How Much to Feed a Puppy or Adult Dog ( Puppy Feeding Chart & Guide )

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The most common question dog parents ask their vet is “How much should I feed my dog?” or “how much to feed a puppy?” Feeding your pup the right amount of high-quality dog food is essential to his overall health and wellness. To learn what and how to feed your dog, you must identify the nutritional needs of the dog and how these requirements have developed over time.

General dog feeding guidelines

 How often should I feed my dog?

Have you ever considered, “How often should I feed my dog?” Pups thrive on routine, and though they don’t monitor time as we do, their biological rhythm makes it possible for them to know when he’s close to the time for a regular task. Whether you’ve adopted a furry friend (congrats!) or brought home a puppy from a breeder, I bet you’ve thought, “Should I Feed My Dog 2 or 3 times a day?” at some point.

Remember: Any puppy feeding schedule is simply a suggestion. The most effective way to create a feeding routine for your dog is to talk to a veterinarian, who can plan a dog feeding schedule that’s customized to your pup’s requirements.

 What is a Dog Feeding Schedule?

If you imagine a fancy calendar, don’t fret. That’s not what a puppy feeding schedule is. Your pup’s feeding calendar is just the routine times at which you feed him every day.

Feeding your canine at the same time every day helps maintain his digestive system regular and makes his bowel movements more predictable. This schedule helps your pooch determine when to expect you home, so he’ll have fewer mishaps.

How Many Times a Day Should I Feed My Dog? 

The principal point of dispute that comes up when dog parents discuss the most effective time to feed their puppies is whether or not you should feed your canine twice a day. Some parents also put their pet’s food out all day long, which is denominated “free feeding.

In many circumstances, you should feed your dog twice a day. By doing so, you support their digestive system to work smoothly and keep their energy consistent throughout the day.

If you just feed your dog in the morning, their digestive system may be weighed down by over food at one time, and they won’t be capable of processing the food as effectively. Feeding half the quantity in two controlled portions will help your dog live a long and healthy life.

One exception to this is pups. Puppies need to eat three times a day in smaller portions to help them gain weight healthily and support their digestive system. Feeding them at particular times will additionally help you to train them successfully.

So, what is the best way to feed?

There is no “wrong” or “right” solution; however, I encourage following these guidelines to choose if you need to feed them an established number of times per day or if you must allow your canine to free feed.

Free feeding: This is recommended for highly active dogs that require replenishing their calories during the day and for nursing dogs who need a consistent supply of calories. If your dog is diabetic or lays around most of the day, do not do this.

Control Portions: This is the most suitable approach to feed your dog, especially if they are the kind that will eat anything you place in front of them and would quickly get overweight during free feeding. The most excellent way to control portions is to feed your dog twice a day at around 8 to 12-hour intervals.

What is the Best Time to Feed a Dog?

If you are feeding your dog one time through the day, you need to feed them in the morning, yet feeding them two times a day is likely more suitable for them to ensure that they don’t get hungry by the end of the day.

If you are feeding twice a day, feed your canines earlier in the morning when you both wake up and once more in between 8 and 12 hours later. Try to make this timing consistent from day to day, as your pet’s body will grow accustomed to eating at a particular time.

Ask Your Veterinarian

If you still aren’t satisfied with how often you should feed your dog, ask your vet. They know your canine and can determine how much he needs to eat and when based on his activity levels, health, age, and more.

Your vet can also provide recommendations to improve your pup’s eating habits. For instance, if your dog eats too fast, they may recommend changes to slow him down.

How much should I feed my dog?

The amount you feed your canine will vary significantly depending on his age, activity level, size, as well as on the kind of food he’s eating.

As a general guideline, pups and young dogs consume more calories, so they require a higher amount of higher fat and protein intake. Older, less active dogs need fewer calories to stay healthy.

Below some guidelines for portion sizes at various phases of your dog’s life:

Puppies: Pups are commonly introduced to solid food at three to four weeks of age and are fully weaned from their mother’s milk by eight weeks.

