Welcoming a new puppy? Learn our top puppy feeding tips

Oh what fun you’ll have with a puppy! Feeding a puppy right optimises their nutrition and sets them on a path to a lifetime of good health. And that means a long life and means less vet bills for you! We’ve pulled together all our top puppy feeding tips to help you with what to feed and how to feed your new pup to give them the best start.


A new home, same puppy food


Around the 8-16 week mark is the time when most puppies will enter their new home. It can be an unsettling time for the pup as they’re unused to being away from their mother. You’ll no doubt give them lots of snuggles to help them settle in with you!

Because they’re just getting used to their new environment, it’s important to keep your puppy on the same food he’s been eating previously. This is to prevent any tummy upsets, which can in any case be quite common over the first few days.

Don’t be too worried if your new puppy isn’t interested in the food you offer at first. They have so much to take in, sometimes food is the last thing on their mind! Give them time and they’ll be hoovering up their dinner. Their bowel habits should return to normal after a few days too.


Moving to a new puppy food

Once your pup is accustomed to their new surroundings, you can change their puppy food if you want to. You must do this very gradually so as not to bring on diarrhoea or other tummy troubles.

On the first day, give a tiny amount of the new puppy food along with the old food. The next day increase it slightly and begin to reduce the quantity of the existing food. This process of transition should take around one week until the puppy is eating all of the new food. See our page How to change your dog food for more information on how to safely transition.


Feeding a puppy – how much & how often?

Firstly, check the pack for the puppy feeding guide and follow this precisely. You’ll need to know your puppy’s weight and you’ll need to measure out the food. Guessing can lead to an underweight or overweight dog, neither of which is good for their health and development. Don’t forget, they’re growing fast so you’ll need to check their weight regularly.

Puppies have high nutritional needs and can’t go for long without food. It’s very important to feed small meals regularly. Once you determine how much food per day your puppy should eat, then divide the total amount across the number of meals you will feed in one day.

Most puppies will be fed three small meals a day initially. Once they are around 6 months of age, you may prefer to drop down to two meals a day. Remember to give half their total food allocation in the morning and the other half in the evening. At one year of age it’s ok to feed your dog just once a day if that’s what you prefer.


What puppy food to use

Puppies have different nutritional requirements to adult dogs so make sure you feed your puppy food that is appropriate for their life stage. Puppy foods will contain higher levels of fat and protein, both essential for their growing bodies as well as omega 3’s for brain development. You should keep your puppy on a food suitable for puppies until they are fully grown. The timing for this will vary depending on the size of their breed. Small breeds are often fully grown by one year of age and larger breeds two years of age.

There are some great puppy food options from our range of raw and fresh pet foods. Here are a couple to highlight:

Pet Pots Chicken & Roo – also available in Salmon & Turmeric flavour, the pet pots come in 90g single serves which is a great size for most puppies. This product is also suitable for adult dogs and cats, so one pet food could be feeding your whole pet family!

Meatball Toppers Puppy – a cooked meatball formulated specially for feeding puppies. They are tasty, easy to digest, and come in a resealable bag that makes it simple for you to pour out and reseal.

Some people like to feed their puppy dry dog biscuits formulated for puppies too. It’s fine to feed a puppy a mix of dry and wet puppy food, just be sure to calculate the portions of each against the feeding guides on the pack. Any puppy food that is marked on the pack as being Complete and Balanced will meet all their nutritional requirements so can be a sole food for your pup.

“Puppies have different nutritional requirements to adult dogs so make sure you feed your puppy food that is appropriate for their life stage”.


Can my puppy have bones?

Yes! Puppies love bones and they’re good for them too. Bones must be raw (never cooked) and larger than their mouth for safety. Bones offer extra nutrients, help with teeth cleaning and hygiene, offer mental and physical stimulation, plus they can redirect your pup away from biting you or your furniture!
Start them on raw meaty bones when you notice their adult teeth coming through (around four months of age). Always supervise a puppy with a bone to be sure they don’t choke.


Other puppy feeding tips

  • Encourage children to keep a distance when your puppy is eating, as they can get quite possessive over their food. We don’t want anyone getting growled or snapped at!
  • Always ask your pup to sit before you place their bowl down. It’s good to get in the habit of having nice manners!
  • If your dog eats too quickly, consider a slow feeding bowl, available at all pet shops. These bowls make it a bit trickier to get the food out.
  • Try using your puppy’s meal as training food and make them work for it! You can try feeding a puppy by hand as you practise tricks and other basic commands like sit, drop, stay.
  • If you have more than one dog, provide them with separate bowls and separate feeding areas. This can give them some peace of mind and prevent food guarding.
  • If your puppy doesn’t eat the food within 10 minutes, it’s best to take the food away and wait until the next meal. They’ll soon realise they must eat at dinner time.
  • For fussy dogs, try adding something super tasty to the meal, or wet it or heat it a little.
  • Don’t forget the bones! It’s important for their teeth, provides stimulus as well as steering pup away from chewing your shoes! Meaty bones are wonderful as they also provide nourishment.
  • Provide your dog with fresh water at all times. You must replace water daily.
  • Being in a healthy weight range is so important for your puppy’s wellbeing. Overweight dogs have shorter life spans and higher risk of many health issues. For more information, see our post on Overweight Pets
  • Move your puppy onto an adult food when it’s fully grown. Adult dog food is better suited nutritionally for an adult dog, and is lower in calories and fat to prevent overweight.