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Questions about 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 other lessons we learned while reading Marley & Me:
Puppy Feeding Schedule – How Often Should I Feed My Puppy?
Your puppy feeding schedule will vary depending on many factors including the size of your dog, the breed, the amount of exercise, and many other variables.
Lessons 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 mine 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 Year’s 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 year 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 you’re 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 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 dog’s diet can be upsetting to the dog’s stomach and can cause diarrhea or vomiting.
Believe me, I witness this firsthand every time 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 than 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 an experienced lab owner?
Do you have a skinny puppy?
Check out this article on How Much Should I Feed My Puppy
UPDATE: We wrote this article many moons ago and we’ve fed our dog’s many different foods including Canidae. Most recently we’ve been feeding our puppies Wellness Core Puppy Food.
Top Picks For Our Puppies
- BEST DOG CHEW
We Like: Beef Collagen Sticks - All of our pups love to bite, nip, and chew. We love using Collagen Sticks to help divert these unwanted behaviors.
- BEST PUPPY TOY
We Like: Calmeroos Puppy Toy w/ Heartbeat and Heat Packs - Perfect for new puppies. Helps ease anxiety in their new home.
- BEST DOG TREATS
We Like: Crazy Dog Train-Me Treats - We use these as our high-value treats for our guide dog puppies.
- BEST FRESH DOG FOOD
We Like: The Farmer's Dog - A couple months ago we started feeding Raven fresh dog food and she loves it! Get 50% off your first order of The Farmer's Dog.
Check out more of our favorites on our New Puppy Checklist.