Puppy feeding and nutrition
Why your puppy’s diet is so important
How your puppy’s nutritional needs change
One month old
Two to four months
At this stage, the focus is on supporting the development of your puppy’s skeletal structure with carefully regulated amounts of calcium, phosphorus and Vitamin D.
Four to seven months
10 months old to adulthood
As puppies approach adulthood, they still need extra nutritional support for their joints, especially larger breeds as their muscles are filling out and putting pressure on their skeleton.
When does you puppy become an adult dog?
|Average adult weight
|Up to 4kg
|Up to 10kg
|45kg and more
|Growth duration (birth to adulthood)
The nutrients needed in a puppy's diet
There are a range of vital nutrients that your puppy needs during the first months of life to aid healthy growth and development. A puppy's diet must be able to provide enough energy and quality protein to support growth and be easily digestible. ROYAL CANIN® diets are nutritionally balanced to offer a tailored diet to meet the needs of puppies of all sizes, lifestyles and breeds.
ROYAL CANIN®'s scientific approach to puppy nutrition
A fine nutritional balance
Puppies are sensitive to smells and texture but have a less well-developed sense of taste. To make our formulas as appealing as possible, we:
- Select ingredients rigorously for their odour, density and texture as well as nutritional quality.
- Design kibble texture, shape and size to suit each size of dog.
- Preserve formulas.
Puppies have sensitive digestive systems. So we ensure our formulas are highly digestible to help avoid stomach upsets and make it easier for your puppy to absorb the nutrients.
High safety standards
We apply the same hygiene rules as for human food and prepare puppy food to the highest standards of quality and safety.
Our Puppy Ranges
How much should I feed my puppy?
- X-small – up to 4kg when adult
- Small – up to 10kg when adult
- Medium – 11kg to 25kg when adult
- Large – 26kg to 44kg when adult
- Giant – over 45kg when adult
- X-small and small breeds have weaker jaws and smaller teeth so need food that’s the right size and texture.
- Medium breeds tend to be more active outdoors so need plenty of energy and helping building their natural defences.
- Large and giant breeds grow slower and need less energy per kilo of bodyweight than small breeds.
Setting the right puppy feeding schedule
X-Small or Small breeds
Up to 4 months 3 meals a day
4-10 months 2 meals a day
Adult 1-2 meals a day
Up to 6 months 3 meals a day
6-12 months 2 meals a day
1-2 meals a day
Large or Giant breeds
Up to 6 months 3 meals a day
6-15 months 2 meals a day
Adult 1 or 2 meals a day
How a puppy’s feeding schedule changes
Initially, during weaning, your puppy will need four meals a day spread evenly from morning to evening. By the time they reach adulthood, they’ll be able to cope with one or two meals daily.
Smaller breed dogs reach adulthood sooner than others, so they can move to fewer meals a day at an earlier stage. Below is a guide according to your puppy’s expected adult size. But it’s always worth checking with your vet about the best feeding schedule for your individual puppy.
Puppies thrive on routine and don’t need variety in their diet like humans do. To help them feel secure, and avoid upsetting their digestion, give them the same food, preferably at the same times, in the same place, using the same bowl.
What is mixed feeding for puppies?
The benefits of mixed feeding for puppies
In dry foods, the moisture content is around 8%, while in wet foods, this is usually at least 75%.
Our wet formulas are designed to be highly appealing to the fussiest of puppies.
Wet food’s high moisture content means you can serve a larger portion for the same number of calories.
When should I begin mixed feeding?
How much should my puppy drink?
Should I leave water out for my puppy?
The best way to ensure your puppy drinks the right amount is to give them constant access to fresh water. Change the water in their bowls daily to keep it clean and top it up throughout the day. Also wash their bowls daily to prevent parasites breeding in them.
Encouraging puppies to drink
As well as putting a water bowl near your puppy’s food, place a few around the house in calm areas. Then they always have the opportunity to drink in a quiet place.
Make sure the water bowls aren’t too big for your puppy to avoid them stepping into them. And avoid plastic water bowls as they can harbour off-putting smells and bacteria – ceramic or stainless steel bowls are best.
Good feeding habits for your puppy
Maintain portion control
Avoid human food
Be careful with treats
Limit activity before and after feeding
Feed your puppy after you
Keep feeding times calm
Set the pace
How to change your puppy’s food
- Day 1 and 2: 75% previous food + 25% new food
- Day 3 and 4: 50% previous food + 50% new food
- Day 5 and 6: 25% previous food + 75% new food
- Day 7: 100% new food
Puppy feeding FAQs
Keeping an eye on your puppy’s weight is useful to make sure they’re growing, but the body condition score gives a clearer picture of whether they’re overweight or underweight. This is important to know as both can cause health issues. The body condition score focuses on the look and feel of your puppy to assess whether they’re a healthy shape. Your vet can show you how to score your puppy.