Your puppy grows 20 times faster than an adult dog and requires double the calories per pound of body weight as the same breed adult dog. Because his stomach is small, feed him in well-spaced intervals throughout the day so he gets the most from his food.
Your pup begins eating solid food around 3 to 4 weeks old. By 7 to 8 weeks old, he is eating only the puppy food. Once he is not nursing, he should have four meals a day that are measured and equally divided into four well-spaced intervals throughout the day. He will continue to eat four meals a day until he is 4 months old. At 4 months, he can switch to eating three times a day. At 6 months old, he can switch to two times a day.
Before switching your pup to eating twice a day, talk with your veterinarian. Some breeds benefit from eating three times a day until they are older than 6 months. Small breeds may benefit from a continued regime of three meals a day because of their small stomachs. When switching your pup to eating twice a day, he will still eat the same amount of food as he did when he was eating three times a day. If he was eating 1/2 cup of food three times a day, he will now eat 3/4 cup of food twice a day.
Puppy Feeding Tips
Avoid filling half-emptied bowls with more food. Warm temperatures can attract flies and other insects. Make sure your puppy receives fresh food at each feeding. Choose quality puppy food. Protein should be the first ingredient listed, not corn. Avoid table scraps because they can upset the nutritional balance necessary for your growing pooch. If you have more than one puppy, make sure each pup has his own food dish and is able to eat all of his food without fighting for it.
Transition to Adult Food
As your pup reaches his adult size, it is time to switch him from puppy food to adult food. Puppy food is higher in calories and nutritional supplements for the active and growing puppy. If you feed him puppy food too long, it can lead to obesity and orthopedic problems. Small breeds that weigh less than 30 pounds when full grown are at their adult size between 10 and 12 months of age. Medium-sized dogs are full grown at 12 to 16 months old. Large dogs may not reach their adult size until they are 2 years old.
Pauline Gill is a retired teacher with more than 25 years of experience teaching English to high school students. She holds a bachelor's degree in language arts and a Master of Education degree. Gill is also an award-winning fiction author.