How Much Food Should I Feed My Puppy?

Puppy wanting Food

 The correct amount of food for your puppy is regulated by their size or weight and should also be dependant upon you feeding them several times a day. Cup sizes are the easiest way to measure both wet and dry foods or best is a mixture of both. Underneath you will find a scale which shows how much feed you should give your pup and at what stage of life after weaning that you should feed your puppy.

Puppies nutritional requirements are different to adult dogs. Not only is it very important that your pup should be fed with a balanced diet, but they also need a feeding schedule. Many components also contribute to keeping your puppy healthy and strong. These include giving him or her enough playtime and exercise, as well as the right foods.

If you have any doubts, questions or concerns about your pup’s food, feeding schedule, or health, and the answer is not in this article then always remember you can consult your veterinarian or the breeder where they came from.

In this guide, we also delve into what you can feed your puppy, how much, how often the puppy should be fed and what must be kept away from your puppy, as well as some diet recommendations.

How Often Should I Feed My Puppy?

Similar to human babies, puppies need many small meals each day. Sometimes they need three or four feedings daily.

Usually you can use the chart printed on the bag of food, then you can consider dividing that into the amount of daily portions required to feed them throughout the day. Be very careful though on how you interpret that guide, some of them are very confusing which is why we have made up the feeding chart below.

The food must be formulated to suit their unique nutritional requirements. The majority of puppies finish meals fast, quickly gobbling it down. To discourage your puppy from developing bad and picky eating habits, have a feeding schedule where he eats regular amounts at regular times. Avoid leaving food down for over 10 to 20 minutes.

Your puppy is far more likely to overfeed than not to have enough, which makes it so important to feed him with small portions evenly spaced out throughout the day. If your puppy eats too quickly or eats too much, it can lead to long-term weight problems. 

Try to keep a balanced Puppy Diet

Likewise, even if you manage to stick to a strict puppy diet plan, and he doesn’t get enough physical exercise, or you indulge him in too many treats, it may also lead to obesity problems. Obesity in dogs can be as dangerous as it is in people. It can lead to diabetes and heart disease, while an imbalance in nutrients intake can lead to skeletal issues and arthritis.

There is a canine feeding tip that holds true in many cases; don’t watch the dish but the dog. Body condition and not the amount eaten or left in the food bowl should help you determine the appropriate portion sizes. The sizes depend on pup’s body type and individual metabolism, as every dog’s nutritional requirements vary. 

If your puppy picks at food or occasionally skips a meal, don’t worry. That could be telling you that your pup is ready to eliminate a particular feeding or that you probably have served him too much. That tells you to cut down on the quantity served or the frequency.

How Much food should I feed my puppy?

For simplicity I have broken down the basic breed sizes into weight groups so that you can determine where you should start, I am also going to use Cup sizes as these measures are available universally. The Cup Size also works whether you are using wet or dry feed.

The other reason many charts can appear confusing is that the change from Puppy to Adult food comes sooner with small dogs because they mature quicker than larger breeds.

In most cases it is best to use a mixture of wet and dry foods. Wet foods will help those puppies who need water content but are not always good at drinking and can also help those puppies that struggle to eat hard dry food simply because they are soft in the mouth and cannot yet chew properly, dry foods will also slow down some of those greedy puppies who simply bolt soft or wet food.

Puppies may not eat solid foods the moment you start to give it to them. At the weaning stage use moistened foods suitable for weaning or, soak hard foods by adding 20 to 25% warm (not Hot) water, this will allow the puppies to become accustomed to using their new teeth and allow their bodies to become used to solid foods.

Allow your puppy to eat at will until they are fully weaned i.e. when they are no longer suckling at milk. Then follow the daily feeding schedules.

Feeding Instructions For Your Puppy

To help you establish how much puppy food you should give, we first need to determine the size of breed that you are feeding.

Feed For Extra Small Pup Breeds

(light frame) such as Affenpinscher, Chihuahua, Pomeranian, Yorkshire Terriers, small Shih Tzu, Maltese etc

Expected Weight as an Adult               3 to 9lbs  or  1 ½ to 4kg
(Based on Parental size)

From Weaning to 3 Months. 
Feed  from ½ Cup to 1 Cup per Day
Split into 3 or 4 Meals a day

From 4 to 5 Months
Feed from 2/3 of a cup to 1 and 1/3 Cups per Day
Split into 3 Meals a day

From 6 to 8 Months 
Feed from 1/2 a Cup to 1 ½ Cups per Day
Split into 2 or 3 Meals a day

Reaching Adulthood  at 8/10 Months

From around 9 to 11 Months old you can feed them 2 Meals a day as an Adult, taking the portion sizes as per the instructions on your food packet.

