As you will already know, puppies develop very quickly and need to take on a lot of food at regular intervals to grow healthy. You will have already been feeding your puppy 3 times or more daily, but at what point do you switch a puppy from 3 to 2 meals a day?
Here’s what you need to know about daily feeding amounts, with the short answer you came for first. There’s more to get right though so please do read on further.
When to switch puppy to 2 meals a day? You can move to 2 meals a day from 3 with most puppies from 6 months onwards. Prior to this, puppies will need feeding 3 or even 4 times a day to help aid health development. It’s also important to keep them on puppy food until they’re at least one year old.
Switching your puppy to 2 meals a day
Read on to find out why you should change to feed your puppy two meals a day, when the best time to do it and how much you should be feeding your puppy twice daily. I’ll also talk about when is a good time to change your fur baby from puppy food to adult food.
Why you should feed your puppy twice a day
Once your puppy reaches six months old, you can start feeding them 2 meals a day. For the first six months of your puppy’s life, he’s been burning up calories like mad.
I don’t think I need to remind you how active your puppy can be! But, if you’re still new to puppy raising, be warned!
With so much growing, walking and playing your little one is naturally using up all his reserves. Which is why puppies are fed more often throughout the day.
By the time they reach six months they generally start to calm down and can be switched to 2 meals a day instead of 3. I’m still not convinced by this though after witnessing my own puppy being a ball of fire way beyond six months old.
Having said that, your six-month-old puppy is ready to eat two meals a day. You’ll notice he’s not growing as fast as he was in his first six months. So, to avoid him becoming a pot belly pup, you need to cut down on his food quantity.
Always follow the guidelines on your puppy food packet to ensure she’s getting the right quantity for her age despite cutting down to two meals daily.
If your gut feeling tells you that it’s not the right time or age to switch your puppy to 2 meals a day, then don’t… but talk to your vet for an expert opinion.
When are the best times to feed your puppy?
It’s a good idea to split the two meals up. Most dog owners choose to feed their puppy in the morning and in the afternoon.
Pet feeding experts recommend giving your puppy their first meal at 7 am in the morning, soon after waking up. You can then take them for their walk or play a game with them. The last meal of the day should be at 5 pm. This is about the maximum time recommended to let them go without eating.
By feeding your puppy at 5 pm you are giving her ample time to digest her food before going to sleep. You can also take her for an evening walk after her meal or play a game of ball.
Another advantage of feeding your puppy at 5 pm is less chances of your puppy making a mess in the middle of the night. Between 5 pm and 7 pm, your puppy will have more than enough opportunities to perform her bathroom routine.
Generally speaking, it’s not a good idea to feed a puppy late at night, and here’s why.
How soon after feeding can I take my puppy walking?
It’s essential you don’t take your puppy walking directly after feeding them. Always give her at least an hour before walking or playing a game with her. Otherwise, you run the risk of your dog developing an abdominal bloat.
If you do choose to feed your puppy before walking, make sure you wait at least 15 minutes before feeding them on return from your walk.
If your puppy is hot and panting, she needs to calm down before taking in any food. Otherwise, she’ll gobble her food down and end up with bloat again.
Handy Hint: Here’s my guide to feeding dogs before or after exercise, and what the consequences can be if you mess this up.
How much should puppies eat twice a day?
The amount of food you feed your puppy depends on their size and weight. Your dog breed plays a big role in how much your puppy should eat. Some dog breeds are more active than others.
It also depends on whether you’re feeding your puppy wet or dry food. The following tips will help you gauge if you’re overfeeding or underfeeding your pup:
- Your puppy starts to look a bit chubby. Weigh your puppy regularly. This is easy enough to do. Weigh yourself and then pick up your puppy and weigh both of you together. Find out what is the average weight for your dog breed at different ages and stick to that. Cut down on the quantities when your pup looks chubby or weights more than they should for their age and breed.
- Your puppy’s ribs are showing: This happens when you’re underfeeding your pup. It’s fine to feel the ribs but you don’t want them sticking out. So, step up the quantities slightly until the ribs are not showing obviously.
- Read the feeding recommendations on the food package. This is the best way to ensure you’re giving your dog the right quantity every day. Remember, if the package gives the total quantity per day to split it into two half-meal portions.
Don’t let your puppy fool you into thinking she’s still hungry after a meal. If your puppy loves to eat, she’ll try to get you to feed her more with “puppy eyes”.
This could lead to overfeeding your puppy. Another danger area is begging at the table. You may think your puppy is hungry but in fact, they’re simply hoping to join you in your tasty meal.
Switching from puppy to adult food twice a day
When is the right time to change your pooch from puppy kibble to adult food? Puppy food is full of extra nutrients and calories to meet your puppy’s growing needs. But as they mature, they need less of the rich stuff.
Handy Hint: Here’s the age at which puppies will start to eat solid food and drink water instead of their mother’s milk.
It’s essential you don’t switch your puppy too soon to adult food. It’s also just as important you don’t keep them on puppy food for too long. This could lead to obesity and other health issues.
Smaller dog breeds mature quicker than larger dog breeds. So, if your little Dachshund is 7 to 10 months old, you can start switching them to adult food.
Large breed dogs should reach 80 pounds before you start switching them to adult food. This can be anywhere between 12 and 16 months.
The switch over from puppy food to adult food should be done gradually. By introducing adult food to your puppy’s diet over one to two weeks, they’ll adjust better and cope with the change with less stress. The gradual process might also help you deal with any problematic begging behavior. If it doesn’t here’s how to stop your dog begging and barking when you eat.
Once again, follow the feeding guidelines on the dog food package or can to ensure your puppy is getting the right quantities. You can also speak to your vet if you’re still unsure about how much to feed your puppy when you move to adult formula.
Your puppy has become firmly part of the family ever since you brought them home at eight weeks old. It’s been a joyride, chaotic at times especially when she discovered the pure ecstasy of chewing your favorite shoes.
One of the first items you purchased when you brought your puppy home was her special food bowl. Feeding your puppy correctly may have taken a lot of time researching (and reading articles like this one). You also spent a lot of time actually feeding the hungry pooch.
But there will come a time when you need to switch your puppy to 2 meals a day, and I hope that this guide has helped you make the decision on when that should be.
Other aspects of puppy development
- What age is it legal to sell a puppy so a new owner can take it home?
- Why most puppies are actually born with parasitic worms
- The age that puppies eyes will change color to a permanent shade
Image in header via https://pixabay.com/photos/golden-retriever-puppy-2706672/