Pups need nutrition that is higher in protein and extra nutrients to help healthy growth and development. If you are feeding commercial dog food to your adopted dog, choose a specially designed brand for puppies.

Puppies need to be fed at least three times a day until their food needs per pound of bodyweight start to level off as they grow.

If you have a picky pup, you should add some warm water to dry food to help him to eat it. Cow’s milk may act as a laxative and trigger digestive system problems for some adult dogs and puppies, so please stop giving this to your puppy or only provide tiny amounts. If your dog doesn’t eat his meal within 30-35 minutes, throw out the uneaten portion.

The quantity of food you feed your pup will differ depending on his metabolism, activity, size, and conditions. Feeding too much can cause a fat puppy and cause bone deformities, and other health problems.

If your pup seems to be gaining fat, gradually reduce his food intake by 20%, but if his ribs are visible, he could be underweight; you must increase the number of calories in his diet. If you are uncertain about his proper appearance or weight, ask your vet for suggestions.

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Adults: When the dog is one year of age, he has attained full development and goes into a “maintenance phase.” This means that his dietary requirements will remain about the same throughout his adult life, considering he is not engaging in intense physical activity or ill.

His body should be well-proportioned, and his weight must remain constant; he should have a visible waist, and you should be capable of feeling his ribs with your fingertips under a small layer of fat.

If you are feeding your adult dog commercial dog food, pick one specially created for adult dogs.

Just like humans, a dog’s appetite may change from day to day; This is not causing alarm unless he shows clear signs of illness or weight loss or his loss of appetite persists for more than a couple of days. Nonetheless, having no desire to eat can be the first symptom of many illnesses, so check your dog’s food intake strictly.

You know your dog best, so if something appears amiss, do not hesitate to take him to his vet.

Active adults: Moderate activity is essential for all dogs and supports them to stay healthy and fit during their lifetime. But some canines, like some humans, will usually do more intense activities.

 If your dog is especially active (for example, if he is involved in sporting activities), his energy requirements will be higher than those of his more inactive counterparts.

Be aware, however, when a regularly active dog is less active (for example, when he endures an injury, such as muscle pull), their food needs decrease. In these circumstances, experts suggest gradually changing to lower energy, less nutrient-dense dog food to prevent them from becoming overweight.

You should not feed energetic dogs immediately before or after vigorous exercise; This can cause discomfort or digestive issues (such as loose stools or vomiting) and may enhance the risk of stomach bloat, a painful condition triggered by a twisting of the stomach.

Although you can give a modest meal in the morning, very active dogs need to get the bulk of their daily calories 60 minutes or more following their last activity session each day. You can feed your canine little treats or snacks during times of the intensified activity to prevent fatigue and hunger. Let him rest periodically and ensure he has access to fresh water at all times.

Seniors: As with humans, the nutritional needs of dogs will vary as they age. Aged dogs have decreased energy needs and, as a result, should not eat the same amount of food as they did when they were younger.

If you’re feeding your elderly dog commercial dog food, look for brand names that provide reduced calories while still adding all the required nutrients.

Elderly dogs, like all dogs, need to be fed according to their level of activity and overall health. A less active senior dog can rapidly gain weight if you’re not careful.

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What foods should I avoid feeding my dog?


On top of the list of toxic foods for dogs is the one you’ve most likely heard of most often– chocolate. Theobromine isn’t harmful to humans, but it’s the dangerous part of chocolate for pets. It’s found in large amounts in all sorts of chocolate(particularly dark chocolate). It can make a dog vomit, become excessively thirsty, and have diarrhea; however, it can cause seizures, tremors, irregular heart rhythms, or death on the more severe side.


Alcoholic drinks and food products, including alcohol, can trigger diarrhea, vomiting, tremors, reduced coordination, difficulty breathing, coma, irregular blood acidity, and even death.

