Find Your Puppy’s Feeding Schedule
Establishing a schedule is something that can get forgotten about in the excitement of bringing home a new pet. But the first few weeks of getting your puppy will set the basis of the relationship and behavioural patterns of your new friend – what your new puppy learns now will most likely stick for the rest of their life.
It is important that your puppy has some sort of schedule to follow to ensure it has consistency. Unlike older dogs who are fed twice a day, puppies usually eat around three times a day in the beginning. Feeding your puppy on a schedule the same time every day will get your puppy used to what time of the day it is feeding time. This can be used to your advantage. It can be altered to times when your puppy has to be left home alone and can help with separation anxiety. It gives your puppy something to look forward to rather than feeling alone when you are not around.
This is just one of the advantages of setting up a puppy feeding schedule as soon as your new family member arrives home.
The Benefits of a Set Feeding Schedule for Your Puppy
There are plenty of benefits to setting up a puppy feeding routine. Having your puppy eat on a schedule will make house training much easier, as it creates a regular potty schedule that coincides with their feeding. Feeding your puppy at set times each day is also more effective than leaving food out as it reduces the likelihood that your puppy will develop a begging habit. A feeding routine also allows you to monitor your dog’s appetite and weight more closely, which are essential for understanding your dog’s health. You can also avoid overfeeding and other digestive issues.
Puppies might get excited by their food, but their little stomachs aren’t designed to eat too much. It’s important to understand how much food to give your puppy, as overfeeding can easily cause stomach upset, like vomiting and diarrhoea. This will often resolve in a few days, but can be a distressing time for you and your puppy. Overfeeding can also lead to very serious health issues like obesity, which puts your pup at greater risk of developing hip dysplasia, heart diseases, diabetes, cancer, and hypertension when they get older. In serious cases, puppies can develop a condition called osteochondrosis, or rapid bone growth, which can cause permanent bone damage. Another serious risk of overeating is gastric torsion, which occurs when a puppy’s stomach is overfilled and bloated after eating too much. While bloating is not a life threatening condition in humans, bloating in puppies can actually disrupt blood flow to the heart and stomach tissue, which can be fatal.
Make Training Easier
Training puppies can be a tough job – luckily, many dogs are highly motivated by food. Creating a feeding schedule for your puppy is a great way to ensure that you are reinforcing all those crucial puppy skills on a regular basis. Regular meals make for regular bowel movements, which is extremely useful for house training your dog. Your puppy will quickly learn that they should relieve themselves around the same time as their meals, meaning you can avoid accidents in the home. This also allows you to create a structured routine around walking and bedtime too. Meal time is also a great time to practice important commands like sitting and waiting, with their delicious meal as a reward. Teaching your dog to be patient and calm around food can also decrease the risk of them developing other undesirable behaviours, like begging, being territorial around food, or ignoring release commands.
Maintain Healthy Digestion and Stable Metabolism
While your puppy may be growing up fast, did you know that a dog’s digestive system actually matures fairly slowly? This means that they are particularly prone to digestive upset. It’s important to ensure that your dog’s delicate stomach is properly cared for in the early stages of its life. A feeding routine is very useful for ensuring your dog gets the right amount of puppy foods, with enough time between meals to avoid overfeeding. This also ensures your puppy can fully digest each meal and absorb all the essential nutrients they need to grow up strong and healthy. Regular feeding will also help you keep an eye on your dog’s metabolism. Small dogs, and especially puppies, have very fast metabolisms, which means they burn up the calories in their food faster than adult dogs. It can be easy to lose track of your dog’s caloric intake without a feeding schedule.
Easily Spot a Loss of Appetite
Whether it’s a puppy or adult dog, food is a core motivator: so a loss of appetite can be a sign of illness or injury. The most common causes of appetite loss in puppies are infections, parasites, or dental issues, which can cause serious problems or even death if left untreated. By sticking to a feeding schedule, you’ll be able to quickly notice if your puppy isn’t as interested in its food as usual. A lack of appetite can also be a result of environmental factors, like moving house or other stressful events that can leave your puppy feeling anxious. Even if the cause is not life threatening, spotting any appetite issues quickly is essential for getting your dog to the vet and treating the underlying cause. This is especially vital for puppies, as their fast metabolisms and special food needs mean they need to eat food at least every 12 hours.