—- —- — —- ——– —- — —- —-

Feed For Small Breed Pups

such as French Bulldogs, large Shih Tzu (usually males), Beagles, Brussels Griffon, most Terrier breeds etc.

Expected Weight as an Adult   10 to 22lbs  or  4 ½  to 10kg
(Based on Parental size)

From Weaning to 3 Months
Feed between     ½ a Cup to 1 ¼ Cups per Day
Split into 3 or 4 Meals a day

From 4 to 5 Months
Feed from  1 ¼ Cups to 2 Cups per Day
Split into 3 Meals a day

From 6 to 8 Months.
Feed from    ¾ Cup to 1 and 1/3 Cups
Split into 2 or 3 Meals a day

From 9 to 11 Months
Feed from    1 Cup to 1 ½ Cups per Day
Split into 2 or 3 Meals a day

Reaching Adulthood at 8/10 Months

From 11 Months onward you can feed them as an Adult taking the portion sizes as per the food instructions.

— — — — —- —- — —- —-

 Feed For Medium Size Pup Breeds

such as Poodles, Labradors, Wheaten Terriers, British Bulldogs, American Eskimos, Spaniels and the like.

Expected Weight as an Adult                22 to 55lbs  or 11 to 25kg
(Based on Parental size)

From Weaning to 3 Months
Feed from    ½ Cup to 1 ½ Cups per Day
Split into 3 or 4 Meals a day

From 4 to 5 Months
Feed from   1 ½ Cups to 2 ¾ Cups per Day 
Split into 3 Meals a day

From 6 to 8 Months 
Feed from   1 and 1/8 Cups to 2 and 1/3 Cups Per Day
Split into 2 or 3 Meals a day

From 9 to 11 Months 
Feed from  2 Cups to 3 Cups per Day  
Split into 2 or 3 Meals a day

From 1 to 2 Years of age
Feed from    2 Cups to 4 ¼ Cups Per Day
Split into 2 Meals a day

Reaching Adulthood at 12/24 Months

It will be for you and/or the vet to judge when you can feed them as an Adult taking the portion sizes as per the food instructions.

— — — — — —– — — — — —

 Feed for Large Breed Pups

such as Afghan Hounds, Airedale Terriers, Blood hounds, Boxers, Akitas German Shepherd, Rottweiler, Alaskan Malamute etc.

Expected Weight as an Adult          55 to 75 lbs  or  26 to 34kg
(Based on Parental size)

From Weaning to 3 Months
Feed from 5/8 Cups to 2 and 1/3 Cups per Day
Split into 3 or 4 Meals a day

From 4 to 5 Months
Feed from 1 1/2 Cups to 4 Cups 
Split into 3 Meals a day

From 6 to 8 Months
Feed from 1 ½ Cups to 3 and 3/4 Cups per Day
Split into 2 or 3  Meals a day

From 9 to 11 Months
Feed from 2 ½ Cups to 4 ¾ Cups per Day
Split into 2 or 3 Meals a day

From 1 to 2 Years 
Feed from 2 5/8 Cups to 6 ¼ Cups per Day
Split into 2 Meals a day

Reaching Adulthood at 18 to 24 Months

From 18 Months to 2 years old you can feed them as an Adult taking the portion sizes as per the instructions of your chosen food .

— — — — — —– — — — — —

 Feed For Very Large Pup Breeds

such as Great Dane, Irish Wolfhound, Kangal Dog, Great Pyrenees etc

Expected Weight as an Adult          76 to 100 lbs  or  34 kg to 45kg
(Based on Parental size)

From Weaning to 3 Months  
Feed from    1 Cup to 2 and 2/3 Cups per Day
Split into 3 or 4 Meals a day

From 4 to 5 Months 
Feed from    2 and 7/8 Cups to 3 ¾ Cups
Split into 3 Meals a day

From 6 to 8 Months 
Feed from   2 and 7/8 Cups to 6 and 1/3 Cups per Day 
Split into 2 or 3 Meals a day

From 9 to 11 Months 
Feed from    3 and 7/8 Cups to 7 Cups per Day  
Split into 2 or 3 Meals a day

From 1 to 2 Years 
Feed from    5 and 5/8 Cups to 11 Cups per Day 
Split into 2 Meals a day

Reaching Adulthood at  18 to 24 Months

From 18 Months to 2 years old you can feed them as an Adult taking the portion sizes as per the food instructions.

