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Getting a new puppy is an incredibly exciting and joyous time. However, if you’re a first-time owner, there is a lot to know about being prepared to ensure that your puppy is properly fed and cared for.
One of the biggest challenges for new owners is determining how much to feed a puppy and what puppy food to feed them, and how many times to feed them per day. In addition, it’s quite easy to overfeed your puppy, especially when they’re staring at you with their large, beautiful eyes begging for a treat or a bite of your food. We’ll cover the most pressing concerns and give you a comprehensive guide on the basics of nourishing your puppy.
What should I feed my puppy?
Puppies normally require a formulated diet that is designed for puppies. The dog food should be labeled as complete and balanced. It’s best to stick to only dog food, but you can occasionally opt for fruits and vegetables if you insist on feeding them human food.
Here is a list of human foods that puppies can eat:
- Carrots – Helps fight off plaque from their teeth and a good source of vitamin A
- Apples – Offers vitamin A and C
- White rice – Great for a dog’s upset stomach
- Cooked fish – Rich source of omega-3 fatty acids
- Cooked chicken – must be boiled and plain, great for an upset stomach
- Peanut butter – Contains healthy elements such as protein, fats, niacin, vitamin B and E
- Blueberries – Rich source of antioxidants, fiber, and phytochemicals
- Cucumbers – Low-calorie snack and contains vitamin K
- Green beans – Excellent source of protein, iron, vitamin K, and calcium
It’s important to note how much chicken and rice to feed a puppy. The combination of rice and chicken should always be a two to one ratio. This means if your puppy gets one cup of food, they should get ⅔ cup of rice and ⅓ cup of chicken.
How many times a day should I feed a puppy?
Puppies need to eat more frequently than adult dogs. This is because they have smaller stomachs, meaning they aren’t able to eat very much. However, puppies can get overly excited about food and end up overeating leading to stomach problems and digestive upsets. Typically, you can feed your pup about four to six times per day.
There isn’t an exact time you have to feed your puppy as long as it’s consistent. We’ve laid out an example schedule for you to follow based on the number of times you feed your puppy. Also, take the total calories they need to consume and divide that among the number of meals they need to consume.
|6 Meals a Day||4 Meals a Day||2 Meals a Day|
|7 am||7 am||7 am|
|12 pm||12 pm|
|3 pm||3 pm|
|5 pm||5 pm||5 pm|
You may be wondering how much to feed a puppy by weight and age. We’ve included a table below to help you. The general rule is that the bigger your puppy and the older they are, the more food they consume.
Image courtesy of Purina puppy feeding chart
Can I give my puppy food Supplements
Food supplements are typically not required to give puppies, especially if they are eating commercial dog food diets labeled “complete and balanced nutrition.” These are formulated specifically for puppies and should contain all of the necessary vitamins, nutrients, and minerals that your puppy will need.
However, it’s best to speak with your veterinarian to determine if your dog needs any food supplements. Typically they would only need vitamin supplements if they are deficient in any areas. The only supplements that your dog might need are Vitamin A, B vitamins, Vitamin C, Vitamin D, Vitamin E, Vitamin K, and Choline.
Only give your pets supplements when they are prescribed to take it by a certified and professional vet.
Otherwise, dogs who take additional vitamins can experience imbalances and be very harmful to your puppy. For example, adding additional phosphate or calcium supplements to dogs that don’t need it can increase bone disease risk.
Additional reading – how to keep your dog healthy
<h2>How much water do I give a puppy per day?<h2>
Despite a puppy’s small size, they drink more water than adults do. However, this will vary based on your puppy’s activity level, size, and age. For very young puppies, they will fill their hydration needs by drinking from their mother’s milk. As a general rule, puppies will need roughly a half cup of water once every two hours. You can also give your pup water after each meal.
Puppies can be prone to dehydration, so always monitor any potential warning signs. Although dogs are pretty reliant on naturally self-regulating regarding drinking water, it may still occur. A few signs of dehydration are excessive urination, fever, vomiting, or diarrhea. One method to check for potential dehydration is to feel your puppy’s gums. Check if it’s sticky or dry. If so, your pup may need more water.
Here are a few tips for preventing dehydration for your dog:
- Place the water bowl near a place that your pup likes to hang around the house, such as next to their bed or food
- Reward your dog when they drink water with a treat and praise
- Flavor their water with chicken broth or bone broth to make the water more enticing to drink
- Offer them ice cubes to chew on. Some dogs love chewing on ice cubes, which can help with overall water intake.
What to do when a Puppy is not eating or drinking
Many factors could cause your puppy to lose interest in their food. The most common reasons for not eating are stress, digestive infections, digestive upset or obstruction, pain, respiratory infection, or not liking their food.
Some puppies have the tendency to eat too quickly which may cause bloating and vomiting. Using well designed dog bowls can also help to slow down the rate at which they eat. It can be used with wet or dry food. You can also find dog food bowl automatic feeders to regulate the time and amount of food your puppy eats.