Grapes and Raisins

Although the harmful compound within raisins and grapes is unknown, these fruits can trigger kidney failure. Until more info is learned about the toxic substance, it is best to stay away from feeding raisins and grapes to pups.

Milk, Cheese, Ice Cream, And Other Dairy Products 

Because dogs do not produce significant quantities of lactase, milk, and other dairy-based products, cause them diarrhea. So don’t feed these to your dog.

Salt and Salty Snack Foods

Pretzels and popcorn are supposed to be bad for dogs, but that’s only the case if they are salted. Salt can cause a condition known as salt poisoning, in addition to excessive thirst or vomiting. Symptoms of consuming too much salt might consist of diarrhea, seizures, high body temperature, vomiting, and bloat. Salt can be deadly, so keep it to a minimum in the meals you give to your dog.

Onions, Garlic, Chives

These herbs and veggies can trigger stomach irritation and can cause red blood cell damage. Although cats are more vulnerable, dogs are at risk if a large enough quantity is eaten.

Yeast Dough

Yeast dough can cause gas to build up in your dog’s digestive tract; This can cause the stomach to bloat and can be painful, becoming a life-threatening emergency. The yeast produces ethanol and carbon dioxide as a byproduct, and a canine consuming raw bread dough can become intoxicated (See alcohol).


Nuts, including pecans, almonds, and walnuts, have high amounts of fats and oils. The fats can cause diarrhea and stomach pain, and possibly pancreatitis in dogs.

Other products that aren’t necessarily food for you that your dog should stay away from including uncooked yeast dough, seeds, and pits from fruit, raw potato, cooked bones, apple cores, alcohol, caffeine, and human medicine.

Don’t allow your pup anywhere near these products, as they are poisonous and may cause potential poisoning problems, choking stomach problems, and death. Stick to a healthy diet approved by your veterinarian, or research some good foods you can share with your pup. Resist that adorable face and keep the majority of your human food to yourself.

Do you have other foods to add to this list? Please let me know in the comments section below!

What About Treats?

Dog treats must make up 3% to 5% of your pup’s daily food. Ask your veterinarian about the number of treats this means for your puppy. It’ll differ based on his activity level and weight.

If you want to use treats often for training, use very tiny pieces. You can also use a few of your dog’s kibbles as “treats” when you train.

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Feeding puppies

Feeding your pup the best quality puppy food helps set him up for a healthy and long life as an adult dog; This asks a lot of questions for new dog parents, though. When should I stop feeding puppy food? How much should I feed my puppy, and when? 

Get answers to these questions and more in my complete pup feeding guide below. I give some recommendations to help set you and your puppy up for success.

What to Feed a Puppy

When it comes to feeding pups, there are a lot of elements to take into consideration. Breed Size, the type of food, and activity level all play a role. Here’s what you should understand:

Puppy Nutrition

Feeding puppies a healthy and balanced puppy food guarantees they get the appropriate nourishment to grow and develop into healthy adult dogs.

Puppy foods are made with a balance of nutrients to support puppies grow up happy and healthy. Look for protein-rich recipes to help their growing muscles. Carbohydrates provide the energy active and playful puppies require, while calcium helps growing bones and teeth, and DHA essential for supporting healthy brain and vision development.

Feeding Large vs. Small Breed Puppies

Not just do pups require puppy food, but specific breed sizes can profit from size-specific formulas.

If you have a large breed puppy, he might profit from a large breed-specific pup recipe. Toy breeds can also take advantage of tiny breed-specific pup formulas. Regardless of breed size, the food ought to be healthy and balanced for growing puppies.

The difference in recipes comes down to the unique requirements of small and large breeds. Big puppies have a higher risk of joint problems, so a big breed puppy food may add extra nutrients to help their growing joints.

Small breeds might prefer smaller-sized kibble to quickly eat their food, which helps ensure they get all the nutrients they require.

