Setting Up a Puppy Feeding Schedule

How Often To Feed Your Puppy

Puppy eating from dog bowl, ground view
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Your puppy feeding schedule, how often to feed puppy food, and what to feed depends on the individual puppy. The breed of puppy, her size, and her age influences how many meals she should eat.

How Often To Feed?

Most pups should be fed at least three times a day until six months of age. Tiny puppies like Yorkies and Chihuahuas are prone to hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) if they don’t eat often enough, so four meals daily may work best.

Feed three or four separate meals to young puppies during the first few months at home. Then gradually wean them to one or two meals daily by the time they are six months of age.

However, there are some puppies that either won’t or aren’t able to eat enough when fed once or twice a day, and their growth may suffer as a result. Ask your veterinarian about feeding smaller servings several times a day.

Meal Feed On Your Schedule

It’s tempting to simply fill up the bowl with dry food and let puppies snack all day. While convenient for you, that won’t allow you to monitor the baby’s intake, which also helps predict output -- when she needs a potty break. Use meal schedules as part of your house training efforts.

Schedule meals also alert you to check with the vet if your puppy glutton one day refuses a meal. Free feeding from an always full bowl can be dangerous for that reason. The amount you feed depends on your puppy's age and the type of food you offer.

Directions on the food are only a starting guideline, so be ready to adjust the amount up or down if your baby is still hungry, or leaves food behind.

Routine is important so be consistent. The best way to do that is base the feeding times on your schedule. Dogs consider meals a social affair, so timing your own meals with the puppies can work well.

A first meal might coincide with your own breakfast, the second when the kids come home from school in the afternoon, and third coordinate with your evening meal. If you’re not able to be there to feed at proscribed times, you can provide one of the puppy’s meals in a treat-toy, and leave it with her in her crate or play area while you’re gone.

Feeding puppy meals in the crate or carrier also associate “good things” with the crate. Scheduled meals not only are healthy for the puppy, they aid in house training and crate training, and can be a bonding experience with your puppy.