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Over the first year of a puppy’s life, you are likely to witness significant changes in his size, shape, and behavior. The diet you feed your puppy plays a critical role at this stage and has a huge impact on how healthy and strong he becomes as an adult dog.
Most dog owners tend to overfeed their puppies, thinking that doing so will make their puppies healthy. However, this is not always the case as too much food can upset your puppy’s tummy and put pressure on his frame if he gains too much weight within a short period. Too much food may also cause obesity and set the stage for diabetes and orthopedic issues. All these are detrimental to your puppy’s health, so it is always important to take care when planning your puppy’s meals—know what to feed, when to feed, and how much to feed at a given time.
To keep you updated with your puppy’s nutritional needs, this post will answer one of the most common frequently asked questions about puppy feeding routines: when to switch a puppy to 2 meals a day.
So, When Should You Switch Your Puppy to 2 Meals A Day?
Just like our babies, puppies start out requiring many small meals in a day. In fact, as a general rule, puppies need to be fed about 3-4 meals a day to keep up with their high-energy lifestyles. Depending on the breed, some puppies may even need 4-6 meals a day. So, when is the right time to transition to 2 meals a day?
The short answer is: about 6 months. By the time your puppy reaches 6 months, growth and development won’t be so rapid as it was before, which simply means that he won’t require as much food as often.
Of course, every puppy is different, so you need to keep your dog’s condition and eating habits in mind when making the switch. For instance, small dog breeds may still benefit from 3 meals a day post 6 months because of their small stomachs. What’s more, if your puppy seems to hold on to his puppy pudge or chunky look for long, it could mean that you are overfeeding him—and switching to 2 meals a day is okay. Similarly, if he is fond of leaving food in his bowl, it could also be a good sign that he is ready to switch to 2 meals a day.
Factors to Keep In Mind When Switching A Puppy to 2 Meals A Day
To ensure that the transition to 2 meals a day is as smooth as possible, here are a few factors that you may need to remember:
- When switching your puppy to 2 meals a day, he still needs to consume the same amount of food he was eating when he was being fed 3 times a day. If you were giving him ½ cup of kibble 3 times a day, for instance, you should now give him ¾ cup of kibble 2 times a day.
- A portion of dry food will appear smaller compared to wet food. However, dry foods have high energy contents than wet foods. So, when making the switch and alternating wet and dry food, you should remember that your puppy will need more wet food to gain the same amount of calories.
Related Post: 5 Best Automatic Wet Food Dog Feeders
- Strive to always read feeding instructions on your puppy’s food packaging—it should give you a rough idea of the amount of food to give your puppy. Most food manufacturers will specify the amount of food and feeding frequency depending on a puppy’s breed, age, activity, medical condition, etc.
- Don’t be tempted to occasionally feed your puppy table scraps lest you risk turning him into a finicky eater. This can metamorphose into bad habits that can negatively impact his health later in life.
- When making the transition to 2 meals a day, we recommend feeding your puppy premium foods because they tend to have higher nutritional density. This means that you can feed your puppy less to achieve the same health results. Premium foods also have stable ingredients compared to their bargain counterparts.
- Before making the switch, strive to consult your local veterinarian and adhere to the feeding guidelines that he recommends. Remember that inappropriate changes in your puppy’s diet and eating routines may cause digestion problems.
Speaking of feeding guidelines, do you know that there is an easy way to keep your dog’s routines, schedules, records, and other important information organized in one place? Well, the go-to tool you need is a Dog Printable Planner. With a planner, you can gather all information about your dog and put it in a binder. This way, you can reach out for it anytime you want. There are also situations when you will need a sitter, a friend, a relative, or a neighbor to watch over your dog. When that happens, the person can use the information on the planner to best take care of the dog in your absence. Check out the printable here.
Feeding your puppy is a crucial part of taking care of his health and happiness. Hopefully, now you have an idea of when to switch a puppy to 2 meals a day. Once you’ve made the transition and established the kind of foods he enjoys, your fur baby will soon settle with the routine or feeding plan throughout the day. From then on, all you need to do is keep an eye on his behavior and eating habits so that you can update your vet in case of anything. Otherwise, focus on having a good time with your active and fast growing puppy!
Sable McNeil is a canine chef, professional pet blogger, and proud owner of two male dogs. I have been an animal lover all my life, with dogs holding a special place in my heart. Initially, I created this blog to share recipes, tips, and any relevant information on healthy homemade dog treats. But because of my unrelenting passion to make a difference in the world of dogs, I have expanded the blog’s scope to include the best information and recommendations about everything dog lovers need to know about their canine friends’ health and wellbeing. My mission now is to find the most helpful content on anything related to dogs and share it with fellow hardworking hound lovers. While everything I share is in line with the latest evidence-based veterinarian health guidelines, nothing should be construed as veterinary advice. Please contact your vet in all matters regarding your Fido’s health.