Puppy Wet Food vs. Dry Food

Although dry kibble is a favorite option, it’s not the only choice. As you wander the dog food aisles, you can see wet and dry puppy food.

This can make it more challenging to choose what to feed your pup. Luckily, as long as both the dry and wet recipes are balanced and complete for growing puppies, you can feed either one to your dog with confidence.

You and your dog may have an option when it comes to wet vs. dry. Feeding a mixture of both is also an alternative.

If you choose to serve a mixture of the two, make sure the combined amounts don’t exceed your dog’s daily recommended allowances. Your vet and the puppy feeding chart below can help you determine how much to feed a puppy.

How Much to Feed a Puppy

By now, you know what to feed your pup; however, exactly how much food does he need? Since dogs grow at such fast rates, they should start eating balanced and complete puppy food as soon as they’re entirely weaned, generally at about eight to ten weeks of age.

The amount of food your pup requires will vary depending on his breed size. A German Shepherd will weigh more at maturity than a Yorkshire Terrier, for instance. So the large dog needs more food as a puppy.

The puppy feeding chart below may help you decide how much to feed a puppy. You must also examine the specific feeding instructions on the back of your pup’s food and consult with your veterinarian.

Puppy Feeding Chart

How Often to Feed a Puppy

If there’s one point we all know about pups, it’s that they don’t stay small forever. They grow up quickly– and suitable nutrition is vital to help their growth during the puppy stage. Therefore the first question on the minds of first-time dog parents is generally: How often should I feed my puppy?

Puppy Feeding Schedule for First 3 Months

A dog’s first few months are only about fast growth, so ensure they have enough food is essential. Most people get their new puppy after he moved from mom’s milk to solid foods, or he’s been weaned. However, several puppies may start trying semi-solid food as quickly as three weeks.

Usually, dogs can regulate their intake fairly properly throughout this stage. That means you may try placing food out to allow your puppy to eat openly all the time (keep in mind, moist or wet foods can dry if left out too long). If you notice your dog’s overeating, try putting food out at regular intervals; I recommend five times a day to start.

Puppy Feeding Schedule for Months 4 to 6

Around four months of age, most pups can adhere to a three times daily feeding schedule, and from there, most will work down rapidly to twice-a-day feedings.

What’s important during this stage is controlling your dog’s weight. Fortunately, it’s relatively easy at this age to use body condition scoring to ensure your dog is at the right weight. Consult the Royal Canin chart below to determine your puppy’s body condition score, and check out with your veterinarian if you have any questions.

If your dog isn’t gaining weight even with eating the right amount of food, I recommend talking to your vet. Some health issues appear at this age that can affect the absorption of food, like congenital issues, parasites, etc.

Between months 4 and 6, pups still eat a lot– usually eat about twice as much per pound compared to a grown-up dog of the same weight.

Puppy Feeding Schedule for Months 6 to 12

When you’re wondering “how often to feed a puppy,” your initial instinct may be “twice a day,” which is the schedule most people think of when feeding dogs. And you’re right! If your dog is between 6 and 12 months– Your puppy has reached the period where twice-daily feeding should be enough.

It’s also between 6 and 12 months of age that some puppies start eating adult dog food. Small breeds may complete their growth during this stage, which means they can make the transition.

Large dog breeds, on the other hand, will continue to grow. That means you need to give them food with regulated amounts of calcium, usually either an “all life stages” food that says it’s “suitable for large size pup growth” or a large breed puppy food.

Once again, controlling your dog’s body condition is essential.

Puppy Feeding Schedule for Months 12 to 18

Now, your pup is more or less an adult. From his first birthday to the 1.5-year mark, two times daily feeding must still be the requirement. The only distinction at this period is that if your puppy has become a bit of a couch potato at this phase and begins to get chubby, then you should reduce portions even though you’re feeding twice a day.

The bigger the adult size of the dog, the longer the growth stage extends. For instance, Great Danes may remain to grow even at age 2. Although their growth rate does slow, you’ll need to extend feeding large breeds puppy food for proper nutrition in such cases.