Since puppy’s don’t have the same supply of body fat reserves as adult dogs, missing meals can be quite problematic. A few home remedies that you can try before calling a vet are:
- Add a little bit of canned food if they’re eating only dry food.
- Some puppies may increase their appetite when you add some boiled, boneless, shredded, spice-less, skinless chicken breast or plain boiled white rice to their meals.
- Put their regular food into an interactive toy such as a puzzle feeder to make mealtimes fun and stimulating for them.
- Feel free to add a low-sodium warm chicken broth to your puppy’s food, whether it’s canned or kibble. Just make sure that the broth does not contain any garlic, chives, onions, or onion powder.
If your puppy isn’t drinking water, especially for half a day or longer, call the vet immediately. Before contracting the vet, try to change the water bowl’s position, clean the bowl, or mix water with their food to see if your puppy starts to drink water again.
How many times should I give my puppy a treat?
Puppies should only be given a treat about once or twice a day. If they are given treats regularly, then it becomes a regular business rather than a treat. Giving your puppy a treat often will train your dog to expect and feel entitled to a treat. Try to give your dog a treat in between meal times. Ideally, this should be at least an hour before or an hour after mealtimes. It’s important to note that the treats shouldn’t make up over 10% of their total diet.
Food to avoid giving a puppy
Here is a list of foods to avoid giving to a puppy. Doing so can lead to serious health conditions for your pet:
- Avocados – The pit of an avocado is a choking hazard for pets. In addition, it contains persin, which can cause heart congestion, vomiting, and diarrhea.
- Chocolate – Chocolate contains caffeine and theobromine, which stimulates the nervous system and speeds the heart rate. This can lead to your puppy getting sick. Effects may include increased urination, restlessness, diarrhea, vomiting, seizures, and death.
- Garlic – Garlic is similar to onions because it kills your puppy’s red blood cell count and causes anemia.
- Grapes and Raisins – Raisins and grapes can lead to kidney failure for dogs. Even a small amount can lead to sickness.
- Onion and Chives – No matter if the onions are cooked, raw, or in powder form, they contain sulfides and disulfides, which causes anemia and lower red blood cells.
- Alcohol – Alcohol can cause diarrhea, vomiting, depression, tremors, difficulty breathing, damage to the central nervous system, coma, abnormal blood acidity, and potential death.
- Macadamia nuts – Macadamia nuts can be lethal to your puppy. Symptoms may include weak back legs, increased temperature, vomiting, and muscle shakes.
- Heavily sweetened or salted food – Heavily sweetened or salted food will cause excess urination, thirst, and sometimes sodium ion poisoning in your puppy. Signs of excessive sweet or salty food are increased temperatures, depression, tremors, vomiting, and diarrhea.
- Fish and Raw Meat – Meats may be contaminated with bacteria, which leads to food poisoning. Fish may contain praises that lead to salmon poisoning disease or fish disease.
Avoid giving your dog harmful food by only feeding them food that is manufactured for dogs. Also, make sure not to leave food or drinks in places where your puppy can reach it.
How much should my puppy weigh at this age?
Depending on the breed size of your dog, your puppy’s weight will vary. The different size breeds are toy, small, medium, large, and giant-sized breeds.
Overweight puppies can be a big problem because it can lead to obesity when your pup becomes an adult. Dogs that are overweight can lead to all types of issues such as diabetes, bone or joint problems, hip dysplasia, arthritis, heart problems, and chronic allergies.
Underweight puppies can also be problematic and permanent. Some of the health concerns from underweight puppies can lead to the following:
- Shortened life expectancy
- Weakening immune system
- Hair loss, coat and skin problems
- Slow wound healing
- Muscle loss
- Disturbances of water balance
- Decreasing physical resilience
- Increased susceptibility to infections
- Reduction of bone density
Puppy’s Health Lifestyle and Exercise
A puppy’s exercise and overall lifestyle are crucial to the growth and maturation to become a healthy adult. A puppy’s exercise ensures that your dog will increase their bone density, which means stronger bones and a decreased chance of injury as an adult. Exercise also helps to improve brain development. As your puppy walks outside, they will begin exploring the environment and sniffing around. However, puppies shouldn’t be going on long walks. The general rule of thumb is that puppies should need no more than about five minutes of exercise for every month of age, twice a day.
It’s also important to give your puppy a balanced diet. This helps to ensure your pooch has lots of energy, keeps their body and brain humming, and helps them grow. Find puppy food with the label, “complete and balanced nutrition.” It should also say on the packaging that the food meets the nutritional requirements of the AAFO or the Association of American Feed Control Officials. This means your puppy will have the right balance of proteins, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals.
Puppies need a lot of care when it comes to proper feeding. Always make sure you’re feeding them the right amounts of food and frequency of feeding along with the right types of food. Puppies are at a sensitive point in their life where it can affect how they live as an adult.
This is an exciting time in your life and the puppy’s life. Make sure to cherish these moments with them. But we want to know, what is your best tip for caring for a puppy? Remember that there are plenty of other aspects to caring for a puppy, such as potty training, socializing them, and plenty of playtime.