Best Puppy Food: How Much, Schedule, Tips and Tricks

Puppy and its food
Cookie!

Table of Contents

Hello! I’m your beloved puppy and I guess you have noticed how agitated I am. I’m not like some ambulant obnoxious cats who reckon themselves to be the center of the Universe – I tend to be more friendly, active and curious about everything that’s around me. Hence I cannot take a break from exploring the world until I am completely exhausted. I am a very energetic creature who uses up a lot of energy every day. So if you want me to always be brisk and happy, you should feed me. You may be asking, “What am I supposed to feed him with?” I’m going to confess that I would certainly eat some great beef steak as well as hamburger cutlet alongside with crispy chicken wings but as you and me both know – it’s not healthy at all and not the best puppy food (though it is very tasty). So I’m going to be very specific about the food I should be eating and will share with you some helpful information. And yeah – you should always know that I am like a human child who should be fed steamed broccoli instead of crispy KFC even though humans may not like it. Well I am also omnivorous, so I can eat almost everything, but with me being at such a tender age, you should be very precise and responsible, my human friend, about everything concerning my nutrition.

Nice puppy food station
Every dog’s owner dream

How Much to Feed a Puppy

Four-legged pals of my kin tend to be extreme “eaters,” which practically means that some of us can eat roughly every 2-3 hours as if we are elite athletes! Then there those who eat just 2-3 times a day and feel themselves still great. I think that such an eating regimen is connected solely with the breed and constitution, but as I know from my experience – I’d prefer to eat small portions instead of greater ones as my belly can get too flabby and I will get indigestion. Sometimes I feel like having a double-sized snack and I will be begging for one, but don’t get caught: I can easily eat some time later. There is also one fact that you should not pass by: I have a rather accelerated metabolism and due to a large secretion of growth hormones, I grow really fast – of course not like whales but I can gain weight almost on sight. That doesn’t mean I should be fed constantly – man, obesity can happen with us too, not only you bipedals! Everything said before may get you baffled so I’m gonna summarize shortly:

I have told you already – steaks and wings! Gotcha!

  • I need to eat a lot but not too much – don’t feed me until I’m saturated so that I cannot move!Puppy food: carrots
  • I can eat small portions throughout the day – it’s better for me (and for you too!).
  • If you have a pug or any other robust pudge, make sure you underfeed them – those funny muzzles can get double chins and round tummies in the blink of an eye.
  • Use your vision and fingers, man! You should be able to see my waist when looking down at me, as well as feel my ribs but not see them. This rule works with me, pugs, pit bulls – well any of our kind.
  • Getting ahead of myself, I have one more suggestion: if I will enjoy the dog food you are about to get me, just read carefully the directions on the back of the pack. I think those nutritionists (those men who know things about what and how to eat) know what they are writing.

The next passage is my favorite!

Best Dog Food for Puppies

I have told you already – steaks and wings! Gotcha!

Remember – I’m a youngin so my stomach isn’t mature enough to get through solid food like steaks (especially raw meat), not to mention rough bones. Do you know that the average ½ pound steak (measured cooked) contains almost 40 grams of protein, which is way too much for me?! Man, it’s half of your suggested daily intake! I don’t need so many calories – quality above quantity works best for me. So what do we have on our menu? Hey, human, if you hear the words “dog food,” it doesn’t mean that it is solely some canned chow. It can also be something that you can cook for me with love and tenderness. Okay, let me tell you in detail about both types of our favorite canine food:

The best food for puppy
My Precious
  1. Anything canned with the “for dogs” insignia: You should pay attention to those cans labeled as “for adult dogs,” cause as you already know I can barely digest it. At a very-very tender age (up to 6 months) I’m likely to eat mashed veggies with processed meat (meat puree and/or mincemeat) coming in the form of a watery consistency. I may not speak about certain names in the industry, but anything marked for dog youngins will do just fine: meat purees, with or without veggies, and wet or dry puppy food.
  2. Now for the food that you, my owner, can make me: It may sound ridiculous, but any for-human-consumption homemade stew or soup (less water please) is the thing. I favor chicken, but without bones and tendons (my teeth are not ready yet), and very well steamed (not fried!) beef and pork – but in small quantity followed by some long-grain rice and steamed greens (carrots are the best). All it’s gonna take you is to chop the ingredients properly and put them into a steam cooker, then after they are ready you can put them into a blender and make some sort of nutritious porridge. And, speaking of soup, make sure you don’t add too much salt or spices. Use some chicken or tender beef, carrots, peeled and diced potatoes, rice and half of a bouillon cube to make the soup saturated in flavor and aroma. Unfortunately for me, and luckily for you, human, I can easily be tricked by my own nose and eat anything that smells like meat, so there is no point in feeding me meaty dog food only.Puppy food: blueberries

I understand that buying a pack and cutting it open on my plate takes only a couple of minutes, but you will have to try buying many different labels before you find the one that I’m gonna enjoy. Oh don’t be squeamish – if you can smell the stuffing of the can/pack, then do it! If you feel like it smells good, has a meaty aroma and no synthetic odor, buy it! I’m likely to enjoy it from the very first bite.

