Puppy Food -- Types, Feeding Schedule, and Nutrition
From homemade puppy food to store brands, WebMD helps you choose the best food for your puppy’s nutritional needs.
What kind of puppy treats should I give?
Many pet owners like to reward their dogs with treats, but it’s best to limit
them. Because puppies need so many nutrients to grow, it’s important to give
them food that provides complete and balanced nutrition. A puppy should get
most of his calories from puppy food rather than from treats, which typically
don’t provide complete nutrition.
Aim for no more than 5% of calories from treats, say nutrition experts at
the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. Choose treats
that are the right size for your puppy. A Yorkshire terrier, for instance,
doesn’t need an extra-large dog biscuit. And avoid table scraps, which teach
your puppy at a young age to beg for treats at the table and can cause
digestive upset and pancreatitis, a serious illness.
Consider giving other types of treats to deepen the bond with your puppy.
Healthy snacks like bits of carrot, green beans, or bell peppers give your
puppy something to crunch without many calories. And remember, in your puppy’s
mind, spending time with you is the best treat of all.
“Play is a treat, training is a treat, learning tricks is a treat,”
Buffington says. “Dogs are a pack species, and they want to be a member of the
pack. Anything a member of the pack does with them is positive
When should I switch from puppy food to adult dog food?
Once puppies have reached 90% of their expected adult weight, they should
switch from a growth diet to one that’s suitable for maintenance. Small breeds
may finish growing by nine to 12 months; for large breeds, expect 12 to 18
What foods are dangerous for my puppy?
Some foods that people enjoy can be harmful to dogs. Keep your puppy away
from avocados, chocolate, grapes, raisins, macadamia nuts, and raw bread dough
made with yeast. Also avoid onions, garlic, and chives; milk and large amounts
of dairy products such as cheese; alcohol; coffee and caffeine; salty food,
such as potato chips; and food sweetened with xylitol, such as gum, baked
goods, and candy. Xylitol, also used in products such as toothpaste, can cause
failure in dogs.