— — — — — —– — — — — —

For larger oversized breeds please refer to the Purina website

Our puppy feeding chart is a starting point to help you determine how much dry kibble and or wet food you need to feed your puppy. Consult the puppy food package for more specific feeding instructions or talk with your veterinarian.

Because we are using cups you can usually take 1 or 2 of the daily meals and substitute it with wet food (still measured in Cups) if you wish to, it can be very beneficial for those breeds like chihuahua that often struggle with hard dry foods.

Some small breeds struggle with hard dry foods
  • Please note these recommendations are generic and you may need to check your particular feed product packaging for precise feeding recommendations.
  • Overfeeding your puppy may adversely affect their development just as much as under feeding them. Maintaining a good feeding schedule with correct amounts is also key to their health.
  • The indicated amounts are a guideline only, if your puppy appears overweight then reduce their intake to an appropriate level.
  • If your puppy is leaving food in their bowl it may be a sign that they are full at feeding time, as puppies get nearer to adulthood their calorie intake may reduce as the body slows from growing fast in which case remove any excess food, do not leave it sitting waiting for them to come back to it. Then reduce the intake at the next feeding schedule.
  • Consult your veterinarian if you are in doubt.

What Kind Of Food Is Best For Puppy?

Generally, compared to adult dog food, puppy foods are higher in protein content, enriched with minerals, vitamins, and fats, even though they could be from the same manufacturer. The specific ingredients tend to vary greatly across brands. These are essential for puppy growth and you need to choose well.

In most instances, you will get what you are paying for. Cheaper brands will give your puppy lower-quality ingredients while “performance” and “premium” varieties come with higher quality ingredients designed for improved digestibility.

When buying, make sure it’s “puppy food” because such products are more likely to have the kind of extra nutrients needed by a growing puppy until he attains adulthood. Ask your vet or dog breeder for specific guidelines on when that maturity stage might come as small breed dogs mature more quickly than their bigger counterparts. It’s also fine to buy regular dog foods that are labelled “for all life stages.” 

Ensure that your food choice is for Puppies

Consider buying breed-formulated food. For example, large-breed puppy formulas are designed to help bigger pups grow at a gradual rate, allowing them enough time to grow strong bones and joints. Small-breeds formulas provide concentrated nutrition that meets the metabolic needs of a smaller puppy. Also available are medium-breed formulas that lie somewhere in between.

Dry vs. Wet Puppy Food?

Although a popular choice, dry kibble is not your only option. As you walk down the pet food aisles, you will likely see both dry puppy food and wet food, making it rather hard to decide what’s best for your puppy. However, as long as both the dry and wet formulas are balanced for growing pups, either can be used to feed your pup.

Although you have the option of choosing between dry vs. wet formulas, another great option is to feed your pup a combination of the two. If you opt to mix the two, make sure the amounts when combined don’t exceed the daily recommended caloric intake for your puppy. If unsure of what to choose, consult your vet. 

Does The Age Of The Puppy Matter? 

How much food you feed your puppy will largely depend on his age and weight.

Below we look at a recommended timeline for the first few months of your puppy’s life.

Between 6–12 weeks: These are growing pups, and they should only be fed with puppy food. This is a diet that is specially formulated to support normal development. Feeding your pup with adult food at this stage robs him of important nutrients. Usually, four feedings a day are adequate to meet his nutritional demands. Small dog breeds can be fed un-moistened dry food by 12 or 13 weeks while large breeds by 9 or 10 weeks.

3–6 months old: Sometime during this period, consider decreasing the feedings to three from four times a day. By week 12, your pup should be gradually losing the potbelly and pudginess. If at this age your pup is still roly-poly, continue feeding him puppy-size portions until the body type matures.