Puppy Feeding Schedule

Even though I cannot count yet, I can tell that you eat many times every day. Maybe you’ve got some regimen where you try to stay fit and energetic throughout the day? I don’t know your goals, but the same thing works with me! I can, of course, eat my fill, but I won’t feel so well and will get sluggish. So feed me drop by drop and I will have a balanced “caloric intake to caloric expenditure” ratio, which means that I won’t get fat so fast and yet my energy will be oozing right out of my ears. I know you don’t like science and I’m not good at it but this is what I have heard about making my daily feeding schedule:Puppy food: spinach

  1. Feed me 3 times a day – always at the same time. Set. And no other way! Let it be 8 a.m., 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. for instance. Thus I’ll get used to eating on time without lingering, nibbling and whining throughout the day.
  2. As you know, I’m a dog, and I’m the most devoted friend you can have besides your husband or wife. So I’m lucky to obey when you command, but please be gentle and precise in your commands. “What does that have to do with my feeding schedule,” you ask? Alright, I’ll explain it simply: before feeding me, pour the chowder into a bowl, raise it above me, command me to sit, then put the bowl down. Repeat it every time you give me food. It not only trains my obedience but will tell you that I got sick when, instead of staring at you and the bowl in awe, I lay down aimlessly on the floor.
  3. If your puppy is one of those breeds who tends to get fat easily (I mean Pugs, Beagles, Basset hounds, Dachshunds, Labrador retrievers) you should stick to feeding them only twice and make sure you play with them every day or walk 2-3 times a day – you should keep them fit from a young age.
  4. Give me some rest after food intake for 45-60 minutes. Don’t bother me with your games and don’t grab me by my belly – I’ve just eaten and you can provoke indigestion or a far more serious disorder. Let me rest!
  5. Remember that feeding the same muscle-car different types of gas has different power outcomes. So if you feed me well-balanced food rich in protein, moderate in complex carbs (sugar-free, please!) and with a healthy dose of unsaturated fats (these are Omega-3, 6, 9 acids or simply any vegetable oil that may be inside) instead of table scraps, I will be pleasing your eye with scintillating hair, strong teeth and good overall well-being.

How Many Times a Day Should I Feed My Dog?

Ice cream for puppy
You know what I need

I know I know, we have already given you the answer. Depending on the breed of the dog – 2 or 3 times a day is enough. But there are several strings attached to the answer.

Firstly, make sure that feeding doesn’t mean that some rascal with a tail has the chance to eat his fill. Yeah, we dogs can be really persuasive – like that cat from Shrek, and Puss in Boots with his big round eyes – by whining and demanding more, but don’t get caught up in it! Normally we do NOT need so much food. Cut me some slack – it’s just my enhanced appetite speaking for itself, not me. In the early months (up to 6 months) we should be fed 3 times a day, as at this time span we hit an “accelerate the growth” button and gain size very fast. Thus to support it we need regular caloric intake but not a surplus of ‘em. The bigger we get the less we need to eat.

Secondly, although 3 light meals a day will do us no harm, it’s just the matter of your human preferences – whether to feed us 2 times with solid meals or 3 times with plates a bit lighter. The bigger we get, the bigger our belly becomes, so I can eat one solid meal and a couple of light snacks. Theoretically, I can even eat every 2 hours, but my feeding behavior can cause us both trouble, and obesity will be the least of them. Now place your right palm on your chest and sincerely repeat, “I swear I’ll feed my beloved puppy no more than three times every day.”

Thirdly, if the circumstances make you go away for the whole day, make sure you leave two bowls – one with water and one with, preferably, dry dog food which is known for its rather long shelf-life outside the package. But don’t make a mistake – don’t feed me before going out and leave a bowl of dog cereals at the same moment – I can easily overeat. Feed me 2 hours prior to your leaving and only a couple of hours later should you put out a bowl of dry feed for me. When you get back home, feed me once again and I’ll attack the food with the same zeal and appetite.

