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How Much Should I Feed My Puppy?

Your puppy has specific nutritional needs that can vary by their breed. Here’s what you need to know about when your puppy should start eating food, how much you should feed them and when to transition them from puppy food to adult dog food.

When Do Puppies Stop Nursing?

Puppies are weaned at about 6 to 8 weeks of age. They should begin eating puppy-specific dry kibble or wet food as soon as they are weaned.

What Should You Feed a Puppy?

Always feed your puppy food specifically formulated for puppies. Your puppy’s needs can vary depending on size, so choose a large- or small-breed formula if appropriate. Small-breed food is usually smaller in size and higher in caloric density, while large- and giant-breed food typically is not as calorie-rich and supports slower growth rates to prevent skeletal issues.

No matter the breed it’s intended for, balanced puppy food should contain the following nutrients:

  • Protein to support muscle development and a healthy immune system
  • Fats for energy
  • Calcium to develop teeth and bones
  • Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) , an omega-3 fatty acid, to support healthy brain and vision development

How Much Should You Feed a Puppy?

The amount of food a puppy needs should be based off the feeding instructions on the specific food’s packaging. It’s important to follow a pet food’s specific feeding directions, which are typically found on the back of the packaging.

Image
Puppy carrying his blue food bowl across a backyard.

Puppy Feeding Chart1

Below is an example of what a feeding guide generally looks like for a growing puppy. As all dog foods vary, always feed your dog according to the specific instructions provided on their current food or speak to a veterinarian.

Adult Weight: 3 to 12 Pounds

  • Up to 3 months: ½ to 1 cups
  • 4 to 5 months: ⅔ to 1⅓ cups
  • 6 to 8 months: ½ to 1½ cups
  • 9 to 11 months: Feed as Adult
  • 1 to 2 years: Feed as Adult

Adult Weight: 13 to 20 Pounds

  • Up to 3 months: ½ to 1¼ cups
  • 4 to 5 months: 1⅛ to 2 cups
  • 6 to 8 months: ¾ to 1⅓ cups
  • 9 to 11 months: 1 to 1½ cups
  • 1 to 2 years: Feed as Adult

Adult Weight: 21 to 50 Pounds

  • Up to 3 months: ½ to 1½ cups
  • 4 to 5 months: 1½ to 2¾ cups
  • 6 to 8 months: 1⅛ to 2⅓ cups
  • 9 to 11 months: 2 to 3 cups
  • 1 to 2 years: 2 to 4¼ cups

Adult Weight: 51 to 75 Pounds

  • Up to 3 months: ⅝ to 2⅓ cups
  • 4 to 5 months: 1½ to 4 cups
  • 6 to 8 months: 1½ to 3¾ cups
  • 9 to 11 months: 2½ to 4¾ cups
  • 1 to 2 years: 2⅝ to 6¼ cups

Adult Weight: 76 to 100 Pounds

  • Up to 3 months: 1 to 2⅔ cups
  • 4 to 5 months: 2⅞ to 3¾ cups
  • 6 to 8 months: 2⅞ to 6⅓ cups
  • 9 to 11 months: 3⅞ to 7 cups
  • 1 to 2 years: 5⅝ to 11 cups

Adult Weight: 100 and above

  • Up to 3 months: 2⅔ cups + ⅓ cup for each 10 pounds of body weight over 100 pounds
  • 4 to 5 months: 3¾ cups + ⅓ cup for each 10 pounds of body weight over 100 pounds
  • 6 to 8 months: 6⅓ cups + ⅓ cup for each 10 pounds of body weight over 100 pounds
  • 9 to 11 months: 7 cups + ⅓ cup for each 10 pounds of body weight over 100 pounds
  • 1 to 2 years: 11 cups + ⅓ cup for each 10 pounds of body weight over 100 pounds

How Often Should You Feed a Puppy?

It’s best to feed your puppy at regular times in regular amounts. Make sure to read the feeding instructions on the food’s packaging, but a good rule of thumb is:

  • Under 3 months old: four meals per day
  • 3 to 6 months old: three meals per day
  • 6 months old and up: two meals per day

 

How Do You Know If a Puppy Is Getting Enough Food?

All puppies grow at different rates, but your puppy should be growing noticeably and steadily, especially in the first five or six months. If your puppy is lethargic, or has a dull coat or eyes, it could mean they need a different food – or even that the puppy may have intestinal worms. If this is the case, reach out to your veterinarian to discuss finding a different food or deworming your puppy.

Can You Feed a Puppy Treats?

Treats are an important training tool for puppies, as well as a good way to bond with your pet. The number of treats you give should be no more than 10% of the total amount of food your puppy eats in a given day. Never give your puppy chocolate, cinnamon, macadamia nuts, grapes or any food containing allium (garlic, onions, leeks, chives), as these can be toxic.

 

References – Pet basic

 

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