8 Week Old Puppy Feeding Schedule
Fundamentals of puppy feeding
You can quickly become overwhelmed if you walk down the dog food aisle of any large pet supply store or browse the shelves of a boutique pet food store. This is especially true for puppy owners, especially first-time puppy owners. When did it become so difficult? Dog food options were far more limited back in the day, and even responsible dog owners didn’t give a hoot about what went into their dog’s dish.
It’s possible that the process has become more involved, but that’s a good thing. Higher-quality ingredients, better sourcing, and specialized diet formulas all contribute to our puppies’ overall health. It is just as important to know what to feed your puppy as it is to know what he needs to eat.
Because every puppy is different, always consult your breeder or veterinarian if you have any concerns or questions about your puppy’s food, feeding schedule, or nutritional health.
“How long should I feed puppy food?” many puppy owners wonder. Here’s a rough guide to what your puppy will require at each stage of his first year.
A First-Year Timeline for Feeding Your Puppy
- 6–12 weeks: Puppy food, a specially formulated diet to meet the nutritional needs for normal development, should be fed to growing puppies. Adult food deprives your puppy of essential nutrients. Nutritional requirements are usually met with four feedings per day. By 9 or 10 weeks, large breeds should be fed unmoistened dry food, while small dogs should be fed by 12 or 13 weeks.
- 3–6 months: At some point during this period, reduce feedings from four to three per day.By 12 weeks, a puppy’s potbelly and pudginess should be gone. Continue to feed her puppy-size portions until her body type matures if she is still roly-poly at this age.
- Start feeding twice a day when you’re 6–12 months old. Spaying or neutering decreases energy requirements slightly; switch from nutrient-rich puppy food to adult maintenance food after the procedure. Smaller breeds can make the switch at 7 to 9 months, while larger breeds can make the transition at 12, 13, and even 14 months. It’s better to be on puppy food a little too long than not long enough, so err on the side of caution.
- After the age of one, most owners feed their adult dogs two half-portions of food per day.
What should I give my puppy in terms of food?
When it comes to canine feeding, there’s a saying that goes, “Watch the dog, not the dish.” Portion sizes should be determined by body condition rather than the amount eaten or left in the bowl. Portion sizes are determined by a dog’s metabolism and body type, and nutritional needs differ from one dog to the next. Don’t be concerned if your puppy skips meals or picks at his food. It could mean she’s finished eating or that you’ve given her too much food; in either case, simply reduce the amount served.
Also, if you’re training your pup with treats, make sure you adjust the amount you feed at mealtime. When using treats for training, keep the treats as small as possible.
I’m not sure how often I should feed my puppy.
Puppies, like human babies, require several small meals per day of a food formulated specifically for their nutritional needs. The majority of dogs, but not all, finish their meals quickly. Feed at regular times and in regular amounts to discourage picky eating habits, and don’t leave food out for more than 10 to 20 minutes.
Your breeder, as well as your veterinarian, will be a great source of information on both of these questions.
Is it worth it to spend a lot of money on puppy food?
Because premium dog food has a higher nutritional density, you can feed your dog less while still getting the same results. Also, the ingredients in premium foods are always the same, while the ingredients in bargain brands can change from batch to batch.
To keep up with their competitors, the major dog-food companies invest heavily in product development and research, constantly upgrading formulas. Feeding premium food to your dog puts you on the cutting edge of canine nutrition.
Is it better to eat dry food or wet food?
Many pet food manufacturers have collaborated with canine nutritionists to create special formulas for both large and small-breed puppies.
- Canine food is the most expensive food to feed, but dogs often find it. However, be careful of “all-meat” claims. Your dog should eat a complete, balanced diet to meet its nutritional needs. It’s possible that meat alone won’t suffice.
- One-serving packets of semi-moist food are available. It’s usually made like a hamburger.
- Kibble is the most cost-effective option, and major manufacturers provide a complete and balanced diet for dogs of all sizes and ages. Dry food can be fed directly from the bag.
Some dog owners believe that hard kibble has an oral hygiene benefit because the friction it creates helps to keep the gums and teeth healthy. Water or canned food can be used to moisten kibble. Although unnecessary, this addition may improve the taste of the food.
