How Much Should I Feed My Puppy

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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 to 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.

how much should you feed a puppy?
how much should you feed a puppy?

Just like people every puppy is different.

I remember growing up I couldn’t put on weight for the life of me.

I had friends who struggled to find the right balance between food and exercise and couldn’t keep off the pounds. Ahhh…how the tables have turned now I’m fighting to keep the pounds off.

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, being given 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 (think more greyhound less labrador) 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 of 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?

QUICK RECOMMENDATION: Just in case you were wondering back in the Derby days we fed our pup’s Natural Balance Dog Food. Today we are feeding all of our pup’s Wellness Core Puppy Food.

QUICK TIP: Moving forward we plan on putting our pup’s on a food rotation that will include dehydrated, wet, dry, and possibly raw dog food. Stay tuned for updates on our thoughts and practices for feeding your puppy.

how much should i feed my puppy
how much should i feed my puppy

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Check out more of our favorites on our New Puppy Checklist.

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  1. How do you measure the amount of puppy chow you feed your puppy in training? When you feed a puppy, do you measure 3/4 cup of puppy chow before it is soaked, or 3/4 cup after it is soaked? If I measure 3/4 cup before soaking and it becomes almost 3 cups.

  2. My lab puppy is 3 months and 2 weeks old. I feed her 1 12 cup, 3 times a day. She eats the ‘Taste of the Wild-Pacific Stream’. However during my last purchase of food, I mistakenly ordered adult dog food, instead of the puppy food.
    I compared the nutrient level and the adult food has 25% protein as 27% in the puppy food. The remaining items are almost the same. Would there be any harm in giving her adult food?

    1. You should check with your vet, but in general we feed our puppies puppy food until they are around 1 year old. If it were me I’d either return the adult food or check the expiration date and as long as it’s still good feed it to my puppy when she gets older.

  3. When I raised our pups, they had 3 daily meals until they were about 6 months old. I don’t remember the exact amount of kibble (we feed raw now), but I do remember using the suggestions of the bags of dog food as guidelines and adjusting it a little to the pups’ respective body condition. I always made sure I could see a waistline 😉

    1. Yep, it’s always good to see a waistline especially with Labs who always act like they’re starving. In our experience the Lab pups we’ve brought home have needed more rather than less kibble compared to the guidelines in our puppy manual. I’m guessing it’s their high energy level and the amount of activity we do with our pups on a daily basis.

  4. How often should I feed my 7 month puggle ? Didn’t have her as a very young pup got her at 7 months , I take her out round about 8am then feed her at 10 and then again at 6 is that normal or I’m I doing it wrong ??? Please help

    1. When our puppies are about 4-5 months old we go from feeding them 3 times a day to 2 times a day. However, this is based on rules set by the guide and service dog schools we work with. You might consult your vet to see what he/she recommends for your puppy.

  5. I just recently adopted a pitbull mix who we have been told is between 10 months a 1 year old. I feed him roughly 1.5 cups twice a day and he is pooping on average 4 to 6 times per day, which includes in his cage. I am not sure whether it is the food or anxiety that is causing the pooping. He was found wandering the streets of Chicago eating plastic so he does have some separation issues and food issues. Should I try slowly changing out his food to see if that helps? It is never diarrhea just normally formed poop but it seems to go right through him. He is about 10 lbs under weight for his size so I need to find something to put some weight on him. Any suggestions would be great.

    1. Thank you for adopting! I’d recommend consulting with your veterinarian about your dogs food and feeding schedule. Just to give you an idea of one of the dogs we recently brought home…we are fostering a 1 1/2 year old Golden Retriever who’s about 70 pounds. We feed her 1 1/2 cups of Wellness Core Grain Free and she poops twice a day. Hopefully that helps. Good luck with your new dog.

  6. Hi Colby,
    I’m really struggling. I feed at 7am, 12 and 5pm. But puppy 10 weeks lab)is awake at 5am and my husband says I should feed him earlier.
    Also the breeder said 20 minutes activity 2 hours rest. He gets snappy and bitey when tired usually after about 30-45 minutes should I put him in his crate then? I lock the gate as well. Is this ok??My husband when around will just let him sleep on his lap or on the kitchen floor and puppy doesn’t want to go into his crate ever really. Any advice?

    1. Hi Charmaine,

      When I’m raising a puppy I try to remain consistent with my schedule. If you normally wake up and feed your puppy at 7am I would stick to that schedule. Remember you never want to let your puppy out of the crate when she is barking or whining.

      Also, make sure everyone in the household knows the rules for your puppy and everyone needs to be consistent with those rules when training your puppy. If everyone is doing something different then your puppy is going to get confused.

      If you haven’t already please read this article: As I already mentioned try to remain consistent with crate training. Always make the crate a positive experience. A few things I do when I first bring home a puppy:

      1. Feed your puppy in the crate
      2. Put a toy in the crate that you can fill with food like a KONG
      3. When your puppy falls asleep outside the crate pick her up and let her take her nap inside the crate.

      I hope that helps. There’s a ton of other information in the link I included above.

      Good luck with your training!

  7. I’m actually hoping to train our little Star as a therapy dog. My mom has a heart valve problem and kidney failure and it’s as much for her as for other people so I figure I might as well train her like the pros lol. Star is almost 6 weeks old and she just came home. She’s very small, like teacup small, and just staring to eat food. Suggestions? I’m scared she’s not eating enough is the problem but her little tummy is usually full after she eats soooo…. yeah.

    1. Hi Elizabeth,

      Have you tried bitter apple spray? You can spray your hand with the bitter apple and when your pup goes to put his mouth on your hand he’ll taste the bitter apple spray. Most puppies don’t like the taste and over time will understand that grabbing your hand with his mouth results in an unpleasant taste and stop doing it.

      Good luck with your training!

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