How Much To Feed A Puppy

Nutrition Recent April 30, 2024
How Much To Feed A Puppy
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How Much To Feed A Puppy

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Your puppy will be better prepared for a long and healthy life as an adult dog if you feed him high-quality, complete, and balanced puppy food. For new puppy owners (and even seasoned ones), however, this raises a lot of questions.

When and how much should your puppy be fed? When should you stop feeding your puppy food?

All of your questions about feeding puppies will be answered in this article, along with some advice and recommendations.

What is Proper Puppy Nutrition?

It’s tempting to tell yourself that feeding a puppy is the same as feeding a dog. However, the truth is that food made for puppies and older dogs are very different from one another. 

The rapid brain, organ, and bone development that takes place in puppies lays the groundwork for healthy functions to continue throughout a dog’s life.

Compared to adult dogs, young dogs require higher amounts of protein, fat, calcium, and phosphorus. While having too many of these can result in lifelong complications, having too few can result in deficiencies.

How Much Food Should I Give My Puppy?

Watch the dog, not the dish, is a common phrase used when feeding dogs. Portion sizes should be determined by body condition rather than by how much is consumed or left over. Portion sizes depend on a pup’s metabolism and body type, and each dog has different nutritional needs. 

Don’t be concerned if your puppy occasionally skips meals or picks at his or her food. It might indicate that she is ready to stop eating or that you gave her too much food, in which case you should cut back on the serving size.

Additionally, adjust the quantity you feed your dog at mealtime if you are using treat-based training. Whenever training with treats, keep the treat as small as possible.

Puppy Feeding Chart

The following puppy feeding chart will help you determine how much food your puppy needs each day. Always, we advise you to heed the advice of your veterinarian.

Weight of Pup6-12 Weeks3-4 Months5-7 Months8-12 Months
3 – 5 lbs1 – 1 1/3 cup3/4 – 1 cup1/2 – 3/4 cups1/2 – 2/3 cups
5 – 10 lbs1 1/3 – 2 1/2 cups1 – 2 cups3/4 – 1 1/2 cups2/3 – 1 cups
10 – 20 lbs2 1/2 – 4 cups2 – 3 1/2 cups1 1/2 – 2 2/3 cups1 – 2 cups
20 – 30 lbs4 – 5 3/4 cups3 1/3 – 4 1/2 cups2 2/3 – 3 2/3 cups2 – 2 3/4 cups
30 – 40 lbs5 3/4 – 7 cups4 1/2 – 5 2/3 cups3 2/3 – 4 1/2 cups2 3/4 – 3 1/3 cups

How Often Should You Feed Your Puppy?

6-13 WEEKS

Your puppy’s growth and development are extremely important during this time. In order to meet your puppy’s nutritional needs, you must ensure that you feed it a specially formulated and balanced diet. 

The essential nutrients your puppy needs may not be provided if you feed it adult food at this stage. 

Usually, four feedings a day are sufficient to meet your puppy’s nutritional needs. Additionally, when your large breed puppies are 9 or 10 weeks old, you should start giving them dry food. Also, you can give the same dry food to your small breed pups by 12 to 13 weeks.


It is advised that you cut back on your puppy’s feeding from four to three times per day once she reaches the three-month mark. By doing this, you can make sure that your pup loses her  potbelly and pudginess by the 12-week mark. 

Continue feeding your pup “puppy-sized” portions until she reaches maturity, if she is still chubby at this point.


You should only feed your puppy twice a day for the first six to twelve months. Your puppy should have been neutered and spayed at this point, which reduces her need for energy. Therefore, you can switch from nutrient-rich puppy food to adult food once this procedure is complete. 

Small-breed puppies can typically make this switch at 7 to 9 months, whereas big-breed puppies can do so at 12 to 13 months. The most important thing to keep in mind is that it’s better for your pup to continue eating puppy food for a while rather than switching too soon.


It is advised to feed adult dogs two half portions per day after the age of one.

Dry Puppy Food vs. Wet Puppy Food

Dry kibble is a common option for puppy food, but both dry and wet options are available. Mixing the two allows for a balanced diet for growing puppies. It’s crucial to ensure the total calorie count doesn’t exceed the puppy’s daily energy requirement. To determine the amount of wet food to substitute for dry food, use the calories listed on the package. For example, a thirteen-ounce can of wet food can substitute for about one cup of dry formula with a similar number of kilocalories per cup.

Puppies’ bodies can change quickly, so it’s essential to monitor their physical condition and adjust calorie intake as needed to avoid overfeeding or underfeeding. Your veterinarian and the puppy food label can help create a feeding schedule tailored to your pup’s needs. By following these guidelines, you can ensure your puppy receives the necessary nutrients for healthy growth.

What to Feed Your Puppy

While not all dogs are puppies, all puppies are dogs. From a nutritional perspective, this means that your puppy does not currently need dog food. Puppies need high-calorie, nutrient-dense puppy food to support their rapid growth and development at this stage of life because they grow so quickly. 

Key nutrients for healthy growth are present in high-quality puppy food, including: 

  • Protein from high-quality sources  
  • Minerals like calcium and phosphorus are important for bones and teeth growth 
  • Antioxidants to nourish a puppy’s developing immune system
  • High-quality fats to fuel growth and energy 
  • The omega-3 fatty acid DHA supports brain and vision development 

Large breed puppies can also benefit from extra nutritional support for their joints. Additionally, small-breed puppies need more energy. In order to support each breed’s unique nutritional requirements, a complete puppy food will be developed for their specific breeds.  

When Do You Start Feeding Adult Dog Food?

puppy yawning

Puppies should begin gradually switching to adult dog food when they reach their full adult height. Adding increasing amounts of adult food into decreasing amounts of puppy food should be done gradually. They should slowly transition to adult food over the course of about a week.

Most puppies can start eating adult dog food at the following age, which is usually when they reach their adult height:

  • Toy breeds at 6 to 9 months of age
  • Small and medium breeds at 8 to 12 months of age
  • Large and giant breeds at 12 to 24 months of age

How to Transition to Adult Dog Food

Thankfully, switching from puppy food to adult food isn’t difficult and does not have to take much time. In actuality, it is recommended to carry this transition , which is to combine the two foods, over the course of a week

This is done by reducing the amount of puppy food in their bowl while steadily introducing adult food over the course of about a week. You should be at about half-and-half by the middle of the week, and by the end of the week, your pup should be completely transitioned. 

Final Thoughts

Puppies should not be fed adult dog food because their nutritional needs are very different from those of mature dogs. Puppy food needs to be high in calcium to support strong, healthy bones, as well as high in calories and other nutrients to support your puppy’s rapid growth.

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Amy Towry is a Certified NAVC Pet Nutritionist and pet lover. She is the proud owner of two rescue cats and a rescue dog and her love for animals has led her to a successful career as a freelance writer specializing in pet care, nutrition, and product reviews.
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