Food for Big Puppies & Little Puppies
Small-breed and large-breed dogs have different nutritional requirements, which is especially true for puppies. Small-breed dogs are adult dogs that weigh less than 20 pounds. These puppies grow quickly and could be adults in as little as 9 months. Large-breed puppies (those weighing more than 20 pounds) mature more slowly, taking anywhere from 15 to 24 months to reach full size and maturity.
Keep track of your puppy’s weight and development.
- Print and online growth and weight charts are available. Weigh the puppy weekly and keep track of his progress by comparing him to breed-specific weight charts. To achieve an average rate of growth, adjust his food intake.
- Weighing a dog, even a wriggling puppy, is straightforward. Simply weigh yourself without the puppy and then again with the puppy. Subtract the difference to get the weight of the puppy. Voila!
- An ounce or two won’t make a difference; no two dogs, even within breeds, are built the same.
- A young dog who is overweight is more likely to develop orthopedic problems as a result of stress on immature joints. Obesity can also lead to diabetes, heart disease, and other organ diseases, as well as general fatigue.
My puppy is begging for food! Should I give him people food or scraps from the table?
Inevitably, one small French fry will lead to another, and another. Before long, you’ll be pushed off the love seat by an obese dog. A steady diet of table scraps can also cause nutritional imbalances in dogs, and certain ingredients and spices in your favorite dishes can upset their stomachs.
A begged dog’s pleading gaze can be irresistible. This isn’t a coincidence. Over the course of his long relationship with man, the dog has perfected cunning methods of exploiting the human habit of associating food with affection. Semi-domesticated canines were the first to cultivate humans as a source of food in prehistoric times. As the two species became more familiar, dogs adapted their begging behaviors to maximize results: the more pitiful a dog appeared, the more scraps were thrown his way. This method has since been refined by dogs into a low-risk, high-reward hunting technique.
But don’t be fooled: begging isn’t a sign of emotional distress or a test of love. It’s what scientists refer to as an evolutionary survival strategy, but the rest of us refer to as a con. In the name of love, letting your dog guilt you into overfeeding him or giving him table scraps all the time can be harmful or even deadly.
Tidbits for Puppies’ Feeding
- Feeding your puppy as soon as you get home may cause separation anxiety in your puppy. A more positive way to say hello is through play or grooming.
- You can buy canned or dry prescription diets from veterinarians to feed dogs with kidney disease, heart disease, diabetes, and other serious conditions when medically necessary. Without a prescription, these foods should never be fed.
- When used incorrectly, some vitamin or mineral supplements (such as extra calcium given to a large-breed dog on a good diet) can cause more harm than good.
- Consult your veterinarian and, if possible, the breeder before making a major change in your dog’s diet. Once you’ve decided on a formula, stick to it. Digestion issues can be caused by sudden changes in food.
- Small portions of carrots or apple chunks are low-calorie, healthy snacks that most dogs enjoy.
- At all times, fresh water should be available. Consider setting up multiple indoor and outdoor water stations during the summer. Wash the water bowl every day to avoid bacteria buildup.
How to Make the Transition from Puppy to Adult Food
When transitioning from puppy to adult food, you should do so gradually over a few days. A sudden change in your dog’s diet could upset his stomach. Consult your veterinarian for recommendations on the best food for your puppy.
Advice on puppy feeding
Make sure that everyone is on board.
The feeding schedule for your dog must be adhered to by everyone in your household. If someone in your family has a soft spot for a handout, your dog will find it and exploit it, undoing the good you’re trying to do. To keep a dog in good shape, everyone on your team needs to work together.
Is it okay to give a dog a bone? Careful!
Our best advice is to proceed with caution. Cooked bones of any kind, including poultry and pork bones, are strictly prohibited. They splinter into shards, causing choking and serious damage to the mouth, throat, and intestines of the dog. Any bone, once chewed into small pieces, can block the intestines and cause severe constipation, cause lacerations to the mouth and internal organs, or lodge in the throat, resulting in death. It’s important to keep in mind that bones have very little nutritional value.
There are other options for satisfying a dog’s chewing urge. Dogs of all sizes can chew on commercially available chew toys and simulated bones.