Age is one of the crucial factors deciding the feeding guidelines for dogs. And whenever you adopt a puppy, you should be aware that his nutritional needs will differ from an adult rescue dog you picked up from the shelter.
It all comes down to energy consumption. Like small children, puppies require more calories because their bodies go through significant changes, gaining weight, growing bones, and developing muscles. For these reasons, puppy kibble and canned food are always calorie-dense and rich in protein and fat. It's designed to support steady growth and healthy development of all tissues and organs.
If you pick up a bag of quality kibble, it will come with a puppy feeding chart with recommended daily servings. However, those feeding guides can be too ambiguous and result in under or overfeeding. To make a better estimate, use our dog feeding calculator that relies on a vet-approved formula to determine the resting energy requirements (RER) based on your pup's weight and accommodates for heightened needs by using the age factor. For puppies under four months, the multiplication factor is 3, while older puppies can deal with the factor of 2.
With the number of calories you see, divide the number by your preferred kibble's caloric value to learn how many cups per day to feed. Divide this amount into three or four servings and feed them to your pup at even intervals throughout the day (every eighth to six hours). Younger puppies may need up to six feedings a day (every 4 hours).
Do you have to stick to the puppy feeding schedule? Most vets recommend it while they frown upon free-choice feeding. Sticking to a schedule builds strong habits in young canines that will help them go through changes in the household without undue stress. Even changing the dog food brand or recipes will go much smoother if you use a feeding schedule. Besides, regular mealtimes make house training much easier, as most puppies need a walk within 15 minutes of eating. If you time the feeding and walk regime right, you won't have any unfortunate accidents.