Checking the labels on your puppy’s dry or canned food gives you a rough estimate of how much to feed him; however, you will need to adjust this amount depending on your puppy’s age, size and energy level. Feed her a high-quality puppy food with 25 to 30 percent protein in order to provide her with the energy intake she needs and make sure she has plenty of fresh water.
Puppies under 6 months need twice the amount of food as adult dogs. Use portion control feedings to avoid giving your puppy too much food. Break up the total amount of food for the day into smaller portions and feed your puppy two to four times a day until she is 6 months old. Then, reduce the amount of meals to two per day. If your dog is a small or medium breed, gradually change his diet to an adult one by the time he is 12 months old. For large breeds, wait until closer to 14 to 18 months before switching to an adult diet.
Size helps determine how much food your puppy should get. Smaller breeds, weighing less than 20 lbs. as adults, require less food than medium and large breeds. If your small breed puppy develops good eating habits, you can try a free choice feeding method. Give him his food all at once and let him eat throughout the day as he chooses. Large breeds, weighing more than 50 lbs. as adults, can require up to three times as much food as small breeds. Always use portion control feedings with medium breeds, weighing 20 to 50 lbs. as adults, and large breeds, in order to avoid overfeeding.
Puppies with high energy levels burn calories faster, so plan on increasing the amount of food if your pup loves to run. If your puppy is the calmer type, he won’t require as many calories to keep him going. Puppies of all energy levels grow at different rates, but feeding them more won’t speed up the process and could lead to health problems.
Treats and Supplements
Reward your puppy for good behavior with treats but use them sparingly. Her nutritional intake should mainly come from puppy food. Treats should make up no more than 10 percent of her diet. Avoid supplements altogether as long as you are feeding your puppy a well-balanced diet. Too much of certain vitamins and minerals, such as calcium, can lead to orthopedic diseases.
Do not overfeed your large breed puppy or give him adult dog food in an attempt to help him grow. Genetics determines your dog’s adult size, not nutrition. Overfeeding in large breeds leads to bone growth problems, such as hip dysplasia. Giving your puppy adult food could lead to malnutrition. Your large breed puppy’s growth rate should be slower than that of small and medium-size breeds.