Medium-sized or small canines can be switched to adult food before this time.

When to Feed a Puppy

When you know the daily feeding quantity, you should Establish a puppy feeding schedule. Take the total amount of food your dog requires each day and divide that into a series of smaller feedings. Give those series of smaller feedings to him at regular intervals every day.

A simple puppy feeding schedule to follow is to feed your puppy when you eat.

Keep in mind to feed him early in the evenings to digest his food before bedtime; This can help avoid accidents inside.

Consistency is key. Feeding your puppy at regular times each day helps him get used to the routine.

What about Puppy Treats?

Remember that treats aren’t added to your feeding recommendations. We went a little ‘treat happy’ with our new dog, and he gained excessive weight. If you find yourself in this condition, gradually reduced the treats, then stop them. They’re usually not as healthy and complete as your dog’s food. You need to determine the most appropriate balance of whole food and treats so your puppy has a healthy weight.

It’s important to remember the 90/10 rule, whether you’re rewarding your dog for excellent behavior or want him to feel happy.

According to this rule, 90% of his daily calories should be from his complete dog food, and the rest 10% can come from treats.

Following this rule (90/10) can help avoid overweight and other health issues.

When to Switch to Adult Dog Food

You may be wondering how long to feed puppy food at this stage– when to change to adult dog food. A great rule of thumb? Always check with your veterinarian, and then do the switch at or around your dog’s first birthday.

Once a pup reaches about  80% of his grown-up size, his growth rate slows. That’s a great time to change to adult food; This typically occurs around the 12-month mark, though it may be quicker, particularly for small breeds. Also, many veterinarians suggest puppies eat puppy food until the age of 12 months. Your vet can recommend what’s most suitable for your puppy based on his condition, breed, and weight.

How to Switch from Puppy Food to Adult Food

When changing from puppy food to adult food, you should slowly change for a couple of days. An immediate change in your puppy’s diet might cause stomach upset. Check with your vet about the best food for your dog.

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Feeding adults and senior dogs

With your small puppy now all grown up, it’s time to say “goodbye” to puppy food and “hello” to adult dog formula.

To maintain them healthy and happy and keep their optimal body condition, your dog’s regular adult food should include an incredible 37 particular nutrients! These need to be correctly balanced across the five essential nutrient groups: fats, proteins, carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals, and oils. And also, their diet must include water.

Range of adult dog foods

A wide variety of nutritionally balanced adult dog foods are available to purchase; all made for your dog’s specific requirements. So you have more options in what to feed your canine.

Age, breed, size, health, and lifestyle can all make a considerable difference:

  • Larger dogs may have slower metabolic rates; however, they have bigger appetites! Especially prepared large dog formulas to have bigger, more satisfying kibbles that encourage large dogs to chew for longer rather than bolting their feed.
  • Smaller dogs have a faster metabolic rate, meaning they consume energy at a much higher rate. Depending on their activity level and body condition, some may require two times as many calories every day as larger dogs. The most effective food recipes for small breeds include extra protein and are rich in carbs and fats to give them the extra power boost they need. They additionally come in smaller kibble sizes to suit smaller stomachs and mouths.
  • If your dog is a working dog or is highly active, you should pick a particularly formulated food to satisfy an active lifestyle. It will give higher levels of protein, fat, and vitamins such as vitamin E to help weary muscles recover quicker after long sessions of strenuous activity. Vitamin B12 can also help release the energy from food.
  • Less active dogs need less fat, so you might choose a ‘light’ formula to avoid weight gain.
  • It is usually advised to switch pregnant bitches back to high-quality puppy food to give them the extra calories and adequate levels of other essential nutrients they need.
  • Some dogs may have medical conditions or develop sensitivities to certain foods requiring a special diet. Your vet will be able to advise an appropriate diet for your dog’s needs.

At What Age Is a Dog Considered a Senior?

