A Complete Guide to Feeding Your Puppy

Written by John Woods | All Things Dogs

Guest Post By John Woods  All Things Dogs | Dog Breeds, Training and Behaviour


A Complete Guide to Feeding a Puppy 

Alongside giving your puppy a name, socialization, basic commands and potty-training, there is another crucially important thing to consider when raising a pup; what he eats!

Puppies have significantly different nutritional needs from those of a fully-matured dog.  They go through a rapid period of growth and development and need certain nutrients to fuel it.

But what nutrients do they need and how much of them? Read on for a complete guide to feeding a puppy.



Puppy Nutrients: Protein, Fat and Carbohydrates

Top of the list for puppy nutrients is protein and fat.

Protein is essential in the function, repair and growth of every cell in the body.  In short, if you want your pup to develop to his full potential, protein is going to help him get there.

Fat, yes that stuff that we’re told makes us fat, is actually a huge source of energy.  It carries twice the amount of energy than protein!


The diet of a growing pup needs at least 22% protein as dry matter and 8% fat.  These are minimum requirements; how active your puppy and his size will affect this.

For example, the general rule of thumb for a large or giant breed puppy is anywhere between 22-30% protein content and 8 or 9% fat content.

You will notice that puppy food is also more calorie-dense than adult food.  This is because puppies have higher energy needs than a fully matured dog.


Calculating How Much To Feed Your Puppy

To figure out the energy needs of your pup, you can work through this simple formula.

Divide a dog’s body weight in pounds by 2.2 to convert to kilograms (kg)

Resting energy requirement (RER) = 70 (body weight in kg)^0.75

Maintenance energy requirements (MER) = appropriate multiplier x RER


For puppies, the multipliers are:

Growth less than 4 months old = 3

Growth more than 4 months old = 2 

Even just by looking at the formula, you can see there is even a difference before or after the 4 months of age mark.


Example Feeding Calculation

An example would look like this:

For a 5-month-old puppy weighing in at 18 pounds

18/2.2 = 8.18

70 x 8.18^0.75 = 339

339 x 2 = 678 calories per day

Generally, 1 cup of kibble = 450 calories, so you would need to feed around 1.5 cups of kibble per day.




Puppy Feeding Schedule

Remember to split puppy feeds between 3 or 4 meals per day.  This is to avoid over-stretching their small tummy.  Due to the high volume of feed, it also helps them digest over the course of the day.

For example:

8 am – 1/3 cup kibble

12 pm – ½ cup kibble

4 pm – 1/3 cup kibble

8 pm – just short of 1/3 cup kibble


Most puppy foods will indicate their calorie content on their label, so you can check if you are feeding the correct amount.

They will also indicate the recommended quantity to feed, based on age and weight, so you can always follow their guidelines instead of working the formula.


Small Breed

Medium Breed

Large Breed

2 months

2.5 pounds

231 calories per day

6 pounds

447 calories per day

13 pounds

795 calories per day

3 months

3.8 pounds

315 calories per day

9 pounds

606 calories per day

19 pounds

1058 calories per day

4 months

5 pounds

387 calories per day

12 pounds

643 calories per day

26 pounds

1344 calories per day




Remember to keep an eye on the weight of your puppy.

This is the best indication you are feeding the correct amounts.  From a bird’s eye view, he should have an hourglass figure with a visible waist.

Whilst you shouldn’t be able to see his ribs, you should be able to feel them.  He should also be full of energy, happy and healthy.

If at any point you are unsure about what or how much you are feeding your pup, or there is unexplained weight gain or loss, seek advice from your veterinarian or a nutritionist/dietician.



Me Behind

John Woods is the Founder and Director of All Things Dogs, as well as a graduate in Animal Behavior & Welfare and member of the Association of Professional Dog Trainers. He has been featured in hundreds of major press publications and magazines including: PetMD Romper Bark Dog Time Wag! The Continental Kennel Club Inc.  He is an experienced writer, recognized author by the Dog Writers Association of America and has active columns with Dogster, PetFirst and Figo Pet Insurance.

Find out more::  www.allthingsdogs.com 

Follow on: