small stomachs, and thus require more frequent meals compared to adult dogs.

Creating a puppy feeding schedule will help establish a routine, aid in-house training, and ensure your puppy gets the right amount of nutrition at each stage of their growth. Busy pet owners might find it tempting to leave food out all day, but this can lead to uncontrolled eating habits with your pup. Portion control plays a key role in ensuring your puppy grows at a healthy rate and receives the proper nutrition for optimal development.

Understanding how often to feed your puppy and adjusting their feeding frequency as they grow will ensure their health and well-being, with key milestones being:

4 – 12 Weeks

Puppies aged 4 to 12 weeks only have small stomachs capable of holding a limited amount of food at any given time. As such, they require more frequent feedings, at least three to four times a day. During this stage, puppies transition from mother's milk to solid food, so take note in selecting nutrient-rich, high-quality commercial puppy food.

We advise evenly distributing the daily food intake across these meals. For instance, if your puppy’s daily requirement is 1 cup of food and they are being fed three times a day, you can provide a third of a cup at each meal.

3 – 12 Months

As a puppy's stomach capacity gets bigger, it allows them to consume more food with each meal. Adjust their feeding schedule to twice daily to align with their decreasing growth rate and energy requirements. You must still maintain a consistent feeding schedule to help establish a routine, aiding in-house training and behavioural development. A balanced schedule, such as feeding at 7 am and 5 pm, works well. 

12+ Months

Once puppies reach 12 months or older, depending on their breed size, they can switch to adult dog food. It is important that any transition to a new food is undertaken slowly to avoid an upset tummy.  Feeding them once or twice a day should be sufficient, but continue to monitor their weight and activity level to adjust their food intake accordingly. Overfeeding can lead to obesity, while underfeeding can result in nutritional deficiencies.  

Divide their total daily food portion into equal meals to maintain their digestive health and prevent overeating. Remember, consistent meal times not only aid in digestion but also in establishing a daily routine for your puppy.

What Should You Feed a Puppy

Humans and canines are vastly different creatures, so you can’t feed your furry companion like any other family member, especially as a puppy. Puppies have unique dietary needs that differ significantly from adult dogs.

Understanding what to feed a puppy is as essential as knowing how much and how often.

Specialised Puppy Food

The cornerstone of a puppy's diet should be high-quality commercial puppy food, specifically formulated to provide a balance of nutrients essential for the healthy growth and development of puppies. Key components include high-quality proteins for muscle development, fats and carbohydrates for energy, and the correct balance of vitamins and minerals to meet their growth and development needs.

Dry vs. Wet Puppy Food

As you review what puppies eat, you will need to choose between dry and wet food. Both are viable options as long as they are complete and balanced for growing puppies. Some pet owners opt for a mix of both to cater to their puppy’s preferences and ensure a balanced diet. Remember, the total caloric intake should remain consistent, whether feeding dry food, wet food, or a combination of both.

Puppy Treats

Treats are a great tool for training and bonding with your puppy, but try to stick to the 90/10 rule: 90% of your puppy's daily calories should come from their main food, and only 10% from treats. Doing so will prevent overfeeding and any associated health problems. Also, resist the temptation to feed them human foods as a treat, as they may be harmful to puppies and encourage bad habits.

Feeding Puppies Large & Small

Puppies' dietary needs also vary based on their breed size. For instance, large breed puppies benefit from large breed-specific formulas that cater to their risk of developing joint problems and support healthy growth. Small breed puppies, however, often do better with small breed-specific formulas that provide nutrient-dense, high-energy content suitable for their faster metabolism and smaller kibble size for easier consumption.

When to Stop Feeding Puppy Food

While many of us would like to keep our furry friends pups forever, sooner or later, they will mature into adult dogs with different nutritional needs. Puppy food is specifically designed to support rapid growth and development, but their nutritional needs change as dogs mature.

So, when do puppies stop eating puppy food and move on to more ‘grown-up’ meals?

Generally, the shift from puppy food to adult dog food should happen when your puppy reaches 80% of their expected adult size, coming at approximately one year of age, depending on breed. Larger breeds may take longer, sometimes up to 18-24 months, to fully mature and hence may need puppy food longer.

It is a significant step in your pet's life and should be handled with care.

Now, this is different to when to stop giving puppy milk. Puppies naturally wean off their mother's milk at about 6-8 weeks of age. Beyond this age, puppies should no longer rely on milk as a primary food source since they need solid food to meet their nutritional requirements.

If you are hand-rearing a puppy, gradually transition them from milk replacer to solid puppy food, starting around four weeks of age.


  • When Can Puppies Start Eating Solids?

    Puppies typically start eating solid food around 3 to 4 weeks of age. This is the time when they begin weaning off their mother's milk. Initially, puppies should be fed specially formulated puppy food, often softened with water or a puppy milk replacer. By the time they are eight weeks old, most puppies can handle solid food without any liquid added.

  • When Do You Stop Feeding Puppies 3 Times a Day?

    The transition from feeding puppies three times a day to twice daily usually occurs when they are around 3 to 6 months old, given their growth rate and energy requirements start to slow. As puppies grow, their stomachs can hold more food, allowing them to sustain themselves for longer periods between meals.

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