Your puppies diet will vary depending on their size, breed, activity, environment, and metabolism. There is no one size fits all plan for puppies. You will be required to figure out the best food for your puppy and the proper portion size to suit their individual needs.
Body Condition for Puppies
Puppies burn more calories than adult dogs. This is partly in fact due to their faster metabolisms, their quick growth, and a puppy’s youthful vigor. Puppies can often be seen running and playing almost non stop except for their regular nap times. Less active and much older dogs can remain healthy with far fewer calories.
Just like with a young human, a specialist such as a doctor, in this case, a veterinarian can help to properly guide you with understanding your puppy’s nutritional needs and body condition. You want to ensure that your puppy is not too skinny and not overweight as both could be detrimental to their development.
Feeding Your Puppy
Typically puppies are introduced to solid food around 3 weeks of age and are weaned at the age of eight weeks. Puppies require a rich diet that is high in protein and other nutrients to support their rapid growth and vigorous play. Make sure that the pet food that you choose is formulated for puppies. This will ensure that they are receiving a balanced meal with all of their vitamin and mineral requirements.
It is common practice to feed puppies three times a day. These should follow typical human meal times such as breakfast, lunch, and dinner. This should carry on until the puppy begins to mature around 6 months of age and the feeding times can be cut back to twice a day.
Sometimes puppies can be picky about eating. It is always worth trying new things to help encourage your puppy to eat. Sometime moistening the food with water to make it soft, or trying other brands or types of food. Puppies and dogs have a complex sense of taste just like people do, and they can decide they do not like the taste of a particular food.
If your puppy does not eat all of its food after a little while. It is ok to throw away what is left over. Leaving it out can cause it to become stale or go bad and at that point, you would not want your puppy eating food that has sat out for a long period of time. Keep an eye on your puppy at the next feeding time to ensure they eat the portion and if it becomes a trend, you should consult with your veterinarian.
How much to feed your puppy will be determined by a number of factors including size, breed, activity, environment, and metabolism. Feeding too much can not only lead to obesity, but it can also lead to illnesses and developmental issues.
As a rule of thumb, the feeding amounts listed on dog food packaging only should be used as a rough guideline. Every puppy’s needs are a little different. Some may need a little more food and some may need a little less. Once again, your veterinarian can aid you in better understanding your puppy’s body condition.
Many dogs end up overweight because their families follow the directions on the labels which provide a portion that is much too large. The sooner you empty the bag, the sooner you will need to buy more dog food after all. The best way to proceed with learning how much to feed your dog is to try on the lower end of the recommendations and watch your puppy’s body condition as well as for signs of hunger. If your puppy appears to be gaining too much weight, reduce its food intake. If your puppy’s ribs are showing, you should increase his portion size.
Always remember that your puppy depends on you to make the right decisions about their diet and overall health. If you ever feel overwhelmed, your veterinarian can help you make the right decisions regarding your puppy’s health.