Before you pick your puppy up from the breeder or rescue centre, ask them what brand and type of food your puppy is being fed on. By the time puppies are eight weeks old, they should have been weaned from mum and be eating solid food. A reputable breeder or rescue should give you a few days’ supply of this food to take home with you when you take your puppy home (if your puppy is not weaned on to solid food, walk away and do not buy your puppy from them).
You can choose to keep them on this same puppy food, or switch them to a different brand of puppy food once they’ve settled in.
If changing your puppy to a different type or brand of food, you’ll need to do this over a week to 10 days to avoid causing an upset tummy. On the first day of the switch, add a small amount of their new food to their current food, and then slowly introduce more of the new food and less of the current food over time.
If you’re moving from a wet to a dry food, note that your puppy will likely drink more.
There is a bewildering choice of dog food available in pet shops, supermarkets and from your vet, so it can be hard to decide which is best for your puppy. Any commercial puppy food, appropriate for the age and size of your dog and described as ‘complete’, will be nutritionally balanced for your dog and won’t need to be mixed with anything else.
Your puppy should have access to fresh water at all times.
When and how often should I feed my puppy?
From when you bring your puppy home at eight weeks until they are four months old, it’s best to feed them four meals a day. At four months, reduce this to three meals a day and when they turn six months, reduce to two meals. Continue a morning and evening meal for your pup’s life.
When you choose to feed your pup their meals is up to you, but we recommend spacing out meals evenly throughout the day. Remaining consistent will help get them into a routine, which will make life easier for you and them. We also recommend avoiding strenuous exercise after eating, which can lead to vomiting and potentially bloat.
You may have read that people should always eat their dinner before the family pet gets theirs – this comes from a very outdated concept of dog behaviour and is based on the now-debunked idea that you need to show your dog who is boss (sometimes called the ‘pack leader’ or ‘alpha’). While it is important to teach your dog good manners around food so they are well-behaved and don’t eat things that could cause them harm, your puppy isn’t planning a household takeover! What’s more important to a puppy is routine and consistency, as this will ensure they understand what you expect of them and grow into a confident dog who trusts you. Feeding your pet at the same time each day will help get them into a routine, and ensuring everyone in the family consistently sticks to any doggy rules you decide upon (for eg no titbits from the table) will help your pup to understand what you’re asking of them more quickly.