You have a new puppy, and you want them to grow into a healthy, thriving dog. So, you want to do every little thing correctly. You plan to keep up with all their vaccinations and spay or neuter them if you don’t intend to breed them. You know you can give them plenty of love, but how do you know if you are feeding your puppy correctly? Let’s examine the ins and outs of feeding a 6-week-old puppy.
How much food for a 6-week-old puppy?
Too many variables go into feeding a dog to be able to simply say that you should feed every 6-week-old puppy “x” amount of food. Is your puppy a very small dog, like a toy breed, a medium breed, a giant breed, or somewhere in between? Is their frame large, average, or small for their breed?
Does your puppy have oodles of energy, frolicking to and fro, or do they seem to be less energetic, not moving around too much during the day? Is your 6-week-old puppy healthy, or do they have health challenges that need to be taken into account when planning their diet?
All of these things and more should be carefully pondered when deciding how much food to feed your puppy at each meal. The bottom line is that what you need to do is ask yourself the questions above, make a decision based on the answers and the type of food you’ve chosen, simply choose a dog food, and begin there, feeding the amount of food recommended on the label (so you can make sure you stay abreast of exactly the level of nutrients they are taking in).
After this comes the most vital part: Just keep an eye on your dog. If they begin to lose weight, try feeding larger portions. Conversely, if they begin gaining weight, try feeding smaller portions. Of course, if your dog begins losing too much weight, it could be that an ingredient in that particular food causes them gastric upset, or worse, that they are allergic to one of the ingredients.
If they are not eating the food, it could be that it’s simply not appetizing to them. Try another brand or just another flavor, but the key is to not feed your dog some set amount on a chart somewhere. It is to watch your dog and feed according to what keeps them at their optimal health and meets their nutritional needs.
How often should a 6-week-old puppy eat?
It was the belief not too many years in the past that you should only feed your dog once per day. However, we now know that this is not the optimal feeding schedule for any dog. Dogs should eat two or three times per day and puppies need to eat more often than that.
All dogs produce bile in their tummies when they’ve been empty too long, which wouldn’t be such a big deal if, in many cases, dogs didn’t begin to reflux that bile up into their mouths and noses. This is essentially the same thing that happens when humans have “acid reflux”, and it can erode the lining of the esophagus, as well as eat away at the enamel of your dog’s teeth, causing them to decay and become unhealthy. Plus, the process is quite unpleasant for your dog.
Dogs, for this reason, should never go more than 12 hours without eating, and many dog owners choose to feed their dogs every 8 hours just to ensure they are kept at prime health and comfort. Puppies, on the other hand, require feedings more often because their metabolism is much higher than that of an adult dog, so they burn up calories more quickly and along with them, the protein they need to grow.
|Dog Feeding Chart|
|4 to 12 Weeks||Young puppies should be fed a small amount 4 and even up to 5 times per day.|
|3 Months to 1 Year||As a puppy grows, the number of feedings can be reduced to three times per day, but don’t increase the amount by much.|
|1 Year and Up||Adult dogs should be fed at least two and up to three times per day.|
|Senior Dogs||The amount of food may need to be reduced when a dog reaches their senior years, but don’t feed them any less often.|
What food should a 6-week-old puppy eat?
Dog owners who’ve been so for a while are accustomed to being bombarded by ads of all kinds trying to sell them pet products and services, but even they can sometimes get overwhelmed by the vast number of options available when it comes to dog food. I mean — It’s so complicated nowadays.
The Evolution of Dog Food
People used to feed their dogs scraps from their own kitchen, whatever was going to spoil or that they could spare. However, in the mid-1800s, when the middle class was on the rise and the Industrial Revolution was in full swing, people with enough spending money began keeping domesticated dogs as more than working animals. They began keeping them in their homes as close companions.
In 1860, in England, a businessman named James Spratt marketed the first commercially prepared dog food. He also produced the first commercial dog biscuit after the idea came to him when he witnessed some dogs being fed biscuits that were going to be thrown out from a ship’s kitchen. These first dog biscuits were composed of vegetables, beetroot, beef blood, and a mix of wheat meals.
Spratt’s ventures were successful, and a British public company, using his formula, started production in the United States in around 1890. Other companies began formulating their own dry dog food (kibble) and dog biscuit recipes adhering to the health standards of the period. In 1922, the first canned dog food was marketed by Ken-L Ration boasting horse meat as its main ingredient (an acceptable practice at that time).
In the early 1960s, a type of dog food was introduced that was formulated specifically for the purpose of meeting the unique nutritional needs of puppies. In the mid-1980s, nutritional guidelines for dogs were published by the United States National Academy of Sciences’ National Research Council. In 2006, the profiles were updated to keep up with the ever-evolving science and understanding of dog nutrition.
Nowadays, there are kibble and canned (dry and wet) dog foods, but unlike 70 years ago, those are not the only choices your dog has. There are frozen prepared meals; fresh, organic, raw meals; and fresh or frozen meal kits meant for you to prepare for your dog, and they can all be delivered right to your front door.
The Difference Between Adult Dogs and Puppies
Puppies should never be fed the same food as your adult dogs. The reason for this is that a puppy’s nutritional needs differ from those of an adult dog. A growing puppy requires more calories and needs to maintain higher protein levels than an adult dog.
Until a puppy reaches 80% of their expected adult weight (in a healthy manner), they should remain on puppy food. This transformation takes place at different times in different breeds. In very small breeds, they may reach this point at around 9 months of age, and very large breeds may need to eat puppy food until they are as old as 16 months old. When your dog does reach this 80% mark, switch them to adult food so that the extra calories don’t cause them to start gaining weight.
The Best Dog Food Choice
All commercial dog foods must be labeled correctly according to their contents, and these requirements are set forth by the FDA (Food and Drug Administration). You should learn to read labels and compare brands, but you must start out by knowing the nutritional requirements for your puppy. The best thing to do is to consult the AAFCO (Association of American Feed Control Officials) website, or especially if your puppy has health problems, you should ask your veterinarian.