6–12 months old: By this age, you can start feeding the pup twice daily. Neutering or spaying tends to slightly lower a dog’s energy requirements. Therefore, after the procedure, consider switching the growing dog from nutrient-rich puppy food to foods geared more towards adult maintenance. 

The switch can be made at 7 to 9 months for small breeds while the bigger breeds are good at 12, 13, even 14 months. It’s better to err on the side of caution; have him on puppy food a little too long than too short.

After age 1: He is now a grown dog, and you can feed him adult food, two half-portions a day.

Should Puppies Eat Adult Dog Food?

Puppies grow fast, building muscle and bone, and developing their organs. On the other hand, adult dogs are maintaining their bodies. A puppy needs to get extra nutrients that fuel growth. Therefore, providing your puppy with proper nutrition is essential to add weight, build strong teeth and bones, and supply the energy needed for playing.

Puppies should be fed on puppy food. Feeding them complete and balanced puppy food ensures they not only get the proper nutrition but grow into healthy, strong adult dogs. Look for protein-rich puppy formulas that support all-round growth. Calcium supports the development of teeth and bones; carbohydrates supply the energy needed by playful and active puppies, while DHA is essential for healthy vision and brain development.

Feeding your puppy with adult dog food will mean feeding him more often to ensure he gets the needed nutrients; otherwise, you will be risking stunting their development. Equally, if you feed an adult dog with puppy food, it can be dangerous because it could lead to an overload of nutrients, potentially leading to health complications later. For example, large dogs are already prone to skeletal issues, and the extra calcium in puppy food can only exacerbate the problem.

We have discussed adult food but do puppies, like adult dogs, need water? Your puppy needs drinking water, and you should make fresh water available to him all the time. During the hotter or warmer summer days, consider placing water bowls in multiple locations within the home to ensure he stays hydrated. 

For water measurements, younger pups will need about half a cup of water after a couple of hours. Older pups usually need anything between one and 1.5 ounce of water per body weight pound each day. Remember to have their water bowls washed daily to avoid the potential buildup of bacteria.

What Foods Are Dangerous For My Puppy?

While puppies can safely consume some human foods in small quantities, there is a long list of toxic and, at times, life-threatening foods which you must not give to your puppy. 

Chocolate is dangerous for Dogs, particularly puppies

Foods to keep away from your puppy include:

  • Chocolate
  • Avocado
  • Macadamia nuts
  • Grapes and raisins
  • Onions, garlic, and chives
  • Raw dough made using yeast.
  • Excessively salty foods (e.g., potato chips)
  • Food sweetened with xylitol (gum, candy, and baked goods)
  • Alcohol; coffee and caffeine;
  • Large amounts of dairy products (milk and cheese) 

For a more detailed look at this problem got to our page on dogs and chocolate or dogs and mushrooms which has a list of things NOT to give your pup.

Always endeavour to feed your pup with food that has been specifically manufactured for pets if you want to avoid any risk of toxic food and alcoholic drinks poisoning.

You may be wondering whether your large-breed puppy needs special or more food. Large breeds such as Doberman Pinschers, Great Danes, and Labrador retrievers are more likely to develop joint and skeletal complications problems, including hip dysplasia. While inherited and genetic factors largely trigger these medical conditions, overfeeding could make them worse. It may be prudent to consider feeding your large breed pup with special foods.

Designed to assist with controlled animal growth, large-breed puppy foods have lower phosphorus and calcium content than other puppy foods. Excess levels of these two nutrients can contribute to joint and skeletal problems. Besides, large-breed puppy food is also likely to contain more fiber designed to boost bulk to the puppy diet without excess calories.

You may also need to be careful and not overfeed your older large-breed dogs as that could contribute to chronic health problems later in life. 

When Is The Most Suitable Time For Puppy Feeding?

Although most dog owners feed them twice a day, puppies should ideally eat between four and six meals each day. This is because puppies are growing and their stomachs are still small, which means they cannot eat much before they get full. However, that doesn’t stop puppies from getting over excited when they see the food bowl, which often results in overeating. 

Such overeating instills bad eating that could continue into adulthood. Even worse, it can lead to diarrhea, digestive upsets, and distended stomachs. Although there is no “best time” when to feed your puppy, as much as possible, aim to spread the daily recommended serving throughout the day evenly. That way, your pup can maintain their energy and health.

