Dear Doctor: How often to feed a puppy


Q. We’re about to adopt a new puppy. I have always fed my dogs twice a day, but the breeder is telling me that three times a day is better. What’s the right answer?

Eugenia Hummer
Grapevine, Texas

Dear Ms. Hummer,

A. Young puppies definitely should be fed more than twice a day. Their developing bodies need more frequent meals even as you watch their overall calorie intake and make sure they don’t become overweight as they grow.

Even three times a day might not be often enough. Roughly every 4 hours — or four times a day — is a good rule of thumb for puppies up to about 4 months of age, after which you can switch to three times a day for several months, and then to twice daily.

Toy breed puppies should be fed even more frequently than larger dogs. They are prone to hypoglycemia — low blood sugar. The American Kennel Club recommends four to six meals a day for the first 3 months of their lives.

When you first bring a puppy home, feed him the food he has been eating even if that’s not the food you plan to keep him on. Then switch gradually (over about a week’s time) to the food you want him to have. That will give his sensitive digestive system time to adjust.



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