Dog Foods

How Often to Feed Your Puppy? An Expert Guide

As an experienced dog nutritionist, I’ve faced countless questions from new puppy owners about the best feeding schedules for their furry friends. One of the most common queries I hear is, “How often should I feed my puppy?” It’s a critical question, because feeding your puppy the proper amount at the right times is crucial for their growth, development, and overall well-being.

In this guide, I’ll share my knowledge on puppy feeding schedules, including how frequently to feed your puppy based on their age, how much to feed them, and some typical problems you might face along the way.

Why Feeding Your Puppy the Right Amount is Crucial

Puppies have unique nutritional requirements compared to adult dogs. They need a diet rich in calories, protein, and essential nutrients to support their rapid growth and development. Underfeeding your puppy can result in nutritional deficiencies, while overfeeding can lead to obesity and other health issues.

Additionally, puppies have small stomachs and can only consume small portions at a time. That’s why it’s crucial to feed them multiple small meals throughout the day, instead of one or two large meals.

How Often to Feed Your Puppy Based on Age

The number of meals your puppy needs depends on their age. Here’s a general guideline:

2-3 Months Old

At this stage, puppies should eat about four times a day. Space their meals out evenly throughout the day, such as at 7am, 11am, 3pm, and 7pm.

3-6 Months Old

As your puppy grows, you can gradually reduce the number of meals to three times a day. A typical schedule might be 7am, noon, and 5pm.

6-12 Months Old

By the time your puppy reaches 6 months old, they can transition to two meals a day. Most puppies thrive with meals around 7-9am and 5-7pm.

Useful Information: Puppy Care: 6 Weeks to 12 Months

How Much to Feed Your Puppy

The quantity of food your puppy needs depends on various factors, such as their age, breed, size, and activity level. As a general guideline, it’s best to follow the feeding recommendations provided by the puppy food manufacturer. These guidelines usually suggest amounts based on the puppy’s age and weight.

However, remember that these are just guidelines. Some puppies may require more or less food than the recommended amount. It’s essential to keep an eye on your puppy’s body condition and adjust their food intake accordingly. You should be able to feel your puppy’s ribs, but not see them. If you can’t feel their ribs, they may be overweight, and if you can see their ribs, they may be underweight.

Common Puppy Feeding Problems and Solutions

Picky Eating

Some puppies are fussy eaters and may refuse to eat their food. This can be frustrating for owners, but it’s important not to give in and offer table scraps or other unhealthy options. Instead, try warming up the food slightly, adding a small amount of low-sodium chicken broth, or hand-feeding your puppy to encourage them to eat.


On the flip side, some puppies will eat anything and everything in sight. If your puppy seems to be constantly hungry and is gaining weight rapidly, you may need to reduce their food intake. Use a measuring cup to ensure you’re feeding the correct amount, and avoid giving too many treats or table scraps.

Digestive Issues

Puppies have delicate digestive systems and may experience problems like diarrhea, vomiting, or gas. If your puppy has loose stools or seems uncomfortable after eating, they may have a food intolerance or allergy. Consult with your veterinarian to rule out any underlying health issues and discuss switching to a different puppy food.


Can I free-feed my puppy?

While it may be convenient to leave food out for your puppy all day, free-feeding can lead to overeating and make it harder to potty train your puppy. It’s best to stick to a scheduled feeding routine.

Should I feed my puppy wet or dry food?

Both wet and dry puppy foods can be nutritionally complete. Wet food may be more appealing to picky eaters, while dry food can be more convenient and better for dental health. You can also mix wet and dry food together.

When should I switch my puppy to adult food?

Most puppies can transition to adult food around 12 months of age, but this varies by breed. Large and giant breed puppies may need to stay on puppy food until 18-24 months. Consult with your veterinarian for specific guidance.

Can I give my puppy treats?

Yes, treats can be a great way to reward your puppy during training. However, treats should make up no more than 10% of your puppy’s daily calorie intake. Choose healthy, low-calorie treats and avoid table scraps.


Feeding your puppy the right amount at the right times is essential for their health and development. By following the guidelines in this expert guide, you can ensure your puppy gets the nutrition they need to grow into a healthy adult dog. Remember to always consult with your veterinarian if you have any concerns about your puppy’s diet or health.

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