Pet Paradise Nutrition Everything You Need to Know About Puppy Feeding

Everything You Need to Know About Puppy FeedingEverything You Need to Know About Puppy Feeding


Bringing home a new puppy is an exciting time! While puppy snuggles and playtime are fun, ensuring proper nutrition is also extremely important. Providing the right puppy food, in the proper amounts, sets them up for healthy growth and development. But what should you feed puppy at each stage?

In this article, we’ll cover everything you need to know about feeding puppies. We’ll look at key nutrition tips starting from weaning through adulthood. Let’s start with the question many new owners wonder:

What to Feed Puppies at 3 Weeks?

By 3 weeks of age, puppies are ready to begin the weaning process. Weaning transitions them from nursing to eating solid food.

At this age, it’s best to continue allowing puppies to nurse on mom while also introducing:

  • High-quality dry puppy food – Kibble made specifically for puppies provides complete and balanced nutrition. Look for a reputable brand recommended by your veterinarian.
  • Wet puppy food – Adding some warm water or puppy formula to kibble makes a nourishing gruel texture they can easily lap up.
  • Goat milk – Provides a nutrient-rich supplemental drink to aid the weaning process. Avoid cow’s milk which can cause digestive upset.

Feed small amounts several times a day, allowing littermates to eat together. Provide ample fresh water as well. At this age, puppies should remain with and nurse from their mother while learning to eat solid foods.

Feeding Guidelines from 8-12 Weeks

By 8 weeks when puppies leave the litter, they should be fully weaned and eating solid puppy food. Follow these feeding guidelines from 8-12 weeks:

  • Feed a high-quality puppy kibble 4 times a day – Look for brands meeting WSAVA guidelines. Divide daily portions into smaller, frequent meals.
  • Transition gradually to brand given by breeder – Mix old and new kibble over 5-7 days to avoid GI upset.
  • Use scheduled mealtimes – Feed at the same times daily to start potty training. Take away uneaten food after 15-20 minutes.
  • Give access to fresh water – Change water frequently and check often to ensure they’re drinking.
  • Try interactive puzzle feeders – Helps tire the brain and makes mealtime fun.
  • Avoid free feeding – Can lead to overeating and obesity. Stick to set meals based on label portions.

Following scheduled feedings on a consistent routine will help avoid digestive issues and aid house training. Check with your veterinarian if you have questions on exact amounts to feed.

Feeding a 4 Month Old Puppy

By 4 months old, puppies can transition to 3 scheduled feedings per day. Here are some key nutrition tips for 4 month old puppies:

  • Continue feeding puppy formula – Puppies have higher caloric needs up to 10-12 months old. Don’t switch to adult food too early.
  • Give scheduled, portion-controlled meals – Feed at the same times each day based on label guides. Don’t free feed.
  • Try adding some wet food – Provides extra moisture and enrichment.
  • Avoid overtreating – Too many treats and people food can lead to obesity.
  • Ask your vet about supplements – Such as omega fatty acids, joints aids, or probiotics tailored to pup’s needs.
  • Weigh monthly & track growth– Make sure they’re on a healthy growth trajectory. Adjust portions if they become over or underweight.

Your veterinarian can advise you on the exact amounts to feed your puppy based on their projected adult weight and body condition. Stick to quality puppy foods until at least 12 months old.

When to Switch From Puppy Food to Adult Food

It’s important not to transition your dog to adult food too early. Puppy diets are specially formulated to fuel their rapid growth and development. When is the right time to make the switch?

  • Most puppies can transition between 10-14 months old, depending on breed size.
  • Larger breeds should remain on puppy food even longer, up to 14-24 months to support their growth plates and joints.
  • For small breeds, around 10-12 months is appropriate as they reach maturity faster.

Signs your puppy is ready for adult dog food include:

  • Their growth has slowed or stopped.
  • Their energy needs have decreased.
  • They’ve reached around 80% of their adult weight.

When you do decide to switch, transition slowly over 5-7 days, gradually increasing the new food while decreasing the old. This allows their digestive system to adjust to the new food.

And just like during puppyhood, continue feeding set meals on a schedule throughout adulthood. Follow label feeding guides based on their ideal weight.

Common Puppy Feeding Questions

How often should I feed my 8 week old puppy? Feed an 8 week old puppy 4 scheduled meals per day spaced throughout the day.

Can I feed my puppy adult dog food? No, puppy food is specially formulated to fuel their growth and development. Don’t switch to adult food until at least 10-14 months old.

Is it okay to give puppies milk? A small amount of goat’s milk can aid weaning puppies but avoid cow’s milk, which can cause diarrhea. Mother’s milk or formula are best.

How do I know if my puppy is over or underweight? Weigh them monthly and track growth. Consult your vet to make sure they’re on a healthy trajectory for their breed and age.

When should puppies start eating solid food? Around 3-4 weeks old puppies can start the weaning process, eating gruel alongside nursing on mom.

From weaning to adulthood, providing the right nutrition is crucial for raising a healthy, happy pup. Follow these puppy feeding guidelines tailored to each stage, and check with your veterinarian for any specific questions on your puppy’s needs. With a proper diet and lots of love, you’ll have your puppy off to a great start!

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