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A puppy feeding schedule is not just for humans! When still reliant on its mother, a feeding dog will have already figured out the best schedule for her growing litter. Before two weeks of age, her puppies will need to eat at least every 1-2 hours. Without a schedule, her puppies will not be able to grow properly, and she herself can end up with health issues from not emptying her milk completely.
But, when you bring your pup home, the question remains; should I keep a puppy feeding schedule?
Is a puppy feeding schedule really that important?
Here are the alternatives showing a few of the reasons why a schedule is so important to a growing puppy:
|Waiting too long between meals||Feeding too close together / or free feeding|
|Puppy eats too fast causing a choking hazard||More difficult to control food guarding|
|This can also cause stomach cramping and pain||Makes toilet training more challenging|
|Puppy’s metabolism requires frequent meals||Can cause obesity issues|
|It can lead to behavioral problems when they get ‘hangry’.||Not knowing how much your puppy is eating|
Plus, a puppy feeding schedule makes toilet training a breeze! When you are able to control when a puppy eats, you can also control their bathroom breaks much easier. Most puppies will need to poop and pee immediately after eating, so the potty training will become more and more predictable.
For the ultimate way to housebreak your puppy within a week – check out our toilet training guide HERE.
But it’s more than that! Puppies require stability and consistency for all forms of training.
So, here’s an example of a feeding schedule for a four-month-old puppy.
Puppy Feeding Schedule Example
|6:30am||First meal of the day|
|6:50am||Remove the bowl and any leftover food|
|6:55am||Bring your puppy for a quick walk and toilet break|
|11:50am||Remove food bowl and any leftover food|
|11:55am||Outside for a quick toilet break|
|5:50pm||Remove the bowl and any leftovers|
|5:55pm||Long walk for toilet break and exercise|
Keeping To A Routine
When creating a puppy feeding schedule, make it work around your usual routine.
Sometimes it’s not possible to feed a puppy during your lunch break at work. In these circumstances you can ask a neighbour or hire someone you trust to stop in, feed your pup, and take them out to do their business.
- Under four months old, vets recommend feeding your puppy four times a day.
- Between four and six months, they should be eating three times per day.
- Around six to twelve months, you can feed your puppy twice a day.
Regardless of the puppy feeding schedule you are able to create, always be sure to have fresh water available. Puppies need a constant supply of water especially during high temperatures. They cannot regulate their body heat as well as adult dogs, and this can become fatal very quickly.
One More Tip To Remember!
When using treats for reward training, your puppy will not need the same recommended amounts during their meals.
Be sure to adjust the amounts you feed your pup when you give them treats, keeping well within the nutritional guidelines.
Being overweight can cause health issues for your puppy. Check out our article on ‘Signs You’re Overfeeding Your Puppy’ for more detailed information.