The number of feedings a day depends on your pup's age:
- 2 to 3 months old: 4 meals a day
- 3 to 6 months: 3 meals a day
- 6 to 12 months (up to 24 months for the largest breeds): 2 meals a day
In most cases, a puppy can start weaning from its mother's milk or substitute milk between the ages of 3 and 4 weeks. Ideally, this process takes place slowly over seven weeks.
Puppies like to play with their food, so you may need to encourage him to eat it. Try dipping your finger into the food and holding it out for your pup to lick.
The Importance of a Balanced Diet
Your puppy needs a balanced diet, which is found in many store-bought dog foods or can be prepared at home with the advice of your vet. A balanced diet gives your buddy energy, keeps his brain and body humming, and helps him grow.
When you buy puppy food, look for these words on the label:
- "Complete and balanced nutrition"
- "Meets the nutritional requirements of puppies established by the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO)"
- "Complete and balanced nutrition for puppies based on AAFCO feeding trials"
Your puppy will get all the nutrients he needs from puppy food with those labels. The key nutrients are:
Proteins. Proteins help build your puppy's tissues.
Fats. Fats help keep his skin and hair healthy. They also help your puppy develop a healthy brain and healthy vision.
Carbohydrates. Carbs help give your puppy energy.
Vitamins and minerals. "Complete" and "balanced" puppy foods have the right amounts of vitamins and minerals.
Water. Although canned puppy food contains up to 78% water and can provide some of your puppy's water needs, it's not enough. Dogs of all ages should always have a source of fresh, clean water available to them.