Puppy Feeding Guide - How to feed a Puppy

Emma Frain 15 September 2021

When you bring your new bundle of fluff home, there are a lot of things you need to consider. From their sleep schedule and exercise routine to grooming and nutrition, us pet parents need to be on the ball. How to feed a puppy and their nutrition is one of the things that is important to get right. It is also one of the things that can cause a lot of confusion! ‘What should I feed my puppy?’, ‘How much should I feed my puppy?’ and ‘When?’ and ‘Where should I feed my puppy?’ are all very valid questions.


It’s important to mention that your puppy will have unique dietary requirements which depend on their breed, sex, age and activity level. It can be worth having a chat with your vet about their specific nutritional needs, or drop us an email at pooch@poochandmutt.com and we’d be happy to help.

 

Day One – Can I change my puppy’s food?


Many breeders will send you and your pup home with a bag of the food they have been weaned on to. This can be great if you are planning on offering the same diet, but what if you’re not? Importantly, continue the original food in the short-term to prevent a stomach upset. We then want to gradually change over to the puppy food of our choice. This diet change may take up to 7 days and should only be started once puppy has settled in.


What should I feed my puppy?

It is important that you feed your puppy a puppy specific food, as they have nutritional needs to help them grow and develop optimally, puppies grow at 20 times the rate of an adult dog so its really important to fuel your pup properly. 


What is the difference between puppy food and adult dog food? 

  • Puppy specific food needs to be higher in protein which is vital to support growth
  • Higher in calories to support the energy they burn through playtime
  • Small kibble size, this is in relation to dry food as puppies need smaller bite sized pieces which are easier for them to chew and swallow

How much food should I feed my puppy?


It can be tricky determining how much food to put down at first. All puppy foods will have guidelines on the packet and these are usually based on the predicted adult weight. We advise using a kitchen scales to try and be as accurate as you can when weighing out kibble. Remember, food manufacturers assume you are feeding their diet and nothing else. This can lead to over-feeding if you don’t make allowances for any training treats.


Every pup is an individual with their own unique metabolic rate. Feeding guidelines are just that, guidelines! Keep an eye on your dog’s body condition score and adjust the amount fed as needed.

Try using the Pooch & Mutt Puppy food calculator at the bottom of the product page here. It will calculate the amount of our Complete Puppy food you should feed based on your puppy's age, expected adult weight and breed. 


The Body Condition Score

As a new puppy owner, this may not be a phrase you are familiar with. While many focus on their little one’s weight, this will vary depending on the size and shape of your puppy. A more accurate way of determining if your dog is the right weight, is to use the Body Condition Score. This is a chart which grades a dog from 1 to 9, depending on how slim or fat they are. We aim for a score of 4 or 5 out of 9. These dogs will have a slight fat covering over their ribs and a visible waist. Your vet or vet nurse will be happy to demonstrate how to check your dog’s score as they grow up.


Why do I need to feed my puppy so often?


It is advised to feed 8-week-old dogs about 4 times a day. This can be reduced to three times a day at about 3-4 months and twice daily from 6 months. This is important to do as your puppy’s stomach is very small but they need lots of calories to support their development. Did you know, a growing puppy needs 3 times as many calories as their adult counterpart? If we were to try and fit all of this food into one meal, your dog simply wouldn’t be able to stomach it!


When should I feed my puppy?

It is important to stick to a regular feeding schedule with your puppy. Puppies can be greedy and by giving them access to food throughout the day (free feeding) this can lead to them growing too quickly which can cause issues in adult life such as obesity or poor joint development. 


Is the Pooch & Mutt Puppy Food a good option?


Well, we don’t like to toot our own horn but, yes! Our Puppy Complete Superfood is ideal for those who are maturing. 

  • The high protein content supports growing muscles and other tissues.
  • The Omega Fatty Acids support brain development and joint health. 
  • This food is free of grains, beef, soya and dairy, making it a good choice for those with food sensitivities. 
  • Our kibble also contains prebiotics; supporting a robust gut and helping establish a healthy gut microbiome. 
  • Importantly, dogs find this food extremely palatable, meaning you’re sure to have one happy puppy when it comes to meal times.

What about another type of diet, can I feed my puppy a raw diet?


Home prepared meals or raw food diets for puppies isn’t always advisable. Personally, I have seen too many puppies in my clinic with nutritional deficiencies and/or food poisoning due to their diet. I would always advocate for a quality, commercial diet. These diets have been developed by professionals and contain everything your dog needs to grow up to be fit and healthy.





Chews and Treats


We all feel the urge to spoil our precious pooches but giving them treats in the first few weeks may do more harm than good. Their digestive systems are very sensitive at this age and new foods may trigger vomiting or diarrhoea. In the beginning, keep treats to a minimum. For toilet and command training purposes, consider some bland and digestible options like small pieces of cooked chicken. We suggest feeding our treats from 12 weeks old when your puppies immune and digestive systems are stronger. The Calm & Relaxed Mini-Bone treats are a great option to help calm excitable pups before training sessions and are also a good option before bedtime to help your puppy relax into a great sleep. They’re hand-baked in the UK and made from 100% natural ingredients, these bone shaped biscuits are also easy to break up if you need to feed smaller pieces. 


Should I feed my puppy a supplement?


Are you the type of person who always likes to have an ‘edge’?  Nutritional supplements are the ‘icing on the cake’ when it comes to your puppy’s diet. Our new Daily Care Supplements ensure your little one is operating at full capacity.


The probiotics in our Daily Care Supplement complement the prebiotics in the Puppy Complete superfood and Puppy Wet Food beautifully. We use the Enterococcus faecium strain. A study from The Journal of Nutrition demonstrates how this can improve immune function in puppies.


The Beta Glucans in this supplement are not fed in many other supplements and may just give your dog that extra spring in their step! These carbohydrates work to bolster the immune system and fight off any infection that may come their way.


The bottom line


While it can seem like a minefield, feeding you pup correctly doesn’t have to be complicated. Stick to a high-quality diet and keep an eye on how your little one is developing.