You would be amazed how much food a puppy gets through. From their birth right through to six months ofage, they consume 2-4 times the food consumed by a grown adult dog. The reason is that they need the nutrients to help grow and build up their body.
It’s typical for a puppy to double in size in his or her first 7-10 days alone. A good measurement is to compare adult dog weight to puppy weight in a ratio of 1-2 grams for every pound when fully grown. Therefore, with a dog that will weigh around 75 pounds fully grown, the puppy will add on 3-5 ounces every day when still growing.
What is the Correct Food?
What to feed your labrador retriever puppy or other breed depends on the necessary puppy food which has added levels of vitamins, fats, minerals and protein compared to regular dog food. Food isn’t consistent between manufacturers and brands. However, U.S. puppy food must meet the Association of American Feed Control Officials(AAFCO) standards relating to nutrition to ensure proper growth. Some brands exceed the standards set by the AAFCO.
It tends to be the case that cheaper brands produce lower-quality dog food. The more expensive varieties that are labeled “premium” in most cases will exceed the required nutrient levels and be more easily digestible. Some food is stated as suitable for a dog’s life stages and is usually good enough too.
There’s also breed specific food that is designed for certain puppy types. The idea here is that puppies that will grow to be much larger than a toy dog will, require a different meal plan. For smaller breeds, the chunks of food are smaller but still contain all the nutrients necessary to help a small dog grow to full size. However, high-quality puppy food that’s not breed specific is fine too; you just have to apportion the meal size appropriately for the breed.
How Much Food?
Puppies need much more food than adult dogs. One good test is that you can feel the ribs on each side of their little bodies, but not visually identify them. There should also be a discernable waist when viewed from above otherwise they’re being fed too much. There will usually be some instructions on the dog food confirming suggested portion sizes depending on the dog’s age.
When to Feed Them?
Eating 3-4 times every day is not unusual for a puppy. They’ll likely slow down a little bit once hitting the 3-month mark. Meal times can be twice daily or 3-4 times depending on when you’re around to feed them. When feeding less often, just make sure the portion sizes add up to the same daily amount, so they get all the goodness that their growing body needs.
At the six-month mark, begin cutting back on the amount of food that is being given and the frequency of the feeding. Not all dogs will overeat, but it’s best to avoid it and get the right balance as they get older and not rely on them self-regulating for you.
Feeding your puppy is not difficult to figure out. When done right, they’ll grow into strong, healthy dogs that will have a long life. Just try and avoid cost-cutting in your budget to lower-quality dog food because it does make a difference.