When you first get a new puppy, you of course are going to want to spoil them with treats to celebrate their achievements. These extra treats, scraps of human food, and so on might seem like treats for them, but could have adverse effects on their health as they mature. While breed does matter for the size of the servings, there are general rules to how much a dog should eat. With the age of a puppy over time, different amounts of food and different levels of vitamins and minerals changes as well to accommodate further growth and development. Generally these can be broken up into spans of weeks or months between determining what food and how much food they can consume, as well as what is considered beneficial to them.
In their early life, puppies will stay on their mother’s milk for the first month and slowly get weaned off of it. This process could take time, as puppies do not always want to learn new behaviors. The jump to solid foods should be done fairly slowly and many recommend doing so by adding warm water to their solid food until they are comfortable with the taste of it, keeping it more like a porridge or soup until they adjust to it. This also makes it easier to teach them that the food is okay for them since they might play with it rather than eat it immediately. This age can be fed about four times a day in order to provide proper nutrition.
After doing this four times a day feeding until three months, their diet may change yet again. From three months to six months, it is safe to change their feedings to three times per day. The food will most likely change as well as they will not need the same levels of nutrition as when they were only three months old. Puppies might still be on the same type of food for now as well, just in smaller servings. Puppy food is incredibly nutrient-rich, as well as high in fats and other key growth factors. With a slightly smaller amount of food per day, the fat count will go down from their intake at a younger age.
Once your puppy reaches between six months and a year, or even two years for some larger breeds like German Shepherds, Great Danes, and so on, their diet should change once again. You can keep them on puppy food for the time being but you should be mixing adult food in as well to better meet their dietary needs. As dogs grow, they do not need all of the fats that are found in puppy foods and could suffer later health issues if not addressed. By the end of this time period your dog should be eating only two meals a day not accounting for snacks or treats which should still be provided in small amounts.
With all of these guidelines, there are of course still rules of what is safe for them to eat and not safe too. Follow the safety warnings set in our other articles on what foods are “must avoid” in a dog’s life, such as avocado, chocolate, and so on. These foods are dangerous to them and can cause major health complications. Avoidance of these foods, focusing on healthy and beneficial foods, and providing a healthy caloric intake will help make sure your dog lives a healthy life.