Puppies make life better. It’s no wonder their owners will do everything in their power to make their puppy’s life the best it can be. Part of this is feeding your pup a high-quality diet at times of the day when your puppy needs its nutrients most. If you’re trying to decide on when to feed your dog during the day, this article will outline the best times to feed your pup and signs to look for that puppy is due for a meal.
When Should Your Puppy Eat?
When you first bring your puppy home, it’s a huge adjustment for your fuzzy-ball-of-love. They likely went from cuddling up with their mom to learning to live in a home and eating on a puppy feeding schedule.
Puppies often sleep a lot more than adult dogs and need more frequent feedings, so figuring out the best time to feed your puppy can be tricky. You also want your puppy’s feed times to align well with your own schedule.
To begin narrowing down when it’s best to provide your pup with a scrumptious meal, you first want to divide the day into the number of meals your puppy needs. Then you want to take a close look at your own schedule.
A good guideline to go by is to feed your puppy over the course of 9 to 11 hours. You also want to leave enough time in the evening for your puppy to digest, so you can take them out for their last bathroom break and not wake up to a mess to clean up.
This also helps your dog get used to your sleep rhythm, so they won’t wake up expecting a midnight snack later on.
For younger puppies, you may want to adjust your schedule for one feeding before bed, so they can sleep on a full stomach. Yes, they may have an accident, but because puppies under three months cannot hold their bladders or bums for more than 3 hours or so, you will likely need to wake up and take them out or clean up in the morning anyway.
The Best Times to Feed a Puppy Under 12 Weeks
Try to feed your puppy an hour or two before you have to leave for work. This will give them some time to process the food and possibly go to the potty before you leave.
If you can come home for lunchtime, feed your puppy another meal during this time. If you cannot make it home, try to have a friend or family member give your puppy a meal. You can also hire a dog walker or sitter to stop by to feed your pupper.
Your fuzzy puppy will need to go out to use the potty as soon as you get home. Do this, then prepare a meal for your puppy.
Around the time you eat dinner, you can feed your puppy their final meal. As we mentioned earlier, you want to try to give your pup enough time to digest and eliminate before you tuck them in for bed. Yet, a pup at this age may be more inclined to wake up in the middle of the night hungry. So, you can adjust meal times to feed your puppy before bed, so they can fall asleep with a full stomach and be more likely to sleep through the night.
Puppies from Four-to-Six Months
During this phase in your pup’s life, you can alter your dog’s schedule to reflect a breakfast, lunch, and dinner routine. This is also an important time in the potty training experience, so keep in mind that you are feeding your puppy to get used to your schedule and their potty schedule.
A morning meal is a great way to prepare your puppy for an active day of playing and learning. Feeding your puppy at this time will also align well with your schedule.
Lunch will keep your precious pupper going through the day with plenty of energy to spare. Over the course of the next few months, make this meal smaller and smaller, slowly phasing it out as your puppy prepares for two meals per day.
Feed your dog an hour or so before your dinner. This will fill up their belly and allow enough time for them to change mental modes, so your dog will be less likely to beg for your dinner. A meal an hour before your dinner also lets your pup digest and get in the routine of going to the bathroom before bedtime.
Puppies from Six Months to One Year
By the time your dog reaches six months of age, you can reduce their meals to twice daily. Your puppy will continue to grow during this stage, but you can begin to transition them to an adult diet. At this point, your dog is mostly in control of their bladder and behind, and they should be mostly potty trained.
It’s usually easiest for dog pawrents to feed their canine companions breakfast and dinner each day.
This is the time in your dog’s life that they truly adapt to a schedule. You can expect your dog to begin waking you up on the weekends begging for breakfast because their internal clock becomes set by their regular routine. If you want to sleep in on the weekends, slowly push your dog’s morning meal closer to when you leave the home rather than when you wake up.
We recommend continuing to feed your dog about an hour before your dinnertime. This will come in handy if you go out to dinner. You can feed your dog before you depart, and they won’t be sitting around waiting for you to come home and feed them.
It can also reduce begging as you cook and eat.
What Else Do Pup Pawrents Need to Know About Feeding Times?
Puppies love to chew, even between meals, so keep your teething puppy busy with beneficial chew toys that will also promote positive dental health.
When adjusting your dog’s mealtimes, you can use a treat-dispensing chew toy to keep them busy and provide your pup with supplemental kibble between meals.
Make Meal Time The Best Time for Your Dog
Encourage healthy eating habits and appetite. When your dog enjoys their diet, they will adjust better to feeding times that work best for your routine. Provide your pup with a high-quality and delicious diet that will support their health as they grow.
The Petzyo system tailors your dog’s portions to your dog’s age, breed, and size to make mealtime simple.