How Often Does a Little Dog Eat?by Susan Paretts
Toy and small breeds of dogs need to be fed two to four times per day, with puppies requiring more frequent meals. These meals need to be smaller than those given to their larger counterparts. These little pups have tiny tummies that fill up quickly and need frequent feedings to prevent health issues like low blood sugar.
How often you feed your small or toy breed of dog is based on his age and health history. Puppies need four to eight feedings each day with puppy formula, mush or solid foods, depending on their life stage. Those over 8 to 10 weeks of age who are already weaned should be fed four times per day. While larger dog breeds can be fed twice a day when they reach around 6 months of age, small ones, less than 20 pounds, need two to four meals a day, recommends Purina. This is because of the proclivity of small pooches to develop conditions like hypoglycemia, due to their higher need for glucose derived from food, specifically carbohydrates, according to PetWave. Feeding your little one a small breakfast, lunch and dinner helps to keep the glucose level constant, without dropping throughout the day, especially for those with a history of this condition.
While little pups need more frequent meals than larger ones, the amount should be proportional to the dog. Follow your dog food manufacturer's daily allowance recommendations for your pooch based on his weight. Divide this portion into three or four servings, depending on how frequently you plan to feed him. Typically a small dog needs around 40 calories per pound, more calories per pound than a large dog because he has a higher metabolism, according to petMD. The National Research Council of the National Academies recommends that young puppies, under a year old, need twice as much food as older ones do, based on the feeding recommendations for the adult size of your pup.
Types of Food
Dry foods, unlike canned ones, don't spoil and can be left out for your pup to munch on without having to provide smaller meals throughout the day -- choose a small breed variety with smaller kibble particles. Take away canned food leftovers after about 20 minutes, placing them in the refrigerator to feed later in the day. Feed age-appropriate food to your little pup, whether it's puppy food for those under a year old or food for seniors. Consult with your vet about what kind of food is appropriate for your pup, especially if he suffers from any health issues that can be helped with a special veterinary diet. Typically smaller dog breeds live longer than larger ones and may not need senior food until they reach 9 years old rather than 6 years old, recommends WebMD.
Many owners aren't available to give their little dogs frequent meals throughout the day. While some small pups can ration out their daily allotment of dry food from their bowl that you fill in the morning, others will gobble this down, becoming hungry later in the day. An automatic feeder with a timer solves this problem. These devices have separate chambers, usually up to seven, that you fill with your pup's portion of food for breakfast, lunch, dinner and any other times during the day or night. At the time you preset, these chambers pop open for your little one to eat without you having to supervise. Another option is having a dog walker come and check on your pooch one to two times per day and provide him with a meal during the visit, in addition to your feedings morning and evening.
- Purina: Feeding Small Breed Dogs
- WebMD: Senior Dog Food: Meeting Aging Canines’ Nutritional Needs
- petMD: How to Keep Your Dog’s Food Fresh
- petMD: Nutritional Differences for Small, Toy, and Large Breed Dogs
- Petfinder: How Often Should You Feed Your Dog?
- Mar Vista Animal Medical Center: Toy Breed Hypoglycemia
- WebMD: Hypoglycemia (Low Blood Sugar) in Dogs
- Dog Breed Info Center: Toy/Small Dogs -- Roughly Ranging up to 20 Pounds (9 kg)
- PetWave: Causes & Prevention of Hypoglycemia (Low Glucose) in Dogs
- National Research Council of the National Academies: Your Dog's Nutritional Needs
- Brand X Pictures/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images