How often should you feed a puppy?
Puppies have smaller stomachs so this means that you would need to feed them more often but in smaller portions. The amount that you would need to feed your dog will depend on their breed. For example, average puppies will need about 22 to 29% protein and 8 to 14% fat. Large breeds will need 23 to 25% protein and 12 to 15% fat. Their caloric needs will often be twice as that of an adult of the same breed.
The younger your puppy is the more frequent will you have to feed them. You will also need to feed them at regular intervals so they will learn your feeding schedules. This is the best start in house-training a puppy. Here is a simple guide on how to feed your puppy as they grow to mature dogs.
Birth to weaning -this can vary depending on the availability of milk from the mother. If the pup is orphaned, you will have to feed them with replacement milk every two hours or every time they cry until they are ready for whole foods which is about at three weeks. Once they can eat mushy foods, you will have to feed them up to 6 times each day but make sure to determine the proper daily food portion first. You can then divide that into the number of feeding times per day.
Eight weeks to six months – during this period, you can feed your puppy up to four times daily. The more difficult periods would be starting from 3 months onwards when your puppy begins to shed their baby teeth and grow the permanent ones.
Six months to adulthood – puppies of different breeds will grow into adulthood in different times so it is important to know that before transitioning into an adult dog food. But, from six months onwards, you can feed your puppy up to three times only. You can time them before or after your meals so they will learn your own schedule. Once they are full-grown, you will only have to feed them twice.
Is your dog still a puppy?
Another thing to consider is when can you consider your dog to be still a puppy? You need to understand that dogs will have different time periods of maturing into an adult dog. The general rule is that the smaller the breed, the faster will it mature. This is quite easy to determine with a pure-bred puppy but if you have a mixed breed, then you may have to talk to your breeder or your vet in order to determine how large they will be when they become adults. Below is a guide on how you can determine the average length of time that it will take for your puppy to grow up.
Small or toy breeds. This group includes Chihuahuas, toy poodles, Yorkshire Terriers, miniature Dachshund, Pekinese, Jack Russell, toy poodles, and Pomeranians. These types of puppies will typically take from nine to twelve months to get fully-developed bodies.
Medium-size breeds. Bull Terriers, Springer Spaniels, Basset Hounds, Cocker Spaniels, and Beagles belong to this group. It will take about 12 to 14 months for these puppies to become adult dogs.
Large breeds. This group includes German Shepherds, Labrador or Golden Retrievers, Boxers, and Collies to name a few. If you have puppies in these breeds then you will generally have to wait for 12 to 16 months for them to grow into adult dogs.
Giant breeds. Mastiffs, Great Danes, St. Bernard, Malamute, and Pyrenees are just some of the breeds that belong to this group. These dogs take 18 to 24 months to mature so be careful not to give them adult dog food before these periods as it can greatly affect their bone and muscle formation. They may look big but they are still puppies inside.
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