How Much Dog Food To Feed A Puppy

Filed in Dog Nutrition on February 22, 2020

Puppy eating dog foodHave you brought a new puppy home?  Maybe you are wondering how much dog food to feed a puppy?

Properly maintaining a puppy’s growth and development is hard work. They require specific nutrients for their development.

Young animals are especially sensitive to the effects of dietary deficiencies, toxins, and poor-quality ingredients, so it’s very important to choose the right foods to feed your puppy.

Adult Dog Food Or Puppy Food?

We often get asked, “Is there a difference between adult dog food and puppy dog food?” It’s important to note that yes, there is a big difference between these types of food.

Puppy food is formulated specifically for the nutritional needs and growing bodies of a puppy. This is why it’s important to know how much dog food to feed a puppy.

For example, puppies require a higher level of protein, fat, calcium, and phosphorus according to Justin Schmalberg, DVM.

How Much Dog Food To Feed A Puppy?

The amount of dog food recommended to feed a puppy is usually determined by their ideal adult size for their breed.

If you are in a rush and want exact recommendations, scroll down and view the puppy feeding chart from Purina.

I would like to discuss their nutritional needs in phases:

large group of puppies on a white background.from left to right, Yorkshire terrier,mixed breed boomer, pitbull terrier,chocolate labrador,French bulldog, dachshund,German shepherd and an English bulldog

Initial Growth

In their first 2 to 3 months of age, a puppy will grow exponentially. This means they require a lot of food.

Small breed puppies will eat anywhere from ½ to 1 cup of food – all the way up to large breed dogs that will consume 1 to 3 cups of food. 

Dry dog food can be left out throughout the day, and moist dog food will require being set out at frequent intervals.

Worried about overeating? While not typical, overeating can happen. Instead of grazing (i.e. making food available at all times), you should monitor, portion, and serve their food throughout the day.

Mid-Term Growth

Between 4 to 8 months of age, a puppy will begin to start its development toward a mature physique.

It is often recommended to feed them 3 times per day at this stage.

For small breed dogs, they will generally consume ⅔ to 1½ cups of food spread over the three meals.

Mid-sized dogs can eat anywhere from 1 to 1½ cups of dog food, again dispersed throughout the day.

And the larger-sized breed puppies can consume anywhere from 1½ to 6 cups of dog food. 

Pre-Adult To Adult

It’s during this timeframe that you can see where size really does matter.

The larger the dog, the longer you feed them puppy food. This is due to their mass and bone requirements.

If you have a mid-size breed dog, continue to feed them about 1½ cups of dog food.

However, larger dogs will continue to grow into their adult, mature feeding requirements. It’s also during this time that it’s best practice to move toward feeding your dog 2 times a day.

Also, it’s important to know when to start supplementing with glucosamine

Here’s a chart that helps outline in greater detail how much dog food to feed a puppy:

Chart of how much dog food to feed a puppy

Image Credit: Purina

When To Switch From Puppy to Adult Dog Food?

The switch to an adult formula should start when your dog reaches its adult height and weight.

As a result, the type of dog you own will determine when is the right time to switch.

Here are some general guidelines to consider:

  • 20 Pounds Or Less When Grown: considered a small breed dog that matures between 9 to 12 months of age.
  • 20 to 50 Pounds When Grown: considered a medium breed dog that matures between 12 to 14 months of age.
  • Above 50 Pounds When Grown: considered a large breed dog that matures between 12 to 24 months of age.

Helpful Info For Large Breed Puppy Owners

The AAFCO (Association of American Feed Control Officials) changed its dog food labeling to help clarify the nutritional needs of large breed puppies and adult dogs. If you have a large breed puppy, review dog food labels to ensure they say the following:

[Pet Food Name] is formulated to meet the nutritional levels established by the AAFCO Dog Food Nutrient Profiles for growth/all life stages including growth of large-size dogs (70 lbs or more as an adult).

For Regular and Small Size Breeds, You’ll See The Following:

[Pet Food Name] is formulated to meet the nutritional levels established by the AAFCO Dog Food Nutrient Profiles for growth/all life stages except for growth of large-size dogs (70 lbs or more as an adult).

Final Thoughts

Having a new puppy is an exciting time! By speaking to your vet and considering the general guidelines in this article, you can help ensure that your puppy has the right nutrients to become a healthy adult.

Please let me know your comments.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *