Is there anything more magical than the moment you bring home a new set of furry paws? We think not! One of the best experiences of any pet owners life, is the time we spend watching our furry friend grow into the dog we love and adore for many years to come. A huge part of that development comes from providing the perfect nutrition to support their growth and development so they live a happy, healthy and most wholesome life.
From feeding quantities and frequencies to nutritional support, this article will guide you as a new puppy owner about everything you need to know about supporting the development of your furry best friend. Managing their diet, nutrition and growth, read below about how you can help ensure your feeding your new pup the right amount of food in the right way.
How Much to Feed a Puppy
From the moment they are born, food is essential for your puppy’s growth. Needing nutritional support for muscle, joint, digestive, and immune support, getting your puppy’s diet right can ensure they develop in the best possible way.
Feeding your puppy the right amount can also help avoid your puppy becoming either under or overweight – both being problematic for your puppies growth.
For the first six months of your puppy’s life, it is recommended to weigh them every 4 weeks to ensure they are gaining between 5%-10% of their weight. From 8 weeks, puppies can eat solid food, which is dependent on owner choice, but we recommend dry kibble for puppies as this can help maintain good oral health. Diet is always dependent on breed and size but see the guidelines amounts below of how much you should feed your new pup:
It is suggested 20g of food per kilo of your dog’s weight. For example, if your puppy weighs 4kg, then 80g is the ideal amount of food per day for your pup. Split this amount into 3 portions separated throughout the day to help keep your pooch feeling hungry throughout the day.
Monitoring your Puppy’s Weight
Aside from their initial vaccinations, managing their weight is one of the most important parts of raising a puppy. Both underfeeding and overfeeding your new furry friend can have health consequences impacting how your pup develops into adulthood.
Calorie intake is vital during your puppy’s first few months as this is when their muscles and joints are developing needing vital vitamins and amino acids for repair and growth. For active breeds, this is a key stage in your dog’s development so ensuring your dog gets enough food can ensure their musculoskeletal system develops to its prime perfection.
Alternatively, overfeeding your puppy can also lead to health issues relating to their joints and muscles. Extra fat can cause strain on joints which could lead to joint issues later in life. In addition, poorly managed diets can cause strain on the digestive system leading to problematic toilet training.
How Often to Feed a Puppy
As we know, there is no one size fits all approach to raising your new canine companion. With over 200 breeds recognised in the UK, feeding your pup is dependent on their size and breed and getting this right can ensure your pup develops exactly as they should.
Feeding dependent on breed is recommended as:
- Toy-breeds should have between 4-5 meals per day from the ages of 6 weeks to 4 months reducing down to 3-4 meals after 4 months of age and then finally 2-3 days from 6 months to adulthood.
- Small and medium breeds should be fed 3 meals per day between 6 weeks to 4 months and then 2 meals per day from 4 months into their adulthood.
- Large breeds should have 3 meals per day from 6 weeks and continue this into their adulthood and into seniority.
When Should I Feed My Puppy?
When it comes to feeding your puppy, you want to manage timings to fit around your daily routine but also to support their digestion so there is not a huge gap between their meals and they are asking for food.
Puppies have much smaller stomachs than adult dogs so spacing out their meals and in smaller portions can help maximise their digestion and support their growth and routine. We suggest three-four meals per day during the times: 7am, 11/noon, 5/6pm and then a meal later for smaller breeds requiring more frequent feeding.
As mentioned before, as your puppy develops and becomes closer to adulthood where feedings can be reduced substituting their afternoon meal with a dental chew or midday activity to aid in the transition of reducing their daily meals.
Types of Food for Puppies
Choosing the right food for your puppy may seem like a troublesome task but understanding what your puppy requires during their transition into adulthood can make the process a whole lot easier.
One of the hardest choices we face at pet owners is making the decision between wet and dry food. As advocates of the deliciousness of dry, here’s the benefits of both for you to make your own choice of the best food for your new set of furry paws:
Wet – Pros:
- Easily digestible
- Higher palatability
- Contains high levels of meat and flavours.
- Can sometimes pass too quickly through digestive system leading to looser stools.
- Often messier and stronger in smell than dry kibble
- Doesn’t help support oral health due to soft texture.
Dry – Pros:
- Easily portioned.
- Crunchy exterior is great for supporting oral health.
- Less messy and less odour than wet food
- Can sometimes be less nutrient-dense as wet food.
- Lower palatability
Choosing the Right Ingredients
During their younger years, a dog’s digestion is incredibly sensitive as it is still developing. Therefore, the choice of food you select is vital to ensure their tummies stay in tip top shape. Opting for lighter and more hypoallergenic proteins like turkey and salmon are a great way of supporting your dog’s development whilst being kind on their sensitive stomachs.
Reading labels is just as important as it is for your dog as it is for us humans. Avoiding foods high in artificial ingredients, grains and fillers can help avoid digestive irritation ensuring your pet’s diet is as healthy and wholesome as it can be.
Nutritional Needs for Puppies
Your puppy’s food is the primary source of nutrients for their body. Without sufficient vitamins and minerals, your puppies development can be affected impacting their major systems like digestion, heart, brain, skin and joint health. Reading labels for ingredients rich in nutrients is important for helping to support your puppy’s growth and development helping them mature into a happy and healthy adult.
Protein is vital for your puppy’s growth as protein is significant is muscle growth. Aiding to repair cells, promote healthy growth and keep muscles working as they should – choosing wet or dry food high in protein is beneficial to ensuring your pup is healthy and active.
Vitamin E and Omega oils are another significant ingredient for your puppy’s development. Necessary for healthy coat, skin, eyes and brain function, choosing fish such as salmon and leafy greens like spinach and kale can provide your pup with pawfuls of Omega 3 and Vitamin E to keep their coats and skin as supple and shiny for years to come.
Vitamin A and Beta-Carotene – found in root vegetables, these vitamin can help support your puppies immune system helping to keep illness at bay. As puppies, with a weakened immune system than adult dogs, keeping your puppies health in prime condition can help stop them developing nasty bugs and bacteria picked up from their daily adventures. Vitamin A is also important in the maintenance of a healthy cardiovascular system which is fundamental as your dog develops into adulthood helping to decrease the likelihood of developing heart disease later in life.
Finally, look out for simple carbohydrates but avoid food dense in grains such as white rice and wheat which can cause sensitivities to a growing pup. Sweet potatoes are an excellent source of carbohydrates which can provide all the energy your growing pup needs whilst being hypoallergenic and kind to sensitive stomachs.
Supporting Your Growing Puppy
Aside from your puppy’s food, treats can be a way of increasing their nutritional intake providing them with extra support for growth and development. Soopa’s low-calorie and grain-free Peanut Butter & Banana healthy bites and chews are designed specifically with puppies in mind providing them with the support they need to grow into a healthy and happy adult.
When bringing any new animal into your home, we always recommend consulting with a veterinarian to discuss foods and ingredients they recommend supporting growth and development. Dependent on your dog’s breed and size they were give you personalised recommendations to suit your new furry friend.
Maintaining regular feeding times and amounts is the best way of helping to manage your puppy’s weight and growth and sticking to routines will benefit your dog’s routine later in life. So, with new furry paws entering your home, ensuring you keep an eye for puppy powering ingredients and support your puppy’s development with nutritionally dense food that will ensure they become the healthiest and happiest pup they can be.