Once you know the recommended daily feeding amount, create a feeding schedule. The best approach is to take the total amount of food needed each day and divide it into several smaller feedings given to the pup at regular intervals throughout the day. 

An easy and convenient feeding schedule is to feed your small furry pal when you eat—preferably at breakfast, lunch, and at dinner time. Feeding your puppy at regular times each day helps him get used to the feeding routine. To give him ample time to digest the food before bedtime, remember to feed him early in the evenings.

Avoid leaving food out unless you have no alternative because you will be away at work. Free-choice feeding not only promotes unhealthy eating habits but can lead to overweight puppies. Besides, it’s a strain on their digestive systems. If food must be left out because your pup is too young to skip a meal, be sure to eliminate the free-choice feeding habit once he is old enough to be transitioned to 2-3 meals per day.

Is Feeding My Puppy With Treats Recommended?

Although dog owners like rewarding their pets with treats, it’s best to limit them. To grow, puppies need so many nutrients, and it’s essential to give them the kind of food that provides complete nutrition. Your puppy should get most of his calories from puppy food rather than from treats, which typically don’t support complete nutrition.

If you have to give him a treat, choose the right size for your puppy. And avoid exposing your small puppy to table scraps as it teaches him to beg for treats at the dinner table. This can cause digestive upset, unbalanced eating, and even pancreatitis.

Charcoal Biscuits can be good for digestive issues

Consider giving the pet treats that deepen the bond between the two of you. Healthy snacks such as bits of green beans, carrot, or bell peppers give him something to crunch without consuming many calories. And remember, the best treat in your puppy’s mind is spending time with him. 

When Should I Stop Feeding Him With Puppy Food?

When your pup is around four to six weeks old, begin introducing him to puppy food. This can be done by making a gruel made up of the puppy food and milk replacer. The gruel can be offered three to four times a day but gradually reduce the amount of milk replaced. This helps to learn to adapt to solid food progressively, and it also minimizes gastric upset.

By the time your pup is around eight weeks old, he should be now be eating solid puppy food. Eventually, you must stop feeding the pup with puppy food and switch him to adult dog food. Like the amount you feed the puppy depends on his breed, the transition is dictated by his breed size. 

Larger dog breeds might take longer before reaching full maturity. They may need to be fed on puppy food for close to two years. Consult your vet or breeder to determine the best time to make the important switch and for tips that make the transition easy on the pup and you.

Weaning your puppy is a process and not an overnight endeavor. Transitioning him to an adult dog should ideally take about two to three weeks. First, you need to know the brand of food to feed him during the transition phase. The food you select must be a high-quality brand of dog food because growing puppies have high nutritional and caloric needs.

Avoid as much as possible to feed your dog with puppy food longer than necessary. Feeding him with puppy food for too long may lead to obesity and orthopedic complications. How can you know it’s time to make the switch? When you begin noticing that your pup is eating less of the puppy food or if he starts putting on too much weight.

You should stop feeding your pooch puppy food at their point of maturity

When does your puppy become an adult dog?

Average adult weightUp to 4kgUp to 10kg 11-25kg26-44kg45kg and more
Growth duration (birth to adulthood)8/10 months8/10 months 12 months15 months18/24 months

Overview on Puppy Feeding

A new puppy in the house is exciting, but it needs to be handled well, especially if this is your first time. There is a lot you need to master before you bring the new family member home. Ensure you are adequately prepared and that your puppy will not only be fed well but comfortable. 

You probably just got your new puppy, and are now wondering how much and how often you should feed your new “bundle of joy”. Don’t worry, for you are not alone. Everyone faces this question, even veteran dog owners, and the good news is that it’s not as complex as you might think. 

Some of the biggest dilemmas you will be facing include knowing how much food to give your puppy, what puppy food to feed him, and how often. After all, there is no way you will trust your new young friend to tell you; most likely, he or she will gobble down whatever you put under his nose!

Feeding your small four-legged pal with a high-quality puppy food sets him up for a healthy and long life as an adult dog. Besides the question of what to feed and how often, you need to know when to transition your pup to adult dog food. You will also need to set a puppy feeding schedule so that he begins to learn when to expect his favorite food or healthy treat.

If you have any doubts or questions about your pup’s diet or health, consult your veterinarian or pet dietician. They can also help you determine how much food to feed your puppy based on the specifics of the dog, such as weight, age and breed.

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