Large Breed Puppy Food

Many dog owners underestimate the influence that food has on the risk of different bone diseases that bigger dogs are notorious for. I’ve been thumbing through a veterinarian book the evening before and I found out that large breed dogs run risks of such crippling joint and bone disorders as canine hip dysplasia, osteochondrosis, elbow dysplasia, and developmental orthopedic disease. You should know that any dog who is likely to reach and surpass 50 pounds of weight when reaching maturity is considered to be of large breed. The best example is the Labrador Retriever: this little critter who barely weighs a pound at birth can grow up to 60 pounds in just 1 year! Such an extreme growth rate can provoke severe bone conditions, hence special attention towards the food and feeding schedule must be taken. And you must know that some of these puppies remain so until the age of 24 months! Let’s reason scientifically: if someone is growing so fast that it has an impact on his/her bones, it means that one should take more calcium, right? Wrong! 3 proven causes that lead to bone disease are excessive calcium intake, overfeeding with genetics just on the 3rd place. Sure you cannot do anything with genetics but you can limit dietary behavior and cut down on nutrients intake, especially if it has a direct connection with health issues. I may sound somewhat tiresome with all these scientific, nutritional facts that are not easy to read, but there are several digits no one can deny and shouldn’t pass by:

  • 2 pounds of food must contain around 3000-4000 calories
  • Every 1000 calories should contain no more than 3g of calcium, thus daily intake shouldn’t excess 4.5g
  • If you want to track macros, know this: phosphorus to calcium ratio must be between 1:1.1 and 1:1.5Puppy food: broccoli

These digits have been evaluated by guys from AAFCO (which stands for Association of American Feed Control Officials) and are recommended for ANY breed. “Hey pup, these all sound too Greek for me.” Alright-alright, I’m gonna be brief: no cottage cheese, no excessive milk, and no special supplements unless prescribed by a veterinarian. Make sure your dog gets enough calories corresponding to the breed and your way of living – it is that simple. Oh yeah, I forgot to tell you that the majority of dog food manufacturers always specify the content of the food in terms of calcium and phosphorus as well as carbs/protein/fats/salt/sugar etc (according to CVMDS). So before giving it to your beloved (not spouse), just read it carefully.

Some Tips and Tricks

Though it’s the final passage, it is surprisingly full of helpful info that will propel your knowledge in ways you should feed and treat your dog.

Any puppy food should contain 10 amino acids, 11 vitamins, and 12 minerals which are vital for growth and well-being

Hey, I bet you try to eat healthy food, maybe you’ve even become crazy about tracking your macros – you know all these carbs, proteins, fats and such knowledge can do much good to your physique – you get leaner, gain muscle and your health is overall worth being envied. So you think that a dog cannot be… fit?! Sweet pizza and holly jerky! Don’t overfeed your dog, don’t give it scraps from the table, don’t feed them only one type of food, and be sure to exercise your dog often and any dog can get, well not abs or huge pecs and quads, but a lean waist and firm paws for sure.

Food and more
Food and more

Any puppy food should contain 10 amino acids, 11 vitamins, and 12 minerals which are vital for growth and well-being. You can give it once a day for breakfast or 3 days per week – no oversaturating and still the critter gets everything it needs. So there’s no need to feed the dog the same vitamin and mineral “cocktail” every day.

Hey folks, why are you so scrupulous? I mean an owner of one friend of mine gives him a bunch of freshly boiled chicken paws (my friend is 7 months old) and he spends an hour every day munching and choking on these tasty things. Once we met in park and while we were playing with a ball, he told me that every morning he starts with some dry food – maybe ¼ of a pound – and flushes it down the belly with ordinary 2% fat milk diluted with water in 1:0.5 or 1:1 ratio. I wish I could tell my man that there is no point in cooking some extravaganza for me constantly.

My owner is a very athletic guy and he eats very often, and one thing that I have noticed is that even when we go with him for a walk he always takes a bottle of water with him. I don’t know whether it is thirst or if it is just popular among all humans, but as for me – I cannot eat anything without water. When man proposes me some dry food, it can go down the gut only when being flushed. So I guess every dog must have a big bowl of fresh water available. I’m not big at all but I drink the whole bowl during the day and my friend can drink, as he says, “two big bottles of water” during the day. Of course, one can understand that a Pug needs less water than a Rottweiler, but it doesn’t mean that we speak of just two or three cups only. Just pour at least 1 liter of water into the bowl and we will decide how much to drink. Well my friend is 5 times bigger than me, so maybe he requires 2-3 times more water that I do.Puppy food: sweet potatoes

My old chap (the owner), he eats a lot and it’s mainly healthy foods. I can barely see a slice of pepperoni pizza on the table in a week! As he says, “it is not good for health,” and I agree with him. Of course pizza is tasty, especially if it was cooked in an oven by an Italian, but on the other hand local stores and markets are full of semi-finished products that are not natural at all. This fact is fully applicable to dog chow: there’s food made with artificial flavors and coloring and then there is that made of solid meat and greens without a drop of saturated fats or animal by-products and are free of any preservatives. Such food will be a bit more expensive, for sure, but the benefit of it will be incomparably higher than that of any other artificialy-made-kidney-liver-heart-intestine-preservative-flavoured-chowder with a happy dog and smiling man on the label.

As a conclusion, I would like to say that feeding a dog requires some knowledge about the physiology of the particular breed, it’s behavior, manners and eating preferences. It may sound too challenging, but there is nothing simpler than good practice – read the text, follow the directions and experiment with food recipes in order to get the perfect formula for your dog.

Sincerely Yours, Sergeant Shaggy Paws

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