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the Dog Blog

Pet Parenting 101: Tips for Feeding Your Puppy

Puppy eating premium Bil-Jac Puppy Formula out of his dog food bowl.

Congratulations on bringing home a new furry friend! While puppy parenthood can be exciting and rewarding for a new pet parent, it can also be a challenging time, especially when it’s time to eat. Find answers to the most frequently asked puppy food questions below to ensure your new best friend receives proper nutrition.

 

What Food Should I Feed My Puppy?

Puppies grow quickly, especially in their first 12 months. Feeding your puppy a high-quality, premium puppy formula like Bil-Jac Puppy Select Formula will help support healthy growth and development during this critical time.

Dry puppy food is an excellent choice of food. Be sure to read the nutrition labels first since not all formulas are the same. Look for a puppy formula that has real meat protein listed as the first ingredient, like chicken in Bil-Jac Puppy Formulas.

Dry puppy foods come in a variety of formulas based on the size your dog will be in adulthood:

Small Breed: For dogs that will be less than 20 lbs.
Medium Breed: For dogs that will be 20 to 50 lbs
Large Breed: For dogs that will be more than 50 lbs.

How Often Should I Feed My Puppy?

One of the initial challenges a new pet parent faces is determining how often to feed your pup. While most puppies don’t require a lot of food at each feeding, they do require frequent feedings to help support healthy energy levels while they grow. Plus puppies have a small stomach, so you can only fit a little food in at each feeding. If they eat too much food, you may have a mess on your hands! Most puppies go to a new home after they are weaned and are about 8-12 weeks old. Here is a suggested feeding regimen:

6 weeks to 6 months old: Divide feeding into three times per day
6 months to 12 months old: Divide feeding into two times per day
12 months and older: Feed either one or two times per day

Feed your puppy at about the same time each day to establish a regular schedule and build good habits. With all the exciting things in the world, puppies may occasionally lack interest at mealtime. If they miss one meal or eat a little later, that is not necessarily a cause for concern. Missing more than one meal a day should be discussed with your veterinarian.

 

How Much Should I Feed My Puppy?

Measuring your puppy’s food at each meal is very important to maintaining a healthy weight. Filling your new best friend’s bowl and leaving food out at all times (“free feeding”) is not recommended and could lead to overeating. Start with the feeding guidelines you find on the bag of Puppy Food you are feeding. Put the measured amount of food in the bowl and let your puppy eat when she is ready. If you are feeding Bil-Jac Puppy Food for example, here are the recommended feeding amounts for your puppy, based on weight:

10 lbs. or less: ½ to 1 cup per day
10 to 20 lbs.: 1 to 2 cups per day
20 to 30 lbs.: 2 to 3 cups per day
30 to 40 lbs.: 3 to 4 cups per day
40 to 50 lbs.: 4 to 5 cups per day
50 to 60 lbs.: 5 to 6 cups per day
60 to 80 lbs.: 6 to 7 cups per day
80 to 100 lbs.: 7 to 8 cups per day

Be sure to divide the daily amount of recommended food to feed by the number of feedings per day. For example, if your puppy should eat one cup a day, and you are feeding three times per day, you would feed 1/3 cup at each meal.

All puppy formulas provide feeding guidelines to use when you begin feeding your puppy. Ultimately you will need to adjust how much you feed based on the puppy’s weight, age, and activity level. Just like humans, puppies’ appetites and energy needs vary, so it’s important to monitor the weight of your puppy. While the recommendations on the dry puppy food label are a good starting place, you may need to feed your puppy more or less based on how active your puppy is, which determines how many calories she burns. Be careful not to overfeed your puppy. Maintaining a proper weight is essential to keeping your pooch happy and healthy.

Have fresh water available for your puppy to drink. Wash your puppy’s food and water bowl at least once a day, if not at each feeding. This helps to keep her feeding bowls clean and healthy.

Using stainless steel, glass, or ceramic bowls are good choices for food and water. Plastic bowls can cause some dogs to have face acne as a reaction to the plastic.

How Many Treats Can I Use to Reward My Puppy?

Dog treats are a useful reward when training puppies. However, you’ll need to monitor how many treats your puppy is consuming. The treats you choose for your puppy should be healthy and ideally meat-based like Bil-Jac Dog Treats.

Keep in mind that, at most, no more than 10 percent of your puppy’s daily nutritional intake should come from treats. Consider using a smaller training treat, like Bil-Jac Little-Jacs, so you can treat often while managing calories. Feeding too many treats can lead to weight gain, which may hurt your puppy’s health and development.

 

When Should I Transition from Puppy Food?

While puppy food is great for a puppy, it is not ideal once your puppy approaches maturity. Puppy formulas have different levels of protein and fat than adult formulas. Puppy maturity rates vary from 10 months to 2 years depending on your dog’s breed. Small and medium breeds should transition to adult formulas at about 12 months of age. Large and giant breeds should transition at about 18-24 months of age. Your veterinarian, shelter, or breeder can advise the appropriate time to move to an adult formula.


More Puppy Tips

Puppies bring so much joy to everyone around them. At Bil-Jac, we’re always thinking about ways to keep your puppy happy and healthy. Want to learn more about how you can help your fur baby live a healthy lifestyle? Join our Best Friends Club today. Each month, you’ll receive special training tips, informative articles, and members-only discounts on Bil-Jac products, so you can be better prepared for the “puppy years” and be able to focus on all the fun and joy your puppy brings.

 

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