Planning for your pet's nutrition should begin before you even bring your new companion home. You'll need to decide what type of food you'll be feeding and the brand that you'll be purchasing. This will help you to figure out how much you'll need to budget for your pup's daily meals. In order to make a definitive budget, you'll also need to know how much to feed a puppy.
Feeding puppies can be especially difficult. Puppies are growing rapidly, and they exert a lot of energy throughout the day. Their bodies need extra nutrients to keep up with this high demand.
Learning how much to feed a puppy and how often puppies should eat isn't as difficult as you may think. You will need to know what type and brand of food you'll be feeding before you can determine how much food your puppy will need to eat each day.
Every dog food, whether homemade or a commercial diet, will have different ingredients. This means that every food has a different nutritional composition. The amount that your puppy will need to eat will be based on his age, weight, breed and the nutrient content of the puppy food you're feeding.
How Much to Feed a Puppy and How Often Should Puppies Eat
Once you decide on a puppy food brand, you can do some research to figure out the recommended serving size for your pup. Every commercial pet food sold in the United States must meet the nutrient profiles set by the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO).
Based on these nutritional guidelines, the company will print the recommended serving size for puppies of different sizes on the packaging. You should also be able to find this information on the company's website.
When you know how much to feed a puppy each day, you can decide how many meals you'll serve daily, which will help you figure out how much food to give at every meal. I recommend serving 3-4 meals per day when your puppy is younger than 6 months old.
Smaller meals are easier to digest. Smaller meals also help to control energy peaks and falls throughout the day. By spreading out the food portions, you'll provide much needed calories throughout the day to boost energy and keep your puppy going strong.
You should keep your puppy on a diet formulated specifically for puppies until he reaches full maturity. Your veterinarian can help you decide when your dog has reached adulthood, but as a general rule of thumb:
- small breeds reach maturity at about 10-12 months of age
- medium breeds reach maturity at about 12-18 months of age
- large breeds reach maturity at about 24 months of age
Once your dog has fully matured, you can transition him to an adult dog food that will meet his nutritional needs. Adult dogs can eat larger meals as well. I recommend feeding 2-3 larger meals per day once your dog has reached full maturity.
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