Establish Mealtime Manners
A feeding schedule for your puppy will help you establish useful commands and behaviours that will make life easier for your dog and your family. Precisely timed and portioned meals will mean your dog is never left hungry, which will discourage behaviours like bin raiding or stealing food from other pets (or even off your plate when you’re not looking). It can also prevent your dog from begging during your meal times. Begging is a bad habit for your pup to develop, as it can contribute to other behavioural issues. Regular feeding can also help prevent food aggression and guarding, which can lead to biting and other dangerous behaviours in dogs. This is especially important if you have children, as they can be most vulnerable to antisocial behaviour and aggression. Teaching your dog to be calm around food, and avoiding aggression from an early age, are essential to socialising a happy and friendly dog.
The Best Time to Feed Your Puppy
Your puppy feeding schedule is important, but it will only be effective if it works around you and your family’s schedule. Most puppies need three meals a day, with around 5 hours between meals. Your puppy’s first meal of the day should be bright and early, and is best done after some morning exercise and a bathroom break. You could feed your dog after their morning walk, or after a quick run around the backyard. Your puppy will need to be fed again during the day, which can be inconvenient for people who aren’t usually at home around lunchtime. If you can’t feed your dog at midday, remember the 5 hour rule – if you can only feed your dog their second meal at 2pm, feed them their first meal at around 9am. Again, their last meal of the day should be 5 hours after their lunchtime meal. This last meal should come after their second lot of exercise for the day. Your puppy’s dinnertime feed should be done around 2 hours before their bedtime, to allow them plenty of time to digest, relieve themselves, and relax before sleeping.
While most puppies will need three meals a day given at these timed intervals, there may be cases where some puppies only need two meals a day. If you aren’t sure how many meals will work best for your puppy, or how to establish a feeding schedule, ask your vet. They will know how much to feed your dog, and at what times.
Puppy Feeding Schedule Tips
Your puppy feeding schedule will only be successful if you can maintain consistency. A schedule is designed to help your dog learn to behave in a routine way when it comes to eating, potty training, and exercise. Your dog will be happier and healthier if it can be certain that feeding, play time, and bathroom breaks will happen at regular intervals. If you find it difficult to manage your puppy’s feeding schedule by yourself, see if family and friends can help you out. Feeding can be a great job to give to older children in particular, to help them develop responsibility for the family pet.
Don’t Free Feed Puppy Food
Free feeding is as simple as it sounds – you leave a bowl of food out for your dog all day long, so they can feed whenever they like. While most humans know to stop eating when they are full, dogs lack this ability due to their animal instincts. They will naturally consume everything that is offered to them as if they are scavenging wild animals, so for most puppies and large dog breeds, free feeding just results in overfeeding. Free feeding can also reinforce bad behaviours like food aggression or food guarding, which can result in biting and other dangerous reactions from your puppy.
Avoid Feeding Puppy Foods from the Table
Feeding your dog human food or scraps from the dinner table is a bad habit for your puppy to develop. Not only can it disrupt their appetite and their feeding routine, but it can also promote begging and other frustrating behaviours. Puppy food is specifically formulated to give puppies all their required nutrients – scraps from your plate will not have the same balance of nutrients they need to be healthy and happy. In fact, some foods like onions can be especially dangerous as they contain chemical compounds that are toxic for dogs. Lots of human meals can contain these deadly chemicals, so it’s always best to avoid feeding them from the table.
Our Balanced Puppy Food at Hypro Premium
It is important to feed your puppy the right amount, to prevent overeating or under nurturing your puppy. Our feeding guide on our website will help tell you what is the best amount of Hypro Premium food to feed your puppy based on their weight and age.
Hypro Premium puppy food provides the perfect start to life. Each small bite size kibble allows for easy digestion and is packed with natural, nourishing goodness. Our puppy food is made from high quality meat, healthy fats and oils, and vitamins and minerals with no artificial colours or flavours.
When your furry friend is old enough to graduate from puppy food to adult dog food, Hypro Premium can help you meet their nutritional needs for life.