When you are new to puppies, you have so many questions. Are their behaviors normal? How do you potty train? How do you know if they are eating enough? Well, we don’t have time to answer all of these questions today. But we can talk about puppies’ nutritional needs. How often and how much do I feed my Doodle puppy? The answer is not as clear-cut as it may seem. So let’s take a look at all the factors to consider with your puppy’s diet.
How Often Should I Feed My Doodle Puppy
Figuring out a new puppy feeding schedule is the easiest part of puppy nutrition. Puppies need to eat several times a day but you don’t want to overfeed them. Feed control is essential to keep your Doodle without many health problems.
Recommended feeding strategies
Feeding 6-12 Weeks
Most of us get our puppies when they are about eight weeks old. It has us questioning how much new food should an 8-week old puppy eat? And at this age, there is a lot of brain development going on. Not to mention they are sprouting like weeds while running around.
You might find that your puppy always seems hungry and eats a lot. But that is entirely normal for this age range. Most vets recommend feeding your puppy dry kibble four small meals a day to keep up with all of their caloric intake.
Feeding 3-6 Months
When should a puppy have 3 meals a day? Around 3-6 months old, your puppy’s growth to an adult starts to slow down. But their brains are still developing and need lots of nutrition. Instead of four meals, this is the perfect time to drop down to three small meals. And they will likely get slightly less food at this time, so you can scale back on how large their meals are. But we will talk more about this later.
Feeding 6-12 Months
Whether you have one of the small breeds or a large breed they will be neutered and fully mature in this time. These tinier puppies will drop down to two meals a day. And once fixed, their energy levels decrease, so their portion sizes will significantly reduce. But this rule isn’t true for most breeds.
Some large breed dogs can drop to two larger meals a day depending on their energy requirements and activity levels. If they are fixed. But they still have a lot of energy and growth left in them. Some owners find that three small meals are needed until they reach 18 months- 2 years old. At this age, large breeds finally finish growing, and then they are spayed and neutered. After this, they can, at last, eat two small meals a day.
Puppy Feeding Schedule Tips
So we’ve talked about the number of times you should feed your puppy, but there is a little more to it than that. Here are a few tips when feeding your puppy to prevent obesity and malnourishment.
Keep To A Schedule
One of the best tips we can give you is to feed your puppy at the same time every day. Feeding at the same time daily is necessary because it helps distribute your puppy’s energy and lets you know when your puppy needs to drop meals.
What time should puppy have last meal? According to science, puppies do best when their meals are between 7 a.m. and 5 p.m. But this can change depending on your schedule. The times don’t matter as long as your puppy still has a few hours before bedtime to digest their food. This time prevents your puppy from needing a potty break right after sleep and reduces the chances of accidents.
When your puppy starts to outgrow multiple meals a day, they might naturally skip one. It will leave you questioning how often and how much do I feed my Doodle puppy? However, you have nothing to fear because this is a good thing. Your puppy notices that they don’t need all the extra calories you give them.
But not all puppies will stop eating as much just because their energy levels and growth slows. They are in a class of less active pups. This is how we get overweight puppies. We recommend keeping a puppy feeding chart on hand and set reminders on your calendar. If you notice your puppy is gaining beyond a healthy weight or is past a certain age, it’s time to drop a meal and avoid any free feeding human food.
Don’t Leave Food Out
Another tip is to only keep the dry or wet food out for 20 minutes at a time. Leaving food out all the time blurs the lines of scheduled feeding. It leads to puppies eating too much food and too late. And we all know that this leads to chunky puppies. It’s also a bad habit to keep the food out all the time because it’s harder to measure how much and how often your puppy is eating. If your puppy has abnormal eating habits, it will be harder to detect. Feeding on a timed schedule keeps your Doodle’s habits in check.
How Many Cups Of Food Should I Feed My Puppy?
Figuring out how much a puppy should eat is not an exact science. Depending on the brand of dry food you use, your puppy could eat more or less. This difference is the result of some new foods being more calorie-dense than others. But luckily for us, most food brands have a standard puppy feeding chart on the package. Let’s take a look at how much should a puppy eat chart.
This chart starts with puppies’ life stages between 6-12 weeks of age and of various weights. So, let’s say your question is how much should you feed a 10 week old puppy? You will look for your puppy’s weight, which most 10-week old Doodles weigh around 10-12 pounds. So your Doodle should get about 2 1/2-4 cups of food divided into four meals daily until adult weight and on adult food.
But this seems like an enormous difference to some. Why does the amount of food you feed differ so much? The answer is adult dogs who have a higher activity level tend to eat more adult dog food. If your puppy spends most of his day in a crate while you work, he won’t need to eat as much. But if you live an active lifestyle with your puppy or take your puppy to doggie daycare, they need a lot more.
How Do I Know If I’m Feeding My Puppy Enough?
So we’ve talked about how often and how much do I feed my Doodle puppy. But you might still feel like there are more questions than answers. Don’t worry. You aren’t missing something here because it can still be hard to figure out if you are feeding enough. While our puppy feeding schedule is a great guideline to go by, there are other factors to consider.
We always recommend watching your puppy’s growth and not the bowl. What do we mean by that? It means that as long as your puppy is growing, you shouldn’t have anything to worry about. The best way to see if your puppy is growing on schedule is to look at their body.
You should feel a puppy’s ribs, and they are slightly visible. But the ribs and hips shouldn’t protrude, and the skin shouldn’t sink in and sag around the body. Another good indicator if your puppy is growing on target is to look at their stomachs.
A puppy will have that signature round puppy belly until around three months old when it starts to go away. Most puppies will lose this roundness, and the tummy will tuck in at the hip by six months of age. This is the ideal physique for an aging puppy.
We recommend starting right in the middle of the feeding recommendations. If your puppy is keeping the extra weight off and growing, you are feeding the perfect amount. But it also makes it easy to adjust if your puppy is too skinny or gaining too much.
What Happens If I Overfeed My Puppy?
If you can’t feel your Doodle’s ribs and the roly-poly look sticks around for too long, you could be overfeeding. You might cherish and love this roundness, but it’s damaging in the long run.
For starters, overfeeding your puppy leads to early obesity. And when you have a Doodle, this is a recipe for bad joints. Not to mention that early obesity could lead to kidney issues, diabetes, and heart failure. But there are also side effects that you may have never considered.
Puppies who overeat produce a lot of waste. That’s right; we are talking about poop here. If your Doodle is overeating, they are more likely to have accidents throughout the day. And they will have abnormal poops with lots of gas as a sign of intestinal distress. It’s also possible that your puppy will vomit if they eat too much, and in extreme cases, it may cause bloating. So while we love a chubby puppy, it’s not safe for them in the long run and could have health issues.
Are You Feeding Your Puppy Enough?
How often and how much do I feed my Doodle puppy? Now that you have our puppy feeding schedule guide, you are on the right track. It might take a little fine-tuning, but your puppy will grow to be one of the happiest senior dogs you ever owned. And don’t forget to bring your puppy to the vet for regular checkups to keep them on track without a health condition.
Below is a Pinterest friendly photo…. so you can pin it to your Doodle Board!