There’s no medically agreed-upon definition of what is considered a senior pet. Every dog is different, but weight and size are important factors. Usually, large breeds have a shorter life expectancy, and we consider them senior at an earlier age, around 6 or 7. Small dogs tend to live longer and may not be seniors until age 10 or 12.

However, several dogs are very healthy even when they reach these age ranges.

Until then, veterinarians may generally consider any dog that has started to show signs of aging “senior.”

Below signs of aging in dogs:

  • Weight gain or loss
  • Vision issues
  • Bad breath and drooling, or other dental diseases
  • Lumps and other skin problems

 It is essential to distinguish also between “geriatric” and “aging.” When you listen to vets talking about senior dogs, they generally refer to those toward completion of the senior phase. Many will show some symptoms of aging like the above, and maybe a few more severe signs, including:

  • Changed behavior (irritability, confusion, or other character changes).
  • Memory loss.
  • Problems following their regular sleep patterns.
  • Incontinence.
  • Loss of muscle mass.
  • Impaired mobility.
  • Enhanced urination (which could mean kidney illness).
  • Osteoarthritis.

As your canine crosses into his golden years, watch out for these symptoms, and keep in mind to take him for regular checkups. Many vets suggest twice-yearly visits for senior dogs so they can do a complete physical examination and blood work to help detect any underlying health problems early. They can likewise make recommendations when it concerns older dogs and food and examine which signs and symptoms might benefit from a change in diet.

What Is the Best Senior Dog Food?

There’s no one best senior dog food. It is essential to examine your dog before changing his diet because every dog (particularly a senior one) requires a different dietary method. Just because he is older does not indicate he needs senior food.

To understand what your dog requires in his food, wonder the following questions to choose which nutritional changes may help. As always, speak to your vet for more advice on dealing with these conditions through supplements, nutrition, and other lifestyle adjustments.

Has my dog’s appetite decreased?

If your veterinarian has ruled out an underlying medical problem as a cause, your dog may find a diet higher in fat or protein tastier. The same goes for foods with more moisture.

Does my dog show symptoms of muscle loss?

A diet higher in protein could help; the general recommendation for older dogs is more than 75 grams of protein per 1,000 calories.

Is my dog eating less than usual?

Older dogs, in some cases, don’t eat as much as they did when they were younger. If that is your canine, a diet with higher quantities of vitamins and minerals is a great suggestion. This information is not always noted on product labels, but products labeled “all life stages” will typically have more minerals and vitamins than adult foods.

Is my dog showing symptoms of memory loss or behavioral changes?

Speak to your vet about a detailed plan for reducing these problems of aging. Food with fish oil, medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs), or antioxidants might be adequate. Extra DHA can be especially beneficial, too.

Does my dog have osteoarthritis?

Look for nutrition with high levels of omega-3 fatty acids, DHA, and EPA (greater than 1 gram of combined DHA and EPA per 1,000 calories). You can also supplement with chondroitin and glucosamine, two elements of cartilage that help the joints. Some foods have chondroitin and glucosamine included, but it is usually inadequate to make a difference.

Does my pooch have a history of chronic pancreatitis?

A lower-fat food may help unless most healthy older dogs do very well on high-fat diets, as long as you manage the portions.

Is my dog showing symptoms of gastrointestinal upset?

Prebiotic fiber such as FOS, obtained from chicory root, may serve to normalize the bacteria in his gut. Because crude fiber on product labels only represents insoluble fiber, the type that adds mass to the stool, you should look more closely at the label for prebiotic or soluble fibers (e.g., chicory origin, fruit pectins, inulin, and fructooligosaccharides).

Is my dog drinking less water than normal?

Some senior dogs do not drink sufficient water because of kidney problems. In these cases, diets higher in moisture (such as fresh or canned) may help them get the extra hydration they need.

Please speak to your vet if you have any questions about your dog’s diet or health. The veterinarian can help you determine precisely how much your puppy should be eating based on the case’s particulars.

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