A puppy is still a dog
Once a puppy has been weaned in the wild, he or she will become just another member of the pack. He or she will eat exactly the same food as the other members of its family for the remainder of its life. In other words, like the rest of its pack, it will eat whatever food is available. Very often in the case of a puppy, this will likely be whatever food he or she can scavenge or whatever morsels the older dogs choose to leave it from a prey animal.
What a puppy in the wild does not do is seek out food specially formulated for juvenile dogs. It eats whatever food is available to it as do the more senior members of its community. Young and old, they all eat the same food!
Puppies don’t need different, they just need more!
When a puppy is growing and developing, it will need more nutrients than when it’s fully grown. It’s said that a growing puppy needs about twice the protein and more than twice the number of calories of its adult counterparts.
But that aside, a puppy’s dietary requirements will be the same as the other members of its canine family. It will just eat more because it needs more calories and more nutrients to cope with its rapid physical development. It will still need the same nutrients as an adult dog, just different quantities of them. That’s where my puppy feeding guide can help.
The biggest difference between a puppy, an adult and a senior dog is likely to relate to the size and frequency of its meals.
How to feed a puppy
For puppies up to the age of four months I would recommend feeding them 4 times a day. Little and often is the term that springs to mind. From the age of 4 months until they reach 6 months I would recommend feeding them three times a day. Once they reach 6 months of age, I would recommend feeding your puppy twice a day for the rest of its hopefully long and happy life.
Regarding the actual quantity you feed, that will be determined by the pup’s age at the time and his or her likely adult bodyweight.
How not to feed a puppy
There are just two things you should never do. You should never force-feed your pup to achieve maximum growth. And you should never ‘free-feed’ it by leaving its food bowl down all the time allowing it to pick and choose how much to eat and when. Remember, your pup’s ideal adult weight will have been determined at birth. You can’t alter this except by over-feeding which is likely to negatively impact its development. And create long-term health issues such as joint and muscle issues, heart problems, diabetes and obesity into the bargain.
I provide more information on the subject of how to feed a puppy in my dedicated puppy feeding guide.