How Much Should You Feed Your Puppy?
DIY diets for puppies are a great way of taking full control over what goes into your puppy, especially if they have some sensitivities or you're worried about some of the less-than-desirable ingredients that can be found in commercial formulas BUT it does take research, time & effort to get it right.
When feeding a DIY formula to your dog, you would generally be following the BARF guidelines which means you would not be aware of how many calories are in the batch unless you are tracking that in a similar way, humans track calories themselves such as using an app, therefore a % of body weight is used as a rough guide.
Puppies have different guidelines than adults because they need a lot of energy to grow. Kibble feeders who start feeding a fresh food diet can find how much whole foods to feed a puppy very confronting, it seems like too much but this is because of the moisture weight. Kibble and other dry foods that haven't been hydrated before feeding are only around 10% moisture, whereas whole foods are around 60-70% moisture, so the volume you feed is much greater.
2-4 months: 10% of body weight per day
4-5 months: 8% of their body weight per day
6-8 months: 6% of their body weight per day
8-12 months: 4% per day OR the adult guidelines in smaller dogs who appear to have finished the majority of their growth.
Working breed puppies as well as active puppies may need much more food, it is important that puppy families watch their puppy's body condition each week because growth spurts can dramatically increase their intake requirements.
If you are feeding a recipe such as one from our recipe books for puppies, you may prefer to feed based on caloric requirement than % of body weight, to learn how many calories your puppy requires, head here.
Puppies up until 6 months of age are generally fed 3 times per day where possible and small dogs may require up to 5 meals per day whilst growing because they can be prone to glucose drops - speak to your breeder/vet for more guidance.
10-12 months of age signals the end of the critical growth period, this is the period where most of their growth is completed.
Puppies who are toilet training would do well to consume their last meal of the day at least 4 hours before bedtime so they can toilet before bed.
If you would like to take a lot of the guesswork out of DIYing, check out our web app, which will do most of the work for you.