How Much Should I Feed My Puppy? is a question I’ve heard many times before, but now it’s my turn. It’s easy to follow the chart on the side of your dog food bag or follow the directions given to you by the Guide Dogs of America Training Department. However, what happens when you follow the feeding schedules and your dog appears too be too skinny or too fat.
How much to feed a puppy will definitely vary depending on many different items including the size of your puppy, breed, amount of exercise, the type of food you give, the age, and many other factors. Just like people every dog is different. I remember growing up I couldn’t put on weight for the life of me. I had friends who struggled to keep find the right balance between food and exercise and struggled to keep off the pounds.
OCGDA Meeting – GDA Kennel Manager
Yesterday we were lucky enough to get a visit from the Kennel Manager at Guide Dogs of America. She was kind enough to answer many of our questions regarding the kennels and other miscellaneous guide dog questions. One thing that she talked about was the importance of letting the kennel know exactly how much and when your puppy is eating. She also talked a little about overweight puppies and how their feeding schedules might need to be changed.
Of course an overweight puppy may be the result of overfeeding, giving too many treats, or lack of exercise.
I was busy with Derby and had one eye and one ear on him and nearly forgot to ask our group about his feeding schedule. Derby is on the skinny side and I wanted to find out if I should be feeding him more food.
Guidance From OCGDA
As I’ve always said one of the great things about being a part of the Guide Dog group is you have a resource of people who have many experiences with dogs. I always feel confident in asking any question I have to any member of the group.
I received several opinions on increasing Derby’s food intake. Everyone did agree that he looks a little thin. I’m also lucky enough that I can make a comparison to his two siblings, Dutch and Dexter. Compared to Dutch and Dexter Derby is definitely a skinny dude.
How Much Should I Feed My Puppy
Derby sitting in his crate. Does he look a little thin to you? He’s definitely long. That’s Stetson’s crate he’s sitting in. He’s already the length of the crate!
Derby’s current feeding schedule is 3/4 of a cup 3 times a day. As of this morning I decided to increase his food to 1 cup in the morning, 3/4 cup in the afternoon, and 3/4 of a cup in the evening. I was thinking about increasing a little more, but Derby always seems to get a mouthful of Linus’s food a couple times a day which probably contributes an extra 1/4 cup.
We’ll see how it goes for the next week or two. If Derby is still looking on the thin side then maybe we’ll try increasing his evening meal to 1 full cup.
If you’re interested in feeding schedules for your dog check out this article: Puppy Feeding Schedules.
Stetson is starting to get a little heavy…I’d say borderline obese. Now I’m not just asking How Much Should I Feed My Puppy? but instead How much should I feed a dog?
Puppy Feeding Schedule came up twice in the past week. The first time was at New Years when talking to a family friend who just recently got a labrador retriever. The second time I came across puppy feeding schedules was in Chapter 4 of Marley & Me.
If you haven’t already please take a look at my other articles on Marley & Me:
Naming Your Dog
Puppy Feeding Schedule – Marley And Me
From Marley & Me:
Following the instructions on the bag, we gave Marley three large bowls of puppy chow a day. He wolfed down every morsel in a matter of seconds. What went in came out, of course, and soon our backyard was as inviting as a minefield. We didn’t dare venture out into it without eyes sharply peeled. If Marley’s appetite was huge, his droppings were huger still, giant mounds that looked virtually unchanged from what had earlier gone in the other end. Was he even digesting this stuff.
Apparently he was. Marley was growing at a furious pace…
They may have been overfeeding Marley. Be careful how much you feed a lab. Most labs will continue eating until they are sick. A friend of mind told me his black lab got into and ate an entire bag of food in one sitting. Of course he was very ill and had to make a trip to the vet. Fortunately, the dog was okay, but as you can see Labs have a tendency to overeat.
New Years Day Puppy
My entire life I’ve gone to my Aunt’s house to celebrate New Years. She has a traditional Japanese New Years celebration with plenty of great food and people moving in and out of the house all day. While taking a break from my eating frenzy I had the chance to talk to a friend about his new 6 month old puppy. We chatted for a while about what great dogs labs are…I have Stetson my Guide Dog Puppy in Training and he recently got a purebred lab. During our conversation he brought up the fact that his dog would eat like a horse and would consume a 40 pound bag of dog food in less than 2 weeks. That sounded like a lot to me and I asked his age (6 months) and his weight (75 pounds). He was feeding his lab about twice as much as I fed my two dogs.
Stetson is 1 years old, weighs 65 pounds and eats 3 cups of food a day. Linus is 3 years old, weighs 55 pounds, and eats 2 cups of food a day. The two of them finish a 40 pound bag of food in about 1 month. New Years Day Puppy eats a 40 pound bag of food in half the time it takes my two dogs to eat the same amount of food. That means my friend must be feeding his dog about TEN CUPS OF FOOD A DAY!
Guide Dogs of America Recommend Feeding Schedule
Below was information given to me by Guide Dogs of America on how much food I should feed my puppy in training.
When you first receive your 8 week old puppy you will be feeding him/her 3/4 of a cup 3 X a day soaked (Canidae Dog Food) in hot water until it softens. Keep doing this for about one week, then taper off on time of soaking so eventually he/she will be eating dry food with a little water.
Increasing the food gradually so that at 4 months you will switch to feeding twice a day, an average of 1 1/2 cups 2 X a day
When your puppy is approximately fifteen months old, switch to feeding him/her once a day. An average of 3 cups a day (depending on the size of your puppy, if your not sure – ask us)
One of the great things about raising a guide dog puppy is I have a tremendous resource for any questions I have about my dogs. If I think Stetson is eating too much, have a training question, or a puppy raising question I can check with my group leader, our group trainer, any of the puppy raisers, or the puppy raising department at Guide Dogs of America.
Canidae Dog Food: All Life Stages
Canidae Maintenance Formula for All Life Stages (40-lb bag) is the food Guide Dogs of America feeds all of their puppies (the only exception is if a dog has an allergic reaction to this food). This makes it much easier for GDA when puppies come in for training and when they stay at the kennel. Changing a dogs diet can be upsetting to the dogs stomach and can cause diaharhea or vomiting. Believe me, I witness this first hand everytime I change Linus’s dog food or even sometimes when I give him new treats (obviously a very sensitive stomach). Here’s the feeding schedule Canidae recommends for a dog that is 75 pounds and 6 months old:
According to the chart a dog 6 months or older between 50-75 pounds should eat 2-3 cups of food a day. That’s pretty close to the amount of food Guide Dogs of America recommends, but much less than the 10 cups of food the new years day puppy is currently eating.
Problems with Overfeeding Your Dog
Here are some issues I see with overfeeding your dog:
- Obesity – your dog will become obese. This is not good because of the health problems related to obesity.
- More Poop – who wants to pick up more poop then necessary?
- Costs More Money – Obviously the more food your dog eats the more food you have to buy. Obese dogs with health problems require more medical expenses.
If you own a Labrador Retriever be careful with their feeding you don’t want an obese dog. From what I’ve observed most Labs love to eat food and many Labs are obese which leads to medical problems.
I’d love to hear what you think. Are you and experienced lab owner?
Do you have a skinny puppy? Check out this article on How Much Should I Feed My Puppy