Not sure how much food you should give your puppy? John Woods, founder of "All Things Dogs", and recognised author by the Dog Writers Association of America, shares the science behind meal portion sizes for your puppy.
When feeding puppies, there are generally two schools of thought:
1. The first is to free-feed.
This is where a topped-up bowl is provided for the pup throughout the day and it is for the pup to decide when he/she wants to eat.
2. The other option is to follow the food label guidelines to a T and weigh out every meal.
We’re here to advocate the latter option and we’ll explain why. Firstly, let’s take a look at free-feeding.
What is free-feeding?
Here you are banking on your pup having self-control. They will eat until they're satiated and for no longer. You will hear owners say that pups do leave food in their bowl, which can indeed be true. But, playing devil’s advocate, is this behaviour likely to continue or be frequent enough to avoid overeating? Is it self-control or simply the spoiling of the food?
Leaving a bowl of food out all day carries its own hygiene risks. It will spoil, especially if it’s canned. To put it in human terms, would you rather eat a fresh biscuit from its packet or one that’s been left on a plate all day?
The trouble with free-feeding is often linked to fussy eating patterns. This can even result in dogs not eating. Here you run the risk of malnutrition, which is even more detrimental in puppyhood.
Puppy nutrition requirements
Puppies have totally different nutritional requirements than dogs. They are growing and developing at a rapid rate and need nutrients to support this. As a comparison, a puppy needs 12.5g of protein per kilogram of bodyweight whereas a matured dog only needs 2.62g.
It’s easy to see how puppies use so much energy whilst their small bodies are growing.
Puppy foods are specifically formulated to meet these nutritional needs in the amounts suggested on their feeding guidelines. If your pup isn’t eating properly, their needs won’t be met, and they won’t grow or develop as they should.